Monday, December 28, 2009

Can't We All Just Sleep Through The Night?

About 1:15am this morning I hear that horrible, unmistakeable noise coming from the dog bed. Rggh. Rggh. Rggh. Nothing can be mistaken for the sound of a dog about to barf. I leap from bed and ask Griz, "Do you need to go outside?" To which he promptly answers, "YES!!" as he bee-lines for the back door.
Great. So, I think to myself, "Todd will be up in two hours. You can sleep outside until then."
Right as I fall back asleep I hear the scratching on the back door. It was cold and I know he doesn't like to sleep outside, so I reluctantly get up again and let him back inside. Ahhh. 2:15 - back to sleep.
Rggh. Rggh. Rggh. AGAIN? 2:45am?? Come on...just one night of sleep? Uninteruppted?? Luckily Todd had responded to this one and out Griz went again.
3:15am. Todd's alarm goes off. Up again. Back to sleep. 5:15am. My alarm goes off.
And you know what the super-sucky thing about all of this is? Not Todd, nor Griz nor myself got a full night's sleep - but Colt did. I'm glad someone did. 'Cause he's just so damn cute when he's sleeping!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas - Like Old Times, Only Better!

Let me first preface this blog by saying we were way ahead of the game this year by simply having a Christmas tree. Inside. With decorations and lights. Big improvement over last year if you'll remember? Cancun for 2 weeks ring a bell? Chirstmas dinner buffet style? Margartitas for dinner. Right. Here in Smeltzerville we're all about skipping Christmas. Now, before you go getting your panties in a bunch all worried about our Scrooge-like behavior let me point out the perks:
  1. It usually involves missing out on a week or two of crappy NW Washington weather and heading somewhere tropical. Like, say, Mexico!
  2. Totally skipping the last minute "oh-my-god-we-forgot-to-get-something-for-aunt-Marge" run to the overcrowded mall.
  3. None of those pesky pine needles clogging up your vacuum. Don't say that doesn't piss you off.
  4. None of that pesky "it's time to take the tree down because it's already March" kinda moments.
So, with that said, I am happy to announce that, yes, we celebrated Christmas this year. Or, well, at least we plan to. As I type this blog at 10:00am on Christmas morning I am sipping coffee sitting here at my desk at work. At work. Not at home. At work. And I was at work yesterday too. Because that's what you get when you work for a company that runs 24/7/365. You don't get a fricking day off.  Think of the worldwide pandamonia that would play out if we stopped producing gasoline for one day because "Rikki wanted Christmas off." Right. So, we celebrated a little last night, we'll celebrate a little more tonight with my parents, then we'll pretend that tomorrow morning is actually Christmas morning, then most of the family is coming to our house on Sunday to celebrate yet again. So, we're actually having four days of fun instead of one. (Well, minus the two days I have to spend at work since I'm not counting those as fun....)
We don't buy each other gifts either. (*gasp*) Instead, I mailed off three or four checks to local charities with the money we saved on buying for each other. I'm sure the local Mother Baby Center, for one, can use the money much more than myself. (Plus, they were the first line of defense when I had the yeast infection nipple incident. Lactation consultants staff that place round the clock thank god.)
We did manage to make gifts for our family and purchase a few things we knew our relatives would just love. Because the holidays are so much more about giving than getting, right?
So, don't worry. Although we probably could have gotten away skipping one more Christmas because Colt is so little, I doubt we will ever get away with skipping another! I am happy to announce and you heard it here first: Smeltzerville will be hosting Christmas again next year!
Well, I've got to go. Looks like a tank of diesel is about to ship.  Love the holidays at the re-fun-ery!

Monday, December 21, 2009

....and Let's Not Forget "The Sleep Deprived, Somewhat Neurotic Mom." the other morning I say to Todd, "Wasn't that great Colt slept through the night again?!"

...and he replies, "He didn't. You were up feeding him at 4:00. Don't you remember?"

...hmmm. I guess I didn't. And still don't. So, I'm guessing that puts me somewhere right between normal and not. They say there is a fine line between genius and insanity. Might we say I've found it?

I guess I got a baby that sleeps through the night for Christmas. Or at least I got the belief that he does. Really, what's the difference?

Looks like Christmas came early at our house!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Back By Popular Demand: The Story of How I Shocked My Ass with the Seat Warmers.

