Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I turn 30 this week. I had planned all along to take the day off and do some pampering. Now that means more than it did before, and I am really looking forward to it.
On the agenda:
- Great Harvest Bread Company - breakfast
- Coffeeshop (which one? what to get? I haven't indulged at a coffeeshop in ages, which tells you a lot about what I consider an indulgence, as well as my cheap, nay,  thrifty ways) - plan on reading a bit, either The Happiness Project or The Leftovers, both newly purchased on my Kindle Fire.
- 1 hour prenatal massage
- Mani/Pedi (definitely getting the pedi... I'm on the fence regarding the mani) - hello massaging chairs!
- Lunch out? Kind of lame but I don't have anyone in AA to get lunch with. Perhaps I'll grab a quick light lunch before my massage somewhere.
- Haircut? To say I need one is probably the understatement of my month. Situation is out of control. I look... homeless. Not in an "uprooted by tornado" way, but in a toothless, down-on-your-luck way. Or like someone on Intervention, which might be worse. (OK, that was mean. I truly do have empathy for people on Intervention.)  The place I go to is an Aveda Institute, so it's cheap (there we go again with the cheap) and you leave smelling Aveda-y (heaven) and they have a no-tipping policy!
- Shopping? Is this going overboard? I want to buy something nice for myself, but I don't know what. Bizarre problem to have, right? Nick is desperate to buy me something nice as well, but I have zero ideas, and he knows darned too well that if he comes home with a mall jewelry store purchase, that he made the wrong move. {Shudder!} I want something classy, but practical. Expensive, but not chain-y. I adore Etsy stuff, but there's just so damn much on that site, that it would take me 11 years to find something nice and pretty and not cheap. (Finding cute cheap stuff on Etsy? Easy peasy! And fun to boot! But I want something nice.)
- Dinner? Not sure what dinner will entail just yet. At some point, my day of luxury will come to an end and things like "picking up the daughter from daycare" and "taking the dog out to pee" and "making the daughter's lunch for school tomorrow" will creep onto my schedule and I will be brought back to reality. And really, after spending a luxurious (to me) day doing the things above will be lovely, oh so lovely, but eventually I'll want to hang out with Nick and Claire. Maybe we'll go somewhere low-key (mom-speak for "if my 2 year old throws a tantrum, we won't be given the evil side eye and/or be thrown out and/or slightly bicker about who's doing what about said tantrum or who's not doing what about said tantrum) and I'll order dessert first and maybe not even order dinner, which is my idea of heaven. Wait, no, my idea of heaven would be to also have a drink, of the tipsy-inducing variety, but lo, I don't think society, my fetus, or my doctor would approve. So iced tea (of the non-Long-Island variety) will have to suffice. It's a good problem to have, though. ;)
Hmmm. What am I missing?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lately - 3/26

