Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Widening Gyre

Hello, Friends.

And where have we been?


First, we went to Ohio for my Dad's funeral. It was sweet and well attended and it was great to see everyone. Then we came back to the real world of work, which for me is fairly fraught these days. THEN, this morning, Donny had a fever. Of course I feared for the worst. Its odd to be relieved by a diagnosis of pneumonia, but relieved is exactly what I was. I was also shocked that they sent me home with him. No iron lung? No 3 month stay in a bucolic sanatarium? No huge plastic bubble? For having pneumonia, he was a very good boy all day today and we had a good time. Well, as good a time as you can have on a sick day. Mike's staying home with him tomorrow and we are still scheming about Friday.

No more drama for me, really. I can't eat another bite.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Donovan Jack Benford 4/19/1924 - 4/18/2009

What follows is a brief list of personal favorites from my Dad:

* On how he and his best friend would spend their time before each married their respective spouses: "Bill would have a martini, I'd have a Manhattan. We'd take out our cigarette cases, tamp down a cigarette, take out our lighters, light the cigarettes, blow the smoke up into the sky. Not a woman within 20 miles of us..."

* What the commander of his ship in the Navy said to my 17 year old 115 lb. Dad upon seeing him in his Navy dresswhites: "BENFORD! Your ass looks like two squirrel heads tied in a handkerchief!" My Dad would later claim not to remember this story but he was telling it to me while I was still in grade school.

* I found out he could run fast when he squirted me with a garden hose thru the kitchen window and I chased him down the street with a pan of dirty dishwater.

* He actually out manuveured a Jehovah's Witness--his two years in seminary came in handy.

* If you heard my Mom calling him Donovan, most likely he was goosing her as she went up the steps.

* He never, ever ended a phonecall with me without saying "Love you--Miss you."

Love you, Dad. Miss you.

PS: That photo does not do him justice. He actually was a very handsome man.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Typical Day

6:30AM: Husband wakes me up. He's been up since 5 working on an article that's due later today

6:45AM: Husband wakes me up again. This time it works

7AM: Burn first waffle, eat second. Read funnies and skim world headlines.

7:15AM: Go upstairs to wake baby

7:40AM: Pass off awake but sleepy baby to Husband, go take a shower

8AM: Chase child all over house. Catch him and force him into rainslicker

8:20AM: Child wins Battle Of The Rainboots. New rainboots replaced with nasty old muddy boots.

SOMEWHERE IN THERE: Make lunch for child, husband makes breakfast for child.

8:40AM: Drop off child at Waldorf. Parking lot is sea of mud. Kids are in the garden, dragging shovels thru even more mud.

9AM: Husband drops me off at CVS. Successfully negotiate with manager and end up with free photos since they did'nt have them done when they said they would. $18 value!

9:10AM: Dropped off at work. Resist urge to hide in scrub bushes on side of hill.

11AM: Nice meeting with emerti prof who is working on next installment of University history. Give into my love of intellectual wankery by changing discussion to physical landscape of Pittsburgh during WWI. This is a brief lapse and will serve as a warning, most likely for both of us.

1:00PM: Catch bus to offsite storage and, how convenient, lunch with Sheryl at China Buffet.

1:10PM: Vaguely snarky email from boss asking me who's watching the archives if I'm offsite

1:11PM: Vaguely snarky phonecall from me to colleague in archives who forgot she had an appointment when I asked her if I could leave campus.

1:15PM: Lunch with Shirley. Good chat and good bad chinese food.

SOMEWHERE IN THERE: Wrote out tax checks to state and city, mailed said checks, assembled and mailed photos of new kitchen and child to Aunts, mailed special PG insert about slain police officers to cousin in Ohio who was following story, mailed sympathy card and congratulation card (not to same person), answered buttload of emails for work.

2PM-4:45PM: Work at offsite storage: woo hoo.

5:00PM: Jump from Ann Marie's car into 54C.

5:10PM: Kill necessary time at Hallmark store. Think about how much I wish the resale shops in Bloomfield kept the same hours as the Hallmark store.

5:30PM: Go to pick up kid. Kid is happy and covered with mud. Also wearing different clothes--never a good sign.

5:30-6:05PM: Walk to busstop. Very pleasant as child is singing and laughing. Catch bus. Grateful for the gentleman who asked me if my son was my son and who complimented me on "such a handsome child." Thank you very much.

6:10PM: Child comes home and climbs directly into highchair. Cooking schedule ramps up accordingly.

6:15PM: Make child Apple and Swiss cheese omelet. Assemble Ham and Swiss Quiche while child eats.

7PM: Husband comes home. Goddamn quiche still soupy in the middle. Consider suicide.

7:10PM: Decide to eat corner pieces of (square, if you were wondering) quiche. Child has finished eating some time ago and is placed in playpen with bevy of noisemaking toys. Distractionary tactic works surprisingly well.

