Friday, April 28, 2006

First Friday

It is 'late by my standards' for a Friday morning, and yet all of the rest of my family is still in bed. So I get to blog in peace, and wonder how people can stay in bed so long when the weather is gorgous!

I tried to call my son twice yesterday to see if he was driving down. I had my phone off in the evening when he returned the call. He has an old Honda, so I am concerned about his making the trip. I got a garbled message from him when I checked my voice mail before bedtime. He said something about being on his way and probably spending the night in a motel. This is so like him, getting a late start and then wasting what little money he has in a motel! So, now it looks like we will see him sometime this morning, but I don't know when. Waiting for another call so I can give the gate guard his license number to let him into the HT (Hoity-Toity) compound.

My son-in-law is flying out of here today to go to a business meeting in Denver, so the condo will not be anymore crowded. My daughter and Xman are flying out on Monday and we are staying through until next Friday. I don't know how long my son is staying during this week.

We spent Tuesday morning on a bike ride to Pinkney Island which is a bird preserve. It is a large island and really only accessible by bike, although the very first time we were here my husband and I spent an entire day trying to walk it and were able to cover only part. There are a number of man-made lakes and other bird habitat, so you are able to get closer to all of those exotic water birds. I took a ton of pictures that last time I was here, but with an older camera. I still need a telephoto to get the best shots.

It was Xman's first real bike trip and other than falling asleep on the way in and the way out and getting shaken like a milkshake on the rocky roads, he seemed to enjoy himself. On the way back to the car he was getting tired of riding and started to cry. Because of the bouncing his voice was wavering and he couldn't decide whether he wanted to cry or just making his voice do funny sounds.

He is genetically predisposed to hate the out-of-doors. The expression on his face when we first introduced him to grass at Easter for an egg hunt was priceless. He actually shuddered! Then when we introduced him to sand and finally ocean waves on this trip, he again had strong misgivings. But, as of yesterday, all of this is now behind him and he actually walks into the gentle waves, even though the water is a little cold still.

If I forgot to mention he is walking and almost running. He is into everyting and as a result my husband has had to scale down his great outdoors adventures. I think he is looking forward to Xman's departure just a little so that he can do the canoeing and fishing he wants with his son or I. I am looking forward to less 'catch me if you can' and 'oopsie, don't cry' times.

Well, hubby is up and others should finally be dragging themselves out of bed. Off to my second cup of coffee and to reading all of your blogs.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Nursery Rhymes and Sand

Well, I have Internet access as long as my daughter's laptop is here---until Monday. The condo has wireless. What luxury! My laptop is totally USB and there is no such thing here. (They actually have two PCs in a room at the workout area for those folks who absolutely must check out the stock market in between workouts and massages, or in between a sauna and a pedicure.) I don't really fit here, because I am a little too Puritanical with my money and a little too close to a fixed income.

We are at Hilton Head which is hoitey toitey, yes, but also relaxing and fun. Almost everyone vacationing here is a set of grandparents with children and pre-schoolers of the children. The scenes are disgustingly like the postcards and condo ads.

We have been spending much of our time at the beach and at the pool teaching Xman about sand-walking, seagull chasing, and blowing bubbles in the kiddie pool. I have been taking lots of family pictures just like every boring grandparent that you meet.

We drove to Savannah for my daughter's birthday dinner last night and spent a LOT of money, but I was trying to reward her for being such a good mother. It took almost an hour to get there and she seemed to have had a wonderful time. We did a little walking around the waterfront and the town squares with the big trees and historic statues. It is very Southern and slow and gentile. Think "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" with fewer exotic characters.

Hubby and daughter and son-in-law have headed for the driving range this morning before an afternoon storm and I am baby-sitting watching my Xman learn about sliding doors, reading a book to himself and playing a music machine. He is very good at entertaining himself when his tummy is full.

We are going shopping this afternoon, which is definitely not a hubby thing, but definitely a daughter/husband thing. Thus far it has been a good and not too stressful vacation...not like those where everyone is trying to please everyone else and in general having a miserable time!

