Monday, January 31, 2011

Dead Cat Walking: Part II

I wrote this post a little over a year ago. It appears it is time for an update:

Boyfriend: "Move to Minneapolis with me. You can get a cat"

October 1997:
Trip to the Golden Valley Humane Society. We select a lovable orange cat and Dave names him "Wiggum", after Ralph Wiggum of the Simpons. (Think "teacher, my cat's breath smells like cat food".)

Me: "Wiggum needs a friend-please, pretty please with whipped cream and a cherry on top". Boyfriend: "alright".

Thanksgiving Weekend, 1998:
We find an animal shelter in the middle of rural Minnesota. We pick out a small orange kitten, born to it's feral mother. We name him Flanders (think "Hidely Ho neighbors! How diddly do you do?")

Newly Weds return from honeymoon to find cat pooh all over the carpeted floor of a no-pets allowed apartment complex. Us: opps-time for Science Diet Sensitive Stomach.

December 2002:
Our "family" Christmas Cards are homemade-by yours truly, and feature a photograph of Wiggum & Flanders side by side in the living room window. I carefully pasted santa hat stickers on their furry heads.

We pack up our family (Husband, Wife, Wiggum & Flanders) and drive out to our new home in Sunnyside, Denver.2003: Me: How about a Dog? Husband: Are you totally sure?

We trek to the Dumb Friends League and find a little black lab puppy Bascom. She rides home on my lap.Upon arriving at home with dog:Flanders: Howls, runs and hides in the box spring of our bed. We hardly see him again until we have to pack up and move to our new home a year later.

September 2005-
The arrival of our first son Zachary. Our pride and joy. Flanders now appears only after midnight, and remains hidden among the boxes and ruins of our attic.

Summer, 2006:
We start to notice the strong stench of cat urine coming from the attic. We know who is to blame.

June 2008: The arrival of Evan. Flanders joins me in the moonlit nursery for midnight feedings when Bascom is snoozing downstairs. We bond.

September 2009:
We make the decision to pack up the family and head to Berkeley California. We will now be renters in a much smaller home. We know there will be fewer kitty hiding spots, and that we can't take the risk of soiling someone else's home with cat odor. We make the decision that Flanders will not join us for the next phase. Since he will be all but impossible to find adoptive "parents" for (anyone want a scardy cat, don't touch me, I pee on everything orange tabby?), and the no-kill shelters are not accepting new cats, he will need to go to the Table Mountain Animal Shelter, where there are no guarantees. I feel like I am feeding a lamb to the wolves, sending an innocent convict down death row. He doesn't deserve this.

I'm a bad cat mommy.

And now the update.......

Later September 2009:
I can't do it. I can't send Flanders to the shelter. We pack him up and drive him to Berkeley and hope for the best. How bad could it be?

December 2009:
Flanders seems to adjust well. Although he spends a lot of time hiding we notice no funny smells anywhere in the home. We assume that everything is find and dandy. (Foreshadowing wasn't.)

July 2010:
Our beloved alpha-cat Wiggum passes away unexpectedly, leaving me devastated Flanders on the other hand seems to be elated. All of the sudden he emerges from his shell, and comes around for more frequent human interaction. A changed cat....right? (More foreshadowing...wrong.)

January 2011:
Because our family is expanding we decide to move yet again to a home in Oakland with more space. As we are cleaning our home in Berkeley we discover that Flanders has been up to more than we thought while spending time in the attic. It turns out that he had been using the attic insulation as a litter box. The insulation must have absorbed the smell, for we were clueless. The urine soaked through the floor making it soft, and creating the perfect conditions for David's foot to go right through the floor, resulting in a hole in the kitchen ceiling. One small Flanders has now cost us a lot of money.

January 31, 2011:
Flanders is locked in a closet in our new home with a litter box. I have posted an ad on Craigslist, hoping that someone will want to adopt the pathetic animal. My heart breaks each time I visit him. He rubs against me and purrs hello. But what am I to do? No shelter will take him. Our options are so limited. One thing is certain, Flanders can no longer stay with us.

