A Beautiful Mess – Part Two

I woke up Tuesday and went to work.  (I worked Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday, with some major, major briefing going on – thank heavens I’d done that 13 days working in a row and gotten most of it done ahead of time.   I did manage, even with Crazy Brief Times, to get home before 6 each day, and I woke at 5 each day, and I got through an enormous number of boxes in the mornings and nights.)

On Tuesday evening, I was unpacking the kitchen and the big boys were upstairs in the playroom, watching tv.  Craig was running around us with this push-toy he has and loves, even though it’s sorta for littler babies.  He was winding in and out of my legs, running between boxes, all over the place, and then the running stopped and I heard his tiny feet slap-slap-slap up the steps.  He went to join the big boys in the playroom, and I let him go for a few minutes, while I continued to pull things out of boxes and find space for them.

And then . . . CRASH.

The crash was loud.  The yelling was louder.  Jack was panicked, screaming “CRAIG! CRAIG! CRAIG!” which scared me more than anything, even though I know Jack tends to overreact.  I didn’t hear Craig at first and I thought some terrible things as I flew up the stairs, but then I heard him cry.  Turns out he’d scaled an empty bookshelf and pulled it on himself – it’s a pretty heavy bookshelf even without books in it.  It apparently got him right on the bridge of his nose and forehead, pinning his head between the shelf and the futon frame, as he had a giant purply blue goose egg that was sprinkled with bright red streaks and dots.  (Later, I checked the back of his head, and he had a goose egg there, too.)

I took him to the E.R.  It was scary as hell.  He was getting really sleepy – it was 8pm, of course he was sleepy – and I had to do all this paperwork before they would let us in the back.  We finally got back there, and the doctor came and checked his ears and pupils and such, and said everything looked fine but we’d do a CAT scan and skull x-ray to be sure.  Hours later, those things had been accomplished and it was confirmed that the bruising/bleeding/swelling was all on the outside of the skull and that precious baby’s brain was just fine inside.  My hard headed beast.

Waiting to be seen in the hospital, refused to wear his hospital bracelet but clutched it

Waiting to be seen in the hospital, refused to wear his hospital bracelet but clutched it

This picture does not do justice to how terrible this looked

This picture does not do justice to how terrible this looked

Still all smiles after the CAT scan - stickers everywhere

Still all smiles after the CAT scan – stickers everywhere

We made it through a rough night

We made it through a rough night

We got home just before midnight and I put him to bed, nervous but remembering the doctor telling me to let him sleep and not freak out, there was no concussion and sleep was safe and needed.  Then I downed a giant glass of wine and went to sleep myself, and went to work the next day as normal.

The unpacking continued. We had a garage plus two giant attic eaves at our old house, and we have neither of those things here plus we lost a couple of closets, so it’s turned into closet Tetris over here.  We’re getting a backyard shed, and right now the shed stuff is on our back deck, covered in a tarp.  There will be some reduction eventually, but right now I just want it all roughed into where it’s going to permanently live, and then I’ll slim it down.  We also have an extraneous dining table, fridge, mattress, and dryer that are just hanging out in here.  I do miss having a garage for stuff like this.

My one room of Zen

My one room of Zen – the pantry, where I will go and close myself in when I need to just breathe

Friday, we have moving day Phase Two – the long term storage POD was delivered, and I was reunited with my piano at last!  (And many other things, including the boys’ summer clothes . . .)  A friend came over and took most of our empty boxes and packing paper, as she is about to move herself.  Then we got working on getting the POD emptied and integrated – and of course, this happened to be Day 7 of the rabies vaccine adventure, meaning I had to, once again, leave midday to pick up all three kids and get Craig to the clinic before 3pm.  Murphy’s law that these lined up right with the days we had to move, but anyway I didn’t have to be in the house when the guys we hired moved our piano upstairs and our fridge into place (we’re selling the one that came with the house), and my nerves couldn’t have taken that anyhow so it all worked out.

We hired our former nanny, who Craig misses a ton, to come watch the boys in the afternoon yesterday, so we could unpack with no more toddler mishaps.  I bought some clever storage things to maximize under-the-bed and closet spaces, and also bought groceries.  No rest for the wicked.  It’s a mess, I’ll take more pictures once it’s all put together, but here it is for now:

Kitchen - we brought our fridge from Alabama and I love it

Kitchen – we brought our fridge from Alabama and I love it

Other end of the kitchen.  Really, these pics are not amazing but you get the idea.  The pantry is there, with its big barn door

Other end of the kitchen. Really, these pics are not amazing but you get the idea. The pantry is there, with its big barn door on a track – a cool feature

Super messy living room

Super messy living room

Craig at his new favorite play place - the top of the stairs

Craig at his new favorite play place – the top of the stairs

He likes the light

He likes the light

IMG_8873

Much improved – two black eyes, but the swelling has gone way down

Boys' room - we have put up their bunk beds since this pic was taken

Boys’ room – we have put up their bunk beds since this pic was taken

A beautiful mess

A beautiful mess

Now we’re in.  There is much work to be done, but here are some photos.

