Thursday, February 28, 2008

Everything I need is on EdNet

I'm preparing for my exam. As previously stated, the doctor has tentatively given me permission to write the exam with the rest of my class on March 10. And so I am studying away, trying to prepare for the exam, which is in about a week and a half.

I don't have a great understanding of a lot of the materials. Review must be extensive. At least I have no shortage of time. But I'm easily exhausted, and I can't study for a very long time in one stretch. I lose concentration, and that's the end of that.

I'd really like to listen to my exam review audio lectures when neither H nor J are at home. That way, I can listen to the exam reviews on my laptop without disturbing anyone or being disturbed. It's either that, or I don't listen to the lectures at all. And that would be ill-advised. The lecturers usually have some exam strategy that is very helpful.

So I was going to listen to some of the lectures today. But I can't. Because the association, using its usual poor judgment, has decided to take the EdNet website down for maintenance today. The website where everything a student needs is kept. No alternate places are available. So we'll just take 'er down! A week and a half before exam week! Brilliant!

I could do the end of module self-tests. Except that these are also on the EdNet site and, with the entire site out of commission, I can't gain access.

I can run past exams, because I have thankfully already printed them off. And rest assured, I have been running them. But I've reached a place where I have a question for my tutor. And I can't ask it, because the tutor support forum is also on the very same offending website. If I keep going, I will lose my place and never find it again. And then my question will never be asked or answered. And I will be no closer to understanding calculation of the WACC, which typically comprises about 15% of the past exams. So yeah, kind of important.

Sometimes, I really hate this.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Beatrix Potter had really bad PMS

She must've. I see no other explanation.

I wanted to get J "The Peter Rabbit Library". I absolutely loved these books when I was a child. And my mom, remembering this, had thoughtfully bought the first 12 books back when I was in highschool and saved them for someday when I had children. She gave them to me when I was pregnant with J. But she didn't know that there are a total of 23 books. And I have spent some time trying to find volume 2 of the set that she bought back in the '80s. I've been close a couple of times, but things happened and through no fault of my own, I never got the books.

I finally found the correct set. From the correct publisher. From the correct year. In the correct little box. In excellent condition. In California. But it was over on the abebooks site, and the seller was happy to ship it here. I was so excited!

The books arrived today. J now has the complete set. Most of the books are quite delightful, but they do have their moments. And some of the books leave one wondering why Ms. Potter was such a cranky-pants.

Below is an excerpt. Each paragraph is a separate page in the book.

The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit

This is a fierce bad Rabbit; look at his savage whiskers, and his claws and his turned-up tail.

This is a nice gentle Rabbit. His mother has given him a carrot.

The bad Rabbit would like some carrot.

He doesn't say "Please." He takes it!

And he scratches the good Rabbit very badly.

The good Rabbit creeps away, and hides in a hole. It feels sad.

This is a man with a gun.

O ..... kay. That seems ... rather out of place, doesn't it? What are we learning here? That if we are impolite, bully nice peers, and take things that don't belong to us, someone will shoot us?

I can just see the author. She has a deadline to meet. She has a case of writer's block. She is grumpy. She goes to a nice park to get inspiration. She sees two children playing. One child takes the other child's ball without asking. The other child starts crying. And it occurs to the very angry author: "If I had a gun, I'd shoot you myself, you horrible little imp!"

Thus, a children's book is borne!

The man does not actually kill either Rabbit. He is apparently blind. He mistakes the bad Rabbit for a funny looking bird. And he shoots at him, but ... well ... being blind and everything, he misses. But he scares the bad Rabbit very badly, and his tail and whiskers fall off. The good Rabbit watches the bad Rabbit run off. And that is the end of the story.

So it is something of an unusual story. Probably not a suitable bedtime tale for J. But I feel certain that H and I will laugh heartily at it for quite some time!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Shopping with a J

I always knew work would need their laptop back. I had hoped that it would be after the baby was born, but I kind of knew that was wishful thinking. The timeframe is just too long. The office has expanded, and new people require the equipment. My laptop needs to be updated with some new software so that it can be reassigned and returned back into circulation.

