Nashvegas baby!

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What's the picture-perfect weekend getaway for a 26-weeks-pregnant woman who just had foot surgery?  Why, a three day pub crawl in 100 degree heat, that's what!

Over the weekend I travelled to Nashville with my 7 bestie college friends for our annual girls' weekend.  Our 14 prior trips have included:  a float trip on the Huzzah River, a float trip on the Black River, a float trip on the Meramec River, a float trip on the Courtois River, a float trip on the Current River and a float trip on the Little Niangua River. 

So we were all real happy that this time everyone had enough money to avoid sleeping on the dirt.




Even if the trip started off with a bit of a hitch.  

Apparently the police in Kentucky don't approve of 94 in a 70, and also would prefer you to have your insurance card and registration actually in your car.  I hear Kentucky is beautiful in October, which is nice because my friend Lead Foot will be making a repeat trip to court.    

At first everyone tried to be accommodating and find non-drinking activities so I didn't feel left out.  "Do you think eight people can fit into one hearse?"  My friend Jennifer asked, squinting at a brochure she picked up at the hotel as we drove to lunch. 

But in the end the magic elixir calls and I spent the better part of two and a half days in dimly lit honky tonks occasionally resting my feet in a bucket of ice on the bar.  

And y'all know how I hate to toot my own horn, but I will say that staying out until 3:00am has pretty much been the most difficult thing anyone has ever had to do ever.  Ever. 

At first I welcomed the overwhelming amount of attention I received.  Taking my pregnant belly into each bar was like throwing a ball of yarn into a box full of kittens.  The bands were dedicating songs to me, strangers were offering me their bar stools, bartenders couldn't fetch me ice water fast enough.  But you know how kittens are.  Cute at first, then annoying, then you just want to kick their drunk little asses. 

Everyone wanted a piece of the belly and seemed delighted to be the first to inform me I was pregnant.  Something I was more than well aware of, considering that at one point I accidentally peed my pants.  A phase I thought I was out of since I stopped taking Pilate's. 

We were walking around looking for a bathroom 4-EVA, and every bar had a huge line.  And you know how it is being pregnant... one minute you're eating a tall stack of pancakes and the next there's pee trickling down your leg. 

Luckily I was wearing a dress.  But in a bar somewhere on 4th Street there's a pair of size 8 Hanes Her Ways buried deep in the stall trash.

All in all everyone had an awesome weekend.  Except Nick, who was glassy eyed and haggard when our party van pulled into my driveway.  I'm hoping that him experiencing the challenges of 72 hours alone with two little kids will result in a pay raise for me. 

 

   

26 weeks (but I don't look a day over 37)

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Me:  When I was going to pick up dinner tonight I started thinking about what would happen if I died.

Nick:  Here we go.

Me:  And I started thinking that you might get re-married to someone who can cook and clean and doesn't nag you about drinking all of the Crystal Lite and putting an empty container back in the refrigerator and helps you with yard work and won't talk you into buying a bigger house than we can really afford and is always all agreeable and skinny and stuff.  I didn't like it because she'll make me look really bad.  So if I die please don't get re-married.

Nick:  Don't worry.  I would NEVER do this to myself again.

Me:  Good. *takes bite of pad thai* 

Jerrica Benton

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So since my nose ring got the official thumbs down (though only by one vote, so don't rest too easy yet Dad - that ship is far from sailing) I decided to go another route with my whole I'm Going To Do Everything I Wanted To Do But Couldn't When I Had A Day Job phase:


I took that second picture using my rear view mirror - notice the car seat in the back.  Kinda adds an extra element of danger, huh? 

My Fancy Friend Paula has had purple streaks in her hair for months now, but it wasn't until I had dinner with High School Heidi (yes, the same one who fed Ellie the fated tortilla chip that required me to give her the Heimlich in the middle of El Maguey) and saw she had some awesome streaks that I realized I needed some too. 

