Hi, I'm Old and Feeble

It has been precisely one year since a trained professional told me that I was getting old and feeble.

It all started because I am, and have always been, an ungrateful little soul. Last year for Christmas, Grandma purchased two really, really frilly dresses for Alexis. The concept is one that I still don't understand. She is but one child, Christmas is but one day, and yet there were two dresses. Remember how cheap I am? I don't see the point in spending lots of money on a dress that a kid will wear for no more than half a day. In my mind, if the kid isn't going to wear an item at least twenty times, it's not worth buying, regardless of the price. But it was Grandma's money, so I decided that we would make her wear one of the dresses, and the other would get returned.

Keep in mind that at 11 months, Alexis was not yet walking. I do believe that frilly dresses with no waists are the sworn enemy of crawling girls everywhere. For the brief time that Alexis wore the dress, she continually would try to crawl and would end up with her knees caught in the dress and thereby slam face-down onto the floor. After the twentieth time I saw her do it, I said the heck with appeasing Grandma and saved her from the evil frills. (Remember that Alexis--when bodily harm is involved, I do go to bat for you.)

The day after Christmas, we headed off to the mall with frilly dress and gift receipt in hand. More importantly, we had coffee in hand. If parenthood has taught me anything, it's the value of a $4 cup of caffeine. Anyway, we parked outside of the Sporting Goods store and made our way into the mall. (BTW, Mr. Husband was carrying Alexis.)

That is when it happened. The curb leaped up from the ground and attacked me.

I landed face first on the pavement.

Always one to try to pretend nothing has happened, I rushed into the store, still grasping EVERY SINGLE DROP of my precious $4 coffee (I find that detail to be very, very important). Assessing the damage, I found that I had ripped a brand new pair of jeans, tore a gash in my knee, and my left foot was really quite unhappy. I must have been quite a spectacle because all the parking lot witnesses stopped to inquire about my status. I told each and every one of them, "I didn't even spill a drop of my coffee!"

Yes, I do know what's important in life.

We continued on our way and managed to exchange the evil frills for some very sensible Alexis-sized jeans and t-shirts. My brain wanted to do more shopping, but my foot insisted that it was time to skedaddle. I spent the rest of the day not Christmas clearance shopping like I am supposed to, but rather sitting on the couch icing my very unhappy foot. Those of you that know me can probably suspect just how bad it had to be. I NEVER miss Christmas clearance shopping (just as an example, we stopped at 3 Targets just on the drive back from Indy this year).

For the record, I have a kick butt tolerance for pain. Really, kick butt. Not taking that into account, I decided that since I was able to wiggle my toes, the foot wasn't broken. I figured I had probably just strained some ligaments and that it would be fine in a few days.

We returned to Pittsburgh, a few days passed, and I found that the foot hurt just enough for me to think maybe, just maybe, I should go to the doctor. When I found myself sitting in an empty training room no more than forty feet from an Emergency Room with no indication that people would be attending class, I decided it would be ridiculous to not take a trip down. In my head, they would take a quick x-ray and I would head for home, feeling like an idiot for wasting a co-pay.

By now I'm sure you know where this is going. Of course the foot was broken. I spent the next four hours doing lots of impatiently sitting around and grumpily waiting and a little bit of sitting nicely while a Resident put a cast on my foot. As he was wrapping it, he made me feel absolutely fabulous by telling me that as we get older, our bodies start to become more feeble and that's why a little thing like slipping off a six-inch curb can result in a break. He was two years younger than me. If he hadn't already lost all credibility with that fact alone, he then went on to tell me that I would have to keep all weight off of the foot and use crutches until I was able to get in to see the specialist AFTER New Years (5 long days).

Hello?!?! 11-months old don't suddenly become self-sufficient just because Mommy is old and feeble.

Needless to say, I did a crap job of staying off the foot, but it healed fine all the same.

Last week when we were in Indy, we made a trip to the scene of the crime. Daddy parked on the opposite side of the mall knowing that the curb outside the Sporting Goods store has it out for me, then proceeded to hold my elbow as we walked in. Just like he would for a feeble, old lady.


There's a Dutch Oven in My Living Room

Since I'm not really interested in ever seeing my living room floor again, I took Alexis to the store to spend some of her Christmas cash and gift cards. There were a few things on her list that she didn't get, so we hunted up and down the aisles looking for just the right thing. We found it. AND we found it on clearance for over 50% off. While I was pretty sure that was a sign that it was meant to be, Alexis and I had a heated discussion where she tried to convince me that she "needed" (her word choice, not mine) a doll. The child received no less than four new dolls for Christmas, so I'm thinking the word "need" might have been a bit of an exaggeration. Then she tried to convince me that she "needed" the Dora tent. I have decided that we have donated enough money to Dora's college fund, so I declared myself the boss and we headed home with a little tent shaped like a house.

