Wintery Pungency

It's snowing again.
Which means it's time for pungent wintery bums to congregate inside subway cars.

On my way back from a doctor's appointment this morning I walked into an A train car containing no less than three extremely pungent bedraggled individuals with shopping cards overflowing with garbagey looking items.


The station at Fulton Street was flaunting its usual charms. There was a four-inch-deep puddle across the floor inside the station, complete with active waterfall from piping above. There was a bucket, which had been set there maybe as a sad-clown joke to catch the water, but which had long since been filled to overflow. Next to the bucket was one single yellow sign, which read: "CAUTION. WET FLOOR."

I imagined putting a wet floor sign up by a swampy outdoor area or a lake. I was thankful I was not the person who had been charged with cleaning the Fulton Street Station floors. Though, truthfully, I am doubtful that any human being has ever been charged with that task.

At the doctor's it was noted that my hands and ankles were swollen. I was cautioned again to eat fewer starches and more protein, to exercise more, and to try consuming natural diuretics such as parsley and melon (who knew?).

Brian bought me a body pillow, which I really love. It surrounds me almost entirely, and I refer to it as my "pregnant lady cage". I recommend it whole-heartedly, unless, of course, one ever aspires to get out of bed. Rolling over has become quite a challenge these days, and the pregnant lady cage doesn't make it any easier.

Back in early December we visited our friends Clare and Stephen in Baltimore. It seems like I never mentioned it. But I did take some pictures. It's taken me a while to post them. Here they are (click to view album):

I can't wait for tomorrow, when I don't have to leave the house at all. YES!

Escaping the Snow

We did finally get to Florida.
But not without a hitch.

We hit an unexpected amount of traffic on the way to JFK on Saturday, and showed up at the Delta kiosk 55 minutes before out flight. I swiped my credit card, typed in my confirmation number, tried finding our flight by city, but nothing was working. So we ran to the line in front of the ticket counter, waited for 8 minutes, and were told that since we showed up less than 60 minutes before our flight, we had just as well missed it.

My instinct was to begin using foul language loudly, but there were already many harried travelers doing so already. It just seemed too trite.

We ended up at another ticketing counter, where we waited on line for a good hour and a half. By the time we got to the counter, we had very much missed our flight. There had originally been three Delta employees behind the counter, but after one had been screamed at by a crazy raving man with a boat load of children, he held up his hand to the next person on line and said, "No. I'm on break." And walked away.

It was like being at our local crapped-out post office. It was worse than our post office. It was the fifth ring of hell.

The two remaining employees behind the counter seemed to spend twice as much time talking on the phone as they did talking to the people at the counter trying to rebook their flights, which wasn't missed by the travelers, who would scream things like, "WHO THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING TO? ISN'T THAT A COMPUTER IN FRONT OF YOU!?! WHY DO YOU NEED TO BE ON THE PHONE?!?"

Brian and I devised our plan. When it was finally our turn, we tried to charm the woman. "What a day!" I said, "I would hate to have your job. You must be exhausted. I don't know how you're still standing, you poor thing."

She seemed to appreciate our sympathies. But it didn't cause her to magically find any new flights until Monday.

No! No! No! I wasn't going to do this again. Our trip had already been massively rescheduled once because of the snow storm. It wasn't going to happen again. And I wasn't going to have paid almost $50 for a car service to JFK only to have to pay $50 back, and then $50 back again two days later. NO!

But my charm wasn't working.

Then Brian turned to me and said loudly something like, "This is terrible. With you being pregnant and all, and almost in your third trimester...."

The woman looked up and cocked an eyebrow. She said, "Well.... Let me see what I can do... for the baby."

She booked us flying stand-by on the last flight to Miami that night. We were standby numbers 8 and 9. But I prayed for karma. Two standby riders were able to hop on our original flight when we weren't allowed to check in. Now it was our turn.

Our seats were practically in the lavatory, but we didn't care.

Our trip was pleasant enough. The weather was cool for Florida, and family kept apologizing for the unseasonably cold weather, — highs in the 60s. We, of course, were coming from highs in the low 30s, so I had no complaints.

I took a few pictures. Here are some shots of mostly my nephew, Jake. He is quite the cutie. Click on the picture to view the album:

After time spent in Hollywood, we drove across the state to St. Pete/Clearwater, where I took some pictures of our friends Dave & Heather's son, Sean.

Now we're back in NYC, and it's going to snow again. I look like a giant plum and feel lively as an octogenarian with gout.

Domestic Romance

A coworker suggested I check out the tasty Valentines-themed spread at Tribeca Treats.

I took one look at their cookie selection, and started to get some great ideas:

"KISS ME" could become "KISS ME ON THE HERPES."
"BE MINE" could become "BE MILD."

I am significantly less interested in the sour grapes cookies. As someone who has been married since the beginning of time, I would prefer messages that were more domestic in nature. Like:



I feel like I missed my calling.

Winter Storm Storm

Our flight was finally canceled.
But so too were the flights on which we were going to re-book.

It all seemed like a lot of hookum. It didn't start snowing until almost 10 PM last night, and even then, it was a light, wet snow. This morning, there was only a thin coating on the ground and the wind wasn't much to speak of. Still, Delta seemed to think it a good idea to cancele most flights from Tuesday evening through Thursday morning.

We were forced into the second rung of flight-rebooking hell, trying to get through, getting put on hold for 20 and 40 minutes at a time, having flights disappear from availability even as we were trying to book them.

Of course, we were safe and warm in our own home, so I should really stop complaining.

