Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The United Front

Things are returning to normal around here, helped about by a hefty dose of nitrous at the dentist yesterday. Nitrous makes me stupid. That happen to anyone else? The Hub bounces right back from it, meanwhile I'm drooling in my soup and stuttering. But, oh, does time pass quickly.

There are many reasons why The Hub's no was probably the right thing to do. It would have been an enormous undertaking. We've not ruled out the under-3 kiddos as a whole, but three would be too much, and after months of thinking 5-16 years, adjusting our mindset to an infant and two stair steps was too much to do in a weekend. Hub's main reasoning was that we've passed on applying for kids (the same ages as these three and slightly older) because they're too young, so we shouldn't rush into placements just because they're offered. Our biggest fear is disrupting an adoptive placement, whether because of the children's issues or our own limitations, and saying yes to something bigger than we'd anticipated just isn't the smartest thing we can do.

If one of us isn't ready for something, then we aren't.

There wasn't any big fallout around here. I was twisty-squirmy for a bit, of course, but we're a-ok. We get mad, we get sad, we get over it.

I'm getting excited for whatever's around the corner. Yay, looking forward.

Monday, September 25, 2006

At Least I Go Back to the Dentist Tomorrow

When we were first figuring out if we could/should adopt through foster care now or in 5/10/15 years, The Hub and I agreed on The Rule of No. Basically, if one of us says no, we both say no.

The Rule of No was put into action today for the first time.

That's all. I'm feeling deflated and sad and kind of angry, but I tell myself it is for the best. We are probably not ready for 3 under 3, and the kids deserve people who are over the moon about them.

My mom has been trying to cheer me up by telling me how hard it would have been, how everything will work out. It just makes me cry harder.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Station Break

I'd forgotten to mention this earlier, what with all the baby drama going on around here, but the sibling group of three older kids (the quince girl and her brothers from previous posts) have been matched to someone else. I'm so happy for them. More than a year after their original TV segment, they're going to be adopted. I thought I'd be disappointed, and I was a bit, as was The Hub (they'd done a number on him and he really wanted to be at least considered), and if the state had just said, "no, not y'all," then we'd be upset, but they were matched, which rocks my socks. What's also cool about this (for us) is that this might mean they're getting closer to matching on some of the other kids we've submitted homestudies on, since they all went in within a few days of each other.

That's if we're not already very very busy with three under three.

The Freak Out, Continued

If you've stopped by here anytime in the last 4 months, you'll know that babies were not on my radar. We are certified for ages 0-18, maybe, but our certificate says 5-16, and that was a-ok with me.

Now, 3 kids, who to my mind qualify as babies, although I guess one is a toddler.

None of my friends have babies right now. My friends either have no kids, or their kids are a few years younger than I am. I do know that such things exist as baby bjorns, slings, strollers, and rear-facing car seats, and I have Tivo'd every episode of Sesame Street since the new season began, but that's about where Baby Stuff ends.

How long could we get away with 3 PacknPlays instead of cribs? I wouldn't be able to work-at-home anymore unless we hired a nanny (a nanny!). We'd be putting the kibosh on Genetic Experiment: Bio Kid we're planning on knocking me up with in 3 years or so (cause 4 kids under 7 WOULD break me, if 3 under 3 hadn't already). Would I spend two hours crying in my closet every night? Do I have the patience to be Insta-Mommy to 3 babies? Shouldn't I be running around screaming out my excitement instead of knocking back Pepto?

From the information we know, I'm confident that these kids are someone's dream. But they aren't feeling like ours. If there were two, if they were a little older, if one were older, if it wouldn't mean maxing out our credit cards to buy 3 of every baby item in existence (We've saved money specifically for the buying-frenzy, but not 3 baby money, if you know what I mean. And we have 1 crib, bunkbeds that can be un-bunked, a full size bed, and a queen size bed available to us or already in our house -- what age do kids move out of cribs and into beds? My brother respected the boundary of the crib until he was 3, so my parents kept him in it, cause he didn't respect any other boundaries, so is 3 ok? Or 2?), hell, even if my dad hadn't fallen off a ladder last month and ruined his arms and my mom were able to help me out like she's always planned (she's been telling me for ten years that she's moving into my house for the first six months after I have a baby, and when we told her we were thinking of adopting, she said, "Get the Mother-In-Law room ready"), then maybe I wouldn't be so scared.

