Sunday, August 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Joseph

19 years ago, at about this time... a little earlier, I woke up with funny pressure in my rib cage. I had been to the Ob-gyn the day before and everything was a go to induce labor in a couple of days. The head was down, he was just comfortable, the doctor said.

This was my second child, and I learned a couple of things from the first time. 1) Wash your hair. So I got in the shower, thinking how different this felt this time. Not painful, but pretty regular. I am pretty sure I shaved my legs, too. You never know when you'll get to do those things again, with a three year old and and infant.

At about 7 am, I woke up my husband. I told him the contractions were close together, but didn't feel right. They were too high. He jumped up, got dressed, got Robert dressed. I called to doctor's office. They sent me to the hospital.

A quick inspection showed that some time in the night, the baby had decided he was not longer comfortable and had flipped. One leg was dangling, the other was curled up on his chest. They decided to do an emergency C-section.

At about 11:45, I felt real serious contractions. All of a sudden, I remembered how this crap felt. I said, "OH no, I changed my mind." Within a few minutes, I was on the operating table, and very quickly, the baby Joseph made his way into the world. They wrapped him up in a blanket. The pediatrician, a great children's doctor who doesn't do as well with adults, stuck the baby in my still groggy face. I was strapped with my arms out, like a mother on a cross. The doctor said, kiss your baby. I made a kissy thing out of the side of my mouth.

Joseph was the biggest, healthiest baby in the hospital. Although my Ob-gyn would not allow rooming in since I had had a C-section, the nurses disagreed. Every time Joseph or I woke up, they'd bring him in. If I walked down the hall, they'd roll him out to me.

Soon he had the fullest head of blond curls you could ever see. I decided not to cut his hair for a year. That didn't happen, but that's another story and not for today.

He was happy and sweet. He loved his big brother. His big brother loved him, in his own three year old way. One day, I walked into their room and found Robert standing beside the crib full of stuffed animals. I said, don't do that, honey, Joseph won't be able to sleep in there. A little blond curly head popped out of the pile of toys, smiling.

Joseph is now 19. A tall, handsome, intelligent, funny, kind, thoughtful young man. Still deciding what he wants to do in life, but heck, I'm 48 and don't know yet. He is a son to be proud of.

Happy birthday, Joseph.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Embracing my inner three year old

I know that I am 48 years old with a house, a husband, three sons, a daughter-in-law, a grandson, a granddaughter who is trying to make her debut a month early, friends, family, three jobs that pay, two or more jobs that don't pay, and eight cats. I know that I am very lucky. However....

I don't feel well. My head hurts and my head and chest are cloggy and I hurt when I sit up and hurt more when I lie down and all I want to do is go to bed. But no. Yesterday, I took the day off (HA!) but ended up babysitting because the babysitter didn't feel well and if you are almost 19 and don't feel well you can ask your mother NO MATTER HOW CRAPPY SHE FEELS to pick up the slack. And I worked on a charter and a couple of grants. And I had to talk to an auditor, who was a nice enough guy but for Pete's sake. I'm sick.

I almost had to come into work, which might have been a good thing, since at least at work people don't usually whine at me. But that situation worked out, although not permanently, and that's an issue I'll have to deal with another day. When my head doesn't feel like it's going to implode.

And all I want to do is sleep this weekend, but NO! Joseph turns 19 and seems to think that should be acknowledged in some way. Katy is still having contractions, so baby Ali may make her entrance this weekend and disturb my nap. Another Virgo. As if the world doesn't have enough. I need to work on my jobs that don't pay and one or two of the ones that do pay. I need to sort my laundry in case it ever gets cold again. I need to clean up mounds of cat poop.

OK, well that's enough of that. Time for baby Kathy to take a nap, have a little quiet time, remember that the world does not revolve around her. And take some medicine. I'm thinking Rum & Diet Coke with Lime.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Baby on Board

Last night, Bob and I slept (sort of) in a bed with a year old baby. Gabe, our adorable grandson, has the family trait of hogging the bed. His father used to sleep with his feet pressed against something --- the base of his crib, my back, his Dad's back. Robert's son does a wonderful imitation of a starfish --- spread out with legs and arms claiming the ripe center of the bed. Bob and I huddled on our respective edges. Gabe slept peacefully. We managed to sleep (sort of).

Grandchildren are a great blessing and a great joy. Not the least of which is being able to send them home to their loving Mommy and Daddy when the time comes.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Weather Report

It is still August, which means we can expect more heat and humidity for the next month at least. But the last couple of days have been cooler. 80 degrees and breezy, thanks to tropical storm Fay. We don't get any damage up here, far away from the real storm. We get rain to drop into the bucket of the perpetual drought and a soft wind that feels foreign in a stagnant August. Please notice that for once, I am not complaining about the weather.