Posted in New Orleans, Tex | 2 Comments

A Beautiful Mess – Part One

We.  Are.  In!

And boy was it a Herculean effort to get here.  It involved a bat bite and ill-timed rabies vaccinations, an ER trip after a household accident plus an urgent care trip for my hypochondriac 8 year old, two different move days, and *of course* three major briefs due.  But we’re in the house, totally out of the other house, all three boys (mostly) whole and healthy, and 90% of the boxes unpacked.  The ones that remain are either books (we need to buy a bookshelf, since we lost our four built-in bookshelves in the Alabama house and those suckers were full), or those really annoying miscellaneous type boxes with the most random crap in them.  I’m tempted to just tip them all in the trash, but I know our checkbooks are in one!

On Sunday a week ago (Lawd, just a week?), I took a very long walk, packed all the rest of the boxes I was going to pack, and then lounged pool-side for a while.  Except the actual outdoor pool at our gym was drained and closed for repairs.  I swam several laps in the indoor pool (Oh, Olympic swimmers, you are so much faster than me!), and then sat by the drained outdoor pool and listened to music and deep-breathed, getting ready for the kids to return and the week ahead.  PS I bought this swimsuit in 2013 . . . Popina swimwear makes good solid suits!  Although it’s time for me to get a new one . . .

Relaxing

Relaxing

Closed

Closed

The kids got home that evening and were troopers about sleeping in the apartment full of boxes, although it threw Craig for a loop.  The next morning, we got them up and shuffled off to their various caregiving situations, and then we started loading up a rented Penske truck.  Final walk-through was set for 10:30, closing for 11:00, and we did manage to get a truck and both cars filled up by then.

Closing was largely uneventful, although it lasted two hours.  I did get a call in the middle from our eldest’s day camp – he was whining and crying about sore ears.  OF COURSE HE WAS.  They wanted me to come get him, and I said – you have to wait til I’ve finished this up.  He isn’t contagious and he isn’t going to die, and he’s just gotta suck it up for a couple of hours.

We got through closing and headed to the house, where the unloading began.  And continued, and continued, and continued. . .

So much of this

So much of this

I had to leave at 1:30 or so, and did not get back til dinner time.  In a spectacularly ill-timed move, Craig managed to get himself possibly bitten by a bat while visiting his grandparents last week, and we’ve had to do the rabies vaccination series as a precaution.  (It was the middle of the night, he was sleeping, then he was screaming, the Prof ran up to check on him and a tiny, cute little bastard of a bat was flapping around his room.  And since bat teeth are tiny enough that you can’t always see a bite, and something like 5% of bats have rabies, and rabies is 100% fatal –  we are treating Craig for rabies, even though there’s likely less than a 1% chance that he was exposed to it.)  Anyway, the rabies vaccine used to be this terrible thing involving shots in the stomach, I understand, as every single person I’ve told this story to has asked in a hushed tone if he had to suffer that.  It is no longer so unpleasant – now it’s a shot of rabies and immunoglobin within 24 hours of exposure, and then another shot on day 3, day 7, day 14, and day 21 (? I think it’s 21 – our pediatrician knows).  Just like a normal vaccination, right in the thigh, bandaid and sticker and off you go.  Day 3 was closing/moving day.  The clinic where he gets these shots is open from 9-3 – right square in the middle of the day.  Siiiiiigh.

Plus I got another call from school – Jack was inconsolable, and needed to go to urgent care for his ears.  I had to go get both big boys (whose camp ended at 3pm anyway, although we could have left Craig at daycare til 6pm if not for the rabies thing), then go get Craig from daycare, then take them all to the hospital clinic with the rabies vaccine.  I called ahead and that clinic does not check for ear infections, though I could take him to the Emergency Room at eleventy million bucks per visit.  I pinched the bridge of my nose, whistled air through my teeth, and called our pediatrician to make a separate appointment across town for Jack that afternoon – Jack, who was more or less constantly whining about his ears at this point.  Meanwhile, I really wanted to be home directing the move, having boxes put in the right place and getting the boys’ beds together, etc.

