Office Perks

It has been an exciting week around here. And I mean that in a sarcastic sense. Luffy’s been ridiculously busy at work, the dumpling has been working on mobility, and I… well I’ve just been trying to make sure we all the leave the house with pants on*.

On of my coworkers (the only other female professional at our firm) is leaving. There are no hard feelings, just life and opportunities and little things like seeing her husband everyday are taking her away from the DFW area. Apparently, I paved the way for her as our partners actually entertained talks of her telecommuting. It’s been going well with me, so they were willing to give it a shot for her. That’s not going to happen (for a few reasons), but I was a little proud to have laid the groundwork.

Now that I’ve been working from home part time for over six months now, I can tell you that there are a few perks to working from an office that get overlooked:

  • Regularly interacting with humans who don’t require you to change their diaper. 10/10 would recommend. The dumpling’s not at home with me during the day, but then again, neither is anyone else. I highly recommend getting out of the house on occasion to go talk to other adults.
  • Free air conditioning. I know that we all complain that our offices are meat lockers (because I could have started an icicle farm there yesterday), but in the midst of a warm and muggy summer, free air conditioning ain’t a bad deal. If I want my home office cooler, I have to pay for it. One other perk of ridiculously cold offices: mosquito bites and poison ivy rashes get numbed by the cold. Things are much itchier at home.
  • Free snacks and drinks. The snacks part is really not that great because it just further delays me from my weight loss goals. However, the drinks part! My office stocks Le Croix in four flavors, diet Coke and Dr. Pepper, and assorted sodas, coffee, and teas. My home office stocks none of this and I blame the lazy office admin around here. Getting her to do anything is like pulling teeth.
  • Killing time with coworkers. Re: number one up there. Working from home has made me realize just how much time is wasted each day by simply talking with coworkers. There’s no idle chitchat at my home office. At my other office though, stopping by to ask a question could veer off into a thirty minute conversation about driving pet peeves. True story.
  • Seriously, getting to know your coworkers. I know half of these involve them, but it’s so true. There really is not idle chitchat between myself and my coworkers when I’m not there. So all of those little tidbits you pick up (John is thinking about backpacking through Europe next year) and life story arcs (Joe is buying a house), you don’t get any of that when you don’t physically work in the same place. The female coworker I mentioned above, she started a week or so before I went on maternity leave, so I really haven’t physically worked next to her for long. I realized yesterday that I have no idea what her husband does for a living – not even remotely (like I know Will’s wife is a teacher). No clue.
  • Getting ready in the morning. Now I admit that part of this is just a given now that I have a child (and will always and forever at-least-for-the-next-18-years be actively trying to get another person ready in the morning as well). I don’t take time to get ready anymore, and part of “getting ready” is self-care. For instance, I don’t put on my moisturizer very much any more. It has SPF 30 in it and means that I go without sunblock on my face for a good portion of the week now. Tsk tsk. I don’t put on nice clothes very much anymore – it’s all shorts and t-shirts. Which is great! Comfortable! Easy! Except that most people take me a lot more seriously in my work attire. In shorts and a tee, I look like a college student (at best).
  • Diet control. I know! I know. You’re thinking, Belle, what does working in an office have to do with your diet??? Peer pressure, my friends. Peer pressure and planned meals. You see, at the office, the only food I have available to me is the food I brought (which means I thought about it and purposefully packed so totes healthy) and the aforementioned office snacks. I have set myself up at the office as being the healthy eater. If anyone wants to lose weight, I 100% recommend doing this because now I feel like EVERYONE watches what I eat. Someone is always bound to mention it if I’m not eating broccoli that day (because I always eat broccoli). If we are celebrating a birthday with cake, someone will always make a joke that they’re gonna have cake while I eat my yogurt (which then means I feel soooo guilty even thinking about taking a piece of cake). Seriously – coworker expectations plus my own guilt equals the best diet around. At my home office though, not only is there no one around to watch me eat a second or third handful of chips, I am also in close proximity to my fridge and pantry and all the delicious things in them.

In looking back over my list here, the biggest thing is my coworkers. It all boils down to being very isolated while working from home. It’s something you don’t really think about when drooling over the prospect of working from home, but there it is. I think the half and half deal I have going on right now is pretty perfect, the best of both worlds, if I may bust out the cliches on you. Just enough time at the office to interact and connect with my peers and just enough time away to actually enjoy my life.

* Ok, confession time. The dumpling doesn’t ever leave the house in pants, that poor baby. In my defense, this is the one time in his life where it’s perfectly acceptable for him to appear in public sans pants and I want him to enjoy it to the fullest.

