Yeah, I know.
I’ve kind of left the blog high and dry for the first half of the year. To the 13.25 people that follow along, please accept my apologies. Hell, it’s taken me two weeks to finish this post. In my defense, it’s actually been a crazy roller coaster of a 6 months, jam-packed with all sorts of stuff. So I’ve decided that instead of writing an extra-long post, I’d get you up to speed on what’s been keeping me away.
I present to you, “2014: A Half Year Retrospective, Badass-Style”
There were lots of fun costumes:
Large theatrical paintings:
An unimpressed Chihuahua in a diaper:
An impressive horse:
A work trip to Boston:
And….A BABY BADASS!
Add to the mix an unexpected move (my folks) and yep, it’s been a pretty eventful year already.
So here at DBA HQ, we’ve been getting ready for the December arrival of Baby Badass, know affectionately as “Sprout” and with the warm weather in full swing, I’ve been doing a ton of gardening, as usual. Of course, with my shortened awake time (read: I’ve been napping quite a bit lately-in fact, I’m fighting like mad to say awake now) and my growing belly, gardening is not as easy as it usually is. Hell, nothing is as easy as it usually is. I have had some remarkable ninja skills pop up though. I not only have a super-hero like sense of smell (not always a good thing…) but I can swipe tiny fruit flies out of the sky better than Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid. Would all my reflexes were that good…
A couple of Fridays ago, The G-Man came home for lunch and decided to use the front door rather than the side door on his departure. Maybe it was because it was a nice day. Maybe it was the sheer novelty. Who knows. Whatever the reason, when he left, he opened the door a little too wide, causing the three, heavy meal chairs that were resting comfortably against the wall behind the door to shift, unbeknownst to me. So after sweetly blowing the hubs a kiss and rubbing baby bump to show that Sprout was blowing Daddy a kiss, too, I closed the door, causing those shifted chairs to fall. Right in my direction. Now normally, I’d’ve been able to dodge the impending doom. However, in my, ahem, compromised state of balance (and mind) I was too slow. I hopped out of the way, but not before those damned chairs crashed down on my little right foot.
There are no words, no font, no amount of bold face typeset that can accurately capture pain or the primal scream that let I loose. If any of my neighbors had been outside, they’d of come running, thinking that I was being skinned alive or actually giving birth in my living room. If they had shown up, they’d of been greeted by a steady stream of obscenities that I was hurling towards the offending chairs. I have a high tolerance for pain but this was off the freakin’ charts. After my rant was over, I collected myself, sat down on the couch and called my hubby.
Him: “Hey babe, what’s up?”
Me: “Oh, just sitting here. I’m surprised you didn’t hear my screams after you left.”
Me: “Oh, I guess the chairs behind the door shifted when you opened the door and when I closed it, they came crashing down on my foot.”
Him: “Oh my God! Are you ok???”
Me: (Casually..) “Oh, yeah, it hurt like hell. I thought for sure you’d’ve heard me. I screeched like a freakin’ banshee.”
(Feelin’ guilty yet, honey?)
Him: “You know, I heard the sound of the door hitting the metal chairs, but I didn’t think anything of it.”
Seriously? So much for the guilt trip. Hard to guilt the clueless.
So we hung up and I decided to take a nap. I’d spent the better part of the morning playing in the garden, pruning tomatoes and spreading cow poop (hey, it’s good for the veggies). Anyway, since my plans for the day included cleaning the house, I decided to wait to shower until I was finished. So I put my head on the couch and drifted off. 5PM came and I woke up, ate some watermelon (my favorite post nap snack these days) and got up to start cleaning. Now, my foot was still sore, but it felt more like a bruise so I thought nothing of it. Actually, I was in a semi-state of denial. Hey, I’d had six and a half hours
of uninterrupted sleep the previous night (read: I didn’t have to get up and pee 35 times) and started off the day feeling pretty terrific. I wanted to conquer the world, or at the very least, the dishes and the laundry. So I got up and got to it. Not only did I manage to clean the kitchen and clear the Mount Everest of dishes in the sink, I also folded three loads of laundry and made the fresh dough for the margherita pizza I planned for dinner. Around 8pm I called the G-Man to see how he was doing (he was setting up for the wedding of a former student)
“Hey babe. How’s your foot?”
“Oh, it hurts like hell. How are you doing? You know how much longer you’ll be?”
“At least a couple of hours.”
“You need any help?”
“No, but I could use some company.”