I realized the other day I referenced the story of how I shocked my own ass and perhaps not everyone out there heard the story of how that came about. So, here goes:

Upon arriving home one afternoon last spring, I pulled my car up to the garage door. That's right - pulled it up to the door (not inside the garage like I normally do) and left the keys in it (which I also don't normally do). It was beautiful that day and I had driven home with the sunroof open. My plan was to ride the horse then run in to town quick and grab some groceries. Well, I became distracted (probably by something shiny..) and didn't accomplish riding or running to town. So, there the car sat.
At 5:00 the next morning I awoke to sounds of rain on the roof and water in the downspouts and one big "Oh crap" in my mind. I knew instantly what I had done. After getting dressed I headed out to check out the damage. Damn. It had been raining all night. Hard too. Damn damn damn.
When I tried to open the driver's door I found it locked -- very suspicious. Although I rarely park outside, one thing I never do is lock my car. Hmm. Weird. I checked in the house, my purse, the bedroom, the door lock, everywhere - and no keys. That's weird. And, upon further inspection I realized the keys were in the ignition. And, we don't have a spare. The keys were in the ignition, the doors were locked, we don't have a spare.... but, wait! the sunroof's open!!
So, there I was: 5:00am maneuvering my pregnant ass through the open sunroof (in the rain..) and into the driver's seat of my car. There was water everywhere. The cupholders had about 1.5" of water in them and I was certain the two buttons on the center console were fried: the hazards and the door lock (which had obviously fried overnight and locked the doors.) The leather seats had standing water on them and were soaked to the core.
Anyway, at least the car started. I shut the sunroof (duh) and turned on the defrost and seat warmers to try to dry the car out. Twenty minutes later I headed off to work. I was about 1/2 way to work when I felt the wet seats soaking through my pants. The hazard button wouldn't work at all and when I tried the door lock button the hazards came on. Oops. Totally fried the console buttons.
Moments later I started to feel my heartbeat in my butt. "Hmmm. That's weird" I think, but continue on my way to work. Then the heartbeat gets more intense - to the point of being really distracting, almost painful. "I wonder if all pregnant women feel their heartbeat in their ass?" And continue on. Then it started to downright hurt where I had to lift my butt off the seat to drive. "I can't possibly be being shocked. What could shock me? The seat warmers? No way. Maybe. Hmm." So, I shut them off and it stopped. "Well, that's weird." So, I turn them back on. "Ouch! Dammit. That hurts. They ARE shocking me. Wicked." I turned them off for good and drove to work. I had a wet butt all day long (luckily my lab jacket covered that) and it took two days for the console buttons to start working right and nearly a week before I was brave enough to try the seat warmers. Which, by the way, didn't shock me then nor have the since.
I'm sure it was a total freak accident, but here's what I learned: the reason seat warmers work is because there is a heating element in the seat, which is prone to shorting out from moisture just like any other outlet. Let's just all be glad I don't routinely use a blow dryer, right?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Operation Vermin Control

We have for several months now been fighting a battle with two of our friendly neighborhood raccoons. They sneak into the garage at night and help themselves to the cat food and water. Cute, yes. But a little irritating. It became really irritating when they, apparantly wanting more than what I was feeding the cats, tipped over the tupperware container holding the cat food and helped themselves to 5 lbs of cat food, buffet style. Three times.
And, to no one's surprise, I have had a difficult time with the mechanics of the trap door on the live trap. Sometimes simple workings elude me. In fact, I have set up and caught, then released said raccoons approximately three times. I never seem to get the trap door right. Until yesterday. Oh yes, read on....

Scene: Our bedroom, 3am this morning.

Todd is preparing to leave for work and heads out to his truck parked outside our bedroom window. Tromp, tromp, tromp, then tap, tap, tap on the window.
Todd (through the glass): "Did you move the trap? It's way down by the blackberries."
Me: "No. Check it. It probably has a cat in it."
Tromp, tromp, tromp.
Todd: "Nope. We got a 'coon! I'll get it after work."
Me: "You can't leave it there all day."
Todd: "They live outside. He'll be fine."
Me: "It's inhumane to leave him there all day. Can't you take him to work and let him go?"
Todd: "Fine."
Tromp, tromp, tromp. Back to the trap. "Ouch! Dammitt! #$%$%^ man."
Tromp, tromp, tromp. Back to the window.
Todd: "He's crazy. He went after me when I tried to pick the trap up."
Me (half asleep):  "Maybe some gloves....?"

