Monday, January 29, 2007

Pour me a big old cup o' crazy

This weekend was a challenge in so many ways...

Amanda began a class on Saturday morning. It's a 4-week Saturday & Sunday class from 8:30am to 4pm, so I have Alastair all to myself during the days. It's fun, but he's a lot of work, and since he's working on walking right now, it's 100% constant supervision. He's also been showing signs of separation anxiety lately, so just going to the bathroom is usually accompanied by a serenade of wails.

So that's the backdrop. The real story was lunch on Saturday.

Saturday was my mother and grandmother's birthday. They don't like each other, and they're both nuts. Mom's generally more nuts than grandmother, except when they're in the same room. For some reason, that amplifies my grandmother's fruityness and makes mom calm down.

So anyway, I was supposed to pick up my grandmother at 11:15 on Saturday morning and take her to Brio Tuscan Grill at Stony Point Fashion Park. Only Alastair was sleeping at 11:15. And at 11:30. And at 11:45. For the first time in many many months, I was reduced to having to wake him up, and anybody can tell you it's not wise to wake a sleeping baby.

We leave the house, 35 minutes late, 45 minutes after he usually eats his snack, and pick up my grandmother. She's in a huff, but not because we're late: she had tried to convince my mom to meet us at her house, instead of at the restaurant. Mom resisted, and now we couldn't get her to answer any phone, so we had no idea if she'd given up and gone home. Alastair began to throw a tantrum (understandable: he was starving), and we finally got to the restaurant only 50 minutes after our intended arrival time. Grandmother's back-seat driving, strangely, didn't help us get there any faster. Whodathunk?

I got Alastair's snack on, he calmed down, we ate, mom and grandmother bitched about everything not being perfect (the food was actually pretty bad), and Alastair started pitching another fit about having to sit there so long.

How long? At 2pm, 1 hour 40 minutes after our arrival, and over 30 minutes after taking my last bite, I saw our waiter approach. I stuck my credit card in his face so that he couldn't ignore me any more, and at 2:15, we were out of there.

Now, Alastair generally naps at 2pm, so he wasn't thrilled with the delay, and mom and grandmother wanted to stand around the car and gibber about nothing at all. I was getting rather tense, and when I dropped my grandmother off at 2:25, it was a mad dash home. Poor guy was beat, and dad took a nice long nap, too.

Sunday was no less stressful, but mainly because Little Man refused to take any morning nap.

But there was a huge silver lining: last night he took his first independent shuffly steps. Only a couple, but he did take them.

And then Vivienne decided to sneak in his room as we were shutting the door for bed time. Great. At 11pm, she decided she wanted out, and I almost tanned her hide when I let her out of there.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I Feel Good

On Sunday morning, I went for a run in the cold, before the rain/sleet/snow crap started. It felt pretty good, and I added a bit of distance. I got up to just over 3 miles.

Last night, with the temps still good and cold, I suited up for my second run of the week. With the exception of pain in my lower right leg, it was one of the best runs I've had in a long time. I've taken to listening to industrial music to get me moving better. I had been listening to techno, since it had such a good beat, but I need to be focused and angry to muscle through 3 miles of running, and Ministry and KMFDM can do for me what Orbital cannot.

Anyway, I got to where I had intended to stop and still felt really good, so I kept going. I think I added a couple 10th's, and I'm starting to get to the really hilly areas of my neighborhood.

The best part is that after only about 3 weeks of regular running, I've dropped the 5 lbs that had crept onto my girlish figure. Yeah, my leg hurts like hell, but everything else feels better than it has in a long time. My back isn't bothering me very much, and since I'm using the weight bench again, I'm starting to feel a little less lumpy up top, too.

The most curious thing I've learned about myself through this training, though, is that I greatly prefer running in the cold. Whodathunk? I've been running mostly at night in temperatures between 25 and 40 F, and while the first 8/10's of a mile are kind of rough, I feel great for the rest of the run. A couple of weeks ago I got to take a run in the upper 60's, and it was misery. I couldn't cool off and it was all I could do just to finish the run. I got nauseated along the way and wound up laying on the front steps at home for about 30 minutes afterward, trying to absorb the coolness of the bricks.

Anyway, I'm supposed to be training for the Monument Ave. 10K, which is at the end of March. I'm not confident that I'll be ready for it (I'm currently running about half that distance), or that I'll be comfortable running in such a throng of people, but I'm trying. I've got a great coach, a desire to keep my wardrobe fitting right, and a little man who deserves a healthy father.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

One Giant Monkey

Thanks to everyone for your kind words, prayers, and considerations concerning my grandmother. I got to see her this weekend, and I'll be joining her for lunch on Saturday...with my mom. That will be a challenge, but at least we're getting to spend some time together.

