My Brush With the Law

I am one very fortunate little chica.

I was leaving work last night and, in order to get home, had to make a left turn across a very busy road.  The visibility on both sides was blocked on both sides by parked cars, making my left turn very hazardous indeed.

I found a window in traffic and gunned my Kia engine for all it was worth.  I made it to the other side safely, but not without (unintentionally, obviously) cutting off a police officer.

As soon as I got to the other side I knew I was busted.  I slowed down and waited for him to flip around and come chase me with his bright whirly lights.  I pulled over and turned off my engine, waiting with my hands folded like a good law-abiding citizen.

The young officer came up to me and said, “Do you know why I pulled you over?”

I replied, “Yeah, that was a really stupid thing to do.”

He asked me why I did it, I explained the dangerous lack of visibility thanks to the parked cars, and he said he could see my point.  I handed over my license and registration and watched as he took my license back to his car.

I could just feel the ticket coming, like the early days of congestion that precede a really nasty head cold.

He came back to my car and surprised the stuffing out of me.  After handing me back my license he said that he was letting me off with just a warning, owing to my squeaky-clean record (Heh. After my car accident last year and now this, is it really all that squeaky-clean? Should I even be driving at this point? Discuss).

I drove home and, as I put distance between myself and encounter, wondered how I got off so easy.  I was clearly wearing my wedding ring, and I looked frumpilicious with my ponytail and sweatpants.  I’m not so pregnant you can tell when I’m sitting, and I was definitely not hitting on him.

How the heck did I get such a nice police officer?  Clearly I am the recipient of some serious good blessings.  Quick, touch my sleeve and then buy a lotto ticket to see if the blessings are catching!

No NaNoWriMo For Me This Year, Thanks

Would you like to know what’s shocking?  Many things, frankly.  The price for tiny baby shoes that never actually touch the ground, for one thing.  The wait time to get into the best steak restaurant in Issaquah, for another.

What’s shocking me right this second is the calendar.  Specifically, where we stand on the calendar.

Ladies and gentlemen, we stand on the cusp of the end of October, which means we are a mere screaming toboggan ride away from November.  Those of you who have been reading for awhile may remember that last year during the month of November, I embarked on a ridiculous journey.  A journey to complete a novel of at least 50,000 words from start to finish during the month of November.

That journey was NaNoWriMo.  It was difficult.  I was running two different blogs part-time in addition to my blog, and writing additional content at the same time for my novel.  There were times when I thought my very joints would keep me awake with their incessant aches, and somewhere right around 24,000 words I started wondering if I could finish at all.

But I did.  I crested that hill and the view was mighty indeed.  The novel’s pure crap, but it exists.  Thanks to NaNoWriMo I can say without hedging that I’ve written a novel.  It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done, and I remember it with fondness.

The big question then becomes: What about this year?  November starts in four days, will November 2009 yield Crap Novel 2.0?

No, no it will not.

It breaks my heart, but a woman’s got to know her limits.  I’m not running more blogs this year than I was last year, but the nature of those blogs and of my work for them has changed dramatically.  When I worked for Qvisory, I wrote one post a week and merely managed the content for the other four posts that went live.

For Offbeat Mama, I’m writing 3-4 posts a week.  It doesn’t seem like a big difference, but when you’re writing for a large audience you want to make sure your content is solid.  My name goes on those posts, and I’d prefer it strongly if they weren’t crap.

In addition to the Offbeat Mama posts, I still write 3-4 posts a week over here in addition to one post a week for Bottle Your Brand.  In short, I’m already producing a substantial amount of content every week, none of which is for a novel.

I guess you could factor being pregnant in there somewhere as well.  I will admit that nesting has taken over an alarming proportion of our weekend to-do list, and whereas I used to fantasize about sitting down and writing during the weekend, now I distract myself by imagining which projects we can complete given our resources, budget, and weather.

In short, it’s just not going to work out this year.  That’s ok, though, because next year is only twelve months away!  And I’ll have an eight month old baby hanging around then, so that’ll make writing a novel in a month easier!

