Here's the deal... Circumstances have conspired to keep me away from the blog for a while. It couldn't be helped and I've missed it. I know you understand but my apologies.
I beleive I've already mentioned that my laptop is toast. Soggy, soggy toast. Thank you, Jemima. But besides that, all 4 of us here have been sick over the last 2 weeks. In fact, I still feel pretty crummy. It's not the Swine Flu just the plain old Crud. Stuffy head, sore throat, cough, dog tired. But I'm on the mend so expect more action around here.
ANd for anyone else suffering these days, here's my recipe for a great throat and cough tea. Tea is kind if a misnomer as there's no tea in it, it's more of an infusion. I drink this all the time when I'm sick, especially at night. It's my own concoction and I do not claim that it has any real medicinal benefits. All I can tell you is it's mild, harmless and it makes me feel better.
3-4 slices of fresh ginger root
1-2 tsp honey
juice from 1 slice of fresh lemon
Toss the ginger in a mug, squeeze the lemon slice and drop it in, poor in boiling water from the kettle and stir in the honey. Steep for about 5 minutes and drink between moans.
When I'm sick I keep ginger root in a small snack bag (unsliced) and put it in a glass container along with lemon wedges (sliced). It's all in the fridge when I need a hit and the honey is already next to the kettle.
Hope everyone is scrubbing those hands and staying healthy.
Several people have wondered how Huck took the news that Scoot died. The simple answer is, he took it well. But that's a pretty boring blog post, so I'll elaborate.
Unfortunately, Huck is not completely unfamiliar with death. One of our cats died when Huck was almost 2, his Nana (Stephen's Mom) died when he was 2 1/2 and his Aunt Gretchen earlier this month. Plus, we live in the country so he's also seen lots of dead deer, snakes, birds, mice and other little critters, some up close and personal.
Our explanation of death so far has been to say that your body stops working. Your body can't walk or run or see or talk anymore. It happens when you are very ,very old or very, very sick (as opposed to sick with a cold) or your body gets hurt very badly in an accident. This all makes sense to him in the context of what he's seen with animals.
Huck knew our trip to Texas was because his Aunt Gretchen died. When we told him the news he asked, for the first time, "Where did she die to?" Heavy. We said simply, "We don't know." Our thoughts about the afterlife are murky at best and our spiritual beliefs are very non-dogmatic so this felt right and honest to us. The main thing we tried to convey was a sense of normalcy about it. People and animals die sometimes. It just happens. We will always be able to look at pictures and remember them. Yes, it's sad but it's okay to be sad.
My wonderful sister-in-law Gretchen
when she met Jemima on our big April road trip
Huck tried acting sad for a minute and then asked for a snack. There. Discuss death with 3 year old? Check. Sorry to be flip, but what else can you do? You do your best, and move on. I happen to think details and euphemisms are scary for this age. I say keep it simple, easy-going, brief and honest.
Then we came home from Texas. And we found Scoot. You could say it was really piling on for the poor guy but, on the other hand, it might have allowed him to process his feelings a little bit, too. See, Huck did not go to Gretchen's funeral or see anyone crying uncontrollably at any family events. Even so, he did mention her a few times. He'd say, "But Aunt Gretchen won't be there because she died, right?" And we'd tell him, "That's right," and reassure him of all the other people who would be there. I mean let's face, he's 3. He doesn't really understand. But you can't just pretend she went to Paris.
He asked if he could look at Scoot. So we looked at him. We talked about the way he didn't move. Huck wanted to get his magnifying glass. I let him.
I've struggled with whether to write about this today. More because of me than, you. I still find it very hard to think about. Easier, but still quite difficult. Ultimately, I figure that's a good reason to write a little on it. Also, I didn't have anything else lined up and it makes me feel good to get something up each weekday.
I was living in Jersey City and working in New York City in September 2001. Stephen and I had a cute little apartment on the Palisades--a long cliff set back a bit from the Hudson River--that overlooked the New York skyline. The view from our kitchen window and the window in our shower went from the Verrazano Narrows bridge at the southern tip of the island all the way north to the George Washington Bridge. It you flattened your left cheek up against the window and peered south you could even see the Statue of Liberty.
The towers were a prominent feature of the view.
