I plopped my tree on the return counter. The clerk looked at it and summed up in two words why I was at Wal-Mart in something of a tiff, returning a Christmas tree I had purchased only two hours earlier.
That’s precisely what I thought! Not thirty minutes earlier, Kyle had opened the box, and I looked at my prized tree.
It kind of made all of my excitement in regards to my new tree fall flat.
“No,” Kyle reasoned, “that’s the bottom of the needles. It’ll look greener when we put it upright.” So he put the tree upright.
“It’s black. I’m returning it right now.”
At the return counter, the clerk told me that I was the second person returning a Christmas tree that for all intents and purposes looked green in the picture. The label mentioned nothing about the color of the tree. In fact, as I was in the back of Wal-Mart for the second time that day, I noted that with the exception of the cleverly disguised black Christmas tree, every other oddly colored tree was noted on the label. “Indiana Spruce White Tree.” “Indiana Spruce Pink Tree.” “Indiana Spruce Purple tree.” It’s like they’re trying to sneak black Christmas trees into people’s homes hoping nobody will notice.
But seriously, who buys a black Christmas tree? Well, ok, who buys a black Christmas tree on purpose? (Seeing as I am clearly the type of person who buys a black Christmas tree on accident.) The appallingly poor labeling isn’t going to take them very far, considering Wal-Mart’s incredibly lenient return policy. Before I left the return desk, I made sure to sympathize with the clerk in regards to how many indignant people returning black Christmas trees he is likely to see this season. I’m sure I won’t be the last.
Not long ago, Kyle and I got smartphones. Yay! Smartphones! I love mine!
On the other hand, Kyle’s computer at work has recently been having trouble with connecting to the internet. Seeing as how his job is exclusively ON the internet, this has become a problem. The stopgap solution we have is that he takes my laptop to work, which often means that I don’t use my laptop at all on weekdays. This means that some of the last few updates I’ve made have been on my phone.
Updating from my phone has been interesting because typing is so cumbersome compared to a keyboard that I find myself getting straight to the point. I will sacrifice lines that amuse me because writing that line requires substantially more words than a shorter one, which in turn requires substantially more time. Incidentally, this post is being written on a computer because thinking about writing it on my phone made me not want to write it at all. It’s interesting to note the differences in my writing between the computer and my phone, but at the end of the day, I think that my writing is better with a keyboard where I have full access to write any of the words and lines I come up with in my head, no matter how cumbersome.
Miss Ruby has decided that now is a good time to get more teeth. Four more in fact. She’s been drooling all over and chewing her fingers (which is something she only does when she’s teething) this week. I honestly didn’t think much of it untilI happened to glimpse her mouth while she was laughing this morning. She doesn’t like to show her teeth off, so it wasn’t until I was making her giggle that I saw them, four new pearly whites.
I guess it’s about time she got more teeth. I just hope that things slow down a bit on the rate of teeth coming in. Four all at once is kind of a lot.
Ruby decided to spend the past two days sick and unhappy, graciously leaving me with a number of diapers that were no fun to clean. Poor baby.
She was on a diet of Jell-O, breastmilk and Pedialyte today, and I could tell that she was very hungry by the end of the day. I felt bad denying her food, but that’s what your supposed to do until the diarrhea settles out. Hopefully she’ll be doing better tomorrow. I don’t approve of sad, hungry babies.
Got a call Friday night asking if Kyle and I would be willing to step in last minute and speak. Circumstances had left the bishopric at the cusp of the weekend and no speakers. I really, really, didn’t want to speak. I had a busy Saturday planned. But I felt like I would be slinking into church on Sunday filled with guilt if I declined the opportunity, so I accepted. Then I was given the topic: purity and morality, with a couple of talks from church authorities as reference. When I speak, I never get topics that I’m really thrilled about talking about, and this one is no exception. It can be a sensitive topic that is easy to say insensitive things about.
So what did I do? I grabbed the bull by the horns and talked about the hardest topic in there: chastity. It seemed to go over pretty well, and I felt pretty good about the talk despite having to pry my eyes open at 6:30 am (after getting home at midnight the night before) to research and write it.
I felt really blessed on Sunday that I have an arsenal of writing experience to lean on when I’m writing in non-ideal circumstances (also that the writing and research standards for this type of talk are less rigorous than academic papers). The writing certainly wasn’t as good as it might have been with more preparation, and the way I shaped some of the discussions in the talk could have used refining, but the meat of it all came out right. I got some positive feedback after I gave the talk, so it seems to have been well received despite the topic occasionally being a hard one to talk about. Who would have known that an Art History degree and many, many hours and words of experience shaping arguments and positions in long, academic papers would turn out so helpful on a bleary Sunday morning?
Between moving, getting pregnant, and being sick, something or (more likely) some combination of things has really disrupted my blogging mojo. I still find myself thinking of blog posts, but taking the time to sit and write has become a scarce activity. And before long, my blog entries are slipping away from my mind in the ebb and flow of life, forgotten and unrecorded.
Things are pretty good for us right now. I love the apartment that we’re in. It’s so much nicer than our last place. Some nights, I go to bed and just have a happy glow because our place is so nice and fits our family so well. It’s not a forever place, but it’s really great for us right now. And I’m glad for that.
Kyle and I have started playing the Lord of the Rings Living Card game recently. It’s a really good game for two players, which is nice for us in the evenings. And it’s cooperative, which is better for our marriage than Carcassonne. We only play Carcassonne when Kyle is feeling particularly caring because I always beat him (oops). The fact that we play Carcassonne ever is, I think, a testament to Kyle’s warm, fuzzy heart.
