Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Hate Contacts

As expected, this afternoon my eyes started to burn, itch and throb. My head ached. I could not blink enough. Frustrated I took the contacts out and called the eye doctor. His brilliant and well-thought out conclusion was "Maybe your eyes were just not made for contacts." Ya think?

Next week I go back to see him and get some lower-prescription glasses, probably not of polycarbonate. I'll keep the Scratched Wonders to fall back on in case I need them to drive. Such is the saga of the eye doctor. Wow, my life is dramatic.

Eye Doctor

Lately my eyes have been unusually annoying. Things are blurry and I've had eye strain and pain. Going into a dark movie theater renders me totally blind and oncoming headlights are lightning bolts of pain. It doesn't help that my glasses are three years old with a big scratch right across the left lens. So I went to the eye doctor this morning. I had a hard time bringing myself to make an appointment because we don't have insurance for eyes, but Hubby at last got tired of my complaining and made one for me. I'm glad he did and I went. We'll absorb the $350 somehow (appt=$90, new glasses or contacts=$200+). Probably some of the income from selling our trailer...

This was a new doctor as the last one I saw was in Pullman. My initial reaction to his exam room was to look askance at his exam chair which was a sixties salmon-enamel color and fixed with tape. His equipment looked old too. But then I found out that he is the type to fix stuff when it breaks rather than replace it so he had kept this equipment working all these years. During the exam he mentioned a light on one of his machines that needed tinkering and like he said, it flickered off and back on while he was using it.

I'm glad I come from a family who does the exact same thing because rather than being bothered by this, I was fairly impressed at his ingenuity. He took a look at my glasses then put me through the usual exam drill. When he had fiddled with lenses and reading charts, he at last began asking lifestyle questions. At the mention of the amount of reading and computer work I do, he frowned.

He eventually said he thinks my current glasses prescription for distance is too strong, causing the muscles in my eyes to "lock in place" (layman's terms, thank goodness) and to cramp up. This has been causing all of the fatigue which in turn is causing the loss of vision at night and the trouble adjusting to increased light or dark places. I sure hope he's right because if he is I will see better than I have in years. In addition to that, the polycarbonate high-index lenses I have always used happen to be the highest distortion of any type of lens. This causes a total lack of peripheral vision, adding to the "locking into one place" effect. I'm not sure what he plans to do about that. A glass lens at my prescription would be so heavy my glasses would fall off my nose! He mentioned a plastic lens, though. Maybe he'll have some kind of contact lens I can tolerate. That would be nice.

He gave me a pair of contacts to try for a few days at a much lower prescription to allow my eyes to "relax" and then we're going to see how I am doing. I think he is actually going to compromise some of the distance clarity in order to increase my comfort level at close work. I'm not sure how I feel about that. It's annoying to not be able to read signs or see things like wildlife that everyone seems to be enjoying all around them. But to have a greater ease with reading and less eye pain sounds awfully nice. We'll see how things go during this trial period. I'm not sure how things will shake out.

In the past I have had doctors suggest everything from separate reading glasses to no glasses (that did NOT work!) to fiddling with my prescription and trying different things but none of them have ever been able to reduce the eye strain or improve the distance vision very much. They usually get it to about 20/40 and call it good. I figure it's good enough to drive so that's good enough.

We'll see how this new guy does. I'll keep you posted. Until then I'm "relaxing" in my blurry, lower-prescription trial contacts. Wah-hoo.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Going Vertical

This morning I wandered into the kitchen only to find Seth on top of the dining room table! Yikes! He looked so proud of himself, I was of half a mind to go grab the camera and snap a picture but I decided safety was more important so I scooped him up and set him back down on the floor.

Then this afternoon coming in from the car he successfully navigated the curb by himself. Up till now the step up had been too much for his developing sense of balance and he would stand next to it and wail until I came to rescue him, hold his little hand and help him step up. Today he did it himself, then when he realized what he had done he cracked a smile as bright as the sunshine. He ran down the sidewalk into my waiting arms with a giggle and a grin. Oh, these moments are what mothers live for!

Monday, April 28, 2008

One For Every Day Left

Nine more days...

and nine more reasons I am glad we're moving!










This is worth sharing

I love this guy's blog: Letters from Kamp Krusty. Today's offering was especially relevant...

Sorry No Posting -- We've Been Moving

Gilbert Meilander once wrote about moving. He likened it, for the young, single person, to flitting about in a glider. You want to go left? You go left. Want to dip? You dip. Wham. That easy.

With a family? It's different. More like commanding an aircraft carrier. You want to go left? You signal about six months in advance, and begin a process that throws every hand on deck into upheaval. More accurately, it's like commanding an aircraft carrier to begin turning left, then losing your glasses, iPod, and underwear for a week.