The Game

Before I had a child, I remember wondering what the allure of all of those baby games was. You know: peekaboo, nursery rhymes, so big – all of those. I mean, sure babies laughed and smiled, I suppose that’s cute. But what’s the fun in them? How could parents repeat them over and over and over and seemingly be just as delighted as their babies?

And then I had a child. And now I know.

To be fair, I’ve always just assumed it would be different with your own child and that’s exactly right. The dumpling looooooooves for us to sing to him. His favorites are Itsy-bitsy Spider and Open, Shut Them, but he’ll also take Disney songs or any other song you happen to be singing. If he’s in a good mood, he positively lights up when you start singing. If he’s in a bad mood, he’ll give you a teary little smile and put a pause on his cries (until the moment you stop singing, of course). He also loves to play peekaboo and he’s recently leveled up his abilities: he can now pull the cloth we’re playing with off of his own head. Score one for the dumpling! His little laughs and big smiles are infectious and Luffy and I will endlessly repeat whatever currently has him giggling in pursuit of MOAR giggles.

However, he’s got a new game now that he’s positively thrilled over and Luffy and I…. well we can’t get enough of it either:

So the dumpling has figured out that when either of us are holding him, he can throw his arms out to the other parent and be passed off. I’m not really sure why he’s so enchanted with this – perhaps it’s his first realization that he can communicate what he wants and get it*. Luffy and I love the little game though because the dumpling gives the best hugs and when he’s passed, he’ll sometimes turn around to you and give this little look like omg mom YOU’RE here too, that’s just amazing! i am so excited to see you!! and then throw his little arms towards you. Sigh. It’s the sweetest.

Last night, something threw the dumpling for a loop in the bath (we’re thinking maybe the water was too warm for his liking???) and he started crying. Big tears, long sobs. He did it the night before too and we were at a loss as to what to do. Nursing didn’t help. His zippy didn’t help. Pats and hugs and bedtime stories didn’t help. Eventually, he settled down, but it took him a while. Last night though, we brought him back to his room and played our little game again. Soon, he was giggling and smiling and all was right with the world.

Luffy and I would happily play that game with him for hours, especially with the knowledge that it won’t be long before he’ll have no patience for being held – he’ll want to GO and DO and RUN and SEE! So yes, right now we’ll pass him back and forth and back and forth and be delighted each time he throws his arms out to us.

*We’re working on some simple signs right now, mainly for milk and more. He hasn’t yet signed anything yet, but he definitely knows the one for milk. All I have to do is ask him if he wants milk (with the sign), and he goes ballistic with the hammy grins and the arm flapping. Yes! Milk! I love milk! I am so excited for the milk!!

Clutter

So. What do you do with all of the baby stuff when the baby outgrows said stuff?

Because seriously, my house feels like it’s overflowing with newborn/young infant stuff that the dumpling isn’t using anymore.

I’ve already put away his cosleeper (which he never used), his rock ‘n’ play (which we used as a laundry hamper for a while after he transitioned out), his swing, and the car seat base from my car (Luffy is still using his for a while, but we have the convertible seat installed in my car already). I’m eyeing the bouncer and bassinet that are in our room right now. Oh and the frame stroller. Oh and the nursing pillows. And then the infant bucket seat and Luffy’s base. All things I have to find a place for.

It’s fun, in a way, to see all of the things that the dumpling has no use for now. So many of them were a lifesaver when he was a newborn. The rock ‘n’ play was the only way he’d sleep for more than 50 minutes at 3 weeks old. Once he came around to the swing (around 8 weeks old maybe?), it was the best place to ensure a nice long nap. Even as he got older, the swing helped him through his overtired energy at the end of daycare days to get a final nap in. We only stopped using it when he became too distracted by the movement to snooze.

Of course, with plans for a second child at some point, I’ve merely packed all of this stuff away. In closets, under beds, you name it and it likely has a baby-related item stored in it. I’m running out of room. As a person who dislikes clutter, I’m already looking forward to the moment when I can donate it all.

It’s probably just begun, hasn’t it? All you parents of older children are probably out there shaking your heads at me. Bouncers give way to exersaucers which are taken over by walkers and then activity tables and then toys and legos. When does it end?!

Thoughts on a Friday

I’ve been battling a tension headache all week. It comes and goes and it’s only on my right side. It stretches from my temple, down across my ear and into my neck and shoulder. It’s made this week a little colored in fatigue and aches.

think it’s related to how I carry the dumpling. Or really, how I do everything else while I carry him. I’m right-handed, so I carry him with my left and do everything with my right. I’m guessing that I compensate for his weight or something with my right side.