In my absence, I've been using the laptop primarily for school. My schooling is work-related, but not as work-related as actual billable work. Billable work takes precedence. And so, my employer has contacted me and asked for return of the company laptop. It's more than fair. They've actually been really good to let me keep it for this long. It needs to be returned ASAP, as their supplier has had some delivery delays and the situation is fairly desperate. They're good to me. We'll get the laptop back to them right away.

Unfortunately, we now need to make some alternate arrangements for my own sanity. I'm on bed rest, as you all know, so I can't sit up at my primary computer. I can't imagine what I would do with no computer access for the next several months, but the only access I'm permitted consists of using the laptop while lying down. And I can't adequately prepare for my exam with no computer.

H and I discussed it, and we decided that we needed to get a personal-use laptop computer. We'll need one in the next year or so anyway. And for the time being, I desperately need it to preserve my sanity for the next few months. Fortunately, they're on sale right now.

H was outfitted with a list of requirements, straight from the accounting association's website. And after work today, H picked up J from daycare, and off they went to the store to pick out a laptop computer.

They arrived at the store before 6:00. H found a knowledgable staff member to help him. A reasonably priced, appropriately discounted, completely suitable laptop was selected quickly. Score! H and J would be home in plenty of time for dinner, and J would make his regular bedtime.

And then, it was time to pay for our new computer.

H decided to use a credit card.

And that's when the shopping expedition turned. It went something like this:


The security code on the back of a credit card is an added security feature for telephone and online purchases. But the store has a rather silly policy of requiring entry of the security code on the back of the card, even for in-person purchases. Sadly, the code is worn off of the card. So the cashier spends some time unsuccessfully trying to guess it.

After trying to ring it up seven times and receiving seven consecutive "declined" messages, he gives up.

H calls the bank to try to get the code. Runs through a million and one security questions, and eventually gets the code. The bank then advises that all of the "declined" attempts were actually put through as "preauthorized holds" by the bank, and the card is now maxed out. So now, even though H has the security code, he still can't pay for the computer. The bank advises that, unless this is remedied, there will be a hold on our account for 5 business days. That will put us past the "sale" date, will cost us a significant amount of coin, will prevent us from using the card in the interim, and is obviously completely unacceptable.

The store spends the next two plus hours trying to resolve the situation with the bank.

The bank requests a letter on the store's letterhead stating what happened. The store has no letterhead. Will a letter signed by the store manager do? The bank will check and call back. Yes. Yes that will do.

What does the letter need to say? The letter needs to list off the charges and the authorization numbers. But the store has no authorization numbers, since the transactions all showed up as "declined". Will the bank release the numbers to the store? No. The bank will not release the numbers, but requires them nonetheless. The store calls its own bank, hoping to get the authorization numbers. But the store's bank obviously has no authorization numbers, since the transactions were "declined". The store calls our bank again and begs on bended knee. Can our bank, please oh please, just release the numbers? Please? Yes. Yes they will.

The letter is drafted. The letter is faxed. The bank spends about half an hour fixing the problem. The bank calls back. The situation has been remedied. The card will work now.

The laptop is finally paid for.

Throughout this 2-hour ordeal, J behaves like an absolute angel. He drinks some orange juice. He plays with an inactivated debit machine. He plays nicely with some other children. He converses with other customers, and tells them all about his bears, and his rocks, and his racecar bed, and everything else he can think of. He almost makes up for the fact that he "hit his friends" at daycare today, and had to "spend some time thinking about what his hands are for" as a result. *Sigh!*


After the situation was resolved and the computer appropriately paid for, H loaded J back into the van and started to drive home. That's when J decided to be especially entertaining.

J: Look!

H looked back at J. And he saw that J had pulled off his boots and socks, and was now wearing his mittens on his feet - a difficult feat, considering that his mittens are attached to his coat sleeves.

They got home. J trudged right through a puddle and got his pants all wet. He came in, and H promptly removed the wet pants. J ran into the living room to see me.

J: Look! I'm naked!

J had a nice, albeit late, dinner. And he had some chocolate as a reward for being such a good boy at the store. H also bought J a Backyardigans DVD, which he will get to watch tomorrow.

But for now, it is time for J to sleep. It is well past his bedtime.

Night night, little man. Sleep well.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Jungle Cats

Ordinarily fierce, the lion can be tamed with considerable ease. With very little coaxing, it even permitted this leopard to ride on its back.