It is hard for me to believe that sometime in the future I will have free time like this for as far out as the eye can see. I have lots of things that I want to do, but it still a little intimidating. It is almost as if I MUST enjoy myself in retirement and that is a big order. I think subconsciously I may thing I will fail---if one can fail at retirement?

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Packing in the Rain

I don't know why it is, but when we go somewhere by car, I go crazy with the packing. I will even have a washer dryer at the place, but still packed too many clothes. The trouble is partially due to the fact that I need beach wear, general resort wear, canoe clothes, and evening a city dress or two--and all the shoes for each activity including shoes for muddy canoing.

Then it is my daughters birthday while we are down there, so I am packing some stuff to celebrate that. We also plan on biking and are trying to take 4 bikes, and my husband and son-in-law need to pack tennis and golf gear and my husband has his canoe and fishing gear!!

We must also have food and drinks in the car as we will be driving almost the whole day.

Later this morning the others get to add the baby gear which is an apartment of stuff in itself.

We packed board games and rain gear and...oh well crammin' the stuff in.

All I can say it we better darn well have fun! (And all I really wanted to do was sleep and read.)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Saturday in the Jungle

Virgninia Bluebells Egg

Saturday morning early in the city
Is a jungle concert of bird song,
Demanding and rhythmic
High and energetic and persistent.

The sun takes its place
at the edge of the world.
Birdsongs begin to dwindle
Replaced by the regular roar
of the lion buses
and the hissing of the hyena cars
in the street below.

Finally the footsteps of man with dog,
The muddy voices below,
A tea kettle whistle from an open window.
I'm up, alright, already!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Thursday Thoughts

  1. Colleen has a little thing going called "13 Thursday." I am such an independent cuss that I cannot be confined to such a strict format. Besides, I don't think my brain holds 13 things at one time, nor would I be willing to do this every Thursday! But today I have a bunch of random thoughts and thought that they would make a good Thursday post.
  2. I changed to a spring purse today and realize everytime I do this, I am carrying more stuff than I need...maybe. It is 'old lady' stuff and would never fit into a model's pencil slim purse. I need a compact magnifying tool for reading menus under candle light, a small container of Aleve (which I have yet to use) just in case I get pain during the movie or whatever after sitting for so long, a compact umbrella, four sets of keys (my car(s), my apartment, my daughters apartment, my office,) plus a key ring with all those stupid barcode cards that you scan when you shop at a particular store. Then all the other stuff like wallet, checkbook, just enough make-up, brush, tissue, a container for all credit cards, business cards, train cards, breath mints. OK ENOUGH about the contents of a lady's purse.
  3. I got these in the mail yesterday and didn't have time to look at them until tonight. Hedwig has her bird books and I have my house books. I will start on them when I am finished with this blog and I am so excited I may not pour a glass of wine first. (Who do I think I am kidding?)

  4. Ronnie received a lot of birthday wishes and one contained a funny video (staged or real--hard to tell) about a little old lady with a cane trying to cross at an intersection while a sportscar driver at the stopsign keeps honking to get her to move faster. Finally in anger and frustation, she hits the front fender of the car with her large bag and she continues to slowly cross; the drivers air bag goes off sending white powder into the air with a surprised driver watching her continue to cross the street at her pace. (Some of you have probably seen this humorous video.) BUT have you heard this news which I saw on our network news last night?! This is no longer funny for those of us who know that aging bodies DO belie what we think we can do! To say nothing of the importance of SLOWING DOWN WORLD.
  5. Why does the builder's brother always call my husband before he calls me? A little intimidated by an intelligent woman with a mind of her own, perhaps? Or is my husband more easygoing and willing to cave when difficult decisions have to be made?
  6. My son seems to have gotten back together with his old and primary girlfriend. This is a big deal to his parents if not much significance to bloggers everywhere. She came to Xman's birthday and I tried to be as casual as I could when talking to her.
  7. Looking forward to our vacation at the beach the end of April and first week of May. This is a vacation with our kids who will overlap somewhat but not be there at the same time. This is the first time we have done something like this...hope it works.
  8. I wonder how many folks were "taken aback" by the reptile photos in the previous post? Peruby let me know she had misgivings. While I do not love snakes I am fascinated by them, as I am by all living things.
SEE I made it to eight...more than half way there. Does this mean I have half the brain of the 13 Thursday bloggers?

