Friday, August 26, 2005

Weaning

I'm a little worried about Sparty. In the last 12 hours he refused to eat at two of his feedings. When he did eat, he ate much less than normal. At his most recent feeding I thought I would try a tiny bit of canned kitten food mixed in a thin gruel with his formula. I also had just plain formula in case he wasn't interested in trying something new. He wasn't. And he barely tasted his plain formula.


I don't know what to make of this latest development. I decided to play "momma cat" and I pretended to drink out of his water bowl, formula saucer and formula mixed with cat food saucer; each in turn. He actually tasted the water, which made me happy...and he was watching me like a hawk! I could see the wheels turning as he came over to sniff what I was "eating". I'm going to go in there periodically and act like hungry momma cat and see if he gets the idea.


Another interesting discovery...chicken flavor canned kitten food smell makes Tyler gag quite dramatically. The only other food I've discovered that earns this same reaction is the smell of Tyson frozen teriyaki chicken breasts fresh from the micro.


At least now I know he won't be going in his room to bug the kitten as long as there is kitten food out. LOL! That kid has a very sensistive nose. It's no wonder he is such a picky eater.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Godzillacat!


Spartacus is still in kitty isolation in Tyler's bedroom, per the vet. We can't let him and Sasha play together until Sparty can be tested for worms and other serious feline illnesses. Since Tyler doesn't use his room (he sleeps with us), Sparty has the roam of the place. He love Tyler's Geotrax train setup. I had to laugh when I saw Sparty romping through the pseudo Alpine village and I had visions of Godzilla rampaging through Tokyo.


Tomorrow I plan to mix a little kitten food in with his formula and see how that goes over. I hope to have him weaned soon. I get how to reduce the formula and replace it with food. But how do I get him to try water? I haven't a clue.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Cabin


I am so NOT a "log cabin in the woods" type girl. All my camping trips as a child could count towards time served in hell. They were disastrous, at best. I don't fish, hike, chop wood, hunt, or any of those other rustic kinds of activities. You want to know my idea of roughing it? This is it. And in October, this is where we'll be! Our little (*cough cough*) cabin in the woodsy mountains of Tennessee.

Why are we going to Pigeon Forge, TN? (Seriously...that's what it's called. Pigeon Forge. I have images of flocks of pigeon's trying to swim across a river...) We are hooking up with friends who recommended this area for run and relaxation!


I haven't seen my friend Kim in ages. I haven't met her new baby either! Driving to Alabama is not exactly a trip to the corner store for us...so this is our compromise. A fun place to go that is an easy drive for her and a new adventure for us. I will need another vacation after the upcoming weekend with my parents anyway. But honestly I can't wait to hang out and watch our kids play together!


Yep. Soaking in my hot tub while I take in this view is my idea of roughing it. I am really looking forward to this trip. I told you I was spoiled, right? Can I also mention that an entire week of renting this gorgeous cabin is still CHEAPER than the upcoming weekend at the Cape with Nanny and grumpy Grampie will be? Yeah. Crazy.


And totally off the topic...October also brings to market the latest object of my affection.


Isn't it purdy?! *drool*

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Crisis



Boy and his Kitty



Check this out...from the right angle the flash illuminates Sparty's stripes, but from the front/top view, he seems almost solid gray. Interesting, no?



Sparty has settled into Tyler's room nicely and seems to prefer KMR brand kitten formula to Mother's Helper brand. He has grown larger every day too. It's amazing how swiftly they seem to change at this stage. John and Tyler paid a visit to PetSmart today and picked out some cool new toys, feeding dishes and a splat mat for the little guy. Ty fell in love with one of the kitten balls and decided to keep it for himself, for now. He went to bed with it. How cute is that?


He told me today he was angry with me. When I asked why he said, "You don't spend time with me any more, you are always spending time with Sparty!" Oh dear. I tried to explain that Sparty was just a baby and needed a lot of attention but I could tell my reasoning skills need some work. If Ty is feeling neglected with a new kitten around...imagine how it will be with a new baby?!


After sleeping a good portion of the day away while John went on kitten duty, I am feeling rested but still depressed...so now I know it's not just sleep deprivation affecting me. It's more a motherhood crisis, I guess. I found myself sobbing into Sparty's fur late last night. My mind was revisiting the hurt my SIL and BIL dealt me a few months ago over their anti-fat attitudes. Plus the fact that SIL is having a little girl has again crept into my mind...Tyler hasn't been seeing his cousins and he misses them greatly...and I find myself questioning my desire for more kids.


