Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Strangers

When we went for our very first ultrasound, at eight weeks, the goal was to see a heartbeat. At that point, we'd been cautiously excited for a month, thinking about the possibility of a baby, but not wanting to get too excited, either (I swear, during that month, I heard more miscarriage stories, without even TRYING, than I heard in my entire life leading up to that point). When the image came up on the screen of the little white blob with the little flickering heartbeat, I swear something chemical happened in my brain. I mean it, I was instantly in love with that blob. The tech printed pictures for us and I sat in the car, all the way home, staring at them like the Mirror of Erised.

When Grace was born, it took me a little while to realize I'd had no such moment in the delivery room. I was excited and overwhelmed and it was all a bit much to take in, and when I get like that, I'm the type to just keep moving and not stop and take everything in. The moment they laid her on my stomach, I was stroking her and trying to see if she looked like anyone, taking in the fact that we'd really had a girl, that she was really here, but there was no, "oh my god this is my child" moment. There just...wasn't.

And that moment didn't really come in a big bang. I think it does for a lot of people, and it was sort of hard that it didn't for me. It was a gradual thing. I kept staring at her, trying to figure her out- what did she want? (she wanted to yell, oh how she wanted to yell...) what did she need? what the HELL was I doing? But the rush of instant love? It's hard to say it out loud, but it wasn't there.

I have a friend who had the same thing happen. She told me that rather than instantly loving her daughters, she fell in love with them. And that's what happened with Grace. One night, at 3am, when I was up for aprpoximately the fiftieth time, I found her with her little lip curled out and her eyes puffy with sleep and I wanted to spend the rest of my life squeezing her. Sometimes I catch her right as she's waking up, before she starts to cry, and just as she's opening her eyes, she has that look on her face like she's still shocked to find herself out in the world, and I scoop her up before she can cry and bury my face in her neck and kiss her all over.

I think a lot of the same people who have instant-mommy love say they feel like they've known their kids forever. In a lot of ways, I feel like I have a different baby every single day. I've figured out a few things- she loves baths for about seven minutes, and then she HATES them, I am her favorite pacifier, she likes having her feet out in the breeze as opposed to having them covered, and that cowlick on top of her head isn't going anywhere. The more I get to know her, the more I love her, but there's so much about her I haven't figured out yet. (For the record, I also think there's a lot that she hasn't made up her mind about yet, either.) It's the hardest part of all of this, having this little piece of you that you don't really know. Admitting that is hard, but it's also the truth. Just because we dont' all instantly know and love our babies doesn't mean we love them any less. It's just not what you always hear about.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Today's Question

Is there a new parent in America who doesn't spend weeks with that crappy Billy Joel song "River of Dreams" running through their head?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

It's Christmas??

It really does not feel like Christmas.

Ok. As an adult, it rarely feels like Christmas. I don't get the same feeling I did as a little kid. It's usually more stressful, and not as exciting. But this year? my GOD. The days just blur together and today feels like any other day, viewed through the fog of profound sleep deprivation and raging hormones. Sure, we had our big Christms Eve celebration with my family last night, and went to Stephen's mom's house today (and left the camera there with all our adordable pictures of Gracie that haven't been uploaded yet which also prevented us from taking any more pictures today, SOB). We got some really cute stuff for Gracie, and some relatives got to meet her for the first time. But honestly, it is all such a blur. I worry a little bit that her first Christmas wasn't really anything special, because I worry that I'll be sad about it later. At the same time, she won't remember, and at this point, we're just getting through the days without driving off the road or forgetting to eat (which, seriously, when you're breastfeeding? I can't imagine forgetting to eat. I'm worse than I was when I was pregnant, all I want to do is eat).

Sooo, it's all okay, right? I won't regret this all being such a blur?

Of course I will. Just like I regret not enjoying pregnancy more, just like I regret not taking more pictures in the delivery room and not enjoying more of that (I mean, I did enjoy that, I had the world's greatest epidural, but it was all happening in the middle of the night and I was so overwhelmed, it's all, you got it, a blur), I will regret all of this being a blur. I also won't remember it the way it really is. I was saying to Stephen today, it's only been two and a half weeks. In our lives, that's just a blip. It only feels like an eternity because we're so overwhelmed and undersleeped and it's all so goddamn hard right now. In six months when she's more mobile and doesn't sleep as much and starts getting into everything, we'll long for the newborn days when all she did was eat, sleep, cry, and poop, and I will be all melodramatic and sentimental about my squooshy little newborn. I won't remember this the way it really is, just like I had to go back and reread all my other entries to remember how much I truly hated pregnancy. It took me just days to forget how much my back hurt and how tired I was and how I never slept then, either, except I wasn't doing anything worthwhile, I was just awake and staring at the ceiling every night.

I guess that's how kids get siblings. It must be, because there's been lots of only child talk around this house lately.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Wisdom of Donna

Donna put in her blog recently that when you have kids, the years go by fast, but the days can be so slow. I mentioned that to Stephen and he said, "Really? I feel like all the days go by fast. It seems like it's always night and time to NOT go to sleep."

True that.

But I think a lot of it is having milestones whiz by. I mean, normally, a year will go by quickly, but when you have things actually happening, it makes it go by so much faster. Like, you can't tell how fast you're going in a plane because you're way up in the air, but when you come in for a landing and see everything go by, you realize you're really moving?

I can't believe Gracie is here. When I was pregnant, I thought I would be pregnant forever. I remember going to Baby Center and looking at "your baby this week" and seeing all the weird embryo pictures and feeling like my baby would NEVER look like a baby. I remember going for early ultrasounds and there was just nothing to see except the little flickering heartbeat. Then her arms and legs started moving, and eventually she looked like a little person. I felt like I would be on monthly appointments forever, and then I was going every two weeks, and then every week, and then she was here. And it feels like a week ago that I looked at the pee stick and saw the shadow of a second pink line and could not believe it was happening at all.

I really hated being pregnant. It was uncomfortable and I didn't feel good and all the hormones made me SO crabby. I knew I would miss a few things- I really, really loved my bump. I loved when she would move around, especially when she would stick her feet out and make right angles on my stomach. So I knew I would miss those things,and wow, I really do. I didn't expect to miss the anticipation. I miss the feeling that something really big was just around the corner. Which is ridiculous, because now that she's here, there's ALWAYS someting big right around the corner. Somehow it's not the same, though. It's a lot like I felt right after the wedding- I hated wedding planning so much, but when it was over, I was sad because I'd never have that pre-wedding anticipation ever again. Now I'll never have that pre-mommy anticipation again, and even though now I get to be mommy and I shouldn't think about it that way, I get sad sometimes. If we do have more kids (the jury is still out, as our little treasure sits next to me in a comatose-like sleep, after being awake ALL NIGHT LONG), there will be nine months of anticipation again, but it won't be the same. Everything changed when she came, before we were...us. And now we're mom and dad. And that is amazing and overwhelming and we are so, so, so, SO lucky and happy, and it's not that I miss just being us, exactly. I miss getting ready to be mom and dad.

This is all really ridiculous and I should delete this whole post instead of hitting publish, but I'm feeling like showing the world just how hormonal I really am, I guess.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shhh....

Don't look now, but Gracie is actually sitting in a bouncy seat, sucking on a paci, and not screaming like I'm killing her. Granted, she keeps spitting the paci out and then screaming with rage over the loss of said paci, but progress is progress.

Speaking of progress, there's basically none on the sleep front. She's awake more and more during the day, yet this doesn't translate to sleep overnight. I am not sure if someone is slipping her crystal meth, or if I am secretly smoking crack and nobody is telling me and it's getting into my breastmilk? I really don't know. I know it makes no sense that she'd have these great quiet alert periods during the day and not sleep more at night.

It's really frustrating. I mean, DUH. But it is. I feel like I talk to people who say, "Oh, my baby didn't sleep that well at first either." But then I tell them about Gracie, and they say, "...Oh." I genuinely don't know what we're doing wrong. We try having a routine. We try not picking her up immediately when we know she's clean and dry and fed, we try picking her up right away, we try putting her down asleep, we try putting her down drowsy. Weissbluth and Babywise are mysteriously silent on this topic- their books tell you what to do to have the Perfect Baby, but they don't tell you what to do when their ideas don't work. And obviously we're doing SOMETHING wrong, but I don't know what that might be. Twelve years of pediatric nursing (in one form or another) are totally unhelpful on this topic. All I know is, we have a baby that won't sleep, we're totally exhausted, and it's hard to not feel like it's my fault.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sleeeeeep

My number one fear about becoming a parent was the sleep deprivation. This was not even a close call. I love my sleep. I live to sleep. I am also aware of how stupid it is to say someone "slept like a baby" when we all know babies live to sleep only when you have energy and want to do things and then want to be up all night long eating and crying and pooping.

The only childcare books I bought were related to sleep and breastfeeding. The breastfeeding book didn't help much- we still ended up needing a lactation consultant. The sleep books, well, I kind of knew they wouldn't work, because they don't talk about what you're supposed to do when their methods don't instantly work.

Grace...she doesn't like to sleep. She's sleeping right now, of course, because it throws off the entire evening schedule and so why WOULDN'T she sleep right now? But let's recap:

Night One: Up all night screaming. I kept her in the room rather than sending her to the nursery because I was worried about starting up w/breastfeeding. If I had it to do over again, I would've sent her to the nursery, asked them to bring her to me two or three times during the night and/or pumped that night, and gotten some sleep. I didn't do that. She was up all night long. Stephen and I took shifts.

Night Two: Up all night screaming. We had come home that day, because I was just not feeling like the hospital was all that helpful. The jury is still out on the wisdom of that decision. Live and learn. So she was up all night screaming. Stephen and I took shifts. Stephen = superstar. I can hardly even explain.

Night Three: Up all night screaming (noticing a pattern here?). This is where Kathy starts to lose her freaking mind. Also by now, breastfeeding is a trainwreck and we're coping with that as well. Stephen and I take shifts but at this point, Stephen is carrying the team.

