The Nesting Bug Strikes with a Vengeance

When I was pregnant with Alex, I started nesting at around the seven-month mark.  I didn’t really get into rearranging the furniture and organizing our apartment until a couple of weeks before she was born, because it took me that long to leave my job and I ended up with nothing to do all day but watch “Law and Order: SVU” and move boxes around in closets.

The nesting for this pregnancy, however, started last month (when I was three months pregnant), and has been continuing with a vengeance ever since.  In January, I completely rearranged everything in the closet in our bedroom and reorganized the stuff in the buffets in our dining room.  When I found out last week that we’re having a boy, I went through all of the boxes in Pookah’s closet and sorted out the girly stuff from the gender-neutral; we took an SUV-load of items to Goodwill last weekend.

Last night, I decided to get on with another nesting project: to make space in Pookah’s room for the crib, rocking chair, etc., and to move most of Alex’s toys to a corner in the living room.

My husband is going to be shocked — shocked, I say! — when he gets home to night.  One-half of our living room looks nothing like it did this morning.  Neither does Alex’s room.  Actually, there’s some furniture I moved around in our bedroom, too, and I also did some reorganizing in the coat closet, so…

I’m sure it sounds like I’ve probably gotten a lot of stuff done well in advance of Kid #2’s arrival, but that isn’t true.  I still have lamps to buy.  I want to donate our two old sofas to any person willing to take them so I can buy a new sofa, one that isn’t so worn out the support bars in the back and arms don’t dig into me.  If I could figure out some way get all of my baking supplies organized in my kitchen the way I want, I would totally do it (that’s never going to happen, though, because our kitchen isn’t configured to have lovely big drawers that can hold containers of flour and sugar).  I also have photos I want to get up on the walls…although I have so many photos I want to hang, I’ll probably just put this project off again, as I’ve been doing for months.

I’m fairly OCD when it comes to organizing and cleaning my house, but nesting has made this so much worse.  I think about rearranging furniture ALL.  THE.  TIME.  Hurry up and get here, Kid #2, so I can think about you instead of talking myself out of buying one of those awesome rugs with a race track on it they sell at IKEA.

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Home Sweet Home (I Wish)

Home Sweet Home (I Wish)

The front entrance to Filoli, an estate built near the beginning of the 20th century south of San Francisco. You can see other photos from my visit to this totally awesome house on my “Picture This” Pinterest board. Just click the picture.

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You Know You’re Pregnant When…The Weird Dreams About Your Husband Start

I love my husband.  He’s very (very, very, very) smart, slightly goofy, extremely kind and thoughtful, and as dependable as they come.

One of the (many) reasons I fell in love with Nick and continue to respect him enormously is because he has never run me down.  A lot of guys over the years, even those I’ve considered to be good friends, have occasionally treated me like I’m dumb, like all the synapses in my brain aren’t firing.  I can be ditzy, but I’m not stupid, and it always drove me crazy when guys who knew I was intelligent gave me a look or said something that indicated I just wasn’t that bright.

So, imagine my surprise when, the other night, I had a dream where Nick called me both stupid and lazy.  The dream was so vivid that it woke me up…because I was furious.  I had to lie in bed for awhile and reassure myself that it was just a dream, that Nick hadn’t really said those things, that there was nothing for me to be angry about.

I’ve always been plagued by vivid dreams.  There was the time I dreamed my older brother died…even though I don’t have an older brother.  There was the time I dreamed a guy tried to push his way into my apartment.  Apparently, this pregnancy is driving me to have very realistic dreams about getting into huge fights with Nick.

Nick and I rarely fight.  Oh, sure, we get mad at each other.  We’ve said things to each other we’ve had to apologize for later.  But Nick has never acted like I was anything other than the smart, slightly weird woman he married five years ago…and I suppose this is why my dream the other night (it was the second fight-with-Nick nightmare I’ve had since I got pregnant) startled me so.  I knew it wasn’t real, but it just felt so real.

So, thank you, Baby #2, for driving me to dream about getting into screaming bouts with your daddy.  I’m not sure what point you’re trying to drive home, but I sure wish you’d encourage me to dream about something else.  I’ve always found those nightmares I have about tornadoes chasing me to be fun.

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Mmmm, Muffins

Alex’s breakfast during the week normally consists of A.) oatmeal or B.) a bowl of Cheerios.  While she likes both oatmeal and Cheerios, which is why I keep giving them to her, it struck me the other day that maybe breakfast was, I don’t know, boring.