I hear a gun cock, then tromp, tromp, tromp. *pause*        

      BLAM.            Silence.

Truck tailgate goes down. Trap in bed of truck. Tailgate goes up. Truck drives off. Hmm.

So, then I start thinking "I wonder if the neighbors called the cops?" Because that kind of behavior is normal: yelling through the windows in the middle of the night, yelling back from inside the house, tromping around, gunfire, vehicle traffic after shots are fired. Our neighbors love us. Perhaps I should call and tell them I'm OK....

...and the Statistical Outliers....

Every good set of data has those totally unexplainable data points that just seem to throw the whole analysis off. Ya know, things are going good, going your way, then *BAM*, there comes a result that you weren't expecting, throws your whole data set off and makes you question whether or not your data is reputable or not.
That would be (aside from last night) the two nights prior when we were up not just once, but twice each night - once at midnight and again at 3am. we say we spoke too soon on the sleeping through the night thing? NO! Because last night he slept from 7pm until 3 this morning. That, however, could have been from the dose of Tylenol, but I'm counting it anyway.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Anomaly, the Coincidence and the Trend. And Their Nasty Cousin: The Habit

It's important to know the difference. Being of a very scientific nature I believe everything (well, nearly everything...) can be broken down into one of the above categories.
Here in the lab (where I spend an inappropriate amount of my time..) we run every test three times. This eliminates any possiblility of having either an anomaly or a coincidence. You get three good runs and you've got yourself a believable number. So, let's apply that thought process to our everyday life. I'll show you how easy it is!
For example, last Friday night Colt slept from about 8:00pm until 6:30 the next morning. It was amazing. Mostly because Todd and I both had a few drinks at the Christmas party and were up WAY past our bedtime of 7:00pm. It felt so good to sleep through the night. There we have what I call an anomaly. Wikipedia defines anomaly as: An anomaly is any occurrence or object that is strange, unusual, or unique. Sleeping through the night was indeed an anomaly - very unique. We're able to tell this because Colt did NOT sleep throught the night Saturday night.
However....on Sunday night he DID sleep through the night. Because they were separated by a night of the usual wake-the-sleeping-mommy-for-a-midnight-snack-at-3am we weren't "trending" towards sleeping. We had merely hit the coincidence stage. Wikipedia defines coincidence as: Coincidence is the noteworthy alignment of two or more events or circumstances without obvious causal connection. One can't argue with the facts: we have a coincidence on our hands!!
Tuesday and Wednesday nights again up at about 3am for the usual feed-me-and-I'll-back-to-sleep routine.

However, last night he went down about 9:30 and woke this morning at 5:30 - right before my alarm clock was to go off.
Our baby has, at the spry age of 11 weeks, developed a sleeping trend. Three nights of sleeping through the night and we're trending!! Trending in a good way.

Now, let's address the ugly cousin of the anomaly, the coincidence and the trend: the habit. I would like to say Colt is in the habit of sleeping through the night, but let's not kid ourselves - he's not. He's still hovering around trend stage and I'm seriously hoping we'll progress to the habit stage. No, no....the habit I'm talking about here is the one I've developed where I get up at 3:00am to feed him. Because there I was: 3:00 o'clock this morning wide awake, staring at a baby sound asleep in his bassinet, smiling just a little bit because he was no doubt thinking, "I own you mom. I own you both. Welcome to MY life for the last two months. See you at 6:00am"

And the truth is he does own us. He has me trained so good. So, after I made sure he was indeed still breathing (why else would he sleep through the 3:00 feeding?) and admired just how adorable he looks while he's sleeping, I went back to bed for an hour. I think I'm more exhausted now that he's sleeping through the night than I was when I was up feeding him!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What Do You Do When The Pigs Are Bigger Than You?