My heart aches. On so many levels I just feel like a bad person.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Good for nothing

I guess things were going along a little too smoothly with the move. We were working ourselves to the bone, but we were starting to see the fruits of our labor. The house was beginning to resemble something of a home, and a nice looking one. Boxes were torn down, dishes put away, packing papers smoothed out and hauled to the shed. We were humming along. I was feeling so good, I thought that after today and tomorrow we would be close to done.

Then a curve ball. Or should I say hair ball.

We went to our old house to do what we thought would be an hour of cleaning. Then we discovered the attic. AKA: Flanders (the cat's) hideout. Flanders is our 12 year old scardy-cat. He used to be a lovable companion, until we got a dog.... and had kids. After each new addition Flanders became more and more reclusive. We actually considered leaving him behind when we moved from Denver to Berkeley, we thought we could find him a dog and kid free home where he would be happier. Unfortunately, time ran out, and I didn't have the heart to take him to a shelter, so he came along. How I wish we would have made another decision.

Flanders destroyed the insulation in our attic. I'll let you use your imagination. We discovered that this morning and quickly determined that we needed to replace it. No problem right? A little speed bump to the day. We went to Home Depot, got the supplies, and David went up to the attic to take care of the problem. Only he didn't solve the problem, instead we ran into a bigger problem when David's foot went through the floor of the attic dry wall-and through the kitchen ceiling. Awesome. Bye, bye security deposit.

But the story does not end there. No. It is 10:25 on Sunday night and David has been at the old house in Berkeley since 6:00. He is waiting. Waiting for Flanders to come out of the attic so that we can remove him from the home. Waiting. The cat will not come out. He has peaked his head out once or twice, so we know he is there, but he is one fast feline. Woosh, and he's gone. As I have said, Flanders often hides away from the action, but he usually comes around for a little head scratch now and then. I suppose that he was spooked by the movers and the empty house, and now, well, he ain't going nowhere.
If the husband is not successful in capturing the damn animal tonight I am going to have to spend my day off at the house.....waiting. Rather than finishing unpacking our new home, I'll be sitting idol in an empty house waiting on a stupid-8 pound-good-for-nothing cat.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bye Bye Violet May

My five year old is suddenly very interested in being a teenager. Case in point, just the other day he made the following comments to me:

"Evan and I are pretending that our pull ups are underwear, because we are pretending to be teenagers!" (Yes, Zack is five, and yes he is still wearing pull ups to bed, I do pray that by the time he really is a teenager we will be out of this phase.)


"In our new house, I'm getting a new bed! A teenager bed!" (Zack is moving into a twin sized bed in part so that we can finally get Evan out of his crib and into the toddler bed.)

Ah teenagers. Right now it seems very far off, but we all know how that goes. One day you are immersed in Gymboree and diapers, and the next your snapping prom pictures and touring colleges.

It's one thing to have little boys at home, but teenage boys? I can hardly imagine that life. Some day I will have 3 hungry, sweaty, hormonal teenagers in my home. Three. That's a lot of tuna noodle casserole folks.

Yesterday I had my 20 week ultrasound. Although I was told at 12 weeks that by the looks of things there was a 99% chance that baby was another boy, there was a small part of me holding out for my 1% chance that "Violet" was really in there. I was going to name her Violet May. Pretty huh? But nope, the fate was sealed, baby is all boy.

I can take comfort in the fact that I know a lot about being a teenage girl, and it ain't pretty. Although I have no idea what it will be like to live with all this testosterone, I do know that I won't have to deal with the angst of girls. Sure, I may have to spend a heck of a lot of time on the sidelines of sporting events and picking up sweaty socks, but I won't have to have the fight about skin tight jeans and mascara at age 13.

