Night shifts

Rob's working in the ER for a month, which means regularly scheduled shift work, a reasonable number of days off (at least one a week! hold me!) and very, very late nights. Weekend shifts are 12 hours, which doesn't make much sense to me - wouldn't you think the crazy people would be out in force on the weekends, thus having more drunken nailgun accidents, thus increasing the workload for the trained monkeys residents, thus inspiring the powers that are to send said residents home before they go nuts from overwork? I dunno, maybe it's just me.

But since he's gone, and since I'm inspired to wait up for him (because that's the kind of sweet thang I am, baby) I have been spending some time diddling around on the internet. What did we do before there was internet? Would I be staying up late doing something useful, like making my own soap, or canning? All's I have to say is, thank God for Al Gore.

In my travels, I have discovered these two blogs, which shall now be given prominent linkage in my list over there, which has until now been populated entirely by criminals.

  • Geese Aplenty (commentary, newsy news, and giggly stuff like this: "The big uproar in California these days is an idea by Assemblywoman Sally J. Lieber; she plans to submit a bill proposing that California become the first state to make spanking of children 3 years old and under a misdemeanor. Penalties could include child-rearing classes for offenders or one year in jail. This topic is excellent for blogging, because it allows you to use the word “spanking” repeatedly and thus boost your site in Google search results. My hope is that Lieber’s next proposal will be about building more tall monuments near the state capitol, and then I can talk about how her constituents would like to see more frequent erections.")
  • Suburban Bliss (Melissa, the Mom Behind the Latest Epidemic! of drinking at playgroup! Everybody panic! Melissa was honest about her playgroup's occasional glass of wine while the kids frolic around with their Legos in the next room... and she talked honestly about it ON THE TODAY SHOW. I would have been so overwhelmed by the bounciness of Natalie Morales' hair that I would have locked up and keeled over - forget about speaking up about something for which several people were publicly damning me to motherhood hell. What a brave, real, classy broad.
Go thee and enjoy my late night labors - I'm off to knit my own bed linens, or possibly write a novel. I still have two hours before Rob gets home, after all.

Arama, palooza, hallelujah!

Holy crap, y'all, I booked a dozen weddings last week. A dozen means twelve. TWELVE! The only thing that comes in dozens that has thus far made me feel quite this ecstatic is covered in a sugary glaze... but this! This does not pay me in calories, it pays me in GOOD OLD AMERICAN DOLLARS!

Oh, maaan. Lately everything I say ends in exclamation points, and the birds sing in a carefully orchestrated Disney movie chorus, and I am so damned delighted with my current situation. Maybe I'm not the best photographer out there, and maybe I'm not making as much as some of them, but this first year is going to be my best ever, even if I make three times this much next year, or 10 or 300 times this much - because I am doing what I want to do, and IT IS WORKING OUT. (Okay, that's sort of a lie - if I make 300 times more money, I'll be rather excited then, too.)

Happy dance!

Happy from my head to my black, frostbitten toes

GOOD GOD IT WAS COLD TODAY. I know this because I was outside for all but about three daylight hours, and I have yet to recover feeling in my extremities. The soccer tournament was incredibly long, and I did nothing but run from field to field, since the other shooter didn't show up, and I have decided that Norah will never EVER EVER EVER play organized sports. Not because I don't think she could (although the fact that she's my kid does not bode well for her coordination) but because I don't want to get in the pissing contests all the mothers were getting into at the fields. MY kid made the state whatever, but MY kid scored 180 goals in the last three games, but MY kid blah blah blah... I wanted to say, "Hey, MY kid can blow snot bubbles bigger than her face!" but for some reason, it felt inappropriate.

I took 951 pictures in just under four hours, so I feel kind of badass. These are some of my favorites, which of course I assed around with, because I can't resist Photoshop widgets.

Right after the above shot, the red kid elbowed the kid to his left in the face, and there was much blowing of whistles and threatening remarks from the other players. I got scared and went to buy some nachos at the snack bar.

These guys were incredibly fast. I couldn't keep up, and went back to my nachos.

Lest you think I only photograph the boys, here are some girls. And they were even faster than the boys, let me tell you. What they lacked in physical mass, they more than made up for in speed, slick maneuvering, and general toughness. It was like ballet, only a whole lot less pink and foofoo. As in, the only pink was from the smears of blood after they kicked some major ass.

And here, finally, is what I really had fun doing today:

Weddingarama, here I come...

My circle, she's a widenin'

Norah's still not sleeping well, but we've got it figured out, because we are specially-trained babyraisers with advanced degrees in Toddlerese: she's sick! Ah HA! I thought that her sniffles were in actually just sniffles, but as any parents (other than us, because that part earlier about us being super geniuses? Total lie) know, sniffles are rarely just sniffles. They do in fact have the power to cause sleeplessness, or lack of interest in food, or mass casualties in the manner of a dirty bomb. In Nonos' case, they have caused all of these things, culminating in a fried-eggs-on-the-forehead fever at about midnight last night. It is a miracle that I still have a face and she didn't manage to claw it off yet, and that I was able to chisel enough dried snot off her face to separate her from my chest, where she's spent the last several hours. My poor kid, she's a messy mess. God bless Motrin and the entire Vicks family of medications.