Night Four: My mom came over during the day and let us take a two-hour nap. my god, HEAVEN. That night, I was pumping the whole night and not nursing, plus Gracie got a little formula too (yuck...). She...oh my god. she SLEPT. She really, really slept! Two hour stretches! then she slept from 3am til close to 7am. It was truly heaven on earth. We woke up on friday absolutely giddy.

Night Five: A close second. No. Just...second. She did sleep 2.5 hours from 11-1:30, but she loses points for being wide awake for half an hour after her 3am feed (which Stephen took, and hung in like a champa nd stayed with her until she fell asleep again, promptly ruining his night of sleep and making sure he was up for two more hours). She lost another point for taking in a four-hour stretch from 6ish til 10am. It would've KILLED her to do that during the night? REALLY?

I have no idea what tonight will bring. She had a really long, really great alert period during the day, which is what I thought gave us such a great night on thursday, but now she's in the midst of a HUUUGE nap that looks like it's going to totally throw our evening off schedule. Hopefully she wakes up soon, especially because I was GOING to take advantage of this and take a nap, but Princess Grace has NO interest in sleeping her in pack n play and will only nap on her boppy lounger, which means I must sit next to her wide awake, lest she startle herself off the pillow and fracture her skull. That would be awful, and also incredibly awkward, since SOMEONE should know better...

I knew I would not cope well with the sleep deprivation, but in my defense, she's an exceptionally tough baby. I mean, of COURSE, this is the same baby who got herself all scrunched down and wouldn't let them get half the ultrasound images they needed at her 20week scan, most significantly hiding her lower spine. But still. I am tired.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Grace-E

So. I have a daughter. How about that.



Princess Grace is currently having her hearing screened, which should be interesting because she has thoroughly confused her days and nights and was JUST passing out when they came to get her. She has decided she must be held at all times, preferably in a position to nurse should the mood strike her. She may only want two or three sucks, but by GOD she better get them when she wants them.

Her entry into the world was not at all what I expected. The parts I expected to be the worst were the easiest, relatively speaking, and the parts I expected to be difficult but tolerable were truly awful. I'll just leave it at that. The only thing that happened exactly as expected was the significant amount of time I spent puking.

We are utterly exhausted at this point, between laboring all night long and then having Gracie up all night the following night. It's not unusual for babies to have days and nights mixed up, and I sort of expected this because she had a tendency to be really active at night. Plus, she is my kid. I wouldn't be shocked if Mason pulled up in front of the house in a blue Nissan to take her to Taco Bell. (Liam and Brendan are working a shift w/Mary Ugly, so they can't go on the run.)

Friday, December 5, 2008

oh my god, YOU GUYS.

When I'm not pregnant anymore???

Stephen and I will have a BABY. OUR OWN BABY. Who lives with us. ALL THE TIME!

and in order for me to not be pregnant? I...oh my god, you guys, it's almost too awful...I have to give birth to a baby.

A baby which, by yesterday's ultrasound, is estimated to weigh 8lbs, 4oz (which was a bit of a slap in the face after the doctor guessed "ohhh, probably seven pounds. her explanation for the discrepancy? "Well. You ARE tall, it's hard to guess when women are tall.") A baby whose head is measuring a full two weeks ahead of the rest of its body, in true Kathy AND Stephen fashion. (we need big heads to hold in our big brains. not because we have borderline hydrocephalus or anything like that.)

I just thought I would tell all of you about that, because I know that *I* was shocked to realize it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Digging to China

So, my little chickpea seems to be conflicted.

On the one hand, s/he is really loving kicking me in the ribs and keeping me up all night and compressing my bladder to the size of a thimble.

On the other hand, s/he appears to have a strong desire to dig a very deep hole. Through my cervix. Or, barring that, my tailbone.

It is uncomfortable and scratchy and kind of creepy, to be honest. I'm still quite sure I'll still go to the doctor tomorrow and get another talk about post-date ultrasounds and nonstress tests and indcution, but it does make me hope that maybe the kid will make an appearance sometime before Christmas.

On a totally unrelated note, I am seriously hating the following:

-the weather. (duh.)
-those Luna commercials with the people singing Halleluna
-trying to think of Christmas gifts for people
-the way I keep waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat and unable to sleep for hours on end
-the way I keep waking up in the middle of the night because Rosie is howling or scratching at the closet door or generally acting like a senile old fool
-that Beyonce song

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Bolsheviks, dear.

How much do I love the movie Annie?

A lot. Enough that I forgot to be annoyed about being pregnant for a few minutes. I mean, come on, Albert Finney in a bald cap! Carol Burnett singing! Grandpa Gilmore playing FDR! The Republican jokes! The blatant racist stereotypes!

Ok, not that last one, that's kind of shocking me, actually, but the rest is so totally kickass awesome, you'd have to be DEAD IN YOUR SOUL to hate this movie.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wow, so for real...

I actually AM going to be pregnant forever.

The doctor today told me I definitely need to make a post-dates appt. Since it's so close, the only appt they had was on my birthday, in the middle of the day, with the one doctor in the practice I really don't like. Who I'm already seeing next week. Why? Because she's the only one who has availability this late. Because she sucks.

And to all the authors of all the studies that said that women who exercise throughout their pregnancy deliver, on average, a week earlier than all the other women, giving me hope that I would not have this baby sometime in January? May you be forced to slice lemons after being subjected to thousands of tiny papercuts. I hate you. All of you.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I just have one question.

If Hilary Clinton were a man, would the Chicago Tribune be referring to her as Obama's "frenemy of state"?

Yeah. I didn't think so, either.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More Baby Stuff

1- We absolutely cannot find a rug for the nursery. Everything is either the size of a doormat or totally ugly. there was one at Pottery Barn that we both liked, but it was backordered until January. We may just go rug-less in that room until then, because I am coming up totally empty. The problem is, the floor is so thoroughly disgusting in that room, I'm not sure I can stand it. Also, why do people want doormat-sized rugs for their baby's rooms? Yet another thing I do not understand.

2- I had a dream last night that I had the baby. Usually when I dream this, it's really weird and messed up- like the time Shnee had to tell me I'd had a c-section, because I didn't know myself, or I'll dream that I have two babies and one cat, or something like that. Last night, though, it was just a normal dream. I had a girl, she came out in, like, four pushes, and she was delivered by one of the doctors in the practice that I really like. it was just really, really nice. Then I woke up and I was still pregnant. And that sucked.

3- Several non-baby items: Our basement is too shallow for a treadmill. This blows beyond description, especially because we live in the middle of the goddamn Arctic Circle, or so it would seem, based on the recent horrible weather (but to make this baby related- everyone told me I'd be hot all the time when I was pregnant and I have had no such experience. LIARS.) I neeeed to run, I am stiff and crabby and sluggish and I'm going to lose my mind. I must find a solution to this problem. Maybe I'll just buy a helmet and then I won't care when I continuously smack my head on the rafters. Also, totally unrelated, did you know that Dean Richards from the WGN News did the voiceover for the Victory Auto Wreckers commercial? I don't know how I missed that, we watch the WGN news every single morning and I never made the connection.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Weight Suit

For the last few months, I used the elliptical in the building's gym, because running was a little uncoomfortable. Plus, it got cold awfully fast and I hate the treadmill, and the elliptical isn't so bad, because I can watch tv on my iPod. Now that I don't have a full gym in my basement, I decided it was time to start running again.

You know how, on the Biggest Loser, when they're about halfway thru the season and they make them wear those weight suits that bring their weight back up to their original weight? To show them how hard they were working when they weighed more? Yeah, it felt a lot like that. It turns out you're pretty weightless on the elliptical, and in addition to the fact that it was freeeezing cold, I was not used to all the extra weight on my body. I am not sure why, because I've not gained an inordinate amount of weight, and besides that, it's only been a few months, if that, so it's REALLY not that much weight, but oh my god I felt like I was pulling a truck behind me. It felt good when I was done, though. Except for the part where it was still really cold. My GOD do I hate winter.

Speaking tangentially about the baby, do you know what irritates me and makes me laugh all at the same time? When I tell people we didn't find out the sex of the baby, and they say, "Oh, I would HAVE to find out. I like to plan." Plan? What is this planning of which you speak? We are just going to let the baby come out and then wing it. I wish someone had told me I could find out the sex of the baby so I could buy furniture and diapers and learn about babies. I mean, whatever, I really don't care what anyone else does, and I'm really shocked by how contentious the topic is (seriously, check out any babycenter message board, people get HEATED about who's "right", it is totally ridiculous), when it's obviously just a matter of personal preference. But for whatever reason, the whole "planning" thing really ticks me off. Maybe I'm missing something, and if I don't get my fetus signed up for either ballet or football, they'll NEVER get in.

Anyway. The baby is now big enough that I can feel both feet thru my stomach. I discovered this yesterday. Before, I could only feel one at a time, and it was only when the baby was stretching, but now I can feel the butt and both feet whenever I feel like it. It's really weird. But cool.

We're going to Sabatino's for dinner tonight. Why? It's our first anniversary. Crazy, right? It was waaay warmer one year ago today. Not balmy or anything, but definitely warmer.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I changed my mind.

I have slept about twelve hours all week long, combined. I spent all day wednesday, from 3pm on, running back and forth and unloading things. I woke up yesterday at 5:45, started running, and did not stop until Stephen and I collapsed into bed at nearly 11pm, and woke up again today at 5:45 to work early. My legs are so achey, just sitting in a chair hurts. I feel like I am nine thousand years old.

As a result, I have changed my mind. I am clearly not ready to be a mom because I. Can't. Take This. FOR REAL. I am going to die.