We ended up flipping our trip and moving the dates around, and all is as well as can be expected now.

Brian went into work. I stayed home. The wind has picked up, as has the snow. I'm not sure if it's a blizzard, but it's a something.

Here are some pictures I took outside our apartment before I ran back inside, all cold and soppy.

Yes, those are our bikes, which we don't get very much use out of these days. Don't you think the close-up of the snow on the tree makes it looks like some kind of underwater splendor? Well, I do. I think I'm going to crawl back into bed now and try to dream of underwater snow, all shaken up and falling all around me.

Winter Storm Watch

We're supposed to fly out tomorrow to Tampa.
And the weather looks just fine from where I'm sitting.

But everyone in the world is forecasting gloom and doom. A giant blizzard with New York City as its epicenter. Snow 8-13 inches high. Winds gusting between 35 and 45 miles an hour.

The flight that was leaving before ours has already been canceled. Ours is still on.

There are no longer any flights available tonight. Our next opportunity to fly out would be on Thursday morning. All the flights seem to be crazy early and have a million connections.

Even if our flight takes off, there's no guarantee that we can even get to the airport. Usually, in inclement weather, taxis and car services are incredibly scarce. We're flying out of LaGuardia, so taking public transit would consist of taking the train the F train from Brooklyn, through Manhattan, into Queens, and then catching the Q33 bus from Jackson Heights to LaGuardia. It's not absurd, but it can't be fun. And by the time we decide we won't be able to get a car service, it'll probably be too late to make our long, mass transit trek.

Meanwhile, everyone was all gloom and doom about this weekend. DC got dumped on, but NYC only got a dusting. What are the chances it will miss us twice in one week?

I don't know what to do. I really wish it looked more ominous outside. I am presently taking suggestions.

Big & Lumpy

I started knitting a baby blanket for the Schweller fetus. I fought with the idea for a while. One reason for not knitting it/him a baby blanket was that if we were to have another child, I might not have the time to do the same, and the second child might feel hurt.

I told this to a friend and she suggested I was over-thinking this... a lot. Which is probably true.

My mind has been kind of useless lately. I have had trouble concentrating. I have been working on the same book for ages and have not made much progress. But I still have a nice amount of nervous energy.

I don't know if I ever posted a picture of the blanket I knitted for my nephew. My sister took a picture of the blanket this weekend, which included Jake. My heart melted a bit. Here they are:

What a cutie!

I gave up. On Saturday, I finally started the baby blanket with some extra yarn I had bought during a big sale at the yarn store this past summer. I am so doofy these days, I miscounted twice and completely messed up once and had to restart the beast three times already. I have had to un-knit entire rows twice already.

I'm sure our kid will not appreciate all my hard work.

In the elevator on Friday, a woman asked when I was due. I told her not until late May. She gave me a troubled look. I am pretty large-and-in-charge. I've been telling people that I'm precocious (between you and me, I'm up nearly 30 pounds already — which is mortifying).

I had Brian take another picture of me modeling a knick-knack. I don't look so bad in this picture. That's probably why I chose it. I've been very self-conscious about how big I've gotten. I have received multiple lectures about how this is not about me, it's about the baby, and I should stop caring so much about how big I've gotten or how lumpy and dumpy I look.

Still, it's very hard.

Here is a picture of me in our messy apartment posing with our diecast Gort figurine, which I love, but which Brian keeps trying to throw away.

Dream & Oates

My dreams have had a different feel lately.
They are longer and more rambly, and I often wake up feel more exhausted than rested. They also maintain a certain vividness that keeps them eerily still clinging to me throughout the day.

Last night, I dreamed that Brian and I saw Hall & Oates in concert. The concert was being performed on a stage nearly identical to the one at my hometown Jewish Community Center.

It was old, present day Hall & Oates, not youthful, florecent-colored Hall and Oates. At first, I thought we had great seats, but I could hardly hear the music. It kept getting quieter and more far off sounding. Then I realized our seats were actually quite poor. It was like at High Holiday services, when they roll back the wall to the social hall. We were in plastic folding chairs behind the social hall line, and I hadn't even noticed the rows of permanent chairs in front of us.

For their last song, Hall & Oates played "Adult Education," which is not such a great song. There was no encore. When they were finished, they simply lowered themselves from the stage and walked out the side entrance.

Brian and I were swept into the exiting crowd, which was filled with mostly elderly people. The parking lot was bright and hot. Brian had rented a small, silver car (much like one we had used while in Iceland). Brian got in the driver's seat, John Oates got in the passenger's seat, and I climbed into the back.

Brian started driving. We were apparently in New Orleans (a place I have never actually been). Oates kept complaining about the concert and about the locals. He had nothing nice to say about anyone. I thought to myself, Wow. Oates is being a real dick. I wondering if it had to do with his having shaved off his mustache. I often feel having a mustache and then shaving it off makes one appear more sinister.

I looked out the window, and there was water half way up the glass. I asked Brian, "Are we in a boat?"

He turned and looked at me funny. "No," I said, "We're in a car, right? How are we driving through all this water? This is dangerous." But we continued, and the water receded, and it was hot and humid.

Oates was griping that he was hungry, and he wouldn't shut up. Brian stopped at a dinky, road-side hot dog stand that also sold fruity shakes. I realized that I was probably hungry too and should eat. I walked up to the counter to ask if they had anything vegetarian, and then I woke out.

I've been walking around all day feeling hot and humid, even in this cold weather. And I still can't shake Oates is being a real dick out of my head.