Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Car talk

Yes, it sounds like an auto-related radio show.

My brother's best friend (he was best man for my brother's wedding) is a Nissan saleman in Connecticut. I have known Car Man since he and Little Brother were five years old and running around my house. He is like the extra little brother to me. Car Man has come through on autos for family before, so, after narrowing down the kind of car I want to get to another Nissan (Up until this point, I have to say, the Sentra has been awesome, and I was very happy with it. Also, everyone I know who's bought a Nissan has sung their praises.), I contacted Car Man via email to see what he thought about certain models. He gave me the scoop on a few, and Monday I test drove three- the Rogue, which is a smaller sized SUV, the Sentra (why not), and the Altima.

I liked how the Rogue drove, but I could not get past two things: there are a LOT more blind spots in it than I am used to, and that freaked me out. Also, the gas mileage, while good for an SUV, is still...well, not fabulous. I then drove the Sentra, which was fine, and the Altima was last. I liked the Sentra and the Altima equally, but overall, the Altima has been rated a better car, it's got a bit more room than the Sentra, and the gas mileage is almost as good as the Sentra, so I decided to go with that.

Car Man has found me a car! It's blue. (Anyone who knows me and knows how much I love the color is apt to just say, "Well, duh!" here.) It's got some extra toys in it, but not extravagantly so. I made an appointment to have the Sirius satellite radio taken out of the Sentra tomorrow after school, and have started taking all my stuff out of it. If all goes well, I shall be driving up to Connecticut Saturday morning to get my new car and trade in my Sentra.

Of course, this is provided the car actually makes it there. My check engine light came on today! It's still running the same as it's been- starting a bit rough in the morning, etc. I'm driving it to and from school tomorrow (and to the Sirius dealer after school), and then Friday Darrel will drive me to and from school. Darrel originally was talking about him and Frank following me up Saturday morning in his car, in case I break down en route, but, really, what could he do for me that AAA won't be able to do already? And, frankly, it sounds like a nightmare to me- him, me, and a cranky two-year-old, standing alongside a highway, waiting for AAA. It's going to be nearly a three-hour drive each way, and while I'm up there, I may as well stop in at my cousin Nina's house on the way home for lunch or something. If the car breaks down en route, I'll call AAA and have them tow me to Car Man's dealership.

*prays car makes it there*

Of course, since I'll have my nice new car, this means Frank and I can go visit Niece #3 Sunday after all! Frank, of course, will not be able to go into the NICU, but Little Brother or SIL can stay with him in the waiting area while I go in with the other person. Must bring my camera with me...

The NJ Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (NJRID) convention is next weekend. I. Can't. WAIT. It's going to be so much fun. It's in Jamesburg, which is not a scenic town, and is about an hour and a half from me. I am staying in the hotel the entire weekend. I can't wait to get away and just worry about ME for a weekend. Ahh, the luxury...going to dinner and only carrying a small purse, not a diaper bag!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Niece #3! And, I hate cars!

Abigail Barbara was born at 11:54pm Thursday night. She weighed in at five pounds, seven ounces, and was 18 inches long. All around, not a bad size for a 34-weeker, huh? Yeah, I think they were a little off on the due date there.

Anyway, according to Little Brother, whom I spoke with on the phone Friday night, she is breathing totally on her own, but has issues with digestion and body temperature control, both of which are par for the course with premies. They are currently giving her some kind of magic goo they give premies, for nutrition, and SIL is pumping her breastmilk and storing it.

Little Brother called my mother at 12:30am Friday morning to tell her- apparently, at that point, they were still trying to get the placenta out of SIL! Apparently they had to press down on her stomach or something to encourage it along. There you have one reason I am glad I had a c-section, although some women I know who have had vaginal births tell me that part is no big deal.

SIL was due to come home yesterday afternoon, which, coincidentally, is the same day they were planning on moving into a new apartment, closer to where Little Brother works. I haven't spoken with either of them since Friday, so I don't know how that all went. Abby is probably going to be able to come home in a few weeks, very likely by Thanksgiving.

