Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sprite The Fish Cagle

We have a new member of the family-- and she is worth mentioning. Sprite The Fish Cagle. Her name is Sprite... The Fish..... Cagle.

Let's back up.

Today was the annual Parochial Carnival. Every year, Parochial organizes a day filled with carney fun for the students. There is a ring toss, face paint, dunk booth, corn hole, and a dinosaur dig to name the handful that come to mind. It is the only fundraiser that the school has. Understand me on this: the kids do not go door to door selling cheap trinkets to neighbors. The kids do not sell $6/roll wrapping paper like I did back in the day. All those things that other schools do to offset the operating expenses are not part of Parochial.

Thank the Sweet Lord-- as the parents rejoice.

Parents do not have to walk from door to door to see that each neighbor/almost stranger does not, well, that they don't .... you know, be uncool to your kid. Parents do not have to organize children in the parking lot at Lowe's hitting up cranky shoppers for their hard earned money.

Instead, they make an event for the school and put a whole bunch of fun things around it for both the kids and the parents. Oh, and they raise over $75,000 in doing so. Everyone gives a little and it turns the weekend into something big.

One of the many games they have is a ping pong ball toss. There are twenty-ish little fish bowls on a table, a fifteen minute wait, and three chances to win... a fish. And the parents cease rejoicing.

It was the most popular game today. More popular than the dunk tank, the rock climbing wall, and the Sumo wrestling suits. It was even more popular than the karaoke. Live, on stage, with real microphones, and an audience kind of karaoke-- with Let it Go on repeat. The only thing more annoying than Let it Go on repeat is Let it Go out of tune on repeat.

We found Cas in a loooonnnnggggg line. After a hug, she asked LMC, "Are you going to get in line to win a fish?"

LMC responded with a DUH look before hopping in line with Cas. Fifteen minutes later, Cas throws a ping pong ball as if she had been practicing for weeks. Plink. Lucky Cas (Lucky Cas' mom- more accurately) won a fish at 10:15. LMC was next. Three ping pong balls found their way to three different places that did not win anything more than a little candy.

This mom breaths a sigh of relief.

Face paint and a new head of purple hair, LMC asks to go try for a fish again.

Fifteen minutes.
Three chances.
More candy.

Mom- sigh of relief.

Cupcake walk, several bounces in the bounce house, a dino dig... and a third request of trying to get a fish.

Twenty minutes with kids holding fishes- those pesky badges of honor.
Three more chances.
More candy.

Mom- a sigh of relief and a twinge of sadness for the kid who can't throw a ping pong ball.

Lunch, dunk booth, around and around we go. It seemed everywhere we turned, another kid had anywhere from one to three (or even five) little baggies holding a little goldfish as the day started to come to a close. Those sad eyes look up at me and she says, "May we please go back and try to win a fishie again?"

"Are you sure you don't want to go cosmic bowling? Or another dino dig? Maybe ... anything?"

"No, please?"

I cave. We stand in line.

The line was the longest it had been. Everyone had a fish around us standing in line. They were all telling the tall fish tales how they won their fish. One kid swore he kissed the rim of one bowl before bouncing in and then out into the neighboring bowl. He had four baggies.

LMC looked at him in awe.
Internally, I rolled my eyes and contemplated cutting in line to sneak the fish keeper a five spot for one of the damn fish.

Finally, it's our turn. The man recognized us and told her to take two steps forward. Y'all, she was on top of the table.

Ball one... bounces over.
Ball two... apparently didn't count.
Ball three... She goes high and the man holds his hand up to hook it into a bowl. It bounces out... and then back in.

She jumps and screams. I scream and jump- both for different reasons. We gather our fish and I ask the fish keeper how to care for it. He looked at me like I had gills.

I am not a pet person.

The day is done. She is cracked out on cotton candy, nachos, and Sprite. Walking to the car, she decides that she drank a lot of Sprite at the carnival, so we should name the fish Sprite. Wait! Sprite THE FISH Cagle. And we will call her Sprite.