ANYWAY – this is all truly fascinating talk, but I can’t help it. It’s flaring up again and makes it hard to focus.


Anyone else out there feel the need to purge their house of clutter right now? Spring Summer cleaning anyone? No? Just me then? Ok.

Figures. I spent all winter cooped up with a newborn and then all spring trying to figure out how to juggle work/baby/fitness/life/etc. I was a little busy, is what I’m saying. Now, though, it feels like I find a new, random project to tackle every day.

For instance, there’s a storage box full of old T-shirts of mine. Once upon a time, I deemed these shirts memorabilia worthy and refused to donate them. Ten years though does a lot to what I’d label as memorable now. So I want to go through it again – pare down what I’m keeping and donate the rest. Get rid of the storage box (which is in the office, by the way) and find a different place to store the rest. Now ask me how long that storage box has been sitting in my office? A couple of years maybe? A long time, is my point and I’ve never felt inclined to even open it and now, suddenly, it must be sorted!

So yeah, I’ve got that going on right now.


Did I ever tell you guys that we put a deposit down on a Tesla Model 3? Like two years ago? Because we did. I’m still not quite sure how I convinced Luffy to go for it. (Actually, that was a lie, it was the tax deductions. That’s how I got him to agree, that adorable nerd. He’s mine ladies, back off.)

Anyway, my gearhead of a coworker has been all excited this week because they are finally moving the first units into production. He wanted to know if I’d heard about my place in line yet. What about options? Timeline? Delivery date? ANYTHING WOMAN, give me some tidbit of info.

Alas, I couldn’t do anything for him; he’s more informed than I am. I’ve been deleting most emails from Tesla (most of them are trying to sell me on their much more expensive models and I laugh because, oh boy Tesla, you clearly overestimate my bank account). I was happy to hear that they’ve started production though. Perhaps I’ll get my car late this year or early next. Which is sort of amazing, given Late 2017 seemed ages away when we originally put down the deposit.


I officially ran out of time, sorry guys. It’s time to pick my dumpling up! Have a good weekend!

Randomness

Hey guys – remember when I used to post a bunch of random things together??? Let’s do that again.


I am super excited for our neighbors. They’re pregnant (having a little boy – squeee!!!). I knew she was due around the beginning of June and I vaguely remember her telling me that her doctor wasn’t going to let her go past June 5th, so I’ve been watching their house like a hawk. I noticed their primary car was gone late Sunday afternoon, but thought that perhaps they were enjoying a last hurrah. Then, like a weirdo, I checked after the dumpling’s 2am nursing session to find that their car was still gone. YAYAYAYAY!!! BABY TIME!!!

Sure enough, their car is still gone today, but I’m hoping that they come home today so I can catch a glimpse of them as they arrive. I swear I’m not a stalker I’m just so excited for them and their new baby! It has me all nostalgic for my own last few days of pregnancy and our first days at home with the dumpling.


Speaking of the dumpling, tomorrow he has his first splash day at daycare. Splash day is every Wednesday throughout summer and I seriously might pass out from the adorableness. I got him little swim trunks and a swim shirt and a little sun protection hat. PICTURE IT. Itty bitty 6 mo swim trunks!!! So cute!


I’m buckling down on my weight loss efforts. My baby is seven months old – I can no longer say I just had a baby. It’s odd, in a way, because it’s been so long since I’ve actively tried to lose weight. That’s not meant as some humble brag – har har har – I legitimately have been at the level of fitness that I desired for a very long time. “Dieting” for me was more of a oh, I ate a bunch of crap this weekend and feel so bloated so I’ll eat really well for a couple of days and voila!! So I’m trying to cement it in my head that this will probably take more than a couple of days.

I was actually feeling pretty good about myself until we went to my parent’s house for Memorial Day. I didn’t even eat that poorly, I just had a lot of champagne (what can I say, my mom and I both love champagne). And alas, all of those bubbles add up to definitely more than air. Le boo.


Speaking of Memorial Day, we had a great time in my hometown! It was the dumpling’s second flight (remember the first one??) and he did amazingly well this time too. This trip was his first time spending the night someplace else. I was a touch concerned, but vowed to just take it in stride. He reverted back to two night wakings, one normal and one out of the ordinary. I think the out-of-the-ordinary one was more due to him being aware that he was not in his own room and thus made it hard for him to go back to sleep in the early morning hours (around 5:30am). Overall though, he still did really well.

It was also really interesting to see his waketimes be affected because of his completely new environment. He was so busy observing and figuring things out that he’d be ready for a nap about an hour and a half after he woke up (he’s solidly in two-hour waketimes right now). It mostly meant he was a yo-yo of happy baby, tired baby. Poor dumpling.