My mother refuses to have an opinion. This is uncommon.

What I'm thinking right now, after three hours of sleep last night and now sitting up watching Property Ladder, is that if we were going to say yes, we would have already said it.

But I'm not ready to say no, either. And we've got to make a decision fast.

Tune in later today after I try to sleep.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Full-On Freak

No real decision made yet. We think we know what our answer will be, but there are still a few things to consider.

If we'd said yes yesterday morning, the kids would have been here by the end of the workday. However, as these 3 are as young as you can get without multiple births, well, we need some time. And... we weren't planning on three at once. And... we weren't considering children this young. And I don't know if I could handle three kids in diapers, highchairs, and cribs. I'm really really scared, and we're waiting for the shock to wear off before we make a real decision.

These kids are someone's dream placement, but we're not sure if we should be their parents. They are fost/adopt, but TPR is already scheduled (very very very soon), they are little, there are girls and a boy, and they have never been in foster care.

In so many ways, it is good (sorry about being vague, but if you've been reading my blog for a while and you know the sorts of periphery things I think about and want, you'll get it.). At the same time, there are circumstances that upset me (having to do with mom and dad's situation). Meanwhile, things I thought I'd consider a dealbreaker (not speaking English, for a benign example) don't worry me a bit.
Did you know that you'll attract a lot of attention when you tear into Babies R Us in sweaty gym clothes, wild-eyed, cellphone glued to your ear, saying, "I might have three kids tomorrow, can someone help me find everything?" Yah, um, people drop what they're doing, and even the other shoppers will take you by the hand and introduce you to the options available in double and triple strollers. I hit about a million things with that little scanner gun, dudes.
And yes, I got the phonecall at the gym. I was on the elliptical machine.
This is a pillowdoll I made last night, cause babies need toys too.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I told you something was coming

Remember how I said something was coming our way? I was right.

The Hub and I are deciding right now whether we will become a family of 5 by Monday. Whether my car fits three carseats might come down to be a deciding factor.

I guess this is where it starts.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Still Waiting for that Something Good

Earlier this week I'd written that I had a good feeling about this week. So far, the only suprise is that The Hub scheduled me for a dentist appointment today and that my dad needs me to work for him. Not so exciting.

I think I'll shop between the dentist and being my dad's hands. I found a recipe for custom-blended chai that I'd like to try, and I have a few new stores to check out in my parents' area. I've tried to get to these shops the last 10 times or so I've been to my parents' house since Dad broke 23 bones, but he always finds stuff for me to do that keeps me there until after he falls asleep. Turns out it is hard to do your own work when you don't have use of your hands. Not really a shocker, I know, but damn, can real estate development be boring. Nothing Trumpy at all about researching the history of road weight restrictions in Bastrop, Texas. Or figuring out why the grass is green at one golf course, but not at the one two miles away. Neighborhood covenants suck, too.

So, yes, shopping is in order, even if it is just for whole cloves and cinnamon sticks. (Yah, that's how exciting I am.)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Around the House

First up: The sign from the restaurant The Hub and I went on our first date. We went there again on our first anniversary (the little wedding anniversary), and the owner told us he was getting a new sign. Before I could remember to be polite I'd blurted out, "Can we have the old one?" It lives with us now and takes up the majority of a wall.
The next two are pastel drawings done in 1905 or thereabouts. The kids are my great-grandfather's older brother and sister, and the adults are my great-great grandparents. My great-grandmother (the Viola from the story a month ago or so) showed these to me about 10 years ago, then promptly returned them to their hiding spot underneath her couch. When she died, I asked my grandmother if I could take them, and she said, "Oh, of course, I was just going to burn them." There's a bit of glare because I've since framed them, but after playing with the angle it isn't too bad.

