Saturday, May 17, 2008

My Six Quirks

I took the plunge and answered OvaGirl's plea for readers to sign up for this meme.

I'm not sure that it was entirely wise for me to volunteer. The more I think on it, the more I realize that there is a fine line between "quirky" behavior and pathological behavior.

1. Lists
I can't function without lists. Sure, everyone uses a list for the grocery store, but I use lists to structure my day. I hesitate to call myself hopeless, but I do not accomplish much without lists. As an example, I offer today's list:

--Go to gym (take girls to jump castle after workout)
--Buy new stamps at post office
--Buy bananas/ strawberries at Food Lion
--Make lunch for girls (pb&j? peas and chicken?)
--Early naps for girls
--Wrap birthday present
--Take girls to party
--Go to furniture store to order new chairs (don't forget coupon!)
--Clean pantry
--Plan grocery list for Sunday shopping

This list was fairly tame since it is a weekend. My weekday lists are insane because they combine domestic and professional items (e.g. clean bathtub; write executive summary of needs assessment findings; look up things that turn toddler poop purple*) . The sad thing is that, without my list, I probably would not be very productive. I'm certain that without my list I would not have gotten stamps, shopped for fruit or remembered the big furniture sale. I do think I would have made it to the gym (free babysitting!) and the birthday party though.

2. Love Hotels; Hate Staying in Homes
We don't travel as much as we did before the girls arrived, but when we do, I much prefer staying in hotels to staying in the homes of friends or family (no matter how lovely they are). Staying in someone's home is always a disaster for me. I can't relax; the bed or air mattress is uncomfortable; the room is too hot, too cold, too stuffy, too light, too loud, or some combination; the room comes with a cat and a stinky litter box; the room comes with a dog**, etc. We nearly always stay in a hotel now. It helps that we have a gazillion Hilton Honors points because we charge everything to that credit card and pay off the balance each month.

3. I Won't Eat What I Can't or Won't Kill
In 1990 or 1991, I was cooking chicken for J (yes we have been together 18 years this summer) and I was suddenly repulsed by the dead flesh I was handling. For the first time, it hit me that this was a formerly alive chicken. I served it to J, but did not partake. I haven't had chicken since. Nor have I had beef or pork. I set one simple rule for myself: I would not eat what I was not willing to kill. I could never kill a chicken, or cow, or pig. Fortunately, given my location on the coast, I have learned that I am willing to kill shrimp or at least pull off their heads after they have expired. I have also been able to collect and cook oysters.

4. I Could Get Lost in a Bathtub
I have almost no sense of direction. Once, when planning a seven mile run, I ended up running 12-13 miles because I turned onto a wrong street and did not notice my mistake for several miles. Another time, I got lost in southeast Washington, DC, which, if you know anything about DC, was not a good thing at all. Although we have lived in this city for nearly ten years, I still manage to get well and truly lost at least once a month.

As it turns out, I do have an excellent memory and can remember birthdays and phone numbers of childhood friends that I haven't seen in 25 years. J has no such memory and barely remembers my birthday and anniversary though they both fall on or near major holidays. If our daughters get his sense of direction and my ability to remember dates, they will be oriented in time and space and will go far. If they get my sense of direction and his sense of time, they will be lost and stupid. It gives us pause.

5. I Can't Sleep without White Noise
I have to have a fan running in order to sleep. It can't be just any fan. It has to be loud enough and the pitch and frequency have to be just right. If not, I toss and turn and experience terrible insomnia. White noise machines generally don't do it for me, but I did find this little gem for my recent conference. Positioned about 10 inches from my head, it worked perfectly.

6. I Buy a Lottery Ticket Each Week
I know it is wrong! wrong! wrong!*** that my dream home, dream retirement, and dream life plans are based upon receiving a huge inheritance from a wealthy mystery relative or from being the lucky owner of the winning Powerball ticket. That doesn't stop me from plunking down $2 each week (one for each drawing) to keep the dream alive.

Hoorah! I found six quirks and J assures me that there are more, many more. Have to run. Powerball drawing is in twenty minutes, after all.

**Who snores.
***I teach statistics, afterall!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

I'm not a big fan of Mother's Day (which I would not be at all surprised to learn is the evil invention of Hallmark and the floral industry). The holiday--and others like it (don't get me started on administrative assistant's day)--are just sappy over-commercialized stress generators, particularly for J who invariably seems stricken in the days preceding any given holiday.

Of course, my distaste for manufactured holidays did not stop me from taking J up on his offer of letting me sleep past 6:30. Nor did it stop me from enjoying the card he presented that had been me "signed" by both girls.

The Front: Motherhood summarized
The Inside: It's hard

And motherhood is hard. It is a slog--much tougher than anything I could have imagined six years ago when the ticking of my biological clock was too loud to ignore any longer.

But, of course, I can't imagine it any other way. I was reminded of that this week when E made a picture of the family that touched me more than any Hallmark card ever could. In her picture, the four of us are are standing in the sun. "This is my family," she tells me proudly, "This is Daddy and Mama and me and M."*

*Notice she has put a frowny face on her little sister for extra authenticity. Also notice that she proudly signed it (the last letter is a "Y").

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Conflicted no more

On Friday, I tested with one of my cheap, internet pregnancy tests. To my surprise, there was a faint second girly-pinky-purplish line. I was, of course, wary of the cheap test, so I went to Target and bought expensive tests. Saturday morning, I tested again, this time with the expensive brand. It was negative. Very negative. No amount of squinting, holding it to the light, turning it just so, or retrieving it from the trashcan just to take another look was going to make a second line appear. I repeated the exercise with another internet cheapie and it was equally negative. My period started in the wee hours of the next morning.

So, I'm not pregnant, but judging from how many times I dug through the trash to fish out the faintly positive test and then the very negative tests, I'm not ready to give up on it just yet. Despite the fears about finances and energy, I still feel like our little family could do with one more. And J seems to agree. Last week, when I suggested that we might be at the end of our family expansion, he looked pained and said, "I hear that adding a third isn't nearly as hard as adding a second." Tell that to my ovaries, buddy.

The last six years of my life have been centered around trying to conceive. RE visits, Clomid, Femara, injections, suppositories, IUIs, FSH from hell, the frantic search for cm during natural cycles, charting, analyzing every twinge, sex during LH surges, worrying, and worrying more. I'm done with that.

So, yes, we will continue to try, but I think we are also going to live a little. It is time for a kinder gentler trying, one that includes wine, soft cheese and caffeine, all in moderation, even through the dreadful two-week-wait. I'll still use ovulation kits and probably chart to confirm ovulation since my RE and OB have agreed that I need progesterone support, but that is it.

I'll probably be a madwoman in a few weeks, but right now I feel pretty peaceful about our new approach.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


I tested this morning and it was negative. I suppose I should feel relieved after last night's second thoughts, but I felt the way I always do when faced with the snowy white test: disappointed and sad. I'm not entirely sure of what I want right now. When did I become this indecisive?