(ohmygodimjustkiddingdontletanythinghappentothebaby)

Of course, that does not matter, because as it happens, I am no closer to having this baby than I was nine months ago. My doctor's visit yesterday showed that, at nearly 37 weeks, I am not dilated at all and my cervix is somewhere up around my ears. Here I am, living proof that exhaustion and stress and that whole "don't lift anything over twenty pounds" business is BS, because NONE OF IT induces labor. I was talking to Robin, and she said the same thing (she went two full weeks past her due date with her first, did not dilate even one centimeter, and was finally induced). We decided that stress actually prevents labor, because the baby doesn't want to come out into all this nastiness when it's perfectly happy floating around and kicking its mother in the ribs. It makes evoluationary sense. Unfortnately, that means this baby will be born sometime around February, because our house is a total disaster area and I don't see that getting better anytime soon.

I desperately need a nap. I'm too tired to even be crabby. (ha. that is so not true.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

You Can't Make This Stuff Up (People's Energy, part two)

So, in spite of repeated attempts to contact People's Energy AND the Illinois Commerce Commission, I knew no more this morning than I did last week.

I went in to work early today and called People's Energy AGAIN. I actually got a semi-functional human being on the phone, who told me they had received my documents, but they were still being reviewed and there was still a hold on the service transfer. I asked how long it usually takes, and was told five business days, so if I called back tomorrow, they should have a resolution for me. I asked if I could call customer service directly, and the woman in billing told me no, she didn't even know how to get ahold of them, except by fax. She was awfully sincere, so I believed her, even if the entire situation seemed completely ridiculous. I figured I'd just call back tomorrow morning.

Here's where it gets really ridiculous (it's not already ridiculous? ha, just wait.)

I got home and found a letter to me, from People's Energy. They apologized for the error and told me the issue was resolved and removed from my account. Oh, and that they'd notified the credit bureaus and my report should be fixed in 30 days.

Um.

First of all, I have been monitoring my credit report and hadn't seen any negative changes, so PLEASE pray that this doesn't mess up our closing at all. It shouldn't, but JESUS, anything is possible at this point.

Secondly, this letter was drafted on friday. I received it today. At the same time, everyone else at People's Energy is convinced the issue is not resolved, and won't transfer my service. How I am supposd to fix this is entirely beyond me. I am bringing the letter to work tomorrow in case there's somewhere ELSE I can fax it, and hopefully I'll never, EVER have to call those people ever again.

On a semi-related note: the furnace people came out today, and it turns out the burners were just really filthy. They scrubbed them down in the kitchen sink and now everything is fine. We're keeping the thermostat set at Doc and Joanie-type temperatures (aka "don't bother putting the meat in the fridge, it'll be FINE on the counter!") just to be safe. They didn't charge us, which is nice, because it turns out they were supposed to have cleaned the furnace when they were here a few weeks ago, which is funny since, well, apparently they didn't.

I think I'll finally be happy about a week from now. At least, that's when things will feel sort of settled. Sort of.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Various and Sundry, Nothing Very Interesting.

1- People's Gas somehow linked an account under someone else's name, from 1990, to my social security number, and refuses to schedule a stop date for svc at the condo until I can prove I was not living in Rogers Park and racking up $300 gas bills at the ripe old age of fourteen. I am attempting to provide such proof with no response just yet. Awesome. Love that. Also love the billing dept informing me that someone in my family must have used my social security number. Of course. Why didn't I think of that? With all the identity thieves in my family, not to mention all the relatives I've had at the address in Rogers Park where this account was located. OF COURSE.

2- It is virtually impossible to get water service set up in the city of Chicago. When I moved to Evanston, I called one number and got a very pleasant woman on the phone who set up my account. Today I called five numbers. Two were voicemails which were clearly the wrong departments. Two were answered by people with an IQ roughly equivalent to Sam (who, let's face it, is stupid even for a dog), who provided me with other numbers they INSISTED were correct. The last number I tried is the billing department, but the only prompts in the menu are for people with existing accounts. I asked to talk to a person, and was put on terminal hold (we're talking thirty minutes here, my entire lunch, at which point I hung up the phone). Stephen called a friend he thought could help, and hopefully we've got the right number now. I'm not entirely sure why water service is such a closely-guarded secret in this city, but we are talking about utilities here, which I'm not holding in particularly high esteem these days (see: point 1 of this post).

3- I took a trauma nursing certification course monday and tuesday. it was easily the most difficult certification course I've taken in my career. Really super interesting, but omigosh, SO hard. One really interesting factoid I learned: even for experienced first responders, the most traumatic events are those involving children. The woman who taught this section quoted an interesting statistic. I have no idea if it is true or not, admittedly, but I'm going to assume it is. She said that following the Laurie Dann incident (I link as if any of us could forget that), 90% of the ER staff who were working at Evanston Hospital that day quit their jobs. 50% never went back to health care. I guess that probably isn't very interesting if you don't work in health care, but anyway.

4- So much complaining, I have to finish by saying that we have the awesomest friends in the whole wide world and really really really appreciate all the help we're getting a week from saturday. I seriously do not know what we'd do without all y'all.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

no mortgage

We got a letter from our buyer's attorney today. They need an extension on the mortgage contingency because they don't have a mortgage yet.

WE CHECKED THIS. My mom called their loan officer before we went to contract, and was assured they would have no trouble getting a loan. We checked.

We've jumped through every hoop they've presented to us (except for replacing the ceiling, which, seriously, you really asked for that???). I realize that people are sometimes shocked these days when they can't get a loan. I realize standards are a bit more stringent. But I think if you go to contract on a condo and act as obnoxious as our buyers have, and you can't even get a damn loan, you are the biggest loser on the planet. LOSER.

Our attorney is supposed to get in touch with their attorney today and find out exactly what the problem is. We're hoping our loser asshole buyers are just holding out for rates to drop after election day. It's the only possible good answer we could get. Otherwise, I hope they get run over by a bus. Slowly.

Monday, October 27, 2008

zzzzzzzz....

I'm sorry, I just went to childbirth class and lapsed into a coma.

I was very annoyed, because the only way to tour the hospital and find out exactly where to go and what to do when the little chickpea decides to make his/her entrance was to sit through the entire eight-hour course. I think we all know my control-freak tendencies make skipping the tour a total non-option. I NEED to know where to go and what to do when that day comes.

They pretty much covered the stages of labor, showed a few videos, and then took us on the tour. I was not bored because I went to nursing school, I was bored because the stuff they talked about is common knowledge to anyone with a copy of What to Expect and a cable subscription that includes TLC or the Discovery channel. There were a few hospital-specific tidbits about pain management and intra-/postpartum routines, but overall, I could've taught the class as a junior in college.

The most interesting part was that Stephen and I were the only couple, out of eleven couples, that did not know the sex of our baby. I know a lot of people find out ahead of time, but that really surprised me. It was also fun to look around the room and try to guess whether people were having boys or girls. I'm usually pretty accurate- low and wide can be either a boy or a girl, but basketballs are usually boys, in my experience. Not the case in our class., which puts me BACK in the position of "totally clueless" regarding the sex of this baby. I guess I still think it is a boy because when I think about it being a girl, I know I would be shocked, but when I think about it being a boy, it makes sense to me. I don't know.

Because we are total assholes, we also had fun mocking our classmates. In our defense, one girl was wearing a bright orange velour jumpsuit with her stomach hanging out the bottom- we had NO CHOICE but to mock her. The rest may or may not have deserved our snottiness, and I flatly deny all accusions related to either of us using the word badonkadonk at any point throughout the day.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

ohhh, that's TINY.

There were a lot of kids at Henry's birthday party tonight. Lots and lots. The tiniest was the itty-bitty son of her friends. On our way out the door, I asked how old he was.

"Twelve weeks," she said,

Jesus tap-dancing Christ.

The baby was TINY. WAAAY too little to be away from his mommy.

And yet.

That is exactly how old my child will be when I abandon him/her and return to work.

Awesome.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pish Posh.

I was really disappointed when John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. To me, it showed a serious lapse in judgement and more than whiff of desperation ("ohgodpleaseIwantthissobadlymaybethiswillgettheHilaryvote"). Somehow, though, I was still shocked and appalled when I finally took the time to watch him address the issue of a woman's health as it factors in to late-term abortions.

This isn't actually about pro-life vs. pro-choice to me (and seriously, can all of us rational, thinking people stop saying "pro-abortion", and acknowledge that while we may not agree, pro-choice people are no more pro-abortion than pro-life people enjoy seeing rape victims get pregnant?). It's not. It's about paternalism and condescension. Because when you use air quotes to refer to the "health of the mother" as it relates to late-term abortions, and imply that the real-life health consequences for some women in pregnancy are a figment of our hysterical imagination, you insult women. Period.

Pregnancy can threaten a woman's life. Severe pre-eclampsia, HELLP syndrome, and uterine infection are all very real conditions that can, and have, killed women. If these conditions become severe prior to the 24th week of gestation, a woman is faced with a choice- attempt to last until 24 weeks and die in the process, or terminate the pregnancy (the only known cure for two of those three conditions, and the only complete cure for infection). Here's where it's not about abortion rights: if you believe the woman should have no choice other than to continue the pregnancy, then you feel that way, I'm not really arguing that point right now. But you can't make that point without acknowledging that the woman will most likely die. Again, this is not imaginary, this is real.

If McCain really feels that way, well, he and I are never going to see eye to eye on that and it's fruitless to even discuss it. But I would come a wee bit closer to respecting his opinion if he would sack up and say so, instead of implying, as medicine has for centuries, that women are inventing these silly little problems.

Not that I was exactly on the fence about the election, nor are any of the three people who read this, but it's nice to know his opinion.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Home Sweet Home, Take Two

So, we had our attorney kill the deal on the last house. It just kept getting more and more expensive, we kept finding more and more problems, and it finally seemed like a decision so stupid, we had no choice but to reverse course. It is sad, because it was a very cool house, but the sellers were total douchebags and the house was in worse condition than we'd ever expected, so we had to do the wise thing and FINALLY pull the plug.

Tonight we went to contract on a beautiful house in Old Irving that we both love a lot, with a yard as big as my parents' yard in the suburbs. Sam is thrilled. So are we. Finally.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Blumesday

You guys.

Omigod.