    Wednesday, April 12, 2006

    Showing Off or Sharing With

    My sister's visit was all too brief. She stayed with friends in Virginia (near 'Scooter' L's house) so you know it was in a nicer neighborhood than our apartment could provide. But, she did spend two whole days with us and we had fun catching up and gossiping. We drove down to the house and saw the finished retaining walls. I think they look a little scary and I am totally amazed that the county does not require a fence on that last wall. I am planning on planting a lot of ornamental grass for soft landings everywhere. I also think a gate might be needed.

    Of course, we had to look at the baby oysters and determine how they were doing. This is our second crop and should be harvestable this winter. Wind was blowing like crazy and pretty cold.

    We then took her on a two mile hike into a nearby beach. Wind wasn't blowing behind the dunes and the weather was a perfect spring day for this long walk. We interrupted reptiles trying to thaw in the sun and actually they totally ignored us.

    I should save the photo of the swamp below for another blog post as it certainly lends itself to some type of comment on life, but I wanted to share it now. It kind of makes me dizzy just looking at it.

    Sunday, April 09, 2006

    Blowin' and wearin' and eatin'

    First we blow out the candles and then we wear the cake! This is fun!

    Saturday, April 08, 2006

    Someone(s) Else's Birthday

    There were lots of birthdays last week it seems including Peruby's daughter. My grandson ALSO turned one on the fifth of April! I am going to a party for him this afternoon. There will be three other little ones there along with parents and grandparents. I can't remember if I commented on this. (I HATE this forgetfulness that took the place of wherever I lost those hormones.) Anyway, my daughter is decorating, bought four little baseball costumes, is making baseball cupcakes...the whole nine yards. I am certain she spent well over $200 for this event. But I also went a little crazy with the gifts when I got into the baby store, so I cannot point the finger. I keep telling myself I am going to be a responsible grandmother, and then I see this cute outfit or that mind-expanding toy and end up with an armful of stuff.

    Hubby is flying in from Korea at 1:00 and should be in unusual form for the event. I just have to keep him awake until I get him back here at the apartment after the cake and frosting distribution. My baby sister (my last remaining sister) flew in yesterday to see some friends and we are getting together tomorrow for a trip to the new house site and some bonding time and then we are going to an art museum on Monday. I am really enjoying this type of weekend!! Weather is supposed to be amenable to the whole thing.

    I apologize because I was going to write some thoughtful stuff about any number of subjects and not just my diary of events for the next few days, but I need more coffee now and maybe the next blog more insightful stuff, or may not, maybe just more drivel...

    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    Wine and Digital Photography--Who Knew?

    I apologize as I realize at least some part of the million blogging folks cannot contain their digital addiction leading to total digital abandon and posting of lots of spring pictures. The Blogdom will be flooded this spring. But these images are for those of you who for one reason or another cannot get out into the parks and forests at this time of year. Click on the photos for a larger view---they are beware!

    More Art photography:

    Monday, April 03, 2006

    Mulling the Milestone

    Highlights of the retirement party:
    60 people and dozens of others on travel or elsewhere that came by earlier in the day to say they were sorry they couldn't attend.
    Reasonably good food considering it was a government party and catered by a friend of the staff.
    Lots of speeches including about 12 spontaneous ones--1 1/2 hours worth.
    Demographics of the people giving the spontaneous accolades -- Secretaries, Contract personnel, Executive Service types, Industry, Latinos, Blacks, Asians and Whites.
    A poem from a former boss.
    A letter from a U.S. Senator.
    All resulting in a standing ovation, one proud son and a Husband who for the first time in his entire life was speechless. He could only say about 30 words!
    I didn't realize I was married to such a great guy. I mean I knew he was lovable and all....
    Now he is retired and this evening on a plane to Korea for a week to do some work with the government there. So much for retirement.