Another first for the books – we went swimming! And here is when I really struggle with my decision not to post pictures of him because he was SOOOO ADORABLE. My mom, who was super excited about us coming, went out and got him a little floaty thing. One of these. He was very wary at first (and I don’t blame him – the pool is a lot bigger than his bath tub), but he warmed right up to it. He even paddled his little feet the entire time. He was exhausted afterwards, but I think he enjoyed it.


Lastly, that book I had on hold at the library, it actually became available much earlier. I read it last week and, honestly, I wasn’t impressed. I really like some of Rainbow Rowell’s other books, but this one wasn’t great. At one point, I honestly thought the writing was bad on purpose (the whole premise from her book Fangirl is that this book, Carry On, Simon is fan-fiction), but, after reading her acknowledgements, I realized that wasn’t the case. I can definitely see why most authors stick to specific genre. Rowell is really good with contemporary stories, little dramas that take place in current day. She was not adept at creating a world, however, as her descriptions of things like dragons or the magic in the book fell a little flat. Also, if you’ve read Fangirl, I oddly connected with the characters in her fan-fic (Simon and Baz, who are the main characters here – I know, it’s a little hard to follow) more deeply as presented there, in little snippets. For some reason, that did not translate to a whole book and they felt one-dimensional.

Anyway, read it if you can borrow it and were curious about, but I wouldn’t recommend buying it.


And that’s all I have folks! Along with trying to lose some weight, I’m also really trying to get better about posting but, you know, work and life gets in the way. Excuses, excuses.

Revenge of the detectors

So, remember that story I told a couple of weeks ago? All about my debacle with the smoke detectors? I didn’t tell you guys, but the next morning I purchased brand new batteries for every single unit in our house because I remained highly suspicious about the whole incident. I replaced the batteries, vacuumed each unit (the Googles are quick to remind me that dust in the units can cause malfunctions), re-installed all of those torn-down detectors and waited.

Sure enough, about 4pm, the unit in my office started chirping again. CHIRPCHIRPCHIRP – it chimed yelled at me. I finally realized that the unit was indeed malfunctioning and would need to be replaced. I, once again, climbed atop our ladder and pulled the unit off the ceiling – mostly just happy that this shit was taking place during daylight hours. I added purchase new smoke detector to my to-do list and carried on with life.

Fast forward two weeks: the dumpling was on a wonderful streak of only getting up once in the middle of the night to nurse (we’ve since gone back to two times – le sigh). He had gotten up at 1:30 and I had no problems returning him to his crib and getting back into bed myself. A couple hours later I was dragged out of sleep by – you guessed it – CHIRPCHIRPCHIRP. 

OH MY F(@*&$# LORD

I was up in an instant, racing through the house trying to figure out which unit was responsible for waking me. Of course, I couldn’t tell since the stupid thing only chirped three times – that telltale pattern now for a malfunctioning unit. I decided that I was having none of that shit and pulled three more units down (which now meant that we only had two units left). Luckily, because of the hell I went through last time, I wasted no time this time. (Plus, I already knew they all had fresh batteries, so no point in trying that out again.) I envied Luffy, as I climbed back into bed, as he was fast asleep and mentally added purchase new smoke detectors to my to-do list.

The next morning I ordered six shiny new smoke detectors for our house with plans to replace every single one of them.

You know, that’s one of the fun parts about owning a home – all of those glamorous little purchases. We dropped nearly $200 for the six new smoke detectors and it’s not like I can take people on a tour of the home and be like – if I may direct your attention to the ceiling above you. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a handsome new smoke AND carbon monoxide detector, installed just a few days ago and with fresh batteries to boot! Please. Please. Hold your applause until you’ve seen all six!  No? That doesn’t go over well with friends? Oh fine.

So that’s what we did this weekend – replace every single smoke detector in our home with a brand new unit. Except for the one in our bedroom. As previously discussed, that’s unreachable with our current ladder. We have to go rent a bigger ladder to replace that unit. That’s on this weekend’s agenda. I know – I KNOW – such an exciting life I lead.

Six months!

So first off, these past couple of weeks have been insanely busy at work. They’ve been the type of weeks where I’ve only managed to scratch of an item or two from my to-do list, while simultaneously adding three or four more items. They’ve been the type of weeks when I’ve been insanely busy each day, yet at the end of the week I can’t really pinpoint appreciable progress on my current tasks. In other words, screw these past couple of weeks.