Were you aware of this? Apparently, in a few limited (LUCKY) locations, Judy Blume's birthday is celebrated with readings, dramatic reenactments, and Q&A sessions with Judy herself.

I am so not kidding. I read all about it here.

Can we PLEASE do something about this??? We have a whole year, and HOW MANY librarians? Come ON!!

Do it for Margaret.

Friday, October 10, 2008

well, that's a pickle.

We had the home inspection for our chosen house yesterday. Our chosen house which is owned by two of the biggest douchebags in the Chicagoland area, as is only fitting for this entire real estate experience. There was nothing cataclysmic, but a few things that absolutely need to be addressed, will cost significant money, and must be addressed by the sellers (circuits overtapped to the point they're a fire hazard, leaking gas valve on the water heater, just to name the two biggest issues). We asked that these issues be rectified, in addition to a bunch of other stuff that any reasonable person would agree to fix but these people most likely will not. We also let a LOT slide, including major kitchen issues, since we will be gutting the kitchen anyhow.

We are fully expecting our sellers to tell us they will not fix a single thing. We decided, when we agreed to pay more than our original best and final, that if we were not happy with the inspection, we would walk. Someone else could pound sand for a change. Our two other potential choices both have significant drawbacks, but if it got to the point where we would be making a financially irresponsible decision, we'd take the less-than-ideal houses over this mess.

Seems straightforward,right? Of COURSE it's not! I talked to our loan officer yesterday, and she somehow managed to lock us into an interest rate of 5.99%. It's a miracle! ...but we have to have our contract in the computer by wednesday, and it has to be the contract for the house we ultimately buy. Meaning, we can't put THIS contract in the computer, then change houses, and keep the rate. Our sellers have until monday at noon to respond to our inspection demands, and possibly until tuesday, if their attorney chooses to view Columbus Day as a non-work day (our attorney will be working, but theirs could easily say no). So we'd have to move IMMEDIATELY on our second choice, and just pray to have the signed contract in place in time. Interest rates, as of today, are nearly 0.75% higher than our locked-in rate. This will come close to $100/month.

Now it turns into a complicated math problem, where we try to figure out how long we'd have to stay in the house to have the expense of a higher rate outweigh the expense of the repairs the house needs (answer: pretty darn long), in addition to the questions about how we'd feel about one of those second choices, and making sure we're not having a kneejerk reaction to the assholes selling us the house. Because, make no mistake about it, they are truly assholes, but once we close, they are assholes we never have to deal with again. (well. I suppose that, given both our jobs, we could conceivably have to deal with them in the future, but not in a real estate context.)

We're going back sunday to decide which house is our second choice, just in case. I'm not sure how easy it will be to make that decision, since one house is completely gorgeous and amazing, but on a rotten block with no backyard to speak of, and the other is a very small house which we would ultimately outgrow in several years, on a very nice block with an enormous backyard and, oh yeah, one of the biggest high schools in Chicago located directly across the alley. This? Is why we've put up with so much crap with our sellers thus far. Decisions, decisions.

I'm pretty sure this is interesting to nobody in the world except us.

ICE CREAM! Today I did an experiment, and mixed a 100 calorie snack pack of Chips Ahoy with my daily ice cream. It sounds good, doesn't it? It really wasn't. I mean, it wasn't bad, but I wouldn't bother with it again. That's me: attempting variations on McDonald's ice cream so you don't have to. You're welcome.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

And the universe said,

"Go pound sand." And we were left with no choice but to pound sand.

Let's see...

1- we already sold at a ridiculously low price. Buyers market and all (ha). Now it turns out we'll also be replacing the entire furnace, the special assessment for the atrium that has been discussed the entire time I've lived here will be passed several days to a week before our closing, leaving us holding the bag, and the deal might fall through anyway because the buyers expect us to replace an entire brick wall and replaster the whole ceiling.

2- we ended up spending $20,000 more than our original best and final on the stupid house we chose because we can't find another house that works. And for the record, this house only works after approximately $30-40,000 worth of work. That's the best we could do. Those buyers are already trying to list exclusions. Our inspection is tomorrow, I'm sure they'll refuse every single repair and we'll have to decide what to do then.

3- I am having serious, profound irritation with a work situation and I'm just going to leave it at that because A) not gonna discuss details of work and B) anyone who doesn't work in health care will think I'm evil and deserve everything the universe is throwing at me. I get it, it's hard to understand that sympathy only goes so far for people until you have to deal with them day in and day out, so I'm not even going to try to explain.

I'm just beyond fed up and that's just the way it is and the way it's probably going to be for awhile.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Curse you, McDonalds.

I think my most consistent pregnancy addiction has been McDonald's plain vanilla ice cream in a cup, no topping. I've had some that came and went- Chipotle, lemonade, cold cereal (well, that one actually got so expensive I got annoyed and just stopped, but anyway), a few others I can't remember. But I've been wanting their ice cream the whole time. Well, not really. I'd STRONGLY prefer chocolate ice cream, because vanilla, as we all know, is a synonym for "plain" or "unflavored". However, chocolate is only an option in shake-form, and while the plain ice cream has a reasonable amount of calories and fat, making it a reasonable every day treat, the chocolate shake has neither, being a once-in-awhile, oh-my-god-I-can't-resist kind of treat. So. Plain vanilla ice cream it is. In a cup, because I think it's unbecoming to lick an ice cream cone at work. (oh yeah, there's also the convenience factor, it's right here in the hospital. I'll refrain from editorializing on the appropriateness of a McDonald's being located inside a childrens hospital, particularly in the midst of an obesity epidemic, but you can guess where I stand on that. ANYWAY.)

I'm already quite confident the people who work at McDonalds make fun of me when I'm not around and call me Ice Cream Lady. And they see me coming and they're like, godDAMN, it's ice cream lady again. She never wants her receipt and she never takes any damn peanuts, so we have all these extra peanuts, and then we run out of ice cream.

Whatever, too bad, I want ice cream, they can make fun of me all they want. But today? I went for my cold cup of deliciousness, and the bastards had the audacity to be CLEANING THE MACHINE.

I totally take this personally, because I'm there at the same time every day, and you just KNOW they were like, "Ooh, ice cream lady's coming, put the machine on 'wash'!" Those of you who think I'm either kidding or paranoid never worked in foodservice, because, let me tell you, we absolutely do those things.

Five minutes, they said. SO I said I'd go back. And oh, believe me, I WILL, that ice cream will be MINE, oh yes it will. Ice Cream Lady will remain unvanquished. (Ok, I guess I'm partially vanquished, since I currently have no ice cream. whatever.)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

every bad thing I've ever done...

The karma train is coming back around for me in the form of real estate.

Which, I mean, isn't all that dramatic of me- I haven't really done anything truly terrible iny my life. All the little things, though- every time I cut someone off in traffic, every mean thing I've ever said, all of my general misanthropy, it's all coming back.

The condo deal *looks* like it's still safe. I probably shouldn't say that and anger the gods (not to mix metaphors...or something...), but the inspection wasn't a total disaster, and while they'll probably counter with some ridiculous demands, whatever, we're prepared to screw the pooch.

Turns out the world of estate wants us to do that on both ends. The house we found, that we like, but needs major work to make the kitchen remotely acceptable? (I mean, we're talking about moving walls, just to give you an idea of the scope of work.) We gave the owners an admittedly low offer. They countered at five under their list price. They've been on the market nearly a year. When their agent showed them the comps from the neighborhood, that are just barely above our offer, their response was that it doesn't count, because those people gave their house away. They also said they're considering pulling the listing. They don't even live there anymore. They bought a two-flat, and are living in one while they rent the other for additional income. They're claiming they want to rent both units and move back into the house, because they're that sure they can do better in a more favorable market.

Here's the thing: the house needs roughly $40,000 in work. We're talking about a really great block, in a neighborhood that has never been popular, that will never BE popular, that is two blocks off a stretch of Milwaukee where half the storefronts are boarded up. I'm incredibly disappointed that they're not willing to deal, but neither one of us is afraid to walk away. We already took a hit on the condo, we're not taking one on the house, too.

Still, it's aggravating, because everything else on the market is a total piece of (overpriced) crap. They keep saying it's a buyer's market and I am here to tell you that is a load of horse poo. There is nothing good on the market, because anyone with anything good is waiting, and anyone who is trying to sell is living in total denial.

I'm not sure where this leaves us. I guess we're gonna end up in a house we don't really like, that we'll end up trying to sell when the market rebounds, if it ever even does, provided our own buyers don't come back from inspection asking for thousands of dollars.

What I do know is that the whole topic is even boring to ME, so I'd like some resolution, just so I can start talking about something remotely interesting again.

Friday, October 3, 2008

I would've waited.

I was almost to work today when I happened to glance at my gas gauge and notice I had, um, no gas at all. Bah. I had already driven past the Really Expensive Shell station, and traffic was terrible, so I decided to go to the I'm Gonna Need a Loan For This Mobil station. It was actually only two cents more per gallon, which is a small miracle.

I pulled up to the pump and went to swipe my card, when I noticed that all the pumps were turned off and the gas station was closed. I contemplated going after work, but I was early enough, so I went back to the Shell station and filled up. Having a near-empty gas tank stresses me out beyond all reason. Like, if I DO run out of gas on Lincoln Avenue, there will be no one to help me? Or one of the really shady people who hang out in Lincoln Park will rob me at gunpoint in broad daylight during rush hour? I don't know. Anyway, I got my gas and went on to work.

On my way home this evening, I passed the same Shell station. The gas was eighteen cents cheaper a gallon.

You go to hell, Shell station. You go to hell and you die.

The World's Biggest Lap Dog

Photobucket

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Inspection on Saturday

NOT relieved yet.

Really holding our breath. Fingers crossed.

