Tuesday, March 22, 2011

oh, baby

Some joker has signed me up with Similac, Enfamil, and Target to receive baby-related offers and specials.

HAHAHAHA! You're hilarious.

At first I just casually threw it away, thinking it was a fluke. Enough have come now that I am beginning to wonder if a helpful friend added my name to some mailing list to get my engines running, as if holding babies didn't already do that.

I'm in a weird place though. We're hoping to conceive this year, but I'm nervous about parenting an infant/crawler/toddler again. I was reminded of how un-childproof our house is recently, and of all the work such small ones are, and of what a lovely thing it is to simply say to Blake: "Jammies on and teeth brushed please."

Reese and I chatted about a lot of this on a recent drive we took together. She asked if I'm having worries, and I fired right back that I was worried I'd have twins.

"You should be scared of that, not worried about it." she replied.

But I'm aware of my age, the chance of miscarriage, the chance of twins, the chance of a special needs baby, the chance of a difficult pregnancy, the chance of infertility. I know my astounding lack of patience and wonder at adding another incredibly demanding person to care for (That's right: I said ANOTHER. I have an amazingly easy kid and mild-mannered husband and I still find them awfully demanding about things like having food and clean clothes and my attention. GOSH!). I remember my insane sense of smell and how I feel about sour milk and fountains of yellow poop.

Then I see Blake playing with Jetty and Jetty in fits of baby giggles, and I melt. I see other families with husbands holding brand new babies, and my heart aches and thrills at the same time. I remember the feel of a baby moving inside me, the tenderness of nursing, the heavy, peaceful weight of a baby sleeping in my arms.

I'm really excited, and I'm just scared enough to know that I'm going to go absolutely bonkers when everyone I know starts asking "Pregnant yet?" upon our return from Hawaii. Until then, I'll still panic a little at the baby paraphernalia coming in the mail and reflexively chuck it, even as I've started trying to remember who has MY various baby paraphernalia so I can collect it when it's time.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

insert joke about ordering "shit" in a restaurant

You know what's delicious?

French onion soup.

You know what's even more delicious?

French onion soup made by someone other than me.

It took TWO DAYS and by the time I was done, I was so sick of smelling onions that I ended up throwing most of it out. I literally could not eat more than half a bowl, and I LOVE French onion soup. It wasn't a particularly expensive lesson, but the time! My WORD, the time! You know you can order that shit in a restaurant and it comes out in something like five minutes, right? I can't believe I bought oven-safe ramekins just for the occasion.

Guess I'll have to make creme brulee and hope for better results.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

but He is rarely early

My friend's comment on the post below reminded me of a story, naturally! I have lots of stories! Some of them are even funny.

I had the Hebrew for "God is not late" inscribed onto a ring I had made during what felt like an extended singleness and widow-ness (shut up, it's a word, and it's how I felt... or maybe I felt "widowful"). I do not remember where the phrase came from - if God placed it in my head like a pearl that appeared after I mentally tongued around an abrasive piece of sand (widow-ness) for a while, or if it was from one of the books I read to help me cope with all my tortured emotions about God and missing my husband and feeling so alone and yet not quite wanting to date or remarry because he and it would be different.
Psalm 27:13-14
Yet I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord. Be still, take heart, and wait for the Lord.
Maybe it was from that verse, which I had been memorizing when big Blake died. Who knows? God gave it to me, one way or another: Yahweh is not late.

A friend of mine is a custom jeweler, and we designed a ring that looked like water, with irregular edges and a brushed finish, made of Montana-mined paladium (I couldn't melt down big B's wedding band because it's made of titanium and is therefore rather immutable). Because I cannot actually read Hebrew, he set two Yogo sapphires from rings dear to my heart at the beginning of the phrase so I could see where it started. One ring was from my parents, a symbol and reminder of my purity as a bride, both of Christ and of an as-yet-unknown husband (I had given it to big Blake, but it had found its way back to me, of course). The other ring was from an aunt who also loves Yogos - she thought her ring would go beautifully alongside my promise ring and so gave it to me.

The ring would only fit on my left middle finger and rubbed annoyingly on my engagement band from big Blake, so I moved the engagement ring to my right hand. It was all very symbolic and meaningful for me. I was looking ahead, in the land of the living. God is not late. I fiddled with the new, wide ring often, touching it with my thumb, spinning it round and feeling the tip of the bigger sapphire tickle my finger. It was almost like a worry stone.