Stephen had already left for the city, taking the midtown PATH train, when I woke up to workers outside talking about something I couldn't quite make out. But it was clearly bad and got me up out of bed seconds after the second plane hit. I saw the smoke pouring from the tops of towers as I was turning on the TV to find out what the hell. They were just realizing it wasn't an accident.
Like everyone else, I spent the rest of the day watching the whole thing unfold. The difference was I had the view from my window as corroboration of the unbelievable images on the screen. I looked like I was at a tennis match. TV, window, TV, window. Much of the footage was shot from New Jersey so they always looked the same. It was very strange.
Thankfully, I was able to talk to Stephen early, before the phones all went to shit, and hear that his train--his usual one didn't go through the WTC terminal, but you never know when someone will change up their routine or get diverted to another train--took him safely to where he was going. He was uptown, far from the action. Though he started trying in the late morning, he wasn't able to make his way home until much later that evening. I can't actually remember exactly how he managed to get off the island.
I thank god I didn't have binoculars or a telescope and that I don't have to haunted by the images of the people jumping from and burning in the windows. I probably would have looked. It's just my nature. But I think it would have damaged me, deeply, for life.
One of the starkest realizations of the day was when the first tower fell. For minutes on the news they were saying, "Something just happened! We don't know what just happened! We're waiting for news of what just happened." But I knew. The perspective of distance gave me a leg up on the reporters and eye witnesses on the street who had been engulfed in a cloud of smoke and ash. I could see from my window that the top of the first building no longer stood even with it's neighbor. I could see that it was falling. I watched as the top plummeted like an express elevator.
I was telling them. Standing there in the kitchen, I was answering their questions, telling them that the tower had fallen. They didn't hear me, or the thousands of other people who were probably looking out their windows saying the same thing. Telling the TV the horrible thing they'd just witnessed. But the TV people, and everyone else in America, figured it out soon enough.
By that afternoon, the air where I lived was filled with fallout--ash, tiny bits of office paper, tiny bits of god knows what else. It was horrifying.
I didn't leave my house for over a week. And I didn't go back into the city to work for more than 2 weeks. It wasn't fear of something else happening. I was just rocked to my core. I was scared, but I was scared of the emotion I think. My first trip into the city was hell. I cried the entire way. The train stations were filled with flowers and every light pole was an impromtu missing persons bulletin board. The faces of the dead were everywhere. People put their hands on you at the street corners and asked if you were okay. Others showed you pictures of their mothers and brothers and asked if you'd seen them. I was a zombie, and almost a full hour late to work because I inadvertently walked past a midtown fire station and couldn't make myself walk away from the faces of firemen staring at me from the memorial pictures set out on the sidewalk. It got easier, but not for a long time.
We had been ready to leave the city before September 11th, but the attack definitely strengthened my resolve. That and the nightly kitchen window progress reports that went on for 6 month after. It's still smoking. It's still smoking. Still smoking. Still. It smoked for so long. And the smell. There's nothing like looking out over the stinking graveyard of a national tragedy every single day as you stand naked in the shower or sip your coffee. We were gone by the spring of 2002.
Now I live in the middle of nowhere on the border between Idaho and Wyoming, two of the least populated states in the country. Unless you count Dick Cheney when he's here fishing, there aren't any targets anywhere in the vicinity. Not that that's why we picked this place. I think we picked it because of the beauty, the pace and the overriding feeling of calm it inspires. The no targets thing is just a little bonus.
I guess that's my September 11th story. Though I've talked about it, I don't think I've ever written it out before. Blogs were in their infancy back then, if they even existed at all, and I could never quite make myself journal about it.
So, there. Done. Catharsis achieved. Moving on now...
I found the secret. I doubt this is what the Mongolians did but it worked for me. A toothpick and about an hour on my hands and knees digging...matter...out of the fibers. Unfortunately, I'm serious. I'm not really this anal. I would have liked nothing more than to heave the rug out on into the brush but it was kinda pricey.
Anyway, the toothpick, a lot of elbow grease and more BAC-OUT seem to have done the trick. I should have worn my head-lampand some goggles for the full effect.
Outside the realm of a real medical or family emergency, there is nothing worse in this world than waking up to a house covered with dog diarrhea.
Add to that a hungry toddler running around, and the fact that you're pregnant and you can't stop for a moment and have a giant cup of coffee to settle your nerves before you have to tackle the toxic waste cleanup, and you have the makings of a very, very angry woman.
