Thursday, March 26, 2009

volcanoes and other explosions

This week has been insane. First, on Monday morning, Redoubt Volcano finally blew her stack, after months of rumbling. But luckily, the ash was headed north, away from us. Then, the power went out - for nearly three hours, for the entire Kenai Peninsula. So of course everyone said it was the volcano interfering with the power plant. But the electric company swears it was not. So life continued as usual, after the power came back on. But not really. This was the week I had overscheduled myself into new heights. I've got four or five wordworks jobs, two library events and a scrabble tournament this week and I offered to do some freelance work for the Tribune. So we mumbled through Monday - council meetings and late-night writing sessions. Then Tuesday - more craziness with meetings and writing. Thea wasn't feeling very well, and had some exlosiveness (which apparently isn't a word) and the like.
And Tuesday night, Thea went to bed and woke up an hour or so later having thrown up in her bed. She was so sad, and it was really all over - especially in that mesh of hair she has. Mess, mess, mess. Got everything cleaned up, her back in bed and a couple hours later, the wails started again, and we did the whole thing over again.
Yesterday, she went to day care, and was fine there, but when we got back, she threw up two more times, and I started getting sick, too. Mine passed quickly, but not before I pulled the plug on one of the many events I was supposed to participate in.

And then there is this morning. Thea was still sick, so Matt and I opted to split the day so we could both work a bit. But around 8:30, the volcano blew again. And then it blew again, really blew. And this time, the ash was headed right for us.
Liam's preschool closed, and Matt came home. The library closed, so another event in my overpacked week was canceled. The boys went out and collected firewood so we could turn off our monitor stove. Thea and I nursed and nursed and nursed. Now, it is 1, and the ash cloud is over us as we speak. It is this huge, black cloud. I haven't really seen the ash coming down yet, but would be awfully surprised if we don't get something. Liam is so jangly. Thea is down for her second nap of the day. Matt's starting the wood stove. And I'm finally getting an afternoon with virtually nothing to do but take care of my kids and lay low. Which is exactly what the doctor ordered. As long as Thea turns the corner soon, I will consider this all a blessing in disguise.

Monday, March 9, 2009

sleep and snot and sauce

We have regressed.

I keep thinking the next night has to be better, but no, quite the opposite. In the past week, we have moved from one or two wakes back to the ever-popular every couple hours from 12:30-5:30 a.m. If I went to bed earlier, I could probably handle it, but as it is, I have been catapulting out of bed to go insert a binky or boob and make the crying stop. The result - more crying, and not just mine, either. Must ... get ... control ...

On that same note, Thea has also increased her exhibition of some less-than-charming traits. She has been testing the waters with increasing frequency. Last night at dinner, she asked to be all done (with sign) and so we put her down. She toddled over to the heater (one of the forbidden fruits) and started turning the temp up to 90. I told her uhhhhohhhh, and she toddled away - for a second. Then she eyed me, smiled a little elf-like smile and toddled right back. When her hand touched the heater, she was looking me right in the eye, grinning. I know this is absolutely the wrong thing to do, but I burst out laughing.

Truth be known, it was laugh or play a long game of pick up the little girl and remove her from the scene of the crime only to have her toddle right back seconds later. I have no leverage. There is nothing I can do right now that will sink in. I can't make her sit somewhere long enough for it to matter, and removing her is just a fun game. The dog bowl is her favorite edition of that game, closely followed by the toilet paper roll, the computer, the coffee cup and anything she can get her little hands on. Love and logic said to try putting a pack-n-play in the living room and putting her in there as a time out technique, and that's probably what needs to happen, because right now, I am losing this battle hands down.

Liam is sick - cough and snot and low-grade fever. He's been watching oodles of tv and hanging in there. We did get outside on Saturday, when temps rose to 40 and the sun shone without wind for a change. We toddled down the road, which was mostly ice. Thea fell a thousand times, but just got back up and kept on going. Liam had fun making the crusty snow go whump. We sat for a while in the snow bank as Liam and Thea ate crusty pieces of snow and I sunbathed AK style. Then took several lightening-fast runs down the road before coming in. It was as good as it gets in AK in March.

Friday, March 6, 2009

back home

I'm so glad I posted that before we left because Maui seems like that dream you had that is sort of real-feeling, but not really?
It has been flat-out crazy since we got back, at least on my end. The trip was not so great - Thea opted not to sleep for most of the night, so the only one of us who got any shut-eye to speak of was Liam, who seems to be able to sleep through anything.
We arrived in Anchorage around 5 a.m. and Matt went off to find the car, only the hotel shuttle forgot to come pick him up, so it was well over an hour before he even left. Then it took about another hour to get the car thawed and the two surf boards strapped to the top. I built a pen with suit cases and benches so I didn't have to chase Thea around for two hours.
At 7 a.m., the sky was getting light and we retrieved our cold-weather clothes and got on the road. Thea was asleep within two minutes, so we opted for a wonderful McD's breakfast instead of something more substantial and less dairy-influenced.
Thea and even Liam slept most of the way - I got a little sleep, and took the final shift into Homer. We drove pretty much straight through - and got home around noon to a clean-ish house and animals who were very happy to see us.
There's always a wonderful thing that happens when children are returned to their native environment. It's like Christmas - long-forgotten toys, fond food, books, and of course the pets. Both kids were very jovial. I headed into town to get some groceries and try to get my feet on the ground. It seemed sooo cold. But it was great to be home.
Then it was back to work for me, preschool for Liam, and after a temporary panic that there would be no daycare options, a space opened up and presto, she was back at Nikki's. Whew. The other day I went to pick her up early and she actually ran away from me. No independent steak there, right?
Thea started having stomach problems as soon as she got home - probably a mix of virus and the dairy I ate the final week I was in Maui plus the McDs. It got pretty pronounced for a couple days, and she's still having problems. I want to take her to Anchorage for testing, but I have to leave for a week to do that, and I can't find the time or money to do so.
A week after we got home, Matt was back at work, and went up to Soldotna for the week for training. In the middle of that, I got the stomach flu pretty bad, actually, just about the worst stomach bug I've ever had. But it was fleeting, luckily, and I wound up opting to go to work rather than try to stay home with two children bouncing off the walls. Funny world, eh? Now Liam is coming down with a cough, and Thea seems a tad off - maybe the stomach bug, too? It's a germy world, for sure.
It's amazing how quickly the vacation fades into the background, and the real world comes stomping back all over you. Matt will be gone again next week, I have a board meeting one night and no sitter, a Scrabble tournament on the 28 and 29 that I have no idea how to arrange, get sponsors for, etc, there's a whole week in March that there is no preschool because it is spring break, and then there is the annual fundraiser coming up in a little over a month ... and I've got a zillion freelance projects I should be working on.
The there is the house - so many things to do, so much stuff overflowing out of the corners of our 1,400 square feet. I can't stop myself sometimes and go into a cleaning frenzy trying to put it right, but in the end, the chaos outnumbers the clean so greatly that it makes my eye start twitching. For example, none of the suitcases have been put away yet because they have to go in the shed, and no one can get into the shed until we do a dump run, and that doesn't seem to be happening, so there is a suit case in the mud room that has been there since we unpacked two weeks ago and every time I got to feed the dogs I trip over it. MADNESS! And let's not even talk about the roof leak that is causing one side of the house to fall apart, literally. Really.
Still, it sure is good to be home.