Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sympathy Pangs

I'd heard that partners sometimes experienced pregnancy symptoms along with the actual pregnant person. I'd sorta believed that statement, having seen a few partners gain a pound or two during the 40 weeks, but didn't really think it to be true.

Only now, while going through pregnancy, do I see how true it is.

I woke up one morning, not too long ago, and rolled to my side. I pushed myself, big belly included, up from the bed and rubbed my calf muscle to ease the ache left over from the hundredth charley horse I got while sleeping. I looked at Ben, who also lay awake.

"Man, I didn't sleep that well last night," I said.

"Ugh," he replied. "Me either." He then rolled over and fell fast asleep.

A little later, I walked up and down the stairs several times while cleaning. "Whew," I said. "I am out of breath! The baby must be getting bigger or I must be gaining weight."

Ben looked at me from the couch and replied, "I hear ya! I need to start working out. My gut is getting huge."

Not long thereafter, we sat on the back porch to enjoy the nice weather. I twisted my torso back and forth. "Chairs kill my back after while."

Ben stretched and replied, "Gosh, I know. My back hurts, too. Sometimes, my shoulders do, too."

No way, buddy.

I finally let loose.

"Ben, you CANNOT have every pregnancy symptom that I have. Maybe one, maybe two, but not all. It's like you're more pregnant than me."

Ben looked surprised and then we both died laughing. No words needed.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

It Just Needs Some..

The other day, Ben and I laughed about the first time my brother visited us in NYC about four years ago. We wanted to make his visit special since he rarely ventured north of the Mason Dixon Line. So, we did what we usually do with visitors... took him to a great restaurant to experience the food.

The only problem was that my brother, Philip, lived on hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, and chicken fingers. Luckily, there were plenty of pizza places and hot dog vendors near our apartment. But, who wanted to live on street meat alone? Yuck.

Ben suggested Peter Luger's Steakhouse in Brooklyn, one of the top rated steakhouses in the county. Philip loved the idea, so we booked a reservation.

We ordered the steak for two or three to share. The waiter placed a huge platter of "USDA prime beef, family selected and dry aged in our own aging box"on the table in front of us. Our mouths and eyes watered.

Ben and I took our first bites. My taste buds exploded. The steak exceeded every expectation.

Philip looked at my steak. He looked at his steak. He looked at the waiter, and then asked, "Can I have some ketchup?"

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Big News

I apologize for the lack of posts since January. Four months passed quickly. Time flies when having fun and staying busy.

A friend/former coworker and I started our on business. We thought of the idea when working together and went for it. So far, so good. Look for us in next month's Businessweek and Entrepreneur magazine. Kidding (kind of).

We focus on our business when not working full time at our other jobs (or taking care of our kids or unborn babies or husbands). We stay busy, but very excited for our venture. We have gained much respect and appreciation for small business owners since beginning our journey.

Perhaps, even bigger news...

Ben and I are having a baby! Our little guy should arrive at the beginning of August. Everything is going well.

The baby and I are growing at a rapid rate. My waistline surpassed Ben's several months ago. This, of course, makes Ben feel svelte and very in shape.

I'd continue to type, but it's dinnertime. Something I don't mess around with anymore. I promise to post soon (fingers crossed behind my back).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cold Weather

It's already been quite a winter, and it's only mid-January. This morning, it warmed to about -2 degrees. Quite chilly.

Two weeks ago, the temperatures got down to -4 degrees. That's when the pipe behind our fridge connected to the water dispenser froze and busted. We, new homeowners, had several heart attacks!

Luckily, we caught the break and stopped the flooding before any major damage occurred. Thankfully, Ben knew where and how to turn off the water. Knowing the location of those handy little valves had never crossed my mind before...

Ben and our neighbor fixed the busted the pipe. Ben's handy man self-confidence shot through the roof and I now confuse him with Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor, which he, of course, loves.

Ben left this very cold morning for a business trip until Friday. I woke up this morning a little nervous. What will the girls and I do without Tim if another pipe busts? I just learned where the water shut-off valve is and the girls' only skills involve eating and catnapping.