LMC, Sprite, and I hop in the car and head home to show off our treasure to Husband.

Think this story is over? Please. I'm only just getting started.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Flea Market

My parents kidnapped LMC for a weekend at the beach- just the grandparents and the little Cagle. I was really happy to see her go off with them and get some one-on-one time that is so very, very rare.

Not to mention that it gave me four days with just me and Bennie as Husband was on call for those same four days. Think of a four day call as the opposite of vacation. He packs a bag with a toothbrush and a few changes of clothes. That's where the similarities end.

Me and Bennie! I was determined to not sit around the house for four days- anything could happen! We were girls on the go. We headed to the park, snuck into a secret opening of a new store in town, made it to Mass, headed to the river and the river market. We were everywhere.

And then I had a gumption that we needed to go to the flea market. Let me be perfectly clear: we needed to go the flea market.

Needed. As in we should have gone yesterday.

The last time I went to the flea market was eight years ago. Husband and Wife were engaged and a party was being thrown that night in our honor-- a redneck/white trash party. Husband, Wife, my cousin/maid of honor, and Husband's best friend headed to the flea market to get some airbrushed t-shirts for the event.

My cousin was a little, uh, under the weather (shall we say?) that morning. We had to wait about thirty minutes to get our prized possessions. In that time, Cousin/Maid of Honor looked at me and said, "I think I'm gonna be sick."

Husband walked her to the bathroom where a sign was permanently hung: Caution. Wet floors.

Deeming that neither safe nor clean- they head to the car. On the way, in the dirt parking lot, amongst strangers-- Cousin can hold it back no longer. Expelling all from the night before between two cars, she rallies and returns to the air brush booth. She even paid an extra $3 to get M.O.H. added to the back in purple. While nothing about this moment should be dwelled upon, it really set the mood for the day and the impending redneck shower.

We did it right.

Bright and early this past Sunday morning as the ninth bell rang, I started to stir. Grabbing Bennie, we loaded up and ate breakfast as we drove the fifteen minutes to the outskirts of town and the red roofed flea market.

When the rusted old silver minivan cut me off at my exit, I should  have taken it as a sign. Instead, in my mind I thought, "This should be fun- I bet they're going to the same flea market that I am."

They were.

I parked next to a dilapidated, burnt out Lexus and some 1972 El Camino-esque roadie. My Tahoe is almost 10 years old and my stroller was so new, it still had the plastic on it. I'd fit right in. These would be my people.

Knowing I had found a secret gem in the flea market, I walked in.

You know what I learned about the flea market in those 45 minutes?

People still smoke. And cheap cigarettes smell worse than expensive ones. Who'd'a thought I could tell the difference between a Pal-Mal and Camel by whiff alone?

They sell fake Crocs at the flea market. Normally, they're $6. Today though- they were $4. But since I had a kid with me, I could get a pair for $3. It made me wonder if I could haggle him down to $2 just for the sake of haggling.

I could.

But, the thought of popping those Mock-Crocs out of the sealed plastic bag and placing them on precious Bennie's clean toes made me shudder. I moved past the $2 Mock-Crocs and found myself face to face with vinyl art for my car.

Well, I needed to investigate that. Vinyl art for my car? I could do one of those stick people families that are everywhere. See? these are my people- literally, painted in vinyl on the back of my car. Me, Husband, LMC, Bennie, Nameless Baby Boy... and it would be c-u-s-t-o-m-e. I'm throwing the "e" in there for effect.

Turns out custom-e vinyl art (that is picked from a big book) is not that cheap. I move on. Stick people families aren't my style, anyway.

A man with a Vietnam Vet hat and a cane had a booth just outside the door of Building G. As I walked out, a woman asked, "How much 'dis iron?"

"5!" he called back... and then continued, "Goes to $6 in two minutes."

Well then- that's one way to negotiate. Must have learned that little tactic from Zig Ziglar.

