Category Archives: jeep

Exploding Radiator Hoses, Addison’s Disease and a Failed Delivery Attempt

The past few weeks have been really, really strenuous for our family.

A few Saturdays ago, CLP and mini Gwinn went to a birthday party about 30-45 minutes away from our house; I stayed home because of bedrest. They took my car because it’s a lot more comfortable for longer drives than Captain Laser Pants’ Wrangler, and on their way home, my upper radiator hose split and spewed antifreeze all over the inside of the hood, sufficiently causing the car to overheat. CLP was a quick thinker and pulled over immediately, but unfortunately, it was on the side of one of the busiest interstates in America: I-75. Of course, with all the craziness of moving last Fall, being pregnant, etc, I forgot to renew our AAA membership. So after frantically reinstating our membership and ordering a tow truck, I started having contractions as I worried about my favorite people on the planet getting clipped on the interstate. After two hours they were finally home, and all was ok, but we were feeling the pressure of needing a more reliable car. We talked about buying a new Grand Cherokee equivalent to the one we currently have, and then laughed at the $50k price tag. Since I’ve performed this exact repair as a single girl living in Minneapolis (on my old Jeep Cherokee) we both knew it was an easy and cheap fix. A few hours of work and some misordered parts later, old Fancy (that’s my car’s name, Fancy) was as good as nine years’ old new again. I have a whole post about how I would be this exact car if I were a car, but I digress.

Just a few days later our little Corgle mix, Lenny, started acting lethargic. Stopped eating, started puking, and lost his pep. CLP took him to a new vet, who speculated that maybe he had eaten a stick or caught a bug, gave us a $250+ bill and some medicine, and sent them home. After a few more days of weight loss and lethargy, we became gravely concerned and took him to our old vet (fantastic, reliable, but more expensive and far away). Some tests, x-rays, subcutaneous fluids an overnight stay and another $800+ later, we found out our little Lenny Lou has Addison’s disease. Addison’s is an endocrine system disorder that affects the adrenal glands’ ability to function. It looks a lot like renal failure, and sometimes can be confused with Cushing’s. The good news is it is treatable with daily prednisone (he’s already getting food aggressive and it’s only been a week) and a monthly $125 shot. He’ll have a normal life, but this treatment will last the rest of his days.

A few days after that I went to my OB for my 35 week check up to find out I’d lost my plug (gross, I know, sorry), was over 50% effaced, and was 2 cm. dilated. She said, “You really could go into labor at any time, but the good news is there isn’t any traffic on the weekends, so you will be able to get here easily in the next couple days.” That was the 11th. On the 15th, when I went in for my next appointment, I was dilated to 4 cm and she said she was surprised I hadn’t gone into labor yet. We talked about bringing my overnight bag with me on the 21st if I was 5 cm. dilated, and we talked again about inducing on the 21st because of my high blood pressure (which had been lower for a few weeks). She said she would send me to labor and delivery with my bags on the 21st. On the 17th I saw my high risk doctor, who told me the baby was a full pound bigger than mini Gwinn was at birth. He said I wasn’t in labor just yet, but was “probably” going to “go into labor in the next hour or two” and he advised I stay close to the hospital, take a jaunt around IKEA, and see how things were. After an hour of milling around at IKEA, I went home. After no contractions over the weekend, but a lot of symphysis pubis dysfunction pain, we were looking forward to today.

My parents came down to stay with us last night to help with mini Gwinn while CLP and I went to the doctor’s office. We packed my car with the bags, nursing pillow, treats for the labor and delivery team, and headed to the hospital with anticipation. I could barely walk from the SPD pain, but we were eager to see the doctor and go to the maternity ward. We waited. And waited. And when she finally came in, she did a quick check to tell me I was still 4 cm. and tried to leave. CLP told her I was in physical pain, which she brushed off as “late pregnancy discomfort”, told her I couldn’t walk, reminded her we live 45 min. away from the hospital, and that I’ve been dilated for weeks now, my blood pressure was high again today, that I have no plug, and we had made provisions based upon what all the doctors told us. After waiting at the doctor’s office for two hours, we were sent home, tired and disappointed, and still very pregnant.

