25 January 2009

i'm beginning to understand

have i ever mentioned that i've been going to church lately? my momma decided that church would be good for her (and for me) a while back and for the last two, almost three months, we've been attending a neat little baptist church in west des moines on saturday evenings. it's a casual, contemporary service - they serve coffee and the pastor wears jeans. it's very laid back and close knit and i've come to find that i really enjoy it, which almost shocks me.

we went to church when i was a kid and it was sunday morning, skirt and tights, get dressed up and be quiet time. and i understood why we went but at the same time i never really understood, you know? i mean, we were involved in the churches that we went to and i got to know some of the other kids but i never took it as seriously as they did. and so for all that time, i kind of held church at arm's length, it was something that those kids did and enjoyed but i never really understood the meaning of gluing macaroni to a piece of paper in honor of jesus. what did crafts and the bible have to do with one another?

as i got older, church was something we did on holidays and to pacify my grandma, it seemed. we would go on easter and sometimes on christmas but my mom never felt comfortable in some of those churches and so more and more of our sunday mornings were spent at home, being lazy and eating breakfast. and with us kids it was never really discussed, it was sort of a non-issue. we were christians and we knew that, we believe in God, but it wasn't something we needed to profess on a weekly basis.

so when she mentioned that she wanted to start going to church again a few months ago, i said "sure, i'll go with you" and expected that once again i'd find myself wondering exactly what these people had that i didn't, that allowed them to believe in something so mysterious and unknown, something that had such a presence for so many but that i couldn't find a way to connect with personally.

and that first night we went, that very first saturday night, it was a quiet service. close to the holidays, there weren't many people in attendance. but the worship pastor sat down at this beautiful grand piano and sang "i can only imagine" - the song that was played at my grandma's funeral - and suddenly i got a flash of the bigger picture. it was like we were meant to be there. and i cried. and my mom cried. and since that night, i feel connected to my family, my grandma and my mom, in more ways than i thought possible.

i feel like i finally get it. and it's wonderful because there's so much to learn and i get so excited for saturday nights (or sunday mornings) - it's truly a great feeling. with all the uncertainty in my life and in the lives of the people that i care about, it's an awesome feeling to know that i have God that i can turn to and that He's always there for me.

last night, just like all the other saturday nights before, i was amazed at the relevancy of the words that came from the pastor's mouth. i still can't get over the fact that no matter what's going on in my life at the time, good or bad, the sermon always feels like it's directed at me, for me, it's just what i need to hear when i need to hear it. and i leave there feeling so good, so happy, so connected and so invigorated - i love it. i didn't realize that for so long something so big and so wonderful was missing from my life; i really feel like i belong.

and that's a great feeling.

23 January 2009

bustin' at the seams

no, literally.

i had to go buy a new bra today. the old ones just weren't cutting it anymore. i tried to get one last weekend at the maternity store, and silly me, i thought my regular (non-preggo) size at a maternity store would somehow be my size now.

as it turns out, those two numbers are not one and the same. in fact, i've gone from "just right" to "freaking obscene" and it's a little unnerving.

the one i bought today - i picked it out under the guise that i'd be returning it this weekend. there was no way this thing was going to fit, it's just not possible. when i put it in the cart, i was sure the checkout lady was going to mistake it for one of those green, eco-friendly shopping bags and try to put my gallon of milk in it.

apparently the preggo-boob fairy has other plans for me because that thing fit like a glove. a glove for giant preggo boobs. :(

and the one i bought last weekend? now i have a really nice maternity bra from the maternity store that i'll never wear - not because i don't want to wear it, it looks really comfy. i'll just never be able to wear it and not look like i have wrap-around back fat.

so even though i'm in an elastic waistband pant phase (which i may never leave, these are so comfortable!) i'll never ever be okay with wrap-around back fat.

and that's all i have to say about that.

