Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We saw the North Pole!

Dave and I are happy to announce that the little person in my belly is ..................
a man baby yeah! (Do Austin Powers references ever lose their charm? Answer: Yes, yes they do.)

Anyway, we met with the ultrasound tech and her first question after glancing over our chart was, "why did the doctor order another ultrasound?" My mind drew a blank and an "umm" slipped out of my mouth. If I gave the wrong answer would she shoo us away from the sonogram machine because it was obvious that we weren't deserving? We were so close, I could smell the warm aqua jelly stuff! If my life was a movie, this would be the part where I would completely overreact to the situation, grab the ultrasound machine and run out of the room. The entire OBGYN staff would be chasing me down the corridors as I hilariously tried to apply the jelly to my belly and do the ultrasound myself. Oh the hijinks that would ensue! Also, I would probably be dressed in a paper gown for this part of the movie, regardless of the fact that wearing a paper gown is not necessary during any ultrasound in the history of the world.

But my life is not a movie and I had to think up a good excuse. Thinking back to the words of the previous doctor, I retorted with the halfway plausible, "as I recall, the doctor mentioned the baby was measuring kind of weird."

"Measuring big or measuring small?" she questioned further.

"I am caught," I thought. It's not like I wouldn't know the answer to this question if the doctor had truthfully told me the baby was not measuring to normal size. Because I ate my weight in sweets while visiting my family for Christmas, I was feeling fat. I settled on my answer, "the baby was measuring big."

"That's strange, because according to your chart you measured right to size at your last appointment," she concluded.

"Yes, that's because I am a big liarhead with pants that are on fire," I thought to myself.

Dave piped up from the corner of the room, "I think the doctor was feeling generous at our last appointment." I sucked in all of the remaining air in the room, half expecting her to order us far far away from the ultrasound machine. Actually, she didn't appear to care very much at that point and left it to the doctor to make up a code for our insurance.

The whole experience was rather anticlimactic to be honest. Apparently, I had built up finding out the gender for exactly 26 weeks and 2 days and I thought I would hear drum rolls and perhaps some muted applause when she announced our news. In reality, she rolled the probe around my belly a few times and then deadpanned, "there's the scrotum" yawn. Okay, she didn't yawn and she really was nice enough. I suppose when you've seen hundreds of scrotums, you've seen them all you know?

At any rate, we're having a boy, we're having a boy!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Last chance to sleep late on Christmas

After a ten and a half hour drive, a half dozen bathroom breaks and much snacking, we have arrived safely to my hometown in western PA. Although the weather is the usual overcast and rainy, there is still snow on the ground here! The Christmas cheer running through the air is thick, noggy and caked in nutmeg. Why look at that, I've made myself hungry. Please excuse me while I grab my one millionth cookie of the day.

On the baby countdown front, it's Christmas day and I believe we're down to about 99 days left in this pregnancy. That's crazy to think about. I can't help but look ahead to next Christmas and spending it with our new little person. I should say new little people actually, because there will be quite a few newbies born into my immediate world in the coming year. Granted, I'm only in charge of one of them, but I'm just as excited to meet the future cousins and friends of our bean as well. I feel so lucky that we get to witness all of these new people being born into the world that will be a part of our child's life forever more.

Maybe it seems silly for me to take this all so seriously now that I am the one finally giving birth, but I am thinking back to my brothers and me growing up surrounded by all of our cousins and friends. I look at those old pictures now from many Christmases ago and realize how we took all of that extended family for granted to an extent. Now in my thirties, some of those old relationships are being rekindled as life slows down and I'm realizing how formative and important those relationships really are. We may age, but we are still those same kids at heart and we always will be. There will always be lifetime bonds between those people that stood along side us as we all grew up together regardless of how life changes us along the way. Those memories are my favorite Christmas movie to play back in my head and even more special is only a select few of us know how our particular movie goes. I can't wait to meet the characters that will be part of my child's unique life movie. I hope our kid is blessed with a supporting cast as colorful and warmhearted as his father and I have had throughout our lives.

Merry Christmas everybody, may you have much joy and happiness in the new year.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How to be a proper curmudgeon

I have just finished eating the most delicious sandwich known to mankind. The best part about it is it was made with partially free ingredients. By free I mean stolen from a free breakfast bread buffet my office landlord held for all of us tenants this morning.