This morning, my heart dropped when I took Claire into the bagel shop with me, and she commented "Oooh, windyyy," with a hint of concern in her sweet little two-year-old voice. Of course I immediately wondered if she's was remembering the 130 mph winds that tore through our house. Well, really, she'd only remember the part where we were huddled in the corner as the winds blew by the walk-out basement windows, as neither she nor I actually knew they were tearing through our house and roof as well. Or if she was just being a two-year-old who parrots everything she sees and experiences with her ever-growing vocabulary. I don't remember her ever saying "windy" before although in the past I never would have thought twice about the word. Now, I hear the ever-so-slight howl of the cool March wind outside my window while I'm trying to sleep, and must immediately shut them as the sound sends shivers down my back. I don't need an auditory reminder, I have plenty of other reminders, thankyouverymuch. How I ended up on the side of the bed that's closer to the window was probably not intentional, but I might as well be there. Maybe it wasn't just dumb luck that we got out of harm's way just in the nick of time that night, maybe I am some sort of good luck charm. OK no, that's just crazy talking.
Someone from my neighborhood set up a Facebook page for us to join and talk about things. Whether it's contractors, insurance companies, donations, 'our feelings', or reaching out to one another, I'm really glad I found the group. Someone posted about being apprehensive about going back to work (check!), about their heart hurting for their children (CHECK!), about feeling like "the rest of the world" doesn't "get it". I don't mean that in a global sense, obviously, but in an inner-circle sense. Someone said (and I paraphrase): "It bugs me to log on to Facebook and see that people are just going about their lives when I am sitting here dealing with this crap." (Check!) Reading that and all of the other posts has at the very least validated my feelings thus far in this ridiculous experience. Yes, I know, no one got hurt and it's just possessions and material things that were lost. For that, I am beyond grateful. I could sit here sobbing all day with gratitude. Literally. You have no idea. But the fact that no one was physically hurt doesn't take away from the emotional toll this has taken on me. And I say that only as someone who was in their house, within 20 feet of the tornado and witnessed it with my very own eyes as my daughter and my dog lay beneath me. The weight of that experience isn't something that goes away just because we're safe and sound and because several days have passed. Honestly, the stress of dealing with re-building our house and re-buying our material things is only superficial stress, and sometimes I choose to focus on that stress instead of the underlying stress of feeling like I cheated death because that's all my body and mind can handle at the moment... the superficial stress. It sounds dramatic, but I really think there are only a few people in my neighborhood who understand it. I think the tornado only hit about a dozen or two houses (but damaged over 100?), so it's just a small group of us who actually have these feelings of "holy shit, that was fucking terrifying and how am I still alive?"
Well, I didn't realize I had so much to say this morning. I'm finding it hard to focus on my work this morning. It all started with just a sweet little voice. "Oooh, windyyy."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

You Know You Are... When...

You know you are a mom when...
... you long to go to Target by yourself because then you can actually browse in whatever section you desire for as long as you wish... this sounds like a luxury to me.
You know you are not yourself when...
... your husband buys you (unprompted!) a candy bar while at the grocery store, on two separate occasions, yet the both remain uneaten for over a week. This is not me.
You know you are a desk monkey when...
... you spend several days outside all day (dealing with tornado-related-crap) and you find yourself EXHAUSTED at 5:00 p.m. from all of that fresh air and sunshine (oh pity me!), only to return to work and sit at a desk staring at a computer for 8 hours and find that the stale office air actually makes you less tired than fresh air and sunshine and even perchance a little more awake and aware. Weird how that works. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I Continue To Be Alive!

While I was sitting in my driveway, with a blank look on my face, a couple of older adults with Salvation Army aprons on approached me cautiously, asked if I was the homeowner. I acknowledged that I was, and they handed me a single page with a graph on it about the stages of emotions I'll be going through. They explained I was 'here' on the graph, climbing toward a peak, (as the y-axis grows, as do they 'happy feelings'), and that at the top of the peak is the 'grateful' feeling, but that I would soon plummet down toward a horrible valley of anger and desperation. Well, it sounds really dramatic, but I'm pretty sure I'm still in the "well, I'm alive!" category of gratefulness.

Here are some more pictures of my house. I don't know why my house was one of the ones that was focused on, I guess it was on CNN, Weather.com, several Michigan newspapers front pages, Univision (some Spanish station/network? my cousin told me...), etc. I think because the front face of the house is brick and the brick is untouched, it makes the house look stoic or something. The fact that the front is untouched does not reflect what it's like inside.

On my street, we're the 3rd house in, on the right side of the street. On the left side of the street, houses # 1, 2, and 3 are completely demolished. House #1 was leveled by the tornado, House #2 is the same floor plan as our (except not brick) and basically the entire top level of the house was blown off/away, and House #3 (directly across the street from us) is demolished as well.

On my side of the street, House #1, #2, and #3 (us), and #4 are all uninhabitable, will take 4-6 months to gut and rebuild from the inside and outside. But our houses will not be demolished, they will be restored. I'm not sure what's the better scenario, but that's our deal.

So here are some pictures of the house. This is mostly for shock factor, I admit. But it's unbelievable! I'm still slightly in denial!