There may be an end to this real estate adventure in the year 2008 after all...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Almost-Offer

Over the last week, we've had five showings. We had one today immediately before the baby shower at Stephen's mom's house. I really thought it went well, the client AND the agent were absolutely gushing about how cool the unit is, how great the skylights are, how the train noise isn't so bad, and on and on. I was trying very hard not to get excited. Then Stephen came back upstairs with Sam and reported that the conversation in the lobby was quite different- we're only top five, he liked the one on Ashland better, he liked "the first one" (not us), etc etc. Great. I pouted all the way to his mom's house. (this probably does not sound like BAD news, but trust me, in today's market, being top five, you might as well be top 100, it's meaningless, it's worthless, they're not going to make an offer.)

I had already called my mom to say the showing went well, so when we walked in and saw her, I was gearing up to tell her how I wrong I was. Except I couldn't, because she was on the phone, clearly discussing real estate. As she hung up, I said, "well, I thought it went well, but it really didn't." She cut off my whining to say, "That's the agent from yesterday, he's emailing me an offer."

When Stephen and I finished peeing ourselves, he took her to his mom's computer to get the offer. Oh yeah, the agent messed up the .pdf conversion and the file couldn't be opened. My mom immediately called the guy back and told him what happened. He said he'd be out of the office for an hour and a half or so, but that he'd resend it, and gave her the rough details of the offer. Low offer, but not as low as we'd both expected. Super late closing date of November 23rd- not good, we'd definitely try to change that, but if it was non-negotiable, it wouldn't be a deal-breaker.

Then...nothing.

It's now almost 10pm, and the other agent never sent the offer again. Stephen is totally convinced the buyers changed their minds. I'm mixed, but when I called my mom to ask what she thought, she did not say what I wanted her to say. Which was, of course, "Don't be ridiculous Kathy, he's just busy/being a douchebag/whatever else might have happened." She said, "Well, I hope not, and I don't think so, but I can't promise you anything. And if that's the case, then they're not the right buyer anyway, they would've pulled this in a week after we'd gone to contract, and that would be worse, so it's better for it to happen now."

A few counterpoints to that:

1- There is no such thing as a wrong buyer at this point. We'd sell to ANYONE who wanted to give us money. I mean, seriously.
2- How 'bout it just not happen at all? How 'bout they make an offer, go thru inspection and atty review, and then closing???

So now Stephen is entirely resigned to this deal being off the table. I think it's probably the right attitude, because it doesn't really do any good to be hopeful, but I'm having a hard time just giving up on it. The agent WAS a total douchebag yesterday, I wouldn't put it past him to just put it off until tomorrow. Maybe he didn't feel like doing it today. maybe this is a bargaining tactic and he wants to make us sweat so we're more likely to accept anything they bring to the table.

It's all pretty unlikely. I know it's a buyer's market, but realistically, if you're serious about making an offer, you make an offer, you don't make put it together, send it, and then ignore any problems with it until the next day. It's better to just write it off...right?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Burn incense, light candles, pray, whatever...

Earlier today, my mom sent me an email saying we should be ready to convert the front bedroom to a nursery sometime in mid to late October. It's amazing how quickly I can be reduced to hitching, snotty sobs these days. In my defense, though, she's been the one insisting all along that the place will sell, that I'm being silly, that the market is just slower than it used to be. So, yeah, talking about making rooms into nurseries shows a degree of pessimism she did not have before. I commented that it seemed like most people aren't really buying anything, just riding around on their real estate agent's gas tank, looking at places for shits and giggles. She didn't disagree.

Let me interject for a second- people, this is rude behavior in a market like this. Real estate agents don't get paid unless they sell something. Gas costs nine thousand dollars a gallon. If you don't have any intention of really buying something one day in the semi-near future, get in your own car and go to open houses. Seriously. Yeah, it drives US crazy because we get our hopes up and scrub our house to a sparkle, hoping to wow you, but really, you can't treat your agent that way. Not cool.

Anyway. I've been sitting here, stewing in my own juices, all day long (work is intolerably quiet, which is not helping, as I have no distraction). I googled every combination of "how do I sell my goddamned condo" that I can think of (I mean, not that my mom doesn't know, I'm just trying to see if there is some wacky scheme that she normally wouldn't suggest but might be called for under the circumstances). Google is like, "Sorry dude, can't help you, but do you want to see ads for other condos you might want to buy?" The best we've got is HGTV, and I sort of doubt that's going to do much for us.

Turns out we have a showing tomorrow at 3pm. My mom has known the agent for years. She told him to just bring an offer, any offer, and if he sells it, she'll love him forever. He, apparently, laughed. Did he think she was kidding? She's not. Neither am I. His client wants upgrades? Let's talk upgrades. My husband is an excellent baker, do they want cookies? Every week for a year, they got 'em. Done. Fast closing? No problem. Closing in two months? You got it. (message to baby: don't come before we move.)

So seriously people, all three of you reading: channel ALL your positive energy towards this showing. Pray to your higher power of choice, set up a semi-circle of troll dolls and cast spells, stick pins in dolls, do a tribal dance, whatever you can think of. I'll be doing all of the above, but I'll also be busy scrubbing my shower with a toothbrush, so I will only have so much time for that.

Friday, September 19, 2008

So here's a funny story.

A month or so ago, I came back from the gym to find Stephen sitting on the couch with the sheepiest of sheepish looks on his face.

"...what?" I asked him.
"Wellll, I have to tell you a story."
"WHAT?"

Turns out he was outside with Sam when he saw two young guys with hoodies pulled up, shaking cans of spray paint, ducking around the building. Our building gets tagged a LOT. They set of Stephen's radar (um, maybe the spray paint?), and before he could think it through, he started running after the guys. With our huge dog. The two guys took off running and Stephen came inside, satisfied he'd chased them off.

Oh yeah. They were coming into our garage, and the spray paint was for a dresser they'd stripped and were repainting.

Ok, first of all, hee. I mean, nobody got hurt, and it's kind of funny. (kind of really funny, but maybe only to us? Cops and nurses have sick senses of humor.) Having said that, I was also annoyed with him and reminded him about the safety (or more accurately, lack thereof) of running after people on the street when he's not actually working, not to mention the fact that he was chasing after two innocent guys. He just kept saying they'd set him off, they weren't acting right, etc.

WELL.

I should listen to my husband more often. (crap, did I just say that out loud?!)

Remember the signs about the stolen hockey equipment? It was traced back to the spray painters!! Apparently, the owner of the hockey equipment filed a police report, and while the police were searching the area, they spotted the hockey equipment in the back of a truck. They traced it, somehow, to these two guys who were renting in the building, and long story short, they totally stole the hockey equipment! There were also two bikes stolen from the building in the same time frame. Nobody's proven they took those, but come on. Occam's razor and all.

So the boy has instincts. I still don't like him chasing after people off-duty, but I have to give him that.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Universe is Against Us

We had a showing today. Hurrah!

Sigh. Apparently someone left lots and lots of expensive hockey equipment somewhere it could be stolen (they referred to the storage area, but I know our storage lockers and they're just not big enough to hold everything they described, so I'm inclined to think they left it lying around, quite frankly), and, well, it got stolen. They have chosen to handle this by absolutely plastering the building with signs about their stolen items, and how they can't believe someone who lives in this building would do such a thing.

Answer me this: would YOU be inclined to buy in this building?

Stephen was going to go around taking the signs down, but we got behind on cleaning and ran out of time. It would've taken forever, anyway.

I'm sorry this douchebag's stuff got stolen, I really am. But? In addition to my doubts about how well-secured these items were, there are better ways to publicize your losses anyway. Plus, if I want to be one of Those Kind of Condo Owners, you're not allowed to post signs in the building without approval from the board, which he did not have.

It's not as bad as the time the dogwalker got trapped in the elevator, but it's a close second. Right behind this is, of course, the hurricane we had this weekend, preventing anyone from coming to our open house.

It reminds me of that Simpsons episode when Homer has to go back to work at the nuclear plant because Maggie comes along. You know, when Burns hangs the sign in front of his desk? "Always remember: You're here forever."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Kingdom for an Advil

There is nothing quite like being awake for an hour every night with the feeling of a searing hot poker being driven into your lumbar spine and sliding its way over to your right hip.

My back hurts. A lot.

It hurts all day, wtih varying intensity, but after I've been sleeping for a few hours, it wakes me up out of a dead sleep. No position is comfortable, the slightest movement causes every muscle in my back to seize up, as if to say, "you stupid bitch, when will you learn?! Don't MOVE, that only makes me ANGRY!"

I need two things. I need Advil, and I need to go see the naprapath. I can't take Advil. When I learned that, I thought, eh, no biggie, I'm not going to have cramps! I also won't be running very long distances, so no worry about muscle aches. I can take tylenol for the occasional headache. I really didn't miss it until now. How foolish I was.

The good news is, after I see the doctor tomorrow, I'm sure I'll be able to go see the naprapath (...famous last words), and that helps much more than Advil ever has, so there is that.

The other good news is that I took monday night off from working out, and when it didn't help, I decided to work out last night. It actually helped a little bit while I was on the elliptical (no running though, I'm not that brave), and definitely didn't make it worse, so at least there's that.

On a totally unrelated note, I'm fascinated by all this BPA news. I am my father's daugther and therefore severely allergic to, and deeply offended by, junk science and knee-jerk reactions. So really, for the record, we don't know as much as some (*cough* Julie Deardorff you moron *cough*) would have us believe. We know that people with higher concentrations of BPA in their urine (and therefore, we presume higher exposures to BPA) also have higher rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and elevated liver enzymes. Let me preface this by saying that correlation does not imply causation, so for those of you inclined to move to an organic farm and weave food containers out of home-grown bamboo, you can sit tight. But?!?! This is FASCINATING news, because those three physical ailments? Make up metabolic syndrome! They all go together! It's not like they've found higher rates of brain tumors and toenail fungus, these are things that go hand in hand. This is truly fascinating, and I really hope it gets fully explored, and we don't all just panic and decry the evil Nalgene conspiracy. Because here's the thing- metabolic syndrome is also much, much more common in people who are overweight. If these physical findings are actually related to BPA, why is that? Is it that the overweight people who are developing these symptoms eat more processed food that has higher concentrations of BPA? OR?!?! Is it that a higher proportion of adipose tissue predisposes you to absorb higher levels of BPA? People, this is fascinating!