I want a little girl. I've always wanted a little girl. But have I really thought about what adding a new baby to our family will do to our routine? Our dynamic? Our lifestyle? To Tyler? Not really. The more I thought about all the things that could go wrong, the more scared and unsure I got. Then John added fuel to my doubts by pointing out a bunch of my shortcomings the other day and it really sent my spirits crashing into the dumps.


Now I'm thinking I shouldn't upset the status quo. I should just focus on Tyler and our little family, as is, and give up my dreams of having a little girl.


God. Just typing that last sentence has me crying. I know John has his little decision making process of going through all the negatives...ALL the negatives...and then he moves forward, after much deliberation, with his decision. But hearing all that negativity when I was so high on my decision...uh oh. MY decision to adopt from China. I never really consulted John when I changed gears. I just went and requested literature and announced my great idea to him a couple weeks ago.


Of course he thought it was a great idea too. But he still has his "process". He needs to think through all the negatives and counter-act them with courses of action before he can move forward. He's always done that.


He won't be able to help me with the new baby the way he did with Tyler. The demands of his current job won't allow it. He spent a MONTH at home with baby Tyler. We worked in shifts, taking turns to sleep. It was wonderful having him around so much. We were a real team.


Maybe the thought of doing this basically by myself is what's at the core of my fear and doubt. I'm feeling rather alone. I miss having John around the way he was in his job with HP...and when he was out of work for 11 months. Naturally he was around a TON then. I really cherish all that time we had together as a family.


Our new baby won't have that. No extended bonding time with daddy and no chance to rest for me. I don't know if I can handle it. And it's making me very very sad.


I am working through the thoughts in my head so I don't know if this entry will make much sense to anyone. But I do feel a bit better after typing it all out.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Preschool

We did it! Tyler is now officially enrolled in preschool. We toured the new facility yesterday and I was seriously impressed. Very VERY nice setup. Tyler got to play in his new classroom and meet his new teacher. She seems very sweet. The director of the school is a former kindergarten teacher with many years experience and her assistant is her former teacher's aide from her teaching days. I thought it was cool that when she got the Director's job she hired someone she had worked with so closely in the past. I got such a great feeling from all the staff (which was NOT the case with some of the instructors at Tyler's other school/camp).


Tyler seems really excited about starting school. He keeps telling me he needs to go to school NOW and wait for all the kids to get there. LOL They don't officially open their doors for business until next Monday...and because of camp and our vacation, I decided to start him the Monday after Labor Day.


I have mixed emotions, as always. It did help to see how happy and animated Tyler was in the school and how well he interacted with his new teacher. She is expecting a baby and will be going on leave in November...so that made me a little sad. I hope the sub will be just as nice.


Moving on to a new topic... Sparty is doing really well. I am thinking of changing his name to butterball! It's amazing how he has plumped up over the last 2 days. He is like a totally different kitten in personality too. He is playful, full of energy and it's a joy watching him attack my feet and zip around in Tyler's room playing with his toys. I am keeping him in Tyler's room and away from Sasha per our vet's recommendation, until he gets his shots and can be tested for illness.


I have mixed emotions about wether to keep him or not. John is surprised that I am so on the fence. I really wanted to focus on Sasha during his twilight years and then take a break from pets for a few years once Sasha is gone. Sparty is totally adorable. But I just don't know if I am ready to commit to another 18 years of CAT.


Honestly my emotions have been all over the place, in general, lately. I'm having some sort of crisis and I'm not sure I can put it into words. I was handed a cold dose of reality the other day and thoughts in my head have kept me relatively sleepless. Of course, round the clock feedings of Sparty have done nothing to help me sleep either...but my brain has been refusing to shut down.


Let's just say the wind has been taken out of my sails and I'm no longer sure what path to take. I'm left questioning things I haven't thought about before. I don't have the answers and the fact that I don't have the answers is what is scaring me.


I'll keep pondering. Maybe what I need is time.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Challenge

Round Robin Photo Challenge: Who I Am In Black & White


At one time I defined myself by my occupation. I spent 80% of my life in this space. Ten years I dedicated to my company and I was quite successful.



All that exists of this huge chunk of my life are some photos and stolen office supplies. The building was sold and the group I worked with were laid off long ago (including me when I volunteered).


In many ways it was difficult for me to redefine myself once my career identity was removed. The rewards of my new "job" are very different. I can no longer measure my progress by my bank account, promotions or awards of recognition.


Now? This is me...



I am a Mom.



