Wednesday, September 7, 2011


So, this is a nice two-part, manic depressive post. In the first part I tell you all about the gripping fear I have of visiting that most common of human fears, the dentist's chair. But don't you worry, because I'm hoping the second part will be a fun roller coaster ride of hilarity.

They say (they, meaning wikipedia, the source of all internet research of mine) that odontophobia in severe cases is typically brought about by traumatic dental experiences that lead someone to develop a fear that makes them avoid the dentist at all costs. I guess I have that in my history. I wish I could seriously post a pic of how screwed up my teeth were circa 1988. I had a constant stream of dental, orthodontic, and surgical appointments to give myself a big old pretty smile. It started out ok and I loved my orthodontist, but somewhere between getting my braces off at 17 and becoming an adult who had to figure out how to PAY for my dentist check-ups I just...stopped going.

And then I got really scared, remembering the shame and admonishment I felt when the dentist told me I didn't floss enough or brush enough or visit often enough. So then it became a fear of just-what-the-hell-will-they-say-when-I-tell-them-it's-been-seven-years kind of anxiety.

But finally, things clicked into place. I was going to get married, I had insurance, and I wanted to look good for my husband. I found an ad for a brand new one-man dental practice that not only specialized in high-fear, sedation dentistry, but also had a coupon for a free teeth whitening treatment. When I called to make the appointment, my palms were sweaty and I was already breathing heavy. I nearly passed out when the receptionist said "oh, well, most people don't need sedation just for a cleaning and exam".

I couldn't have felt like a bigger freak of nature. I was literally crying on the phone. When she told me there were options and that they could certainly help me out, I at least made the appointment.

I was 10 minutes early and sat hyperventilating and crying in the office, with the poor receptionist watching me with pity eyes. (I wish I were exaggerating, but my heart literally speeds up and I have a physiological reaction to seeing the dentist) I was almost ready to bolt when the next words out of her mouth were a balm to my beating heart.

Nitrous. Oxide.

My life has never been the same. I now see the dentist at least once yearly, and if I remembered to make the appointments and he weren't nearly 40 minutes away, I'd go every 6 months. I'm no longer scared of the dentist. At least not mine.

And now, I'd love to share my stream of consciousness (what I can remember of it) from being happily sedated during my dental appointment today.Please, try to keep up...

"Is this lady ever going to stop talking? I don't care where her daughter works. Say Yes to the Dress is on...I hope it's Katiekate's episode. I've been trying to catch it. Damn, this mask is blocking the TV. What's he saying about North Carolina brides? I feel kind of like I'm on a tilt-a-whirl at the fair. Falling backwards. I'm going to crash...just kidding...there's my head again. Whooooooooooo. Wow, I'm gripping this chair pretty tight. Strange, because I'm super relaxed. Katiekate...hmmm...maybe that's her sister there. Oh well, I can't really see it. Hey, these chair arms feel weird...I must be making a face, because she keeps telling me sorry and 'you're doing great'. It feels like she's using a super duper high powered water pic to clean my teeth. But I'm pretty sure they just scrape them, unless they have some really high-tech stuff at this office. I'm never trying another dentist again. Wait, did she just say uh-oh? What if that's blood spurting out of my mouth instead of just water. OK, calm down. That's not blood. Or if it is, I don't care, because I'm falling again. Breathe deeper. Am I grimacing? She thinks this hurts me. I wonder if they're rougher on people with nitrous because they know we don't really care? Hmmm...I could never do this without laughing gas. I MUST remember Katiekate. I should write this down as soon as I get in the car. I don't have a pen. Maybe I'll ask if I can take one. Is that weird? Who cares. I wonder if this is what ether feels like. Cider House Rules was really not the best of John Irving's books, not by a long shot. "" as Jacob says. They really do call this laughing gas. I wish this lasted longer. I think she's almost done. I bet I'm the only high fear dental patient to ever wish my cleaning didn't end. Oh, did he say Outer Banks beach wedding? It's pretty indisputable that North Carolina is the best state ever. Damn. She's almost done. One more deep breath, one more ride on the tilt-a-whirl and....

And she switched me back to oxygen.

I'm counting down to March for my next appointment, with glee.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cape Lookout

It's a vacation within a vacation. My absolute favorite place in the world.

And hopefully, it's still there Sunday...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"It's a Doggy-dog World."

Remember the good old days when dogs slept outside, ate whatever Purina dry food was on sale at the local supermarket, and got kenneled during family vacations?

Yeah, just barely for me, too.

I'm just as guilty as the next gal of treating my dog like a princess. Case in point, after my "big" gender reveal ultrasound with my son, I came home, hugged her neck, and said to her (as if she understood), "you're still my only baby girl!"