Sigh. Y'all just lapsed into a coma, didn't you?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Looking on the bright side...

As frustrated as we are by the lack of a buyer for the condo, I did not mind our lack of a house one bit this weekend. I really never have any interest in bailing out my basement, but in my current state, I'm pretty sure I would've had a nervous breakdown. Flooded basements are no fun.

Speaking of not selling our condo, we're going to be on HGTV! We were chosen as one of the alternatives on House Hunters. Exciting, no? I am sure I can say that, as I have the agreement for the show and it says nothing about keeping quiet about it. It's going to be a giant pain in the butt, because we have to have the place SPOTLESS, obviously, plus we have to get Sam out of the house for the duration of the filming. We almost didn't do it. Then we found out it's only a few hours of filming, they changed the scheduled filming date to a thursday, so I'll be off work, and we don't have to relocate the cats during filming. Honestly, it still kind of seems like a pain, but it's also free advertising, and if we didn't do it, I'd feel like we were letting a big opportunity go by. Now we can add to our listing comments "as seen on HGTV!" Wouldn't YOU want to buy our house after you read that?! Oh, but that is a silly question, because if you're reading this, you're smart enough to know you would've bought our place without that, so awesome is our condo.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Amazing.

Come February, I will be the first woman in the history of mankind to go back to work, leaving her child in the care of another person.

Oh wait. That's not right. I'm just ACTING that way.

I never thought I'd be a good stay-at-home mom. I never really wanted to be a SAHM. Then something really weird happened, sometime between the faintest second line in the history of First Response popping up and the first time I saw that fluttery, flickery little heartbeat. I found myself completely horrified by the prospect of going back to work and leaving my baby at home. I feel like I'll never, ever see the kid. Some total stranger will be raising my baby. They won't feed them the same way I do, or put them down for naps the same way, or do anything the way I do. (ohmygodwhatifthebabylikesthembetter?????)

And then I remember that I am NOT the first person ever to leave their baby with someone else. Millions of people do it every single day, and their kids turn out just as well as the kids whose moms are home. I know, objectively, that the kid won't forget who I am, or decide they want to go live with the nanny (shut up, I saw Irreconciliable Differences at a very impressionable age). I guess I just wasn't expecting to ever feel this way, so I had never really thought it through before, and I'm just blowing it all out of proportion.

It still sucks, though.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Mysteries of the Universe

Mystery the First:

Why did they stop making Underoos? You KNOW kids didn't stop wanting them. Why did they stop making them? It makes no sense.

Mystery the Second:

If you didn't grow up on Star Wars, is Darth Vader still an objectively terrifying figure? With the ridiculous helmet and black swooping cape? I don't think I know anyone who can answer that for me. Maybe one of the toddlers we've hired recently as new nurses? Except, even they probably grew up on Star Wars, watching it on tv and video, if their parents cared at all about their cultural development. Must investigate further.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Lopsided Belly

I keep trying to get a picture of it, and I keep failing, but my bump keeps going all lopsided. The side that gets higher is really hard, like there's a skinny little booty right there, with its knees jammed up to its chest. Then my whole stomach does the wave.

People. It is SO FREAKING COOL.



On a totally unrelated note:
Samantha Bee!! I love you. call me!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Domestics

Our neighbors hate each other. A lot.

I mean, okay, some people like to yell and bitch at each other. Stephen and I develop anaphylaxis at the mere thought, which is not necessarily healthy either, but part of that is that, you know, we actually like each other and we don't want to hurt each other's feelings. Anyway, my point is that I know Stephen and I Do Not Enjoy Fighting, but there are some people who Really Enjoy Fighting.

This is different. I am TELLING you. They haaaate each other.

They have a knock-down, drag out several times a week. We know this because we hear every word. Our paper-thin walls are partly to blame (but look at our immaculate silestone counters! and let me show you the rooftop deck, it's really a lovely place to live, really!), but the screaming doesn't exactly help. I can never make out *exactly* what they're fighting about, but there's lots of screeching and expletives and rage. One of our personal favorites was:

Domestic No. 1: 'morning.
Domestic No. 2: oh, what the fuck is your problem NOW?

I'm not even kidding.

They're having it out right now, and I hope it's a big one. Usually that'll tide 'em over for awhile, and we have a showing on thursday evening. It wouldn't be as bad as "Well, my client liked the unit, but not the elevator that trapped the strange New Zealander," but it'd be right up there to hear, "It's priced well, but my clients are afraid they'll have to call the police when a strange odor permeates the unit from next door."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

All I ask

is that a year from now? When our condo still hasn't sold, and we're still taking Sam down five flights of stairs to pee, and the baby is sleeping in an open bedroom, and we're repainting for the fiftieth time, as if THAT is going to make a difference?

I just want people teo say, "You were right, Kathy. We were wrong to doubt you. You were absolutely right. This condo never WILL sell. You are stuck here until you die. Good call!"

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This Really Happened. Really.

We had two showings today. They were our first in kind of awhile, so we were relieved. My mom said it usually takes a week or so for people to notice you've reduced your price, but that didn't stop us from worrying.

Stephen called me at work to say the first showing seemed to go really well. Score! The second showing was at 6:20. Work was deathly boring, so I left around then, figuring I'd either just miss them, or get home while Stephen was showing them the building.

As I was riding the elevator up, I heard the alarm go off in the other elevator. Loudly, and for a long time. The other elevator passenger and I exchanged looks and nervous giggles. As the doors opened on the fifth floor, two things happened.

The passenger in the stuck elevator turned out to be the building dogwalker, who is, um, vocal. And kind of crazy. He began screaming loudly about being trapped, and how the dog in the elevator with him was a pug with all kinds of breahting problems and he was going to die if they weren't freed soon. I am not exaggerating, he was literally screeching about pugs dying in elevators.

The other thing? Stephen went running to the door to call out to the dogwalker and try to calm him down. That's right, Stephen was standing at the elevator bank. With our 6:20 showing.

Stephen did his best to calm the dogwalker down, called the fire department, and eventually he was freed. In the meantime, I showed our guests around to the rest of the building.

I really think we're gonna get an offer from the guy. What, you don't?

Target Demographic: SUCKERS

I'm still running. Very slowly, and not very far, but I am still running. I think I can hold out for another month or so, it actually feels better than it did maybe four to six weeks ago (though I can't explain why). However, absolutely none of my running tops fit. I mean, they do, but my belly hangs out the bottom, and since I've never been a fan of the belly hanging out (especially when it is full of fetus), that will not do.

I thought I would buy some maternity work-out tops. I have some big tshirts I can wear, but it is REALLY uncomfortable to run in cotton, especially when you are a sweathog like me. So I consulted the Great Lord Google, and He sent me to Title IX sports. I found a really comfortable-looking sleeveless running top. It looks just exactly like the ones I wear from Target, but, you know, there's room for me plus a baby. I was all prepared to add two or three to my cart when I noticed what they expect me to pay for said shirt (which is just like the ones I buy at Target but with room for a baby)- FORTY FIVE DOLLARS.

Are you freaking kidding me?!

Um, yeah, I'll be raiding Stephen's workout stash and running in that. He won't like it, but I don't particularly like the amount of hair that's sprouted from my belly, so we'll call it square.

Also? Bravo, Title IX Sports marketers. Way to invoke that sense of empowerment mixed with righteous indignation we all get when we think about the girls who came before us who didn't get to play soccer and basketball because all the money went to the boys. Because nothing says "empowering women to participate in sports" by committing highway freaking robbery on pregnnat women who want to keep exercising. You go, girl, that's what it makes me think.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Freaky.

A week or so ago, there was a house on fire across the alley when I was coming home from work. I did not want to be a Looky-Lou (behavior I find appalling, I mean, who goes and watches someone's house burn?), but it couldn't be avoided. Every single time I turned down a different street, it was blocked off by a fire truck, so I finally went down the alley and then the wrong way down Ravenswood to get home. This took me right past the actual house on fire, where I saw no leaping flames or puppies being tossed from windows (is THAT what people want to see?), just lots of water, actually. I kind of forgot about it afer that.

Today we were out for a walk with Sam. As we approached the house, I mentioned to Stephen that there had been a fire recently. The house is one of those really ugly mausoleum houses that everyone is building, and now I'm at least beginning to understand why- the ONLY outward sign of damage was one boarded-up window. That was it. Amazing. As we walked past the house, there was some garbage outside the house. A big pile of Legos, half of them melted together. Some other stuff. And finally, propped up against the deck, was a crib mattress. Half burned.

I would imagine it was unoccupied at the time of the fire. There were no ambulances there when I drove by. Plus, I don't feel like like you'd leave that propped against your deck if it had been occupied at the time of the fire. It doesn't matter. Tell me you wouldn't spend the rest of your life imagining what would've happened if the fire started in the middle of the night, if the baby took a late nap that day, if if if if.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fascist Pigs

Um, ok, yeah, not really, but I am mad at my Place of Employment, which has suddenly decided that things like Facebook and Snapfish/Shutterfly/Photobucket and anything with blog in the address are not necessary for the daily functions of our jobs. WhatEVER. When it is extremely slow and quiet, it makes the days long and torturous.

This prevented me from reporting on the craziest thing until just now. This morning, I had a dream that I was in my parents' garage, trying to herd cats. For the record, it was every bit as annoying as the expression implies. Also, in my dream, the cats could talk, or somehow make their thoughts known to me. What? I don't know. Anyway, I was talking to Stephen this afternoon (telephone calls to the spouse aren't banned. Yet.) and he said, "You dreamed that last night? I had a dream last night that we both got kittens and we were chasing them all over our house. And I think they could talk."

I realize this is probably only interesting to us, but seriously, how often do you have matching dreams with your sleepmate? Well, maybe a lot and we just don't know because we don't talk about it.

I was supposed to work out tonight and instead I slept on the couch for an hour and then ate approximately nine billion pretzel rolls. I should have worked out. I feel icky now. But the pretzel rolls were delicious.