    Friday, March 31, 2006

    Symbols of a Marriage

    This photo could represent interracial friendship and love or overcrowding due to population growth or problems due to global warming and acid rain. Tonight, though, it represents my husband and I. It is how I feel at the end of his retirement party this afternoon. I need to collect my thoughts like the scattered cherry blossoms on the walkway and I will blog about it all later this weekend. In the meantime go take a LOVELY ride with Val at Stepping Stones of Truth for a fresh breath of air before you start your weekend crazy errand running. (Hoss, be polite with your comments now ;-) )

    Wednesday, March 29, 2006

    Yes, It is Contageous

    I live in the heart of the city with buses, mass transit and high rises that are a few hundred feet from my apartment door. Yet the brilliance of city planners has created acres of parks only a ten minute walk from where I am now living. Everything in the photos below is wild. I guess I do not need to worry about tending a garden this spring.

    Below I share with you some of the fever of spring and I hope it is contageous.

    I am big on fungus and drive my husband crazy when I stop and take fungus pictures. I think I like them because they hold still and you can get a good picture. The tree above was covered.

    This fungus is particularly lovely and my favorite picture of the day.

    This is the tree in full and you can see it was covered with fungus.

    I think this is an anemone buttercup but am open to any botanical corrections.

    We saw only two of these trees pictured above blooming in the depth of the forest under some pretty large oaks and beech trees. I have no idea what they are. Can anyone help? They didn't look like a dogwood and it is too early for dogwood blossoms. The flowers were about the size of a quarter and the tree was very sparce and not too tall. I couldn't detect a fragrance.

    Here are some lovely Scylla and to think that I used to buy these bulbs by the dozens and plant them under my trees at the old house. Here at my feet there was a small field of them for free and in several shades of blue.

    Well, enough fever. I will go get something cold to drink.

    Sunday, March 26, 2006

    Saturday Snapshots

    • On the drive down, the Bradford pears that have been planted at every landscape junction in the mall parking lots were in peak bloom with no bees in sight.
    • As we exited the car, the concert at the new house site was so rich and complex that it took our breath away. Warblers were taking up the lyrical medley, cardinals then hit the high notes, and blue jays added the percussive rhythm.
    • Organic smells from the freshly excavated earth in the front yard mixed oddly with the greenness of the spring air.
    • Water across the bridge from the boat reflected only a gray glassy surface broken suddenly by a rarely seen speeding river otter who emerged for a few seconds to exhale and inhale, and then twisting snake-like, darted beneath the surface of the water and into a large pipe under the road.
    • The open window upstairs framed a perfect view of the finger of water that joined the river to the west.

    Saturday, March 25, 2006

    Another Milestone? What Number is That Now?

    Another milestone? Pretty soon my backyard will be full of them.

    A week from this coming Monday is my husband's last day at work. He is retiring after 38 some years doing the science that he so loves. He has been talking about retirement for years and each year he got closer to naming a date and finally this past winter he put a number on the deadline. Work at his office has become more and more about process and bureaucracy and less and less about science and making things happen for people, so he knows it is the right time.

    He has actually helped create a couple of millionaires in his field of interest this past few years. (He was the one that helped guide their research and provided the handholding for their partnerships and worked them through the maze of government regulations and processes. I remember the hours on the phone, that few government bureaucrats would have devoted.) And a few decades ago we would have been envious of their millionaire status, but interestingly today, as we look back on our lives, we are just happy for them and he looks on it as one of his accomplishments. This is another milestone for us in maturity.

    My husband has had a few shock moments still where he is amazed that he is actually retiring. Like most men and a few women, his image and self-worth is all tied up in his career and the job description. So, this transition will be somewhat painful. He is trying to line up a few consulting jobs and he will be back to the same office working half-time as a contractor this summer. He is smart in doing this in stages, although he says he is continuing with a contract just to keep me company until I retire in a year or two.