One of my co-workers told me about it as soon as he saw me, I suspect because I'm the token fat pregnant lady around these parts. As soon as the words "free food," fell out of his mouth, I had turned on my heel and was out the door. Oddly, I was the only person that was in the lobby standing before the most beautiful carb-laden buffet filled with pastries, bagels, muffins, strudels and croissants. I wept for a moment before thanking god for the heavenly bounty put before me and loaded up a plate. I took an extra croissant too because I am your grandpa.

Like your grandpa, Andy Rooney just admitted to pocketing free rolls when he visits a restaurant on 60 Minutes a few weeks ago. He also confessed to making his own coffee in the morning rather than paying $1.50 for it in the CBS cafeteria. Most delightful of all, he acknowledged wearing his shirts multiple times before laundering them. All in all, Andy Rooney's oddball habits probably save him about $3 a day.  Some would argue that all his efforts are not worth such a  small savings. But those naysayers are too transfixed on the monetary amount itself and they fail to recognize the satisfaction that Andy Rooney gets out of living so frugally by choice. 

I've even created a new verb for the act of saving money in shameless and often insignificant ways, "to andyrooney." As in, today I andyrooneyed my sandwich.   That does not mean that I yelled at my sandwich, berated it even, while the poor sandwich could do nothing but stare at my very bushy eyebrows and question whether I ever aged.  (Seriously, does Andy Rooney age?  I feel like he's looked the same since I first saw him on TV back in the 80s.)  No, to andyrooney a sandwich means that I went to great trouble to save myself the 20 cents that croissant would have cost me at the store.  And as I later ate that sandwich, I took great pride in the fact that I had gained such a delicious feast by my own ingenuity and cheap-assed-ness.

I mean absolutely no disrespect to Andy Rooney and I am not making fun of him in the least when I say that.  So Andy, if you have googled your own name and somehow ran across these words, I want you to know you are my idol.  I'm actually making fun of myself.  I get an inflated sense of pride in making something out of nothing, especially if it was free or I paid a minimal amount for it.  Did I mention I can't shut up about it afterwards either?

When I arrived back to my office with my plate piled dangerously high with all the free goodies, all of my coworkers gathered around me salivating.

"How'd you get food? They told me I had to come back at 9:00," my coworkers whined.

"Guys, I don't think I need to tell you that I'm pregnant and therefore magical. Also, people are afraid I will eat them if they don't give me what I want. And you know, I just might. So be nice to me. Also, it helped that there was no one manning the buffet when I was down there.  Do me a favor when you go down at 9:00 though and get me another croissant will you?"

I like to think that having other people steal my bread for me makes me even more annoyingly shrewd than Andy Rooney, if such a thing is even humanly possible.  The old master has taught me well.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I dare you to google Kegelmaster 2000

A good friend of mine shared a beautiful sentiment with me tonight. She said her greatest Christmas wish for me is that I will be able to do my kegel exercises everyday so that I will not have to endure any peeing of my pants after giving birth. Doesn't that just warm your heart and fill you with the spirit of the season? I am thinking of sending in this story to my local news for their nightly human interest segment just because I want to touch others and inspire them to be kind to their fellow man. I had to break it to her that it's too late for me, I'm already peeing a bit half the time I sneeze. I now have an irrational fear of sneezing for this very reason. On a clear night you can hear me across the valley bellowing "noooooooooooooooo" in slow motion followed by a quick "achoo" and then a "damn it!"

But the true heartfelt goodness of my story is this: even after telling her that I'm already peeing my pants a little, this kind and giving woman still let me borrow countless pairs of her maternity pants. Oh, even writing about it gets me all choked up all over again.

I try to do my kegel exercises, really I do. I know they are important and will have an impact on my bladder functionality for the rest of my life. But, they're haaaaaaaaaaard! I complain to my husband about them all the time. I don't think he understands the difficulty involved in willing your internal muscles to flex. The only similar thing boys can compare it to is flexing their, you know, thingamajig. For girls, exercising their pelvic floor muscles is not like flexing an external body part...because we're talking about internal flexion here. It's like willing your heart to beat an extra beat or flexing your kidneys by sheer determination using only the power of your mind.