On a much higher note, the dumpling officially turned six months old this past Tuesday! He had his six month check-up and the pediatrician was satisfied by his growth and progress. He weighs 14.5lbs (5th percentile!) and measures 26.75in (56th percentile – holy cats!!!). He doesn’t roll except when he’s in his crib, but he’s sitting almost perfectly unassisted. He doesn’t have much interest in toys, which was starting to alarm me because he doesn’t really grab for things. He has though, in just the last couple of weeks, started to really analyze what he’s holding. He still doesn’t reach for things much, but he’ll take it from you if you give it to him. He loves fabric though (and paper it seems – the paper liner on the pediatrician’s scale, for instance, he had to bring that with us back to the examination room). He’s officially tried sweet potatoes, peas, squash, egg, and avocado. Although, the egg and avocado, I’m fairly certain he didn’t actually swallow either of those.

It’s amazing watching him grow. His hair is coming in. His little legs are getting longer and hammier. He’s long and lean and adorable.


If I may though, can I relate to you the night of hilarity that occurred at my house this past week? Yes? Oh thanks.

So Luffy had to travel for business Wednesday and Thursday. No biggie. I was preparing the dumpling’s bath when I heard what every homeowner dreads – three chirps from a smoke detector. Le crap. I carried the peanut with me as I tried to track down the chirping unit. Unfortunately, after three rounds of chirping, the unit was ominously silent and I STILL hadn’t found the culprit. Well, I thought, might as well get the dumpling off to bed first. The only good thing in this scenario was that I had happened to be standing directly under the unit in the dumpling’s room as the last set of chirps went off, so I knew it wasn’t his.

So I continued with bedtime and got the dumpling off to bed, his bottles washed, his milk made, my pump parts cleaned, all without another peep from the detector. I naively hoped that it was a fluke and that it wouldn’t sound again. I knew it wasn’t a low battery signal and none of the other units had gone off, so it wasn’t an alarm state. All of the units showed steady green lights, so no issues to note there (also no help in determining which of the units was chirping). Around 10:30, I was about to head to bed when the chirping started again. Le double crap. I hurried around the house, but still couldn’t determine which unit it was because the thing still only chirped three times. When the house was silent again, I sat back to think about what to do. I figured three rounds of chirps every two hours or so wasn’t bad – I might even be able to sleep through it and it didn’t seem to bother the dumpling. I headed to bed with the hope that it would be a smooth night.

HAHAHA – I foresee much fail.

I got ready for bed and climbed in, settling down into my pillow right as the chirps started going off again. I ran through the house to figure out which one it was – again with no luck. I finally decided that maybe it was the hallway one and went to get a new battery and a chair.

Now let’s pause here. I knew, KNEW, that it wasn’t the typical battery dead chirp, but I, for some reason, did not consider that information. That’s basically all I know how to do with smoke detectors. Hear chirping – change battery. These are all of the things I know. Secondly, I should have just pulled them down to disable them (ours have A/C power as well as the battery back-up). I was worried that if I did that, it would set them all off with some sort of malfunction alarm as they sensed a fallen brother (not too crazy, ours are interconnected).

But I didn’t do any of that. At 11pm, I drug a chair into the hallway and replaced the battery in the hallway unit and then somehow managed to set off a test phase which meant that all of the units in our house suddenly blared their alarms. I prayed to ALL OF THE GODS AND LANDS AND EVERYTHING THAT IS HOLY that the dumpling would sleep through the racket. And he did! Praise be! I climbed off the chair, ready to head to bed when – CHIRPCHIRPCHIRP. (F&*%)

So at 11:15, I drug the ladder in from the garage and climbed atop it to change the battery in the office unit (again, see above and all of the things I know regarding smoke detectors). The damn thing kept chirping, even with the new battery. So at 11:30, I frantically looked up the manual to try to figure out what the freaking beeping meant and how to shut it the hell up. (My language was getting worse through this ordeal, so glad the dumpling wasn’t awake to witness it.) I discovered that this specific beeping pattern meant the unit was malfunctioning – FANTASTIC – and decided to disable it for the evening. So at midnight, I climbed up the ladder again and pulled the entire thing down. Since I still wasn’t 100% sure that the office unit was at fault and the thought of getting out of bed AGAIN for chirping AGAIN made me want to murder someone, I decided to pull down a couple of others for good measure.

So at 12:30 in the morning, I finally settled into my bed, completely on edge, waiting for more chirping. Which didn’t happen. Whew. But then my night fell apart farther as an unholy trinity of leaky diaper and gas and uncomfortableness got the dumpling up at 1:30 and kept him up until 4. Fun times. At least I didn’t have to call the fire department again. So win?