Friday, 21 January 2011

House For Rent

(cute baby not included)

DH is stressed.
I'm cool as a cucumber.
What can I do?

Five days ago our tenants in our Wexford home (above) gave notice to move out March 1st. They have been in our home for four and half years. We have been renting in Wicklow County for the same time. The girls have been in a Wicklow school for three years. We can't afford a rent AND a mortgage payment. We need to find a tenant in Wexford or give notice here and move.

Starting to get the picture? Yeah, that's why DH is stressed.
I'm chilling because our tenants have been FANTASTIC renters for four and half years. They are a young family who have just bought a house, and I say go! go! go!, make this downward economy work for you! Make the most of it! We have been blessed to have them in our home for four and half years. So yes, I'm grateful still for them and am giving it to the Universe, putting my faith in God and well, I'm as cool as a cucumber.

Even more still, our home business can be run from anywhere. The house is absolutely lovely. I was fond of being a "Wexican" (Wexford is a sunny climate in Ireland and located on Ireland's southern tip, it is coined Wexican, a term that this Californian likes, along with chunky guacamole and salty margaritas!) I would LOVE to create and make my own home--I can't come close to doing that in a rental. DH has a closet green thumb which would totally come out and flourish on our acre in Wexford. We left some very dear neighbors of whom I am still very close.
There's Sue and her family. Sue lives down the road and minded Cutiepie for the first six months of her life. When Babydoll boasted about being born in California, Cutiepie was heard saying, "Yeah? Well I was born in Sue's house!" She wasn't. But yes, home is with Sue.

There's Mary, my quilting neighbor. Mary, I'm guessing is in her late 60s? We first met her the week we moved in, she pedaled up our long driveway on her bicycle to greet us. Her visits continued so she could hold my newborn so I could sew as she taught me patchwork on her second hand machine.
My Wexford home. sigh
Our Wicklow home. sigh
See, Wicklow is a better location for us. Gives me that arm's reach into metropolitan Dublin. Gives me a "welcome to anyone feel" that this cityslicker needs so much. (No offense Wexford people, but you did call me a "blow-in" time and time again.) Kevin's family is in Wicklow. We've made friends here. The girls are in school.
Amazingly, our tenants gave us notice the month before we were due to re-sign on our own lease agreement.

We have options, not always are we given options.

I like options. Don't you?

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Thinking It Over

Today's homework, "write a sentence with the word 'teeth' in it."

Babydoll writes:

I have 20 sumsomethinking teeth in my mowth.

When school started, we enrolled Babydoll in the Homework Club. Every day she returned home with completed homework, but riddled with silly, rushed errors. We were paying for this teacher-tutored program and expected better results, so we approached the principal one day about this quandry.

"Oh, yes. Well, we help your child with her homework. But we DON'T do their homework for them. The teacher simply reviews and signs it."

Say what?

Ok. Who needs corrections when you've got 20 mathmatical, thinking teeth?

Monday, 17 January 2011

An Oversight Twice as Bad

Thursday was four days ago and I think I'm finally recovered.

In the morning was AWCD meeting with me manning the membership desk; the afternoon was for grocery shopping.

We were not yet bare in the cupboards, but the fridge was empty. I've always advised DH to buy nonperishables in twos, even if you need only one. Safety in numbers. With double your need, you've insurance for when you need another.

Thursday night I listed my grocery items while I checklisted all the things needed for AWCD. It would be a full day; I had already planned on not working in the office. DH also ordinarily works on the magazine, but for the first time in months, he had a job of plastering planned. He too was checking his gear and loading the jeep the night before. He had organised a late arrival to the job so he could walk the girls to the bus stop.

The AWCD meets in Ballsbridge, close to the centre of Dublin and to get there in time, I leave really early. On this morning I was twenty minutes from Ballsbridge when his call came in. “You took the jeep!” “Yeah, uh?” In my mind this was no huge revelation: whoever has the girls, by default keeps the family car. The jeep is a two-seater. UNTIL, he reminded me he had a plastering job. Not only did I have the jeep, I had his gear too. Uh oh.