My parents went home, we snuggled and played with our little guy, but it’s so frustrating. The symphysis pubis dysfunction pain is keeping me from sleeping for more than an hour or two at a time now, and I’m barely able to walk. Before, I wasn’t too worried about delivery since my first was so uncomplicated. Now that I know 2.0 is bigger than mini Gwinn, that labor with SPD this severe will be painful, and that the length of the labor will be ridiculously short, I’m a little freaked out. I don’t want to deal with stitches (I have no idea how to take care of them and I haven’t had to mess with them before, plus I have other people to take care of!), apparently I’m going to need the epidural for SPD (I’m allergic to the epidural), and I may or may not get to the hospital in time to get one- lots of contingencies in this- AND not knowing when this is going to happen, I’m stressed. The average couple usually has family in town, hasn’t had to deal with bed rest for the preceding three months before delivery, doesn’t live almost an hour from their hospital and hasn’t had the string of bad luck we’ve had in the past 30 days.

Can you tell I’m a little overwhelmed?



GUYS. This week is freaking awesome, and it’s Tuesday. I would let you guess, but I’m fresh from a work out and amped up on a protein shake (and a mini kit kat), so I’m just going to tell you.

1. Today my brother and his beautiful wife are welcoming their second baby girl into the world. If you don’t like kids, please stop reading my blog. Kids are awesome, and I’m pretty excited that we’re adding grandchild #12 to the ranks.
2. Valentine’s Day is this week. I could care less about the commercialized holiday itself, but I am fond of pretty flowers and fancy chocolates and telling the world how much I love my husband. It’s also a fun day to give little homemade Valentines and gifts to friends and loved ones.
3.Mini Gwinn is full on walking, talking, and growing more adorable every day. Proof:

Driving daddy's Jeep

Driving daddy’s Jeep

No joke, he LIKES wearing his sunglasses. And driving Captain Laser Pants’ Wrangler. And he doesn’t have any problem shifting the gears (well, he can’t reach the clutch, but don’t tell HIM that). Even when he’s making this face (because I make him climb on the couch without my assistance and he yells at me):

"Help me up, vile woman!"

“Help me up, vile woman!”

He’s still adorable. And sometimes he’s placid and content, like when we’re driving around in my awesome car:


Ignoring the fact that “American Tail” is on for his viewing pleasure.

Wait, what?!
4. Captain Laser Pants FIXED MY FREAKING JEEP! That’s right, interwebs, MY HUSBAND THE IT SOFTWARE DEVELOPER REPLACED A REDONK COMPLICATED ENGINE IN MY CAR. He, with muscle and brawn and steel and brains, replaced my engine and a hundred other parts (like the water pump, the intake manifold, the sensors) and brought my beautiful Grand Cherokee back to liiiiiiiiiiiife. Who has six thumbs and is super stoked about this? Team freaking Gwinn, that’s who.

We are planning a baby Valentine’s Party. Because there isn’t anything cuter than that. What are you doing for Hallmark Day, interwebs?

Accut-ain’t What I Thought It Would Be

Chances are, if you know what Accutane is, you either a) are a medical professional or b) you know someone who has painfully cystic, problematic skin. For the record, Accutane is no longer on the market. It has replacements, like isotretinoin, or Claravis, if you want to be able to pronounce it. Hi, I’m in AA- Accutane Anonymous (is there such a thing?) and I started taking Claravis two weeks ago. Let me just say, Accutane ain’t what I thought it would be. After a lifetime of combating skin I didn’t love, everything got much, much worse after the birth of mini Gwinn. I’ve done everything in the book in an attempt to heal it, with no results (yes, even Proactiv. I’m so tired of being asked that.). The last resort- the big dance- was isotretinoin. Five months of misery lead to a lifetime of healthy looking, smooth as a baby’s behind skin. I can handle five months, right? I mean, I was pregnant for like six years, and I lived through that. So I started talking to other people that have taken the big plunge in skincare. All the guys I talked with said they didn’t think the six months of misery (the treatment is five to six months) was necessarily worth it. All the ladies- you guessed it- absolutely felt that enduring the hardships of the medication were worth the end result. The guys urged me to reconsider, the gals told me it would be an entirely freeing decision to give myself a life with pain- free, pretty skin. What everyone agreed on, as well as all the forums/ interwebs stuff I read, was that I’d need a supply of the following:

-copious amounts of chapstick
-eye drops
-saline spray for my shnoz
-water. lots of water.