This morning is dawning with electrically violet skies. I'm sure the sailors are not feeling good about that. I am not a sailor. I will enjoy the rain and wind from the comfort of my house.

Maybe I will clean my room. Maybe I will work on Gabe's baby blanket --- the one I'd like to finish before his sister is born. Maybe I will curl up on the couch and read a rainy day book. Maybe I will write one.

80 degrees and breezy. The possibilities are endless.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Gabe

Today is my grandson's first birthday. It is difficult to describe the joy he has brought. Happy Birthday, sweetie pie.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Yesterday was the anniversary of my parents' wedding. If Mom were alive, it would have been their 49th anniversary. Since I just turned 48, Mom would have said, "It's our 48th anniversary," a joke which failed to embarrass me soon after I was able to understand it.

My parents had a strong and strange marriage. They were an institution, to me and to many of their friends. They would argue, bicker, and pick at each other. They would hug and kiss in the kitchen when they made supper. They traveled together and separately. They supported each other and gave each other room. Most evenings, they sat in their places, reading and watching television, occasionally commenting, discussing, or arguing. It was strange to watch, but it worked for them.

As Bob and I get ready to celebrate our 23rd anniversary tomorrow, I recognize that marriages are strange, especially from the outside. Not the dysfunctional, violent, disjointed, cruel marriages that aren't really marriages. The partnering of two people who have realized that not only can they stand to be with each other, they can't stand to be without each other.

Whether they are married in a church, in a courthouse, or in their minds, it is their marriage. Happy anniversary to everyone who is lucky enough to have this.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What's with that?

It is about 78 degrees and raining. Not a thunderstorm, but a solid gray downpour. What's with that? It's August. It's supposed to be hot and muggy with chance of pop-up thunderstorms. The weathermen will have to go to work and record a new forecast.

I'm not complaining. Well, yes I am. I love rain. I love solid gray downpours. I love 78 degrees. But my head has revolted at the change in weather --- barometric pressure, temperature, normalcy. I don't know what. I can't think. I can't eat (always looking on the bright side.) I can't go to bed because I have too much to do.

Yeah, that is not complaining. That is whining. I think I'll stop.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Another Sunday in August

The weather forecast is the same: humid, hot, chance of pop up thunderstorms. It's actually cooler than it has been. In the 90s, I think.

I am making butter pecan ice cream for my mother in law's birthday party. It's the super-rich kind with a custard base. I've had to combine two recipes to make this work. I hope it does work. One recipe was too large for my ice cream maker. It looked to complicated too.

Butter pecan is my mother in law's favorite ice cream. I know she will like this, probably better than anything else we might have given her. She won't say how fattening it is (although someone will). She will eat some and share the rest and it will be nice.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Channeling Martha

The stupid Hostess got loose in my brain and announced that she was having a party to honor Gabriel's first birthday. This seems simple enough. The family alone makes up over 50 people. Add a few friends who are a part of Gabe's life and our lives and we have a nice crowd of friendly people. Ask my brother, sister, and father to help with food and beverages. Katy gets the decorations and the cake. E-mail or call people, since we aren't being too formal. How hard is that?

OK, all I have to do is clean the house. A house that includes 8 cats, most of whom can't find the cat boxes even though there are three of them in the house. A house with stuff in rooms that aren't supposed to hold stuff. In August, when the backyard will be full of humidity and mosquitoes. What was I thinking?

Oh well. It will happen. And we will have a good time. And Bob will make me promise never to do it again. And the Hermit will swear on a stack of Martha Stewart Living magazines that this won't happen again. But it will.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Since eight is my lucky number, this should be a good day for me. Maybe the roots of something good are happening. Or maybe I should enjoy the goodness of my life in general.

It's been an uneventful day.

I had a nice conversation with my counselor about world views, collaboration, and communicating with people who see a different world than I do.

I delivered payroll to an unappreciative client and am trying to remind myself that it is her problem not mine.

I bought a bunch of essential oils and made a recipe that is supposed to repel cockroaches. Since I know a nuclear blast won't kill them, I'm just trying to repel them now. I'll let you now how that works for me.

The recipe called for 4 drops of thyme oil, 8 drops of lemongrass, 4 drops of lavender, and 4 drops of peppermint. I hope it repels the roaches. My sons are complaining of the smell, but I sort of like it. I wonder what that says.

I am reading Til We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis, and thinking about how people acting to protect someone they love often harm them. And I'm thinking about how to avoid that.