Of course, it subsequently attacked. Poor little leopard never saw it coming.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

J's first lunar eclipse

J loves the moon.

Some of J's favorite books have historically featured the moon quite prominently. "Goodnight Moon", "The Goodnight Gecko". He will often quote "Noelle the Bulldog" at sunset ... "The sun said good-bye and the moon said hello in the starry night sky".

J always looks for the moon up in the sky, and gets very excited when he sees it. If the sun and moon are both out together, he always points it out. And when my parents were in Hawaii about a year and a half ago, they actually took a picture of the moon so that J could see that it was backwards in that part of the world. Of course, that really lost something in the translation ... flip the picture over, and there's no difference. But they tried.

J loves the moon.

Tonight, J saw his very first lunar eclipse. H took him out at around 7:30 tonight, so that he could see the earth's shadow crossing over the moon. And then they went back out closer to 8:00, so that J could see the moon, all red, covered by the earth's shadow. We told our little future astronomer all about what was happening to the moon. He just sat there, cuddled up in H's arms, staring up at the moon and smiling happily.

J was quite enthralled. He didn't want to come back inside. Much convincing was required.

I understand there will not be another lunar eclipse for 3 years. I really like the stars and moon too, so I briefly got up off the couch and took a quick look. The sky was wonderfully clear, and the eclipse was quite spectacular. I understand J's reaction perfectly.

If his interest in all things celestial persists, we may need to get him a telescope when he's bigger. That would be pretty nice, I think.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Once Upon A Time

J has an activity book. It was given to him by Memaw when he was a baby. He still quite likes it. It's filled with animal pictures and different pull-tabs, and it plays music and makes a variety of noises.

J got home from daycare today. He ate a nice dinner of lasagna ... bribed with promises of chocolate. After his dessert was done, he ran into the living room, activity book in hand:

J: It's bedtime. For you. (Points at Mommy) And you. (Points at Daddy) But not for me! Time for story. (Opens activity book) Once upon a time, there was an elephant and a panda and stars. The end. (Closes book) Now go to sleep.

H: Can we snuggle for a little bit?

J: Yes. (Climbs up on couch and lies down next to H) Oh wait! Time to get a sippy cup of milk! (Climbs down and runs into the kitchen)


Yesterday, H and J went to Ikea to try to catch a doorcatcher special. I am impressed that they managed to get it, and they returned home with the much sought-after table and chair set for J. Now he has his very own place where he can sit and colour, paint, play with play-doh, etc. It's a very nice table and comes with 4 chairs. J helped H to assemble it. Took much longer that way, but I think H enjoyed spending quality time with his son.

Yesterday evening, K&K came by with D. L&P braved the cat dander and came over with I&G for a visit. Dinner was provided by our good friends, and much fun was had by all. J, D, I, & G all played together, and J's new table was put to good use. Life is good. I'm glad we have good support from our friends and family.

We had intended to show K&K and L&P the progress in our basement. But by the end of the evening, we had forgotten. We'll have to show them another time.


Basement development is coming along nicely. But it is astounding how much things cost! I was sure we budgeted high when we set our basement budget, but it appears that we actually budgeted low on most things. Every time a bill arrives, I hyperventilate a little bit. I'm sure we'll be okay. I just hate spending money. I'm not used to it, and it makes me panic and shudder.

The framing is almost completely done now. Most of the plumbing work is done, as is most of the electrical. The shower is installed (shower head, tap, and doors are still to come). The first batch of drywall has been delivered. Flooring is already paid for and just needs to be picked up. The fireplace goes in on March 11.

There's still a little bit of framing to do (a closet and some work around ducting). The sink, cabinet, toilet, vent fan, and mirror still need to be installed in the bathroom. And then we have the remaining electric, drywall work, a suspended ceiling, a built-in bookshelf, the trim and finishing work, instalation of flooring, painting. I think that's about it. I hope so, anyway. With me unexpectedly on disability, our finances have taken a slight downward turn, and it's harder to cope.

All temporary. I'm aware. But it's still not a lot of fun to deal with.


