Bryan goes to work

Thanks to Google’s generous parental-leave policy and his accommodating coworkers, Bryan was able to take a month off after Annie’s birth (and will take another when I go back in July). Today that month has ended, however, and he is back in the office for half-days. Despite this easing into it, my solo-parenting has not gotten off to a slam-dunk start.

I’m tempted to blame it all on The Dog. She has been back in a plastic post-surgical cone collar thanks to a 6-month-old butt-wound infection that apparently her licking is entirely responsible for. Five courses of antibiotics barely made a dent, but put her back in the cone for a couple of weeks to keep her from touching it, and the wound heals right up. We tried to reprieve her this weekend, but she immediately chewed it up again, so she’s wearing that dumb cone until we can’t even see a scar.

Unfortunately, she still has not learned how to navigate the house in the cone without crashing it into furniture and walls, and she still tries to scratch behind her ears, making the sound of a truckload of empty milk jugs clattering onto concrete. She’s noisy, is what I’m saying. Really, breathtakingly noisy, in a house where sometimes the click of a door will wake the sleeping baby. (Other times, sleeping baby is completely unfazed by an accidentally-activated alarm clock blaring at midnight until we launch panicked out of bed to silence it. Go figure. )

Sous also hates thunder. Or maybe not “hates” so much as “is utterly terrified by,” something we can mitigate by swaddling her in her thundershirt.

So this morning it happens to be storming as Bryan sets off for his first day back at work. He has gotten Annie down for a nap, so the house is peaceful as he leaves, but Sous is panting with thunder-distress. I think I’ll just tiptoe into the bedroom for the thundershirt, but of course Sous can’t resist crashing up the stairs behind me. Halfway up I grab her cone to keep it from slamming into every subsequent step, but the damage is done: Annie is awake. Which is to say, crying.

Trying not to make it worse, I herd Sous into the second bedroom to panic by herself. I let Annie cry while I go for the thundershirt. It is not it its usual spot. I rifle through the dirty clothes in case it’s been swept up. No dice. I give up on Sous for a minute and try to calm Annie down with shushing and her latest-favorite pacifier. No luck. So now, an inconsolable baby in one bedroom, and a dog having a panic attack in the other.

I go downstairs to make a quick sweep for the thundershirt (nowhere) and realize I’m ravenous. I know I can calm Annie down by nursing her, but that will immobilize me for half an hour, so I grab the end of a bag of Fritos from the counter and run back upstairs. I let Sous out of the bedroom and tell her she’ll just have to fend for herself. I scoop Annie up to nurse: baby in one hand, Fritos in the other. Sous is trying to make circles around my feet, her giant conehead scraping against the walls. Bryan has been gone for precisely 8 minutes.

Half an hour later, though, the storm is over, and Annie has resumed her nap. And now, nearly two hours after that, I’m starting to want to go back upstairs to make sure she’s still breathing. But Cone-Head is downstairs with me, and I know how that will end.

(another) first day of school

Fifteen years ago this week we woke up in Carothers dormitory and toddled off to our very first college classes. Today Bryan headed back to UT to teach a computer science course as an adjunct professor. So proud of that one.

class of 2018

(Under the same “things that make us feel old” heading, file the fact that today’s entering freshmen will be the class of 2018. 2018! And no flying cars at all.)

here and now

I enjoyed this article on travel writing in the NYTimes a few days ago. “If I am skillful enough to capture and hold this moment now, someone reading my words at some distant time and place will feel the same here-and-now-ness that I did back then and there.” In workshops he asks his students to write as much as they can for 5 minutes, beginning with the prompt, “Here and now I am…”

I tried it on the bus home:

Here and now I am on the Metro Rapid bus, headed home. Here and now I am yawning, yawning. Here and now I am a little bit hungry because all I’ve eaten today is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, as I walked across campus between one of my seven hours of meetings and another. Here and now I am wondering what I have the energy to do tonight. Here and now I am quiet, and happy to be quiet. Here and now I am thinking this deodorant that I put on this morning is better than the other kind I’ve been using. Here and now I am wanting a beer. Here and now I see palm trees, and a condo complex going up. Here and now I sway back and forth with the brakes of the bus. Here and now I glance surreptitiously at my fellow passengers, as we maintain the fiction of public privacy. Here and now a gnat crawls across my screen. Here and now my neck hurts, and I regret not going to yoga class two days ago. Here and now I see a tall thundercloud in the distance. Here and now a stop is requested. Here and now I think of my unanswered emails. I wonder about the castle that’s been constructed on Congress—some gaming place? It looks like someone drove a car through the front of one of my favorite gift stores. I must put my computer away and get off the bus.

adventures in one-handed living

It’s been not quite a week, and I’m already pretty tired of having only one functional hand. At the same time I am grateful for and taking full advantage of not being in a hard cast. Yesterday I took my little broken wing out onto the back deck to soak in some sunshine, so it doesn’t get quite as pale and shriveled as it might otherwise.

I am returning to normal functioning bit by bit. Some notable milestones:

Day 1: shaved right armpit with right hand
Day 2: operated scissors (recycling old t-shirt into cheerful splint lining!)
Day 3: made a sandwich
Day 4: buttoned my own pants (this still takes at least 20 seconds)
Day 5: operated bottle opener (critical skill)
Day 6: two-handed typing, hooray!

I look forward to the day, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, when I am once again able to fasten my own bra.


Big day for us here. Our 6th wedding anniversary:


And my little jetta hit 100,000 miles.


And then I had to pull off the highway and call a service shop because the engine was smoking.

The marriage is doing better.

recipe for a craft night

Crafty girls, 3-6
Wine, approx 1 bottle per crafty girl
Spanish snacks, to taste
A few ideas that you can still execute after a bottle of wine
A mess of old t-shirts
Fabric scissors, 1 pair per crafty girl
Healthy willingness to be silly

Prepare snacks in advance. At start time, fold in other ingredients. Take pictures.