Ramblings from the Gryphon Rose

Monday, December 26, 2005

Everybody home--now all fall down

[info]jendaby and Arthur are home! Yay!
It’s been a weird day, actually. We were expecting them to be discharged tomorrow, so this morning after my daughter got up and I got her dressed and fed we headed over to the hospital. We got there around 11:30 or so. My lovely wife had Arthur with her when we got there. She hadn’t been happy that morning—one of the nurses had been an utter b*tch to her that morning (the same nurse had been difficult with her several times before, and was in fact equally difficult when we were there two years ago, insisting upon doing things like bottlefeeding our daughter even though we said repeatedly that we intended to breastfeed only)-but was doing okay by the time we arrived and cheered up even more once we were there.
About half an hour after we got there, my wife’s doctor showed up. And the first thing she said when she walked in was "Would you like to go home?" My lovely wife nodded enthusiastically, and the doctor said "Okay, you can go." Just like that. Of course, it’s because [info]jendaby has been healing far faster than she did the last time around, but we were still surprised.
Then the real fun began.
We were trying to figure out how we would manage this. You see, we hadn’t expected to be discharged today. You have to have an infant car seat when you take the baby home--they actually won’t let you leave without one. We do have one, the same one we used for our daughter, but it was at home--I’d planned to bring it tomorrow. We also didn’t have a ride--our friend Ann had kindly offered to pick us up, but that was Tuesday. We called her, and she said she could come down today anyway. One hurdle managed. Then we called [info]qadgop and [info]skoobwoman, who said they could come over and watch my daughter for us. The plan was for me to take her back home, meet them there, pick up the car seat, and bring it back to the hospital so Ann could then bring myself, my wife, and my son home. Then Ann called back, and during the conversation she mentioned that she still had an infant car seat from when her son had been that small, and could bring that along. Groovy. I called [info]qadgop and [info]skoobwoman back and told them not to worry about heading over, and we made arrangements for Ann to come get the four of us all at once.
Then I went to the nursery to tell them we were leaving today. "You can’t leave today," nurse-who-should-never-be-allowed-near-living-creatures says. "The doctor has to examine the baby and then discharge him."
"He discharged him yesterday," I said. Which he had--the doctor had examined our son, said he was fine, and said he could leave when Mommy did.
"No he didn’t," fiend-that-walks-like-a-nurse replied. "He has to examine him."
I walked away. Just walked away. Went to the nurses’ station, found my wife’s doctor sitting there filling out her discharge papers, and told her and the resident what had happened. "No, he was discharged," the doctor said. "I’ll talk to them." She was picking up the phone when I went back to my wife.
A few minutes later, the doctor came over. "He has to examine the baby before he can be discharged," she told us. Clearly the-creature-that-dresses-as-a-nurse only told its side of the story. "He already did," I replied. "Yesterday. He said the baby was good to go and could leave when we did." "What?" My wife’s doctor got this really annoyed and pissed-off look on her face and stormed--literally marched at top speed--down the hall toward the nursery. And trust me, a tiny Indian woman in her sixties or seventies marching like that should be funny but wasn’t. A few minutes later she came back with a very satisfied look on her face. "You can go," she said.
But we weren’t done yet, oh no--the hellspawn-that-works-in-a-nursery still had a few tricks left. I went to return the baby’s cart--not bringing him along because I don’t want him anywhere near this creature--and it demanded to know where the baby is. "You are released from here," it said, "not from the mommy’s room." Then it said that they still had to do bloodwork. What? What happened to "released and ready to go?" I went back and talked to my wife’s actual nurse, who went to check, and said that yes, they did have to draw some blood but that’s it--the test is sent out and we don’t have to wait on it. Fine. We went back down and let them do that. I went downstairs to the cashier to take care of any phone bills and other charges. When I came back up my son was crying down the hall. I went down to the nursery and the nurse there--the creature has vanished for the moment, no doubt stocking up on brimstone and excuses--said "he’s hungry." Really? Gee, why is it, then, that the minute I wheeled him out of the nursery and back toward our room he quieted down? Hunh, funny, that.
Then we sat and waited. Because it’s the day after Christmas. And the hospital is right across from a major mall. Ann called at one point to say she was basically across the street from us--it was another hour before she actually got to us. Meanwhile the nurse from the nursery kept coming by and looking at us funny, and asking if the baby had eaten yet and insisting that he needed to be fed every two to three hours. Yeah, because all babies keep the same schedule.
Finally Ann was there. We headed down the hall so the nurses could dress the baby, clip his ankle bracelet (the remaining one--the other one came off last night and they accused my wife of doing something to it. Yes, because we really wanted that ankle bracelet--the one we get to keep anyway. Or because we were planning something nefarious, like stealing our own baby.), give us his papers, and see us out. As we’re walking along, we saw the excrement-that-pays-dues-as-one-of-the-nursing-profession walking toward us, away from the nursery. It was wearing a coat and carrying presents. Clearly going off-shift. Yay! It was walking along the same side of the hall we were, heading toward the exit that led out to the elevators. It didn’t move out of our way, despite the fact that I was wheeling a cart it knew damn well contained a fragile newborn. I swear, I would have rammed the creature full-speed except I didn’t want to upset or injure my son. We got into the nursery, where one of the actually human nurses took care of the final details and saw us out. Then we drove home, getting in at around 5pm. Whew!
The evening was spent recovering and getting situated. [info]jendaby isn’t allowed to go up and down stairs for the first few days (and only on a limited basis for a week or two after that), so once she went upstairs that was it for a while. Unfortunately, our son is having some trouble adjusting--he’s been waking up at every sound. But in a few days he should settle down. Our daughter’s doing fine with him so far--she’s annoyed that we won’t let her hold him but she does come over and smile at him a lot, and gets worried when he’s upset. This week is going to be a bit rough, just because I’ve got an ailing wife, a cranky newborn, and a willful toddler, but we’ll get through it. And at least we’re all home and healthy.

