Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Grubmer's Sweet 16

My family got our first home computer when I was 14 years old. It was a Mac, and the screen was approximately the size of your big toe. My mom bought it in preparation for my entrance into high school, for the papers I'd write. Being a teacher, she knew that she could use it for all kinds of work-related documents, banners, signs, etc. What we didn't anticipate was the enormous gift to humanity that our first Mac provided my family: Tetris.

Some families refer to their calm, good times as the salad days. I like to think of the years 1991-1994 as The Tetris Days. It started small. My sister, Peggy, gave us a little floppy disk with the game and a few others, including this weird darts game that I could never master, entitled, "The Pleasure Palace." Once I started to play tetris, I saw the game long after I'd shut down the little Mac. I'd cut my dinner's steak up, and see the long four-squared piece, street signs and the geometric designs on the bathroom tiles all became a big, lifesized constant game of Tetris. The Mac became the center of the family*, as we all watched each other play tetris while making up words to the 'russianish' theme song played in the background: "Loser, loser, loser, you are a loser" were usually the components of any good tetris theme lyric.

But this was not meant to be a post about tetris, although it is quite possibly the best computer slack tool ever, except for the internet, which Al Gore hadn't even invented yet when we got the Mac.

The other good times we had on the mac were in Word Perfect. Ah, the fun we had before the internet. Our Word Perfect program came equipped with a "read it" tool, and the computer would read whatever we wrote. So, yes, we had good times making the computer saying antiestablishmentarianism and transubstantiation among other, less polite or erudite, words. But it was in particularly silly "read it" button in Word Perfect session where my sister, Peggy, and I created her alter ego, Grubmer. Peggy and I were just trying to crack each other up with the "read it" button, and she typed in the name that was to become her forever alias, her login name, I can only presume, for when she chats online with babes all day.

Grubmer is my silly sister, the sister who at 24 chose to stay home with her geeky little sister to watch tv over going out with her hip friends. The sister who would sleep in my bed when she came home from college to keep me company and have the truly life affirming coversations that my young brain needed to have in order to remain sane after the death of my father. I've always looked up to her, have always valued and loved beyond pretty much every other human being on this earth, because she can alternatively make me cry and make me laugh in about 30 seconds.

So, by my calculations, on August 29th, Peggy's Grubmer alias turned 16 years old. I hope she had a fabulous birthday. I wish I could buy her a car. But instead, I can only serenade her with the tune that made her a tetris legend on our old Mac.

"Loser, Loser, Loser, You are Loser."

I love you Pegs!!

*Hyperbole, people, for reals.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Total random pop culture, or what could have basically amounted to an email to my sister

Two things regarding Project Runway, which is the most totally awesome summer filler television around.

1. Peggy, this is the first time they've ever had to design for women over a size 2. It was horrifying and awesome to see those fuckers squirm in order to make clothes for normal women. Michael Kors is always making this huge deal about 'designing for the female body.' There it is in it's full splendor, size 10 and all. Design like the wind, jackasses.

2. Did you notice the Orbitz commercial in the middle with the two women kissing? If you didn't, check it out someday. It's interesting. In that I barely noticed it until I actually noticed it, needed to rewind the DVR and confirm, that yes, two women were just kissing on a national commercial!!! Whoa.

That's really all I'm capable of right now. The Kid has totally started school and I think the news is mostly good. So, for now, it's all Project Runway and kisses.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Barf-o-rama: How I Learned to Snorkel

Or, Bonnie and others who can't handle puke stories, you'd best not read this post.

Warned? Okay.

The Kid pukes a lot. I really mean it. He pukes so often that it's actually made it into this blog only once as far as I can remember. We do a great many every-day things that I don't happen to blog about, because, for instance, I don't think you care whether I flossed and brushed today. It's a a daily thing. So is the puking.

He pukes when he's got the flu, just like you and me, but he also:

  • Randomly pukes after dinner, just like, sometimes, he pukes after dinner. Involuntarily.
  • Pukes after coughing. This is really the big one. He'll get a cough going until he pukes. Once he pukes, he stops coughing. For a little while. And the cycle continues. Endlessly.
  • Pukes when he smells something stinky. Examples of this include when he got a good whiff of my friend's cat and that one time I let an especially ripe fart in his vicinity. He puked from my fart smell. I cried.
  • Pukes when he gets the faintest concept of truly smelly things stuck in his head, like the time he puked at Washington Park when he waited on the curb outside for me while I made an emergency trip to the port-o-let. Like, he didn't go in, he wasn't particularly near. It was a sympathy barf, really. And what is The Kid but sympathetic?
  • Pukes when trying new foods. This one gets my goat because I AM NOT MAKING MAC AND CHEESE FOR EVERY MEAL!
  • He has puked when his bitch of his daycare teacher got in his face and was yelling at him to settle down that very instant or he would be in timeout for the rest of the day or some such completely unrealistic expectation. I hope he got some on her clothes. Or shoes. Or mouth. But the shoes would have been really great.
  • And finally, to get to the sub-title of this post, last Sunday he puked an entire 6 inch meatball sub into my friend's pool. He was doing great, swimming, having a blast. Until one jump into the pool resulted in water down the gullet and the rest, well, you know. Speaking of which, really, I should have known this was coming and why did I feed him that meatball sandwich? I couldn't say really. I'm an optimist. At any rate, we had to clean out the pool of his chunks which had been effectively blown. We tried the net. We tried to do it by simple diving, like we used to dive for pennies, but I found it most effective to clean the pool through a little snorkel-dive combo that had the pool cleaned up in no time. I've never snorkeled before. At least I'm learning new skills with this puking thing.

