Thursday, July 25, 2013

Six Unrelated Items

Me: Lis, what does a sheep say?
Lis: BAAAAAA.
Me: Lis, what does the cow say?
Lis: MMMMMMMMM.
Me: Awesome! What does a dog say?
Lis: (quietly) huff. huff. huff.
Me: Great job!
Vor: That's nothing. Watch this: Lis, what does a coyote say?
Lis: AAAIIIIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Our job here is done.

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We've been making some major and minor improvements around here, such as painting, locating the occasion vase or candle stand on sale, and installed a pergola on our deck.

Let me tell you about this pergola.

First, the freaking instructions are clearly translated from a language that is not English, because they make no sense. Second, the way they want you to put it together is impossible (SEE: LAWS OF PHYSICS) unless you have four adult, 6'7" males putting it together. So we had to do some makeshift work and improvise, and tack things down to the deck while we lifted and held other things, and I was precariously balanced on a ladder, and I don't like heights, and you see where this going, don't you?

Yes, I lost my balance and took the entire effing pergola down. Mind you, we had been putting it up for two and a half hours already and it was 10:30 pm, and we were working by the porch light. I thought Vor was going to serve me with divorce papers when the whole thing came crashing down. All's well that ends well though--we got it put back it the next day after another four hours of labor.

Anyway, it's up and it's nice and we are still married.

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The aquarium was AWESOME. Even better was that we took Lis to IKEA, and she climbed on every single sofa, chair, and stool, because it's all Swedish and low to the ground and she is a monkey who likes to climb. She loved the sharks and the brightly colored fish, and spent two and a half hours announcing to anyone who would listen FFFSSSSSHHHHHHHHH.

Even better was the fact that while we were relaxing in the suite part of the room at night, my brother Facetimed us from The Land of Sand and IEDs. It was fantastic to see him and talk to him, and we made him laugh and hopefully brightened his day. He wanted to call to wish Lis a happy one year anniversary.

I didn't cry once during the trip. Other than my brother's good tidings wish, I didn't think about it once.

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I joined a new gym, one that has a "coach" who works with me once a week. It's a classes only gym as well, so I can't just go get bored on the treadmill, I have to actually engage and interact and work. As a result, I've lost five pounds. Much more effective.

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As I suspected, I am really missing litigation. This is in part because (1) I am in the midst of the really disgusting sex crimes chapter, and (2) my litigation docket has hearings coming up that are promising to be really fun. Thus, things are weighted in favor of the court room, and I miss it.

You know why else I miss it? BECAUSE I GOT TO BE A JUDGE PRO TEM, THAT'S WHY! I can't even tell you how awesome it was to be judge for a day. I hope I get to do it again. I also got paid a very nice compliment by a judge, who asked me if I was applying for a magistrate position, and when I said no, she said she really thought I should.

I was deathly afraid of the courtroom at first. My face turned red when anyone would speak to me. Now, I own it and I move around it with perfect ease, even if I still get nervous. I can make the objection before my brain has caught up with my mouth, and I have the case law and statutes ready to go. It took me all this time to get here, and now I am in office all the time, not in the court room, and I really crave the rush.

I told my family on the day I was judge pro tem that they could address me the rest of the day as either Judge Grace or Your Honor. I refused to respond to my siblings unless I was addressed as either one. I'm pretty sure I drove them nuts, but hey, that's what your baby sister is for, right? RIGHT? I went back to normal the next day, promise.

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We have a party this weekend for people from Vor's office. Among other things, that means I need to clean the house. Like, now. Instead of blogging. Notice how well that's working.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Souvenirs You Never Lose

The Goo Goo Dolls had it right: Scars are souvenirs you never lose; the past is never far.

A year ago today, we had this:

[OK, Blogger sucks right now, so it's e first three pictures of right before surgery and right after]

I tried to go back and read what I posted. I can’t. I wrote it to get out of me, and I can’t let it back in yet. As bad as this day was one year ago, the coming days were just as bad, maybe even worse. This day was worrying and waiting; the next days and weeks were exhaustion, no sleep, worry, grief, and general horror whenever I looked at her incision. I was horrified that that the deep, stitched up, bloody, sometimes oozing, dangerously close to reopening cut across her head was there. I was horrified that I made the decision to have it put there. I was horrified that such a thing was necessary. I was constantly sick to my stomach. What did I do to my baby? Only what was necessary, I told myself. It never made the feelings stop.

I remember it all clearly. I can taste the sharp, metallic, salty tang of blood in my mouth when I bit my cheek in the waiting area. I did it deliberately. I’m not sure why. The only hand sanitizer I ever use anymore has to smell strongly of peach or citrus or something—I can’t use the hospital type stuff, because then all the memories wash over me and pull me under. Vor said the same thing happens to him with the hand sanitizer. It’s crazy how the smell of it brings back the memory the strongest. I remember touching her when we finally saw her, and thinking that she looked gray, not at all like my pink, rosy baby. There were so many wires and cords and bruises and cuts and bandages everywhere, that I could only find a small space on her skin that was free to touch, and I laid one finger on her. The first time she woke up, briefly, after surgery, she opened her eyes slightly, looked at me, wailed, and closed her eyes again. I broke into a million pieces—her cry was high and desperate, panicked and painful. I had broken her. I was sure of it. There are so many more sharp memories like those.