Looking on the bright side, thanks for reminding me Zack!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


The chaos is coming. The move happens on Thursday. THURSDAY. Holy cow, I am not looking forward to it. Boxes. Packaging papers. Where is that can opener? Of course children add a whole new special element to moving. They must adjust. The new bedroom will frighten them and thus, we will all lose sleep. They have needs. "I'm hungry!" "I'm bored!" Can't you see that mommy is busy trying to figure out how to fit table service for 12 in one tiny cabinet?

I just have to get through it. Breath. Everything will be just fine. If only, if only I had my best friend wine to get me through it, but alas.

Needless to say, you may hear very little from me over the next week. Rather than spend my endless (har, har) free time pounding away at the keyboard I will be unpacking, arranging, organizing and pulling my hair out.

That's all I have to say tonight. Please wish me luck, send me good thoughts, and have a glass of wine for me.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I need you.

Hello my quiet readers. I need you. This is very important. Please take the time to comment and give me your sincere and honest opinion. About my hair.

I am guessing that many if not most of you (women) have never worn your hair as short as I do. I didn't always have short brown hair. Oh no. I used to have a shoulder length-flat-ironed-dyed-blond-do. But that was before munchkins. Shortly after Zachary's arrival I went to the short cut I am still sporting five years later. I even stopped coloring my hair and went with my natural brown, which seems to darken every year. I used to get tons of compliments on my haircut. People would marvel at me for having the courage to go so short. It felt good.

Recently however, inspired by my younger sister who finally grew out the hair style that I copied in the first place, I decided I needed a change. Only I don't seem to have the patience to actually grow out all of my hair. It is a pretty painful process, one that involves months and months of "awkward" stages. I simply could not manage it. So I decided to take what might appear to be a small step, and grow my bangs out. Even this has proved to be trying. In addition to growing my bangs I got some highlights to "brighten up" my look. I'm not quite there yet. I want to grow these pesky bangs a bit more, but I'm just not sure this is going anywhere. I am no longer receiving compliments on my hair. Tragedy, especially now that ain't nobody going to be complimenting me on my awesome figure!

This is where you come in, dear reader. I am counting on you to tell me what to do. Above is my how I look today. Below was earlier this fall. What look do you prefer? Be honest. This is critical. We are talking about my hair here, my look.

In other totally unrelated news, did you know that men actually go nude in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco? I'm talking nothing but a pair of flip-flops and a smile naked. I kid you not. We made a stop in the area this afternoon after a visit to Golden Gate Park. We wanted to explore a new area and grab the kids some ice cream. Now don't get me wrong I am all for diversity. But public nudity? Is that even legal? I'm not sure I am ready to stand behind a naked man, no matter how buff, at Starbucks, and I really don't want to sit on the same public chair he was using five minutes ago. Small minded? Perhaps-but I'm okay with that.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kick me one more time

Forgive me. This is going to be one of those touchy-feely mama posts. Skip it if that isn't your thing.

I have begun to feel the faint movements of my baby moving inside me. They are gentle flutters, and I can tell that I will be plagued by the same worry that I experienced during my first pregnancy with Zack. I'm not feeling enough. When I was pregnant with Zachary, his kicks were some how buffered or muted inside me. Other women would complain of the painful punches their babies bestowed upon them, while I would sit and stew. Why? Why didn't I feel the baby? Hours would pass. I would knead my stomach trying to get Zack in a position so that I could feel him move. Nothing. Eventually I would end up in my doctor's office, worried and defeated. They would hook me up to the monitor and look at me with wonder. Don't you feel that? He's practically doing an Irish jig in there! But I felt very little. Since than I have learned that some women feel less due to the baby's position, or how everything is situated inside. But it gives me little comfort, because I'm left with just not knowing.

Evan was different. I felt everything. He moved constantly and predictably. I was thankful for every kick, because it told me he is was thriving, alive, healthy.

So as I sit here near twenty weeks, feeling only tiny ripples from time to time, I remind myself that this is normal, and I try to be satisfied with faith. He is in there. He is moving, and it is magical.