Sure as the wind blows, she started screaming to her husband, "Bobby- Quick! Get my purse. GETTIT! NOW! I gotta get the iron before the price goes up."

Sonofagun if that Vietnam Vet didn't sell that iron for $6. He was also selling broken dishwashers. They were going for $35. Price was going up to $50 after lunch.

Rounding into Building H, the flea market really started to fascinate me. I could get a tattoo, tire cleaner, and pre-packaged Hanes socks in Building H. There were also hand-made afghans and little knit dresses. Next to the old lady afghan booth, a man was selling "Ladies thongz $3" and "Kingmaster" "Linjerie" (their spelling, not mine) for $5. I leered at the $1 toothbrushes and $.75 deodorant. Bennie kept her hands in her lap and her eyes forward. City kid knows the rules.

"Hey, Pretty Lady!" I hear.

Surely, this voice was talking to me. While not looking my best, I am-- at the very least-- put together and have makeup on for a change.

"Pretty Lady!" I hear again. I look around. He wasn't talking to me.

He was, however, talking to the slightly overweight braless woman whose boobies were hanging down to her hip bones. All 48 hairs on her head were standing straight up, having not seen a hair brush in probably a few days. Her shorts were a little snug in the seat. She, too, looked up. He was apparently talking to her.

"Pretty Lady! You look like you need this deodorizer for your car. I think I can let this go for $4."

Y'all. I kid you not, this was a glorified evergreen tree on a string. And you know what she did?

"$3.50 and ya got yerrself a deal."

He hemmed and hawed before taking her $3.50 in change and she proudly walked off with the car deodorizer. I was mesmerized by these people. No longer could they be MY people. My people would negotiate better.

Heading into the last building, it held used tires, "antiques" made of the finest pressed wood money could buy, and an Elmo doll that I actually contemplated purchasing for Bennie for about twenty seconds. The airbrush booth was on the end. Remembering that funny, funny day so long ago, I headed down there to discover that the air brush booth was gone and had been replaced with an Indian man selling electronics with a sign that said, "Make sure merchandise works before leaving premises. No refunds. No exchanges. No excuses." {it really instilled confidence in the customer}

I turn to leave and saw the ladies bathroom with the same permanent sign: Caution. Wet Floors.

Good tip.

Maybe I won't be back next week, maybe these won't be my people. Maybe this is not a diamond in the rough- rather, just rough. But at least I now I know.

And I know where to get a tattoo, vinyl decals, and $1 VHSes. And overpriced irons. And some, ahem, real nice "linjerie."

All valuable things to know.



Monday, October 6, 2014

That Kid

Bennie has found her way to nap time, thank goodness. I am sitting with my feet in cowboy boots- crossed and propped on the counter. It feels good. Real good. The kitchen: wreck. The laundry: Mount Everest. The music: loud and Celtic. The day: excellent.

That kid gets into everything. I clean the kitchen- but she just messes it up faster than me. Before you volunteer the novel idea of locks on the cabinets- think for just a minute as to how many cabinets are in this kitchen. I count 16. At $5 a pop (for the cheap ones)- I am just too cheap to spend it. Especially since I know me, and I know Husband. We would not be the best at locking them back after dog-cussing them to get them unlocked. Besides- it would just be something else for her to figure out how to destroy.

It is cheaper and easier to buy new Pyrex. Besides, I probably own too much cookware as it is.

But, this kid. She kills me. I want to yell at her but am too busy laughing to get it out. For instance, the other day...

Climbing in the cabinets, throwing broken glass, and trying to get into the fridge- she tornadoes through the kitchen with both speed and efficiency. I was busy making a breakfast of scrambled eggs. Why should I not leave eggs out on the table for an extra five minutes? They are in a crate and have some sort of anatomical shape that makes them hard (but not impossible) to break. They were out of reach.

But, really-- What's out of reach when it comes to a tornado?