As for when I'll meet my new niece...well, that's up in the air. The head gasket on my car is dying, and I am car-shopping. I couldn't have gone to visit today, anyway, since Frank and I still have the remnants of whatever killer cootie we had the past few weeks, so next Sunday was the next available date I could go see her, anyway. I don't feel comfortable driving my car down the Parkway, especially since the mechanic told me not to drive it any more than neccessary. I'm just really pissed about the whole situation- we can't get a fucking break with ANYTHING. And, yes, for those who are counting, the head gasket was the exact same thing that went wrong with the Neon I drove before this car, thankyewverymuch.

Of course, the way dynamics in my family run, I (and my husband, by extension) will look like a giant schmuck because EVERYONE will have gone to see Abby LONG before I have any hope of getting there to see her.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New baby

No, not mine! My brother's wife is in labor as I write this with their first child, a girl they've decided to name Abigail. Her water broke prematurely; I think she's at 34 weeks gestation, but if her water's broken, that baby is coming today whether they like it or not. I'm still sick, and am home for the third day in a row, so it's not like I could even go and be moral support or anything, either. :(

The two of them have been house-hunting for nearly a year. They were looking in the area they currently live, down the Shore, because SIL's mother lived there. However, her mother died quite suddenly this summer, so they are now looking closer to Brother's job. They've actually put bids in on, I think it's four houses, and backed out of each one for various reasons. The most recent backing-out happened maybe a week ago. They currently live in one of those teeny tiny Shore apartments (with their dog) that's little more than a glorified closet. I sure hope they have an idea for where to put the crib, even though Abby won't be coming home for several weeks yet.

SIL has been through a LOT of stress recently. I can't help but wonder if that has had anything to do with the premature labor. I'm quite worried about her.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Still sick

I came home from school early yesterday and stayed home today. I hate being sick. I hate using up sick days this early in the school year.

The good news is, I don't think this is going to become a sinus infection. I still feel sick, but I think it's starting to pass, thankfully. *crosses fingers*

On the down side, the heat in my car died yesterday. It works just fine when I have my foot on the gas, but when I take my foot off the gas, it blows cold air out. I got a recommendation from one of the women who run Frank's daycare for an auto repair place here in town. We dropped the car off this morning. Darrel is currently on his way to pick me up to go get my car, as it's just about ready. I don't really want to go get Frank yet- I am too tired to deal with his energy- but there's no point in me driving home without him, when I'd just have to hop back in the car maybe a half hour later to go get him.

Frank is still coughing from this cold, too. I've been using his inhaler on him a couple of times a day, which seems to help, but not a huge amount. I'm giving him until Thursday, and if he's not improved, I'm calling the doctor.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sinus stuff

I feel like crap today. And I had to get up early and interpret church this morning. I just hope getting to bed early tonight will give me enough energy to get through the day tomorrow...and every day this week. I already used up one sick day for something stupid- I woke up one morning after a late night with Frank, and felt dizzy and had a massive headache. The headache, I would have popped some Exedrin and sucked it up, but dizzy...yeah, I was having a hard time walking, so I thought driving would be bad. We have nothing after school at all this week, so I can just come home and lie down each day if I want, for an hour or so, and then go get Frank.

On the plus side, I got a Neti Pot recently. http://

Basically, it's a way to irrigate your sinuses. You put some of the salt in, fill it with warm water, and tilt your head over a sink and pour it up into your sinuses. I only just started using it, so I still feel somewhat like I am drowning while using it, but damn, the thing works! Without going into too much detail, much grossness comes out of my nose each time I use it. (Of course, this being me, my sinuses are full an hour or so later!) I know several people who swear that using this sort of thing has kept them from getting sinus infections for years, and I am willing to try many things when it comes to reducing sinus infections, which is why I got this thing. The jury is still out as to whether it'll keep this current cold from becoming a sinus infection, but I am cautiously optimistic.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I have a cold. Thanks, Frank, for coughing in my face for the last two weeks.

Homecoming at our college is today, and after that, we have a birthday party for the one-year-old daughter of a friend of Darrel's from high school. We don't get to see them much- we've never even met the one-year-old, actually- so we're still going to that, but we've bagged Homecoming, because I don't think I could take that long of a day. (The friend and his wife live in south Jersey, easily a two-hour drive from here.)