Pushing Paint Around

Next week, we will have lived in our house for two years. For me, this is big. I'm a girl who would sign a lease for 6-9 months, and then move on to fresh carpet, white walls, bigger, smaller, first floor, more counter space in the bathroom, newer kitchen appliances, whatever, via when I got sick of the neighbors/drunks/drive to work/proximity to the firehouse of my old apartment.

So what's a girl to do when combining two 700 sf households that have maximized efficiency by adhering to the rule of "what will moveforfree really move for free?"? Aside from haunting the Pottery Barn/West Elm Outlet store 15 miles to our North looking for items I'd circled in the catalogue but refused to pay full price or shipping for, ya start making things. $7 window panels from the Croscill outlet get cut in half and embroidered and resewn to cover the bathroom window, napkin rings and 1-inch wooden dowels become curtain rods with some paint and a glue gun, and The Hub's poker table gets a hearty application of spray paint and the chair seats get reupholstered with elephant-skin pleather and a staplegun.

Once the windows are covered and you've found a $300 coffee table for $70 (oh how I love the Outlet Mall and the bottle of black-brown paint I used to cover up the flaws), you need more stuff, it turns out. After searching high and low for cheap cool stuff (cause mortgage is a scary word), I found inspiration at Wal-Mart. Yes, Wal-Mart. See, I was on a manic homemaking streak there the first few weeks, once the boxes were unpacked all I could think of was decorating, so of course I needed more hot melt glue at 2 AM, and damn it, the only place to get it was Wal-Mart.

Which brings me to today's photo array (I'm trying to get in the habit of taking pictures everyday, since I've been so bad about it in the past. The Hub and I have 3 photographs of ourselves from before we got married, and they were all sent to us by friends or family). That glassware was all bought at WM, and in one night I used acrylic paints swirled and brushed along the inside of the vases and votives and candy dishes to give it the lovely happy look it has now.

Most people can't tell that it is just paint, and even The Hub forgets (he sent all the stuff in the blue photos through the dishwasher about a month ago because they were dusty. After getting hit with the Pots and Pans cycle, they were naked and the dishwasher filter a bit stopped up.). I actually get compliments on the glassware, and people ask who made them for me. This leads to an embarrassed explanation that, "Um, I made them. They're painted." The same thing happened with my sunburst-style painting, until I put a made up name on it.

So, if you are looking for murano-fake, go get a clear glass vase, bowl, votive, or dish. Pick your acrylic paint colors, and squirt paint into the base. Dip flatheaded paintbrush into edge of paint pool, and drag up side in one stroke. I like to mix a few colors in and brush them on at the same time, but if you want a dominant color, use one paint first, allow to dry, and then layer another color on. Too much brushing will blend the colors, so cleaning your paintbrush every now and then is a good idea. If you want to seal them to be waterproof, go for it.

In other news, ACL Day 3 was good. Not as many bands that I lurved already, so we spent it mostly wandering about and drinking chai out of a thermos.

We're making plans to go up to College Station on The Hub's frat's Founders' Day. I swear, if I'd been told ten years ago that I'd marry an Aggie frat boy, I'd have thrown up on you. (If you're not from Texas, just know that in my mind, in general, UT = liberal and progressive, A&M not so much) We're also planning a trip to Minnesota (yay, I get to go home!). In addition, I've been approved for a big craft show and sale because of the dolls and toys I've sold in the area gift shops. I figure once we have a million things going on, other things will start coming together.

I have a good feeling about this week. Maybe something cool will happen.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Too Much Party

Austin City Limits Music Festival = awesome, again.
Me = dehydrated.
Ears = ringing.
Weather = 97 degrees.
Skin = saltlick.
Standing too close to speakers at Gnarls Barkley = unexpected shedding of uterine lining.
Khaki capris = totally embarassing.
30 minute wait for bathroom = buying ACL sweatshirt and tying around waist.