Scrambling the eggs and asking sweet Bennie to load up, I turn around expecting to see a cherub sitting in her high chair, patiently waiting for me to place her tray and fill it with fresh scrambled eggs. Her halo polished and hands folded would have been a little too much to ask.

You can expect to see a lot of things. What you will not expect to see is that almost two year old standing on the kitchen table, holding an egg in each hand as she jumped up and down singing her ABCs. 

The scrambled egg pan hits the floor with cooked eggs splattering everywhere. Bennie peers over the edge of the table and a loud, "UH OH" escapes her mouth. "Uh Oh, Mom-Mom," as she looks at me, still holding her raw eggs.

Aaaaa Beeee Seeeee Beeee EEE EEEE GEEEEEEE!

And she goes back to dancing.

That kid. God better bless her, because I want to almost every single day. A mother's love-- it runs deep.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Dietitian

This pregnancy has been night and day different from the other two pregnancies totaling 77 weeks. Down to the test and up through the weeks, things are just... different. I am not going to say better, because that would really get us off on the wrong foot- and they aren't better (they are), they are just .... different. And different can be good. Apparently, testosterone agrees with me.

As I sit and type, Husband is studying for his big-BIG test that takes place in exactly 30 days. LMC and Bennie are wreaking havoc on this kitchen-- LMC jumping over (in) the food that Bennie has thrown on the floor- please note- peas are preferred to carrots and corn is not approved. Bennie finding any number of any thing to move from where it was to where it is. Read: I'm still trying to get the kitchen clean.

I just finished the last Publix sub that I will have for several weeks. It's okay, I'm ready. gd-GD won't beat me down. And, to be fair- I have not actually been diagnosed with gd-GD... yet. It's coming, of that I am certain, and the diet will change.

No more cookies.
No more Totino's pizzas (my current weakness. Do you know how good those $1.49 pizzas are?! Even when one is not in college, broke, or overindulged-- those suckers are yum-yum-yumm).
No more over carb-ed meals with sub bread or too much pasta.
No more sugary wonderfulness.

With cravings like cookies, whole milk, and Totino's-- one would think that this lovely little thing would have acquired somewhere in the realm of forty pounds at this point. Or, even the recommended ten pounds at 22 weeks of pregnancy.

Nope.

I have not put on one pound ... yet.

When I mention this random fact about me to friends or family, the majority respond with a, "WOW! That's great!" As I agree- even if I am not working for it. Stick it, health nuts. Cookies aren't bad for the hips. Lack of cookies are bad for the soul.

And before you get all medical knowledge on me, let the disclaimer show that Sir Nameless Baby Boy is growing just fine. I have not felt him kick, but our last ultrasound revealed that my placenta is attached to the front instead of wherever-else-it-is-supposed-to-be. He jumped all over the screen and I did not feel it. Scar tissue and two previous c-sections will do that to a uterus.

In anticipation of this upcoming diagnosis, compliments of my very conservative doctor, I met with a dietitian last week. We did not see exactly eye-to-eye when my lack of weight gain was revealed.

"You mean to tell me you have not put on a single pound?"
"Yep." (hiding my smile, because I caught her tone)
"Not a pound?"
"It should be in my chart. Is it there?"
"Yes. It just surprises me. And the baby?"
"Fine-- doing great."
"What are you eating during the day?"

Wellllll....... I was not exactly forthcoming in all that I ate.

What she heard:

blueberry muffin and water for breakfast
handful of nuts for a snack
turkey sandwich and chips with a diet coke
granola bar
tomato bisque for supper with sugar free jell-o for dessert

What reality was:

blueberry muffin slathed in butter with apple juice for breakfast
cookie
another cookie
piece of cheese with a large glass of whole milk
turkey sandwich and chips with a diet coke (truth)
cookie with more whole milk
tomato bisque, pasta Alfredo with chicken and a cookie for dessert (and maybe... just maybe a glass of red wine)

I wasn't too far away from fact. Yep. And pumpkin futures peak in December.