I also spent this evening working on our baby registry. HATE. Hate hate hate. Especially hate Babies R Us, which seems to be diametrically opposed to A) waiting until your child is born to learn their sex and B)one piece infant sleepers. You know, the plain little jammies that newborns spend ALL their time in because you don't dress your newborn up in cute little outfits and if the kid is due in December, it's too cold to leave them lying around in a onesie? This is extra stressful because I know how women are, and I know that many of them will be looking at my registry, snorting at my stupidity and lack of sensibility because I am not registering for things like one-piece sleepers. I should not care what these women think, and I am totally aware of this, but it does not stop me from stressing.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

All Quiet on the Uterine Front

Well, not really, as the little bugger is flipping and twisting in an apparent attempt to prepare for Beijing (shhh...nobody told him/her about the age limits. Unlike YESTERDAY, when the stubborn little bugger would. not. budge., requiring four attempts at imaging its heart. What finally worked, I'm convinced, was Stephen vigorously shaking my stomach (not even kidding, the baby probably thought someone turned on the spin cycle, which should learn it to disobey me when I say MOVE!). All was good, though, the baby is perfect and AWFULLY cute. We got some really cool 4d pictures and if we ever get another scanner I will post them for my limited audience. S/he absolutely has Stephen's chin, no doubt about it. This is a VERY GOOD THING, as my mammoth jaw was responsible for the vast majority of my orthodontic drama. I can only hope the palate matches the jaw (especially because it'd be one weird-looking kid if it didn't, given Stephen's narrow jaw).

Stephen had second thoughts about keeping the sex a surprise while we were waiting. He kept imploring me to find out, but I really, really want it to be a surprise. I told him it was absolutely fine with me if he wanted to find out, as long as he can keep it a secret from me (I genuinely do not care), but he didn't think he could, so neither of us know. I told him we can find out next time...I guess. I was worried we'd end up seeing something yesterday that gave it away, but even when she was imaging the lower spine and butt, the tech did a great job of hiding everything, we did not see three parallel lines (girl) or an outie (boy, duh). She turned the screen away for the gender shot- I did not ask if she was able to visualize it well, the baby was in a terrible position and it's possible she really couldn't. It seem like she was getting good shots of that area, though (clearly the baby takes after me and is a massive exhibitionist, heh).

Other cute moments:

-The baby sucking his/her thumb. Those little lips were moving!
-The baby swallowing. It happened so fast, I'm not sure I would've even recognized it if I haven't seen videofluoroscopic swallow studies at work. Very cool.
-The first time she did a full-frontal of the baby's face (still in 2D), it stuck its hand out RIGHT in front of its face, right as she did it. "Pleeease, I need my PRIVACY, just leave me ALONE!"
-and I can't say it enough, those 4d images. Dannnng they were cool, I am SO happy we got those. It was NOT worth the drama of worrying about the baby, but now I know that next time, we are going STRAIGHT to the level 2 ultrasound. Ooh, yeah, also, when they first did those shots, the kid had its arm up its face, just like Henry did in all his ultrasounds. I thought that was cute, too!

I am still getting girl vibes, but a few people have said, since seeing the pictures, that they think it's a boy (maybe they don't know that ALL new babies look like their daddies?). Then last night, I had yet another dream that I had a boy. Maybe my gut is way off. I mean, it usually is, but it's supposed to be accurate when it's actually YOUR kid! And if this IS a boy, I'd like to know why I'm getting so wide in the hips. Hmph.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

You know what they say about the best laid plans...

(actually, I don't- what is the saying? Every time I think that, I end up thinking about a different expression, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." Which is a terrible saying. ANYWAY.)

We had our twenty week ultrasound today. My insurance would've covered a level 2 ultrasound right off the bat (some insurance companies won't until you have a reason to need one). However, it turns out there's no actual standard definition of what it means to have a level 2 ultrasound. My doctor said the majority of her patients go with a level 1, and then have a level 2 if there's any reason to do it. That didn't really hold much weight with me, honestly, but ultimately, I decided I didn't want to go on a fishing expedition. I know myself, I thought, and a level 2 ultrasound will find something stupid that will cause me massive stress and I'll end up wishing I hadn't done it. So I opted for the level 1. A nice, well-considered decision made to minimize stress and prevent any dramatic antics on my part. This is where the best-laid plans come into play.

The baby was supremely uncooperative and they couldn't get good shots of the heart or the LOWER SPINE (which so figures...this kid HAS to be a girl, we're the only ones who are ever that vindictive to our mothers. I swear the kid was laughing and giving me the finger, too). I said s/he takes after Stephen because s/he was purposely being difficult, and Stephen said the kid takes after me because s/he's not a morning person (it was 8:30...he's right, the baby is always sleeping at that time of day, heh). Bottom line, the tech tried and tried to no avail.

Oh, but don't worry, because she WAS totally able to see the "very small" choroid plexus cyst the kid decided to grow.

Some brief medical explanation: choroid plexus is like seaweed that lives in the ventricles (fluid spaces) of your brain and makes spinal fluid. It loooooves to plug up shunts and cause them to malfunction, so it causes me no end of grief at work. Haunting me like a shadow, it has chosen to wreak havoc in my regular life, too. It's quite common for babies to have these "cysts". They were originally thought to be abnormal, in and of themselves, but we know now that they're usually a developmental variant. Spinal fluid gets trapped and forms cysts, which are entirely benign and go away before the baby is even born. So what's the problem? Well, silly, just like, oh, EVERYTHING ELSE you can see on a 20 week ultrasound, they can be a marker for genetic anomalies. Most typically trisomy 18, so far as I can tell, but occasionall trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome) as well. She got great shots of the nasal bone, the arms, and I *think* the legs, though I'm not sure she was able to measure the femur, and everything else was normal. When everything else is normal, we ignore these cysts (well, I bet I'll have ninety more ultrasounds to make sure it resolves), but we have to be sure everything else is normal. And part of ensuring that involves thoroughly checking the heart. Which we couldn't adequately see today.

I go for a level 2 ultrasound next week, which is what I should've done in the first place. I like that the doctor does it, and therefore you get lots of explanations while it's going on (ultrasound techs aren't supposed to tell you what they see), you get better images, and I maybe could've avoided all of this.

I was freaking out at first, but I've since been reassured by multiple good sources that I really shouldn't worry. My friend in Texas from undergrad did research at a naval hospital in Texas and said the whole time she was there, she literally never saw a single bad outcome associated with a CPC. Obviously I'm still worried, but really, more than that, I'm just FRUSTRATED, because I wanted today to be fun and it definitely was not.

(seriously, though, if you know the full expression, let me know.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Round ligament pain is the devil.

I guess for the average person, this is uncomfortable. It turns out I must have the lowest pain threshold on earth.

Round ligament pain is really common in the second trimester. A few weeks ago, I was waking up during the night with bad right lower quadrant pain, and figured that was it. When it went away for a few weeks, I figured some, ah, dietary adjustments were resopnsible for the improvement, and it was not round ligament pain at all. This morning, I woke up at 5am in blinding pain. Hot shower, eating breakfast, walking around, none of it helped. Got to work, distraction didn't help either. I was entirely convinced that, in spite of a total absence of any peritoneal signs, I was clearly on the verge of appendiceal rupture. Then I noticed that the pain vanished if I sat for long enough. Ahhh, round ligament pain.

I ended up calling the doctor anyway, because, DAMN, it really hurts. Got a really great nurse on the phone (I am telling you, I am part of the awesomest profession on earth, because it is amazing how reassuring we can be when we do our job well. we RULE), who told me I was describing classic round ligament pain.

I did not realize until I hung up, the one common factor between now and two weeks ago when I had the pain? Running. I stopped for two weeks, between being hideously infested with virus and then exhausted from Heather's wedding, and the pain vanished. So far this week, I've run nine miles. I feel incredible- energized, clear-headed, sleeping like a baby- except for the searing pain in my abdomen, I'm GOOD. I'm going to ask my doctor if there is any correlation, because I really don't want to stop yet, but regardless of what she says, I feel like the answer is sort of obvious.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Reverse Procrastination

You know how your dorm room/college apt was never, EVER as clean as it was during finals? Like, eat off the floor clean?

We're doing the opposite of that right now. We are SO SICK of cleaning the damn condo for showings, we are doing absolutely everything we should've done ages ago and had not done. This weekend, I finally put together a wedding album (just under eight months later, I am awesome), organized the pictures from all the pre-wedding festivities (pictures from the two showers, some over a year old, bachelorette, rehearsal) and threw away all the pictures I didn't want. Stephen wrote up his resume, finished about nine thousand pedals, and did his accounting for the business. We just cannot vacuum, dust, and mop one more time. The bathrooms have been cleaned so many times, I think we're going to wear the tile away.

My avoid-avoid conflict has become an "oh my god if this condo doesn't sell I will slit my wrists" situation. I am sick to death of the endless showings, particularly with the people who say, "Um, I liked it, but I dont' wanna live in that neighborhood." Then why did you come see it?!!!! Both second showings we had chose to go in another neighborhood. The person who was definitely buying in our building changed to "...or the West Loop, but really, yours was the nicest condo we saw all day." We have an awesome condo in a great neighborhood. I knew it wouldn't happen in one day, but I did not expect this much drama, to be perefctly honest. Part of me wants to say, screw it, we'll try again in another year, maybe things will be better then, but another part of me feels suicidal at the prospect of living in a loft with a newborn (even though many, many people in our building do it). Realistically, we need a basement for the business and a yard for the Sam.

I'm just really, really tired of vacuuming.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Kickin' It

The baby has been perceptibly kicking for about a week now. Well, perceptibly in the sense that I'm sure it's the baby and not anything else.

It is REALLY cool.