This is the third time around for me and yet, it is still no less than miraculous. Feeling the independent movements of a human being inside of me, a baby that came from nothing but a few cells, it's mind blowing. I look at Evan and Zachary and see what they have become, children, little people, and I know that a whole new life is inside of me at this very moment. I am humbled. It doesn't seem possible that my body could do something so perfectly amazing, and yet it's happening. Right now.

Over the past several months I have wished away the pregnancy, wanting nothing more than to press the fast foward button and arrive at my son's birthday. This is the last time I will ever be pregnant. Years will pass by, and perhaps I'll take my pregnancies for granted. Maybe I will even forget how it all began, how my children were a physical part of me. Now that I am feeling better, I want to focus on the magic of what is happening. I want to take it all in, and hold it forever. I want to feel each kick and treasure the thump of a tiny foot inside.

Kick me baby! I want to feel you.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Good Day.

Today was a good day. Not because anything amazing happened. In fact the events were very ordinary. The difference? I felt great! Sometimes it takes returning to normal to realize just how sick you were before. After months of morning sickness, and then a long holiday illness, I had forgotten how it felt to be healthy. Today I remembered, and it was glorious.

I went into the office today, and gladly. It was good to be out of the house. No, great. I didn't mind the walk down Battery Street, instead dare I say it, I had a spring in my step! In fact I stopped at the bagel shop, and I believe a male customer actually flirted with me. Hey I was wearing a big jacket, and I have the pregnancy glow after all. It's possible. Don't laugh.

I made small talk with strangers all day. I was efficient at work and I had energy to spare when I returned home. For the first time in months I felt like I was actually a good mom. I listened to my kids. I enjoyed them. I read them stories. I was patient. I remembered why I liked being a mom.

Life is good.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The big lie: preschool boy drama

I was lied to. Deceived. I was told that my no-pink consolation prize would be drama-free boys. Bologna. Whomever has been spreading those rumors should have been at the play date that I orchestrated this afternoon. Disaster. High drama that could compete with any Kelly-Brenda 90210 episode.

I'll set the scene. Three high energy boys from the JCC, gathered together at the Kargas family home for a late afternoon get together. There would be tacos, ice cream sandwiches and good times. Well there were tacos...

It turns out three really is a crowd. We had Zachary, "Miles" (a child whom we have had many play dates with, and who's mother I really like), and Jeff (a new friend from preschool). Oh, and Evan, poor little tag-along Evan. The boys greeted each other with unprecedented energy. Voices were raised, toys were thrown, children were running in all directions. But that was the least of it. There was fighting. Lots and lots of fighting. Power struggles. Taking sides. Threats made. "You're not my friend!" "You can't come to my house anymore!" It sucked. Play date disaster. Zachary was mean and it made me angry. His friends were mean to him. Miles made him cry. And it broke my heart.

To make things worse, I learned that another little boy at school "Leonard" has been threatening Miles. He told Miles that if he continues to be friends with Zack, he will not be invited to Leonard's birthday party. Miles is petrified of Zack play dates because he doesn't want to miss out on Leonard's party! Zack informed me that Leonard often says that he hates Zack. I just had a long phone conversation with Leonard's mom. She was so kind and understanding, and I felt like I was being one of those busy-body moms, sticking her nose where it doesn't belong. Making mountains out of mole hills.

The truth is that in my mind, I am pressing the fast-forward button on Zachary's life. I am seeing him in middle school, standing alone on the playground, sad and angry, the other kids snickering behind his back.

Okay, so I am being crazy. He is only five. They are still learning how to connect socially and establish friendships. They are going to make mistakes and hit bumps in the road, this must all be normal. Right?

I just wasn't expecting preschool boy drama. Has anyone else out there seen this?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The lost days of brunch

Do you remember going out to Sunday brunch? It meant a leisurely meal. A latte. A mimosa. Smoked salmon, mixed greens with candied walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette. Sitting on an outdoor patio, making sleepy conversation or reading the Sunday paper. Remember? I do, although it is all growing a little hazy.