I can't find anything.

At least we're wired now. Good news: When you move, you find stuff you've been missing for years. My "West Houston Bowling" shirt is back, as is my "I Love Tater Tots" t-shirt, just in time to be uncomfortably late in referencing Napoleon Dynamite. No sign of Nigel's leg -- thanks for asking.

(Nigel is his three-legged dog, in case you were wondering!)

On The Painted Steps

For the first time this year the weather is nice enough to play outside for multiple days in a row. Last night Natta and Seth descended our front steps to play in our yard for the first time this year, probably the first time ever in Seth's memory. They gravitated toward the dirt (what kid wouldn't?) and the little round Bar-be-cue that looks like the goombas in Super Mario Brothers. They came in for bath time last night absolutely covered in dirt. Hubby said Seth looked like one of those army guys who smear grease on their faces for camouflage.

So when this morning came around and the sunshine once again beckoned my children outside, we decided we would stay clean so we can go into town soon. We put up the baby gate across the steps and the kids are playing happily on our small front porch, the area Natta has called the "Painted Steps" ever since she sat and watched me apply deck stain last summer.

Sitting on the couch I hear them there playing, Seth talking his baby language which mostly consists of "Aah" and "Buh". Natalie chatters, both to him and to me and sometimes just to herself. She's easy to keep track of because she never stops talking. The sun spills in onto the carpet, the fresh morning air smells like damp earth and outside birds' songs are making my parakeets respond in kind with chirps and songs of their own.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

It has begun...

I guess change is a necessary evil. Even good change. Even change where you move from a rotten little dinky trailer in a scummy trailer park to a nice house next to a lovely city park within walking distance of downtown. It is still change. It still means not knowing where the scissors are. It means stubbing your toe or running into a door on the way to the bathroom because you didn't bother to put your glasses on.

To me a house is like a person. You have to get to know it and make friends with it. Living in the trailer has been like interacting with the receptionist at the Doctor's office, polite but temporary. It doesn't matter whether you like a receptionist or not. It doesn't matter whether she has a sense of humor or whether she is a good cook or whether she buys organic tomatoes because you are distant from her emotionally. In the same way we existed in the trailer as temporary residents, true strangers in a strange land.

Still we got to know it, living here for a year. We know the quirks of getting the bedroom door to latch and where to step in front of the stove so the floor doesn't squeak when the babies are sleeping. In nine days, that will change. Again. Once again we'll be in a new place, listening to new noises at night and new creaks when the walls warm up or cool down.

Today is one of those days when nothing seems to go right. It's a day where I ought to feel glad and excited about moving soon or happy that it's sunny and instead I just feel depressed. Okay, it's probably just hormones. But all I can think about is living out of boxes, eating on paper plates, answering for the millionth time the question, "Mommy, where is my Kitty book?" In my mind I smell the "different" smell of a new house. It may smell fine, but it doesn't smell familiar.

I was reading some web sites the other day about helping toddlers cope with moving, making it a good experience for them, helping them feel safe and secure. The article gave sage advice on setting up the children's room exactly like it is set up now, on unpacking toys first rather than putting them off until the kitchen is set up. I certainly plan to do those things but right now I am the one who needs reassuring. Natta copes with change far better than I do. She chatters excitedly about our new "Housey-House" and plans to hang new Lightning McQueen posters in her room. When we moved last year there was not a tear shed on her part nor any lamenting over missing her old house. I foresee this move being the same for her.

I, on the other hand, am dreading it. Seth will probably be pretty messed up too. Judging from the Texas trip where he refused to eat for three days, he handles change like I do. Hubby can only see the good coming. He's ready to wash his hands of this trailer and move into town. He's dreaming about taking the kids to the park and setting up his books. He loves life to have some excitement and some change and to him, this change is nothing but positive. In my head, I agree with him. Of course it will be good. But as I look around at the cardboard boxes, I want to go find a convenient hole and hide in it.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

My Fluffer-butt


This pic is from 2003, but she hasn't changed. My little Pom/Chihuahua, Piper, has lived with me since August 2000 and has been there through the good and bad. She's a sweet little dog, except when she drives me nuts by yapping. I love her to pieces, my cuddly Fluff.

I saw this commercial the other day and it cracked me up... I think I could use this idea, what do you think?

Good emails from Dad


In his usual succinct way, Dad said this yesterday:

"As of today it will be possible for you to move into Natalie's house-home next month."

Translation: He closed on it and it belongs to us! We have an agreement that the current owners can live there until the semester ends then we take possession on May 7th! WooWOO!! Eleven Days!

My poor father had to deal with a HUGE hassle involving the man at Wells Fargo this last week and a half. I felt so badly that it was such a pain. I'll bet he was even more excited than I was when it finally finished.