Ten bucks says my NaNoWriMo novel next year will be about a woman who eats nothing but potato chips and cheesecake during her pregnancy, gains 15 pounds total the whole time, and never misses a wink of sleep thanks to her miraculous infant who rarely fusses and instead just smiles and coos all the time.

Obviously it will qualify as a “Fantasy” novel.

(St)wrung Out

I’ve kind of dropped off the grid the last couple days.  Sorry about that, it’s not really typical for me to skip posting two days in a row (unless I’m traveling or it’s the weekend).  We’ve just been dealing with some stuff over here at Casa de Mitchell and there’s not been much left in me to type out.

Doc hurt his leg (y’know, the bad one) getting into the bathtub for bath time on Sunday.  This is not atypical, jumping into the tub has always been a strain on his legs and hips.

He followed up the mild injury by taking a bad fall while trying to make it up the stairs.  This compounded the problem, changed it from a limp to a disability.

We kept him in his crate all day Monday and yesterday, letting him out for stretches, water, and bathroom breaks, but he struggles.  A lot.  The wood floors are challenging for him, and he’s so scared of slipping on them that he just stands in fear and refuses to walk on them.

His other back leg is in no great shape either, and the strain of supporting the weight of his back end on its own leads it to shake and tremble before betraying him and making him fall.

Wes and I spent half an hour trying to coax Doc out of his crate last night.  We wanted to take him out to the bathroom one more time before bed, but he wouldn’t stand up for us.  We tried enticing him out of his crate with treats and peanut butter but he wouldn’t.  He was more scared of falling than he was desirous of peanut butter.

We finally had to dismantle his crate around him so that Wes could lift him out from above and help him make it outside.  We’re keeping him out in his kennel now because the floor there is concrete and not slippery at all.

This whole episode has really thrown me off my game.  It tears me to pieces to see him struggling like this.  It’s not like this all the time, which is why we haven’t put him down yet, but knowing that this kind of injury is always just a bad run up the stairs away, well, quite honestly it makes me not want to do this anymore.

I’m not sure whether this makes me a bad person, or a bad pet owner.  Is it wrong to say I’m tired of watching my dog struggle?

Wes says Doc’s quality of life is normally very good, that he still plays with his toys and eats and gets affection.  I can’t quite see it that way.  When I look at Doc, I see a dog who loves being with his people but who otherwise has nothing else to look forward to in life.

I see a dog whose opportunities to run, play with other dogs, fetch, and swim were taken away by a freak leg injury that happened when he was less than a year old.  Yeah, he’s still happy to be around us but that’s the only thing in life he’s able to enjoy anymore.  The best it gets for him would barely even register for other dogs.

Especially coming off watching my Dad’s health decline, hating the cancer for every pleasure it took away from him until the only thing he could do that brought him enjoyment was use the computer and watch TV, I just feel spent.  Doc got injured right around when my Dad was diagnosed with cancer, so their health declines have thus far been eerily matched.

I really do wonder if it makes me a bad person for not wanting to do this anymore with my dog.  My heart, still so tender and raw and pained, rebels at the prospect of watching Doc get marginally better again, better enough to hobble around anyway, only to know with sick certainty that his next injury is simply a matter of time.

Wes argues that until Doc doesn’t want to live anymore we should continue to keep him as safe as possible, and that we’ll know he no longer wants to live because he’ll grow lethargic, unwilling to play, and unwilling to eat.

I argue that there’s only so much I can take, and there’s only so long I can keep watching my dog struggle to do normal things.  Like stand up.

Does this make me a bad person?

Give Me Sweat!

My poor husband.  My poor, over-worked, hardworking husband.  I say this with not even trace amounts of sarcasm because the poor guy’s become the de facto workhorse here at Casa de Mitchell thanks to my delicate condition.