It actually took a 10-minute phone call with My Single Friend Carrie of

"Are you serious?"

"Yes."

"You're serious."

"Yes."

"Really serious."

"Yes."

before she believed I was really serious.  And I needed to be because this is permanent.  A little detail she let me know as she was pouring it on.  As in... there's no way to get it out other than cutting.

Good thing it turned out super fly. 





Like Brian Wilson Did

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Last night I dreamed that I was drafted by the Cardinals to be the first female professional baseball player in history.  I was a closer and the dream began with me running out to the mound from the bullpen to the roars of 60,000 screaming fans, knowing hundreds of thousands more were watching at home on TV. 

At first I soaked in the attention that I would usually have to get drunk and naked in a public place to have showered upon me.  But as the cheers died down I realized that aside from a few summers of Little League and a stint on an advertising agency beer league I had absolutely no experience or knowledge of how to throw a pitch. 

Also I looked down and realized I was holding a wiffle ball, wearing a button up denim shirt and no pants. 

How embarrassing!  Who wears denim shirts these days?

The night before last I dreamed I was in a doctor's office and after a few seconds came to the horrifying realization that I was the doctor.  I had no idea how I had gotten there and only knew there was a waiting room packed with patients waiting for me to save their lives. 

I had to make a quick decision - fake it or run.  Of course I faked it and spent the entire dream making up a bunch of stuff using the only medical terms I know - substantial and areola - knowing these patients would be lucky to make it to their next birthdays. 

Whether or not you believe our dreams are connected to our conscious lives, you have to admit that my dreams are developing a common theme:  I have no idea what the hell I'm doing and I'm terrified to be exposed as the impostor I am. 

I'm not a parent.  When I was a kid parents knew exactly what to do when their kids threw dueling tantrums in the middle of the kids' clothing at Target.  Parents knew what to feed their kids and remembered to buy new milk when the old milk went sour.  They didn't wake up and ask their 2-year-old what was on today's agenda. 

Yes, I've read Dr. Karp's books.  Yes, I've talked to my friends.  Yes, my Mom calls me every morning and tells me I'm doing a great job and to put down the whiskey - I'm 25 weeks pregnant for goodness sake.

But there are a lot of gaping holes that parents are supposed to inherently know how to fill in.  What do I do when Ellie laughs in my face when I'm disciplining her?  What do I do when I taste one of the oranges that Lila has already eaten an entire can of and realize they've gone bad?  What do I do when I can't walk because I just had foot surgery and we're on hour four of an eight hour stretch in the playroom?  And what in God's name do I say when they look me in the eye as they're pooping?  Good job?  Nice poop?  Get out of my sight?  That shit's creepy, people! 

I'm in no way prepared for these situations.   

And as Ellie gets older it keeps getting harder.  We encounter new challenges every day and I have no idea what's right or wrong.  What matters and what doesn't matter.  What will land me in prison and what won't. 

And to make matters worse I know that she's starting to form memories now and I have no idea what she'll throw in my face when she turns 16 and runs off to join the carnival as a gypsy stripper.  God knows she's already got more than enough reason to. 

You'll probably tell me that I'll learn as I go and I'll tell you that's bullshit.  By the time I learn what the hell I'm supposed to be doing my kids will have kids of their own and they won't care what I have to say and they'll yell at me for being pushy.

I spent four years in college preparing myself to enter the workforce and become a productive member of society, then another two in grad school to sharpen my skills.  Before I had Ellie I took a one-hour infant care class showing me how to change a diaper and was sent about my business. 

The one thing keeping me going right now is reading articles about women putting their kids in the back of their pickup truck strapped to a stroller.  As wrong as it may be, I do find a little solace in the thought that there are plenty of people out there who suck worse than me.

   

It's a boy!

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I'm not one to point fingers or name names, but about three years ago Nick broke a coffee pot and the next day I stepped on some glass he missed in his shoddy clean-up job.  I thought I had removed it all but a few days later I got a really tender spot on my heel. 