Round Robin Welcome & Rules Of Play


http://journals.aol.com/ondinemonet/RoundRobinChallenges/entries/331



Round Robin Participants


1. Patrick http://astopatwilloughby.blogspot.com/


2. Alan http://journals.aol.com/botdotdotdot/F-Stop


3. Renee http://journals.aol.com/acyrlicstains/publish/


4. Dawn http://journals.aol.com/auburndawn/DawnsDrivel/


5. Lisa http://journals.aol.com/cw2smom/WearinMyHeartonMySleeve/


6. Danielle http://journals.aol.com/danielled1/Everybodyknows


7. Deb http://journals.aol.com/SassyDee50/SassysEYE


8. Nancy http://journals.aol.com/nhd106/Nancyluvspix/


9. ~Aunt Nub~ http://journals.aol.com/montaukny/FoolsParadise


10. Phinney http://journals.aol.com/geminiwilder/Paragon/


11. Monica http://journals.aol.com/photographybymon/Mamarazzi/


12. Karen http://journals.aol.com/mavarin/MusingsfromMavarin/


13. Carly http://journals.aol.com/ondinemonet/Ellipsis


14. Derek http://journals.aol.com/deveil/PictureoftheDay


15. Marie http://journals.aol.com/mariebm56/PhotographsMemories/entries/742


16.Celeste http://journals.aol.com/csandhollow/Mydayandthoughts/


17. Steven http://journals.aol.com/sepintx/sometimesphotoblog/


18.Kat http://journals.aol.com/mskatdabrat/FromEveryAngle/


19. Betty http://journals.aol.com/rap4143/MyDayMyInterests/


20. Becky http://journals.aol.com/ryanagi/Wherelifetakesyou


21. Tess http://journals.aol.com/tc01hm/FirstDigitalPhotos/


22. Mary http://journals.aol.com/alphawoman1/Alphawomansblog/


23. Chris http://journals.aol.com/jeroldssis/ItsAllAboutMeIthink/entries/108


24. Robbie http://journals.aol.com/krobbie67/RobbiesRantsRaves/entries/2120



Tuesday, August 16, 2005

More!

Meet Spartacus the Spartan (I found him in Sparta NJ, so the name felt appropriate since he is a real fighter too):



We call him Sparty for short. Here he is yelling "MORE!" He sure loves his kitten formula.   This every 3 hour feeding schedule is just killing me.


I think God is sending me a message. I don't believe in destiny...but I do believe there are lessons to be learned and ultimate truths to be divined in this life.  


This lesson tells me I am far from ready for a new baby. I need to get my sleep schedule regulated and get in better shape. I am dead tired!  


Thanks for the heads up, big guy (gal).   ;-)


Monday, August 15, 2005

Kitten

Well...kitty is a HE and thin, but healthy. About 5 weeks old, so not ready to be away from mama. I'll be stopping to get special replacement formula for him on my way home. (Hey Kas! Any recommendations for me?)

The story is...I was on my way home after dropping Tyler off at camp when I half noticed a truck far ahead of me on the side of the road. The truck pulled away and a car just ahead of me swerved to avoid something in the road. I had to pull the same maneuver, and it took a moment to register that it was a tiny gray kitten I just drove around. He was moving slow and wobbly into the middle of the lane.

I quickly pulled over, slammed on the hazard lights and ran back down the road. Luckily the woman driving behind me saw the kitten BEFORE she drove over it and she stopped short right behind him, using her car as a barricade. She picked up the kitten just before I reached her and was checking him over for injury.

She said he seemed fine and handed him to me saying she was a massage therapist and late for work. She smiled at me and said "I think he's found a good home" as the kitten crawled up under my chin and licked sweat from my neck. I hurried home with kitty clinging to my neck the entire way. He gulped down about an ounce of warm skim milk (all I had on hand to give him) and I was happy I still had a baby medicine syringe to use for him. I called the vet and she took us right away.

Vet says his lungs sound good, he's clean, no fleas...thin but should fatten up with regular feedings of formula (every 2-3 hours) and in a week he can try some kitten food.

Lord? I know I said I wanted another baby...but THIS is not what I meant. And it's another BOY. LOL Ah well. Round the clock feedings, I guess, will get me back in practice.

Oh boy...what is JOHN going to say when he gets home???

What?!

Look what I found on the way home from dropping Tyler:



More in a little while. Off to the vet...

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Holt


There it is... I haven't really gone through it yet. I found an email group of parents adopting from China and have been reading the oodles of posts that come through there each day, for the last couple days. My initial optimistic assessment of how long this process takes will need to be revised. Seven months is probably the BEST case scenario. It will probably take a bit longer than that.


