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June 2004

Bits and Pieces

In other news, we are getting Holly and Kevin's cats on July 8th and will keep them until the end of August. I mentioned that all six cats (ours and theirs) are indoor cats, right? Yes, indeedy. It will be a regular cat-house. A cattery. I think it will be fine.

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Patrick's vocabulary is expanding, but much of it is comprised of his own words for things. Like strawberries are Nah-dah. There is a logic to this, actually, since "nah" is his word for red and he pronounces the letters b,d and p as "dah" and he still substitutes a lot of words with their first letter. Thus, Nah-dah is red B, or red berry: Strawberry! Raspberries are Hah-dah. I have no idea why. Lawn mower is Maku. Zebra is Mehbo. He is fascinated by punctuation, and particularly likes the Ah Heeng Gah which is an exclamation point. He looks for letters everywhere and will bite bread into their shapes. A! J! C! He finds Y's in sticks and O's in stones and M's in the most unusual places (like a piece of undulating ribbon.)

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Two pictures from last week. One is of Patrick in the vegetable garden. The other is of the three of us on the grassy lane that goes from our driveway up to the trails in the woods.

Patrick

Lane


The "I Never Thought It Would Happen To Me" Post

Sorry, it must look like I have been sulking about not being pregnant (most definitely not pregnant, oh so very not pregnant- I am more a river otter than I am pregnant), but no, no. Not sulking, just busy.

My husband deserted me around midday on Friday and I have been tending to Patrick, alone and without a leader (Penge Bungalow murder reference), ever since. Not that unadulterated Patrick, all day every day starting at 6 ack emma, isn't delightful- it is. But it is sort of like eating box after box of Fazer mints; heavenly though it might be, at some point you feel the need for a lie down.

Once I got the little chunk of muffin secured into his crib for an evening snooze, I probably could have poured myself a glass of wine and hopped on the internet. Instead, I found myself surrendering utterly to wanton abandon. I wallowed in my deepest, darkest pleasures. I did the things a girl just cannot do with her husband breathing down her neck every five seconds: I ORGANIZED.

I dumped all of Steve's clothes onto the bedroom floor and rearranged his drawers by season and then by color. Yeah, color. It is actually how he wears them and therefore how I wash them and, ergo, how it will be easiest to put them away again. After dealing with the clothing, I pulled every beauty product, cleansing unguent and medicinal aid from the bathroom cupboards and shower seat and bathtub rim and sorted them. Mostly I sorted them straight into the garbage (does Steve have a sentimental attachment to old vitamins? I mean, I know I keep certain bottles of hand lotion because the smell reminds me of that time I.... anyway), but the products that made the cut are now arranged by category and segment. I then realized that the mineral build-up in Steve's shower had gotten totally out of hand, so I scrubbed the glass walls with sliced lemon. Then I applied a little elbow grease and a vinegar rinse and voila! it is fucking gorgeous in there. As it should be.

I cannot even admit to the changes I made in my recipe filing system. It took two days and involves three shelves of a kitchen cabinet, four magazine holders from Target, and eight different colors of tiny Post-it notes. But WOW oh WOW! It is making me feel all tingly just talking about it. Who can lay her hot little hands on four distinctly different ceviche recipes in less than 15 seconds, not two feet from where I now sit? Oh yeah. You know you want it, baby.

Who says I don't live for pleasure alone?

I swore off gossip, I know, but I am only human, you know, and my midlife crisis buddy has pushed me to a point where I MUST TELL SOMEONE how ridiculous he is. I mean, good gravy! However, the Detroit Pistons need me right now. So, tomorrow. I'll tell you all about it tomorrow.


Not

So I did, indeed, take a pregnancy test and it is, truly, negative.

Aw rats.

Now I feel foolish for having admitted that I was hopeful in the first place. It is always so much more becoming to just find oneself unexpectedly blessed.

I feel surprisingly vulnerable now that I shared my unfounded suspicions. Why? Dunno.

The good news is that my father-in-law is taking us out to dine at a wicked nice restaurant and he has ex-qui-site taste in wine.

Sigh.


Perhaps

Things I Have Done Today Rather Than Take a Pregnancy Test:


1. Made soup

2. Cleaned the playroom

3. Went outside barefoot with Patrick and stepped on something disgusting. Something grey and wormy that was revolting to begin with and became infinitely more so when it exploded under my Mack foot.

4. Talked on the phone with my imaginary friend who has threatened me with grievous bodily harm if I show up pregnant for our debauched Charleston family beach frolic in two weeks.

5. Actually cleaned the kitchen counters with a sponge AND a cleanser rather than my usual palm-of-hand sweep method.

6. Calculated the amount of time I have spent pregnant (7+12+6+19+40+11+11 weeks equals 106 weeks minus the first 4 weeks that don't count times 7 equals 78 weeks times 7 equals 546 days divided by 365 equals: 1.49 years.)

7. Made sure the guest room is ready for my father-in-law tonight.

8. Peed 5000 times in the bathroom on the far side of the house from the drawer full of pregnancy tests.

9. Wrote this.


I am fresh out of ideas.