She comes on vacations with us, swims in the pool with us (thanks mom and dad), and very occasionally if I know she's just-bathed, sleeps under the covers in the winter.

And today I realized just how much we spoil our pets now compared to 25 years ago.

I went to Pet-Smart to pick up some food. That's all we needed, food. (Which, by the way, usually runs $45 a bag but luckily was on sale so I got it for a steal at $35.) Then I figured, well, they're having a big sale, so I bought some treats that don't expire until October but were almost half off.

Then I wanted to get her a treat I can give her tonight to make up for not taking her with me to the pet store. ::eyeroll at how obnoxious that is::

So I decided to browse and remembered we are going on vacation soon, so I grabbed some coconut scented shampoo b/c she gets frequest baths after playing in the water/sand all day.

Then I decided it would be nice to buy the family dogs (we have no less than 4 dogs that come on our yearly, week-long family vacation) a new toy to have on our trip.

So, $54 later I was walking to the car and thinking about how much the times have changed, how much we spoil our pets now, and what a huge billion dollar industry this must be.

It doesn't matter, though. My dog is truly "part of the family" and we would do anything for her, including buying expensive food and fish oil supplements, taking her to the best vet in town, and making her feel like a valued friend as often as possible.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Tragic Loss...

I had a post planned for today.

It was going to be about Big Brother and the comparisons that could be made between the shenanigans on a reality TV show and the whole "Gang of Six" and "Cut, Cap, and Balance" crap going on in Washington.

And then I got an email at work from a friend.

Someone in our community lost her husband yesterday. He was 27 years old. They have a child Jacob's age and a daughter that will be 4 months old next weekend.

Since then, I've been unable to focus on anything except how many frivolous things I get involved with on a daily basis and how much more rich and full my life would be if I put that energy into loving my husband and making our home a calm and peaceful retreat from the stress of everyday life.

If you are the praying type, please send up prayers for this young mother, who now has to make a multitude of decisions about how to move forward from this painful moment in her life.

And if you're not, then give your husband a kiss when you get home, forgive him for the annoying mistake he made yesterday, and be glad that you have him at all.

**If I get any news about memorial funds or anything that can be done for this family, I will post for you all to share. I would prefer to keep her anonymous for now as her blog has not been updated (can you imagine) and I don't know how far into the interwebs she wants this information to travel. Some of you, however, know the story and the names already. If you don't, God will know who your prayers are for.**

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

One of Those Moments

I knew we had made a mistake within three steps.

It was a rare night in our household, where it was nearly 9PM and my little guy was still crying in his crib after 30 minutes. My husband had just come upstairs to find me at the computer, trying to shut out the crying, nerves frayed, and gave me some much needed relief when he said, "this isn't normal...we should go check".

So we walked in, and I saw Jacob turtled on his "pillow" in the corner of the crib, not standing as I'd expected. ::sigh:: Wrong move, mom. Confirmed after he sat up, glared at us, and shouted "No, Mommy! No, Daddy!" before continuing to sob.

But, we were in, and there was no turning back. So I shooed daddy out, picked up my sweet baby boy, and sat down in the rocker as he frogged me, his sobs turning to gentle hiccups as he relaxed. We sat like this for a long while, me just smelling his hair and kissing him way, way too much above the ear.

After a little bit (who is to say, time was standing still), I whispered to ask if he was still awake, he lifted his head and just looked at me, exhausted. 

"Do you want to get back in your bed?" I tried gently. He shook his head no. "Do you want me to hold you like a baby?" This is our code for his favorite pre-bed position since he was six weeks old, roughly. He didn't answer, but leaned as far to his right (facing me) as he could, and I let him relax. Holding him in my lap, his head on my left arm, with my right arm supporting his legs, his left arm draped over mine, he finally succumbed.

And for the first time in over a year, I got to watch my baby fall asleep.

Y'all, nothing else matters. This was a gift, and I would have gladly given up chocolate and cheese for a year of holding this child while he slept in my arms.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Oh, am I Lucky...(WMW Post)

I'm linking up for the first time in a while with Julia and the gang at Working Mom Wednesday. Are you a working mom? Check us out!

As I am not a very good scheduler in the least (you can expect if I say "we'll be there no later than 10" you will see me around 10:30) I have chosen today's second prompt: would you rather have a large salary and crappy benefits or a smaller salary and stellar benefits?

As someone who has been in both positions, I can definitely say "Option B, Alex".