I've also been sitting here and wondering about my agency choice. Holt was the first agency that popped into my head (it was the one we had decided on when we first researched Korean adoption many moons ago before we went Domestic). But are they the best choice in our area for China? I realize I haven't a clue. I'm hoping my new friends on the APC Yahoo group can offer some opinions on that one.


So. Here I sit. Clueless but still planning to read that package tomorrow. Thoughts race through my head at 90 miles an hour and it's hard to concentrate and filter things. Maybe after a good night's sleep my battle plan will become clear to me tomorrow.


And so, I sally forth into my quest for the perfect agency (or at least one that doesn't suck eggs)... Send me some positive vibes, y'all. Thanks.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Argh!

Time for another blabbity entry...


- *sigh* My mother wins. We finally gave in and are meeting them for a weekend at the Cape at her favorite resort. I hope she realizes we won't be doing THAT again any time soon. Ah well. It will get her off my case for a couple of years. I'm thinking we won't invite them to join us at the beach house next year, as originally planned. Hey Kim! Wanna go to the Outer Banks with us next year? LOL


- Tyler went back to camp today after being home sick for a week and a half. It was NOT a fun drop off. Poor kid. He really had a hard time saying goodbye today. Broke my heart! Hopefully he'll have fun at the beach with his grandparents in a few weeks. I came within inches of calling the school today to withdraw him from camp. It's only until the end of the month anyway and he just has NOT adjusted well. I don't know what we are going to do about preschool.


- Speaking of preschool. I called one of the schools on my list today to see how close they are to opening (remember there were 2 under construction near here). Turns out they are opening next Monday or the following Monday. I plan to schedule a tour and bring Ty with me. I'm waiting for a call back from the Director as I type.


- John is downstairs in the basement running on the treadmill. For a while, I thought he was doing laundry. That thing sounds just like the washing machine.


- Some interesting news. I've been doing some research and John and I have talked about it. We are changing tactics with our adoption. With our first child, I really wanted a newborn. I wanted to experience his birth, be there for every moment, get the full-on parenting experience. Ya know. Now that we have been there and done that...it's not as important that our second child be a newborn (although it would be nice to do it all again). Because of wanting an infant, we had initially taken international adoption from any country (other than Korea) off our list. Since that is no longer the case, we have revisited adopting internationally. We have decided to pursue an adoption in China! I requested the paperwork from Holt International and am awaiting their information packet. From what I have read, from the time all our paperwork is submitted it will be about 7 months until we go to China to pick up our baby (who will be between 8 months and 14 months old and most likely a girl). I'll be posting about the process, step by step, here.


- OMG! We will be going to China early next year! For TWO WEEKS! Holy crap! I can't even get my head around that right now.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Tech

So I'm doing my normal Saturday night cruise of my favorite journals and I come across an entry that has me giggling. Tara is complaining about her experiences with HP tech support (funny on so many levels) and the fact that she finally found a competent tech in Canada...but had to call back and then got someone (in a certain large 3rd world country that shall remain nameless) who was rather more a helpless desk than a helpdesk type. Most of you know how that goes.


Nothing really earth-shattering until I read her comments and someone said something to the effect of "Ever notice how no one ever knows a tech or is friends with a tech" with speculation that techs are actually some species of fairytale folk (gnomes I think).


Now this REALLY cracked me up! Why? Because I am a tech. Well, really I am a RETIRED tech since I gave up the biz to become first a high powered web development exec. and then gave THAT up to become a full time Mom. My skillz have gathered a little rust...but my point here is...


The reason no one knows or is friends with a tech is because WE HIDE. That's right folks...at this very moment, many of your online pals sitting over in that buddy list on the right side of your screen may, in actuality, be a TECH.


[queue dramatic music here...] DUM DUM DUM!


OK. My closest friends and family know what I did for a living. They are bad enough. Why do we hide? Well, it goes something like this...


I get to know a bunch of nice people online. We chat about our lives, our kids, our hobbies...nice friendly chats that are interesting and pass the time. One day, online pal tells me about a problem she/he is having with their computer. Oh crap. I know exactly what the problem is and how to fix it. Do I help? Or do I point them to the answer online? Or give them Keyword: Help? Or the 800 # for the helpdesk of the PC manufacturer?


Early on, I would offer to help. I'd walk them through the often long and tedious steps to repair their problem. Ta da! Happy person with working computer goes off and posts thank you message on message board or in chat room where other online friends congregate. Oh crap.