A hundred ladies waiting for sign in badges from me and a grumpy (self-inflicted, I know) DH looking for his jeep and gear. A rock and a hardspot. You been there? I chose to continue on, set up the membership desk and then proceed to abandon it in search of DH. I had asked him to use the car and begin to come in my direction. That didn't sit well, but he didn't really have a choice.

I did have time to snap at a few ladies. There's always that couple ladies who come early, and while I come early to set up, I can be pretty annoyed when I can't use that time to set up. Let's say I had a few apologies to make when I returned to the meeting.

Course my exit wasn't near as smooth as that. I was so worried DH would be really mad, I totally lost my nerves and viola! my parking ticket went missing and I was gated in. With DH's fifth phone call, as if knowing it would help, the waterworks started; I was crying. I suspect that is when he went and ordered a late breakfast, 'cause when I finally pulled up he was smiling with a cup of tea in one hand and a crossiant in the other.

The rest of the day was uneventful (thank goodness). Grocery shopping went smoothly, I even thought to buy a bottle of red wine. Lord knows I needed it. That evening, looking over the rim of my glass, with the now-empty bottle in sight, I heard DH say, “don't you wish you had bought that second bottle?”

Went on to have a great weekend by attaching the binding on three quilts! Check 'em out:

pic 1 is for a friend's baby; pic 2 and 3 are matching quilts for the girls. Babydoll's has pink binding and Cutiepie's has pink binding

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Scales of Time

My 2011 is a cliche. Yes, I'm trying to lose weight and exercise more. I could only be more cliche if I had a smoking addiction to kick. Thankfully I don't.

I'm also going to try to carve out more sewing time. I thought about calling it "creative time", but honestly creative time is always happening. What is needed is more execution time. The last sewing was the girls' Christmas skirts. Here is the promised photo of skirt set 1.
If I were to do them again, I would shorten the front panel. Due to natural waist/swag of the girls bellies, skinny or chubby (and I have one of each!), the panels lay longer than the skirt hem, whereas it would look best if they align. Just a tip, if you're watching at home!

They're mock Scottish skirts. The girls are interested in Scotland, my father's origin, so that was nice. The fabric itself had a sweet story--originating from a special request from one friend to another friend's visiting relative. "I'd love some plaid fabric and teddy fabric." She made her children pajamas. Years later, the unused remants found their way back to the friend's house, until recently they were passed on to me.

Several skirts later, I'm craving quilting time. I hope to get to that soon.

In the meanwhile, my cliche takes centre stage. Empty the house of sweets and snacks. Begin the daily walks. Weigh myself.


We have no weigh scale in the house. We used to have a fancy digital scale. A fancy tempermental scale that you had to step, pounce, step back, wait, re-step, and settle before it would reveal the magic numbers. I was hardly impressed. And even less bothered when it stopped working last year.

I missed the swinging climb of the numbered wheel in a traditional scale. The glassy big electronic diameter of Fancy Scale did nothing for me. DH was its only fan. Personally, I think DH admired the scale's larger-than-usual size. As if by some crazy relation, the more weight, the more acceptable coming from a larger instrument.

Yesterday I found my fitness partner.

A small tidy black and white traditional scale costing 8 bucks. Already DH disapproved. He is the ultimate salesman's target--if it doesn't cost much, it mustn't be good. Quite honestly, I don't need to pay a lot only to be told I've eaten too much. As DH and I were debating the quality of the new device, the girls wandered in. Alas, children have a way of putting all in perspective.

Cutiepie: "Cool! Mommy bought a time machine!"

Oh, don't we wish it were a time machine?

One by one, we climbed aboard and waited for the numbered wheel to stop.