On a more festive note, Alastair turned 1 yesterday! Yippee!!!

We had a wonderful festive weekend. Saturday, he and I went to spend some time with my grandmother. He did all of his tricks, from razzberrying my belly to his culturally insensitive indian-war-woop to standing and flailing. I knew she wouldn't be at his party on Sunday, so I wanted her to get some time watching him be goofy. It was fun.

Sunday was the main event, though. He had his first birthday party at his Grammy & Pappy's house at 1pm, an hour before he usually goes down for his afternoon nap. He was also over 40 minutes late starting his lunch, so I thought we might be in for a difficult afternoon. I couldn't have been more wrong. He was a super charmer, enjoying most of his presents from the moment the wrapping paper was removed. He really loved his banana cake, which wound up making a huge mess all over the floor, and he motored around from room to room for hours.

In the end, it was almost exactly 2 hours after he usually gets his nap that he finally got to bed, and he came through it like a champ. Only a couple of minutes of fussing.

Sunday night I spent some time getting his toys ready for Monday, his actual birthday. And boy did he have some fun with them. Amanda tracked down one of those big activity blocks that baby can stand next to, one with a the bead tracks looping over the top. He must have pushed beads around for over an hour, and he just kept walking round and round the thing.

He also discovered the song his Little People airplane plays, and he couldn't get enough of that. There was the FridgeFarm, his new RadioFlyer roadster, his walk-behind convertible car, and a singing caterpillar, and all were smash hits. He hasn't had a chance to absorb all of his new toys, but he will. And if he can ever stop motoring around long enough, I'm sure he'll have a great time with all of them.

Thanks to those who came out in the crappy weather on Sunday, and thanks to everyone who's been part of his and our lives for the last year. It's been a wild ride, and we're frankly amazed he's survived this long.

He's a great little guy, and I can't wait to see what's next (his kisses are the best!).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Fresh start for the new year...?

My grandmother is dying. She's been having health problems lately, and just after Christmas found out that she has cancer. She's not going to fight it, she's not crying about it, and she's remarkably composed about everything.

I really respect her for that. Her argument is that, at 83, having lost her husband almost a decade ago, she really doesn't have much to live for. It's not morbidity, per se, but a certain peacefulness about her life. She's lived through a lot, including the Great Depression, the loss of her mother at a young age (followed by living on a cot in her aunt's house for years--not being allowed to live with her father, because that just wasn't done), a crippling thyroid problem that made her are tyrant as a young mother, breast cancer (in the 70's, when treatment was still very primitive), the loss of her husband, and most recently the apparent total loss of sanity in her only child: my mother.

She enjoys Alastair, and I've been trying to find ways for her to see him more often, but she's on a clear path, so we're just trying to be there as much as we can for her: make her final days as pleasant as possible.

The challenge is that I've been named Contingent Power of Attorney (along with my mother--that will be a joy) and Executor of her Will. I suppose these are things that almost all adults will have to deal with, but they're like giant looming monsters over my head. I have no idea what to expect and just cower in fear of the paperwork that will come. My life consumes enough of my time already. I don't mean to complain or sound unappreciative, it's just a new challenge and I know I can't count on my mother to help me.

I went and sat with my grandmother yesterday for about 2 hours. She showed me all of her accounts, where to find her insurance information, where to find her bills that might be unpaid when she dies, and whom to call to stop her accounts and utilities. While she's remarkably organized, there's just too much for me to digest. I know I'm going to be relying on the good folks at the Credit Union for a lot of help.

Fortunately, part of her remkable organization includes contacting all of her account representatives and telling them about her condition. She's spending her time trying to make her death as simple as possible for me. It's really quite moving.

All of this comes against the backdrop of work gearing back up for a lot of overtime, Amanda getting ready to start a part-time, work-from-home job that will require 4 weekends of training, Alastair's impending 1st birthday (Monday!), and house-work, which I've really gotten back into getting done*.

Wish me luck, and happy new year!

On a side note, it looks like the Beetle is going to be sold next week. I just put a new battery and brake fluid in it on Sunday, and it's running great.

*A couple of weeks ago, I painted the bar. It's beautiful, but I didn't like the lack of direct lighting. For some time, Amanda had also been complaining about the hideous ceiling fan on the other side of the den. On Friday, I installed new lighting in the bar, replaced the ceiling fan, and installed a dimmer switch in the room. Now we just need to order our sofa, pick some new carpet, replace the coffee table with an ottoman, and paint one piece of trim that got missed when we painted the room (and find a small screen, but that's really not too high on the list), and the room will be complete!