More fun tomorrow. With tampons.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Adoption Underachievers

We submitted two more inquiry forms this morning, bringing our grand total of inquiries to... drumroll... ten.

Up until I read Margaret's post, I thought that the 8 we'd submitted (of which 3 seem active, one was ignored, one child was beyond our abilities, and the rest have either been placed/aren't ready for adoption) was a lot. But, um, not so much anymore. Granted, we plan on adopting from our home state, as I think a 6-9 month ICPC might kill me, so our pool is smaller than Margaret's. But reading the advice people gave her in their comments helped a bunch, too. Casting a wider net might be a good idea.

At the moment, the three profiles that seem to be active are all in the same region. This region sends out form letters saying, "Don't call us, we'll call you in 30-45 days," which is more than most, but it still isn't much, but still more than I've come to expect. We're in the 30-45 day timeframe now, so maybe we'll hear something back soon. Two of the inquiries have a good chance of going nowhere, I think from the state's perspective we'll be too noob for the kids. Our homestudy is booooring, not to mention full of errors when it was submitted on the kids, so I don't feel too confident. But there is a child we sent a homestudy in for, a boy who likes bugs and bears an uncanny resemblance to my sister (seriously, if I didn't know she didn't have a child years ago, I'd request a DNA test), that everyone on our end thinks could be "the one." He's the only child our SW has suggested for us, and by the time she sent his information to us, I'd already sent our inquiry. My mother has put this boy's photograph up on her refrigerator, she's sent his profile to my aunt and grandparents, and my dad asks me things like, "Think he'll want to do Boxcar Derby?"

I'm really dreading not being matched to him. I want to be matched to him, but I'd guess there are a lot of people who would also like to be matched to him, and the odds are we won't be, even though I think we'd be good for him.

(That sounded kind of sad and self-defeating, and I didn't mean it that way. So to end on a happier note, here's a photo of me and my sister at our grandparents' lakehouse in 1985. Bikes! Polka-dot swimsuits! Big puppy! Happy!)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Yes, Still Adopting

We're still adopting, it turns out, though you wouldn't really know it around here.

We've stopped bothering to replace the outlet covers after we vacuum. I let The Hub eat the homemade chicken nuggets and mac and cheese I made and froze in case of an on-the-fly fost-adopt placement (seriously, I remember being told that those happen). I've stopped de-cat-hairing Unknown Child's bed each day. The Hub and I have resumed walking around the house in pajamas or undies, even though we were told to get used to being modestly covered when not in our bedroom. The lawn chemicals and household cleaners are out of their home in the locked cabinets because we're crazy that way, with a bag of fire ant poison resting on the second shelf in the garage. I've officially returned all the things we've purchased, aside from the waterproof mattress pad and the super-clearance bedding we got for 60 bucks instead of 400. I took the packing lists off the fridge and filed them, since it doesn't look like we're going to have to secure the antique glassware or fireplace pokers anytime soon. I'm not checking my email nine times a day waiting for word, any word, from any of the social workers that are out there. I'm not even upset anymore that, even though our agency told us that most of their placements are fost-adopt, we've not yet been contacted about one single child -- and we're looking for older children, not babies. I was planning on waiting until we were matched before I had my hair re-dyed, so I maybe could coordinate with Unknown Child or just get rid of the un-mom alternating purple and ultrablonde highlights (because I'm insane, you know), but I've got a "multi-color" appointment scheduled. We're back to going over the foreclosure listings in search of a house to flip, calling my beloved contractor to see when he's available for a project, since I'm starting to think we'll have the four or five months a medium-impact house would take (from search to market).

In addition, when my family or friends ask about "how the adoption is going," I've started acting like I'm 15 and my dad has just asked why I'm late for curfew. Turns out that "I don't know" shoulder shrug and eyeroll is pure muscle memory.

Overall, this is a bland place to be. When we began, we had intent, we had a goal, we had momentum, we had a placement worker that would talk to us on the phone (in this state, I hear that's a miracle). Now, instances of excitement are far between, and followed by weeks of uncertainty, and so far, disappointment.