On the subject of my ongoing disability, we had an ultrasound and obstetrician's appointment today. Things are good with Baby. I must continue on bed rest, of course. I'm 26 weeks along now. Baby would not cooperate for ultrasound pictures ... he was busy sucking on his toes and covering his face with his hands. No cute pictures of Baby's face this go-round. But that's ok.

The goal is just to make it as close to term as possible. Thus far, things are looking good, as long as I continue with the bed rest. We do what we have to do. As things stand right now, I may be able to write my exam on March 10. I hope so ... deferring it is a bit of a headache. And I don't really want to prepare for an exam in the next sitting, when I'll have a newborn baby. Not convenient.


The course I'm currently taking isn't going too bad. Thankfully it's distance ed - I wouldn't be able to go to class in my current condition. Even as it is, I'm behind on readings. But I got 99% on my midterm assignment. Woot! And I've done well enough on the quizzes too. I need something in the realm of a 53% on my final exam in order to pass the course. Aside from the business case assignment, which I hope to complete this summer, this is my last foundation level course. Still a long way to go, though.

I wonder how we'll manage once we add baby #2 into the mix. I'm sure we'll find a way to make this work. Someday, when I get my designation, there will be much rejoicing.


Anyway, that's enough typing. Nighty-night. It's bedtime. J says so.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Go Away Diego, Go

J decided not to have his nap today. So we watched some Treehouse. "Go Diego, Go" was on Treehouse this afternoon. It's the boy's version of "Dora the Explorer". Both shows are very popular with children J's age, but as adults, H and I find them to be extremely annoying to watch.

Diego: My Rescue Pack can transform into whatever we need!
H: Can it transform into a decent TV show?

And on the subject of interesting things that were said in our house today:

J: Don't put dinosaurs down the furnace.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Age appropriate activities

H: Did you have fun at daycare today?
J: Yeah. I had fun.
H: What did you do?
J: I did yoga.
H: Oh. You still have to teach Mommy and me to do yoga.
J: No.
H: Yes. Because Mommy and Daddy don't know how to do yoga.
J: No. You're too old.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Baby's Kicking

J is happy about the new baby. He enjoys reading stories to Baby. He talks to Baby. He gives Baby kisses. He sings lullabies, like "Rock-a-Bye Baby" and "Baby Mine" (and sometimes "Mighty Machines"), to Baby. "Mighty Machines" is sung in a rough gravely voice, and J sounds like he's growling at Baby. But it's all very cute.

J is thrilled about the fact that he will be getting a baby brother or sister. He tells people about his baby brother or sister. He has us read books about children who are getting new baby brothers or sisters.

J believes the baby is "in Mommy's navel". He's pretty precise about it.

Earlier, the baby was kicking me. I thought J might like to feel his baby brother or sister kicking. So I called him over.

T: J, Baby is kicking me.

J: {running over and sternly shouting at my navel} Baby-brother-or-sister! Don't kick Mommy!!

Happiness Is

Last night, H was trying to give J his appetite stimulant. J used to take it quite willingly, but he's changed his mind about it recently. He fights. He puts his hands over his mouth. He runs away and tries to hide. He spits it all out and requires a second attempt.

Last night, I asked J if he wanted to lie in Mommy's lap while Daddy gave him the medicine. J agreed.

J crawled up on the couch beside me, climbed into my lap, and laid down in my arms. H came over with the little syringe, and he and I caressed J's sweet little face for a moment before giving him his little dose.

J: I'm soooooo happy!

And then he happily swallowed all of his medicine on the first try.

I love the things J says and does now. I love it when he runs up and hugs me, gives me kisses, wants to sit in my lap, wants me to sit beside him at the table for dinner. I love when he climbs up on the big stools so that he can eat his dinner at the kitchen island, and when he stuffs his teddy bears into the electric fireplace for safekeeping. I love how he climbs up on top of his slide house and pretends that he's riding a horse or a dinosaur, and when he grabs the top bar and swings. I love when he insists that we take pictures of his antics.

One thing that J says now, which I really enjoy is:

J: I like you!

It's such a happy, sincere expression. And it's just so sweet.

J has his moody times still, of course. They are frequent. But his happy times are doing more and more to compensate for his bouts of bad temper. And he's so much fun when he's happy and playful.

I love being J's mommy. I look forward to the day when I can get up off the couch again and play with him properly. He adds so much to our lives. And, to quote J: "I'm soooooo happy!"