In case you were wondering, I am now back to thinking I might actually be pregnant. It's the full-ish breasts mainly, coupled with the utter absence of, ahem, menses. I could go into a long description of my cycles and when they have been different and what is always the same but haven't you people suffered enough? So suffice to say, I am hopeful. And... and something. Full of dread. Dreadful. Ha ha, I say, "I am dreadful" and you all yell, "We know!"

I should take another damned test. If I was reading this I would be shouting at the screen "Oh Jesus Gay! Take the fucking pregnancy test and shut up already!" I would, you know. I am mean like that.

But it is pleasant to just feel hopeful. If it is negative then I will have that flutter of disappointment and if it is positive then the whole juggernaut of Probably-Doomed Pregnancy will swing inexorably into motion and that is hard.

So I am trying to enjoy this fleeting moment of possibilities.

I am totally failing to enjoy this moment of possibilities.



The Phantom Pregnancy

For about a week I had every pregnancy symptom known to woman. I was nauseous. I was ravenous. I knew by smell that the neighbor had removed the cap from a tube of toothpaste. I had morning insomnia and night sweats. My own special back problem flared up. I thought lovingly of eggrolls at midnight. My skin became unspeakably vile.

Under the circumstances (you know, all that sex I have been having) it could have made us go "Hmmmm" but for the fact that this week o' symptoms occurred about two seconds after ovulation. It was really rather comical. I mean, I am a sophisticated pregnancy veteran. When I say, "Honey, there are NO reliable early early pregnancy symptoms" you should just shut the fuck up and believe me. Yet I spent the past week and a half like one of those yappy young things who ask the Great Internet if they are pregnant 'cos their pants don't fit and they are, like, 3DPO. Ha ha ha. Oh, that is three days past ovulation for you Normals.

Not that I am bitter. I am not, truly. I mean if everyone was like me then there would be no more people and then my chiropractor wouldn't exist and then I couldn't have had the best first chiropractic appointment EVER this afternoon. And the dearth of people would result in an overabundance of some other species, which might be chipmunks but could be snakes. I hate snakes.

So strong were these symptoms and so weak am I that I took a pregnancy test at 7 DPO. Negative. Then I realized that I had miscounted and no one tests positive that early, so I took another one the following day. Negative. Then I was back into my old HPT-a-day habit so the following morning found me ripping open a new package with my teeth and well, you know. Negativo. So at nine days past ovulation I washed my hands of this cycle and I now await the start of a new cycle tomorrow.

OM, as we who are oh-so-calm-and-enlightened say.

I feel lucky that I am at the stage of trying to conceive, part deux, when I laugh at my own idiocy. Just check me out after two more months of this... I'll be scary.


A Dialogue

Driving home this evening from an emergency shorts-purchasing expedition, Steve was recounting some tale or other from his day when his voice got all raspy.

"Excuse me," he coughed, "I seem to have a horse in my throat."

I raised an eyebrow.

"No, no," he corrected himself, "A frog. Two frogs. Many frogs."

"English is a hard language, isn't it?" I said, sympathetically.

"Hey, I've got a horse right here," he said and pointed suggestively at his pants.

"I don't understand. You have a horse's ass? You ARE a horse's ass?"

"Hung!" he started. "I am hung..."

"OH! Right," I nodded, "anywhere you hang your horse is home. Home is where the horse is hung. Hang 'em high by... "

"OFF!" Patrick shouted from the back seat.

So that's where it ended. But I was on a roll.


Jerry Springer Spa Day

One of my Christmas presents from Steve was a gift certificate to the local spa. The certificate was too much for just a massage but not enough to cover a full Day of Beauty and Relaxation, which I assume involves plastic surgeons and a team of spa elves dispatched to your house to clean it during your absence. So I mused over the product menu (trying to find the right balance between price and price) and finally decided on a facial, a foot thing, and the 90 minute massage. I was really looking forward to it.

You know, I hadn't realized that we had a local spa but sure enough there it is behind the teeny-tiny post office. And it was quite lovely too: massage chairs in the waiting nook, interesting teas, tinkly New Age music and nice fluffy white robes. I was just settling into feeling very Zen when I was introduced to my therapist for the afternoon, Theodosia. She was a surprise. You know the bartender at that roadside bar? The morbidly obese one with the salty conversation and her share of prison stories? Well, that was Theodosia.

After applying my mask she left me for what seemed like an extremely long ten minutes. Of course, with that damn music playing the same bars over and over again and your eyes plastered shut with cucumber gelée it is hard to get a good sense of things, but I know I was bored by the time she returned for me. She confessed that she had gone out to a garage sale. During the next two hours she further informed me that her first husband was an alcoholic who beat her. The father of her 3 year old son left when she was seven months pregnant and has never seen her since. That she had worked at the quarry but they fired her when she got pregnant but she hired a lawyer who got all of her money back. That she was a crank addict when she got pregnant and was terribly worried about the health of the baby, especially after her five previous miscarriages. That she was sexually abused by a cousin as a child and later lost her virginity when she was raped by not one but two men. That her friend was raped by them too and she has been in a mental institution ever since.