21 January 2009

parsley, unions, robert frost and tummy aches

this morning i drank milk out of a white plastic cup. i really dislike drinking milk out of a plastic cup but a white plastic cup is the worst - it makes my milk look yellow and sour and just generally unattractive. plus, this particular cup was really bad because once i drank enough milk to see the bottom of the cup, i realized that there's a big green thing stuck down there. yuck. i'm pretty sure it was parsley and not a booger, but it did kinda gross me out. and no, i don't make a habit out of drinking from dirty cups - my theory on this is that this is the result of the bee refusing to rinse dishes before he puts them in the dishwasher. so the spaghetti i had last week (with parsley in the sauce) probably found its way into my glass, which is why my milk wasn't really yellow-tinged this morning, but more of a greenish, mossy color.


so the bee and i have done some discussing lately. most of our conversations have related to money and bills and preparing for the arrival of baby wal-mart. and we talk about my job and how i'm technically sort of overqualified for it and how i don't make enough money for the crap that i do and how i could be making more money if i'd just apply myself (those are all his words, not mine.) i talk mostly about how much i hate my job - and oh my goodness, i really do hate my job. the only challenge to my job anymore is either trying to find a good enough reason not to go or trying to find little things that i can do during the day to keep myself awake and presentable should the boss walk behind my cubicle.

basically that means that i'll stay home over something as exciting as tackling that dog puke stain on the steps with our new carpet cleaner. or if it happens that i've already used that excuse, then i'll see just how many people i can hang up on over the course of a day. i'll sign up for all the automatic dialer time that i can get during my shift and then not speak to a person, i'll just sit there and breathe into the phone.

anyway. i'm off track. so yeah, i hate what i do. the thing is - as it turns out, so does the bee. he's miserable in where he's working right now and somedays that boils down to a specific location and other days it means that he hates the company he works for.

have i ever told you that the bee is a union employee? (bring on the jokes about the breaks and the way long lunch hours - most of them are true.) yup, he's a union plumber and steamfitter. and he works for a good little company based in des moines. his benefits are awesome, his pay is awesome, and up until recently his job was pretty much the cat's pajamas. (i wanted to say the bee's knees but it's kind of overkill...)

but lately, he's been getting restless. the bee is a fifth-year apprentice in a union program and this is the year he "turns out" (to speak a little union-ese) and becomes a full-fledged journeyman in his trade (woohoo for raises!). and at that point he can pretty much work where ever he wants. for real. he could work in iowa and stay with the same local or he could move east or west, north or south and not have to worry about his rate of pay, benefits, what have you. its a pretty interesting thing they've got going, these union guys.

but the point of all this is that in a few months time, about the same time as the arrival of baby wal-mart, a whole new world of options is going to open up for him. almost literally. the timing isn't the greatest given that we'll have a brand new baby to contend with, but i can see in his face when we talk about this that he's really considering some changes.

i know what you're thinking. from the way i've carried on about the bee over the last year and a half, you think that he's never going to leave this place or his job or his mom. but to be perfectly honest, when i met the bee he informed me that we probably shouldn't get too involved as the time was coming when he was going to move to alaska and weld pipes in the great frozen tundra of the 49th state. and he was serious as hell, having completed most of the necessary paperwork and preparing to leave. (plans obviously changed last fall but there was talk of us moving to anchorage.) so i know he's got an itch to travel and to see and to experience things that he's never had a chance to do before.

and i think that's okay. it's never been my goal to live my life here. i've always wanted to live somewhere just a little bit warmer or maybe a little closer to a large body of water (saylorville lake just doesn't cut it for me anymore). and maybe i'm naive and stupid, but i truly don't think he's going to let us starve or live on the streets or have to panhandle to get milk for the little one. maybe moving would be good for us.

and then i reread all this and add in baby wal-mart and think that we've got to be crazy, to leave our support system and all our families and friends and the security we have here for the great unknown.

but it kind of seems like a wasted opportunity not to try, don't you think?

what's that quote? "two roads diverged in a wood and i-- i took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." but somehow i don't think asking myself what robert frost would do is going to solve this issue. (now maybe a solid "wwkd" - what would kathy do? that might work. sorry, inside joke.)

i really don't know. i don't know what will happen, i don't know where we'll end up. i guess having options can be a good thing.

but sometimes having too many options is like having too many cookies: it just gives me a stomachache.

19 January 2009

this has got to be one of the cutest things ever...

now i know i'm hormonal and lots of things make me cry, but this really made me cry. this little girl is amazing.