According to the directions I've researched online (yes, I have entirely too much time on my hands) you are not supposed to hold your breath or flex your butt muscles or abs when you do your kegels. So if you are doing either of these no-nos, I'm afraid you are doing them wrong and more than likely a urine-filled fate will befall you. Also, you are supposed to contract the muscle and hold it for 5 seconds before releasing and repeat like a million times. Actually, the website I was reading recommended quitting your day job and dedicating all of your time to flexing your pelvic floor muscles. Because you know, if you don't you may as well start clipping those Depends coupons out of the Sunday fliers is all I'm saying. With that said, it should come as no surprise that I'm putting my two week notice in tomorrow. Soon I will be the pelvic floor muscle champion of the world!
Disclaimer: Please don't call me and ask me why I'm quitting my job. It was a joke. Also, no pants were soiled during the writing of this post.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ho ho ho and stuff

I guess my posting has gotten a little bipolar lately, from talking about poop one minute to venting about the state of the world the next. Then again, those two things have a lot in common when I stop and really consider that both have gone to the toilet lately. But anyway, I've been watching too much news and I have a hard time mustering up my funny when I'm feeling preachy it seems. Therefore, I have left myself no choice but to post another pregnancy picture from last weekend. This was taken after we decorated our tree and I dressed the baby up as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Obviously, you can't see the antlers part of the outfit because this is not that kind of blog mister!

I would also like to have it be known that I do own more clothes than just a sports bra and a pair of yoga pants. This is the outfit that we chose for Dave to take my weekly pregnancy pictures in the hopes that I will be able to actual fit into them for the whole pregnancy. Eventually, we want to compile all the pics into a little "Slideshow to Fatness!"...oops, did I type that? I mean we want to put all the pictures into a "Slideshow Documenting the Beautiful Evolution of Our Little Miracle!" or something. But seriously, I think it will be a cool thing to have documented.

And thanks to my Davey for putting up with all my griping and deleting of pictures that give me "an unnecessary double bum" each week. Yesterday marks the day he was born and I'd like to thank Olgie and Doug for making that possible. Baby Dave was late to show up for his party and his parents had tried several methods to coax him out of the womb. At one point they went out driving in an old 1929 Ford Model A on a very bumpy road to try to induce labor, but that just gave little David his first taste of 4X4. Eventually, with in utero fluid levels running low, he did make his very chapped entrance into the world of course.

Hubband, I'm so happy we found each other and I cannot imagine spending my life with anyone else. I look forward to watching you transform into the role of father next year. I've known ever since I met you that you will make a fantastic father to some lucky little kid. I'm just thankful that kid has turned out to be my kid too and I get to experience this by your side.

Monday, December 8, 2008

So this is what ranting feels like

I know a lot of people that don't deserve it will suffer if GM fails. I realize that the failure of such a company will have a far-reaching effect on many sectors. But I still can't help but hope that their ship sinks because they have caused their own demise.

"General Motors announced today that they have again developed an electric car - the Chevy Volt. The company first developed an electric car - the EV-1 - in 1996, and leased a number of prototypes to Hollywood stars. The EV-1 was made after California legislators mandated the production of zero-emissions vehicles.

But at the same time that the company was producing the world's first electric car, it was also engaged in litigation to force California to lift its mandate.

When the litigation succeeded, and California lifted the requirement for zero-emissions vehicles, General Motors immediately ceased production and had all of the prototypes of the world's first electric car shredded. Now, the company is re-introducing an electric vehicle -- but this one includes a gasoline motor that will automatically switch on after forty miles of driving. When asked about the reason for ceasing production of the EV-1, Denise Gray, the Director of Hybrid Systems for General Motors, didn't have a lot of answers."

This is no conspiracy theory folks, this happened and is happening. There is a documentary called "Who Killed the Electric Car" I would recommend to anyone that wants more info. Moreover, GM has been buying up green technology patents for years only to shelve them because they wanted to eliminate the competition. All of the Big 3, not to mention Big Oil own a large percentage of green technology patents actually. Yet we wonder why we saw gas prices skyrocket in 2008.

What kind of greedy business philosophy would drive companies to act so irresponsibly toward the American people and the environment? If the American people are supposed to "buy American" shouldn't we at least be confident in the knowledge that the same companies we are supporting with our consumer dollars are not ultimately looking to screw us? The way I see it, Big Oil and the Big 3 have become the modern day pusherman.