    He also got a scare last week with his prostate test and it looks like he may have prostate cancer. This is naturally a scare at a time when he was hoping to adjust to a new way of living. We have a few acquaintances that also are fighting this battle. If a man lives long enough, this gland seems to want to fail. My Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer about ten years ago and they decided to do nothing about it. He is still alive and doing very well for someone 92! We have a close friend that was diagnosed with this about 6 years ago and kept telling us he was preparing to die. He went through some painful surgery and chemotherapy, but he is still here and looks great, if still a bit of a hypochondriac.

    I am worried, naturally, but more about the types of treatment and what they may do to my husband. I am not worried about him dying. Maybe I am very naive. We will know more in the coming weeks after he visits the specialist.

    It is sort of strange, because as we got closer to finishing and enjoying this new house I was feeling guilty. Guilty that we are so blessed and wondering if somehow we were going to get our share of pain soon.

    Friday, March 24, 2006

    The special lunch

    We met at noon downtown near the hotels and restaurants. I was the first to get there. The weather was cold but the wind was gentle. Sidewalks were busy with all the city people trying to squeeze in a lunch. Several well dressed gay guys were hanging out near the bike rack. Then I saw my son all dressed in black with a blue undershirt. He looked very handsome, but then I am related to him so may be prejudiced somewhat. He looked a little tired but he kissed me and gave me a big hug. We chatted for a while about his work which was going reasonably well. His management is manipulative and insecure and at least he sees through that. He likes his work and his band seems to be getting some play dates at least. He is carrying too much debt with his condo which he insisted on purchasing in the hot part of the city, and that concerns me. We don’t have the money to help him out.

    My daughter had called earlier to tell me that Xman was sick and she wasn’t going into work and therefore not joining us for lunch. Then she called back and decided he wasn’t all that sick and so she brought him. She was her high energy confident self and Xman was a little under the weather and spent most of the lunch chewing on cheerios and watching us.

    We ate in a little hole-in-the-wall bar down under the street because all the main restaurants had long lines of people waiting as they had just escaped from conference meetings. The lunch was quick but not rushed and the food was OK. I just sat and watched all of my favorite people interacting. My son and daughter are now adults talking about adult things; they were not teasing or taunting as they had done just a few years earlier. Time changes everything somewhat.

    Busy, Busy, Busy

    I have been super busy this week and don't even have time to think of something to post. I have been in meetings of one kind or another all week long and will look so forward to heading home this afternoon.

    Actually I am also looking forward to noon today. I have a meeting downtown near where my daughter works, and she and I have planned meeting for lunch. To make the lunch even more appetizing I finally got my son to call me back two nights ago(by using his best friend as a go between!) and he is going to join us also!

    This is such a precious little lunch as I am old enough to know the real value of time with those you love!

    Thursday, March 16, 2006

    Stop the World I Want to Get Off

    I am on a rant today. What set me off was a traffic light, a new traffic light that was installed to allow pedestrians to cross safely on a very busy road outside my office (cubicle if you really want the picture-perfect version.) This section of the road is very busy with buses, cars, and pedestrians leaving several high rise office buildings to cross to the small shopping center that has restaurants, a nail place, a hair place, a coffee shop, a cleaners, a drug store, a bank and a supermarket, just the kind of place that busy people might want to get to during their mid-day escapes from the office. Using the crosswalk was a dangerous game and several people had actually been hit by cars.

    There never was a light until last year when they put up a caution signal light and a sign that said “Pedestrian Crossing.” On occasion a motorcycle cop would hide behind the shopping center sign to catch cars that didn’t slow and let pedestrians cross.

    This didn’t work. There were still close calls, several even I experienced. The trouble was partially that pedestrians would not check the light down the way for the major intersection and they would cross whenever they felt like it, forcing a car to stop for them and then miss the green light at the big intersection. Part of it was the drivers on the opposite side of the road that were racing up the hill and just wanted to get by while you waited in the MIDDLE of the street.