So, no big deal. Right? I have five or six tubes of chapstick laying around the house to begin with, and I was already a crazy moisturizing lady. Piece of cake.

A few days into the treatment, I noticed that my lips felt dry if I hadn’t used chapstick within an hour. A few days later, I noticed that my eyes felt dry. Now? If my lips aren’t coated, they hurt. I actually have to stop in the store at least twice to apply gobs of goop to my mouth and pour eye drops in my eyes. Last night I experienced my first medication- induced nose bleed (as I was washing my face, which was convenient for clean up).

For those that aren’t in the know, cystic acne is incredibly painful, especially with an eight month old smacking your face. Topical treatments don’t work (they just make the top layer of skin dry, eww), oral medications don’t always work, and sometimes only time can treat the issue. While you’re waiting, you’re stuck with a topographical map for a face. When you’re 15 years old, it’s acceptable to have a few pimples. When you’re in your late 20s, however, people wonder what you’ve done to yourself to have such heinous skin. Statements like “It must be something in your diet” and “Do you wash your face regularly?” are usually said by morons with flawless skin. Of course I wash my face, and I eat better than you, lardbutt (not you, gentle reader).

This major shift in my life is also coupled with the news that I’m returning to the work force (cue the river of tears). The stress of looking for child care, the feeling that I’m abandoning my bright (yes, he’s bright, I said it. He says several words! He’s Einstein! Ok, he may be average. But he’s pretty.) little boy (who’s never been without me for more than two or three hours!!), and the fear that he won’t get the attention he deserves have me stressing out completely. Will my house ever be clean again? When will I have time to make all his baby food? Will they use sign language when they sing to him? Will they sing to him? How often is he going to be sick? Even as I’m writing this out, anxiety is taking over my mental faculties.

Oh my goodness, ya’ll. This is a lot of new going on right now.

I’m going to go squeeze my little punchkin.

“First World Problems” is a Stupid Phrase and More

Hello my jolly rogers! I took an unexpected hiatus from everything except living like a hermit (which I shall detail below). I trust you all lived with baited breath as you eagerly awaited my next post. If you really did, then may I suggest some social activities for you, perhaps a riveting game of BINGO or curling?

Ahem. Onto other things. So, after my “Overwhelmed” post, I didn’t think things would/ could be harder, but guess what! Things got harder. Mini Gwinn caught a bug the very day we went back to the gym, and promptly shared with me. The virus, as I was told by his pediatrician, would run its course within a week and leave us unscathed. So, naturally, a few days later when my throat was to the point that I couldn’t swallow or speak, the baby and I spent the day at my doctor’s (oh waiting room joy with a wildly active baby who wants to crawl everywhere!) only to find out that the virus had evolved into a heinous sinus infection. So we spent another week away from the gym, but we were both sick, so it wasn’t a major loss. While this was going on, our AC decided to run six degrees higher than its setting. This also happened to be the week that we were topping out at 105-110 degrees in the lovely (read: miserable) South. With multiple calls to maintenance/ AC and no real fix, a sick mom and recovering baby, we were on our way to misery town. Saturday I started feeling better, so we packed up the baby and headed to Costco for some good old fashioned American grocery shopping and sample eating (plus, the store was better air conditioned than our home, so it was more comfortable). Seeing that our radiator reserve tank was low, I added some (ok, way too much) water to the tank. While we were shopping, mini Gwinn peed through his Costco diaper (we don’t usually use those, and now I remember why) and ALL OVER my shirt. Naturally, he and I ran to the car while Captain Laser Pants finished the shopping. On the way home, our (NEW!) car began to overheat. We stopped in the ghetto between Costco and our home (why there is a section 8 stretch of hood between two lovely communities I will never know- good job, Atlanta) and the (NEW!!) car decided to die, right there in the parking lot of a grocery store, quite dramatically, I might add. So, it’s 104 degrees, we have meat and frozen veggies in the back quickly losing their cold temperature, the baby’s sweating, CLP is dripping with sweat as he troubleshoots the vehicle, and I’m freaking out because I think I caused the whole issue.