Suddenly every IM I get from that point on goes something like this:


onlinepal2: Hi. Busy?
me: Nah. Just reading journals and junk.
onlinepal2: Good! I have a quick question for you...
me: Oh yeah?
onlinepal2: OK. When I turn on my laptop, it makes this funny noise and then I get this message...


yadda yadda. No more "How are you?" "What's new?" "How's the kid?" LOL It's all about the latest virus infection or hardware failure. Even my own father, who NEVER CALLED ME IN HIS LIFE JUST TO CHAT...he started calling me to help him fix his PC over the phone (once he realized after I'd fixed it a time or three on my visits home that I knew what I was doing.)


Don't get me wrong! I love my friends (online ones included) and I do love to help them out. But when all polite conversation goes out the window and the only reason they IM you at all anymore is to help with their latest PC problem...well, that gets tedious to say the least. Then when you start getting IMs from their parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, other friends, parents of friends, the neighbor down the street...um yeah. You get the idea.


So, in short, we hide...in caves...with the wee folk and the leprechauns. LOL You might be best friends with a tech and NEVER KNOW IT.


But if you invite me over for dinner and give me a glass or two of merlot...then casually mention that you haven't been able to read your email for 3 weeks because you can't get the program to open...well, this tech gnome might just plop herself down at your PC to have a looksee. (And my elf friends will come by later to fix the broken heel on your Manolos...)


[queue Twilight Zone music now...]

Monday, August 01, 2005

Pam

"You know what? You have a Florence Henderson complex..." She said, with disgust.


Huh? I feel an uncontrollable need to marry a widower with 3 children and wear my hair in a she-mullet??


"Wait...no... Florence Nightingale. Yeah. Her. You are trying to save the world, one person at a time."


I thought about that for a while. She was right. Every close friend I've ever had has been really messed up and NEEDED me to save them. Or at least, that is the role I would assume. Savior.


Prime example? My friend Pam. I've written about her a few times in my journal. You can get some sordid details of our friendship in a previous post (and in that post is a link to an earlier post on how we met).


With how I left things in that entry, it looked like I wasn't going to be friends with Pam any more. I really did try and distance myself from her. She didn't call me for quite a long time. Then one day, she called me. For once, she didn't want anything from me. All she wanted was to talk and catch up.


When last I left her, she had finally moved out on her deadbeat husband, filed a legal separation, and was making a new life for herself and her son.


Well...since then, she had lost yet another job and rather than being homeless, she had no choice and moved back in with her ex. She was managing to keep their fighting to a minimum and her son was happy as a clam to have his parents together again. That poor kid has had it rough, so I was glad he was doing better. He was so close with his dad.


For a few months I had high hopes that things were going to be ok for them. David had finally been approved for Disability payments and Pam had a good new job, so they had some steady money coming in. David was able to buy some land and finance a double-wide. Pam still despised him, but they were co-existing in peace.


On May 3rd, while Pam was at work, her son at school...David was having coffee in his kitchen with a buddy of his when he suddenly stood up, clutched at the back of his head yelling in pain, and fell to the floor. 48 hours in a coma and he slipped away from an unexplained brain bleed. He was 57.


My friend was now a widow at 39 and her 8 year old son was suddenly fatherless. We were all left stunned. All I could think about was all the times she had joked with me about hiring someone to kill him (she wanted to leave him and the state, but he threatened her if she tried to take his son away from him...he was a gun owner).


My friend Pam has had the WORST luck of anyone I have ever known (read the linked post above for many examples). And just when I think things may turn around, they don't and things get infinitely worse. Now? They had been living paycheck to paycheck and she couldn't even afford to pay for David's funeral. The house payment and car payments were due, she now had medical bills for David's brief hospitalization (their medical insurance through her new job hadn't gone into effect yet)...you get the picture.


For once, her family came through for her and helped her pay for the funeral expenses and gave her some money to tide her over, but she was in serious danger of losing her car and the house. Her new job was being really understanding and had allowed her to borrow against vacation time she hadn't even accumulated yet and they had more news for her.


She had signed up for life insurance for herself and David when she started her new job. Her benefits were supposed to start on May 1st. David died on May 3rd. She hadn't even had her first payroll deduction to pay for this insurance...would he be covered?


We waited for almost 2 months to hear the final verdict. I was sure she wouldn't get it. With her luck, there was no way.


I heard from her the other day. She got it. $20,000. She paid off her bills, paid off the rest of the mortgage (it wasn't very much, their trailer was very inexpensive), and bought new bedroom furniture for her son.


I am still in shock. She might actually be ok. Finally. Really OK.


Now I just have to worry about her new boyfriend. He is 51...the uncle of a friend of hers...never married and no kids...good job... I guess she really goes for older men. So far she has nothing but good things to say about him. I am crossing my fingers AND toes. Can you all do the same?