Family Update

Hi, all! Sorry I’ve been quiet--lots to do. I really appreciate all the congrats from everyone on- and off-blog, and so does my lovely wife--I’ve been telling her about them, and of course she’ll get to read them all herself when she comes home. So here’s a quick update:
Mom and baby are still doing quite well. My daughter and I spent the afternoon with them yesterday and we’re going again this morning (once my daughter wakes up and is dressed and had breakfast). Arthur is already nursing and has taken to it right away. He’s nice and healthy, other than a little congestion (he swallowed some blood on his way out but is doing fine now). His eyes are definitely blue, though of course that may change, and though not white-blond like his mommy was a a baby he does have fair coloring, lighter than mine or his sister’s ever was. He got snipped yesterday--we decided to let our doctor do it, rather than a moyl (in part because we don’t know any, and wanted it to be someone we already knew and trusted)--and is a little uncomfortable but healing nicely. He’s already approved to be released.
[info]jendaby is also doing well. She’s recovering more quickly than she did the last time around, and they removed all the tubes yesterday and let her walk around a little. Her doctor told her she could probably leave this evening but they’d prefer to keep her one more night, so Mommy and baby will both be home Tuesday. Our good friend Ann has offered to give us a ride, which we appreciate, and we’re hoping to be home in time for lunch. Oh yes, [info]jendaby was allowed to go from a liquid diet back to real food last night--she was thrilled.
Last night, after we got home, I lit the Hannukah candles for my daughter, and after prayers and songs I gave her one of her presents. I’ll do the same tonight but we’ll hold most of them until Tuesday night when we’ll all be home. She was very interested in her baby brother yesterday at the hospital, and actually wanted to hold him--we can’t do that yet, but it was sweet. At one point he was fussing and she started singing to him--"Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," which is her favorite song these days--and he quieted down almost immediately. I pointed out to her that he’s been listening to her sing to him for months now, and that’s why it calmed him. She was happy about that. So I think she’s going to be a good big sister--I’m sure there’ll be a little jealousy but that’s unavoidable.
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas (for those who observe such things) and is having a Happy Hannukah (for those who follow that path). For everyone else, I hope you’re having a great winter holiday of your choice. I have taken some pictures of Arthur already, and I’ll put them up as soon as I can get them off my camera (forgot the cable at work). I’ll also post more updates when we have them.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

A Son Rises!