So for now, we just keep doing what we've been doing for years, with as little thought as possible (for sanity's sake) to what may or may not be around the bend.


All this waiting isn't that bad, but it isn't fun. I'm a classic overthinker when time allows, like now.

I want to do this, I want to adopt, but I also don't want this experience to break me, to turn me into a crying wretch huddled into the corner of my closet behind The Hub's khaki pants, and good gosh, some of the things y'all go through would put me there. I am doubting my own strength, I think. The Hub happens to be doing the same thing, it turns out, and to him I said, "That's stupid. You'll be the best father this world has ever seen." Why can't I believe that about myself, even after he says it?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Smarter than House

Just to record this event for posterity, I'd like to let you all know that I was a full 35 minutes smarter than Dr. Gregory House this evening. At 8:12, I was yelling, "Absorbed twin! Absorbed twin!" at the TV, while my husband looked at me like I'm both insane and entirely disgusting. My vindication came soon enough, however, and The Hub nearly choked on his Oreos when it came to pass. Through the spray of chocolate wafers and sugared lard, my man gasped, "That actually happens? No more Discovery Health Channel for you, smartass!"

Friday, September 08, 2006

Childhood Fear, Revisited

I was always a little fearful of breaking an arm or leg and getting a cast because of the saw that would be used to take off said cast. But no one ever gets hurt having a cast taken off, right?


When my dad had his elbow surgery last Friday, the docs knocked him out before removing the cast that went from forearm to first set of knuckles. And then they used the wrong sized saw to take the cast off. After the procedure, his surgeon came out and told my mom this "wrong saw" story, and told her he had a little abrasion on his hand, but that it hadn't broken the skin. General feeling was that ok, accidents happen, and you picked out the wrong saw for a cast your office put on, oh well, guess you're not as smart as you look, but whatever.

Yesterday, Pops had his arm unwrapped for the first time when he had his removable cast made. Turns out his surgeon, Dr. Suck, is a big, fat, enourmous liar. He's cut from pummel of hand to nearly the crook of elbow. The cut wasn't terribly deep, but it is about a foot long and was crusty with blood, which I hear made the de-gauzing a laugh riot. Since it was done with a saw, it is about the width of a fettucini noodle. Direct quote from my mother: "It looks like you slit your wrist and knew how to do it." Sheesh.

And just guess how much it cost to have the cast removed by a doctor in the OR.

Dad says that when it is time for the other arm's decasting, he's just going to go after it with a chisel and sledgehammer.

So, yah, that's not cool. I do realize it isn't the worst thing that could have happened, but I like my doctors competent, so it upsets me.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

My Wedding Dance

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds usally wouldn't equal wedding song. But kicking a twenty year habit changes a man.

Here's the video to Into My Arms, which was my wedding song, and which I haven't been able to get out of my head for the last few months. Give 'er a listen.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Steal This Dog?

My next door neighbors moved into their home two months ago. They aren't very social. They have a dog, and this dog has never been allowed inside their house. He paces the 60x25 backyard day and night. i've seen his owners outside with him twice, and both those times were during cookouts. He doesn't get petted or played with. When my dogs go out their dog door, he whines and cries on the other side of the fence. We stick our fingers through the fence to tickle his nose. He's got a start on a ginourmous hole from his yard to ours, and any day now we're expecting to wake up in the morning and find him curled up on our couch.

Some dogs are made to be outdoor dogs. If you have space enough for them to roam, company for them to keep, I have no problem with it. But if a dog can't even hit a run before hitting the fence, I'm not so supportive. Also, if the dog is ignored by his family, I get cranky after a while.

So, internets, I want to talk to my neighbors and ask if they'd like a daytime doggiesitter. I don't want to own their dog, but ffs, he seems miserable, makes my dogs frantic with the whining, and wants over to our house, I work from home during the day, and he gets along just fine with my pups. How do I go about this? Forget it? Move? Fill the hole with cement?

