I'm home from Las Vegas, where I had a wonderful vacation, and a wonderful reading at a Borders that was less than a mile away from a place that, unless I was hallucinating, advertised "TOPLESS WINDOW TINTING." Yikes. Couldn't that get painful?

Anyhow. I'm supposed to be writing, but instead I'm running around buying BABY BARGAINS-approved baby stuff. We had the five-month ultrasound last week, and it's all finally feeling real. Except I have to say the ultrasound was a bit of a disappointment.

Our appointment was at two. We got there at two. "We're running a little late," says the receptionist. So Adam and I sat down in a jam-packed waiting room that also contained what I can conservatively say were the Worst Behaved Kids Ever. There was a little boy about four, and a little girl about two, and they spent the better part of our hour-and-a-half-plus (yes, you read that right) wait alternately A., grabbing each other's toys/books, and ignoring parents' halfhearted admonishments of "Kylie, don't do that," or "Cody, don't take that," B., hitting each other and ignoring parents' halfhearted admonishments of "Don't hit" and "Use your words" and C., coughing loud, rattling, phlegm-laden, no-hand-over-the-mouth coughs all over every available surface....the coffee table, the other chairs, the other patients, the television set, the fourteen-year-old, nine-months-pregnant girl who'd fallen asleep while waiting, and D., screaming at the top of their lungs. Ack. After about twenty minutes I leaned over to Adam and whispered, "Do you think it's too late to just get another dog?" Finally, their name got called, and Mom, Dad, and germ-laden offspring trooped off, presumably to get a peek at the next member of the family.

By the time it was finally our turn, I think we'd both gone from breathless anticipation of seeing the Bun to breathless anticipation of just getting out of there already. And then we were stuck with a really unfriendly technician who spent twenty minutes jabbing at me with the sensor thing -- which hurt -- and ignoring our requests to please explain the grayish blurs we were seeing. "Don't you know what a SPINE looks like?" she finally hissed. Well, never having seen one in utero, not really. After the extensive jab and poke, she muttered something about the baby's heart, told us she couldn't see the gender because "baby isn't cooperating," and stormed out of the room.

So there we sat. Or, rather, Adam sat, and I lay there with my pants pulled down around my knees, covered with ultrasound slime, making jokes about how the baby was showing excellent taste by not cooperating with the Evil Mistress of the Ultrasound, until finally the avuncular perinatologist showed up. "The technician was having a hard time seeing all four chambers of the heart," he said...but before I had a chance to worry, he was working the monitor again.....and lo and behold, all four chambers, right where they should be. And he figured out the gender, too, no problem (no, I'm not sharing....don't you want to be surprised?)

The thing is, I don't know what to do if I ever need another ultrasound. Check in and say, "Could I please not have the snippy technician? And is there, perhaps, a waiting room that won't leave me terrified at the prospect of parenting?"

Anyhow. Here's a fun essay about one of my favorite topics -- bad reviews. "Good reviews are forgotten; bad reviews remembered; and the very worst are etched with acid in the victim's mind. Not just the hurtful words: but the hushed glee of one's friends and that idiot, who has only seen the review but not bothered to read it, who congratulates you (one for Leg-Breaker Lucio)."

Jen