Of course these days, the mere idea of brunch is somewhat preposterous. When your day starts at 7am, waiting until noon for a breakfast-lunch combo seems pretty insane. So we often go out for just plain lunch on the weekend. But the kids idea of good food, and my idea of a nice meal are a little different. Where as I like gourmet salads and nice coffee, the boys go for any place that serves chocolate milk in a cheap plastic cup with a lid and a straw. The kids usually win. Subway is popular with the family. Tasteless sandwich "meat" on soft bread, masked with a variety of high sodium condiments, and of course chocolate milk. Everyone is happy. Yay.

A new restaurant on the radar is Fuddruckers, or Funruckers as Evan calls it. We happened by one on a recent outing and the kids are hooked. What's not to like? Zack loves the fact that he can top is hamburger with as many pickles as he likes from the endless condiment bar. Evan enjoys the creamy Velveeta like mac & cheese, and Daddy likes that it's cheap. I of course find myself scanning the menu for something that would pass as healthy and find the whole thing a huge exercise in will power.

Yes, I usually try and pick the lightest items on the menu, and it drives my husband crazy. He insists that I always get the worst thing possible and end up unhappy. I try and remind him that I am not nearly as bad as I could be. We used to have a diet-conscious friend who claimed to like Mexican food, yet she would always order a cheese quesadilla with "very little cheese please." So what's left? A toasted tortilla? Yum. I'm not that bad.

So today I ordered the basic grilled chicken sandwich and side salad. I topped off the sandwich with about a million pickles, banana peppers, tomatoes and salsa so that it looked like this:

Not bad. No baguette with freshly made raspberry preserves... but those days are long gone.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Evan's Diva Contract

If you intend to work with me, there are some things that you need to know. In fact, I'll have my people draw up a contract, to be sure that my (very reasonable) requests are followed.


  1. All clothing items, including socks and pull ups must be licenced Pixar apparel. Toy Story and Cars highly preferred, NO PRINCESSES.

  2. 2. All tags or anything that may be construed as "itchy" must be removed before wear.

  3. 3. Remember that stains add character and flare to my look and must not be removed without prior approval.


  1. 1. Breakfast must be served immediately when I awake. This meai is to start with cheerios and blueberries which I may or may not eat, followed by mini microwave pancakes. Please note that homemade or large sized pancakes are not an acceptable substitution in any situation. Syrup is mandatory.

  2. All other meals must include a minimum of one serving of macaroni and cheese, from a box. Homemade macaroni and cheese is never appropriate.

  3. Milk is to be served at each meal and snack, in whatever cup my brother has-no substitutions.

  4. If any item on my plate (i.e. granola bar, cake, cracker, banana) breaks, it must be replaced promptly with a fresh whole piece. The broken food item must be discarded immediately, nobody else is to consume it.


  1. I am to be provided with a minimum of two toys in my crib each night, accompanied by Valentines Day Doggie, Bear, Other Bear and Da-Doh (my pillow, which is not filthy!)

  2. Your lap is to be made available to me on demand.

  3. My diaper is to be changed immediately upon being soiled. I don't care if you are in the shower with a head full of shampoo. I'm telling you, you will be sorry if you don't change it NOW!

*All of the above is subject to change at any time, without notice.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What I have to say tonight

Update on me (because you are dying to know.):

  • We are moving at the end of the month and I have done....nothing to prepare. Nothing. Zero. And you know what? I just can't bring myself to care. I think I have successfully internalized my new year's resolution-the goal is to simply make it through 2011. Survive. Let the movers come. Let them pack all of the chaos and move it to the new house. Let the new house be chaos too. As long as nobody is emotionally or physically ruined for life. So there.
  • I got my hair highlighted last Friday. Not drastic, but lightened. You know what? Not a soul has noticed. You know why? I have become a hermit. Basically aside from early morning preschool drop offs and a few weekend excursions with the family, I haven't left the house. I have been sick, yes, but this has gone too far. I am a social being, and I have become a loner. That is not who I am.
  • I am overwhelmed by the preschool enrollment process. Because we are moving to Oakland we need to find a new school for Evan this fall. Of course the process started last month, and we have already missed the deadlines at some of the best places. Now we have to hurry up and do the tours, submit the paperwork and... pray. One of the schools actually indicated on their website that there would be a parent and child "interview"before making an enrollment decision. Interview my 2.5 year old? I can tell you his answers in advance, and they are unlikely to impress- "To infinity and beyond!" "Dinaco's all mine!" or my personal favorite, "I pooped in my diaper!" Maybe I am going to have to consider homeschooling after all.
  • I got so desperate for something to watch tonight that I actually watched Jersey Shore. It is that bad. Never, never again.
That's all she wrote...goodnight.