I’m nesting in a bad way, and the only cure is not more cowbell but rather more sweat!  More projects!  Painting, sanding, scraping, caulking, re-arranging!  And it all must be done now!  How can we abide in a house with off-white door frames?!  What will the baby think when he comes home and the caulking around the bathtub is coming off?  Horrors!

Wes’ very generous (and talented, and funny) brother came over on Friday and Saturday to install our new windows and I have but one word for you: GORGEOUS.  Who knew our backyard looked like that?  When we look out the window in our bedroom, we can see things.  Things that have heretofore gone unnoticed thanks to the musty windows that had stood the test of 20+ years.

I’ll take a picture of the inside to show you later, but I can’t show you what the outside looks like yet because the trim around the windows has yet to be painted.  Apparently caulking takes time to set and dry?  And you can’t speed it up just by being hormonal and demanding?  And sometimes your husband can’t just dry caulking with his mind-powers, even if you get really good and grumpy about it?

Or something like that.

In an effort to sate our painting lust, Wes scraped the old paint off our exterior door frames and re-painted them.  It makes a big difference!  It’s amazing how less derelict your house can look without peeling paint coming off the doors.  Duh.

Wes is a good sport about it all, never complaining when I greet the end of one project with a list of several more.  I assure him that eventually the nesting will stop, when our baby is home and I’m too busy drowning in laundry and diapers to worry about house projects.  He nods, smiles, and doesn’t believe me at all.

A Little Mish of Mash

I don’t have anything cohesive to write about, so I thought I’d just throw a whole bunch of random thoughts together and see if anyone cares.  It’s like the whole seven quick takes thing, but not nearly so organized.

  • Wes and I saw “Inglourious Basterds” on Friday.  I enjoyed it fairly well, but it was definitely a Quentin Tarantino flick.  Not that that’s a bad thing, but it’s starting to feel a little rote to me.  Wes reminded me in the car on the way home (we discuss every movie we see ad nauseum on the way home) that there were several scenes in the movie that were particularly artful, and I do agree.  It would just be neat to see Quentin plumb the depths of his creativity instead of pacing the rut he’s created for himself.
  • Consignment stores are awesome!  It’s completely hit-or-miss, meaning there’s by far no guarantee that when you stop by to shop you’ll find something that will work, but when you find something that’s perfect?  It’s like the skies open up and the sun itself beams down upon your face.  I found another $5 pair of jeans at a consignment event yesterday.  With finds like this, it’s small wonder I balk at the prospect of paying $30 for jeans, no?
  • Is it just me, or has “Grey’s Anatomy” gone completely off the rails?  Wes and I started last year’s season last night (he watches it to humor me, but in no way has he ever enjoyed it) and I could have sworn I was watching a high-budget soap opera.  I mean, the main character (Meredith) has always been whiny and self-involved, but it appears her malaise has spread to the whole cast.  Even well-developed characters are behaving like complete morons and the plot points have all the authenticity of a fat-free, sugar-free chocolate bar.
  • The new Muse album, “The Resistance”, was a hugely pleasant surprise for me.  I’ve been a rabid fan of the band for years, but I have to admit their last album, “Black Holes and Revelations”, alarmed me a bit.  It was just so synth-heavy, I yearned for that raw, virtuoso sound they had when you could clearly tell there were three men playing a variety of instruments during songs.  With “The Resistance” though?  It’s a really cool new direction that shows that the band has grown and developed (there’s a freaking symphony on this album!) but hasn’t lost sight of what they’re really good at (rocking out and making it sound really good).
  • My grandfather mailed me a book of my Russian great-grandmother’s hand-written recipes two weeks ago and Wes and I tried out our very first one over the weekend.  We made pelmeni (tiny meat-filled dumplings, you boil them and then eat them with sour cream) from scratch and oh my gosh it was a lot of work.  It took us three hours to make them and it’s extremely likely that, unless I have at least three more people helping me, I won’t be making them again soon.  Yes they were delicious, but you can also buy them pre-made and frozen and they taste just as delicious and only take about ten minutes to make.