My mind wanders in circles and is tired. Pregnancy fatigue has been quite the thing this time around. Here’s hoping I can find the envie to blog a little bit more while I’m wandering in my little circles.
Yesterday Ruby woke up in the morning as usual, so I went in to get her out of her crib. And what should my eyes behold other than a small girl peeking over the edge of the crib standing in nothing but a lime green diaper, her hearts and monkeys sleeper having been removed and discarded in a pile on top of her covers.
Zippers. Zippers are the new thing. First it was her jacket, which she would carefully unzip and remove (because what’s the point of unzipping if you don’t also remove the offending zipper?). She also unzips mine and Daddy’s jackets when she gets the chance. Now, apparently, it’s her sleeper. It’s cool to not wear sleepers. A diaper is plenty warm, especially with temperatures in the 30s. These goosebumps don’t mean anything.
This morning she was still wearing her sleeper when she woke up, but I’m still holding out to see what trend takes over.
We have arranged it so that Kyle is home by dinner and bedtime every night. Kyle does 95% of Ruby’s bedtime routine so that she gets to spend some time with Daddy every day, even though he gets up and goes to work before she wakes up in the morning. Bedtime is pretty simple; brush teeth, diaper, jammies, book, prayer.
I married a funny guy. I knew this at the time, but it’s made bedtime into a really amusing experience. After Ruby decided that diaper changes and putting jammies on was a terrible idea and started crying through it, Kyle started making machine noises and telling her that she’s putting on her Iron Man suit every night instead of PJs. It’s been surprisingly effective.
Recently, my ears have been perking up to changes in some of the books. Ruby has a number of board books that we rotate through at bedtime. One night, I heard the words of There’s a Wocket in my Pocket being rapped, very quickly, at least twice through. Kyle has begun to insist that all Dr. Seuss books were originally intended to be rapped. Why else would they have such great rhythm?
We’ve got a series of books called Peep and the Big Wide World that explores concepts like through, far, and near. The other day I hear something like this. “Peep and his friends like to explore. Sometimes, they go far. Sometimes, they go too far.” I could only hear so much of the story, but I definitely heard lines like “What can Chirp see when she’s standing near her can? Chirp lives in a can because she made a series of increasingly poor life choices that left her unable to afford more than a can.”
And there’s this cheesy book called Best Friends that has a bunch of pictures of cats and dogs with saccharine phrases about how great best friends are. Ruby went through a phase where this was her favorite book ever. She’d carry it all around the house, and 4 times out of 5 would pick it for bedtime. It got increasingly subversive as the days passed. “Best friends are always there for each other. Except when they abandon you for someone cooler.” “Best Friends always see things the same way, limiting your experience and world view and making you more boring, shallow and less tolerant.” “Best friends can come in threes, too! And you always know who is the third wheel in that relationship.”
So when my kids grow up odd, you’ll know that it was come by honestly.
It’s interesting being pregnant again. I remember the last time calling my mom one day, crying, telling her that nothing could be worth being this sick for. I was overworked, unhappy, unwell, and unconvinced that this had been a terribly good idea in the first place.
But the day that Ruby was born, in that hormonal high, I knew that it was all worth it. All the sickness, all the unhappiness, all the gross.
Because…because Baby. That’s the reason.
And now that I am sick again (although both happier and not over worked), I can remember that day of holding my tiny baby in my arms and remembering that it’s worth it. I can’t summon up those feelings again (much the way I couldn’t really remember how it felt to be sick after it was all over), but I remember having them. I remember the intensity and and the beauty of those feelings, and so I look forward to feeling them again and remembering that even though things are challenging now, that what comes at the end is beautiful and wonderful and, yes, worth it.
It’s amazing what we can convince ourselves of. I was utterly convinced that because I wasn’t throwing up every day, I was genuinely less sick this pregnancy than last. But things hit a critical point on Monday, and I ended up getting on the same anti-nausea medicine that I took when I was pregnant with Ruby. And now that I’m taking medicine for the pregnancy sickness, I’ve got a bit more perspective.
I’m not sure that it’s easy to compare less/more sick. It’s more like it was different sick. I spent the majority of the last three weeks lying on the couch the doing bare essentials of eating, changing diapers, and feeding Ruby. She played by herself while I wallowed on the couch, unable to get up because I felt so terrible.
But I wasn’t vomiting! It wasn’t as bad as last time!
I told myself these things over and over again, and I really believed it. I was just tired. All the time. So tired I couldn’t get off the couch for most of the day. It was just that. I wasn’t that sick!
But now that I’ve got the anti-nausea medicine and my body’s no longer starving and dehydrated from the Monday Debacle, I was able to get a lot done today. I made French toast for Ruby and I for breakfast. I cleaned the front room, including the piles of things that had been stacking up in corners and on tables because I was too sick to do anything about it. I picked up toys of Ruby’s that had been lying around for weeks, and put ALL of the tupperware back where it belongs, instead of just a pathway through the kitchen. I still took a nap, sure, but it was a 15 minute power nap, and I was still able to go out and go shopping with a friend this afternoon.
The difference was profound and striking to me. I was measuring how sick I was based on how many times I’d thrown up, but I think that it might be a little bit more complex than that. Maybe I should also be measuring by whether or not I’ve got the energy to lift my baby up, or whether my stomach is settled enough to change a stinky diaper. Because lying on the couch for three weeks straight? Maybe that’s kind of sick, too.
And maybe I like feeling the way I felt today a lot better.