I needed your encouragement to go to the doctor because I was afraid if I explained that I am dizzy (without actual unconsciousness) and nauseous (without throwing up) and my vision is strange (without blindness) that my primary care guy would dismiss my wooginess with a casual wave of his hand and chalk it all up to hysteria. And I would feel like a dummy dope.
But he did not; largely because my primary care guy was not able to give me an appointment until the week after next so it was the PA I saw Monday who did the hand waving. And she did not say "hysteria" she said "migraine" but when I asked if there was anything I could do about it or if there are possible triggers to avoid or if it would be worthwhile to see a neurologist she said, "No." And when I asked if she would consider testing for Lyme's (per the considered opinion of my secret doctor - Noelle's husband) she said, "No."
To quote Miss Marple she was a bit like the young lady at the boot shop who wants to sell you the black pair because she has them in your size even though you tell her you wanted brown. So the visit was a complete waste of time and I am still feeling gross and I finally did what I should have done in the first place, which is I asked my friend Noelle whether she likes her primary care doctor and I am going to schedule an appointment with her. Nothing against my current doctor; I just never get to see him because he is never there. I assume he has a second home that he visits regularly. In Greenland. Which means that whenever I have something come up (the post-influenza sinus infection that lingered forever; the time last year when half my face went numb) his scheduler despairs of my seeing him before October (unless it is October, in which case he is booked through Thanksgiving) and I wind up in urgent care explaining to some jaded stranger that if my lips were always numb I would not be there.
In the meantime I have spent every afternoon for a week feeling like I am in the middle of a rough Channel crossing and I have started avoiding my computer because something about the light from the screen makes me feel like the Morning After. Oh, and I am taking your advice and starting a headache (excuse me, a "headache") journal.
I was serious when I said the other week that there have been good things about going without any income for most of the past year. We were fortunate (or prudent, I guess, a little, but it was mostly just luck) that when Steve's business flat-lined we were debt free (except for our mortgage but what are you going to do?) and we had savings. We were unfortunate, true, in that much of these savings were in the form of investments that went belly up at the same time Steve's business started pressing its hands to its temples and saying it... it didn't feel well; but... it was abrupt, you know. Over the course of about three months we went from feeling nicely comfortable to wildly uncomfortable. Like, backseat of a Volkswagen uncomfortable.
*** Digression ***
I was writing this down in the basement where the light is easier on my eyes and Edward and Caroline can frolic in the enormous - and I do mean enormous - toddler habitrail that Patrick constructed for them out of play tunnels and couch cushions and blankets and chairs and a pet carrier.
Which is why this little girl spent most of the morning in a cage.
We came back upstairs for lunch and Steve mentioned with modest pride that his first ever eBay sale has a bidder. Oh! Not so much of a digression after all. Our finances are not so dire that we have resorted to selling our pants in desperation but as we have learned to live with less new junk (one might almost say no new junk but then one would be exaggerating to the point of falsehood) we have begun to assess the need to hang on to quite so much of our old junk. Among the items currently littering Steve's various work spaces are something something and something (heavy cable? a blue box full of wires? a weird white cone thing?) that were purchased in an attempt to boost our ability to get cell signals here in the valley of the elves. It did not work. Not only did it not work; it will never work. Not ever. So the cable and the box and the cone that originally cost umpteen hundreds of dollars are sitting on a shelf in anticipation of the last judgment. That seemed like a waste so Steve set up an eBay account and now he has a bidder and he is like a kid with a lemonade stand. When I came upstairs with the twinkles Steve showed me his sale page and I read it for the first time and laughed aloud because it is really witty. Truly. Who knew that Steve could write all funny like that?
I said, "Oh! We should write something together! We should write a romance novel with a wry but tender hero and gamine heroine with wide feet and it will be for men and women and it will sell a hundred billion copies in fifty languages and we'll get our own Wikipedia entry and... "
Steve said, "And we will call it... Butt Rompers."
So much for that idea.
** Digression Sort Of Over **
In the absence of new stuff I have been enjoying the process of taking our old stuff (that which Steve is not selling on Ebay - I hope he doesn't get too into this; we'll have nothing left to sit on or play with or wear) and shuffling it around the house. You know the HGTV shows in which they remove everything from the living room and then the designer finds some pieces by André-Charles Boulle in the homeowners' garage and they swap those for the Ikea TV stand after painting the walls a nice terra cotta and you think, "Oh that really does look better"? It's kinda like that only my sole objective is to get the giant plastic toys out of my bedroom and to hell with a unifying theme.