So, this has a point. I totally promise.

Remember when The Kid had that evil two-day fever a couple of weeks back? I had taken him to the doctor for a strep culture and for good measure a whooping cough test as well. That day we got a new PA. It's been hobby of mine to bring up the puking with every new doctor or PA we meet with, just to see what they might say. See, this has been an issue for over 5 years. It started with the cough. When I would go see the doctors about the cough, he wouldn't be coughing, so they never believed me. The cough usually came at bedtime, and when he'd actually take one, at naptime. One doc had a chest xray done. He had vibrant, beautiful lungs. No issue. As he grew and the puking became more, well, anecdotal (as in, "he puked when he smelled me cooking curry"), the docs blew it off as, "Your child vomits more often than other children."

So, with this doc I approached it differently. I said, "he vomits approximately 3 to 5 times per week. This can't be good on his esophagus."

She gave us some samples for an antacid and referred us to a gastroenterologist. That appointment took place on Monday. I'd given the reflux thing some thought over the years, and have even brought it up to doctors who have disregarded my non-physician diagnosis because his vomiting is so 'random.'

The gastroenterologist had us complete an upper GI today. The Kid was very brave. I can think of few things harder than to ask a child with a penchant for puking at the smallest bite of cooked broccoli than to drink two cups full of chalky, white barium. But he did it. He ended up wasting half of it by puking all over the radiology techs and having to drink twice as much as he would have needed to, but he did it.

I have to admit something sick and wrong and completely sacreligious: watching this procedure was way cool (admittedly much cooler than doing it, I realize). Perhaps even cooler than when I first saw The Kid via ultrasound in utero, because I could tell what was going on. He'd swallow the nasty white stuff and this black lump of liquid would move effortlessly down his now-visible esophagus into his ever-expanding stomach. By the end we could see his intestines.

The most revealing thing about it, however, was how we also watched the black liquid inch itself back out of the stomach and into his esophagus again. This, my friends, is reflux. AKA GERD. The MD (radiologist?) who came to talk to me scared the living crap out of me because he mentioned surgery and such things. We'll have an appointment in the next few weeks to discuss next steps with the gastroenterologist. Hopefully we're on to something here, and something that doesn't involve me cleaning the floor of the bathroom three times per week. Oh, and of course for the benefit of The Kid, who knows way too intimately the insides of our toilet bowls.

For tonight, I'm going to sleep to dream about a world where daily puking is a distant memory. A world where I can feed The Kid a meatball sandwich two hours before we go swimming with absolutely no concern for whether we should bring the little net and snorkeling equipment. Maybe you'll even invite me over to your house and I won't spend any part of the evening cleaning your carpets of puke stains. It sounds just like heaven.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Most Funny

I just pulled a photo album from 2004 off of the shelf. Don't know why. Just did. On the last page I had saved a sheet from one of those huge notepads that are used for presentations or at schools, you know, the 2' x 1.5' sized ones.

On it was written a gem that I can't believe I haven't told you all before. It was from the fall of The Kid's preschool year. His teachers there did a "question of the day" thing, and wrote down whatever the kids answered and tacked it up on the door so when we picked them up, we'd see all of the answers.

This question of the day, I had asked to keep, and have saved in the back of this photo album. It reads:

"What chores do you do at home?"

Sally: I pick up my toys.
Johnny: I help my mom with the laundry.
The Kid: I do the dishes all while my mom watches TV all day.

Funny? Because it's true.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Two things I'd never have thought I'd say as a mother, much less in the same conversation:


At karate, and elsewhere, but especially at karate, The Kid has taken to hitting himself in the head when he is frustrated. He is most frustrated with himself when he forgets the next move, or what a move is in karate. His sensei has decided that when he hits himself in the head, he must do push ups. 10, to be exact. Tonight, the sensei told him that the 10-pushups-after-hitting-self-in-head rule would apply at home as well.

The following conversation took place after bathtime tonight:

The Kid: Mom, my butt hurts! Look at my butt!

Me: [looks at butt, unfortunately sees a kind of diaper rash-y thing going on down there--shudder, at least it was after the bath] Um, yeah, Kid, you are going to have to do a better job of wiping.

The Kid: Darn it! [hits head, gets mad at self for not wiping butt well enough]

Me: Kid, it's okay, I guess everyone forgets to wipe their butt sometime. Now drop and give me ten!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


That's how hot The Kid's armpit is right now. Poor baby. He's sick. He's got that bleary-eyed flu-pathetic-delirious thing going, where he can't get comfortable. He can't complete sentences, and he is at once adorable and whiny. Flu-time is the only time where sweet and whiny can coexist. So, he's laying on the couch, where he's been when he tried to drink a mug of soup three hours ago, but then it quickly turned into fitful sleep. He's been sleeping for about two hours, where he finally settles into a comfortable sleep until he moves to another position, and the equilibrium he'd previously built up in his nasal cavity is compromised, causing a mucal tidal wave inside his head. Then the coughing resumes. It's sad, yo.