Archive for December, 2007

Epiphany.

I have just realized why I have been so awfully unmotivated at work lately. Have you ever had friends or family come to town during a week when you have to work? And you go to work dutifully, but the whole time you’re there, you’d much rather be with your visitors?

I feel like these two little people in my uterus are so much more interesting than my office right now. I spend each day wishing I were hanging out with them instead of drafting contracts or setting up pension plans. It’s as if I’m somehow being rude or neglectful by not spending time with them. Which is silly, since, y’know, I’m actually spending every minute of every day with them – a fact of which they remind me frequently by jabbing their little toes into my ribs and punching me in the bladder.

I’m sure I’ll feel even better when I have to go back to work after they’re born. Yippee.

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I am appreciated.

I’m not the most technically adept person in the world. I got a D in my 7th grade Drafting class when my toothpick-and-marshmallow bridge failed to meet federal and municipal building codes by collapsing in a sticky, pointy heap on the teacher’s desk. I was so depressed, I didn’t even eat the marshmallows afterward. So I was perhaps inordinately proud of myself when, this past Sunday, I successfully assembled our new double stroller, which involved screwdrivers, wrenches, instructions written by engineers, and bits labeled “Bar A2” and “Hole 7”.

After fitting everything together and gently applying pressure to see if the result would implode or shatter, I snapped in our hand-me-down carseats (thank you, Annika and Diane!). I called Husband in to applaud my handiwork, then parked the stroller behind the couch and went to bed.

I found this when I came downstairs the next morning.

Gawain in stroller

I’m so glad someone values my work.

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In which I am, once again, less helpful than I’d like to be.

While walking home from the movie theatre yesterday evening, I saw a crowd of people gathered in a parking lot next to the Ross Dress For Less store. A young woman was sitting next to a stroller, her back against the building, clutching her chest. Never one to mind my own business, I immediately went over and inquired whether she needed help. “Yes,” she was tearful and hyperventilating. “My chest, I have a pain.”

“Chest” and “Pain” are two words that should never be dismissed when they occur in a sentence together. “Has anyone called an ambulance?” I asked the man standing nearest. He shook his head, so I pulled out my cell phone and dialed 911. I didn’t have a watch on, but I checked the woman’s pulse as I talked to the dispatcher; her heart was beating fast, but not out of control. She was able to talk, though not easily, and I wasn’t too worried. It looked like a panic attack to me, which is something that can make you feel like you’re dying, but won’t actually kill you. I stopped people from trying to give her water (never give someone having a medical emergency anything to eat or drink), patted her hand and stroked her back, and encouraged her to try to calm her breathing. The ambulance got there quickly, and the EMTs took her blood pressure, which was perfectly normal. She was worried about her baby, and asked me to call her husband.

“Hello,” I began when he answered the phone. “I’m with your wife, she’s having chest pain and the paramedics are here. She’s going to the hospital.”

“No English; Español,” he replied, sounding concerned. Over the course of my academic career I have studied French, Russian, and Hindi, with a little Yiddish and Italian on the side. God forbid though that I should learn the first language of 35% of people living in my state and more than 10% of people nationwide. Fortunately, a Latina woman was standing by with her young teenage daughter. I handed the phone to her and asked her to explain what was happening to the husband. Her daughter translated my request, and after a brief conversation, the woman hung up and handed the phone back to me.

“Her husband’s coming for the baby,” the daughter said.

“Coming here?”

“Yes.”

I had asked the medics several times which hospital they were going to, and each time they told me in irritated tones, “we’ll let you know when we decide.” But now they were wheeling the patient away, and leaving her baby with Husband, me, the Latina woman and her daughter. What if the Spanish speakers left? What if the husband didn’t show up? I ran over to the ambulance. “I need to know where you’re taking her so I can tell her husband when he gets here to pick up the baby!”

The medic looked confused. “Aren’t you family?”

“No!”

“Well, then we can’t leave the baby with you!” He seemed a little annoyed, as if he had caught me lying to him.

“I don’t want the baby!” I reassured him, “Please, take the baby!”

“The hospital will call her husband,” the medic said, as he wheeled the stroller back to the ambulance, muttering something about how I had “come off as being family.” (Where he’d gotten that idea I’m sure I don’t know.) Relieved that I wasn’t being left with a stranger’s child, I gathered my things and walked home with Husband. The Latina woman and her daughter went on their way as well. None of us remembered that the husband was coming here to get the baby.

Ten minutes later, my phone rang. The husband, of course, and now I was back home with no fluent Spanish speaker to help me.

Su esposa es en el hospital,” I hastily dredged the recesses of my brain for some Spanish words, using “ser” instead of “estar” and otherwise phrasing things all wrong. “el hospital . . . te llama.” Your wife is in hospital; the hospital calls to you.

¿Pero, dónde está el bebé?

el bebé es . . . con su madre.” The baby is with her mother.

Realizing he wasn’t going to get much else out of me, he thanked me and hung up.

I am adding to my New Year’s Resolutions forthwith: STUDY SPANISH ALREADY, DUMBASS.

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Trying to be a better blogger.

My children are so considerate. They know I have not had babies before, and that I need to practice so I’ll be ready when they get here. Therefore, they are kindly waking me up 4-5 times each night to pee, and also ensuring that I wake up every time I roll over (another 4-5 times each night) because it hurts so much to do so.

So aside from being completely exhausted, all is well. Go read this. It made me laugh even though lack of sleep has all but killed my sense of humor.

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