So, I’ve set out this week to provide tasty breakfasts every morning, not just for Alex, but for Nick and me, too.  I’m not a big weekday breakfast person, but now that I’m pregnant again, I thought it might be better if I started my day with some calories.

Monday’s breakfast was kind of a disaster.  I saw a recipe on Pinterest for crockpot oatmeal that cooks overnight, and it just wasn’t what I’d hoped it’d be.  The consistency was off, and the taste was just…not quite vomit-inducing, but close.  So, I deleted that pin from my board.

This morning’s breakfast, however, was amazing.  I made lemon blueberry muffins last night, and by the time Nick and I went to bed we’d eaten five of them, that’s how good they were.  I had two more this morning, and so did Nick, and Alex had one.  We still have enough muffins for breakfast tomorrow.

I really like these muffins because they’ve got the perfect combination of lemon and blueberry flavors, while also being really light and moist.  They were delicious coming out of the oven, and heating them up in the microwave (which I did this morning) worked well, too.  Finally, they were super-duper easy to make, although slightly on the expensive side (granted, some of the ingredients I won’t have to buy again for awhile, like lemon extract and lemon peel).

The receipt, which I’ve linked to above, doesn’t say how many muffins the recipe yields (it’s 18) or how long prep time is.  It probably took fifteen minutes for me to get all the ingredients mixed together and into the muffin tins.  I erred on the side of overcooking and baked the muffins for 25 minutes, and they came out perfect.

My only quibble was with the crust, and my guess is that I didn’t do it quite right.  I think the butter I put in to make the crust ended up kind of chunky, and so some of my muffins came out with crust powder on top, as opposed to a streusel-y crust.  The more you know…

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Is It Really So Difficult to Give Good Service?

Alex has spent the last couple of days recovering from ear infections in both ears; she is still sound asleep (at 9:30 am!) as I type this.  Thankfully, our urgent care experience this weekend was loads better than our last: we had an appointment at noon on Saturday; the doctor saw us immediately; and I was pouring a spoonful of antibiotics down my child’s throat two hours later.  The urgent care visit cost me $90, but it was a flat rate they told me about the minute I walked in the door, and there was no dealing with insurance issues (since the clinic doesn’t take insurance).

Yesterday, Alex was feeling well enough that we ventured up to Sonoma and one of our favorite restaurants, The Fremont Diner.  By the time we arrived, it was about 1 pm, and we were hungry.  Since the Diner normally serves an excellent meal, we didn’t mind waiting about fifteen minutes to get a seat…but then things went downhill.

Our waitress had five tables and the counter inside the restaurant to deal with, for a total of twenty to twenty-five customers (a number I could handle in my sleep when I waitress going on fifteen years ago).  She walked past our table.  Then, she walked past our table again.  Then, she walked past our table another time.  It took ten minutes and her walking back and forth past our table for her to pause and tell us that she would be with us in a minute.  Five minutes later, she showed up to take her order.

We would’ve been willing to put up with this — after all, the waitress was clearly running around like a chicken with her head cut off.  But then it took nearly thirty minutes for our food to arrive…and, when our food did come out, it was…not great.

Nick ordered the oyster poboy.  His sandwich was cold (it shouldn’t have been) and soaked in dressing from the accompanying salad.  My catfish was warm, but it and the two hushpuppies that came with my meal had also clearly been sitting in pickled onion juice for awhile.  Did the kitchen plate Nick’s food too soon, before my food was cooked? Did our waitress not pick up our order as soon as it was ready? I have no idea, but by the time she rolled back around to our table, Nick had finished picking at his meal in disgust.  Most of his food was still on the plate.

“It was pretty good, right?” the waitress asked Nick.

He showed extraordinary patience and only muttered in reply, “It was okay.”

He was finished with his food.  His water glass was empty, and mine was nearly so.  That didn’t matter; our waitress waltzed away without clearing a plate or offering to refill our water.

I told Nick to take Alex to the bathroom, and that I would take care of the check.  They’d gone and come back by the time I finally got the bill, where I proceeded to leave a two-dollar tip on a thirty-dollar ticket and to write up our issues with the service and the food on the back of the credit card slip.