Weighing in at about 90 pounds each I don't think they're such cute little piglets anymore. And, they have this irritating habit of getting behind me whenever I go in their pen and rooting at my calves and trying to chew on my boots - a trick that was cute when they were little - not cool now that they're bigger. Plus, but the time I turn one around to shoosh one of them away another one comes around the other side headed for my other leg. I'm sure I look like an idiot tripping through the mud trying to scare the pigs away from me.
 I thought I had the perfect fix to the problem: I moved their feed and water troughs close to the fence so I wouldn't even have to go in their pen anymore. I can simply dump the slop over the fence and can reach the water faucet from outside their pen. Tada!
 Now, don't get me wrong: the pigs have done an amazing job of rooting up the little enclosure. It was full of burdocks and weeds and who knows what else they've dug up (rocks, sticks, stumps, bricks, nails, etc.) and they have done an amazing job making it look like a perfectly rototilled garden. That was until it started raining three weeks ago. Then it turned into, well, a pig sty! The foot of beautiful tilled dirt turned into two feet of boot-sucking, slippery-as-snot mud which is what forced me into moving the troughs against the fence. I was lucky to leave that pen alive some mornings.
 Well, the two feet of hilled-up, mounded-up, stinky-ass, slicker-than-snot mud has now turned into the Himalays of frozen tundra. I kid you not: there are frozen peaks of mud and pig poo at least 3 feet tall out there. So, night before last in the freezing weather I ran out to throw some more straw in the pig house. Did you know pigs get goose bumps? Poor things....
 Anyway, it was dark and I was carrying probably 20 pounds of straw through the pig pen trying to see using light from the neighbor's barn to reflect where the peaks and valleys of frozen pig poo were. A head lamp would have been smart, but I digress...
 I'm trying to help these things out, ya know? And there they came: all three of them, swarming me like I was a cart of fresh produce. I got so freaked that they were going to knock me over I tripped on a peak of shit and nearly went face first into the dirt. I just kept remembering what my dad said about his friend who's own pig bit his leg and he had to have it operated on. Dear God. What have we done? I stumbled around and managed to get the straw in the house and make a speedy exit. I keep wondering though...if I'd fallen down who would have found me? Todd would have come home and found the baby watching Shrek, the dog laying there hungry and no sign of me. Because, really, we've all seen Hannibal Lecter. We know pigs eat people. And people eat just depends on who comes out of the pen alive, right? I'm working on some kind of straw-launcher so I really never have to go in there. I'm not gonna die in there.

Monday, December 7, 2009

When Drunk in Public Meets Public Transportation... and why that's not always a good thing.

Before I get to the meat of the story, let me just say this weekend was amazing on so many, many different levels. Might I showcase today's blog with some of the good highlights:

  1.  Friday night Todd and I went on our first "date" and left Colt with his aunt and uncle. We weren't anticipating staying out too late but ended up having so much fun, stayed out far past our bedtime (of 8pm) and had perhaps a little too much alcohol. But, what an occasion: first date after our first born!

  2. I got our Christmas tree. I know, I know...this is a lot of people's favorite part of Christmas. Todd and I usually skip Christmas though but figured we'd do it up for the baby. Remember last year? Cancun? The sun, the sand, the surf, the booze? The baby due 9 months TO THE DAY after Christmas? Not falling for THAT one again... The tree is still on the deck waiting to be brought inside and decorated. We're already WAY ahead of where we were last year.

  3. Colton slept through the night. TWICE.

Now, onto the perhaps not-so-fun yet still totally entertaining part of the weekend:

As an early Christmas gift Todd was invited by a vendor from work to attend the Seahawks game yesterday afternoon. Kevin lives in the Seattle area and Todd was to meet him near the stadium before the game. Amtrak trains run from Bellingham on a perfect schedule to and from the game. I dropped Todd off yesterday morning and was to return for him at 9pm last night. That's pretty late for us here in Smeltzerville but there I went: me (in my pajamas), the dog and the baby.
About 2 miles from the train station I get a call from a "Restricted" number and I answer anyway.
"Is this Rikki?"
"Uh. This is Officer Thompson with the Mt. Vernon police department. We have your husband Todd here."
"Right. He's on the train." Because this prank smelled of Todd from the beginning: Get some unsuspecting train rider to call his wife and pretend he's been arrested.
"I'll let Todd explain what's going on here."
Me: "What the %#^ is going on?"
Todd: "I don't know. I went to get chowder and a hot dog, then I was still hungry and I went again, then they kicked me off the train and called to police."
Office Thompson: "We've got him here at the train station but I'm afraid to leave him here because it's so cold. If we take him to Denny's to get some coffee can you pick him up there? He says he doesn't have any money for coffee."
WTF? "Is he drunk?"
"Hold on.....'Todd, are you drunk?'"
"Uh, yes. He's says he's drunk. But he's walking around. Not really the level of drunk we usually deal with I guess."
"Um sure. I'll be right there."