We spent 1.5 hours at the hospital.  The boys lost their minds with boredom, and I nearly lost mine with frustration at why this all had to happen TODAY OF ALL DAYS, and then I called the Prof and said “You must take one of these children as a helper.”  I brought Liam to the old apartment, where he “helped” clean up, then swung by Walgreen’s to get Jack some ibuprofen and treats for him and Craig, then we headed to the pediatrician for the ear appointment, which took another hour.  (He had – in the words of the ped – the “tiniest touch of swimmer’s ear” – just barely there.  Though, being Jack, if you’d asked him, he was certainly dying.)  We swung back by Walgreen’s to drop of the prescription, then came home to the new house.  At.  Last.

Feet up.

Feet up.

 

Posted in New Orleans | Leave a comment

Around the Town

Bridal boogie

Bridal boogie

I worked essentially a full day yesterday – I had a late start, around lunchtime, but worked straight through the day, packing it in at 8pm.  The timing was right to wander a few blocks down the street and check out White Linen Night, which was in full swing by that point.  Many cities have these – several downtown streets will be blocked off, food trucks and drink stands abound, and art galleries fling their doors wide as people dressed more-or-less on theme stumble around dribbling wine from a plastic picnic cup all over a four thousand dollar painting by some obscure artist.

I have never been.  I only shell out fifteen bucks an hour for a babysitter if it’s something super special, and I have always presumed that White Linen Night was too much of a gamble to throw precious babysitter-money at it.  After Saturday night’s excursion, my opinion has been reinforced.  My meandering down to the 300 block of Julia Street was really a last minute decision, and while I happened to be wearing a white shirt (and long blue/white striped skirt, which dragged through the filth of a NOLA street – you can imagine), I also was carrying my work bag, wearing inappropriate shoes, and was pretty tired after a long workday.  Truly, it would have been more fun if I’d (a) gone with friends instead of alone, (b) not been carrying my giant bag with an empty coffee mug, Jack’s epi pen, and a pair of heels in it, digging into my shoulder and making the squeeze through the crowds much more fraught as I clutched it and worried about pickpocketing and purse snatching, and (c) had any cash at all to purchase something to eat or drink.  So I will say I didn’t really give White Linen Night a fair shake.  It was just super crowded – suuuuuuuuper crowded – and I did brave one art gallery but it was so full of people that I could barely see any art, and besides the art was all photographs of nude, disabled black men – some missing limbs, some with scars, at least one dwarf.  I’m sure it was very arty and cerebral but I would have preferred some pastoral scene or some vases.  Something less of an assault on my already-assaulted senses.

The gallery was a wash, the food and drink a no-go, so I headed to a dance area and watched a pretty fun dance-off between a girl dressed as a bride and holding a drink in each hand, and a break dancing young guy in glasses who kept trying to escape after his great moves, but kept getting pulled back in by the bride.  I people-watched a while, got propositioned by a pretty darn old dude who called me sweetie and who I could not shake off (after a polite brush-off I just bolted and he was too big and drunk to follow my crowd-weaving maneuvers, ugh, aren’t I old enough that this shouldn’t happen anymore?), and sweated gallons.  After a good half hour, I walked back to my car and drove home, where I ate a portobello mushroom stuffed with mozzarella and pepperonis, drank a glass of wine, and binged on Nurse Jackie.  All in all, a decent last child-free night.

Sweaty.  Not in as bad a mood as I look, but definitely 1,000 degrees hotter than this picture can depict.

Sweaty. Not in as bad a mood as I look, but definitely 1,000 degrees hotter than this picture can depict.

Lit up by these giant balls of light - pretty, ethereal.

Lit up by these giant balls of light – pretty, ethereal, not sticking out of this guy’s head despite my poor perspective on this photo.

This morning I woke at 5:30 because I like torture (no seriously, Body – the kids have been gone for ages, what is your deal??)  So I got up and made coffee, eggs and toast.  I read the news on the internet and watched a bunch of videos of Olympics-gone-by when people did heart-warming endurance things like stumble to the finish line of a sprint with a torn hamstring, etc.  Then I decided to go on a long walk.  My blisters remain, somewhat exacerbated by my Body Pump class yesterday.  I tried to moleskin it again, but my left foot was like – NOPE.  So I removed the sneaker and walked five miles in flip flops.  The tops of my feet now have blisters.  Luckily we’re moving tomorrow so I won’t need to wear close toed shoes to protect my feet from dropped boxes or anything . . .