Monday, February 11, 2008

At the dinner table

J's appetite stimulant works really well. Of course, I question why the manufacturers feel a need to put alcohol in a pediatric medication. But they do. I've been assured that it is a small amount of alcohol and the medication is perfectly safe for a 2-year old. And it does have dosing instructions for a child J's age, so we have been accepting of it. But still!!

Anyway, it works well. He eats a lot better now than he used to. We did try taking him off of the appetite stimulant for a short time, just to see how he'd do. He didn't do well. I guess we need to keep him taking it for awhile yet.

J needs encouragement to eat. It's not a constant mention, but he does need the occasional "Have a bite"; "Just two more bites"; "That's a good boy"; "Yay, J!" - that sort of thing. He also has been known to be bribed with dessert or movies. And he has a special straw that a friend gave him at Halloween. It's a purple bendy straw with four little orange jackolanterns on it, and it seems to encourage him to drink more milk and juice. His weight appears to be on the rise, and he's getting taller. He's still not a big kid, but he's starting to catch up a bit now, and we're feeling quite relieved.

J likes to imitate now. Things we say, things we do. He loves my calculator and the computer. J will try to sit at the computer on his own, and he'll tell us "I need to study". Or he'll gather up all his little treasures, head to the door, and say "I have to go to work now".

Tonight J had maccaroni and cheese for dinner. This is one of J's favorite dishes, and consists of boiled maccaroni with melted Cheese Whiz stirred in. He loves it. He had apple pie for dessert.

While he was enjoying his dessert, I wandered into the kitchen to refill my water glass.

J: (holding up a piece of pie) Have a bite.

(T takes a small bite of J's pie.)

J: That's a good Mommy.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Horsies for Africa

Today, we were watching TV in our living room. A World Vision ad came on. World Vision is an organization that we certainly support. We feel very fortunate and blessed, and we think it's important to give to those who find themselves in greater need. A chance to help others is something that should never be overlooked.

When the World Vision ad came on, J was affected. There were little children on the TV who looked very unhappy. J doesn't like it when people are unhappy. He wants to make them feel better.

J: Are they sad?

H: Yes, J. They're sad.

J: Those little boys? They're sad?

H: Yes. They're sad.

J: Why are they sad?

H: Well, you know J, you have lots of stuff. You have a house, and clothes, and toys, and food to eat any time you want it. But those little boys don't have those things. They have no toys. Often, they have no food. Some of them don't even have a house where they can live and be safe, or parents to look after them. You're a very lucky little boy. Those little boys don't have what you have. Isn't that sad?

J: Oh. That's why they're sad?

H: Yes, J. That's why they're sad. Some of them would love to have the things that you have.

J: (lying his favorite hobby horse down just in front of the TV) Here you go, boys. Here you go.

I love my son so much!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Because the pregnancy needed more drama

As most of my readers will know, I've been on bedrest since early November for bleeding in the pregnancy. I've had severe nausea and vomiting, which has resulted in weight loss and dehydration. I've continued to spot throughout the pregnancy. There seem to be some placental issues that are causing this. Just like when I was pregnant with J, I have to stay still. It's tougher this time, because it's for a longer period. It's also tougher because I have J and have a harder time staying still. But I do my best.

I keep having to go to the hospital. Every episode of bleeding or spotting, and off we go. We spend a good portion of time at the hospital these days.

I have now developed kidney stones, just to add to the situation. Kidney stones and kidney infections can bring on early labour. I was already at high risk for that before. Age, past pregnancy, and complications to date had already made a preterm baby fairly likely. So I've now received steroid shots to mature Baby's lungs, just in case.

Kidney stones hurt. And they can take a long time to pass. We can't really do a lot about it until after Baby is born. So I'm just drinking a lot of water and trying to flush them out of the system on my own. I spent last weekend in the hospital, getting rehydrated and trying to flush them. They let me go home once the pain had passed. But it returned in a different spot after I'd gotten home. There's not much that I can take for pain relief, because I'm pregnant. And it really hurts.

But at least it doesn't hurt in my back any longer. And it's no longer causing vomiting, so that's good. It's just causing some infection and a lot of pain.