Monday, January 10, 2011's a tragedy.

Okay, this is serious. The husband has claimed the television tonight, for football. Football. We only have one TV-just what am I suppose to do tonight? I can only make nice in blogger world for so long before I start having Real Housewives withdrawal symptoms.

Plus I'm still sick and pathetic, and want nothing more than to lie on the sofa and fill my mind with lovely "reality" mush.

What's that? I should read? Bah. Stop it. I haven't found my next good book. I'm stuck. I have nothing loaded up on the Nook. Suggestions anyone? Anyone? Think lots of drama, tears, tragedy, no vampires, no dragon tattoos or kid wizards-just good old fashion stories of family mayhem.

I need my TV. But my husband isn't budging. He says that it's a "big game." Oh aren't they all? Bigger than catching the 411 with Andy Cohen, Watch What Happens? Not possible.

But I lose. The only glimmer of hope for the rest of this evening is that along with some antibiotics, my doctor prescribed me cough syrup with codeine to knock-me-out. Oh hallelujah! Bring it on. Unconscious sounds pretty good these days.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Date Night

I probably shouldn't even attempt to post, since my heart isn't fully in it, yet I feel as though I am due and maybe it will be better and more enjoyable than anticipated once I start typing.

I am not going to bore you with a list of my current ailments. You all must take me for a total hypochondriac by now, which I never have been. Seriously I am usually healthy as a horse. But as you all know by my endless pathetic posts, these past few months have been a bit of a nightmare for me. Long story short, still under the weather, hitting about a 2 out of 10 on the energy scale and generally feeling sorry for myself.

Yet last night the husband and I managed to squeak out some sort of a date night in honor of his birthday.. It wasn't exactly the evening he had hoped for, he was looking forward to an evening in San Francisco, checking out a few watering holes and having a nice dinner at a trendy restaurant. I just didn't have it in me. So we settled on a movie and dinner in Berkeley. I almost called the whole thing off, but I am glad that we went. It had been over three months since David and I had spent any quality time alone, and in fact our very last date night was the night before The Pregnancy Test. Now that was a fun night. I didn't know that I was knocked up and I was feeling great. We went to an English style pub and drank beer and port wine until we were the perfect amount of tipsy. It was a great date.

So it was time for another date, and if we waited until I was feeling well, it may never have happened. So we went.

We saw 127 Hours, the true story of Aron Ralston, a dare devil rock climber who gets caught in a canyon in Moab when his arm gets stuck under a boulder. You probably remember the story, especially if you enjoy People Magazine as much as I do. It wasn't exactly a light-hearted romantic comedy, but my husband doesn't much go for those types of flicks anyway. It was good. And best of all, as I watched Aron saw off his arm in bloody agony, I thought to myself.... "See self, your coughing fits don't look so bad now do they?"

After the movie we headed to a late dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant. Not the most amazing dining experience ever, but so nice to have some real conversation with my husband. No kid's interrupting, no trying to communicate while running a vacuum cleaner, and no TV distractions. Just us. And it was lovely. I am a lucky lady.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Quick Story

This morning I dropped the boys off at preschool. It is usually a pretty uneventful affair. They both like going to school and have no separation anxiety....what-so-ever.