She gave me a recommendation of 2000 calories a day with no more weight maintenance- I needed to eat. Seriously? I wasn't underweight before I got pregnant. I was a little on the heavy side of things with no bikinis in my foreseen future if we need to speak the truth.

Her sample  menu for me consisted of:

breakfast: 3/4 cup Cheerios and 1 cup of milk (no fruit or fruit juice)
snack 1: cashews and cheese
snack 2: 6 oz yogurt
lunch: turkey sandwich, 9-13 chips, 6 oz yogurt OR a smoothie with 1 1/4 cups of strawberries
snack 3: 1/2 english muffin with chicken salad and 8 oz. milk
snack 4: scrambled egg on toast
supper: 1 cup succotash, english muffin, chicken, and 8 oz milk

I don't know about you-- but if I ate that much in a day... I would have to be rolled back to my next appointment and weight would definitely be added. I go back to the doc on Wednesday for the three hour glucose test to confirm what is already suspected. gd-GD be damned! Bust out the excel sheets and sorry cookies-- I might love you and hide you from my children (because, yeah- I'm that mom), but you will have to go by the wayside. With my Publix subs. And my Totino's pizzas. And my whole milk. And all those yummy things that fall into the carb category.

Final thought:

Parting words from the dietician, "You mean you don't eat vegetables that often, right?"
Me: "No."
Her: "You don't eat them at all?"
Me: "Yep. Fruits either. I take gummy vitamins. Does that count?"
Her, looking at me over her glasses: "No."

Friday, October 3, 2014

Preferred Pajamas

It has been twelve years since I graduated college. Twelve. Watching tv the other night, I heard a fictitious dad say to a fictitious daughter something to the effect that college is the deferral you get in life before, well, life. It was obnoxiously accurate.

Somehow, twelve years later, I still have a plethora of college t-shirts. When not pregnant, I can still fit into [most]... [some of] them. Husband has a handful, too. These fraternity and sorority t-shirts that children wore to class, to flag football games, and out to eat with friends discussing the most important box of nothing have lasted medical school, moves, marriage, and -- most definingly-- children.

I remember my parents have a picture of my brother when he was about LMC's age wearing a t-shirt that must have been my dad's. They got married younger than we did. They had children younger than we did. Their t-shirts were in better shape. Brother is dancing in the picture, with his right foot in the air and waving his arms. His smile is large and encompasses the whole 3x5 image of the moment. I bet when my parents come across it as they rifle through whatever drawer it has found it's way into that they can remember the exact moment that the picture was taken. It is a picture that stuck with me.  If I come across it again, I'll upload it- because it paints Brother so well. That and the picture of him when he said his name was "Buck. Buck Nay-ked" as he danced around the kitchen. That's my brother.

At some point in the last three years, LMC discovered that my t-shirts were the perfect nightgown size for her tiny body. After a bath, I say, "'Pannies' and jammies." When daddy is on call, she whispers my ear, "Mama, may I please wear one of your t-shirts?" Of course I say yes. She runs back to my bedroom dropping her towel along the way. Streaking in, she grabs a shirt and proudly pulls it over her head before rounding the corner and returning to show it off. It is in these moments that I smile, remembering how many times I wore that same shirt, or remember the event that took place that required the purchase of this overpriced t-shirt. We snuggle on the couch and watch "Earth to Luna" before I send her back to bed.

Skipping down the hall, her blonde curls bob as she either sings or whines all the way to her bedroom. I get a little nostalgic looking at the "Kite and Key" date night make its way away from me wrapping my little five year old up in pride- and I, in memories of being a just a kid on deferral from life.

After prayers, I kiss her forehead and as she asks for a minute more of awake time by saying the obnoxious, "HUGGIE!"A quick hug, another kiss, and I tell her "Sweet dreams, sweet potato."

Both my five year old and the t-shirt reminding me of my deferral are tucked into the bed that I slept in as a child.

I hear, "Sweet dreams, Mommy potato" as I walk down the hall.