Well, that was a long day. But a good one.
At about 10pm last night, my lovely wife [info]jendaby started having contractions. We had just put our daughter to bed and were sitting down to watch a movie--Low Down Dirty Shame on DVD. We think maybe it was the late 80s music that did it. Anyway, she starts having contractions, much stronger than any she’d had before and closer together. At about midnight we figured it was time to call the doctor. The doctor called back an hour to eighty minutes later and said to meet her at the hospital. So off we went. [info]xochitl42 stayed with our daughter while [info]jendaby and I hopped in a car. We got to the hospital at a little before 2am. The doctor was there five minutes later.
And that’s when the fun really started. Because [info]jendaby wasn’t dilated. She was having contractions, most definitely, but without dilation that’s not much help. So we waited for a little while to see if things got better. Five hours, in fact. No change. None. Nada. Zip. At which point the doctor said "right, that’s not going to happen. We’re doing a C-section."
We’d hoped to avoid the C-section this time around, mainly because of recovery time. But it turned out to be the only option this time. So at 7am they wheeled her in. I followed a few minutes--okay, more like half an hour--later.
And at 7:43am on this Saturday, December 24, 2005, Arthur was born.
He’s a fine, healthy lad. And he has a good set of lungs. He’s been active all through the pregnancy and didn’t stop with being born--he was wailing and writhing from the get-go.
Here are the vital stats, for those who like such things:
Gender: Male (we knew that one already)
Length: 20 inches (half an inch longer than his sister was)
Weight: 7 pounds, 12 ounces (ten ounces more than she was)
Hair: Blond. Light blond. Possibly even white-blond--we’ll know in a few days. If so, he could wind up being a redhead like his mom when he gets older.
Eyes: Can’t tell yet.
Mommy and baby are in the hospital (St. Johns Queens--email me for the address or phone number) for the next few days, just to be safe. Both were fine when I left to go home, check on my daughter, clean up, and do things like call people and write this post. They should be home Monday or Tuesday. Then it’s a protracted recovery for [info]jendaby--roughly six weeks before she’s back to full strength and full mobility. We’re hoping a few family members will come up to lend a hand--I’ve got the next week off already, so I’ll be taking care of Adara through the end of the year so [info]jendaby can recuperate and tend to Arthur, but I go back to work at the start of January. We’ll figure it out.
In the meantime, we’re all healthy. And all desperately in need of sleep.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Proud to be a New Yorker

I love this city. No, I really do, actually. Here’s why:
I’m at work again today. Didn’t go in yesterday because we thought the baby was coming yesterday, but it was a false alarm. So here I am. On Day Three of the strike. [info]xochitl42 and I took the LIRR again, then walked up from Penn Station. We left home at about 7:35, got to the Woodside station at 7:50, caught the train two minutes later, were at Penn Station at 8:05, and I was at work at 8:40. Early. Even after stopping at Starbucks to try their Chai Egg Nog Latte, which is damn fine stuff.
But that’s not why I love this city. That’s just the background info. See, here’s the thing. It’s the third day of the Transit Strike. No subways, no busses. Hundreds of thousands of people finding alternate ways to work. Literally tens of thousands of people walking through Manhattan. And you know what?
There’s no fighting. There’s no cursing, no shoving, no sniping. Everyone’s smiling and nodding at everyone else, people are saying “excuse me” and “sorry” and “thank you” to each other. People are chatting with strangers on the street. One lady stopped [info]xochitl42 long enough to zip her backpack for her—a pocket had come open and something was in danger of falling out.
Everyone is taking this strike in stride, quite literally. Sure, people are angry and annoyed, but at the TWU, not at each other. And everyone is working together to get through this.
This is what New York City is all about. This is what we do in times of adversity—we band together.
People who don’t live here think that New Yorkers are nasty, bitter people. You don’t know us. That’s not it at all. We can be sharp-tongued, sure, and once this is all said and done you’ll see people cursing each other out on the subway again. But that’s just to vent, and it blows over quickly. New Yorkers are, by and large, a decent lot, and willing to help a fellow New Yorker in need. That’s why, one time when a friend twisted her ankle on the street and fell down, a dozen people stopped to see if she was okay and to offer help. This is who we really are. This is what makes this city great. We can and will get through just about anything, and when the chips are down we stand together.
And the TWU can go take a flying f*ck.
Guess what, transit workers? We don’t need you. Every day we get more used to whatever alternate commute each of us has found. Every day the city smoothes out the process. Every day we show more and more that we can—and will—survive without you. Where’s your leverage now? Hard to pressure people into giving in to your outrageous demands when those same people have learned to handle your absence so easily.
The strike, and the attitude of the TWU leaders, continues to annoy me. And, sure, it’s annoying to have to get up half an hour earlier and to have to walk a mile and a half every morning and again every evening. But I can put up with it. We all can. And that’s because we’re all doing it together, and we’re all maintaining our composure and our sense of humor as much as possible. We can bear it because we’re doing it together.
I really do love this city. And hey, now I get to spend more time walking through it every day. It’s like the TWU’s holiday gift to the rest of us. Not a bad way to view things.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Strikes, Newscorp City, and other bits