Ben's return or warmer weather could not come soon enough.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Early Demise

Earlier this week, a 26-year-old coworker asked a student about his mother's age.

He replied, "She's 36. How old are you?"

My coworker responded, "How old do you think I am?"

The student looked at her for a moment and then said, "Forty."

My young coworker's eyes widened in horror.

"Actually," the student said, "You couldn't be 40 because that's so old you'd be dead already."

Friday, December 6, 2013

Uh Oh

Flu season arrived. It hit school hard. Youngsters lined the hallways and crammed into the nurse's office. Medicine, toilets, trashcans, and medical personnel seemed in short supply!

This morning, I heard a splatter from across the cafeteria followed by a chorus of "ewwwwwws."

I walked the first sick child to the office.

I returned in cafeteria. A few minutes later, I heard another splatter from the opposite direction.

I walked the second sick child to the office. She asked me to hold her hand. Feel her forehead. Get her hair off her neck.

She then remarked, "It's good I'm going home because I forgot to take my ringworm medicine."

Looks like I'll be first in line for the nurse tomorrow.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hard Work

Ben and my dad really like recognition when they've worked, when they've physically done something. Energy exerted! Muscles flexed!

Maybe they took out the trash or got the mail or mowed the yard or washed the dishes or bent over to pick up something on the floor.

It doesn't matter whether the task was big or small. They did it.

They moan and groan. They breathe heavy. They arch backs and unbutton shirts to emphasize how hard they labored.

On Wednesday night, Ben and I set up 15 Dickens Village houses to decorate for Christmas.  We worked until 1am, both tired from the long day. I unwrapped and handed each house to Ben, who used a step stool to place it on top of the mantle and kitchen cabinets (which I offered to do).

Ben sighed every time he climbed the step stool. He grunted every time he took a house from my hand. He deeply exhaled every time he set down a house. Every so often, he stretched his back and rubbed his neck.

I cannot imagine the calories burned.

I constantly complimented and encouraged him to keep going. You're the best! Look at that spacing! You're a Dickens machine!

The next morning, I woke up two hours earlier than Ben. I snuck out of our bedroom and quietly shut the door.

I carried the empty Dickens boxes upstairs. I vacuumed tiny pieces of Styrofoam strewn around the house. I brewed Ben a fresh pot of coffee, fed the cats, cleaned their litter box, packed our stuff to go home for Thanksgiving, wiped down the entire kitchen, watered the plants, took out the recycling, and emptied the trash.

I did all of that... without a deep breath, flexed muscle, or audience.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wheelers & Dealers

Last week, Ben and I and our friend, Kason, walked to Rupp Arena to find tickets to the basketball game. Ben and Kason talked strategy most of the way there. They did not want to get ripped off by a scalper.

We found a guy selling tickets on the corner of the street. Ben and Kason played it cool and casually asked how much for three tickets. The guy said a much lower price than either of them anticipated. All negotiating skills and strategies flew right out the window!

Kason's face lit up with a big grin. Ben enthusiastically shook his head "yes."

I couldn't believe it.

Obviously, they lacked the expertise I gained from negotiating knock off purses in the back rooms of Chinatown.

I pointed my finger downward. Kason and Ben (sort of) regained their composure and weaseled the price down a few more dollars, but the guy knew he had them sold.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Nice Names

I know I'm in the south when, in one day, I've been called...



and Sugar.

I'll take it!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Over the Top

Ben did it. He bought the CatGenie 120, advertised as "The world's only self-cleaning, self-flushing cat box." No hands shall have to clean thy squalid litter again.

I can't wait to pop this bad boy out of the box and give it a whirl.

Frankly, Ben's excitement about the CatGenie was borderline scary.

But, what can I say? I married a passionate man who loves his girls.

I came home from work today to find the CatGenie box on the front porch. I almost texted our neighbors to ask them to hide the box in the backyard. I feared somebody might steal it.

Patches and Zipper now live in the equivalent of the Four Seasons or the Plaza Hotel. Live it up, ladies. It doesn't get better than this.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Big Ben

Big Brother a.k.a Big Ben has his eye on me. Looking over my shoulder. Keeping me in check.