Today Zack took it to a new level. We arrived to the "Rainbow Room" where before care takes place. It's usually the same few early bird cast of characters including the Dynamic Duo-a mom and four year old daughter who just seem to love each other so much!! The have a routine. After mommy gets her little angle settled in they give each other three kisses, a nose nuzzle and then mommy gets a "push" out the door. Ahhh.... melt your heart.

Well today right in front of this mother-daughter fantasy Zack was at his finest. I leaned over to give Zack a kiss on the head, and he looked me straight in the eye and said: "I hope you have a very bad day mommy." Huh? You want a bad day bud? I'll give you a bad day! How about fish and brussel sprouts for dinner? How about we skip the 15 pages of Where The Sidewalk Ends and read People Magazine before bed? But no, I bit my tongue, finished my kiss, wished the boys a happy day and went on my way, avoiding all eye contact with supermom. I left knowing deep in my heart that Zack didn't really mean it....right? He adores me.....right? Right?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The good, the bad and the ugly

Today was a mixed bag. It started out pretty rotten, got better, worse then better.

Here is why:

This morning: I awoke with my rib pain at a new level. I have been experiencing some pretty serious pain due to a lot of coughing combined with pregnancy related issues for a couple of weeks now. It has progressively gotten worse. Every time I cough it feels as if I am being stabbed. Okay, so I have never been stabbed before (knock on wood, spit three times), but you get the drift. I took useless Tylenol and got ready for work. It was my day to be in the city, so I headed off, quite slowly to the BART. As I waited for the train to pick me up, I unbuttoned my jacket, to show off my growing belly, thinking that surly this would guarantee me a much needed seat. Wrong-O.

I boarded a packed car. I positioned myself in front of the seats that are reserved for the elderly, disabled and pregnant women. In those seats sat a young woman engrossed in her newspaper and a man hunched over typing away on his Blackberry. Neither of them looked up. Nobody offered me a seat. I stood there coughing now and then and clutching my aching ribs. I am sure I had a scowl on my face. The man's head was inches from my belly, but he would not take his eyes off the blackberry. I was contemplating saying something. Something like, "If you are going to sit in the seats reserved for pregnant ladies and old people, you need to look around every now and then to see if someone actually needs them." But I kept my mouth shut. I didn't want to cause a scene. Minutes away from the stop, the man looked directly at my stomach and stammered "I'm sorry, do you want my seat?" "No" I told him briskly, "My stop is next." "Sorry" he mumbled, and I am guessing he genuinely was, but I didn't feel like letting him off the hook. "It's fine" was all I responded, in the coldest voice I could muster.

I walked at a snail's pace to the office, stopping now and then for another coughing fit. By the time I arrived at work I was in a pretty foul mood. My nose was red, my coffee was cold and I hurt.

But things got better. I got to my desk and found a lovely bouquet of flowers from my employer in honor of my first official week as a Ketchum employee. Sometimes there is nothing like flowers to brighten the day. I was cheered. My boss also invited me to lunch, and we had a nice meal at a nice restaurant. It occurred to me how lucky I am to have landed this job. I like the work, I am proud of the company and my boss is terrific. All good things. I felt happy.

The afternoon: My ribs continued to throb, and the coughing was relentless and embarrassing. I struggled to have professional phone conversations all day. By 2:00 I was wondering why my doctor had yet to return my phone call. I needed to speak with her. I needed help. This hurt too much. I left another message.

By 4:30 I felt and looked like garbage. I knew that I could not make the walk back to the BART station, it would be too painful. My boss gave me a lift. On the train, I was lucky to find a seat, but that didn't stop the ugly, messy tears from public. I was frustrated with my doctor, I was overwhelmed with searing pain, I was fed up with feeling miserable. Crying made it worse. I felt weak and vulnerable, and well....stupid. What grown woman cries on the BART?

The tears didn't stop there. As soon as I walked in the door I dissolved into a sobbing mess in front of Lindsay, our nanny. She was wonderful, giving me a hug and offering to drive me to the ER, which I was contemplating since my lousy doctor had yet to return my call.