So, to prepare, I've started packing the diaper bag. We have to bring food for Frank everywhere, because he has two food problems: he's highly allergic to milk and eggs, and anything with even the tracest amount of either in them, and he has sensory processing disorder (SPD). SPD basically means his senses work too well. Some kids with SPD are super sensitive to sounds, some to light, and some have problems with tags and seams in clothing. Frank has problems with anything oral. He was diagnosed at age 17 months because he was refusing to eat. Seriously. He ate like three different foods, and would refuse to eat anything else. i got all kinds of conflicting advice. "Leave him in his high chair with an unfamiliar food- when he gets hungry enough, he'll eat it." Um, no, I tried that, for well over two hours, and he didn't eat it. And he was starving, I know it. "All toddlers are picky." Yes, but one-year-olds are not. And how many babies, when they start crawling, do you know that will never ever put a single thing in their mouths, ever? Frank never ever checked anything out orally, even teething rings- he would chew on his fingers when he was teething! Frank also has had problems with tolerating anything gooey on his hands, from glue to fingerpaint to food, but that problem is MUCH much better than before- he now plays with glue in school!

We started with Occupational therapy (OT) in February, and, to be fair, Frank has made a lot of progress since then. He now eats several different things, and, as I said before, he is much better about things on his hands. We're currently working on getting him to eat vegetables, at least a few, as he currently eats none of them, except for, ocasionally, green beans.

It's very frustrating, because not a lot of kids have been diagnosed with it as yet, and even I admit it's a little weird- how can you not want to eat?? People think I'm pathologizing normal toddler behavior when i explain it to them. I really wish it were that simple. My mother says I have to learn that not everyone is educable, and that I don't have to explain the whole thing to everyone. I guess, but I figure the more people I explain it to now, the less people will think Frank is weird with food when he gets older.

In the meantime, we have to pack his food wherever we go- between the SPD and the food allergies, we assume he won't be able to eat anything anywhere we go.

I keep telling myself that in ten years, when he's going through puberty and eating us out of house and home, I'll look back on all this and laugh. So far, though, it's really not that funny.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Leaves! Leaves! Leaves!

Darrel took the day off today, so when Frank and I got home from school, the three of us went out to rake some leaves. It was Frank's first time experiencing the fine art of jumping in leaf piles:

He seems to have enjoyed it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Field trip!

Today I took a personal day so I could go with Frank on his Very First Field Trip. His daycare went pumpkin picking. I'm honestly not sure what he liked best, the pumpkins themselves...(The first picture is Frank trying to collect every single pumpkin on the ground.)

Playing on the wooden train they had there...

Or riding on the school bus!

He did argue with me when I put his seatbelt on when we got on the bus: "No, I don't want it." I'm pretty sure he noticed that there were a lot of other kids on the bus whose parents weren't making them wear seatbelts. But I am something of a Nazi when it comes to seatbelts, so I told him too bad, Mommy says yes, and he learned to ignore the seatbelt after a while. ;)

Monday, October 13, 2008

I love Deaf people.

So, I wore the new glasses to school for the first time today. Before I get into the rest of this story, I need to explain about Deaf Culture. Deaf people have a totally different culture from Hearing people. There are customs, when meeting and leaving, regarding touching, etc. Anything you can think of regarding your culture, there's something in Deaf Culture corresponding to it. (It's interesting, how language reflects a culture. Or a culture reflects a language. Or both.)

Deaf people, in my experience, are, quite simply, way more blunt than any Hearing person you will ever meet in your life. For example, I have seen a Deaf person say to someone, in an entirely complimentary manner, "Wow! You lost a lot of weight! That's good, because you were fat before." If a hearing person said this to me or one of my friends, I'd be offended. A Deaf person said it, so the person it was said to (and I) laughed, and the formerly fat person thanked the Deaf person for the compliment.

So, today. I got to a class and sat down. One of my current favorite students took one look at me and said, "You got new glasses?" I nodded and smiled, refraining from asking her what she thought, because, well, she's Deaf, and I knew she'd tell me.