It was only tender when I stepped directly on the spot so I just learned to live with it.  Because what was my other option?  To go see a doctor or something?  That would be inconvenient.  So I just developed a new stride that avoided actually applying any pressure to the upper right half of my heel and went about my business.  Easy enough and now I had swagger. 

Last week Nick was looking at it and mentioned that it looked infected, and since infections and pregnancy go together like flowers and a tombstone I decided to call my friend L.L. Cool Foot the podiatrist to get it taken care of. 

"Now, I'm just going to tell you - this is going to hurt," he said, jabbing a forearm sized needle into my heel. 

He was right, but I'd had worse. 

For 20 minutes he cut and pulled and dug and cut and pulled and dug and once it was finally out he put it in a little jar of fluid where it happily bobbed up and down. 

"Can I see it?"  I asked, sweaty and smiley and breathless.  After all that work I wanted to see what had been gestating in my body for the past three years. 

I held it in my arms and it looked back at me - a cute little fleshy bloody mass.  I could tell by the way it just floated around all lazy like it was definitely a boy. 

As he applied the dressing he said, "You're really a bleeder!"  I looked down and noticed a beach towel soaked in blood.  "You're probably going to bleed through this by tonight.  Just get some clean gauze and have Nick re-wrap it.  Keep it wrapped up until Friday, then we can take a look at it."

What?  Keep it on until Friday?  I was expecting a little Snoopy band-aid.  "Can I shower with it?"

"No, keep it dry.  You'll have to put a bag around it.  Oh, and here's a special shoe for you to wear."

Special shoe?  What the...

"And, for pain meds..."

Hold the presses.  Pain meds!  My FAVORITE!!!  Things suddenly took a turn for the better.  I felt the drool drip out of the corner of my mouth. 

"...I'd like you to call your O.B. and see what he says is okay."

Ooooh!  I like the little blue ones!  No no wait... the little round white ones!   I felt like a kid at Christmas.  I paged J.T. my Trusty O.B. the minute I got to the parking lot. 

"You can take either Fioricet or Vicodin,"  J.T. told me as I tried to contain my excitement and stay on the road.  "But I'd go with the Vicodin.  It'll help you write more interesting blogs."

I agreed.

You know, the funny thing about pain meds is that when your doctor prescribes them it usually means you'll be in a lot of pain.

Later that night my bandage looked like a maxi pad and as Nick was changing it I mentioned that my heel was still numb.

"Take that as a blessing,"  he said, squinting and holding my foot up to the light.

"Is it bad?  I mean, does it look like it will hurt later?"

"Yes."

"Don't sugar coat it - I can take it.  Does it look like it's going to be painful?"

"Yes."

"You can tell me either way."

"Yes."

He was right.  Around 5am the feeling started to come back and it felt as if someone had been digging for dinosaur bones in my heel.  Lucky for me I had my little buddies to take the edge off.

So the down side of this whole thing is that I have to use my butt cheeks as grippers in order to carry Lila up and down the stairs.  Also I know myself, and I'm positive that I will find the bag on the foot thing to be entirely too inconvenient and will probably just avoid showering altogether.   

But the up side is that we had M&M pancakes with chocolate sauce glitter fairies and Cheetos for breakfast this morning and have been listening to Magic Carpet Ride for close to six hours straight.

It's really a give and take.   

I tried to take a pic of my awesome new walking boot but it turned out really blurry - I had to take it like the wind because Lila is about to make a break for the Stairs of Freedom and Ellie is calling the Philippines for phone sex. 

Again.  


Pillow Talk: Part 3

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Me:  Jesus!  This is ridiculous!  Our neighbors' music is SO LOUD!  It's 10:30 at night for goodness sake! 

Nick:  Oh my god are you kidding me?  I JUST fell asleep. 

*me walking over to window and pulling up the blinds*

Me:  And there's a lot of people walking around and loud talking and stuff.  Unbelievable!

