Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The People Upstairs

Disclaimer: I recently moved to an apartment after living in a house for nearly five-years. We have met wonderful people and strangely, there is more of a sense of community here in Building Six compared to our old street where we never even spoke to one set of neighbors. Well, they never spoke to us. I think it had something to do with our "Eve was Framed" bumper sticker and they run a summer bible camp.

There are a few characters that I will share about in the future. But know this... I love my neighbors. The people who moved in upstairs are really very nice, and I'm sure perfectly normal everyday folks, but you be the judge. Feel free to weigh in with your findings.

Our new neighbors moved in about two months ago. A husband and wife with two kids arrived from Corpus. Our first impression was watching the husband lift a television, not a little one, more like a 48" TV by himself out of a pick-up truck like he was lifting a laundry basket. He has a set of dumb bells on the patio and looks like the kind of guy you want on your side.

Exhibit A:

Being our normal "sitting on the patio" selves, we introduced ourselves. Our neighbors are named Bonnie and Clyde. No, not really just Bonnie and Pete. Okay, many of us have "Normal Names" in Texas. For instance, my friend Eligia goes by Cindy or another guy I know is named Alejandro but goes by Alex. No big deal.

We learned that Pete and his dad own a BBQ place. I seem to have neighbors who are related to BBQ joints. Our last neighbor, a truck driving, ex-rodeo guy grew up on the BBQ circuit and would be out at his grill in all kinds of weather and all hours of the night. We didn't mind, there was always the scent of charcoal and wood chips wafting in the air and he would tap on the door and say, "Hey, try a little of this." My husband learned to master ribs and brisket just from mowing the lawn or chatting.

Evidence B:

Bonnie and Pete do not seem to work. Sure, he is supposed to be scoping out potential locations for a new restaurant. Like Austin needs another BBQ joint. We don't see them during the day, but we do visit over the patio rail in the early evenings, or see them up at the pool during our late afternoon swims. We assume that the BBQ joint supports the people upstairs.

Evidence C:

So now we have upstairs neighbors after a few months of vacancy. No real complaints about noise really. Sure the AC system has a line issue that used to wake us up in the middle of the night every time the neighbors' AC kicked on but now it is white noise that helps us stay asleep. We all drop stuff by accident or washers go off balance now and again, but no loud music or screaming.

But all of a sudden on the weekend nights, I would shut off my reading lamp at say 10:30 or 11:00 pm and as if by cue, I would hear thumping, running, and well sliding of objects over my head. One weekend of disturbed sleep went by. You know, the kind of sleep that just when you drift back to sleep you are awakened. It used to be by a hungry infant, but my kid is almost ten and has thankfully been sleeping through the night for some time now. I just don't do interrupted sleep very well now. Okay, I never did interrupted sleep well, who am I joking?

It was Labor Day weekend so I wrote it off. Friends had come to town to visit, no one had to go to school or work.

The next weekend rolled around and again, the same thing. I would wake up literally saying, "WHAT THE F*@%?" My husband Paul eventually got up and said "I'll take care of this" and returned with the broom and pounded on the ceiling. Quiet for 15 mins, another doze and then again, Thump! Ththump! Bump, Slumph! Now he got up, let the dog out and noticed that all the lights were on upstairs.. it was 2 AM. He walked up the stairs and knocked. After a few minutes the door was answered after he spent several minutes listening to the familiar sounds of... XBOX Live. It turns out the 13 year old was playing a live action game but it was 2 AM.

But wait..... the TV is in the living room, not in the Master bedroom. So just what is up with the people upstairs?

Conclusion A: My upstairs neighbors are laying low. They moved from Corpus because the heat was on and Austin is a place where everyone can kinda just blend in. Each night they are up to various illegal acts like packaging hot electronics or running a sweat shop and those are the footsteps of children working through the night manufacturing knock-off Dooney & Burke purses.

Conclusion B:

"Bonnie" and "Pete" are in witness protection. They cannot work since it may put them at risk. The kids are just a cover. The "friends" that came to visit are actually their handlers, making sure that their cover hasn't been blown. During the day, Mr. and Mrs. are testifying in a sealed hearing in Washington DC during the day and are flown home every evening. They can only be themselves after dark and they are a family of acrobats from Ringling Brothers Circus and they know who killed the bearded lady.

Ringling Brothers circus poster - "aviary...Image via Wikipedia

Conclusion C:

My neighbors are just normal people who let their kids stay up way late on the weekends.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Guaranteeing personal religous freedom

As I've mentioned, I live in the buckle of the Bible Belt and I am increasingly alarmed in the direction my country is moving. Our foremothers and forefathers came to this place so that they would not be persecuted for practicing their religions the way they believed. I've been visiting a great site that I found while looking for famous quotes about religious tolerance.  Please visit:

I hope the following excerpt will remind people about who we are, or at least who we should strive to be during these frightening times.