Fast forward to today- Wednesday- and the car still isn’t revived. CLP has been a super hero in his efforts to repair every aspect of the engine that comes to mind, to no avail. This man took the first few days off this week so he could rest (rest? What rest?), instead he’s been sweating it out in our garage trying to figure out what’s wrong with our beautiful new Jeep. He has spent days consoling me and telling me there is no possible way I could cause this bizarre, unexplained engine failure. Things he’s replaced/ investigated so far: camshaft sensor, crankshaft sensor, fuel pressure, battery, fuel injector and no codes. Suffice it to say, he’s running out of ideas. We haven’t been to the gym since the day the baby contracted the virus, and I may start sticking forks in my eyes.

It’s been a hard couple of weeks. On Pinterest (the place where my soul and self esteem go to die) I saw one of those retarded “text as motivational decoration” signs that said, “There are many who are happier with less than you”. Woo- freaking- hoo. I’m so glad they’re happy. And if it makes me seem evil for saying that “first world problems” is a stupid phrase, then I’m evil. Firstly- I like creature comfort. And my husband and I work darn hard to ensure said creature comforts. And yes, our country is the best of the best (if you don’t agree, go somewhere else), and yes, Americans are mostly spoiled. Are all the issues I complained about above first world problems? Yeah. But it’s the only world I’ve lived in, so I’m just calling it “my world problems”. Of course I have sympathy for those in need (truly, I do), but I also don’t have guilt for living in America. People that suffer from “white guilt”, “wealth guilt”, “having AC guilt” and any other kind of guilt for being born into a certain circumstance shouldn’t push their guilt on others. Go be guilty all on your own.

Moving on.

Rant number two (hehe, “number two”) for this post: women without children who talk about pregnancy and post- pregnancy. Shut up, or I will put a boot in your mouth. You don’t know what you’re talking about. Unless you’re an OB (which they never are), you only know from theory and watching what it looks like. You don’t know from practice, and you sure as heck don’t know what it’s like post- pregnancy. Stop putting up “how to tighten your post pregnancy belly skin” tips, stop suggesting ways to breastfeed your four year old, and stop pretending to have any idea what It’s like to live the life of a mother for even ten seconds. You deserve to have a boot in your mouth.


Favorite comic strip of all time- Calvin and Hobbes. Chances are, you know some people that should line up for this, too.

Ok, phew. Rants over. I promise I’m not in a horrible mood! To all of you who are happy to celebrate your first world problems/ spoils/ wonderments of life- Happy Fourth of July! Even if you’re a noncontributing zero, like myself, I’m sure you still appreciate the hard earned freedoms our country has.

I promise PROMISE the next blog will be better written and about something more thoughtful and thought provoking. This was just a “stream of consciousness/ I’m still here” post. Topics I’m mulling over: women with higher than average testosterone, pornography and modern media in marriage, the one article of clothing I own, and more. Thoughts? Ideas?

We All Have the Plague. Also, My Kid is Cute.

Ok, we don’t actually have “the plague”. But mini Gwinn, Captain Laser Pants and I are all feeling a little snotty this weekend. But, the good news- we bought a seriously swanky (well, for us it’s swanky) new car that we can enjoy when we’re not all sick. We can even watch movies in it, like the rich folk! And, since Jeep Grand Cherokees (Ok, ours is much newer than the ones listed on the top ten list, BUT it has a hemi) were listed in the top ten best cars for the end of the world (as seen here), Team Gwinn feels confident in our ability to pack up the entire family, load our arsenal, and venture into the world to fend off zombies.

I feel like poo, so I’ll dedicate this post to displaying the adorableness that is mini Gwinn. Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend, folks, and thank a veteran for his service to our nation.

Bath time cuteness!


He owns “blue steel”.


Super Fletch!


Check out that awesome hair line.


Where’s his neck? Who cares! He’s adorable!


If you aren’t smiling at this picture, you don’t have a soul.