17 January 2009

i'm not eavesdropping, i have supersonic hearing

the bee and i had a late lunch at panera yesterday (and for anyone reading that *might* be a panera employee, it was the panera in [sp]ankeny and we need to coordinate on your schedule so i can get my bread stumps in a timely manner and we can all make the most of your employee discount...). but anyway. we were sitting at panera because even sick janel loves soup and bread and there was this adorable little family to the right of us - a mom and dad and two little girls. and the youngest was doing as young kids do, singing and talking loudly and trying to worm out of her seat. and you know what the mom turned to her and said?

(are you ready, because this cracks me up!)

"if you don't be good, i'm going to sell you to the gypsies."

what? for real? you just said that in public, lady? because that's awesome!

those are the kinds of things that kids remember when they're 28, almost 29-years-old. and those are the kinds of things they tell their friends after they're all grown up because they're so absurd and wrong (if not in a politically incorrect manner then just in a not-even-physically-possible manner) that they're just hilarious.

my mom was always telling me that "she brought me into this world and by god, she can take me out of it." yeah... NO. not without facing some serious consequences, lady. even as a kid, this used to make me giggle - long before i was aware of any legal consequences she might face but the idea of her trying to stuff me back in her tummy to take me out of this world was just funny to me.

and it still is.

my dad wasn't so much for empty threats. in fact, i don't remember my dad telling me anything really noteworthy over the years, beyond "don't wear purple shoes, they'll hurt your feet" or "save the whales: harpoon a fat chick." (i was in the 5th grade, you maroon! WTF?) i think my memories of my dad are a little warped.

now my grandma, my mom's mom? she was chock full of advice and quotes and other neat things that probably should have never been repeated outside of the house. like "a stiff penis has no conscience." that one has been in the family forever. she liked to give that advice before group dates and dances in the seventh grade.

nice, gram, thanks. now can you keep your voice down?

she was also known for "confucious say, man who stick hand in pocket feel silly. but man who stick two hands in pockets feel nuts." (you've got to imagine my grandma saying this with a fake asian accent. she did another accent too, a mexican accent, when she said that the only spanish she ever knew - or needed to know, thank you - "me llamo mickey." but she'd make this face and do this voice and "mickey" ended up sounding like "meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeckey." and it used to make me laugh.)

another quotable grandma moment? "it's okay to prick your finger but it's not okay to finger your prick." my brothers are still laughing about that one.

ahh, those were the days.

my mom's dad always used to call us kids "maynard" - as in "good stuff, maynard." (i say that all the time to the dog.) but his wife, our crazy cheese-sending grandma dorothy, had trouble with the basics, like names. she knew my name but for years called my brothers "greg and gordon." (their names are actually craig and jordan, but hey, grandma gets points for trying, right?)

anyway. all this is neat and fun but i was sitting there yesterday listening to this woman scar her children with threats of roaming, nomadic gypsies and i couldn't help but wonder what baby wal-mart will remember of me and the weird things that i say. if he could talk right now, i know he'd come out of the womb screaming at the dog to get down and asking if he got all his potties out. i tend to have serious conversations with the dog - i can hold his attention longer than i can hold the bee's... usually. especially when i'm holding food, but that tends to work on the bee too, so who knows. all i can say is that it's hard being the only female in this house sometimes. but whatever, boo hoo...

but i digress. it's just fascinating to me that this little person will be molded by the things that i say and that i do. and sometimes that gives me the heebie jeebies. like we need another superjanel around...