I began to get the impression that my Scheherazade of the Spa was a bit of a dramatist. But what good is a spa getaway without the accompaniment of a toe-curling series of revelations, eh?

So I have further confirmation that people always tell me more than I ever needed to know. Also, that I really need to work on my Polite-but-repressive but I have apparently mastered Sympathetic-and-nonjudgmental even whilst nude and flat on my face.

After all these confidences she felt comfortable enough to look at me critically and tell me I needed to have my eyebrows tended to. For thirty-two years I have allowed them to simply grow wild like raspberry bushes and it took this generous-souled Daughter of the People to say "Enough." Suitably chastened, I meekly returned to the spa this afternoon and let her wax my face. And you know what?

I'm Bee-YOO-tiful!

Who knew that those unkempt eyebrows had been causing so much trouble?


A Short Sweet Story

One of Steve's clients is a large manufacturer of durable goods in the Middle West. Towards the end of last week they extended a job offer to this guy in Dallas, with a generous pay increase. Yesterday the guy turned the job down, stating that he had hoped for more money. Someone then gently explained to him that he was as high as a l'hirondelle if he thought that any company would start getting exponential with the increases, no matter how poorly his current employer had been compensating him.

But he repeated his refusal, explaining that he and his wife were in the process of trying to adopt in Texas. They had already invested a chunk of money and felt very hopeful that they would be getting a child within the year. However, if he accepted the new job offer and moved then they would have to start the process all over again, including starting from scratch financially.

Within an hour of his turning down the position, a vice president with Large Manufacturer heard about it. He said, "We just adopted a child ourselves and I know how difficult and draining the process can be. What if we let him telecommute from Texas for a year, during which time they will hopefully be far enough along with their adoption that a move to headquarters won't interrupt their plans? Will he consider doing that?"

Dallas guy considered it and accepted by the end of the day.

I heart Big Business. Sometimes.


Disclaimer

Sometimes I just cannot shut up, can I?

My toe nails are still, incredibly, this awful awful color. For me this is a bore, because it means I will have to track down some nail polish remover and use it... DAMN Miss Rose. Patrick has started calling me Mama in the past two weeks, which is just as delightful as I always suspected it would be. The other day he was lightly tapping my foot and saying Meh-mo, Meh-mo. And I crooned, "Yes, my cupcake? Yes? Mama is here. Mama, Mama, Mama" until it dawned on me that he was saying my feet are yellow. You know, Meh-mo. Now I thought they were more blue against this polish, but he may be right. Either way, ick.

It occurred to me, though, that we can make some lemonade out of the lemons that are my corpse toes (yum) and I can tell you about the amazing indelible nail polish that WILL NOT wear off, no matter how wide your feet or how many pairs of shoes you cram them into. Got a pen? Revlon Colorstay. The only nail color you will ever need.

You said some very sweet things about me and my child and the house. So very sweet that I feel obligated to post another picture from Sunday.not-so-happy


It is so NICE to be selective in how we portray ourselves in the ether.


PKD

I have a friend who attempted to console me after my second miscarriage by sharing what he had found to be true. His wife had a couple of miscarriages before they had their daughter and my friend assured me that when he held his daughter for the first time he knew that she, and she alone, was the child for them.

"You'll discover that when you finally have a child all of the trouble and heartache will make sense, because it was somehow necessary to bring you to this child - the perfect one for you."

I smiled weakly at the time and hoped he was right.

Two years later when I was actually peering at Patrick's wet, angry, newborn-red face, I recalled his words and thought about what a fucking load of crap they were. I mean, I don't doubt that it was true for him, and it very well might be true for you, Mazel tov, but for me there was no great moment when all of the suffering felt worth it. Maybe because there was no connection between the two; it was just bad luck, bad luck, bad luck, bad luck - good luck! I didn't have all of the miscarriages as a necessary precursor to Pack. It just sucked, randomly and repeatedly, and then it didn't suck.

Seriously, I love Patrick more than the moon and the stars and the vast dark spaces where time sleeps. I love him and I love being his mother and when he burped half a second before kissing me on the lips this morning I was only slightly grossed out. But it would have been a whole lot more pleasant to just have the first baby we conceived. Or the third. I'll bet that third was quite a kid. Trying to mourn not having Patrick because we successfully had a Patrick prototype three years earlier... well that just involves a Philip K. Dick-like sci-fi sophistication that is beyond me.

Oh, hey, I like that. Good ol' P.K. Dick. Dick-like. Dick-ish. Feel free to use that if you find yourself in a similar situation. One in which some well-meaning person tries to tell you that miscarriages or years of infertility or both are somehow nullified by The One True Baby.

Do you see why this is an annoying and patronizing attitude to take about someone else's experiences?

Dick. Dicklike. Dickish.

Something like that.

- This has nothing to do with what I intended to write about. Ergo, I shall return later to write about nail polish that won't rub off.