(Yes, I am a big softie. We've established that.)


One of the fluffy, silly "news" stories out this week is that Katie Couric's promotional photo was digitally altered to sex her up a bit. You know, cause that's what they did to Cronkite way back in the day. Totally reasonable and rational, and has nothing whatsoever to do with her being female. Nope. La la la. (But honestly, America, just how hot does a news anchor have to be? Is it going to cheer you up imagining those hot legs under the desk the first time she reports on an evil plot to kill all the puppies in the world? What more do you want from this woman? She's already taken you on a tour of her colon. Some girls won't give that up even with an engagement ring. But I digress.)

So here's the before and the after retouching.

My attitude about it was mostly, "Meh, whatevs." She's a commodity, she's a public figure, she probably gained a little weight and the producers went berserk or something and decided to skinny her up to catch that all-important 18-39 demographic. (Maybe she didn't gain weight, I dunno, I have not tracked her waistline, caloric intake, or the number of Ben and Jerry's containers in her garbage.) Anyhow, I know how magazines and publicity shots work, and when I find pictures like this, I giggle and feel better about all that airbrushed vulgarity that's out there. Yes, Par1s H1lt0n's butt hangers give me a warm fuzzy. I am that shallow.

Stick with me, I'm going somewhere.

So, yah, celebrities get photoshopped, cause otherwise mere mortals would be able to say, "Dude, M1ra S0rvin0 has the worst acne!" Pageant girls get photoshopped, since the headshots count for part of their score, which is evidently judged on the Rules Of Cute. Wedding photographs get photoshopped because a certain bride had 10 black stitches in her shoulder from a carry-on falling from the overhead compartment two days before the big I-Dos. (True story. I checked out of the hospital the morning of the flight to Vegas (pneumonia), was more than a little looped on their prescriptions, and got beat down by a rollerbag about the time we'd reached cruising altitude. My bridesmaids were not willing to humor me by drawing similar wounds on themselves with waterproof eyeliner, so photoshop it was. Have I ever mentioned that my big fabu wedding had some really, really sucky parts?)

Now take a look at these two photos. Same kid, and aside from the lighter/darker, same picture, ya? Mostly, but just a little bit different. See it?

(I took the photos off, because even though they were/are on public websites, I don't want them up here for all time, and by now most people who check my page regularly have seen them. The first photo showed an adorable little boy with strange looking front teeth, the second photo showed an adorable little boy who had lost his too front toofers. That was the big diff.)

The first photo is from a state photolisting profile, the second is from a TV station website that featured him on a "Waiting Children" segment last month. Unless this little boy went back to Build A B3ar in the same clothes, with the same stuffy, a few months apart, or unless he wears a bridge and forgot to pop it in till after the second pic was snapped, I think we can all agree that TEETH WERE ADDED to the first picture.

Whaa? Why? Why is front-toothlessness in a kiddo bad enough to digitally alter? Now, I can tell you that losing my two front teeth was a bit embarassing in my family, as all of a sudden, my mom would hand me the phone, then my relatives would ask me, "Do you remember the name of Big Bird's friend?" and I'd be forced to answer, "Thnuffleupaguth." This happened about four times a week, so perhaps the loosing of the teeth can be traumatic to a child, especially if Grandma's a real joker, or if your dad starts telling you, "Say it, don't spray it," at each meal. But for reals, will toothlessness at 6 years old really impede this little boy's appeal to possible adoptive parents? I just don't get it. I mean, dude, this child is adorable even if were to open up your paint program on your computer under program files:accessories, then proceeded to draw a moustache, goatee, and glasses on him AND his stuffed animal. (Add a "Born to Rock" tattoo while you're at it.) Why photoshop a child to put him on adoptuskids? It makes me all protective of him, like, "Go away, digital dentist, he's just right the way he is." And if fibbing about toothcount is a-ok, what else is? Hrmph. Don't Couric the kids, okay?

Get what I'm saying?