When I realized what was happening, I was not even totally sure I believed it. My thought process was more along the lines of, "whoa...was that? I think...COOL!" And I sat on the couch, furiously poking my stomach, hoping to piss the kid off and make her kick me some more. In a confusing development, she did not kick again. It appeared she did not seem to be easily annoyed, didn't seem to care how much she got poked. This made no sense- did she get my father's personality?! Sweet! We just won the Easygoing Kid Lottery! Score one for Team R.

Then I realized: Baby heads to soccer practice when it suits her. I can poke all I want, if she's not kicking, she's not kicking. Period. She likes to kick in the morning, and at scattered intervals throughout the day, but she will determine those times. Nobody tells THIS little Chickpea when to kick anything. Right. A trait she could've easily inherited from either one of us, which is nice because neither of us can blame the other, heh.

I was sort of worried before this happened, that I would find it creepy. Because, to be totally honest, when I *really* think about the fact that there is another human being inside my body, it sort of, well, creeps me out. I feel a bit like a kangaroo. Or an alient host, or something. I know that sounds really bad, it's just the truth. Humans replicate by growing new humans inside of other humans. Think about it for a second. Not creeped out? You have a weak imagination. Anyway. I worried that feeling the baby kick would make it all a little too...vivid? I'm not sure. I was pretty sure I wouldn't be one of those women who stopped everything they were doing, lightly touched a hand to their belly, and heard choirs of angels the first time they felt their baby kick. I was right about that. I'm glad to be wrong about the creepy factor. Every time the baby kicks, all I can think is, "Do it again! That is so cool! Do it again!"

And so, of course, she stops. Turd.

On a related note, the Big Ultrasound is in two weeks. We are not finding out the sex of the baby (I've referred to the baby as female here because it's easier and "it" just sounds really bad), or at least, we're hoping not to. I'm completely convinced that, mid-ultrasound, the baby is going to flip over and spread his or her legs and we won't be able to look away fast enough. I can't tell you how much that would bum me out. So much, in fact, that it's actually distracted me from worrying about the baby having some dread condition like hypoplastic left heart or true Dandy-Walker Syndrome. Which is really only partly good, actually, because as we all know, remembering to worry about things keeps them from happening.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

VIRUS ALERT!

I have a virus. It cannot decide whether it wants to be a head cold or a chest cold, so it decided to be become both. My head weighs nine hundred pounds, I have a small bonfire roaring in my chest, and I am FILLED with goo. Seriously, if we could find a way to use mucous as an alternative energy source, I would replace the Sultan of Brunei as the richest person in the universe.

I stayed home and slept all morning and now I am sitting on the couch, tearing through Puffs and watching Law and Order. Normal saline nasal spray is my new best friend, particularly since I can't take anything stronger than a tylenol (and, let's face it, you might as well eat M&Ms for all the good tylenol will do you.)

Cross your fingers that I'm a bit less gooey by this weekend, because couch and puffs are not an option saturday.

On a totally unrelated note: please keep this officer and his family in your thoughts (or your prayers, if you're the type).

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pregnant Brain

Even under the best circumstances, I'm pretty much the biggest airhead alive. I'm not entirely sure anything I do can be blamed on being pregnant, because it's all really typical behavior.

But seriously? Today I went to the doctor. Checked in, got handed a cup. Went straight to the bathroom. Went to grab toiet paper, and saw my cup. Empty. Sitting three inches from my face, I completely forgot about its existence. The best part of the story is that I walked into the bathroom, thinking about how weird it is to pee in a cup every month. Five seconds later, poof, gone from my head.

This is my life. This is how I am ALL THE TIME. If it's going to get worse, I am so screwed.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Today's Lesson

Today at work, a group of us were talking, and I learned something I never knew before.

If you ever go to prison? You can have a portrait taken to commemorate the experience. I mean, complete with a backdrop and the pose of your choice. And you can order copies of the picture to send to your loved ones.

I thought, at first, that Shnee was messing with us. I mean, normally when she says something that surprises me, I think, "Um, okay, never realized that," but this? I'm sorry this is WEIRD, and I thought for sure she had to be lying.

So she called another person to the desk, struck a silly pose, and said, "What's this that I'm doing?" And the person said, without missing a beat, "That's the penitentiary pose!" Then she and Shnee showed us all the most popular poses. It was funny, I guess you'll have to take my word for it though, because I'm really not telling this story well at all.

I asked her, why on earth would you want to commemorate THAT? And she said, "Kathy. Some of those people are never getting out! They need pictures to send their family!"

Right. I don't think of these things.

My Sister's Keeper

This book kind of sucked.

Okay, it kept my interest and distracted me while I was waiting to hear if we got an offer on the condo (we didn't, of course, but that's another story for another day). She tackles the ethical dilemma from an interesting angle- of course,we all wonder and worry about children conceived for the purposes of providing their siblings with cord blood for stem cell transplant, but she goes further, and wonders what would happen if the sibling continued to need tissue from that sibling.

Having said that, Jodi Picoult's oeuvre (for lack of a better word, sorry) reads like a list of Afterschool Specials or Very Special Episodes. This shouldn't have any bearing on this particular book, but that knowledge is really irritating to me. I'm not precisely sure why that is.

The most bothersome aspect of the book, for me, was the mom. I'm SO tired of authors writing about families struck by tragedy, with mothers that fall apart and fathers that are left to put the pieces back together and salvage the family. It's incredibly tiresome and this book is no exception. Yes, women are hysterical and irrational and men are caring and bewildered but always able to see the full picture and keep the family chugging along. I mean, it must be true, because all the books I'm thinking of were written by women, and wouldn't they know? (sigh.)

The subplot with Anna's lawyer was incredibly obvious to me, but maybe not to people in other professions. It was also, um, not an exact copy of Dr. Zhivago, but very...derivative.

The ending was a total cop-out, and while I didn't see it coming at all, it was still stupid.

I didn't like this book. I'm not sure what I'm reading next, but I hope I like it more than this one.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Drama Freaks

The big MS Drama Freak Lovefest going on at Facebook is trippy and weird and brings back all kinds of complicated high school feelings, but at the same time, is really a lot of fun. Because I hated my actual graduating class in high school, for the most part, this is most likely the closest I'm ever going to come to a reunion. I feel like we're going back to school after a reeeeally long summer break. The faces are the same, with the addition of spouses/boyfriends/girlfriends/kids, but everyone has become someone else. I mean, sort of. We're all adults now.

And the weird thing is, in spite of all being adults, I know that a lot of us, if not most of us, are thinking the same things we thought in high school. Does she like me? Am I cooler than him? If I do that, will they think I'm lame? And it's sort of frustrating, because I'd like to think people outgrow those feelings. I think we do, for the most part, because I don't feel this way in my everyday life. I don't go to work and worry if the nurses like me (...which is a good thing, heh).

The only other thing in the world that brings out the same feelings for me is getting ready to be a parent. Part of me can't believe how sensitive I am, and how easily I feel judged by snide comments, rolled eyes, or judgemental responses in general. Another part of me can't believe how many people feel compelled to act that way. I mean, I have definitely overreacted to people, no doubt about it. I blame the hormones, because I like to think I'm not usually THAT sensitive. But it's not just me, and it's not just the hormones, some people really are just snotty. I'm trying to tell myself that it's more about them than me- their insecurities and sometimes their jealousy- and that usually works in other areas of my life, but here, it's just not working. I guess because I know some of it is just inadvertent, and I'm also sure that, at some point, without meaning to, I did the same thing to someone else. So then I feel bad about that, too. There's just something about the topic that makes us all really sensitive and really opinionated, all at the same time.

I also hate that it makes me feel this way, because it makes me feel like a drama freak. Like I need constant validation and can't handle any kind of criticism at all and just generally like the most sensitive person on the planet, which I hate.

I don't really have any grand conclusion about it, I'm just thinking about it today.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dreams

I read somewhere that a pregnant woman's dreams about whether she's having a boy or girl are typically more accurate than chance (I don't remember where I read that, probably somewhere stupid, to be honest).

For the last month or so, I've been solidly convinced I'm having a girl. Initially I was sure it was a girl, then I thought boy, and when I first went back to girl, I thought, ok, now you're being silly. But I've thought girl for a long time now, long enough to say it out loud.

Then, two nights ago, I had my second dream that I had a boy. So now I'm questioning that again. I mean, that's twice now.

On the other hand, the same night, I had a dream that someone was trying to kill me so they could eat me, so maybe my dreams aren't telling me much about reality.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

avoid-avoid

Isn't this supposed to be the worst type of conflict? When you have two choices and you don't really want either one?

It doesn't even accurately describe this conflict, because I have an option I DO want, I just can't have it.

We have to move. Absolutely. There is not enough room here for a baby. We have our room, and we have the second bedroom, which houses Stephen's online business. And that's it. There's nowhere else to put the business, and there's nowhere else to put a baby. And that really sucks because I could live in this condo for the rest of my life.

I really love this place. I love the kitchen, I picked everything out myself. I love that it's big enough for us, but small enough that it's easy to clean. I love the washing machine in our unit- and we're all on one level, so no carrying laundry up and down stairs. The fact that someone ELSE mows the lawn and shovels the snow and fixes the roof and calls ComEd when the power goes out. I love the gym in the building. And wow, I REALLY love this neighborhood.

Unfortunately, so does the rest of the world, since the single family homes in this neighborhood are the most expensive in the city. This isn't really surprising, I'm a lowest common denominator kind of girl. But it's not just that, it's also the fact that things like easy access to the Brown Line (by far the best El line in the city), cute little stores, awesome restaurants, friendly bars, and lots of grocery stores make for good places to live.

So we have to move and we can't stay here. And that really sucks. But at the same time, we HAVE to. The condo has to get sold, we have to settle on a house (which we mostly have, I think, unless it sells before we sell our place), and we have to leave. So I find myself desperately wanting the condo to sell, scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees, folding and refolding everything in the closet, and buying new towels so the bathrooms look nicer, hoping someone will love it as much as we do. At the same time, I think, well, if it took a long time, that wouldn't be such a bad thing...

Ugh.

We have to sell the condo and we have to move. I just wish I were more excited about that.