    Well, early this week we got a real light, a push button to cross, a ticking timing bell, and a voice that says you can now cross. Well, people are still crossing without the light, drivers are still trying to beat the light change, and I almost was hit by a stupid middle-aged white guy at lunch!

    I have way too many things to worry about more than crossing the street! There is mad cow disease to my south forcing me to give up hamburgers indefinitely, as well as PCBs and mercury making me question both my salmon consumption AND my Omega 3 capsules,

    I have to worry about my identity being stolen on the Internet to say nothing of my concern hoping that my employer doesn’t find my blog. I am worried that I will not get any Social Security when I retire. I am worried that the stock market will collapse under this crazy administration spending which has no regard for the country and I will have to work until Hell freezes over.

    Even though my new retirement house sits about 20 feet above the water level, I have been told by scientists that the water is rising and the icecaps are melting. I also have to worry about Lyme’s disease (which I already contracted once) as we attempt to clear out all of the deadwood in the area near the new house in order to avoid any fire hazards from the increased lightning due to global climate change.

    I am worried about my daughter’s storm door to the front of her house which leads to a VERY busy and dangerous street and which is only seconds away if Xman hits the storm door just right while running.

    I am worried that my son will never have a social life since he works nights and he will never meet the right girl, I will never be allowed to enjoy his children, and he may end up depressed and a recluse. (HE NEVER ANSWERS MY CALLS OR EMAIL.)

    I am worried…OK, I can go on and on and on. Now I know why I have trouble sleeping nights. It is time for my Yoga tape. Breath in…breath out…

    Sorry, but remember this blog is my therapist sometimes.

    Wednesday, March 15, 2006

    Finishing the meme—job #2 and #3

    I was tasked to list four of my jobs in a meme a while ago. I listed #1 here. Being the anal-retentive that I am, I am doing them
    in chronological order; and, since I have to go into the WAAAY back machine for that, the process is a little painful.

    #2: Job number two for me was the second oldest 'profession' in the world, babysitting. This is where a stressed and deluded parent hires a young, innocent, naïve, and poor girl, and pays her slave wages to watch human an
    imals that behave like wildcats (I like the graphic on this site as it conveys the true nature of the beast)--- or like Tigger on speed.

    There is something about that sweet, blue-eyed child that waves to you from across the neighborhood street that changes him/her totally into another personality when they know that Mommy and Daddy are out playing for the evening. They have entered the next dimension. They seem to sense that you do not know where anything is, do not know what all of the rules are and have no qualms about loosing your dignity at any time during the evening.

    The greater danger in this job is that you may gain some self-confidence (actually I became addicted to having a little cash on hand) and you take on greater and larger responsibilities. One of my ‘clients’ was a family that had six children. They were age 2 up to age 9. Remember I lived in a farming community where large families were an asset. Those evenings with 6 kids were such a blur in my mind. I remember it vaguely like a terrifying roller coaster ride. I was petrified the entire time and so glad when the evening was over and I didn’t have to call an ambulance---not for them---for me. Needless to say, I was the only babysitter the parents could get!

    #3: My third job was a step up. I think I increased my wages to about $1.50 an hour and babysitting only paid $.50 and this third job also paid my Social Security, which as we know today is a real benefit.(!) This job required the following skill set: abilty to lift heavy weights, balance things, be speedy, have an excellent memory, ability to hear in a noisy environment, and no aversion to putting fingers in half eaten food, AND the ability to avoid dirty old men---particularly the boss. You guessed it, waitressing in a small-town diner.

    I hated that job because the boss always wanted to get me into the kitchen where he could tell me a dirty joke. That was when I realized that I don’t find dirty jokes funny. If my parents knew what he was like they wouldn’t have allowed me to work there that summer. But I needed the money to save for college and they were glad I had some small income. Fortunately he kept his hands to himself. I was such a schmuck in those days.