See, before kids I worked in retail management and I did this in some capacity or another for almost 10 years. I was 26 years old, in the mid-2000's, no kids, newly married, buying my first house, making close to 50 grand with no college education. I felt special, as if I had somehow charmed my way into being someone I shouldn't be. (Looking back, obviously I worked hard for that position.) Our benefits were better than most retail companies: I got 3 weeks of paid vacation, 4 personal days a year, and sick time when my store wasn't too short-staffed to manage without me (ok, so I rarely got sick time).

On the other hand, I only got one full weekend off a month, had to work until 10PM twice a week, and some weeks (during floor changes and inventory) worked well over my salaried 40 hours. I had to bow out of last minute weekend trips to the beach and turn down free college football tickets while all of my friends went tailgating on Saturdays. I was beginning to imagine raising a child in all of this and thought we could make it work, but looking back, I am SO GLAD I lost that job. The company has gone through rough times, been bought and sold and their commitment to a "work-life balance" is nearly non-existent at this point.

And then there's my job now. I started at the ground floor, doing a job that a lot of people feel is suited for a retiree or college student, and taking a cut in salary back to what I was making as a 21 year old in my first assistant manager retail position. But as I've learned this new world of banking and all of it's intricacies and regulations and audits, I have fallen in love. Sure, I have the occasional complaint about the battle between salespeople and operational people. Sure, I have clients that sometimes are like a stump in the thick mud I'm trying to navigate. Sure, I occasionally talk my husband's ear off on our commute home at the crazy thing that happened this morning. But overall, I love being able to pack up at 5PM (ish...sometimes 5:30) and head home.

Friday nights have a new meaning: a relaxed family night where we're not as strict on Jacob's bedtime and we don't feel the rush-rush-rush to get dinner made, eaten, baby bathed and in bed within 2 hours of getting home. And I now know the feeling of having the whole (3-day Holiday) weekend stretched out before me, with no mind paid to work whatsoever. I traded in my lovely weekday off for having off Columbus and President's Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veteran's Day, and any other day the Federal Government deems a holiday. I was paid in full for 8 of the 12 weeks I was home on maternity leave for doing absolutely nothing for this company.

The typical benefits are pretty similar to what I was getting in retail, comparable vacation-sick time. Slightly better health benefits (I paid $750 total for my entire pregnancy from the first visit to the surgery to the 6 week follow up.)

But the work-life balance benefits are incomparable. And worth every bit of the $48,000ish (before taxes) that I've "lost" over the last 3 years.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Discipline" Success!

I mean, my kid is 22 months old, so there's really no such thing as discipline right now. I'm still figuring out how I feel about the whole "discipline" thing with a toddler. I've been reading up and I guess I fall somewhere in the middle: I don't think he "gets it" all of the time, but I do feel that in my home it's important for us to start laying the foundation of what is acceptable and what is not early.

I have a few friends that are all about the "redirection only" methods and to be honest, it just sounds like they live in households centered around their child and what he wants. For me, that feels like it would create a kid a few years down the road that would have a really tough time accepting rules and boundaries and other people's wishes.

So far, discipline has been frustratingly exhausting, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Jacob either doesn't realize he's being punished and sits in time out chattering to himself and playing with his shoes until I come over to have our "follow up", where he looks me in the eye and tells me what I want to hear so he can go play, or I get all-out tantrums complete with hitting, kicking, screaming and wailing. Neither is fun, or feels like we are getting anywhere.

But yesterday, I MIGHT have had a breakthrough!

Lately he wants us to carry him ALL.THE.TIME. He has begun refusing to walk on his own to/from daycare or anywhere, and just whines and tries to block our way until we cave. So I didn't cave. The process looked a little like this:

"Mama, hold again," while reaching up.
"No, we're going to hold hands and walk today," so I take his hand, and he instantly becomes a sack of potatoes, throwing himself to the ground and trying to wrench his shoulder out of socket. So I let go, let him tantrum, and say "I'm going to keep walking now".
"Bye," he screams at me through tears, until I get too far for comfort, then he runs towards me crying hysteerically as if I have just dropped him off at a baby insane asylum, never to return.
I stop, let him catch up, say, "are you ready to hold hands and walk now?"
"No, hold again," and lather, rinse, repeat.
This was our process all the way from his classroom to the front door. It took over 10 minutes.

I finally carried him outside and we sat on the bench. We had a nice chat while he was sitting in my lap about how I needed him to be a big boy and walk, and how I was never going to leave him behind, but I couldn't always carry him. And then I made a deal. "How about you hold my hand and we walk all the way across the parking lot, and if you can walk with me like a big boy, we'll go look at the bus up close?" THAT got his attention. And then we did...walk all the way across the parking lot. He was awesome, and I told him so.

And then I picked him up and carried him to the car. As a reward for both of us for staying calm (me) and listening to mommy (him).