The evening: Finally at 6:00 the phone rang. A prescription for Vicotin was sent to the pharmacy and by 7:30 I had swallowed two pills. At 8:00 the pain started to subside. Oh HALLELUJAH. Sometimes there is nothing better than simply the absence of agony.

I am now off for (hopefully) a good, peaceful night sleep, and I am praying that tomorrow, it's all good.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Birthday bust.

Today was my husband's birthday, and between you and me, it kind of sucked. But I swear, it wasn't my fault. I did my part. I had the boys make "Happy Birthday!" posters for their daddy. I wrapped up (good) gifts, I made a cake (from scratch), I offered to get a sitter for the night, which he declined. We got pizza from one of his favorite restaurants and attempted a nice family dinner, but really it was all a bust.

Why? Rose Bowl hangover that's why. On January 1st my husband decided to forgo our usual New Year's tradition of preparing a delicious Greek meal for friends, and hopped on a plane to join two of his best buddies from college in watching their beloved Badgers in the big game. While I was a bit disappointed to miss out on the all the feta cheese and Kapama, I understood that this was an awesome opportunity. But I knew what the consequences would be. I knew that the amazing time (of over indulgence) with his former frat brothers on January 1 would result in a fairly miserable January 2nd. Which it did.

He arrived home at about 10:30 this morning. I could tell by the look on his face...this wasn't going to be a high-energy day. (I told you so, I thought but did not say out loud.) The boys wanted him to open up his birthday gifts right away, he dutifully obliged. After opening up his brand new Ipad he looked about as excited as if I had purchased him a Low-Fat Vegan cook book. I'm sure he liked it, but he was just too tired to show it.

We then decided to take the boys to the Chabot Science Museum. It was okay, except that Evan kept insisting on taking off his shirt and shoes, and Zachary was generally cranky. Daddy actually started to nod off during the Astronaut movie, which for some reason scared the socks of Mr. Z. Go figure.

This evening after spending a fortune on the beloved Zachary's Pizza, the boys refused to eat, or even sit at the table with their father for his birthday dinner. Evan started demanding cake and Zack started throwing things. He ended up in time out and I, nearly in tears. This isn't how it is suppose to go...right? The applesauce-spice cake with cream cheese frosting was okay at best, but rather dry, leaving me to believe that I should have just used a mix.

The boys "went to bed" at 7:45, and the husband is close to passing out.

So there you have it, my husband's birthday. If it were my birthday, I'd want a rain check. But birthday's aren't a big deal to everyone, my husband included. He had a blast with his friends at the game, and I believe that he is comfortable with the consequences, so who am I to question it?

Happy birthday sweetie, now go to bed!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

It ain't a party till someone takes their pants off.

Cliche: Wow. A year went by already? Where did 2010 go? Just flew by. Whizzzzzzz.

Cliche, but it sure does hold true, year after year. And here we are embarking on 2011. This will be a big year for our family, a year that will be permanently written into Kargas history with the (knock on wood) healthy birth of our newest member.

We celebrated last night with some friends. We traveled to Pleasanton to go to a New Year's Eve party. There we were served lobster, steak and shrimp. The kid's played video games, watched Toy Story and counted down the New Year at 10pm. Evan of course was the life of the party encouraging everyone to let loose, dropping his pants and pull up and running around the house half naked. Now that's a party. All and all it was a fantastic time, although I could have done with more than a 1/2 glass of champagne, and without the comment from one well meaning guest "Are you sure you're not having twins?" Ha. Ha. Never heard that one before. It won't be the last time.

There was no talk of new year's resolutions, and I was quite glad, for this year I have only one. It isn't to exercise more, to organize my closets or put in more volunteer hour's at the preschool. Nope. My goal for 2011 is to simply...survive. While I have no doubt 2011 will bring a great deal of joy, I am also well aware that a lot of challenge will tag along. We have our work cut out for us this year, and I think that the best we can do is to try and get through it, hopefully with a smile on our faces and a few laughs along the way.

Happy New Year!