I could tell when this email came:

"I called the title company - It's a done deal !"


Friday, April 25, 2008

Snow in Sunshine

With a light step, I walked down the steps of the brick building where my calculus test had just concluded in our musty basement classroom. After spending hours in concentrated study this week, the test seemed mercifully short but the fact that it signaled the end of the week and the last hurdle before the final was what lightened my step and caused a smile to tug at the corners of my mouth.

Because my allotted hour was only half over, I headed down the hill toward the commons, my mocha still in my hand. With my other hand, I pulled my coat tighter around me as protection from the bitter wind and swirling snowflakes that had suddenly begun to obscure my vision. The fast-racing clouds alternately dumped snow and parted, allowing warm rays of April sunshine to spill through on the weary college students milling around me.

Once in the commons, I allowed myself a happy fifteen minutes of browsing in the bookstore before heading out to meet my returning family. The ambiguous weather made me laugh as I stared in wonder at snowflakes falling and catching the light of the spring sun. Rarely do you see snow and sunshine at the same time.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Signs of the Times

This post is primarily for me, to remember what life is like right now when I am years down the road. Thinking about my house today, I was seeing it in my imagination like this:

My living room (not necessarily the style, but the sophistication, the peaceful aura of calm serenity and the tidiness!)


My bathroom, a tub filled with flower petals and scents of delicious adult things.


My kitchen, filled with light, counter space and possibly a maid to do the dishes.


Ok, now I know those are just daydreams and this isn't a post about being discontent. I'm not. I love my family and my life and my house. It just makes me laugh to see the little traces here and there of my loved ones. Even when they are not here (or asleep) their presence is still very much felt in our house. For example:

In the living room:

The magazine has been experimentally dissected by a small girl who just learned how to use scissors. The shoes under the table, size 6 1/2 were purchased last week at Goodwill.


In the chair resides not a throw pillow but a ball full of... guess what? My nylons. Yep. The kids thought the little Nylon-balls were wonderful toys.


Notice the blue car on top of the TV. That's "Doc Hudson", a character on Cars and he lives there. Why? you may well ask. Well, it's because Sethie can't reach him. Also notice the set of Chronicles of Narnia books, the sundry Preschool projects and the 2-month-old birthday cards. I have a terrible time throwing cards away.


This took me by surprise. Sethie hides baby food jars around the house and I found this one tucked into the curtain.


On the wall above the snow boots we have a countdown calendar to Moving Day. Only 13 more days!


My bathtub, instead of being filled with flower petals is filled with...



The kitchen, with all of its two feet of counter space, boasts an impressive pile of Preschool projects, a popcorn bowl and a fish bowl that is still calling to me to clean it.


The fish is living in a water pitcher until I get off my rear.


One of the things I love most about the things I find all around my house is the evidence of learning and growing that my children do every day. To you this may look like some really nasty dog water but to me it is a reminder that my daughter feeds the dog every day. She delights in doing her chore and I delight in the fact that she is learning responsibility. Who cares if she drops a few pieces into the water? (I did wash it out right after I took this picture.)


Nothing tells a story quite like shoes. These shoes say plainly, "hubby was here".


I have to say, when I get looking it's pretty easy to find my own trail of breadcrumbs marking my path through our house.


You know, my house may not look like this...


...but it's the little things that are not clean, are not perfect, are not put tidily away in their places that are the most endearing. Those are the things that remind me that life isn't about "getting there", it's about the journey. Life is about the process, the joy of discovery, the excitement of using scissors for the first time, the pleasure of getting out all of the baby food jars and hiding them all over the house. It's about a hot cup of coffee or the feeling you get when you take your shoes off after a long day. It's being proud of your daughter for faithfully feeding the dog every day. It's about sitting in the big blue chair reading Narnia together and ticking off days on a calendar like beads on a pearl necklace. These are the things that remind me not to take any of these precious days for granted but to cherish each one.

Shopping Car

Admittedly, I love WinCo. Because it's a U-Bag store, the prices can't be beat. Lately, however, I have found myself shopping more and more often at Safeway and this is the reason:


This nifty little item is the toddler equivalent of Six-Flags Theme Park. My kids love to hop in here and ride around the store--talk about cheap thrills! If another kid is using it, they act like the world has come to an end; they are devastated. Before we arrive at the store, Natta actually prays that no one will be using the car.

They argue over who gets to sit on the side with the steering wheel (ours only has one). They climb gleefully in and make the necessary "Brrmmmmm" sounds as we circle the aisles. If you have never had a toddler, you won't understand the utter delight of using the shopping-cart-car, but if you have had toddlers you'll nod your head when I tell you that it's often the highlight of our day.

If only Safeway had $0.33 avocados...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Where is Spring??