Nick (mumbles and turns over):  It sounds like a good time.

*me pressing my nose into the window pane*

Me:  And look, there's a keg!  This thing is going to go on all night!  The nerve!  Just listen!

*me opening window*

Nick:  It's Friday.  It sounds like what normal people do on a Friday night.

Me:  That's not bothering you? Listen to how loud that music is when I opened the window.

Nick:  No, it's not bothering me.

Me:  But it's keeping us awake! 

Nick:  There's only one bothering me right now.

Me:  I caution you to be very, very careful about what you say next, keeping in mind that now that I'm pregnant with our third and final child I no longer have any incentive to have sex with you ever again.

Nick:  zzzzzzzz

Groupies

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On Saturday I learned the single most important and effective and beautiful method of parenting that has ever existed in the history of children. 

Bribery.

And I am unapologetically leveraging it to the max. 

We headed downtown for the grand opening of the Delta Dental Health Theatre, which was awesome. 

Awesome because they're doing some great things for kids health, but more awesome because Ellie's personal hero and mentor, Dora, was going to be there. 

It started with a simple, "Dora likes girls who eat their pancakes!" that morning, and before I knew what was happening I was using it for everything.  "Dora doesn't like little girls who pick their noses!"  "Dora called and wanted you to rub mommy's feet!".

It was really working.  I mean, anything that Dora likes Ellie did. 

I decided not to let the magic end with the event - I had unlocked the key to parental success. 

Tonight it was "Eat your grilled cheese - Dora made it!"  Gone within seconds. 

I am a genius. 

As long as she continues to like Dora. 

Rolling in the deep

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My sister Beth:  Sarah told me that I accidentally butt dialed you this morning and I was singing something?

Me:  Yeah it was really horrible.  It went on for like three minutes. 

Beth:  Oh god.  I'm so embarrassed.  Please don't make a big deal out of this and just delete it, please?

Me:  Of course. 

video


A smokin' good time

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For my money, it doesn't get much better than corn dogs, funnel cakes, and sitting smug faced on a set of gigantic bleachers constructed out of rail road ties while I secretly stare at and subsequently judge everyone who walks by.

This was my fourteenth consecutive year in proud attendance at the St. Charles County Fair, and, more importantly, second year sober. 

Of course the two years of sobriety have been forced upon me by pregnancy - a minor detail that didn't seem to deter many other fair goers.

One minute I was in my kitchen talking with my friend Kelly about the proper time to introduce solid foods to ensure our babies continue to receive the perfect balance of nutrients conducive to maximum brain development and growth in their first year of life, and the next I'm sitting on the bleachers of the demo derby where I see at least a half dozen women trying to balance a stack of five beer cups (with a full one on top) in their baby holdin' arm while their baby tries to grab at the lit cigarette in their other.

Of course the BEST part about being pregnant is that I get to be the sober driver. 

As I was taking this picture right before we left I was thinking, "One... two... three... four... five... six... seven... eight.  Eight heart wrenching calls to loved ones if something goes wrong behind the wheel."  Ah Ah Ah! *laughs like The Count*


Well, technically nine...  

...but I doubt anyone would actually miss Vicki for at least a few weeks.

However, by the time we left the fair and were en route to our next destination, a sweet Wentzville strip mall bar by the way, I was actually praying for a semi to cross the line and let death come quickly and painlessly. 

Someone was rhythmically dropping air bombs every three minutes in the back (Paul) while the rest of the car was screeching like hyenas (Kelly). 

Actually, the screeching wasn't that bad because at a certain point it hit a decibel only audible to certain breeds of canines.

Between the Moms at the fair showing their kids the health benefits of nicotine and the Wentzville bar which apparently offers refuge to every smoker from St. Louis County disgruntled by the recent smoking ban, I'm pretty sure this baby is going to come out asking me for a cigarette between puffs on his inhaler.

But at least I got my sweet maternity pics out of the way.