When Rob proposed, we went back to my friend and asked him to incorporate the paladium from my reminder ring into his wedding band. The Yogos are with some other stones in a baggie - somewhere. I really should find them and design some other beautiful piece of jewelry I can't afford...

So now Rob wears my reminder. Yahweh is not late.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

sixteen days

In sixteen days, my husband received no fewer than three job offers.

He's kind of a big deal.

Thursday, February 24: Rob's boss told him that he should apply for the "Living Style" position in the Helena store. Those positions are filled here in Bozeman, but they come with a regular M-F 8-5 schedule and a probable raise. Vann's doesn't pay salary for their sales reps, but the Living Style rep is the go-to guy for high-end appliances and audio/visual toys and is the first contact for almost all builders, who do not want to work with "floor monkeys." We were both excited, yet ambivalent: it's still sales, dependent upon what other people want to buy. Over the weekend, Rob submitted his resume to RightNow Technologies, a local firm that's got a worldwide footprint and is one of the few professional opportunities available in our tourist town.

Tuesday, March 1: Rob visited the Helena store to get acquainted with the staff up there and liked it. We were drawn by a pair of dear friends in the area, the lower cost of living, and a feeling of starting out all on our own.

Wednesday, March 2: Rob received and returned a pre-interview form for RightNow.

Friday, March 4: Rob successfully navigated a 30-minute phone interview in which a RightNow employee verified that Rob knew what he was talking about on his resume. Rob got off the phone to tell me, "I think I just spoke to the smartest guy I've ever come across." At dinner, a friend gave Rob the phone number for a company in Bozeman that needed more computer/network technicians.

Saturday, March 5: Rob called the computer/network guy and, based on our needs as a family, came away with the impression that it was a dead end.

Monday, March 7: Out of the blue, Rob was offered a job with the computer/network firm as an hourly technician. They wanted him to start as soon as possible or after we returned from Hawaii. Vann's corporate office continued to engage Rob about a move to the Helena store, essentially telling him the job was his, but without a formal offer.

Tuesday, March 8: RightNow set up a Wednesday interview for Rob: two hours, four individual interviews.

Wednesday, March 9: The interviews went very well, though one interviewee asked Rob about the firmness of our plans to go to Hawaii. Rob answered, "Well, let's just say that if I don't go, the woman who comes back without me will probably not be my wife any more." I promptly began wondering if this trip might preclude a job offer from my top pick.

Thursday, March 10: Rob came home from work convinced it was time to give his two-week notice to Vann's. We had now ruled out a move to Helena due to the upheaval for the family, the cost to my job (I'd have to quit or seriously alter my responsibilities), and the fact that we'd still be stuck with a condo in Bozeman. We were not ready to say yes to the computer/technician company, but Vann's was pushing for Rob to start calling contractors in Helena. He was unwilling to jerk them (Vann's and the contractors) around by giving lip service to a job he didn't plan to take, but he also knew that, by saying no, he'd likely strain his relationships to the point that giving notice was his only good option. We talked it through and decided that, if it came to that on Friday, we could muddle by for a week or two, hoping for an offer from RightNow. If nothing came within that time, he'd take the computer/technician job and try again for RightNow at some future point.

Friday, March 11: Rob planned to sit down with his boss at closing, 7:00 PM. At 6:00 PM, RightNow Technologies called to offer him a Technical Support Engineer: Networking Specialist position. His Vann's boss was understanding and appreciated Rob's transparency and desire to do the right thing by the company as well as for his family.

God walked us right to the edge of faith. We planned to step off the "having-it-all-planned-out-and-in-control-cliff" before we saw the safety net of continued employment with the better job offer. RightNow has so much internal growth potential that both Rob and I consider it a career, rather than a job. He's got a salary, amazing benefits, and a future that looks encouraging and challenging to both of us.

After so much time feeling stuck, having so many opportunities was bewildering and humbling. God is so kind.

The only downside is that now Rob's plotting out what he needs to buy before his Vann's discount is no more. He's not nearly as confident as I am that we do not need a plasma television or an iPad 2 or or or!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

most of the time

A: I was told I was legally obligated to sell something to someone at 80% off today.
R: What did you say?
A: (reads R what all was said)
R: Wow.
A: Yeah.
R: No, I mean, you were really professional.
A: Oh, sure. I CAN be completely appropriate. I just usually choose not to be.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

one letter difference

I loaned my camera to my mother for her trip to Israel. After borrowing her camera, I realized that her need for a speedy shutter was far greater than mine. Therefore, I'll try to keep my posts short and sweet, since there will be precious few photos to accompany them. You're welcome.

