Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Winter's Walk Where The Car Couldn't Take Us

I was detained by snow at the bottom of our 1/4 mile long driveway this afternoon on our way home from a doctor's appointment. Amidst a flurry of profanity that fell somewhere between my imagination and audible levels, I got out of the car and made my way to The Boss's backseat office. I pulled on her hat and stuffed her hands into mittens. The woven pink and white tubes where her thumbs were supposed to go hung limply. I didn't have the time or inclination to fight her opposable digits into place.

The winding, unpaved driveway leading up to our home is owned by our neighbors. An easement granting us right-of-way is the only thing that allows us legal access to the rest of the world. The problem with such an arrangement is that we have an almost total lack of control when it comes to maintaining the driveway. In the spring and summer, it is one huge mud rut that's a rainstorm or two away from total annihilation. In the winter, it's traversable only by off-road vehicle. That's all well and good for my neighbors and my husband. As we found out today, it doesn't bode so well for me and the Boss in my rear-wheel drive Caddy.

Once The Boss and I were properly protected from the storm (except that both of us were wearing unseasonable footwear), I hooked her legs to my waist and began to trudge up the hill, keeping to the impressions made by the wheels of the neighbor's Cherokee. I started to breathe heavily, as I am prone to do when exercise induces my asthma. The Boss heard my jagged exhales and turned her gaze onto me.

"You're lucky," she said.

"What?" I cocked an ear closer to her mouth because I was almost certain I hadn't heard her right.

"You're so lucky."

"How?" I resisted the urge to snort, mostly because I was already having enough trouble breathing.

"You're walking in the snow," she replied.

And in that moment, looking onto her smooth, red-cheeked face, feeling her legs against my hip as they reached longingly for the road, I saw how I could be construed as lucky. The snow fell in fluffs and landed unspoiled everywhere. Naked trees were dressed in its shimmers. The dirt was gone. My stacked heels pressed the white cover in quick, crisp steps.

The Boss smacked her lips and opened her mouth as her head fell back in abandon. Her teeth--two curved rows of hard-won enamel--surrounded a fleshy pad that was desperate for its first taste of snow.

Everything in that instant was clear. So many shades of pink, and then the whiteness. The Boss, ruddy in my arms, saw the white all around her. I couldn't keep my eyes away from the vivid hue of her complexion as it fed off blood coursing hot just below the surface. There was only truth in her newness.

Suddenly, I wondered how I could have considered myself anything but lucky.

Cross posted at New England Mamas.

Monday, December 10, 2007

All Night Long

Today I took The Boss with me to the town hall to deposit some checks related to a local newsletter I publish. As I recorded and tabulated, she conversed at length with everyone who walked by. One elderly gentleman took a seat next to her.

"I watched Curious George all night long," she informed him.

I shifted my attention from the receipt sheet to my daughter with eyebrow arched. "No, you didn't," I said. "Unless you were watching it in your dreams."

The Boss solemnly lifted her chin in my direction. She was tilted in thought. Then she spoke up: "Am I a dreamer, mommy?"

The man chuckled.

"I hope so," I said.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Other Oven: Halfway Through Baking Baby #2

Outward Appearances:
19 weeks gestation

The Inside Scoop:
19 weeks gestation
Why is that ultrasound technicians consistently print the worst pictures even when presented with more than thirty minutes of beautifully rendered fetal photo ops? I used to chalk it up to bad taste, but with this pregnancy I admit there is an extenuating circumstance.
Since we've decided not to find out the gender of this baby in-utero, I think that the pressure not to expose any secrets left the technician with a limited body of work from which to choose.
Back when The Boss was still sucking in amniotic fluid on the ultrasound screen, we got whole body shots. Head to toe. Since we wanted to find out the sex, nothing was held back. This time around, the tech was careful to make her measurements in careful segments that would not allow any genitalia to creep in unannounced. In one screen, there was a femur. In another, the balloon of a mid-section. The head. The neck. The heart (133 bpm, by the way). But nothing that put it all together. When the doctor came in to check up on the tech's work at the end of the session, he even asked me to turn my head away for about five seconds while he made sure everything looked good you-know-where.
"Don't make any inferences based on how quickly I did that," he said. "At this point, one is just as obvious as the other."
"Hmm." I nodded thoughtfully.
Obviously I wanted and still want to be surprised. Now that I made it past the first hurdle, however, I am not above a little unscientific speculation. What do you think? Boy or girl? I gave you all the clues I have. Give me your guess!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Pumpkin Pies Don't Burn People, People Burn People

If you haven’t read my New England Mamas post from yesterday, you may want to. It’s an important preface to what I am about to tell you, which is that I peeked through the translucent window of my oven last night to find its insides ablaze.

Yes, I used the oven once again, post-pumpkin-incident, without scraping out the remains of the pie. Yes, it finally caught on fire. Yes, I am that stupid.

And you can just imagine what a difficult time someone of my limited mental capacity would have figuring out how to operate the fire extinguisher.

After opening the oven door to gaze upon the horror first-hand, I deduced that this was no wispy candle flame. This fire was hungry, and it would not be satiated by a shapeless mass of pumpkin, sugar and egg. I slammed the door shut.

My next stop was the closet, where I fought with a plastic wall bracket for the rights to the fire extinguisher. I finally dislodged it and took my place in front of the oven. I thought back to the tutorial my husband had given me on the extinguisher's proper usage. I pulled the pin. I pressed a lever. Nothing happened.

My already accelerated heartbeat kicked into high gear. I turned the canister in my hands and stared at the instructions. For someone who can't even figure out, even with the aid of pictures, which way to slide a credit card in the machine at the supermarket, you can imagine how helpful I found the extinguisher's illustrated directive. I ran to get the phone. I dialed The Partner.

I am not going to pretend to remember what he said. I was past memory. I was in the moment. What I will tell you is that The Partner was pissed off and unhelpful. No thanks to him, I figured out the correct way to engage the pressurized contents of that red tube. I let loose on the oven. The fire died. A sigh was expelled from deep in my diaphragm, settling over the kitchen along with a fine, white residue.

The Boss was standing between the dining room and the kitchen as this all went down. When I finally settled my attention on her three foot frame, I saw that she was giving me the hairy eyeball. Her stare was squinty and stern. After a while, she spoke.

"I'm hungry." She rubbed her tummy in a circular motion. She was all accusation. "I want some pumpkin pie."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Grand Opening - New England Mamas

Hailing as I do from Connecticut, I am happy to be associated with the New England Mamas, a group of bloggers from all over our stoically frigid corner of the country. The new site was created to lend a regional slant to a wide array of topics while remaining readable and relevant to readers everywhere. And this week, my friends, just happens to be the official grand opening.

If you head over there to read a bit about my ineptitude in the kitchen, you will also have the opportunity to win one of ten prizes offered up as part of the inaugural festivities. Some of the donated items include local favorites like Little New Englander onesies, Brooks Pond car seat/stroller covers, and Yellowhale Photography. We're grateful for the support of all contributing businesses and we're encouraged by each and every reader who stops by.

I hope you'll check us out, and I hope you'll like what you find.