Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Unexpected Day Home

After a week off, I was back at work for two days and now I'm gone again. Yesterday morning my sister began experiencing abdominal pain- the kind that makes one double over. She went to her primary doc who ended up sending her to a gyno. It was a trip that would end in the ER last night and an emergency appendectomy around midnight. She came through with flying colors and is being released this morning. I spoke to my mom around 9:30 this morning and she said that even though she'd been up most of the night I could still bring CJ and go on in to work. But she also kept telling me the same things repeatedly and sounded very drowsy. I decided she really needed to rest today. Not that I mind being home- but I also dont want to burn another vacation day- less to have at Christmas. But with my sister coming home from the hospital- I figure they could both use a quiet house for the day. At the end of August CJ is scheduled to start three days a week the same preschool program WC has gone to since he was two. So it will be slightly freeing not to have to miss work if mom can't care for CJ- at least on Mon, Wed or Fri.
Tomorrow is test day for the aquarium. I picked up one of the big master test kits- touted on the Fish Lore website as being more accurate than the strips. I'm going to experiment and test w/ both and see how the results on the strip compare with the big kahuna. I practiced last night using the PH test on my tap water and discovered my tap water is very alkaline. I'm interested to see how it compares with the tank water. I'll be testing PH, Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate. And I'm hoping the beneficial bacteria has successfully seeded in the aquarium. Fingers crossed. If all readings are appropriate I'm supposed to wait a week before changing water- if not I'll have to start changes immediately.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Back to Reality

Today, I'm back to working in my cubicle. It was a nice break. I hated to come back. I do wish last week was my reality every day. And this August it should have been. I was supposed to quit this August- stay home with CJ and take WC back and forth to kindergarten. But life hasnt worked out the way we planned. Jay's pay has been cut. Which in itself isn't the sole reason why I can't quit. It's the health insurance. We can't afford his employers health insurance- especially on one income. Mine is affordable and good. His would make it impossible to take the kids to the doctor because we'd have to pay out of pocket the entire cost of every visit until we hit the deductible of like $6k on top of paying $500 a month in premium. In weighing the pro's and con's- I feel its in their best interest to have health care that doesnt force us to choose whether or not to eat or what bills to pay. We run a tight enough budget weekly as is. I dont think either of them suffer from me working. It's totally selfish of me. I want to see them more than just a few hours in the evening. It was difficult for me to drop CJ off this morning. He loves his grandmother- so he was fine with it. Again, it's totally me.
We ended our week at home together by buying fish for our new tank. We now own 8: 4 black neon tetras and 4 black skirt tetras. I got impatient waiting for the tank to cycle. I discovered the product called cycle that i added would not reproduce on its own in the tank & I would have to add it for the life of the tank- else my cycle would crash and in the end cost more money. So I found some Tetra SafeStart. This stuff is supposed to introduce the beneficial bacteria in the tank and reproduce on its own. You add it and the fish. In a week to ten days test the water & see if it worked. On the downside if it doesnt work- I'm doing 50% water changes daily until enough beneficial bacteria grow to consume the ammonia that the fish waste produces- ammonia which is toxic to the fish. Or I'll have dead fish. Fingers crossed that the bacteria reproduces on its own. My impatience may cost me here. The boys had a time in the fish store. We went into Nashville to a place called Aquatic Critter-it's been there like 25 years. It was the only place I could locate the SafeStart. I dont know why no one carries it. I guess because it doesnt require adding it to every water change-therefore they can't sell it as often. Unlike your pet superstores the small store just specializes in fish. The boys were in overload excitement at all the fish & "critters." There were frogs, turtles, salt and freshwater fish of all sizes and stingrays- both of them about jumped out of their skin trying to look at everything. I couldnt contain them. WC now wants a snail for the aquarium. I've promised him I'd research it and see if its a viable option for our tank.
The fourth of July was a nice day too. We didnt really do anything. Jay cooked hamburgers and my sister came for dinner bringing cake and sparklers. Fireworks in my town is a big deal. We only have enough people to have one liquor store- the ability to sell alcohol by the bottle just passed in the last election. But we can have 50 fireworks vendors setup in any grassy area big enough to pitch the tent. It's nuts. That night we stood in the driveway and was treated to a 360 view of fireworks exploding all around us. It sounds like a war zone- with the smoke to match. And thankfully it started to rain about 9:30 which meant most people had to put it away- otherwise they would have shot them off until the wee hours of the morning. I'm just now getting used to it. The first year we lived there the people who lived across the street shot fireworks for three hours straight. It sounded like cannons being shot directly in front of our house. And the next morning we had the yard litter to match- even in the back yard. 
I'm thankful that I was able to take last week off and spend it at home with my boys. I'll take what time I'm granted. I'm thankful that I do have a job with good benefits- lots of people right now don't. There's something else out there for Jay, that's better. And when the times right, everything will come together. Faith is believing without any proof.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