Assembling the house quickly turned into a sitcom. I forgot for a moment that I'm not a man and thought I would just assemble the fourteen eleventy seven pieces without reading the instructions. Once I came to my senses, it started to go together pretty easily. That is, until Alexis started wanting to stand in it. It's not very easy to slide tent-like material over a frame when there's a Toddler standing on most of the pieces. And it's even more difficult when you have to drop everything and go ask why in the heck your Toddler knows the words "pitching a tent." Daddy claims Rachel taught it to her and he was able to cite the exact episode, so I'm letting it slide. For now.

Once I finished assembling the first half, Alexis commenced moving every single thing she owns into her freshly pitched tent. (Don't tell her, but that's pretty much what I was hoping for when I let her buy it. I see the tent as one giant toy box, capable of holding furniture and dolls and Toddlers and keeping them out of my sight. I'll let you know how that works out for me.) Of course, as soon as I wasn't looking, she re-entered the Naked Toddler Zone. While her stove top will never be the same, it was a short lived trip into nudity because the poor kid is suffering from some nasty diarrhea. While it has been accompanied by many sound effects all evening, I wasn't willing to bet the living room floor on her Early Warning System.

Once the whole thing was put together, Alexis acted as if she had died and gone to heaven. She sat inside her little house, rocking in her chair, cooking her Bear some dinner, and sweeping the floor. Just as I was starting to get worried that I might have to let her sleep in it, her Early Warning System went off. I guess her bottom really doesn't smell like roses because she flew out of that house so fast you would think Dora herself was standing in our dining room. I quickly closed the door and windows. That odor is best left locked inside the little house, at least until I can send in some fumigators.

On her way out of the house, Alexis could be heard proclaiming, "Yuck! Stinky!" Amen, kid. Amen.


It's Going Home that Hurts

We arrived back in Pittsburgh about an hour ago and already the pain is unbearable. Alexis collected so much candy over the past few days that my teeth hurt just looking at it. My brain is stressed from the thoughts of figuring out what to do with the Chinese toy factory vomit in the living room. My hands are all cut up from the wires and ties that held all the toys in their package so firmly that I'm pretty sure the CIA uses the exact same technology to protect the nation's biggest secrets. But it's the knowledge that I'll be sleeping in my own bed tonight that hurts the most.

You read that right. I miss my bed at the hotel.

When we go to Indianapolis to visit family, we usually stay at a hotel. It turns out that it's way easier to have fun with your family when you have the option to leave at the end of the night, plus Mom's Inn is pretty crowded these days. An additional two adults, Toddler, and two dogs just might be enough for the Health Department to launch an investigation. This time we stayed at my preferred hotel, a Residence Inn. I like it because it's nice to have a full kitchen available just in case I get the sudden urge to cook a seven course meal. Plus, the rooms are a lot bigger.

When we got to our room, we noticed a bit of a problem. Instead of the usual King or Queen-sized bed, there was a full bed. I thought about going back to the front desk and asking for a different room, but we were located at the very end of the hall right next to the door. When you have two dogs that turn into complete idiots anytime they are in a public location, that is pretty much the ideal location to get. So we figured we would just fold out the couch and let Alexis sleep by herself in a hide-a-bed for her first time. With any luck, one or two dogs might join her.

Mr. Husband folded out the bed and I threw the bedding on it whilst Alexis slept soundly on the other bed. Did you ever notice that fold-out-couches look an awful lot like Toddler-sized mouse traps? Me neither, at least not until I thought about moving her over. All I could see where ways that she could get herself stuck in the sides, fall under the mattress, or manage to fold herself into the thing. So I made the executive decision to leave her where she was.

Right smack on Daddy's side of the bed. There was room for me to get in on my assigned side (assigned by my husband, not me--I couldn't care less which side I sleep on but he has a heart attack about it), but no room for him. So guess who slept on the hide-a-bed? Oh, but a beautiful thing happened--not only did Daddy sleep on it, so did the dogs. I haven't been able to sprawl out on the bed like that since the days when I travelled for work and stayed in hotels all the time. Sure, I had to share with the Toddler, but she's like sleeping with a soft little stuffed Teddy Bear as compared to my husband, a big ol' Grizzly Bear. Once you add in the dogs, I'm usually confined to a four-inch wide space on the very edge of the bed. I have literally awoke to find myself with one foot on the ground and my head propped on the nightstand while everybody else had plenty of space.

The arrangement to have the dogs and Daddy sleep on the hide-a-bed worked out so well that we stuck to it for the remainder of our stay. But now we're home. The Toddler is tucked away in her crib, probably happily dreaming of her Chinese toy factory vomit. I have to return to sharing my bed with two rude dogs and a bed-hog of a husband.

I wonder if there's a room available at the Hilton.