I wandered down to the street we are about to move to, and walked down it for a mile.  It is truly a fetching street – cobblestone in places, tumbling Confederate jasmine, a collection of houses in all different styles, from all different years.  A riot of color and texture.   I stumbled along, listening to the More Perfect podcast (such a great podcast for legal nerds – this one was all about Batson challenges, and the Batson case – they interviewed James Batson himself, as well as the prosecutor who made the racially-motivated jury strikes that led to the Batson Supreme Court case!  Sorry, non-legal nerds – back to our regular programming).  I made it to the river’s edge and walked along the extremely overgrown path near the river – it’s safe, no worries.  To the left was the mighty Mississip, giant blue-water vessels and smaller tugs and other watercraft chugging along (and you can just about see them through the river-growth that has grown to epic proportions in this rainy, hot summer).  To the right was close-cut lawn and a parking lot, as well as dozens of others out strolling just like me – some with dogs, some with kids, many on bikes, many more lying in the grass with their bike laying next to them, bike shoes off and toes kissed by the sun, bike helmet tucked over their face as they take a short nap after a long ride.  There are baseball and soccer fields as well, although they were unoccupied on this hot summer morning – come fall, they’ll be full every weekend morning, as will the parking lot.

I wandered out along the levee for a bit, but that path quickly devolves into warehouses and chain link fencing – you need a bicycle to get out to the pretty part fast enough for it to be worth the trip.  I veered away from the river then, walking through the zoo parking lot to Audubon Park.  The walking track around the park has been closed for a week or more, while contractors re-paint the lines along the pavement, to delineate bike lane vs. walking lane.  It was open today, and me and my flip-flops headed that direction, now listening to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.  (With Keegan Michael Key this week – so funny!)  I walked all the way around, although the flip flops were starting to rub in uncomfortable places – I just wasn’t ready to go home yet.  I saw an older gentleman on a bike, pulling a trailer with a boombox in it playing No Doubt.  Perched on his shoulder, nibbling at his hair, was a parrot, bobbing to the beat of the music.

Parrot man

Parrot man

I made it home at a little before 11, and had lunch.  Now I plan to do some more packing up, and then head to the outdoor pool at our gym to relax a bit before the boys get home.  I worked literally 13 days in a row, so I’m taking today off of working.  Trying to get as fulfilled as I can before the boys and their chaos return, and we get into our new house and start up the school routine again.  It’s been a good week.  Bring on those boys!

Posted in New Orleans | 2 Comments

Name-Dropping NOLA Eateries

The boys (all four of them) have been gone this whole week.  I had to stay home, of course, and I have literally worked every single day that they have been gone.  It’s Saturday and I’ll be going into the office in a bit – though not til after I do a Body Pump class and savor a lazy morning with coffee first.   It’s been a really good week, actually.  Although I miss the Littles, I don’t miss them too much.  I’ve worked way too much but I’ve also been out on the town with friends almost every night, taking advantage of all this city has to offer.  Last Saturday – the first night they were gone – I worked 7 hours, then came home and binge-watched Nurse Jackie and ate ice cream.  Sunday was spent working a bit more and packing some.  I also worked out for over 2 hours on Sunday – felt amazing not to be watching the clock and feeling guilty that I was missing time with the kids.  Sunday afternoon/evening I had two social dates – first, drinks with some friends at Cure, where we discussed their new baby-on-the-way and the troubles with renting in New Orleans.  I went from that one to a second date with the Prof’s female colleagues, who go out for drinks pretty often and almost always include me, because they’re wonderful.  Being highly educated professors, they are super smart, and really fun but also serious and have great, intellectual conversation.  Although occasionally there is lots of work talk that I can’t totally follow, I still go and love it every time.  We drank frozen slushy vodka lemonade at Willa Jean’s, a new John Besh place in town, and chatted about travel and teaching and being professional women in the South, and it was glorious.

Although on Monday night I worked past 9pm, through the week I had plenty of social dates as well.  I went to Arana one night for a pitcher of margaritas, and then to the Rum House for $3 tacos.  I went to Sucre’s Salon restaurant for a fabulous brunch and tea with macaroons, and then had an evening date at the Rusty Nail for beers and po boys.  Last night a friend and I hit up Rebellion, a new bar on Camp Street near the federal courthouse, and we had happy hour rose and some Asian/Mexican fusion food that was excellent, and watched the somewhat puzzling Rio Opening Ceremonies on the muted bar tv (without commentary, it was hard to really tell what was going on).  On the few nights I was not scheduled to hang with friends, I went to the gym.  I hit the grocery store one evening to buy just a few things to get me through the week, and spent $40 instead of the usual $400.  (That’s a slight exaggeration for rhetorical effect, but it is not unusual for me to spend well over $300 on groceries for the hollow-legged children I share my home with.)  Although I billed 55 hours last week, it still felt like a vacation, being without the kids.  Today is Saturday, and as noted above I shall work a substantial chunk of it (sob), but I’ll also probably go to White Linen Night tonight downtown, I’ll definitely work out a lot, and maybe even pack some boxes.