Maybe now is not the time to get people riled up over this issue; after all, gas prices have fallen recently and it's not hurting pocketbooks as much right? Perhaps when we start to feel the pinch closer to home, that anger will well up again. And by the looks of it, by then, we'll have paid the Big 3 billions of dollars to keep making all the wrong decisions.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Staying afloat in the soup

I've just spent the last hour reading real life accounts of how the economic crisis is affecting the lives of normal people.  Here's the link if you'd like to read some of these accounts for yourself and please don't be deterred by the website itself, this is hardly a partisan issue anymore.  After all, I believe Bush finally admitted we're in a recession this week, after the National Bureau of Economic Research stated the recession started last December in 2007.  So at least we're finally past arguing about the definition of the word recession, which is a relief as we approach the definition of a depression.  As I watch the news, I notice the media reports are so focused on the topic of bailouts, first for insurance and banking and now moving on to the auto industry, that the stories of real people are being ignored.  

From stories about previously retired people being forced to now look for work after the savings they had spent a lifetime accumulating is now gone, to those who have lost their long-held jobs and don't know where to turn---their first-hand accounts are all in that link.  Their tales are important and heartbreaking because they are victims of doing everything we've always been told we should do to get a piece of the pie.  Their previously comfortable lifestyles are now the casualties of the willful greed and ignorance of others, yet so far no move has been made by the government to help them.  

I've even seen it firsthand while reading through the resumes my company has received for an entry-level position with our firm.  There were hundreds of resumes received from all types of applicants.  But I was most alarmed by the number of over-qualified individuals answering such a job listing, some having been in the financial industry for well over ten years.  I can only guess how dire the situation of each of these applicants.  The realization that these people were so desperate in my own industry was a wake-up call for me.  While we are all wise to constantly remind ourselves how easily replaced we are in our jobs, it is scary to see the possible competition's resume.  And it's even more frightening to put yourself in their shoes.  Those with education and experience are normally  more assured to land a position during tough times, whereas now these qualifications mean almost nothing.  I thought my degree and work ethic would always insulate me from struggling like so many I had seen growing up.  This recession seems to be leveling the playing field though.

Recent graduates and young adults entering the job force for the first time have been on my mind lately too.  How discouraged they must feel when they send out a metric ton of resumes and get no bites.  But I'm especially thinking about family members of mine that will graduate high school shortly and the fear this recession must cause in them.  (And if any of those family members want to hear my advice, I want to tell them to get their butts in college come hell or high water.  Yeah, yeah I read my previous paragraph about how a degree won't always help you in this economic crisis.  But enrolling in college will buy you some serious time for the state of our country to hopefully correct itself.  If money is a concern, enroll in a branch campus of a bigger school, get a part time job, apply for loans and scholarships and use the internet as the valuable tool it is.    As long as you are working your butt off in school, I'm quite sure the family will help you foot the bill anyway they can.  If you are floundering over what to study, may I recommend any subject dealing with green technology or sustainability programs.  Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now.)

Part of me thinks the economic meltdown will ultimately be good for this country forcing all of us to get back to basics that really matter.  Who knows, maybe the number of people popping prescription drugs to make themselves feel better will even go down.  In my opinion, American unhappiness crept in as we started to think more about our stuff and how we could accumulate more stuff than we did about our relationships with each other and how we live our life.  The good thing about focusing on surviving is it leaves little time to think about all the crap that really doesn't matter.  You've got food in your belly and a roof over your head?  Good for you, feel blessed and be thankful.  If you've got people you love and love you back there with you, there's little else you could really need.  Let's just help each other stay afloat during the tumultuous times ahead and we should be just fine.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm innocent I tell ya!

Have I told you lately that my husband is a genius? Quick back story: when we were 15/16 weeks along at the first Level 2 Ultrasound, the tech caught a quick screen shot of a substantial bump in the private area of our child (that I should probably not be discussing on the internets, sorry future kid.) Anyway, it was still a bit early for gender determination and the tech couldn't confidently say either way for sure. But we've held on to the sonogram image. So Dave's idea was to bring the picture of this possible baby penis with us to our OB appointment today where we would be meeting with a new doc. We would ask him for his best medical opinion on the mysterious bump and attempt to pull on his heart strings. I brought along my violin and played a very slow and pathetically sad song on it while Dave shared with him our hard luck tale. Aaaaaaand it worked! Well, it will work we hope. They didn't give us the ultrasound today, but we have one scheduled for December 30.

To quote the doctor, "I think everyone should be able to find out the gender of their child before birth. I'm mean, it's not like this is China!" Well played doctor and I agree with you on both points! Indeed, this is not China and we promise to keep the child even if the bump in the picture is not a penis at all. Pinky swear.

