Communiqués from Cowtown

Goodbye Hedonism, Hello Diaper Genie….

Week With Grandma… A Photo Journal August 31, 2007

Filed under: Family,The Bee — nickihem @ 4:58 am

The Bee has had a most marvelous week with her grandma. Since grandpa was out of town, we thought we’d head out from L-Town and come stay for a bit to keep her company…. Here are some of the highlights from the past few days…


Bee and Grandma hang out on the lawn and soak up some sun. The Bee, quite predictably, plucks up any leaves that have fallen (it’s almost fall, for crying out loud) and pops them into her mouth, sometimes faster than Grandma can stop her. But they’re having quite the time, those two…


Now able to cruise with only one precariously-placed hand along furniture, stairs, and railings, the second floor has become her favorite spot in the house. She loves it when I bark like an attack dog and nip her toes from below.


See those chompers? Not even quite ten months old, this baby…. sheesh.


Already, this child knows how to accessorize…


“Oh Grandma, this deck is abosultely delicious!”


This is one of my favorite pictures of the week… It’s hard to think this will probably be the last time this year that Bee and G-ma are going to be able to get outside since we probably won’t be back ’round these here parts ’till Decemeber or so.


It actually got chilly enough to have to put The Bee in a jacket this week. I know it’s not grandma-related (although it’s at her house) but she just looks so damn cute in her little ruffly jacket.


The Return of Grandpa– He is back on our last day and lets The Bee take a ride, quitting early because it’s “not exactly safe” (although how many times do I remember doing this? Or my sisters riding on the mower before they even had teeth?

It’s been a nice and relaxing week and The Bee had the time of her life. My mom is something else. She’s like a kid around my kid. Love you all, even if you read and never leave me comments.


The War on Nature, First Blood, and Other News August 9, 2007

Filed under: Family,The Bee,Uncategorized — nickihem @ 3:39 am

The war on nature, the battlefield of which is located on the giant windows overlooking the water in the back of our house has now been won. We are, I’m happy to say, the victors. After over 12 cans of expensive toxic foam that promises to kill hornets, bees, and scorpions. Yes, scorpions, the glass is now free (with the exception of one horrifying large spider who will serve as the grim messenger of imminent death to potential spider-scouts in the future) of those awful arachnids. It has been a tiresome battle. But thank god, it’s over. We think. They are incredibly persistent little bastards. And huge. This does not even come close to doing it justice… 


It is now safe to exit onto the back deck, which we excitedly did, only to find that there was a stream of tiny determined ants following a direct line from the wood underneath over near our door. It’s like they’ve come to avenge the spiders. That’s okay. We have more cans of Zyclon-B or whatever the hell the stuff in the can is. For once in my lifetime I am looking forward to the end of summer and the onslaught of cold Midwestern winter. Although who knows, that might bring all the things from the outside right on in through some secret tunnel or something. We’ll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it. 

A couple days ago The Bee got her first real injury. It was the first time I’ve ever seen her hurt with a noticeable boo-boo. Since she’s crawling like a pro now, she kind of seems to get cocky about moving forward and decided she wanted something and went after it with gusto. However, she forgot that her hands were required for crawling and just kind of dove into the hardwood floor. Ry was on the phone with my mom near her and I was over by the couch and I just remember hearing her hit the floor, Ry yelling “get her!” and then a horrendous wail.  God. The pit of my belly is all twisted just remembering it.  Her little lip split somewhat. Not all the way, but bad enough to leave a cut along the center and bad enough to illicit enough blood to make me want to faint. She didn’t cry much after the initial wail…we gave her an ice cube in a paper towel and she was perfectly content again, just sucking on it while Ry and I kept looking at one another with total fear. She’s fine now, poor Bee. This is the day after it happened… 


She’s at that frightening point where she’s really getting around and we’re just going to have to be vigilant all the time. It tears my very heart to think that this is par for the course when it comes to babies and that it won’t be the last time something like this happens. I want to wrap her in bubble wrap, little thing. I can’t be that mom though…. Otherwise, she’s so happy here. We go outside, play in the sunroom near the windows, watch for hummingbirds at our feeder, go for walks, play in her carpeted bedroom where things are nice and soft, and just have a ball. She’s such a happy baby. One of the people that lives on our lane at the end saw her for the first time today and took a breath and said “she stunning!” … (I couldn’t help but think of that Seinfeld episode “she’s breathtaking”). She really is stunning. I loves ya Bee… 

Chillin’ in the Pack n’ Play



Goodbye Cowtown, Hello L-Town August 4, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — nickihem @ 3:31 pm

It’s hard to believe that it’s already Saturday morning… Being the procrastinators we are, we waited until Monday to really get down to packing and managed to get just about everything we own either into boxes or on the curb by evening. Even though we downsized like crazy for this move, we still ended up loading my dad’s hauling trailer, his truck, and both of our cars to the gills with little room to spare. We spent the night at my parent’s house Tuesday and left The Bee with her grandma when we got up at 5:30 a.m. to try to get here before 9:30 or 10:00 and unload everything… Just thinking about this past week makes me tired. It was an exhausting move. 