16 January 2009

it's too cold for toast

it's too cold to blog. and i'm sick. i have the flu, i think. i'm fever-y and ache-y and all around uck-y. again, i'm home. my head would feel better if i weren't sitting here typing, staring at this screen, but i can't sleep and i have terrible heartburn. and so i sit. mom says this is what i get for playing hooky and she's probably right. but how was i supposed to know.

yesterday i had to take the bee to the er. he came home sick yesterday, complaining of a headache so bad he couldn't see. of course, hypochondriac that i am, my first thought was "oh holy hell, it's an aneurysm." my second thought: "do i have time to shower?"

as it turned out, his brain is fine (as fine as it's ever been) - it was a migraine that came out of nowhere and literally kicked his ass all the way to the doctor's office. the bee never wants to go to the doctor - it's too expensive, they don't know what they're talking about, they're crazy -blah, blah, blah - there's always some reason that he's smarter than anyone whose initials end in M.D. so when he came home yesterday, practically crying and screaming, "i'm dying, i need a doctor" i was definitely shocked.

and that was pretty much my day yesterday. between my general uckiness and his blinding headache, we were quite a pair, bundled up against the cold in the house of ills. even the dog seems to be suffering from a subtle malaise - i think because it's just too freaking cold for him to do anything outside - the poor thing freezes to the ground every time he goes to potty and what a miserable feeling that must be. he always looks back at me like, "do i really have to walk in all this snow and all this cold? come get me, don't make me go out here..."

breaks my heart every time, i tell ya. every time.

i was going to make toast but i'm cold. i'm going back to bed. it's too cold for toast

10 January 2009

lucky for me, he LOVES snow

that was sarcasm.

but the bee does love him some snow. holy cow. we got like 5 inches at home overnight and i woke up this morning to quite a pleasant little winter wonderland. pleasant, if i didn't have to go out in it, i mean. but i have to work this morning and that means i have to get my no-tread tires out in the blizzard.

yay, fun.

so i ask the bee to get out of bed at a quarter to six and go start his truck so he can take me to work. i was expecting him to grunt and roll over and tell me to go back to sleep, it's saturday and what the hell am i thinking?

no such luck.

the bee was freaking gleeful my friends. he was happily taking the dog out and happily looking for snow scrapers and happily tracking through the drifts in front of the door.

i personally think he was just gleeful that i didn't pull my typical saturdays when i have to work and "accidentally" (i swear!) oversleep/forget to set the alarm/get sick/too tired/no clean underwear/the dog wants me to stay home stunt. but whatever.

so here i am, at work, on a saturday, and i was one of the first (and only!) ones here. apparently it was a great day for everyone else to call in because of the weather.

but lucky for me, the bee loves snow and we've got four-wheel drive.


08 January 2009

low crap tolerance ahead

ever had one of those days where everything just sort of accumulated until you just couldn't take it anymore? did you ever just break down and get all emotional over every single little thing, even the stupid things, the unbelievable things and the downright absurd things? did your day ever turn into a night where you couldn't sleep at all, the events of the day just ran over and over in your head like a movie on a continuous loop - so bad you couldn't even sleep?

my day yesterday was like that. my night last night was like that. and so today i'm just zombie-ing my way through work and all the accompanying bs.

it wasn't anything new or even surprising, it was just a lot of crap all at once. and anymore i'm not even good at crap coming at me at a moderate pace.

i'm just frazzled about everything and i don't seem to have a lot of options for anything.

on to other topics...

baby wal-mart has been kicking the holy crap out of me lately. so much that last night i had a book balanced on my stomach and he kicked just under my belly button and made the whole book fall over. for real! i was shocked, i didn't think he was supposed to kick that hard already. i waited and watched as he moved his way up and down, back and forth - fascinating and freaky all at the same time. i thought maybe i was too chubby to see his movement from the outside but apparently that is not the case...

do you know anyone that wants to buy a giant maple entertainment center? it's sitting in my garage, lurking in my parking space. i have to park at an angle, which means i have to back out of the garage at an angle, which means pretty soon i'm going to take out our one tiny little tree in our tiny little "lawn" and we're going to be the only retards on the block with a smashed tree and it's all because of this stupid hunk of furniture in my way. i'm going to put it on craigslist this weekend; it needs to go away.

okay. i'm at work. i'm going to go be productive now. or not. i'm not sure yet.