I always wonder if I judge restaurants too harshly.  After all, I haven’t waited a table in ten years.  But my thought is this: I know what it’s like to be a waitress.  I know what it’s like to be a floor manager.  I know what it’s like to be the liaison between hungry customers and a slow kitchen, and I know what it’s like to deal with customers who are impatient or in a bad mood or just plain dumb.

And, having had that experience, our waitress at The Fremont Diner did not make the cut.  There was no excuse for her not stopping by our table immediately to tell us she would be by in a minute to take our order.  There was no excuse for her not stopping by within a minute or two of her having delivered our food to ask how our meal was.  There was no excuse for our water glasses to be empty, or nearly so.  There was no excuse, after she saw Nick’s picked-over plate, for her not asking if something was wrong with his meal.

I like to tip well.  I normally leave twenty percent.  If a waiter or waitress knocks my socks off, I’ll leave more than that.  I hate leaving the STD, or two-dollar tip, because I know wait staff survive on tips.

But I also refuse to reward someone for poor service.  To me, as a former waitress, there are straightforward rules to getting a good tip: Be polite.  Be prompt.  Treat your customers the way you’d want to be treated in their place.

Besides our wacky waitress, my guess would be that there was something amiss in the kitchen at The Fremont Diner yesterday.  I don’t know if they were understaffed or what, but we saw a couple of other incidents around the dining room where people either got their food after a very long wait, or flat-out didn’t get what they ordered at all.  That’s a managerial problem right there.  Nick thinks the kitchen is too small for the number of people the Diner tries to serve, and judging by what I’ve seen, I’m tempted to agree.

We’ve been to the Diner several times; we’ve raved about it to friends and family.  We take the hour-and-a-half trip once a month from San Mateo just to eat at the place.  All the same, after yesterday, I don’t know that we’ll go back.  The food and the service just weren’t worth it.

What’s your take on this? Have you ever had such a terrible experience at a restaurant that you never went back? Do you think wait staff, management, or both should be held accountable for poor service?

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Things To Do While Your Family Is In Missouri

Nick and the Pookah are in Columbia until this Thursday (aka Thanksgiving).  Here’s what I’m doing in the meantime:

1.) Eating too much ice cream.  It just tastes so good!

2.) Ordering Christmas cards.  I promise to send out Christmas cards every year, and I never do, but this year…I will not fail.

3.) Buying Christmas presents.  I’ve already made a dent in the list.  Go me!

4.) Visiting the tallest lighthouse on the West Coast.  I went up to Point Arena yesterday, in Mendocino County.  Not only did I get to climb up a very tall lighthouse on a very clear day, but I wandered around the Stornetta public lands and saw harbor seals and a great blue heron.

5.) Watching the Bourne movies.  All four were on sale on iTunes for $40, so I bought them.  “The Bourne Legacy” is my favorite — apparently no one else likes it? — so I watched that last night.  It’s been ages since I’ve seen the first Bourne movie, so I have a date with Matt Damon and a bowl of grapes (I’m trying to stay away from that blasted ice cream) tonight.

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An Aptly Named Kitty Cat

My laptop has a problem, and his name is Trouble.

My felonious feline adores my computer, probably because it’s warm.  Trouble likes to lay as close to the laptop fan as possible, so he can feel the heat from the battery on his fur.  It doesn’t matter how many times I pick the cat up and toss him on the floor; Trouble always comes back.

My gatissimo also likes to perch on top of my laptop when it is closed.  I’m not sure why he does this, he just does.  Again, no matter how many times I kick Trouble off my computer, the darned cat always comes back.

Last night, he came back once too often.

I was nearly finished with one of my grammar scripts (only twenty-three to go!) when Nick asked if I wanted to walk the dog with him around the park.  I bundled up and we went for a stroll.  When we got back inside, I chased Trouble off my computer and opened my laptop to finish my script…

…only to find that the screen was completely black.  And it stayed black.

I powered down and powered back up.  I hit random keys.  I cajoled my laptop.  I cursed my laptop.  I cursed at my stupid cat.  But nothing I did brought my screen back.

Today, I am on one of Nick’s many laptops.  I’ve pounded out a script (a different one from the one I was working on last night), because I’m hoping the VGA cable I bought at Target today will allow me to resurrect my laptop screen on Nick’s enormous monitor and recover the script I was working on.

I cannot believe that my ten-pound gatissississimo destroyed my laptop screen.  He’s so pretty and fluffy and looks so innocent.  Then again, I did name him Trouble.

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