But we’re here! That’s what matters. Even though we both miss The Bee (we’re leaving in a few hours to go pick her up) it was one hell of a lot easier to get things unpacked and arranged the way we want them without her here. I would much rather that she comes home to a new house that’s already baby-proofed and organized. It is, however, going to be a very long 3.5 hours back to our house. Not only are we bringing back The Bee (who no longer goes into endless-sleep-mode during long car trips) but we are bringing the cat back as well. We have this “travel anxiety” medication for cats who, like Midi, freak out in the car, but her level of total horror completely overrides whatever is supposed to work with this medicine. On the way from Cowtown to my parent’s house (about 2 hours) she meowed the entire time. I’m just not looking forward to this, I must say. Why, in this modern age, hasn’t someone bothered to invent a teleportation device? I would gladly pay whatever price necessary… 

I can’t say that I’m missing Cowtown at all. The last two days there were a little difficult as we said goodbye to some of friends and I kept having the feeling that I might be isolated out here. Oddly enough, as soon as we got things unpacked I started feeling much better about that end of things. I know I’ll meet people here—other moms. I found a mom’s group and, just like in Cowtown, I’ll go to parks, arts events, and do other things with The Bee that will put me in contact with my fellow human beings. I’ll just miss the level of trust and knowing I have with some of our Cowtown people. On Monday as we were packing, I called a friend of mine Sara and asked if she could hang out with The Bee while we got things packed since Mary was busy. She ended up taking her to the pool with her daughter Penny and a few other people we know and they had a great time. It’s hard to imagine getting to know anyone around here well enough to allow something like that but I suppose eventually it will happen. 

Getting to this house was one of the highlights of the year. We’ve already seen a couple of giant turtles, hummingbirds, many cardinals since they seem to like it around our house, and other local flora and fauna. It’s simply beautiful. There is, however, one big problem that we are working on taking care of. The giant floor-to-ceiling windows that go down in the back of the house and overlook the water were the drawing point about this place. Unfortunately, there is, quite literally, a carpet of thick spiderwebs and the biggest, nastiest, fattest spiders I’ve ever seen living there. They are awful. The first night they were also all over the deck—I mean all over. It was nightmarish. I know I’m trying to be Miss Rural-Living but I never expected this and it gives me a case of the howling fantods like nothing else. We couldn’t even walk out on the deck because the door leading out had a ton of those spiders on top, on the eves, and around the frame and they’re the type that will spider on down and land in your hair.  

So the other night we performed a complete spider holocaust. We went and bought several cans of wasp and hornet killer (we have those lovelies to, did I mention that?) which is the kind that foams. They had spider killer but this stuff for the bees actually says on the back that it kills scorpions too. Kills scorpions. That’s the stuff… So we waited until nighttime when they started to crawl out of their little homes in the eves and around the windows and bombed them. Got it all around the windows, the deck, the door, the kitchen window…everywhere. Then we got out the house and high-power sprayed it all down. They were falling off the house, one after another, some of them still moving and spinning desperate little webs in their final hours and all I could think was that this stuff has the capacity to kill scorpions for god’s sake and these things are still clinging to dear life. God… 

So yeah, I love nature, but I guess just on my terms. Ry and I did extensive research on black widows, brown recluse, hobo, and other poisonous spiders found in Indiana and we’ve come to the conclusion that despite the fact that these are grisly spiders (their bodies are the size of my thumbnail, if not bigger on some of them…that’s not including the legs) they are not dangerous. They’re just freakish. Very freakish. 

I really need to toughen up. 

I went around yesterday with poison ivy killer and went to town. All around the big yard, the trees, the firepit, the deck and front porch the stuff is growing. I am very allergic and I imagine The Bee will be too. She’s going to be walking soon and I want to be able to enjoy this yard without fear that she’s going to get into it. This ivy killer can take up to 4 weeks to work all the way so it’s best I get it done pronto. I think I saw some poison oak as well so that got zapped as well. These are all things I didn’t think about until we actually got here and started looking around. We’ve taken a lot of criticism about where we’re living because it’s not some safe residential street and there are dangers around. I will admit some things are dangerous here. The river, the poison ivy, places to fall and get bumps and bruises, but we will watch that little girl like hawks. Sometimes I worry that this was selfish of us to move out to such an area but then again, is it any less safe than a busy street or a house with a pool? Okay, maybe it is. The point is, we’re on top of things and we think giving The Bee the opportunity to grow up in a place where she has room to run around and explore the natural world is important. Very important. Living on a quiet suburban street would bore us anyway and I’m done with cities for a while anyway. I can think out here. I can breathe. I am sitting on the porch writing more than a page because I have room to do so. I am even wearing a bathing suit while just sitting outdoors—something I wouldn’t do in Cowtown for sure. I feel good here. And that is important. For all of us. I know already that I will be able to write here. I was having awful block and it was depressing me but now I’m good again.  

There are only four people that will ever drive by our house, one of whom just did. Our neighbor to the far end of us is an artist and has an amazing property with a wild garden of peppers, varied tomatoes, and tons of strange flowers. I watched him from our dock as he fished in the river, drinking a beer with his three dogs running around in the water. He seems nice and it makes me feel good knowing we have other creative people in the vicinity.

Ry and I checked out the mall yesterday because we needed to get out for a bit and were overwhelmed by the Nascar and heavy-duty Christian vibe. Even at the mall you see this stuff. The Purdue campus side is on the other side of the river and this is certainly the working-class side. I couldn’t help noticing that as we went a few places in town it seemed like there were a ton of young (very young—like maybe 20) mothers with 3 or more children. There was a lot of that… Anyway, I’ve been going on too long even though there are many more things I could talk about. I need to go take a shower (in well water—again, something I need to toughen up about) so we can go pick up our baby. I miss The Bee so much.