I’m crying while I type this. I feel sick again. That’s how strong these memories are.

I’m not sure why I get this way about it. It’s been a year. She is fantastic now. She had her year checkup, and things look great. Other parents I have interacted with seemed to take the tack of being strong and soldiering through. Alyssa, whose son had surgery right before Lis did, was a huge help to me, and was an amazing example to me how strong to be for your child through this process. I hope I was. I tried to be, on the outside, at least. Inside, I was a wreck.

Vor decided that this was a good year to run from the memories. They way he put it was “I sure as hell don’t want to be here on the one year mark.” I knew exactly what he meant. To be here, thinking, one year I was standing there, doing that, was too much. Vor proceeded to surprise Lis and I with an already booked vacation to Kentucky to go to the aquarium. We will be looking at fish (Lis says fffssssssshhhhhhhh) and laughing, about as far removed from a year ago as possible.

I’ve talked to lots of people who have been through this. I’ve also talked to lots of people who are going through it, and they want to know—something. What to expect, how to deal, the tricks that get you through. Mostly, they want to know what the worst part is, how to get through it, and that that they will get through it. I don’t know what was worse—the weeks leading up to it, the night before and the day of surgery, or the two to four weeks after. They all test you in different ways. You get through it, somehow.

A year later, we have this:

[Again, Blogger sucks, so see after pictures!]

She promptly began rolling over again two weeks after surgery. At nine months, she crawled. At eleven months, she was walking short distances in that drunk baby stagger that they all do, and when she turned one, she was running. Uh-oh was her first word, and now she says ball, dog, woof, fish, all done, mama, dada, hello, bye bye, sit down, and a few others. She gives hugs and pitches fits. She has amazing coordination for a toddler, to the point of taking screw drivers and inserting them properly. She wants to take everything apart. I’m afraid if we left her alone with a screwdriver, she would disassemble the refrigerator.

What I’m saying is that she’s doing great. She’s on track. (Notice I didn’t say normal)

Lis turned one in January, but I think this will always feel more like a birthday should feel. Yes, her age will change in January, but the milestones are celebrated from this date. Vor called it her anniversary, as opposed to her birthday. I’ve heard some people call it the “cranioversary.” Some day, when she’s [much] older, I want to be okay with this enough to hand her a bunch of flowers and say “Hey Lis, sixteen years ago, we cracked your skull open! Happy anniversary!” and then all of us laugh. Someday, when she’s older, I want her hair to be long enough or her scar to have healed enough for her to be okay with this, and when the boys start comparing scars to see who has the coolest one, she can flip her hair over and say “Beat this badass scar!” Or when they count to see who had the most stitches, she can tell them “I had over two hundred. I win.”

A round little head, with plenty of room for her brain to grow. I’ll take every drop of angst, every nightmare, every scar, and happily pay every last penny that we did and then some for that gift, a year later.











Monday, July 15, 2013

The Seventh Month

I’ve noticed myself on high alert, constantly, this entire month so far. I couldn’t quite figure it out until one of my senior colleagues said, “And this July, you have nothing to worry about!”
Oh. Yes. I forgot.
July, it’s been a pattern with you, and no offense, but you’re a month I’d like to skip or rename or take out of order.
July 2008: Vor takes the bar. Jekyll the dog starts to die while Vor is taking the bar. Vor finishes bar exam. Dog dies.
July 2009: I take the bar.
July 2010: Major drama with unplanned teen pregnancy with close friends; Vor’s co-worker is murdered; Vor’s office building is shot up.
July 2011: Pregnant, still puking constantly; gestational diabetes; Person X becoming hostile and threatening towards me.
July 2012: The summer of craniosynostosis and cranial vault reconstructions and recovery from surgery and never ever sleeping.
So, July, here’s the plan for you this year: Put up the pergola in the back yard. Hang out on the deck in our new shady spot. Deal with Lis’s pink eye (thanks, daycare! Oh well). Go to the aquarium on the cranio anniversary. Snuggle Lis. Kiss Vor.
July, so help me, if you have got something else in store, I will take your evil plans and show you exactly what to do with them.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

My House Is Your House Is My House

We suddenly entered the era of house guests.

My cousin and his son came yesterday for just part of the day, stopping on a long drive from NY to CO. We have our friends and their two kids, plus dog, coming in tonight for a stay. My parents will be in after that for almost a week. My sister in law will show up softly after that, and then, my sister is making noises about coming out to see us. After that, my sister in law will be here with three kids.

Here's the real whopper: we just offered to let my mother in law live with us for about two months. She sold her house, and the house she is building is not done. We have a huge basement that is basically its own separate apartment, but still. That might be hard on everyone, since we operate very differently.

That is a lot of people marching in and out of my house, y'all.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lions And Tigers And Warthogs

We took Lis to the zoo last weekend.

I have a FANTASTIC video of Lis hooting with excitement at the giraffe, but I can't figure out how to load it. Trust me, it is amazing.

Also not pictured: the lion roaring at Lis and Lis hooting back; the elephant excitement; the train ride around the zoo; the flamingo encounter; the fish experience.