On Friday, I dropped in Marshall's on the way home from work.  I just wanted to see the new stuff they had. I needed to hit the racks before the weekend crowd picked over everything.

Boy, oh, boy! It was good that I stopped. Two deals screamed my name. I bought them, of course.

I planned to hide the purchases in the trunk of my car until Ben left the house. I'd then sneak them in our closet and try them on again before deciding if I really wanted them. I planned to return them if I didn't like them. No biggie. No would know, but me.

I didn't want Ben to discover that I was shopping, so I moved quickly. I rushed through the line at the cash register and shoved the bag in the back of my trunk. I sped down Winchester Road and smiled with satisfaction. Success!

About 10 minutes later, my phone buzzed. I looked at it. The text from Ben read, "Did you just get boots at Marshall's?"

He's always watching.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Ben's obsession with our cats has reached new heights. It's public. People know about it.

He got seven birthday cards in the mail, and five of them had cats on the front.

Move over Crazy Cat Lady, there's a new feline lover in the neighborhood.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Quick Thinking

This morning, a group of children ate breakfast at a table. It turned into a rough meal. One boy made gross comments about his food. Another boy flicked Coco Puffs across the table. One spilled his milk.

I surveyed the table and said, "What is happening to this table? It is falling apart!"

One of the little guys looked up and quipped, "I don't see any cracks."

We then shared a high five.

Monday, September 23, 2013

I Salute Neighborhood Associations

I never thought much about neighborhood associations until we bought a house.

Neighborhood associations keep neighborhoods safe. They advocate for their neighborhood. They organize events and activities. They reinforce rules and regulations.

Lately, I've learned, they also maintain order and keep an eye on unruly neighbors. The ones who won't conform to any standards and really like to do their own thing. You know those neighbors.

I wonder if our neighborhood association has talked to the owner of the house below, the one surrounded by a jungle. If not, they need to. Yesterday, I walked by and it was raining only on that house. Today, I walked by and a herd of cheetahs trampled me.

The place has its own ecosystem.

I bet the influx of mosquitos started there. I wore bug repellent for the first time in decades this summer. Those suckers ate me up, and now I know exactly where they were breeding!

The house looks abandoned. I thought it was condemned, ready for demolition, until we drove by one night and saw lights on in the upstairs rooms. Shocker.

Let's hope that this winter is very harsh and very cold.

*  I almost didn't post a picture of the house because I didn't want to offend the owners (who don't even know this blog exists). Then, I realized that you can't access Wi-Fi in the middle of a jungle. So, I posted it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Car Woes

This morning, I drove to work and saw an orange light on the dashboard. An orange exclamation point to be exact. Not a smiley face. Not a thumbs up. An orange exclamation point.

I closed my eyes (for a split second), held my breath, and waited for the car to blow. Instead of slowing down, I sped up. If the car was going to explode or if a tire was going to roll away, I wanted to be as close to work as possible.

I forgot about the exclamation point until I got into my car after work and noticed it glaring at me from behind the steering wheel. I had secretly hoped that eight of hours of sitting in a parking lot would have cured it.

No such luck.

I thumbed through the owner's manuel and read that one or more of my tires had significantly low air pressure. The word significantly stressed me. Did significantly mean I could still drive it home? Did it mean I would wreck and cause a traffic jam at rush hour? Mainly, did significantly mean I would not live to see tomorrow? I mentally head-butted Honda for choosing such a strong vocabulary word.

I called Ben, who told me to check the air pressure in the tires... as if I do it all of the time.

I walked around the gas station and found a rotting air pressure hose lying on the ground that cost $1 (in quarters) to use. I couldn't find a meter or gauge to read the pressure. I rolled the hose between my hands and wondered what would happen if I pumped too much air into the tire. I assumed it would blow, hurling shards of rubber at my head.

At that moment, I regretted taking photography and yearbook instead of shop class in high school.

I gave up (after a solid two minutes of trying) and cautiously drove several miles to Tire Discount, my new favorite store. An employee showed me how to check my tires (for future exclamation points) and filled them with air. He did all of this for free, something this driver in distress appreciated.

It now looks as if I'm good to go tomorrow, the next day, and the rest of the week... at least until another exclamation point shows up.