“Ok, I’ll come down. I’ll pop a couple of pizzas in and bring ’em with.”
“Oh, God, that would be great. See ya in a bit.”
As I hung up the phone, I realized that I really was in a LOT of pain and actually limping. But Queen of Denial here kept on going, for what good reason, I cannot say. I ended up making three pizzas, and dropping one off to the folks, who are just seven minutes down the road. By the time I drove those seven minutes, the pain had intensified so much, that even pressing the gas and break pedals was excruciating. Any other person, any sane person would have turned around at this point. Hell, any sane person would have kept their pregnant ass at home instead of playing freakin’ pizza delivery girl. Not me. Nope. I powered through. Guess I thought the pregnancy hormones gave the powers of regeneration. Nope. Not even close.
By the time I got to my hubby, I was in severe pain. I called him to let him know I was there and immediately after I hung up, the rain came pouring down. Could this situation get anymore ridiculously worse? Yup.
After eating (with my foot propped up on a chair with an ice pack) G-Man went back to setting up the lights in the adjacent room for the next day’s wedding festivities. And my foot kept getting worse. Even the ice pack hurt, it was so bad. After about 20 minutes, he came in to check on me. “So, how much longer do you have?”, I asked hopefully. “Probably another 45 to an hour.” “OK, I don’t think I can take it. Can you drive me home?” “Of course. Let me get you a pair of crutches-someone dropped off a pair this week.” The good thing about working in a theatre is that there is all sorts of random crap that people donate and we hoard in case we need it for a show. Thank God for that random crap. And as an added bonus, the crutches were probably last used for a 10 year old so they worked perfectly for little ole me. As Gary went to retrieve the mini crutches, I tried to stand up and put a little pressure on my foot. Big mistake. The moment my foot hit the floor a searing wave of pain hit me like a lighting bolt, causing me to first cry and then sink back into my chair. Of course Gary comes back with the crutches just time to see this. “Why are you trying to stand? I told you I was getting the crutches. Your foot is hurt!” Gee, thanks Captain Obvious. How about we talk about you hitting those chairs with the door again…
So I take the crutches and we start to leave. At this juncture, I’d like to mention that the last time I was on crutches I was twelve, a ballet dancer and aspiring gymnast and weighed about 75 pounds. A far, far cry from the 44 year old pregnant woman toting around a baby belly and a few extra pounds (nope, I’ve admitted my age, no way in hell you’re gonna get my current weight, too, kids) Suffice to say that the roughly 100-ish yards trip to the car was no picnic. And don’t even get me started on navigating the stairs. Oy. So we finally get to the car and then the elephant in the room (um, car..) came up: Did I want to go to the ER? Sigh. Most folks that know me well know that I shun doctor visits unless really needed. I’m not one of those “quick get some antibiotics for that sniffle” type. I also have a freakishly high tolerance for pain. So when I admitted that yes, I was in enough pain to hit the ER at 11:30 PM, the hubs knew that it must be pretty bad.
We got to the ER and then it hit: The pregnancy hormones took over and I started crying uncontrollably. The Badass promptly turned into a Wimp Ass. My foot was swollen and hurting more by the minute and all I could think about was my little Sprout and how this would affect him/her. And I kept apologizing to anyone that looked at my ankle and the small, but swollen and muddy little foot that was attached to it, thanks to the extreme gardening session earlier that day and my lack of judgment in not taking a shower after said session.Thanks to a very patient and supportive husband, x-ray tech and ER nurse, I eventually calmed down. The two giant, heavy lead aprons that were draped over pretty much everything but my face and my dirty right foot during the x-ray process helped with the calming-partially because I knew that they were protecting my precious little one and partially because when you’ve got what feels like 120 pounds of lead sitting on your chest breathing, let alone sobbing is pretty much impossible.