I really wish these stones would pass so I could get on with the day-to-day chore of lying still, without so much pain.

Oh, the pain!!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bouncin' and Misbehavin'

J has been extremely hyper lately. We don't know quite why. But he's totally bouncing off the walls.

J's favorite word is "NO"! So much so that he came home from daycare one day last week with a note to this effect. He is most uncooperative. Time outs are frequently occurring in our household these days.

Today, J came home with a note to advise us that he was hitting his friends and throwing toys. Around here, hitting is promptly remedied with time outs. Throwing toys results in the toys being taken away and locked in the closet for a long time ... like weeks or months. But daycare can't implement the same punishments that we can at home, so they try other things.

Apparently, J hit one of his friends. He was reprimanded by his teachers. J responded by apologizing to the little boy, and giving him a hug and a kiss. Sounds sweet, doesn't it? And it would have been sweet. Except that J then continued to hit the little boy so that he could follow up with hugs and kisses. My little 2-year old appears not to understand that he can hug and kiss his little friends for no apparent reason, and thinks this is some kind of game.

I don't want J to bully his friends!!!!!

J was super-grumpy tonight. He was sent to bed early, since he clearly needed the sleep. And we attempted to explain to him at some length that he is not to hit or throw toys. Of course, he's only 2 years old, and I just don't know that he understands these concepts yet. All we can do is try.

On another note, J now has a nightlight. He still doesn't enjoy bed time, but he is not panicked about being in the dark any longer. So ... score!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


J spilt something on his pants while he was at daycare today. His teachers tried to change him into his spare pants.

His spare pants are favorites of ours. They're faded brown jeans with a small red bear iron-on on one leg. They have pockets in the knees where J can put all his little treasures - rocks, marbles, and the like. Very cute. Very practical. Very boyish.

Of course, J refused to wear them. He told the teachers that they were "girls' pants", and he wouldn't put them on. So he ended up dressed very warmly, in his ski pants, for the rest of the day.

H and J are now on their way to L&P's for "Fat Tuesday". While they are there, H will try to convince J to wear his regular pants.

A J never sleeps

J has decided that he wants cuddles before bed. He's suddenly developed a fear of the dark, and he doesn't like being left alone for bedtime.

J doesn't enjoy bedtime. He argues about it. He delays it. He demands cuddles and a sippy-cup of milk. J hasn't had a sippy-cup in many months, but we've had to dig this old relic up once more for his new night-time ritual. Usually, he wakes up several times a night and wants cuddles.

Last night was particularly dreadful.

I'd spent the weekend at the hospital. Everything is pretty well fine, but I've added kidney stone to the list of pregnancy problems, and I needed to spend some time at the RAH. It was not a great weekend. But they released me Sunday afternoon and let me come home. I'm trying to stay hydrated and rested, and hoping to manage this at home. But if the nights are like last night, ... well ...

J awoke.

"I wanna cuddle for a little bit"
"I wanna cuddle!"

Minutes pass ...

"Soccer ball, soccer ball
Soccer ball, soccer ball
Soccer ball, soccer ball"

Minutes pass ...

"Froggie is stinky. Poopie Froggie? It's ok, Froggie. I'll change your bum."

Narration of the diaper change being performed on J's stuffed Froggie ensues ... followed by a diaper change on Cow ... and one on Big Bad Wolf, who was presumably so poopie that he needed toilet paper ...

Minutes pass ...

"Mommy, can you turn on Treehouse?"
"Shrek the Third?"

Minutes pass ... Mommy gets up for her ritual 3:00 a.m. hurl ...

"Mommy's vomiting in the big potty. She's vomiting in the big potty"

Followed by narration ...

"She vomits ... again ... and again ... and again ... and again ..."

Minutes pass ... J falls out of bed ... We put him back in bed ...

"Can you cover me up, Mommy?"

Mommy obliges. Minutes pass ...

"Can you cover me up, Mommy?"

Daddy responds ...

"No! Mommy!! Can you cover me up, Mommy? I WANT MOMMY!!!"

An argument erupts over whether or not Daddy is as good a cover-upper as Mommy ...

Eventually, J went back to sleep. I am tired. But I must stay up and drink lots and lots of water. There are still kidney stones to flush out of my system. Fun for the whole family!