Yes, I’m at work. Yes, there’s a transit strike. I took the LIRR from Woodside this morning, and then walked up from Penn Station. Took perhaps twenty minutes on the train and then another half-hour to walk—I was ten minutes late because several trains passed us without stopping, but no big deal. And not such a horrible walk—it’s in the low 30s today, sunny, and I’ve got my heavy winter coat.
So, yeah. Still working. I’m actually glad the transit workers are striking. They deserve to be crushed, and Bloomberg will do it. Every year they threaten to pull this crap and every year before this the city has caved to their ridiculous demands. Time to show them they can’t get away with this. I’ll happily walk for a few days if it means breaking their stranglehold.
Went to the company party on Friday—Newscorp City, as I call it, because it’s all of Newscorp, literally thousands of people, and takes up the entire third floor of the big Hilton on Sixth Avenue. It was fun—the food was decent (the desserts excellent) and I went with a bunch of my co-workers, so we wandered through the various rooms (each with a different theme) and then hung out in the hall (which is wider than my house is long, just to give you an idea) and chatted with other friends and co-workers as they wandered past. I stayed until 9pm, about three hours, and then headed out with a friend and my boss and her husband, since we all took the same train at least partway home. Our gift bag this year consisted of a copy of Jack Welch’s Winning (a novel we already have), a calendar, and a copy of the Fantastic Four DVD. I figured it would be FF this year, and that’s fine—I thought the movie was okay and I’m willing to watch it again at home but I hadn’t planned to pay for it.
Not a whole lot else going on, actually. Still waiting for the baby, who should be emerging any day now (possibly any hour). I’ve got a short week this week, next week, and the following week, and I’ve still got a few personal days saved up, so once he does pop I’ll be taking at least a week off. I’m on hold on my one writing project (waiting on a long-overdue contract) and don’t have anything else urgent right now, so I’m actually taking it easy for once. We’re working our way through the first season of Veronica Mars on DVD and enjoying it immensely, even the ones we’ve already seen. And I’m spending time with my pregnant wife, with my delightful daughter, and with our good friend [info]xochitl42, who has kindly agreed to stay with us in case we need someone to stay with Adara at night while we rush to the hospital.
And now I’m back to work. Where, btw, I make less than many transit workers (despite having not only a college diploma but a graduate degree) and have to contribute to the costs of my benefits, and can be held accountable when I screw up.
Maybe we should strike.

Friday, December 16, 2005

A slight delay

Sorry I haven’t posted in a bit. It’s been crazy. Here’s why:

Work has been nuts. Everyone’s trying to get everything in before the holidays and I’ve been scrambling to keep up. It didn’t help that we got a temp this week—no, you read that right. It didn’t help because this particular temp, while a nice lady, was glacially slow. She spent three days on a project I could have done in a single morning, and still didn’t finish it. We got a new temp today who seems much better but things were slowed down because, in addition to the first temp’s not getting through that one project, I lost time checking up on her here and there.

Freelancing is nuts. I just handed in a 32k—yes, you’re still reading along just fine, it was thirty-two thousand words—chapter on a project. Whew.

Still no baby. But we have all the anxiety and all the running around getting ready. He should arrive some time in the next week.

My lovely wife had most of her restrictions lifted this week. She’s allowed to run around if she wants. Of course, being nine months pregnant, she’s really not up to much running. So I’ve been doing my best to keep her happy and comfortable, and doing whatever chores I can whenever I'm home, which means a bit more running for me.

And of course there’s the toddler. My wonderful, lovely little girl, who wants to run around and play and hang out. As much as possible.

So nothing’s wrong. We’re all fine, all healthy, all generally happy. I’ve just been monstrously busy is all. Hence my lack of updates.

Oh wait, except for this one. :)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Comfort food

Last night I made (yes, I cooked—will wonders never cease?) Chicken Sopa. This was one of my favorite dishes as a kid, and it was just as good as I remembered. It’s quick, easy, tasty, filling, and a good way to get rid of leftover turkey. Yes, [info]verminiusrex and [info]gmskarka, I’m thinking of you. :)
So if anyone’s interested, here’s the recipe:

Chicken Sopa

2 chickens, cut-up—my mom always just used chicken breasts. Last night I used leftover turkey and it worked really well.
2 cans, cream of chicken soup
3 small cans, evaporated milk (if halved use one small can)
1 can, chopped green chilis (do not halve)
Doritos (cheese-flavored) or corn chips
sharp cheddar cheese, grated

You’ll need a baking dish and a mixing bowl.

Mix the chicken, the soup, the milk, and the chilis together.
Line the bottom of the baking dish with the chips.
Layer on the mixture.
Cover the top with the grated cheese.
Bake at 350º for 30 minutes.

You can eat it with a fork or scoop it up with additional chips, like a thick dip.

This serves six, which is why I’ve included instructions for halving it.