After a few hours, the doctor came in with good news: my foot was not broken, I just had some ligament damage. She sent me home with some baby-safe painkillers and this very stylish addition to my shoe collection:
She was also very understanding about the dirty feet. After a few days of bed rest, I was back on my feet (pun intended) and feeling like my old self again. As for the chairs, well, they are in a place where they can never hurt me again… don’t ask, ’cause I’m not telling…
Since I’ve been pregnant, I’ve noticed that in addition to my balance being off, I’m also a lot more appetizing to mosquitoes. Being Italian, I usually consume enough garlic to keep those biting buggers far away. However, now with the extra blood coursing through my body and the raised body temperature, I’m like frickin’ Mecca to them. Of course, chemical based bug repellents were out of the question, but with all the nasty crap that mosquitoes can transmit, I knew I couldn’t be without something to protect both me and the little Sproutling. As I mentioned before, I’m not a “rush to the doctor for a paper cut” kind of girl. I much prefer to seek out natural, herbal remedies for what ails me. So imagine my delight to find that many of the herbs I grow are excellent mosquito repellents! As I dug deeper into my research, I found lots of safe and natural things that both repel those dive bombing freaks and are completely safe to use, even in my, ahem, “delicate” condition. So I set out on a mission to create a new “recipe” for the ultimate mosquito repellent and I’m so pleased to say, it works like a freakin’ charm! And I’m even happier to share it with you guys. The thing I love about this elixir, besides the fact that it contains no toxic chemicals is that it’s lightweight, non-sticky and smells so good and fresh! And let’s not forget that it actually repels the little bastards! I’ve actually seen it with my own eyes-a mosquito dive bombs in for a sip of my sweet, mommy-to-be blood and BAM!!! The brakes are put on and the little buggers flies away in search of more easily acquired prey. “Why?”, you ask?… Well, most traditional repellents work by basically “masking” you from the bugs. They get confused and in essence can’t find you. They can’t bite what they can’t find. My concoction works on a different premise: Pain. It turns out that while mosquitoes have a very keen sense of smell and heat sensing capability, they also have very sensitive eyes. So when they get near a repellent plant (like citronella, lavender and members of the mint family) it stings their eye, causing them to seek out greener pastures (like the poor sucker standing next to you that doesn’t have any repellent on). Now imagine the blinding, searing pain they must experience when you combine several different herbs that all cause the same eye-stinging effect? So not only are you protecting yourself from painful, potentially health harming bites, you can take satisfaction in the fact that you are responsible for giving the little bastards a taste of their own medicine. Karma’s a bitch, ain’t she? Now, some of you non-organic, naysayer types that think I’m some weird hippy-chick (I consider that a compliment, actually) are probably saying “how well can some plants and oils really work?” I give you this: I was out from about 6:30 PM until about 10:30 PM on the 4th of July. My family sprayed themselves and not one bite. I spray myself every time I’m out in the garden and can go into the shaded areas of my yard, after a rainstorm where the mosquitoes love to hang out and not a single nibble. The few times I’ve run outside without spraying myself because “I’ll only be out there for a minute”, I am back to being a human homing device and have to run to the house for my magic juice. And then I can enjoy the great outdoors in peace. If you try this, please try to use organic herbs in the mix when possible-the point is to keep the crap off your body, not to hose yourself down with pesticides. If you don’t have access to organic, use a good veggie cleaner/soak that will remove most of the pesticides (I use an awesome one-message me for info). Better yet, start growing your own!
Here’s what you’ll need (I mix up large batches of this so I always have it on hand)
Three 16 oz. bottles of witch hazel (save the bottles to use for later)
Six 6-8 inch sprigs of lemon balm
Six 6-8 sprigs of peppermint
1.5 tsp dried Herbs de Provence
1.5 tsp ground cloves
Put all ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan and heat on low heat until mixture just starts to simmer. Turn off the heat and let the mixture steep for 12-24 hours. When the mixture has finished steeping, strain into a bowl and add the following:
3 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tsp peppermint essential oil
3 tsp lemon essential oil
1.5 tsp tea tree essential oil
Whisk the mixture till fully combined and using a funnel, pour into a spray bottle. Any mixture that won’t fit can be stored in the empty witch hazel bottles. Store in a cool, dark place. To use, generously spray mixture on all exposed skin areas before heading outside. Reapply as needed.
Keep in mind that since there is very little alcohol in this potion (only the small amount in the witch hazel) your skin will be wet when you apply. Don’t let this keep you from applying an even, generous spraying. If your skin is wet and you see a little dripping, you’re doing it right. The only time I’ve ever had to reapply is when I’ve just lightly spritzed myself. This stuff even lasts on me after a sweaty, extreme gardening session. And surprisingly the vanilla acts both as a deterrent and it boosts the effectiveness of the other ingredients. Who knew?
Well, that’s all for today. I promise to try and keep up with things around here better than I have been. But for now, it’s on to the next outdoor pest..squirrels….grrrr..
Until next time…
Have Fun and Be Fearless! (and bug-bite free!)