At Home-Part 3: Elmo is Toddler Crack

Tuesday night I went to store after I'd put CJ to bed. We were planning a trip to our local splash pad water park the next day & CJ needed swim diapers. In our back yard he goes au naturale to play in the wading pool but that wouldnt fly in public. I put one of the swim diapers on him from last year but he looked like a sumo wrestler. I love to go for a drive on a cool summer night. It's so relaxing. I just love to roll down the windows and let the night air hit me. It reminds me of whenever we'd travel when I was a kid. We didnt vacation much but the few times we did we travelled by night. My dad worked nights all of my childhood and into early teens. So it was normal for him to be awake all night. Obviously its cooler and with less traffic made it the best choice for us. This was in the day before car seats and the seat belts were just decoration (beginning suggestion that people should wear them). Mom put pillows and blankets in the backseat and I would lay down and eventually drift off to sleep in the cool night air and the sound of the street and radio combined in a strange sort of lullaby. Jay complained I'd been gone for an hour but I could have stayed out much longer. CJ had gotten out of bed, he told me. He heard him fiddling with the door handle but couldnt open it. "Did you put him back to bed?"
"No." Therefore when we went to take WC to bed we had no idea where we'd find CJ in the room. I hoped he hadnt gotten in WC's bed. Jay went to open the door and couldnt. CJ was a sleeping human doorstop. Curled up on the floor with his blanket just behind the door. He didnt wake but stirred a little when he has hit with the door. It would clear his head but the security blanket stopped the door. I was able to squeaze in and then WC. When my sister was small she fell asleep in the living room floor and mom woke her taking her to bed and she spent the next few hours screaming, crying and refusing to go back to sleep. I remembered that I left him in the floor. But didnt like it. He slept there all night. Some point in the wee hours of the morn I heard him stirring and he hit the door a couple times. I couldnt go back to sleep.
We have a public park here that has what we call a splash pad. It's basically a small water park without a pool. Fountains that spray water in the air, water cannons, buckets that fill with water and dump it out, and a tunnel that has sprays of water coming in all directions to run through. WC has a thing about getting water in his face and hates to get water in his eyes. Jay took him there last year and he just stood there crying. A few weeks ago, on the way home, we passed it and he said he wanted to try it again. And he's mentioned it a few times after that wanting to try the splash pad again. Since it was his idea, I decided to take them while I was home this week. My sister decided that she wanted to go too. Yesterday morning she arrived and I sprayed the kids with sunscreen and off we went. They had a good time. WC did wonderfully, even allowed the bucket of water to dump out on his head. He still used mine, then Aunt Cat's shirt to dry his eyes but he didnt cry. CJ wanted to go in but didnt let go of my hand. My clothes were soaked through. I eventually convinced him that he could go in under the water and I'd stay right were I was. So he'd go in for a min or two then run back to me, his home base. I stood next to another woman who also had a two year old out there and CJ ran back, water in his eyes, grabbed her leg and stood there holding her. We laughed because he never figured out that it wasnt me. He let go of her and ran back in. They played about an hour and WC decided he was finished. It was a good time. We sat on our towels to dry- although an hour after I got home my undies were still wet (yes I then changed into dry clothes). After lunch I put CJ to nap and Cat and I watched the Twilight movie. I'd never seen it (or read the book) but she's a fan. I don't get it. But the action was good. I know you have to cut things that are in the book out for movie but I felt it was sort of choppy- I could pin point places where I knew things had to have been cut because the story flow was noticeably interrupted. Being I didnt read the book- that's not good.
Again, last night, we went to put WC to bed and had another human door stop. I dont know why he's getting out of bed and laying down behind his door. This time I did pick him and deposit him gently back into his bed. He stayed asleep. I felt better about it too.
And I have come to the realization that Elmo is a drug for toddlers. He received an Elmo dvd in his Easter basket. He's rarely watched it since. But this week being home with him everyday. He's had to watch it (or at least request it) more and more. We also have an VHS tape of Sesame Street songs (vhs/dvd combo player in our bedroom) and if he can't have the Elmo dvd he starts asking for the Sesame Street tape. Every few hours he gets twitchy and has to have another shot of Elmo. I'm ready to whip that dvd out the door like a Frisbee. I hid the dvd case last night just to see if out of sight out of mind. This morning I woke up to him sitting next to me in bed watching the vhs tape (Jay obviously put it in). I have been getting up the same time I usually do and at least make coffee for Jay. But I was out of it this morning. I can't quite seem to get going this morning. I don't have anything planned for today. Figured we'd just hang out here and I can get some laundry and mopping done (yay).

*Special note: Sending out all my love and prayers to Michele and the beautiful twins her womb, Maya & Bobby. Praise God for the stitch and the doctor who put it in.