Blake's been asking to get his John Deere toys out of the garage for a while now. After telling the grandpa who had given them to him that "Mom threw them away," or "Mom gave them to the church nursery," I told him in no uncertain terms that I'd done no such thing. We'd chosen to box them up and put them in the garage to clear the house and make it look uncluttered for selling (Side note: we needn't have bothered. No one wants the condo. YET.).

"Please stop telling people I've thrown things away. It's unkind to those who have given you toys, and it's usually NOT TRUE."

We got the box of new-again toys, and he's been mowing down the corn and wheat in our carpet ever since. To make room, all of us sifted through Blake's two main toy repositories today. I required him to decide what went where (no more blaming me!), and if he opted for garbage, HE walked it and tossed it. Brilliant! Ridiculous quantities of cheap, made-in-China plastic have been culled from our home. Fabulous!

But upon opening the toy box in his room, I discovered where Transformers go to die. There were body parts everywhere... it was gruesome. We replaced all the sadness with weaponry that all fits now that it's not a boneyard. We've got a box of toys headed to the garage and another headed to the garbage. I hope I don't get mixed up about what goes where.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

the goings on

Just going through the old camera. Not much happening these days, except that there's a lot, it's just kind of dull. Case in point: today I broke up a 4-inch thick slab of ice that covered part of our sidewalk (~15 feet long). Yeah, I'm kind of a big deal, and now my shoulders and hands hurt. At least my rear won't hurt from falling repeatedly on the very slippery sidewalk!

My job is going through a season of growth after an extended period of not-growth, and it's fun and challenging. I'm training an intern (probably only get him until the end of May, but it's nice to have a break from all the words I have to read - now I should pick up something I want to read!), and I'm training a subcontractor. The long-term goal is to free up some of my time, but it's taking an awful lot of time just to get them up to speed.

Rob's job is kicking both of our butts, so much so that his boss - a good man who loves the Lord and "gets it" - has offered him a possible transfer to another store. It would be a better position, better hours and pay, in a more affordable location. There's another possibility out there that I can't really talk about, but after this time of just sucking it up and feeling like we are stuck, we may have options! It's exciting, but also a little scary. I would have a lot of tears to cry if we decided to move away from Bozeman.

Blake's in the trudging middle ground at school. The end isn't quite in sight, so it's very difficult for him to want to go. And it's only KINDERGARTEN, for crying out loud! He's anxiously awaiting the day he gets to go spend two whole weeks with Grammie Gee while we're in Hawaii. We've made it past Christmas and birthdays, written nearly all the thank you notes, and all of us are anticipating that really exciting event. He's bummed he cannot come with us, but Grammie Gee and Grampa Kent are a pretty reasonable alternative!

A raptor of some sort, probably preying on the birds attracted to my feeder. Catherine, what says Sam? I packed up my bird book and am too lazy to look it up online.

This is what it looks like when B helps me bake cookies. He's gazing at a LEGO catalog. He treats them like magazines, and knows which products are in which catalogs, and is not happy with me when I throw away one of his collection.

How we mop around here these days. The only problem is when guests come over, do not listen to my warning about their wool socks (SmartWool is a prerequisite for living in Bozeman), and nearly kill themselves. Then it's time to strategically rearrange the throw rugs for their protection.

I tried to round up all the stuff so B could practice skiing, but had forgotten that while we have skis and bindings, we had no boots for him yet (that's been fixed - thanks Poppa & Nonna!). Instead, I found the snowshoes I had purchased back when he was two and far too tiny for them. They finally fit! Though bummed about the non-skiing (and look at that bad-ass face!)...

... he was REALLY excited about the snowshoes! They leave a paw print within the outline of the frame, and he just loves tramping all over our small yard, then examining his tracks for the paws.

Finally, this is what a five-year-old with four sets of indulgent grandparents and many loving aunties and uncles can buy for his sixth birthday after a diligent year of saving (click to enlarge it and see his face). He knew it was coming, but was still absolutely quivering with excitement when it arrived. There were four large boxes within, and the first three have been opened and assembled. One more to go before it's complete and then we have a lively debate about where it goes and what we're going to do with it.

I'm really looking forward to that part, and because sarcasm doesn't always work in print, I will flesh it out for you: NO, I AM NOT.