    Well, next blog will be job #4 and the last of the this meme.

    (Addendum: When I was 11 my mother gave me another sister and when I was twelve I got another brother...therefore, since I clearly had inside experience, I was pretty much in demand during my teen years.)

    Monday, March 13, 2006

    Can You Still Catch a Sunbeam?

    It Takes Two to Tangle, Or Does It?

    I spent Saturday evening babysitting that grandson of mine. Xman was in his usual crazy-man endless-energy form. I arrived early and kept him entertained while the young couple got ready for their evening out. Xman and I played a little ball, played a few musical instruments, stacked some foam blocks, dropped some plastic blocks down the giraffe's neck and raced a truck, but spent most of the time exploring areas of the house that he is not allowed to explore! He does know what ‘no’ means, but it requires physical re-direction to get him off of the track. He also is now the age where he is not afraid to protest/wail when re-directed.

    I discovered when it was my job to feed him that, unlike many of us, dinner is not necessarily the favorite part of his day. He is intrigued by the way the belt connects and disconnects on his high chair, and he likes to chase the cheerios across the tray, but he is only mildly interested in the colorful puree in the plastic spoon. I have learned that if you keep up a quick and steady pattern of moving the spoon into the mouth as soon as it opens, you can cram about six to ten spoonfuls down before he is finished. I have to watch carefully on the timing of this, as he begins the head swaying (i.e. Stevie Wonder) and arm flailing which leads, of course, to blobs of food on the walls, the floor, him and me.

    After the meal he gets to play a little longer while I clean up his mess and then attempt to eat a quick sandwich for dinner. (This sandwich eating is interrupted numerous times.)

    Then it is bath time--his. Anyone who has bathed an 11-month-old will shudder involuntarily when they think of their experience. Trying to get him undressed, away from the floor heater, the bottle of baby soap on the edge of the tub, the toilet and my watch which rests on the edge of the counter all while I sit on my knees in this tiny bathroom is the first challenge. Then I realized that I should have started the tub water in the beginning, so I had to keep him entertained with “Ducky” while I tried to fill the tub. I filled it just a hair too warm (it felt COLD to me) because he wouldn’t sit until I had added more cold water and it was then tepid like a tea cup that had been left out for a (long) while.

    Finally, he sits and plays with toys while I try to soap and rinse him. That is when he discovers the pink bar of soap on the tray above his head and stands precariously on tip toes while reaching for it. He knocks it into the tub and then sits back down to retrieve it. It slides under his leg, and I sneakily remove it from behind him and put it back up into the soap dish. I am so pleased that I have pulled one over on him and then I discover why it was so easy. While looking for the soap he has discovered that little bobbing appendage between his legs. He tries to grab it and playing with it occupies his time for another five minutes.

    Finally it is time to drain the tub and dry him off. I grab the warm wet mass and wrap him in a towel without getting me too wet. I actually am able to hold him and stand up from a kneeling position at the same time, Yay!

    Then we head into the bedroom where an attempt is made to dry him completely. This is like trying to wipe a doll while it is in the spin cycle of your dryer. I then apply lotion and diaper cream. If you have not greased a squirming baby and then tried to diaper and dress him, you have not faced one of life’s most interesting challenges. Each appendage is flailing and swinging like the legs of beetle on its back. And each of those appendages is slicker than butter on a pre-basted turkey—except this analogy has gaps because the turkey isn’t moving, at least MY turkeys don't move.

    In what seems an endless series of almosts as I grab and lose one arm and then one leg, he is finally in the diaper and in the pajamas and the hair is combed (sort of)

    We read a story together about colors, but he is more interested in turning the pages—back and forth and back and forth. After ten minutes, I admit defeat realizing we are never getting to the end of this book much less read it in any chronological order. I put it aside and grab the bottle.

    He attacks his bedtime bottle like a drunken sailor and when finished he immediately goes to sleep with the finality of a light switch being turned off--- no guilt, no regrets, just down until the next day's adventure.

    Then, I headed for that glass of wine.