We went to visit friends when Patrick was a newborn and they had turned their dining room into a play room for their two-under-two complete with a baby gate to block the entrance (or the exit, depending upon your point of view.) I thought this was very clever and when we moved into this house we did the same thing. In the beginning we used the space to contain Patrick as needed - a sort of jumbo sized playpen - but eventually we took the gate down and it was just his play room. Most of Patrick's project stuff was in there: Legos, Knex, science experiments, my old computer that he inherited... that sort of thing. Years passed, twins were born, Patrick was thoroughly entrenched in play room so when the twins started to become mobile we put the gate back up again; this time to keep the babies away from all the chokables and the breakables and the don't touch that-ables. And it was fine. We had Patrick's play area on one side of the kitchen and Baby Jail on the other and peace reigned. Sure, sometimes Caroline and Edward would stand outside the gate and gnash their gums in impotent fury at being denied their right to swallow 2x2 bricks like Pez but for the most part it was a system of segregation that served us well. But as the twinkles have gotten bigger and their toys have gotten both bigger (kitchen) and smaller (Duplos) it has begun to suck. The house is divided into Patrick play areas and Twinkle play areas with literally nothing in between. Every night Steve and I move the plastic house that has gotten shoved against our bed during the day and pick up the billion little trucks and books and whatnots that are scattered all over the first floor. The living room looks like there was an explosion at the Fisher-Price plant (In Pomato, in Pomato you will find no meat... .)
So I told Patrick that I wanted to make the play room more toddler friendly but I wasn't sure what to do with all the itty-bitty pieces covering every surface in there; not to mention my concern that Caroline and Edward might accidentally smash one of his masterpieces to smithereens. Did he have any ideas? And this is what Jeeves called following the psychology of the individual because Patrick took the need to tear down that wall as a given and focused his attention on how to protect his belongings after the hordes arrived.
He suggested that we move the Legos up to his room and leveraged his agreeableness to gain exclusive bedroom rights to the multicolored bin rack that is currently in the living room full of baby stuff. He has been coveting it for some time. In his rich fantasy world he thinks he is going to use the bins to organize his Legos by color which... ha. Good luck with that project.
To make a long story even longer we all agreed weeks ago that we were going to turn the area off the kitchen into a space that everyone could use and I determined that first we would need to clear out Patrick's room, then we could shift his toys upstairs and finally we could get the xylophone out of my bed. So almost every day since then I have said to Steve or Patrick or Steve and Patrick, "Hey! Who's ready to go upstairs and sort books into piles? Hah? Who's with me? Who's ready for some fun?"
But somehow both of them have been wildly disinterested no matter how many times I promised that after we finished sorting we could redistribute the books by category and then clean out the closet.
I am reminded of the Simpsons in which Apu was part of a bachelor auction. When asked to describe himself he says, "I am not much of a talker but I love to listen. I also like to design and build furniture and then to have a discussion about where it could be placed in a room."
All of the women gave a collective sigh of appreciation and started a bidding war.
Steve is no Apu. Not only does he possess the ability to tune me out even when I am holding both of his ears and speaking, very slowly, directly into his face but he seems to have no interest in moving the file cabinets. In fact, you would have thought I was asking him to give up his only kidney when I finally (after many weeks and zero cooperation on the parts of Finks 0 through 3) finished organizing the books and clearing the closet and I asked if he wouldn't mind moving Patrick's bed to a different wall and carrying a couple/four bookcases downstairs. OK. If he wouldn't mind moving Patrick's bed again since I didn't like the first two arrangements.
Did this have a point? No, I guess not. Maybe an answer to the question nobody asked: what have I been doing to entertain myself as winter stretches into its sixth month (damned pomegranate)? Moving furniture and toys around.
Patrick has been lukewarm on the new setup. First, he hates change. Second, he realized after we took all of his Legos upstairs that he had reduced his total Lego play space by about 7000 percent. Bummer. Caroline, however, has more than made up for his lack of enthusiasm by being so! excited! about! the! new! space!
"Welcome in! Welcome in!" she says. Or maybe that is "Well, come in!" I'm not sure. One of her very most adorable habits is to say "um" and "well" and "hmmm" while tapping her chin as if she is thinking things over when I am quite certain she is just giving the audience (me) more time to appreciate how cute she is (very) before completing her thought.
Then she tells me to sit! sit! sit! on the rug while she brings over pretend food.
