Sunday, January 31, 2010

Heather’s Pregnant

I think the appropriate term would be knocked up. Heather doesn’t want me to call it “unplanned” or “accidental” so we’re saying it’s a “surprise.” She thinks the other terms make the baby seem unwanted, which is certainly not the case. In her defense, it’s hard to call something like this an accident if you have a working knowledge of biology, yet take no precautions to prevent the typical results of your actions. I still think “surprise” understates the situation a little. We have three kids. I love my kids in a way that I never thought I could love anyone. But still - that’s a lot of kids. It’s precisely two more kids than I agreed to when Heather talked me into the idea after getting me liquored up on margaritas at a Mexican restaurant.

We then spent almost three years and the cost of a Porsche 911 on fertility treatments trying to have said kid, which turned out to be three kids. In a perfect world, I guess a surprise like this would have happened shortly after my consenting to impregnate Heather - before all the doctors, all the drugs, and all the treatments. But trying to get pregnant for three years made us both stronger. That ordeal helped prepare us for Heather’s difficult high-order-multiple pregnancy, which in turn was preparation for having three infants in the NICU. In the end, having three babies at home was, and still is, no big deal given what we went through to conceive them and to get them home safely. And if everything didn’t happen the way it did, we wouldn’t have Piper, Henry and Rosemary. Moreover, I might perform my parenting with the enthusiasm of a guy who agreed to have a kid because it was a slightly better option than getting a poodle.

I guess all of that is to say that everything happens for a reason. So there’s a reason for this. I just hope that we didn’t use our lifetime’s supply of good luck on the kids we have now, and that this fall I will have the pleasure of sitting in our living room with our new little baby, being thankful for life’s surprises with a bag of frozen vegetables on my boy parts - recovering from my vasectomy.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tricks

The kids like to make Heather and I do tricks. Rosemary still requests that we paddy cake by clapping her little hands. Henry demands that we chase him by running and then looking disappointed if he turns back to find no one there. And Piper just makes us laugh. Not just by doing something generally funny, but by using a fake laugh to induce our real laughter. We feel compelled to do tricks for the others because we want to make them happy, but Piper's requirement for trickery is different in that her trick is involuntary on our part. The first time I saw it, Heather was sitting in the living room with Piper laughing until she couldn't breath. The more we laugh, the more Piper imitates us with her fake laugh. It's a vicious cycle.

video

I can't tell if she enjoys it because everyone is happy or if she likes human puppetry. I had a pretty bad stomach cramp during that video. Piper just watches. Then when we come up for air and she hits us again. It's rather maniacal.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cat Watch - Day 27

How much could there possibly be about a cat, right. But add another cat and a mouse and you have yourself a blog post.

The other cat:

I thought the bristley cat belonged to one of our neighbors because it had a collar. It actually didn't have a collar though; it just had a line under its mane that made it look like it did. This, according to my rules, means that if we feed it and it spends all its time at our house, we get to name it.

I present to you Thurston Bristlesworth, III:



Going on the premise that Thurston was previously homeless, I figured he needed a fancy name. Homelessness can lead to low self esteem, you know. If he's not homeless, we don't get to name him anyway so it doesn't matter.

The mouse:

When we made Francesca an indoor-outdoor cat by propping open the door to the screen porch, creating a direct path from the back yard into our kitchen nook via the car door, I was concerned that we would be invaded by chipmunks. There's nothing keeping any animal out of our house if it can figure out how to walk through a cat door. My money was on a raccoon, chipmunk or possibly a possum. Turns out it was a mouse.

Monday, Ann (one of the babies' NICU nurses and now friend of the family) was helping Nana for a day fill in for nanny while Brooke is out after having a baby. We we were making breakfast and Ann yelled "I just saw a mouse." I went into cross examination mode and tried to pin her down on exactly what she saw. I couldn't believe it was a mouse. I think I had Ann on the ropes and could have got her to admit that she wasn't sure she saw a mouse, but that wouldn't have been very productive. She settled on being 85% sure she saw a small mouse that was moving very quickly. Ann was a little freaked out and asked if we normally had mice - I think just to make sure that she wasn't about to spend 11 hours fending off mice. I assured her this was a one time deal.

I didn't know what to do. Ann told me where she saw it run, but I didn't know if I was supposed to shoot it or go at the cabinet and the mouse with a hammer. Heather had already left for work and I was pretty sure if I discharged a firearm or destroyed part of the house, Heather would have a hard time getting past those details to be satisfied that I neutralized the mouse threat.

I decided to pull out the yellow pages and put the responsibility and risk of failure and damage on someone else. The first place I called was one I had seen in the neighborhood setting up some sort of maze on our neighbor's yard to catch an armadillo. I said, "I think I have a mouse in my house." I suspect they heard a cash register sound on the other end of the line. They said the service call would be $245.00 to inspect and set up traps. Then they would come back and check the traps, charging $40.00 per mouse they removed. Now, I'm all for hiring the best people for the job, but I wasn't entirely confident that we didn't have "mice" as opposed to a "mouse." I didn't know we had one mouse, so how could I be sure we didn't have $400.00 family of ten in the garage, for a total of $645.00.

The second place I called was $350.00 for all the mice they can catch - coming back to check traps every other day for two weeks. Much better, but still pretty steep for a mouse. There are counties in Alabama where you can make a person disappear for about that. I ended up calling the people who do our termite control and got them to inspect and set traps and bait boxes for $70.00. I am in charge of mouse removal.

Our mouse expert couldn't find the mouse, but inspected the evidence. He said it was one small mouse that had been in the house for no more than a day or so. Apparently the cold weather will make them come inside, especially if you have a big hole in your back door to accommodate a cat. I suggested shutting off the cat door, but our mouse guy said we should leave it open so the mouse could get back out after he eats the mouse bait. Apparently the mouse bait makes the mouse thirsty and he has to get a drink afterward, which activates the poison, thus killing the mouse. Pretty nifty. I didn't think to ask about the door being a two way street for more animals to get in while we are waiting for this one to leave, but I suppose he knows what he's doing.

The mouse man also set about five sticky traps and said if we didn't get the mouse in a sticky trap in a few days, we could be assured he was deceased. It's been five days and I haven't caught a mouse in any of the sticky traps. I can only hope that the mouse ate some of the bait and then went outside to take a dirt nap.

Today, I sealed off the cat door, so if the mouse isn't out by now his final resting place will be in the house. I will then earn my $40.00 for mouse removal.

Back to the Cat(s):

The mouse raises the question of just what in the heck these cats are doing. Francesca and Thurston Bristlesworth are all over this place. Cats eat mice. At least they do in cartoons. I think that's why humans have cats around in the first place. Yet, we now have two cats (I think) and I have my first mouse. These cats are clearly not pulling their weight around here.

I have to admit, though, I slept a little better this past week with Francesca at the foot of our bed. Even though she has proven to be an ineffective mouse hunter, I'm sure she would make some effort to chase it (or run from it) and cause a racket to alert me to the imminent threat of attack. That's better than nothing, I suppose.