My bedroom. OK, I won't lie, it didn't look much nicer than this before the tornado... :P
See that bookshelf? That's where my engagement ring was sitting. It was still sitting there when we went up there for the first time. Can you believe that?? The roof was torn off but my ring didn't get picked up. Bizarre.

Our family room

The kitchen eating area. You an see the debris all over the backyard.

Our backyard. The lower level windows on the right... I was sitting about 5 feet from the windows on a couch that faced the windows and about 10 seconds before the tornado came through I ran from the couch to the corner of the basement, then the tornado hit our house and the windows exploded inwards and the railing of those stairs went through the window. You can see the railing still there sticking out of the window on a diagonal.

This is the view from the basement window.

This is our garage. My car was in the garage, the garage door was down when the tornado hit, but was wrapped around the car in the aftermath.

Another shot of the basement, right where I was sitting before it hit. I honestly didn't know what was about to hit.

All boarded up.

I feel a little weird posting pictures of my neighbor's destroyed house. This is the "House #2" across the street from us. They have the same floor plan as us, their entire 2nd floor was blown off. They were out of town when this happened, so thankfully they didn't have to endure the actual tornado. They have a 2 year old as well.

This is House #1 across the street from us. The entire house was leveled by the tornado, so this is post debris-cleanup. I don't know the story behind why this toilet is the only thing left standing? There was an 87 year old man who lived here, his care-taker got him to the basement in time and he walked out of the walk-out basement without a scratch.

Our deck, post debris-cleanup.

Our family room

Family room

Bedroom, this must be after it was boarded up. But before it was cleaned up, obviously!

This one makes me sad. :(  My 2 year old's room. Obviously you can't see much here, it was just really sad to see it.

Across the street neighbor's (House #2) bathtub, with our house in the background. Here you can see the garage wrapped around the car.
OK, almost done with the pics. 

This it the deck chair from across the street House #2, which went through our front window. Nucking futs!

Friday, March 16, 2012


Why do I feel the need to blog less than 5 hours after a tornado blew through my house? I don't know. The sirens were going off when I picked up Claire from school, the kids were in the tiny bathroom with the teachers but I decided to go home anyway, living just 1 mile from her daycare.

We went to the basement almost immediately, and I honestly thought it was no big deal. We hung out on the couch right in front of the three windows of our walk-out basement. Claire, who just turned 2 last week, found her bouncy seat which had been retired to the basement, and was laying in it, strapped in. She was just chilling.

All of a sudden, it started blowing something freakish. This is the moment of divinity in which I immediately picked her up in the bouncy seat and ran to the corner of the basement. Granted, in hindsight, I should have moved to another section of the basement, but about 5-10 seconds after we got there, the windows just exploded in and the tornado was passing over my house. I briefly looked over to the window, saw the windows exploding in to the house, saw the scene of Wizard of Oz right before my very fucking eyes. Just gusts and gusts of brown and yellow light and wind and ugliness and neighbors play structures and my deck and god knows what else blowing by those windows. Kind of wish I didn't have a walk-out basement but glad as hell that I had a basement to begin with, and that I was down there.

Just two years ago, right after Claire was born, we got a TON of tornado sirens. Being a new mom, I insisted we all head down there, but on the 3rd or 4th 'false alarm' in a couple of weeks, we started to get jaded by the sirens. I am so, so thankful that I wasn't jaded enough to not be in the basement. I am so, so thankful for the divine message to move to the corner that very second.

I keep playing the What If game and I know it's not healthy. "What if I would have stayed at daycare in that tiny bathroom?" "What if I wouldn't have been in the basement?" "What if I hadn't moved from right in front of the window when I did?"  I can't keep doing that. I didn't stay at daycare. I did go to the basement. I did move to the corner. We escaped without a scratch. My dog is OK. My daughter couldn't have been better. I don't think she saw much, I threw my body over her and I think she was just nervous that I was so scared and crying.