And thus you have it – my NOLA eatery name-dropping.  What a place this is – so much life, so much joie de vivre – similar to Paris in that way.  Much, much more third-world in its governmental services, but the secret is to always approach those interactions with low expectations.  If you can handle that (admittedly a challenge for this OCD gal), your reward is all of these amazing cultural and sensory experiences that aren’t even that highly priced.  (Many of the above-described outings were actually work events, so I didn’t even have to pay!)  I’ve really enjoyed exploring the town as a single gal for a week, and it’s so awesome that I have all these friends I could call and spend time with.  It definitely meets those needs in a way Alabama never could, and this week sans-children has been a helpful reminder that life is still out there, even though the kids keep me home-bound in this phase of life.

We close on our home purchase on Monday morning, at last.  It’s kind of depressing that I’ve been in the office 12-13 hours every day this week, but I spent several hours each day managing all of the back-and-forth for the house sale, so I’m not even that far ahead in billing!  And I need to take Monday to move us.  Hence the Saturday-in-the-office.  I hate billing.

However, I love the idea of moving.  We are finally going to be settled.  I will post pictures, once we get situated.  We were originally going to move Friday, but the closing got pushed back because the appraisal took forever.  We asked for a leaseback but they put tons of strict and draconian terms on the proposed short term lease, so we ended up bailing on that, and resigning ourselves to a Monday move.  We’ll have kids underfoot and I’ll be glued to work email, but that’s ok.  We’ll make it work.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a Body Pump class to get to.  Our gym is finally open today, after being closed for maintenance this week – THIS WEEK OF ALL WEEKS – and though we had access to another gym as a replacement, its hours are terrible for working people – 9am – 7pm.  So I did 5 mile morning runs outside in the dripping, terrible heat each day, cursing the timing of the maintenance closure, but also determined to use this week to its fullest.  I also put on a poor choice of sock yesterday, an ankle sock that slipped down into my shoe without my noticing, and now I have terrible blisters where the shoe rubbed for 5 miles.  Nevertheless!  I shall put on moleskin and soldier on!  If I had to choose between which was best this week – (a) sleeping, (b) going out, or (c) working out unlimited amounts of time – I’m not sure I could pick.

Boys come home tonight or tomorrow, I’m still not sure which.  I can’t wait to see them.  Littlest Man got bit by a bat while on vaca (YES.  When the Prof called me and said “don’t freak out,” I of course freaked out a little and my mind went a few terrible places, but “bit by a bat” was not one of them.) (We are doing the rabies vaccine thing as a precaution.  Luckily it was our 2 year old, who is a stoic little soldier, and not our 8 year old, who would have made this whole multi-phase vaccine process completely terrible.)  Although he’s totally fine I do kinda want to hug him a bit and see with my own eyes that all is well.  And before they left, Liam was really sad that I couldn’t go, and kept bargaining with me all the ways that I could make it up there, so I’ll be happy to see him again and assure myself that he had a good time.  And Jack – we have a poster and two book reports to do before school starts, so I can’t wait to get him going on that.  Seeing my boys soon.  What a great week!

Posted in Domestic Bliss, New Orleans | Leave a comment

Invaded

Internet, I caught it.  I don’t understand it.  I am so amazing with Lysol.  I am the Queen of Containment.  I remember years ago when Liam caught a bug when I was 20 weeks pregnant and had just driven the two big boys on an 8 hour trip, then drove 2 more hours round trip to leave their father a car at the airport due to his unexpected flight delay, and then after dropping off the car I came back to the house and laid down to sleep at like 1 am and Liam came into my room and said “moooom” and then hurled all over me, and I *Still* didn’t catch that bug.  Doubly immunocompromised by pregnancy and exhaustion, dripping in his germs, but I survived unscathed.  This time, the Lysol couldn’t save me, and Liam’s little germ invaders are now my invaders.

It was an unpleasant night.  He’s all better, at least.  And I’m well enough to feel hungry, although not certain if I should feed this recalcitrant stomach or if it’s still got more unpleasantness to go.  At least I can work from home.

Happy Friday.  I am writing opposition briefs on my couch, with Pandora’s “Spa” channel on in the background, and there are zero children or partners competing for my attention.  Life could be worse.

Posted in Lawyerin' | Leave a comment