Sleep. Sweet, sweet sleep.
With a baby who has been up to nurse multiple times a night for the past 360 nights I could sleep for days. Anna woke up for, I don’t know – the sixth time maybe, to nurse sometime just after the sun came up this morning. Mercifully, she nursed peacefully and then we drifted off back to sleep together with me curled around her tiny milk comatose little body. Sometime after that, the boys woke up and played quietly together – for once, deciding not to wake their parents. Lovely, really, except this is a weekday where we all have to go to work or school and the children are supposed to be our alarm clock. Jeff, and Anna, and I were sleeping ever so soundly when Jeff woke up, looked at the clock, and said in a panicked voice, “It’s 7:50!” We raced through our morning routine in fifteen minutes. As I drove Thomas to school, hitting every red light along the way, I reassured Thomas that it wasn’t his fault that we were running late. “Whose fault is it?” he wanted to know. Of course he would ask that – so I blamed the baby. I mean really, it is her fault I am so exhausted I could sleep forever. We arrived at school three minutes before the bell rang and after politely shoving Thomas out of the car I flew back down the hillside. I had a carefully scheduled doctor’s appointment on the other end of Pasadena this morning…carefully sandwiched between the time I needed to drop Thomas off and the time I had to leave for work to make it in to prepare for a 10:30 am meeting. At the Doctor’s office they asked for a copy of my insurance card and I a realized with a sinking feeling that I had left my wallet at home. So much for careful timing. The doctor was, miraculously, running on 15 minutes behind schedule (pretty much on time in my experience of the medical profession) and I got in and out quickly. I murmured words of thanks to Happy Fun Bag (specifically the emergency $20 tucked inside of it) so that my forgetful wallet-less self could pay for parking. Then I had to go back home across Pasadena; I have to have my wallet at work – it is a rule that we must have to have two forms of ID on us.
I raced home only to find myself being pulled over at what looked like a police checkpoint. It seemed an odd time of day for a drunk driving checkpoint and I waited behind another car as a man in an orange uniform and a police officer talked with the car in front of me. I felt the minutes oozing by, growing more worried about my potential lateness and wondering if the officer was going to ask for my license – which was in my wallet! Orange uniform guy approached the car and asked if I cared about the environment. Well yes I do…where was this going? He explained that they were running an emissions checkpoint and that it would “only” take 10 – 20 minutes for me to participate. I looked at him and said, that I couldn’t do it today. He should have taken one look at the three car seats in the back of my car and realized his was a lost cause with me. I find it hard to believe that any parent of three children would sit there for 20 minutes; if I’ve got 20 minutes to spare I am going either take a nap or get shit done. Also, for goodness sake I drive a Prius. I am pretty sure I don’t have an emissions problem. Orange uniform man persisted, telling me that if I cared about the environment I would spare a few minutes. Then I got angry (I am really not the person to give a lecture on environmentalism to), said no, and got out of there. I continued home, acquired my wallet (but forgot my lunch). I drove as fast as I could to work through heavy traffic and arrived seven minutes before my meeting – which my visitor had, of course, already arrived at. I felt a bit like an unprofessional fool walking in later than the visitor I was to meet with. Sigh.
Later today I initiated a process which is going to result in some unpleasantness, how much I do not know, but potentially life-changing levels of unpleasantness. I cannot and will not write about the details here in public, however, I write, in part, because it is cathartic to me so it will be difficult to write honestly without mentioning it at all. For the sake of conversation I shall simply refer to it as “The Unpleasantness”. I will tell you that The Unpleasantness has nothing to do with my marriage or my children – we are all happy together. The Unpleasantness feels to me rather like waiting for an hurricane; you don’t know if you’re just going to get some heavy rain that will clear and then all will be well again or perhaps your house will flood, the wind will rip the roof off , and a tree will crush your car.
Then at the end of this long day, there is the horrific traffic to contend with. Los Angeles Metro decided to convert the carpool lanes along the freeway I must take to work (the 110) into paid, “express” lanes. The lanes opened last week and charge a variable toll from $1 to nearly $15 depending on traffic. Those with two or more persons in their vehicle can still use the lanes for free but everyone who wishes to use them must purchase a $40 transponder as well as set up deposit on their credit card and pay a monthly “maintenance fee”. Most people don’t want to jump through all of these rather expensive hoops so the result for the past two weeks is that nearly everyone who formerly used the carpool lane are now in the general traffic lanes. It’s been taking me. two hours to go the 27 miles home. It makes me get weepy just thinking about the sheer waste of time and energy. I have ordered a transponder and will pay the toll to save the time but the idea of spending more on tolls than I do on gas brings on another round of sadness for me; it feels that we continue to lose ground financially no matter how frugal we are.
I called Jeff on my long drive home to warn him of my late arrival and to check in on Theodore who Jeff had taken to the doctor that afternoon to follow up on Theo’s ear infection. The doctor was concerned about the length of Theo’s recent illness – he’s been sick at some level for weeks and was particularly troubled by the congestion in his chest leading to pneumonia. If he is developing pneumonia it would be his fourth round of it in his three and half years. She suggested that we go see a pediatric pulmonologist and get a lung function test. Then after listening to Theodore’s heart she heard a possible murmur – he has a recheck in a couple of weeks as his labored breathing may have given the sound of a heart murmur when there is none. As if that wasn’t enough Theodore hasn’t really gained any weight in months and months. He grows taller, but noticeably thinner. He’s so robust and rambunctious in so many ways and yet my adventurous boy, born three weeks early, has a hard time recovering every time he gets sick. He throws up every single time he gets sick regardless of what germ it is; his colds hang onto him for months, and he looks near skeletal these days. I worry about my sweet boy.
We’ve got a crazy busy, but happy week ahead, with two birthdays and Thanksgiving. I am going to try my best to put my forgetfulness, The Unpleasantness, the traffic, and my worries about Theodore in a box and not deal with them unless I have to. That and eat chocolate every day. That helps too.