8:00PM: Call Ohio to check in on family. Dad is doing well despite having a less than stellar day today: no details are given. Mom chides me for leaving significant number of items there when we left. So that's where my iPod is...

8:15PM: Take child into shower with me. All is well until the rinse cycle. Nothing could possibly be worse than the rinse cycle.

8:40PM: Lay down with child 40 minutes later than I was hoping. Read him "The Little Fur Family" and try to get him to sleep. Husband goes downstairs to assemble drawers for Ikea kitchen cabinet.

11Freakin'30PM: Child is finally asleep. Go downstairs where husband is sitting in a little fort of cabinet drawers. He is given honorary title of Best Husband Ever For Dealing With That Shit. I go to make sleek so everyone has lunch tomorrow.

11:45-12:30: Unload dishwasher, load dishwasher, make sleek, see child's filthy raincoat, realize I need to do laundry, put in load of babyclothes, offer to do load of husband clothes for husband who is going to bed.

1:00AM: Realize its been a crazy but typical day and decide to blog about it. Despite high drudge quotient, grateful for lack of drama, presence of good friends, affectionate baby and patient husband.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Easter Miracle

Here's the short version: Wednesday night we got a call from my Dad's pastor who put my cousin Meg on the phone. Meg told us not to hurry but that we should come home. She also said that she told my Dad that, when he got to the other side, her Dad would ask him if he brought his fishing knife.

My Dad is 84 and has been in poor health of one sort or another for the past 10 years. The past 3 years or so has seen him in a cycle of Doing Well-Not Doing Well-Falling or Getting Pneumonia or Some Other Big Thing-Going to the Hospital-Spending a Month or So at a Rest Home for Rehab-Going Back Home-Repeat. In all that time this was the first time Mike and I were ever asked to come home.

We packed fast and left at about 11pm, making it to the rest home by 3am. We stayed with Dad and my Mom until about 6 when we took my Mom home to rest. The next morning my Dad was given last rites. At 4pm that same day he sat up and asked for a glass of milk.

How many Get Out Of Jail Free cards does this man have? I'm not complaining: exactly the opposite! Thankful as I am, however, part of my wanted to clock him for putting us all through this. The nurses, the doctors, his pastor, everyone was completely baffled--again, happy but baffled. His pastor (who I like) said to him, "That's the last time I give you Last Rites!" That's my Dad's kind of humor, if you're wondering.

So the 6 easter baskets I bought to fill with the 3 bags of easter grass and the several bags of candy were sitting right by the door where we left them when we got back to Pittsburgh tonight. We stopped in to see my Dad one more time before we left and he was so much better. So very, very tired but so much better. And while we were glad to be there to help out, I am very glad to be home. I think Donovan is as well--he started smiling and clapping as we came up to the door and he did his little dance all around the kitchen while we unpacked. He was a very very good boy in Elyria. Mike says his great aunts used to refer to he and his sister as her "medicine" and that is exactly what Donny was, especially for my Mom. By the second day we were there, I could say, "Where's Grandma?" and he'd run right to her, which just made her light up.

Here's hoping your Easter was less fraught but just as miraculous. And if you need any candy, let me know.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

It's Cool Because Nick Cave Sings about Flower Shows

Last week when I was taking Donny's lunch into the school building at Waldorf I ran into the mom of one of his classmates. Her son just happens to be a day or two older than Donovan and she asked me what we were doing for Donny's birthday. Seeing as how I'm not a morning person, her question completely caught me off guard and for some reason I thought she was asking in an effort to invite herself to whatever it was we might be doing--how odd is that? I have no idea what I said to her but she said, "Well, this is the last year we can get away with not doing anything for them." I've thought about that alot because that's pretty much what we did: nothing. We will, however, be having a little get together for the grown-ups in his life on the 19th, seeing as how next week is Easter and this week the house is still a shambles.

I was also thinking about next year as Donny and I went on a double playdate (so to speak) with our neighbors Lisa and Isabel. Lisa and I know each other from when we lived on the other end of Melwood. Isabel is 3 and the distance from 2 to 3 is just mindboggling. Not only can she talk but we had conversations! We talked about fruit and colors and flowers and what riding the bus was like. To think that I'll actually be communicating with Donovan like that someday--I know its going to happen but it's crazy to think so.

The four of us went to Phipps conservatory for the spring flowershow. It was really lovely--I now understand the phrase "riot of color" because that's exactly what those flowers were doing. Donny was a really good boy for the whole thing, tho I think it was all a little overwhelming for him. There's a chance I may take him back this coming Wednesday so maybe this trip will loosen him up for going back.

I was really looking forward to taking photos in a setting that was not our house. And while you'd think there'd be alot of photo ops at a flowershow, getting your kid to stand still long enough--not always an option

Friday, April 3, 2009

And Now, A Word from Our Sponsor

On this, the occasion of our son's 2nd birthday, I would like to send a heartfelt thank you to the makers of Enfamil Formula. Enfamil; the formula that changed this baby:

Into this baby:

We are very grateful.