Things to avoid: harming people I love, cockroaches, and irritable clients.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Mars in a full house

Mars (the cat) is recovering nicely from her surgery. She slept the first night and hid in a cupboard for the second day. Last night she got outside, which is not what I would have liked, but is what Mars likes.

She seems very content. It's almost as if she knows that she won't be burdened with more litters of demanding kittens. She was a good mother, but you could tell she was getting tired of it. Now she can be free and easy. The solitary cat she seems to want to be. And that isn't easy in a house with 8 cats and four people.

After the next payday, I'll get the next one taken care of.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

One down...

Lydia asked if I had 8 cats or if the extra four would have made eight. The answer is: I have 8 cats.

Koala is my blind 16 year old (I think) blue calico. Someone we knew was feeding her, but their cats didn't like her, so she needed a new home. Robert wanted a cat for his birthday. Since his birthday is in January, the animal shelter didn't have a lot. I don't think the guy understood I didn't want a kitten, but it worked out. Koala is a dear.

Before I could get her spayed, she had a litter. Her son Colby is with us still. Her daughters Maggie and Alyss live with my brother. Colby is yellow and white and does a fine imitation of a bear rug.

Joseph brought home Mars, who is getting spayed today. She is doing well, I hear from the vet's office. She has had too many litters. We have Taz, a black long-haired male.

And we have the four kittens, currently called Moosetracks (calico), Turtletracks (tortoiseshell), Charley (black and white), and Thierry (gray and white.) I don't want to keep them, but I've had bad luck giving away cats, except to relatives and close friends. They are full up right now.

So, I am going to have the kittens spayed or neutered, then find homes. At least then, I won't feel guilty about giving them away to make more and more cats. Even though they are beautiful and sweet, there are enough of them.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Sunday morning in August

It is August in South Carolina. The month in which television weathermen tape their weather report and go on vacation. "Highs in the high 90s or low 100s. Folks, it's going to be hot out there. Drink plenty of water and bring your umbrella because there may be some pop-up thunderstorms with hail the size of Volkswagens. There is a chance of high winds. Have a nice day."

Sometimes, just for variety, there is a hurricane somewhere. People in SC care about hurricanes. Even if it is in the Yucatan peninsula, South Carolinians will buy bottled water, extra batteries, and white bread. You never know when those babies will change course. It's not just SC, of course. People in from Florida to Texas and up to North Carolina feel the same way.

This morning, it is sunny but hazy, which means nothing. Last night there was a magnificent storm. I think it was centered on my house. Lightning and thunder blasted at the same time. The bedroom was lit up with flashes. It was like the footage of the bombing of Baghdad. Very scary, especially with two large pine trees right outside of my bedroom window.

But there is little or no damage here. I'll send the boys out to pick up pine cones and limbs, but I don't think we'll need the chain saw. My son and daughter-in-law didn't call to tell us a tree fell on their house. I haven't heard from other family or friends, so I believe everyone is safe and sound.

At least until tonight. Got to go buy batteries...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Cats and more cats

Yesterday, when I got home, I heard a voice calling me. A neighbor I have met and talked with but don't know well.

She has told me that she loves our cats (a good thing, since they WILL walk in her yard) but that she has three (or four?) rescue dogs that don't like them so much. Yesterday, she told me that she had a litter of kittens that had been left at her office. They are less than two months old. It is amazing they are alive. She is keeping them in her house, but...

I panicked. After making the right "Oh, my," noises, I thought "Please don't ask me to take the kittens. I will say yes and Bob will leave the house and never come back."

She simply asked me to let her know if anyone wanted a kitten or four. I said I would. She said she was very attached and wanted to keep them, but wasn't sure if it was a good idea. I told her that our cats had always known to stay out of fenced in areas that contained dogs and that inside the dogs and cats seemed to get along.

I said I'd keep a look out for anyone who wants cats, and she'd see how it worked out for now. I know it will.

And then I vowed to call Dr. Battle and make an appointment to have Mars spayed. They are all lovely cats, it always works out for now, but I think we will stop at eight cats.

And, by the way: Do you know anyone who wants a lovely kitten? Or three?

Friday, August 1, 2008

August First

I decided to change the layout of the blog. It's sort of like redecorating the house, but without the paint fumes.

My AOL horoscope told me that a new moon in my sign is a good time to start new things, which I guess it good. I'd kind of like to finish some of my old things though. So maybe my new thing will be finishing what I've started. The baby blanket for Gabe (who will be a year old August 17). The scrapbook from the trip we took two years ago. The Charter for the new middle school. The Enrolled Agent Exam. The kitchen. The garden.

Maybe finishing will be my new thing. Then I can start a whole new bunch of new things and spend the next 48 years finishing them.