Edward is happy that they inherited all of Patrick's letter magnets which was sort of like an art enthusiast being told that the Met called and it will be shipping over its entire collection in the morning. Patrick has a staggering assortment of magnetic letters and numbers and Edward likes both letters and numbers and the play room has a bulletin board at just the right height. Edward has spent two days putting up letters in pairs, "Mommy E," he says sticking up an uppercase, "Baby e."
Unlike a similarly aged Patrick, though, his interests (wasn't I just talking about this?) extend far beyond letters and their various serifs. As Daimler said to Chrysler, there are always cars.
I was interested to see that so many of you think the accelerated reading program was designed by demons. Since I had never heard of it prior to three weeks ago I cannot say I have put much thought into the subject but it seems harmless enough to me? Are there different ways it is structured? Patrick's class has their in-class group book (they just finished "The Whipping Boy" and are starting "Sign of the Beaver" prior to that they read "The Phantom Tollbooth") and then they have the opportunity to read books for AR points outside the class. I did notice that when I looked them up online there seemed to be AR quizzes for almost every
book I could think of (Patrick's favorite Number Devil among them) but when I helped Patrick get setup for his first quiz in the
school library I realized that his school only has access to a
teeny tiny fraction of them (Number Devil not among them.) I guess schools have to pay for specific quizzes? A few of you mentioned on that post that you thought limiting the kids this way sucked the joy out of reading but, I dunno, isn't all mandatory reading joy-sucking on some level? Or not as the case may be. I once took a class on writing women of the Renaissance and I hated every single word (sorry Aphra Behn it wasn't personal) with the surprise exception of the colloquies of Erasmus which I loved so much I still read them. Not that Erasmus was a woman, of course, but he did have that humanist/feminist thing going on... my point was that you never know what you might like and isn't it nice to have a way to encourage children to look at different things to read by bribing them with a party? This is a sincere question. Patrick started the Order of the Phoenix last night specifically because it is worth a billion AR points; otherwise he would have probably re-read one of the Murderous Maths. I did warn him that book five of Harry Potter gets pretty dark and he stared at me blankly and I said that people start to die rather a lot. He asked if Ron or Harry or Hermione die in the fifth book
and I said no and he said well ok then and I thought well yeah but
------ ----- does die and I am still upset about it.
Speaking of books I always like it when we recommend things so I might as well end with asking whether you and/or any small people you know are reading anything good. I noticed that "Sign of the Beaver" was written by the same person who wrote one of my all-time favorite elementary school books "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" so I'll start with those two, also "Constance" which is another early American historical fiction book that was terrific with the slightest little hint of romance to it. Which doesn't make it a girl book necessarily although... Butt Rompers. Enough said. I think I have now mentioned the Septimus Heap series in every post but it is really such a fun read/listen. We started the fourth book yesterday. I am eying both Percy Jackson and Eragon next; any thoughts on those two? Caroline and Edward are moving beyond board books into a desire for more complicated picture books and their tastes are kind of eclectic. Edward likes the Chicka Chicka books (letters and numbers) and this old book of Patrick's that consists entirely of songs for beginning recorder. He likes the way the music looks ("Note?" he says, "Note note note two note?") and he keeps asking me to read it and I am, like, um, doh doh doot doot doh doh... oh Edward go find Mommy a book with WORDS. Caroline is a crazy obsessed Mo Willems groupie fanatic and vacillates between asking to read Leenard the terrrrrrrrribuh monstuh five hundred million times and sighing and saying, "Ahhhh PUPPIES" and then asking to read one of the pigeon books. Five hundred million times. And me, I just started "The Collected Works of TS Spivet" out of which I am determined to make either a head or tail but I think it is too clever for me and maybe I should just go back to the sweet soothing treacle of the Regency (I read Tessa Dare's debut novel "Goddess of the Hunt" last night when the diagrams became too much for me with Spivet - it was ok.) Speaking of Regency and then I swear I am done (Caroline is just finishing lunch and keeps saying, "Take a naaaaaap pleeease. Take a naaaaaap please") I saw "Secret of the Pink Carnation" at the library and took it home with the idea that I had heard it was good. It was only later that I realized that I had "heard it was good" from an ad on my own sidebar. Word of mouth marketing at work, right there. I seem to be running quite a few ads right now so feel free to be similarly subconsciously influenced; I'm sure my nice bookish advertisers would appreciate it.
Anyway, are any of you (bigs or littles) reading anything good?