The mom in me fretted as my pre-tween daughters weighed themselves. I figured if we took very little notice of it, we could avoid setting in a deeply-rooted self-conscious.

As DH's size-11 feet covered the entire scale, its numbers spun, bobbing to the nearest to last increment. Cutiepie made her second hilarious observation:

"Whoa!! Daddy made it go almost right back 'round to zero!"

That's right, DH might just like this time machine yet.

May your timing be right for you!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

When Contraception Goes AWOL

Here's one for the 2010 Bizarre File:
In September, I was in the hospital for a Minera Coil Insertion (aka IUD). A three-inch T-shaped device is a form of contraception inserted into the uterus. My cervix is tricky, surgery is necessary to insert anything as it was also necessary to extract my babies!

In September and October, I was in extreme pelvic and stomach pain. Several doctor appointments and nothing suspected; more tests scheduled for December. (I'm a public patient in Ireland, thus time delay. Luckily, I'm pretty resilient. It takes a lot to take me down.)

Meanwhile, on November 5 after Houston, I awoke to lower left back pain. This, I diagnosed myself: a kidney stone. My kidney spent the next night spasming with the stone finally lodging in the tube. After 136 x-rays and admittance to the hospital, I was prepared for surgery to break up the stone and reset the uretha tube.
Before surgery, the doctor came to my bedside and said he had to discuss something with me. While following the stone movement in x-rays, they found something else. They had been following another moving target. My coil. It had ruptured the uterus and was now touring my insides.

In early x-rays, the coil appears in the uterus region, but upon closer look, it's behind the pelvis.

Other x-rays show the coil in the abdomen beside my gall bladder.

And yet, other x-rays show the coil behind ribs.

The doctor team was, and are, dumbfounded at its mobility and are anxious to remove the coil from the abdomen. Then, as if there wasn't enough bizarre activity, my original OBGYN doctor called my urologist surgeon during surgery and said to leave the coil in. (Apparently they are buddies and Dr. Urlogy sent an x-ray on his iphone to Dr. OBGYN.)

Why Dr. OBGYN wanted to halt the surgery for the coil eluded us all. But he did.

My first visit out of the hospital, of course, was to see Dr. OBGYN. He said he was sorry, it had never happened before, and the act of trying to find and remove via stomach surgery could be worse than if it was left to be in the abdomen. “So just leave it in your abdomen.” I think not.
I actually think he thought I would just roll over and go away. When I said I was going for second opinions, he agreed to consult four colleagues for what to do.

What made it worse, was back in September, in recovery I commented to the female doctor in training that I never even met Dr. OBGYN. I thought it odd that he did not introduce himself before or after surgery, so I had asked her, “Did he even do the surgery?” She said, “Oh yes, he did. You were too groggy to remember him.”

Now when he and I are in his office, and my coil in my abdomen, he introduces himself. (Note to self, he's never met me before.) He began reading the operating notes to me, stressing it was a very difficult insertion for “her”. I told him “she” said he had done the surgery, to which of course, he defensively denied.

Despite this blame game, Dr. OBGYN came back shortly with a new recommendation that the coil be removed. Which is a good thing as all my queries had been returning with vehement yes for removing coil. Surgery is scheduled for 28 January.

Can you believe? Crazy stuff.

Beyond Cutiepie's birth, which was blissfully seamless, this has been my longest experience with Irish health system and Irish hospital staff. The professionalism and the care shown by hospital staff was bar none the best I've ever experienced anywhere. So considerate and caring.
Equally so, they were incredibly candid. With each changing of staff, the nurse would lean in and say, “I saw your x-rays. Wow! That's really bad!” As an American, I was shocked. But I appreciated the humanity of the reaction. It also validated that I wasn't overreacting.

Have you ever heard of such a mess?

So I am now preparing myself for stomach surgery later this month. I trust all will go well.

I'm thankful we're not talking about a certain surgery in, say, nine months?
Because THAT very well could have been the case with contraception gone AWOL!