The main floor of our house is hardwood and the basement is laminate flooring so you'd think it wouldn't be that bad. I mean, except for a couple of area rugs, only the stairway to the basement and the bedrooms are carpeted.
Still...somehow...miraculously...Taxi managed to hit every carpeted surface in the house.
The living room rug, the entry hall rug, the upstairs bedroom carpet, the stairway to the basement. It's almost as if he moved from carpet to carpet on purpose and held it over the hard floors. I mean, if you've got diarrhea in the first place, you might as well stand on something soft and comfy, right.
The truth is I feel really bad for the poor guy. He tried to tell me but I just didn't get it. I had already been up twice in the night because the cat kept bringing terrified critters into the house. First he brought in a moth the size of a croissant. But I was able to nab him in a dirty dishtowel, pitch him out the back door and get back to sleep fairly quickly. Then later, he brought in a mouse. Fortunately, I'm not scared of buggy, vernminy type things. Even so, chasing a hysterical (and damn fast) mouse around my bedroom at 3am is not my idea of a good time. I never did catch the little bastard. He finally got out of the bedroom and under the bench in the entry hall and I gave up. We live in the country, mice are a fact of life. But it took me another hour to go to sleep. Every light in the house was on and I'd just spent a half hour running around like a manic. I was wide awake. So when Taxi started whining at 5am I was not in the mood. Plus, I honestly thought he was just wigged out about the mouse still being...somewhere. Was I ever wrong.
The product that saved the day was BAC-OUT by BioKleen. It's all natural and biodegradable and I couldn't even believe what a great job this stuff did. I've been using it for years but just never had such a big job before. I was skeptical that anything short of moving would actually solve the stain and odor problems. Well, BAC-OUT got out the odors everywhere and the stains everywhere except for the light beige carpet upstairs. And even that is not too bad.
The only thing it hasn't really done a great job on is the jute rug in the entry hall. That may be a total goner. I'm still working on it and assessing. I even broke down and started working with a toothbrush--Blech. It's much better than it was, but the fibers are just so coarse and so deep. We'll see.
Needless to say, it was not the perfect start to the perfect day. Make sure you have this BAC-OUT stuff on hand in case you ever wake up to a morning like mine.
Oh. And if anyone knows the secret for getting dog shit out of a jute rug, email me would ya? I mean surely the Mongolians dealt with yak poo on their coarse fiber textiles, right? There must be a method out there somewhere.
I've been struggling with how, even whether, to write about this. But why not? Like I have shame now? Like I want my privacy?
I had a miscarriage in late July. If all had not gone so horribly wrong, I would have a newborn right now. But everything did go wrong and there is no baby.
As they say, it wasn't meant to be. I've heard lots of women talk about how horrible that statement made them feel but I found comfort in the thought. Something was wrong with the pregnancy from very early on. I always felt like my body did exactly what it was supposed to do under those circumstances. Even so, it was very hard.
I've never been one to put off emotions. When I have them, I have them. And I usually have them BIG. So I went through all the crying and all the screaming immediately and came out the other end pretty quickly. I knew I would never forget, but I also felt like I was past the real hurt of it.
Which is why the emotions I've been having as my due date has approached and passed have been a little surprising to me. It's nothing like the intense pain I went through this summer. It's more like a bruised feeling. Like the calendar just pressed on a sore spot I forgot was there.
I'm glad to see February 2008 pass but I can't help wondering if the due date of the pregnancy I lost will be tattooed on me forever. Will it always be a hard month, a hard week, eventually maybe just a hard day? Will it hurt a little every year no matter how many children I have? I wonder...
Anyway, happy March. For some of you that's actually Spring! Can you sense my envy?
It was one of those weekends.
There were difficulties with a script we're working on, subsequent arguments and name calling, negative pregnancy tests, one full day keeping a neighbor's tubercular toddler due to a child care emergency, 2 naps refused, impending period (I'm thinking of installing a salt lick in the living room), hitting, throwing and pinching (due to refused naps, not impending period...oh, except for the pinching, that was me), Huck climbing out of his crib for the first time, and to end it all, the Cowboys lost. And they lost ugly.
Despite the fact that my tank is on E, I'm kinda looking forward to going to work in a little while. Just get me the hell away from these people! I need the hour in the car alone on icy roads over a steep mountain pass to settle my nerves.