So, I got back on the freeway and headed to Mt. Vernon to pick up my drunk husband who somehow got himself kicked off the train. Meanwhile, Todd and the officers are all buddy-buddy.
"Hey, Todd, I bet you're around a 0.12%. Wanna blow a breathalizer and see how close I am?"
"I bet I am - that's why I'm not driving! I know I'm drunk..Is this a trick? Are you going to arrest me?"
"No man, just try it!"
"OK. Hey look - 0.12%. Pretty good." He even got to keep the souvenier blow parts. Neat, huh?

The thing was when I got there he wasn't that drunk. He definately couldn't drive, but he wasn't belligerent or angry or stumbling. Just kinda drunk and wanted to go home. But, he absolutely stunk of gin but insisted he hadn't been drinking any gin. So I'm thinking "What was his blood alcohol content when he got ON the train three hours ago?" No wonder they called the cops. That, and he was dressed like a homeless man for the cold football game: Undershirt, T-shirt, hoody, jersey and a tattered blue, wool snap-up jacket, ball cap and gardening gloves. (I think it was the gloves that gave him away, but they were all we had...)

Now, remember how I just blogged about my car that needs new back brakes? The ones that get replaced tomorrow that the guy assured me would be alright to drive on "for short trips."?? Like to Bellingham and back - not Mt. Vernon and back?? Right. So, like so many other blogs start: There we were: me, the dog and the baby in the car when......blah blah blah. Luckily my tire didn't burst into flames on our way back. But then, would it really have surprised anyone if it had?

Friday, December 4, 2009

And a Flat Tire Makes Three!

I'll admit I'm getting pretty good at realizing when my brakes need to be looked at. Year before last I drove on a squeaky brake for two weeks before having it looked at.
Me: "No, I swear it wasn't doing that last week."
Todd: "Are you sure."
Me: "Yes."
Todd: "How could you tell with the music up that loud?"
Me: "I would know. Really. It hasn't been doing it very long."

And that episode resulted in not just new brake pads, but a complete overhaul of the braking system: new pads, new calipers, new blah blah blah to the tune of $500.

Then, last year when the other brakes started sqeaking I only let it go for, oh, one week. Again, too long to be squeaking. Again, a complete overhaul of the back-end brakes to the tune of another $500. Lesson learned: squeaking is not good. Got it?

So two days ago we get the squeak again. But not before we had a complete and total car-meltdown. Because nothing is ever simple for me and vehicles. Remember the final days of the Range Rover? The electrical "issues" we were experiencing? Or, my inability to recognize when the car needs some gas (despite the glaring yellow gas light?) Twice.   Or, perhaps the time I left my sunroof open and the car outside (two things I NEVER do normally..) and got my ass shocked by the electric seat warmers? What about the time I left the keys in the car with the sunroof open and the rain shorted out the locks and locked the keys inside the car? I had to crawl through the sunroof. And the list goes on and on.

After a day of running around there I am: leaving my parent's house with the baby and the dog mashed in the backseat of the car - because that's how I roll - I never have problems when its just me in the car. About 100 yards up the road I sense that the car just doesn't sound right. When I let go of the wheel it pulls hard to the right. Like swerve off the side of the road hard - and even I know that's not right. Upon further inspection my suspicions were confirmed: flat tire. I manage to drive the thing back to my parent's house where my dad helps me temporarily pump up the tire in order to meet Todd at Les Schwab's Tire center to promptly switch over to my winter weather all season radials. Problem solved. Or so I thought.

So, after the life-saving tire swap, the squeak was back. The bad brake squeak I've come to know so well. Back to Les Schwab yesterday. Diagnosis: New Brakes. Because I just had them replaced last year they're still under warranty! I managed to get out of there with new brakes without paying for a $500 brake rebuild job!

Oh, and the flat tire? No way to save it OR the other front tire. Two new tires to the tune of $500. Dammit anyway.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Who's Ready For Monday Night Football??!

So maybe teaching him to watch TV this early isn't a good idea and will come back to bite us, but there's nothing cuter than watching Monday night football with dad dressed head to toe in his Seahawk jersey!!