"Religious freedom is theoretically guaranteed by the first sentence in the Bill of Rights -- the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

However, like all rights, they have to be rigorously enforced. In this case, they must be defended against two main groups:

Those who wish to convert the U.S. and Canada into theocracies in which only one religion is supreme, and most activities become either compulsory or illegal. These groups attempt to restrict or eliminate all religious expression and action other than their own. To see what this is like in the real world, consider the lack of freedom in Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Those who wish to eliminate the right of individuals to express any religious belief in public.

The first phrase of the First Amendment is referred to as the establishment clause. It has been interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court as erecting a wall of separation between church and state -- a phrase lifted from a letter by Thomas Jefferson to a Baptist group. Jefferson was a firm believer in "the wall." He regularly refused to authorize presidential proclamations of prayer, thanksgiving and related religious matters. He felt that such proclamations were the responsibility of religious institutions, not of the government."

Please visit:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Who is reading my blog???

I'm loving the nifty new Stats tab on my Blogger Dashboard! Kinda wild that I've got a growing audience in South Korea and Brazil. If you are reading this post or have read any of my posts, please enter a comment (you can even enter it anonymously) and shout out your country.

United States 498
South Korea 17
Brazil 11
Canada 8
Germany 2
Israel 1
Mexico 1
Taiwan 1

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day

Labor day was planned. If I did not go into labor naturally, I was to be induced on January 9, 2001 so my doctor would be available, he was going on vacation. I had my birth plan, we went to Lamaze and I was ready. Or so I thought. That day, getting ready to check in, I was having second thoughts, like some how I could delay being a mother. I was happy being pregnant.

Motherhood. This is the place where I learned what unconditional love is all about. I was scared I wasn't going to be able to get pregnant. I was an "older" woman (read mid thirties) who was finally ready for the next phase of my live, motherhood. My doctor told me all was in order and to come back in six months if we didn't get pregnant. And viola, we got pregnant in four months. Once I got past the agonizing fatigue, I actually enjoyed pregnancy. My body was doing all this amazing stuff. I don't remember the actual date or how far along I was, but that moment when I first felt that movement, I was awestruck. I was the bowl and someone was squishing the pasta around on the inside! Yes, I loved this new life growing inside of me, but this unknown life was still a stranger.

The pregnancy was all normal until that blood sugar test. I had to go back for what seemed to be a never ending series of icky sugary stuff and vials of blood. It was confirmed. I had gestational diabetes. I changed my diet, no sweets for me... no ice cream and pickles. At this point I wasn't allowed to indulge in the pregnancy craving myths. Small portions multiple times a day but that wasn't enough to change the blood sugar levels. I was prescribed insulin. Thank the goddess that my husband had been an LVN in the army. He gave me shots multiple times a day for close to three months. But it was all good. I was not a happy camper testing my blood several times a day. But I did it out of love.
We checked in to the hospital around 4 pm to be induced. We, how silly, it was just me who was going to be induced. I wanted to have that text book natural childbirth but I was hooked up to a monitor since my pregnancy was considered high risk. Cervidil applied and told to just wait. Around 10-11 pm contractions began and around 4 am my water broke.

Women are amazing creatures. I don't remember so many parts of my labor. All I know is that I went to that primitive place that all mothers go. Having a doctor is nice, but labor is natural and our bodies truly know what to do if we allow it.

I'm told that I began the pushing phase at 3 am. I'm told we used a crouching bar. I faintly remember the ten minute contraction that brought the whole maternity ward into my room. One minute I'm huffing oxygen and the next I'm asking who are all these people and is the baby okay? I don't remember the "crouching bar" or the name of the woman who said, "Push right here."

Around 10 hours later Dr. Chuckles (the subject of another blog, but really the most amazing Dr.) told me I could have an epidural to get some rest or we could move to a C-section. Doc told me think about it for a while. Doc and my husband left the room. And again, I'm told that ten minutes later I proclaimed, "Get it out of me now!" Still not unconditional love.

I was told I could stop pushing now. Really? Just how do you stop the most natural, conclusive action to a contraction? I cursed like a sailor and my Dr. held me down for the spinal. I apologized profusely. My husband told me he could see all my insides and Dr. Chuckles said something like, "Oh, the baby is looking up at the stars. No wonder!" Then it happened, unconditional love made that first noise, kitten-like cry.  "You have a son!" proclaimed Dr. Chuckles. Poof! I was staring into the eyes of our Padric and unconditional love was born.
Enhanced by Zemanta