04 January 2009

i want my money!

we've only been here a week and it's already happened: the first "run-in" with our new landlord. let's call her pearl.

it's kind of like dating, sort of. you hear about somebody, you meet, you court and eventually you move in. (so it's not really like dating, unless you're me, but whatever.) our relationship with pearl is actually pretty similar. we responded to an ad on craigslist, we met, we applied and she checked our references and bam! we've got a place to live. (and yes, that was an emeril-type bam!)


or is it? i'm not gonna lie, it's a little weird living in someone's house - i feel like it's not really our place to live, we just happen to be visiting and we brought ALL our stuff. i think it's because we got the tour while all her stuff was still here and then when we moved in we had to clean a bunch of her stuff out of it.

but anyway. moving on to the "run-in."

so this week being the holiday and all, we were late in getting the rent check out to pearl. the bee and i share the responsibility - he writes the check but i have to mail it. it was due on thursday and we didn't even mail it until friday.


i need to add, it's not like we were purposely not paying the rent - it just slipped our minds. it's a bit of a change having to make sure that our rent is in chicago by the 1st of the month as opposed to having to make sure that our rent is down the street by the 4th. besides - the bee couldn't even find his checkbook until late thursday night.

so friday morning (morning!) pearl calls and is all "...i hope i'm not going to regret renting to you guys... the lease clearly states... there's going to be a late fee.. please call me immediately..."

so we call and the bee leaves a message: "we're sorry, it was mailed today, blah, blah, blah..."

done and over, right? nope.

we get another message: "eviction starts on the 5th day..."

WHAT? ARE YOU FOR REAL? EVICTION? lady, i just moved all my stuff in here and you think you're already moving us out, are you crazy?

so we call her back and (try to) smooth things over. at the end of the conversation she tells us she feels so much better after talking to us, it's not going to be a problem, yada, yada, yada...

until tonight, when i find that she's sent me a copy of the lease via email, highlihting the portions about late fees and due dates and eviction. mmmkay... this is going to be a swell year, i can see it already. :(

i think we might mail a check for next month sometime this week, just to be sure.

and in case you're not sure about the whole pearl reference, here you go:

03 January 2009

do we really need 27 nipples?

get your minds out of the gutter...

it was a good day. i felt good today - i made pancakes for breakfast and the bee and i got some stuff done this morning. his mom was nice enough to send home about 8 huge garbage bags of his clothes - stuff that wasn't his, stuff that had never been worn, stuff that was his from the 8th grade, his high school football jerseys - all kinds of neat stuff. and after we sorted out the garbage and the stuff that needed to go to goodwill, the rest was carried upstairs so i could wash it. because i hate putting clothes of an unknown cleanliness status into the closet.

it's just one of the perks of being the janel...

then we went out and registered at target. oh buddy. that was a neat time. we got the "parent magazine approved" list of things you absolutely must have in order to raise a decent child (including the oh-so-necessary wipe warmer, wtf? who really needs that?) and the rockin' target scanner gun (which actually was kind of fun to use but i gave it to the bee because it looks like a gun and it has a scanning laser and therefore combines two things that all, or most, guys love: toy guns and lasers) and went to work.

but the point here is this: have any of you people been down the baby aisles at a big box store lately? we were at target but i imagine that it's pretty much the same at wal-mart or k-mart or where ever you happen to be. anyway. those aisles are lined with so much stuff - from bpa-free bottles to three levels of plastic nipples, some of which fit the 8 oz. bottles and others fitting the 4 oz. bottles, to surfboard playmats (which we did actually register for - it was cute, damn it) to teething rings shaped like people's heads (which we did not register for because i think it's weird to see a baby chewing on something that looks like a barbie face).

it's completely overwhelming. and most of that stuff is convenient, probably, but not really necessary for survival, you know?

that being said, i'm not saying that we weren't good first time parents and didn't register for all that crap anyway. because we like presents and we're americans - we like to have things that we don't necessarily need.

the most enlightening part of the entire trip was when the bee went to the bathroom and left me with the scanner gun and the list and the cart. i didn't think much about it until this couple walked by and i heard the lady comment on "how sad it is, that girl is all alone and pregnant and registering by herself..." i suppose that probably did look kind of sad. so i just browsed the baby clothes until the bee got back.

but we had a good time. and the bee picked out stuff he thought was fun and cute for little baby wal-mart. i was happy that he was at least interested. we thought about registering for a wii but didn't think that baby would put that to use for a while.

you can hold off on buying us a wii until his first birthday.