ANYWAY. I got cold-called today to do some sports photography, which I've never done and wasn't really interested in doing. Someone who knew someone else referred me to a sports photography agency to shoot a multi-team, multi-day soccer tournament, about which I know absolutely nothing. I guess they're in the habit of hiring freelancers, so that's how I got in. I'm excited, but I'm nervous - I'm going to be paid a lot of money, and I have no idea what I'm doing. I told the guy from the agency that, and he seemed relatively unaffected. "You shoot kids," he said, "so I bet you're used to working fast. You'll be FIIIINE."

Um... I guess.

I'm working it tomorrow from 8-12 (and I have a wedding in the afternoon, yippee!) and Sunday, whenever I can get the kidlet into a good playdate. Who knows, maybe it'll be fun, I'll get all sportsy and start working for NBC or SI. (I am, however, drawing the line at this, despite the pleas of every guy I know.)


won't Norah take a nap? And how am I supposed to take one with her teeny little bird voice singing, "Mama? Mamaaaaa? I up!" over the intercom?

I'm tired and still rather sniffly, so that's all I have to say today. Oh, except this: new websitey goodness at my photo site - having discovered a wealth of new toys, I redesigned, rehosted, and re-made myself very happy. Go! Book me!

Something I have neglected to mention, because I am entirely self-absorbed at the moment

Happy birthday, little girl!

Baby steps back into humanity

Originally uploaded by annieandrob.
The first thing one should do when returning from a long trip is definitely not arrange to get new carpet. Admittedly, our old carpet was nasty, and by nasty I mean SWEET LORD WHAT IS THAT STENCH? You name it, it had been spilled/dropped/excreted/killed on it. The pad was so worn down that you could feel the subfloor creaking when you stepped on the stairs. It was gross, and it was time for it to go, so when my mom mentioned The Carpet Plan, I was stoked.

My grandparents had installed new carpet in their whole house last summer, right before they, shall we say, made their biggest move. The new owners didn't like the color, so all that shiny new Stainmaster deliciousness was going to be thrown out in favor of white. (White! Who installs white carpet? I'll tell you who: people with no little kids or pets. And who are not prone to eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while doing Carmen Electra's striptease workout video. And I am so not talking about me... noo...) Since their house is substantially bigger than our house, my mom and I cooked up a plot to get a truck, go to Hilton Head, load up the rug and get the heck back up here, where carpet layers would be waiting anxiously in the wings to nail that yummy stuff to my floor.

Of course, my mom made this plan without actually adding herself to the itinerary, so I dropped Norah off at Jasmine's, rented a way-too-big Penske truck, and headed south by myself, feeling oddly like Thelma AND Louise put together in a pink hoodie. I guess it's some kind of law in North Carolina that certain size trucks have to stop at weigh stations, because before I left I signed a little paper that said that I Promise To Abide By State Highway Administration Laws Including Stopping At All Designated Weigh Stations - and let me tell you, that was some kind of bad-ass. BAD. ASS. I went to weigh stations! And truck stops! I was a TRUCKER! I was going to buy a mesh hat with a naked lady silhouette on it, but I was afraid the real truckers would mock me, so I settled for a Diet Coke and a Moon Pie.

The picking up of the carpet was uneventful, as was the rest of the drive and 99% of the installation. And then, the next day, I discovered that the key to the truck was gone. GONE. I tore this place apart, you guys - pulled the fridge out to look behind it, went through the trash (and oh, how disgusting wet graham crackers feel when you're not expecting them), checked in every drawer in the kitchen. While I was standing there having my nervous breakdown (would they arrest me for truck theft if I didn't have it back by the right time? would I be in trucker jail with real truckers who would kick my ass for being such a piss-poor excuse for a road warrior?) the carpet guy came in and explained to me that HA HA! even though we had 2000 square feet of carpet and only needed 900-some, the pieces went the wrong direction and it really wasn't going to work, and the bedrooms will just have to stay skanky! Then Norah fell and blacked her eye on her dollhouse, the dog threw up on the new floor, and I crawled into a corner and wept.

At 5:30 last night, three days after the entire Plan went into action, the carpet guys left with the trashed pieces, and here I am, parked in the middle of the living room and rocking slightly back and forth on my butt, just to feel how squishy and soft it is. (The carpet, not my butt. Although, let's be honest, that's fairly squishy too.) The key materialized in Rob's jacket pocket (and of course he had no idea how that got there! how odd!) and the carpet guy promised us a 20% discount if we called him to do the bedrooms. So really, it's all all right. But I'm still tired.

I didn't realize - or remember - that major home improvement projects can be so demanding... or maybe it's just that I kept trying to have a life in the middle of the chaos. And here, for your viewing pleasure, is a little piece of that life - I had a baby shoot the day before I drove off into the sunset, and this picture is my favorite for some reason. Maybe it's because there's no carpet.