My house? Who knows. Here are some pictures. I was escorted out by firefighters who told me not to go back in the house because it was creaky and they said it was unsafe to be in there. It appears it's not supported on one side where the side of the garage was torn off. That's what insurance is for. All I care about at the moment is that I got to sing ABCs and Jingle Bells and Rock-a-Bye-Baby to my 2 year old while in my parent's car en route to their house. I'm glad that I got to distract her from my distress by showing her the cool firetrucks and by letting her drink Gatorade and hugging her and holding her hand as she fell asleep and that we are 100% healthy. How am I so lucky? To whom do I owe my life - literally - my life. And my daughter's life? And my 14 week old fetus-baby's life? My husband was out of town, on his way up to what was supposed to be a fun weekend of college football watching and beer drinking. Is it funny that while I was sitting in the basement of my torn up house, terrified to move until the hail stopped and until the firefighters broke down my front door (because I wasn't answering the door - uhhh, no, I was crouched in the corner of the basement still, over 2 hours after the tornado hit. I wasn't moving until the firefighter escorted me.)  Anyway, while I was sitting there, thanking Grandpa Ron and Grandma Betty (two of my grandparents who passed away in January and February respectively) for helping to save my life, I felt bad for my husband that he had to come home from his fun weekend. Silly! Of course he's on his way back, but I was like "Awww MAN. Nick was really really looking forward to that."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Goals Revisited

So, I think I was supposed to do something like run 150 miles, eat dessert only 3x in the quarter, and cook vegetarian 3x per week. Going off memory but I'm pretty sure those were the three goals.

I got off to a strong start. I was running a ton, I think I got up to 50 miles logged in the first few weeks. I was feeling great. Then, I took a pregnancy test. Then pregnancy fatigue set it. I won't lie. Those first few weeks, I still worked out and was running at the gym, all smug-like, like "look at me, I'm a pregger running, lame are those who laze about on the couch" and then, two weeks later, foot: meet mouth. I mean, foot, meet head.

When it comes down to it, I blame pregnancy on my failing all three of these goals. I had no energy or mental wherewithal to withstand working out, cooking in general, and who am I kidding. The dessert goal? Was never going to happen, pregnancy or no pregnancy. Why I put that one in there is beyond me. Depriving myself of dessert is just... cruel. Plain and simple.

So, as I sadly wrap up this quarter with a big 0-for-3 record, I guess it's time to (1)  make some minor, baby steps towards healthier living, now that I am feeling better-ish, and (2) start writing my Q2 goals. Yes, even though I had a big fat F on the first go-around, I will still make goals. I think this upcoming quarter it will be about working out (that one's gotta stay - a healthy body makes for a healthy mind) and tidying up my house. Let's just say that my Spring Cleaning 2011 list still has about 90% of the items on it (yes, last year's list) and the list has only grown, so it's time to put on the rubber gloves and get to it. A clean house makes for a happy housewife working mama. (Part-time housewife.)

Ta ta for now.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Two Years Ago Today

My daughter is two today. To say "I love her so much" is the understatement of the year. One of the things that has surprised me the most about parenthood is how the love grows exponentially with time. I'm sure this will taper off at some point, it's not like a 60 year old is just obsessed with their 35 year old child the way a 29 year old is obsessed with her 2 year old daughter. When I was preparing to become a parent, I tried to envision myself as the type of mother who, upon seeing her child for the first time, starts weeping uncontrollably. I just couldn't picture that happening. And it didn't. That's not to say I didn't love her right away, but that's what I mean when I say my love for her has grown exponentially with time.

Two years ago today, at this very hour, I was in the middle of my labor. I had been admitted to the hospital a few hours earlier at 4 cm. Little did I know then that I would only progress 1 cm over the next 8 hours. Typing that out makes me cringe, but in the early part of labor, I was blissfully unaware of my immediate future. A future that involved 8 hours of little progression! But eventually, my body kicked it into gear naturally, just the way I wanted it to, and I became a mom. Typing it out doesn't really give gravity to the importance of this event, but I won't even try to pepper it with words that can't do it justice. I didn't cry like a baby when I first became a mom, but I sure as hell could cry at the drop of a hat reflecting on the last two years of my life with Claire, and Nick.

And to think I get to do it all over again.
Lucky, lucky, lucky.