Sure enough, she did: "I like these much better than your old glasses." When I laughed, she expanded on her statement. "No, seriously, the other ones were way too big for you. These are much better."

I love Deaf people.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


So, I've had this headache for well over a week. I thought it was my old glasses, maybe, or a sinus thing. So, I got new glasses, and I've been doing sinus irrigation things more often, all to no avail- I feel fine, don't have any illnesses coming or going, and still have this headache. Advil just puts a dent in it- not that it's migraine status, by any stretch, but it IS annoying. Exedrin Migraine helps it, a lot, but I have to take two, and I hate taking any more medication than I have to- I mean, my poor liver!

Frank has a cold, and has had one for several days. We are very fortunate in that, most of the time, when he gets sick, other than the typical gross, runny nose thing, and coughing, Frank doesn't whine much- he gets more clingy and he sleeps a lot. My mother tells me that I was very much that way as a child- often, she first became aware I was getting sick because I'd sleep much more, which is generally what happens with Frank. He's in bed right now, and has been there for nearly three hours. He hasn't been sleeping that whole time, but he seems to have been content just to lie there. Although, he's whining now, so I guess I should go get him up...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

New glasses

I got new glasses today! I went and picked them out Wednesday after school- I picked up Frank from daycare and then went on my way home. Poor Frank- he watched me try on one new pair and burst into tears! He was completely inconsolable the rest of the time we were in the store. Then, I went and got them today, and he didn't seem to noticed when I walked in the door with them on.

The glasses have black frames, and they're sort of rectangular. They're much smaller lenses than my previous glasses are, so it's going to take me some time to get used to the fact that I can actually see all the way around the frames out of the corner of my eyes. But I like them, I now have a spare pair so I don't need to freak out as much when Frank touches them, and Darrel even said, completely unsolicited, that he liked them, too.

Pictures will be forthcoming after we get back from pumpkin picking this afternoon.

Friday, October 10, 2008

New blog & Circle Line cruise

My old blog site wasn't very user-friendly in several ways, so I've created a new blog here.

Yesterday, my husband and I went into New York City and took the Circle Line cruise. I work in a high school, and I had the day off for Yom Kippur. We are not Jewish, so, yay, free day for me! My husband has something like fifty million vacation days he needs to take before the end of 2008, so he took a day off yesterday as well. We left our two-year-old son at daycare, as per usual, taking advantage to take the child-free date we'd been fantasizing about since...well, I really don't know when, and drove down to Weehawken to take the ferry over to Manhattan. We then walked slightly north to the Circle Line terminal, arriving in time to purchase our tickets for the three-hour tour that goes around the entire island of Manhattan. *pauses and waits for audience to finish singing "Gilligan's Island" theme*

Yesterday was simply a glorious fall day- breezy, brilliantly sunny, a high in the low seventies. For once, we really lucked out with everything, and I have the pictures to prove it:
This one was taken from the West Side, maybe twenty minutes after we left the pier.

Lady Liberty- I remember being allowed to go up into her crown when I was in third grade, with the Girl Scouts. For those of you who never got to do this (you can now only go up to the pedestel), it's really not that great- it is very small inside, just enough room for one person to go up and the other to go down, and it gets very hot in there!

These next two are of my favorite bridge- the Brooklyn Bridge. I just think it's a very elegant looking bridge, with the stonework. If you ever go to New York, walk across it- it's free, and you can get some great views of the city from there! If you walk all the way across, I hear there's some great retaurants in Brooklyn right there. (I virtually never go to Brooklyn- it's a PITA to get to from NJ!)

This is my favorite building, the Chrysler Building. I've never been inside, and I have been in the Empire State Building, but I have always like the way the top of this building is constructed.

This is the United Nations building. I've been in here, too. Security, as I'm sure you might imagine, is insane. But it's fascinating to see the inner workings of the building- the tour I was on even got to sit in the delegates' seats in the General Assembly chamber!

For those who read the book The Little Red Lighthouse when they were kids, or read it to their kids, these pictures are for you. The lighthouse sits at the base of the George Washington Bridge going from Fort Lee, NJ to Manhattan.