The kids and I went into town today to pick up some dog food and more puzzles for Natta. I put their heavy winter coats on them because it was so cold and windy and rainy! I guess it froze really hard last weekend while I was gone, killing a lot of the flowers people eagerly planted during the sunny weekend before. How sad...

I want spring to come! I want WARM weather and sunshine! I want to go back to Texas! *whine*

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Daddy's Girl

If you know my Hubby at all, you know that he LOVES robots. They were an important part of his childhood and he still loves to draw them and dream about them. Well, apparently this affection has rubbed off on my daughter because she came up to me the other day with this drawing she'd done completely on her own. It is very much in the style of the robots her Daddy draws.

Monday, April 21, 2008


For the trip I bought a Cars puzzle, thinking Seth could play with it on the plane. Of course it was a little advanced for him and he ended up playing with a Barrel Full Of Monkeys instead. When we got home, I pulled the puzzle out of my suitcase and gave it to Natta, expecting her to be immediately frustrated. Instead she sat at the coffee table and put it together piece by piece until to my surprise she had it done. I had not even helped her.

To my knowledge she has never even seen a puzzle before beyond the wooden baby puzzles we have in the toy drawer. I didn't know she could do that! After she got it together she wanted to do it again and again. She has sat here quietly all morning putting it together.








Sunday, April 20, 2008

Back At Our Trailer-Home-House

It feels wonderful to be home! Hubby did great with Natta and even managed to do a few chores so my house looked nice and clean when I got home. He must have known what peace it would give me to come home to a clean house.

The flight yesterday seemed LONG. We left the house at noon (10:00 PDT) and I didn't walk in my front door until 10:15 PM PDT. That was a loooong day. But we didn't have any barfing so I counted my blessings. We had a long layover in Denver where we wandered around the terminal, playing on the moving walkways, treating ourselves to Pizza Hut and riding the little tram. Our plane was delayed due to snow in Spokane. SNOW?!?! I went from the beach to snow? Yuck.

Once home I decided not to even bother unpacking. Hubby and I relaxed with a really bad made-for-TV 80's movie and then went to bed.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

We are given a lesson in accessorizing

On Saturday we purposefully took it easy in the morning hours, with the kids treating themselves to Saturday Morning Cartoons. I think the preferred favorite was Spiderman a fact which would come into play later in the day.


We wrapped up the morning by eating an early lunch of TT's amazing turkey and avocado sandwiches. It took us all morning to get all the kids and ourselves ready to go, but at last we were off, headed to Galveston Island and the beach.


Sethie happily played with a toy during the hour-long car ride. He was a good little traveler as long as he was in a car seat.


Galveston was a pretty resort town with a bunch of quaint mansions. Notice the flowers absolutely everywhere!


Here's us!


The craziest thing we saw there that day was a woman who wore a live snake to match her yellow bikini. I have never seen anything like it! Niki and I decided that it's all about accessorizing and that gal knew how to do it with flair.


For the first time in my life, I played in the surf, losing my sunglasses in the process (Thank God I did not lose my glasses. I have no idea how I would have managed to replace them or get home without being able to see hardly anything at all.) That was an experience I will never forget; it's unlike any other. The water, though chilly, wasn't cold and the sun felt fabulous. I really worried about my red-headed baby getting burned but the sunscreen did its job and he was fine.


On the way home we got redirected through some kind of black ghetto-festival. There were souped-up cars, LOTS of bikinis and booty, guys in baggy shirts videotaping the booty and police everywhere. A couple of the policemen were doing car searches. I tell ya, THAT was a cultural experience for this lil Idaho girl!

In the evening, after a quick shower and lots of aloe vera gel on sunburns, TT and I loaded up the kids and headed out once again to her small group who was having an impromptu barbecue and party. The husband was smoking brisket, something we don't generally do around here so I was in for more authentic Texas food. Wow, that stuff was incredible. I felt sorry for people who think barbecue means putting a hamburger patty on the grill. This food was in another category entirely and it came as no surprise that most of the people I saw in Texas were on the heavy side. Who would want to diet when food like that was available?? We also played a game where the leaders asked the kids questions about their parents and vice versa. The comical result was that kids, who insisted at home that their favorite cartoon was Spiderman, now chose something else and much laughter and teasing ensued.

At last we got home and put our exhausted kids to bed. We stayed up talking and watching August Rush. What a fun day! I could get used to this! Fun stuff to do, warm gorgeous weather, outstanding food, TT pampering me... Yeah, I could definitely get used to this.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Our Little Monkeys

At the zoo Seth happily rode around in the stroller. I was thankful because there are a million things to get into there and I think TT's boys found most of them.


Like is she totally Foxy or what?

Me and Seth on the Carousel


Her Little Brown Eyes cracked me up! He sure reminded me of Natta.