Later on in the appointment, he half talking to himself said, "Now let's see, I can always figure out a good reason to jot down to justify another ultrasound..." I had to will my lips closed so that I didn't yell out my prepared ridiculous excuses having to do with pooping baby arms and eating kitty cats to aid him in his search for a good reason. He didn't need to know that I had already figured out the most irrefutable rationalizations to explain the necessity of an additional sonogram. He ended up settling on the baby not measuring to size for 22 weeks. Please note: unless you work for my insurance company, I would like to stress that this is not really the case. Our measurements were right on the money and heartbeat was 150 beats per minute, like the most annoying techno song you can imagine.

I do have to laugh at the timing of the upcoming ultrasound though, as I fear my family may suspect a conspiracy concocted by yours truly. You see, I'm not a blue-is-for-boys and pink-is-for-girls kind of person and I'm annoyingly vocal about my feelings on this. But at least I admit it right! My family has been kind enough to throw me a shower on December 27, but the gender determination won't be until December 30. So we will miraculously find out what the plumbing of this munchkin is a mere three days after the shower (I hope). Sounds a bit suspicious no? I can't say I blame anyone for wondering if my stories about gender fender benders are legit. But for the record, I must stress that I'm a very poor liar. But more than that, I am lazy and if this whole thing was a ruse so as not to receive specifically colored or themed gifts, I have certainly dedicated a lot of time to it. One more thing to convince you of my innocence, Dave would not be able to keep this secret if we did know and were keeping it to ourselves. He may be a genius, but he's a bit like a 5 year old with a secret when he's excited. That's kind of why I married him.

[Edited to add a brief IM conversation that took place after this post was published]:

dave: oh, I can't keep a secret?!?!?!

sonya: haha

dave: may I just point out that you practically broadcasted to the world about the possible penis?!?!?!

sonya: your punctuation is alarming me.

dave: is it all the repeated exclamations and question marks?!?!?!?! is it?!?!?!?!?!

sonya: for the record, you just confirmed my innocence for me.

dave: funny how you even managed to use the word 'pooped' in this post too.

sonya: it's my mark, like "z" is for zorro.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jingle bills

Is it just me or is Christmas getting crazier and crazier every year? Between the shopping, gift wrapping, decorating, sending out the cards, going to the holiday parties, and driving to our destinations, little time is left for what the holiday is supposed to be about. Speaking of which, what is this holiday season supposed to be about anymore? I don't ask sarcastically. I really don't know and it bothers me even to say that. I mean, I know that Christmas marks baby Jesus' birth and I seem to recollect some "goodwill to men" is supposed to be thrown in there. But what has happened to the modern Christmas? I don't see nearly enough goodwill going around, especially as I hear stories on the news of a store clerk being trampled by the crowd during the opening of a Walmart on Black Friday. What a sad state it all is.

This is going to sounds terrible, but in a weird way I was happy about the economic crisis and recession because I hoped it would translate to a reigned-in Christmas. I thought that people would be forced to maybe hand make presents or bake something yummy in place of the latest gadgetry out of necessity. Or maybe I thought we would all agree to not buy anything for each other this year because spending time together is all that matters anyway. No really, I know we say that every year, but it's true.

My husband and I have set $40 limits on spending for each other every Christmas we've been together. I think one particular year we bought a front door for the house in lieu of any gift at all. This Christmas we're going to refinance our house because we're merry like that. So I can tell you from experience that not having lavish gifts and even no gifts at all still makes for a very jolly day. The trick to our success is agreeing upon the terms up front...haha, ho ho ho. That sounds so business-like for someone seemingly judging how cold Christmas has become. But it's just easiest to agree beforehand as to avoid any awkwardness and guilt later on.

I think it's safe to say that most people want to match the amount they spend to the amount spent on them, but not because they only want to give exactly what they have to and no more. But because they want everyone to feel good about the exchange, both the gifter and the giftee.

Problem is setting such limits can often lead to gift giving feeling like the exchange of similar amounts of money. While that doesn't seem like a very good solution, maybe if you make that idea as extreme as possible, we could get back to the true heart of the season. For example, let's all agree to exchange $20 in cash. You give me $20, I give you $20. You give Grandma $20 and she palms you a solid Andrew Jackson right back. Then everyone watches "It's a Wonderful Life" and drinks eggnog, the end. The only exception to the rule would be those aged under twenty years. We could call the whole plan the Rule of Twenty and revolutionize the world! Simultaneously, we could destroy the economy completely! But at least this retail meltdown and final destruction of the economy would be for the right reasons and not the greedy desires that have caused our current predicament. Take that Mister Potter!