30 September

I wrote a whole post blathering on about how much I hate October. I have my reasons—very good ones, in fact, but I’m not going to go there.

I have to to get my head out of this negative place. I need to look a little harder and find my inner Pollyanna. (Man, I loved that movie when I was a kid.)

Let’s play the glad game. Here are 10 things I’m “glad” for right now:

  1. My wife—my rock, and my best friend. I am so exceedingly lucky to have her in my corner.
  2. Cooler weather!
  3. Online shopping
  4. Filtered water
  5. My mom has made it safely from Los Angeles to New Jersey to Dublin and now to Versailles. Only 9 more days until she is HOME.
  6. We’re spending the weekend at Disneyland
  7. Audiobooks. They make trafic bearable. I just finished Gone Girl (eh—way too long) and I’m moving on to The Fault in Our Stars.
  8. Knitting. Even if I’ve spent more time carrying it around with me than I have actually knitting, I am so grateful for this hobby.
  9. Hand lotion—the air is so dry right now that without my trusty bottle of Aveeno, I would turn to cardboard.
  10. Light blonde leg hair. I’m wearing cropped pants today and I was too lazy toforgot to shave this morning.

It’s not a very deep list, but it’s a start. Happy Monday. Happy last day of September. May October prove me wrong this year.

Should

I should be hauling myself off to the ladies room to pee on an OPK right about now.  It's 7:55.  I'm supposed to test at 8.

The thing is… I can't bring myself to get up. 

I've been over-analyzing every physiological sign for weeks, and it's even worse today.  I am afraid to walk in there with too much hope.  There is nothing worse than being so immensely let down about something so very personal in the middle of the ladies room at the office. 

It's different at home.  At home, I can look at the big fat nagative and bury my head in Catch's shoulder.  She will wrap her arms around me, offer words of encouragement, and I will feel better in no time at all.

But here–it's different.  It's cold.  Here doesn't care about my disappointment.  Here can't offer a hug.  Here is just one more negative test tossed in the waste basket.

Turning Wine into Water

Part 1:

We are a wine loving family. It started with my mom—she tried for a number of years to turn me into a wine drinker. Then I realized that wine was a proverbial door to acceptance in the corporate world. In my industry, it’s not safe for me to open my mouth about politics, but wine—oh, we can talk wine for hours, each person one-upping the last person with unique winerry experiences and tales of that time the boss ordered a bottle of Screaming Eagle at dinner.

When we started exploring wineries, we realized quickly that we really need a better place to store our wine purchases. Our house doesn’t have central air conditioning, we have no basement, and temperatures where we live are known for soaring well into the 100s for a few months a year. Not the best environment for wine.

So, we bought ourselves a small wine cooler. It holds 18 bottles, fits neatly next to our buffet in the dining room, and keeps our wine at 55 degrees year round.

The trouble is that our wine cooler is always full. I’ve looked at bigger ones, but the price tag always discourages me.

You can imagine our surprise when we were out walking the dogs in July and came across one of our neighbors selling a wine cooler at their yard sale. After some discussion about whether it works and why they’re getting rid of it, we asked them how much they wanted for it. $35. We ran out for cash, grabbed Catch’s truck, and hauled that puppy home with the enthusiasm of teenagers who just got away with ditching school.

Part 2:

We are renters. Our house is a little 1940’s triplex situated on a big corner lot. We share one wall with a neighbor who works for the studios and is away for 3-6 months at a time. Each of the three units has its own private outdoor space, but ours is the only one with a full yard and large covered patio. Before we moved in, they had done a major renovation which included re-finishing the original wood floors, and adding beautiful moldings that you just don’t find in rentals. Our place has serious character—it was love at first sight for us.

In Los Angeles, the city conducts housing inspections for all rental properties with two or more units once every 5 years. It happens that our inspection is today. In the next few hours, our landlady (who we HATE) will arrive to meet the city inspector and they will go through each unit with a fine tooth comb looking for violations.

For that reason, we cleaned the house from top to bottom last night. I was cleaning the bathroom mirror when Catch called from the dining room, “Um—honey. Get in here—we have a problem.”

Boy, do we ever have a problem.

Ice had formed on a coil on the back of the “new” wine cooler at some point, and had been silently drip, drip, dripping onto our beautiful wood floors. We have no idea how long it’s been happening, but the damage is severe. The floor boards are totally warped in that whole area—the whole footprint of the wine cooler and the length of the buffet. Molding is destroyed, and drywall is decidedly un-dry.

The DAY BEFORE A HOUSING INSPECTION.

Universe, are you kidding me? You’ve got to be kidding me. Except you’re NOT! You’re totally serious, you little bastard.

On top of the water damage: Catch’s grandfather was admitted to the hospital this morning in bad shape, my dad had surgery this morning to have a mass of cancer cells removed from his face, that damn stick still hasn’t given us a positive, and my mom—the rock I could normally cry to about all of this—is about to board a flight from New Jersey to Dublin without me because silly me truly thought I could actually possibly be pregnant by the time this trip rolled around.

Sometimes, I want to just run away. Or stab someone with one of my knitting needles. Maybe both.

Definitely both.

 

I Hate Pink

I’ve been spotting since yesterday. At first, I was okay with it because I had some spotting last cycle the day before my first ever positive OPK. I went to bed last night hoping I’d get that positive today and I could totally dismiss the spotting.

That didn’t happen. This morning’s OPK was just as negative as yesterday’s, and the spotting continues.

I am trying to relax. It is what it is. I have no control over it. I have no choice but to sit back and let things run their course.

If only it were so easy.

All anyone can say is, “Hang in there—it’ll happen.” It’s Catch’s mantra. My mom says it with a reassuring pat of my back. My friends say it with the wave of a hand and the clink of a wine glass—“To making it happen!”

The thing is, NOTHING is happening. Every time we think we’re on the right track, someone throws a curve ball at us. Catch can hit the shit out of curve balls—me, not so much. There’s good reason why I never want to go to the batting cages—I suck.

I am wishing on all of the stars that this will turn out to be ovulation spotting. I really am. Realistically, I think it’s unlikely—except for last month, I have never had mid-cycle spotting. I feel like I am being torn in two between my desperate wishing and my inability to gag and blindfold logic and lock it in a closet somewhere.

Side note: My mom is leaving for a trip to Europe for two weeks. She’s not springing for international cell service, and isn’t taking any devices that would give her email access with wifi, so we will essentially be incommunicado for the duration of her trip. Confession: I am 32 years old and have never in my life gone two weeks without talking to my mother. Ever. Is that weird?

Related: She begged me to go on this trip with her, but I refrained because of this baby business. If my body fails (once again) to give us the chance to inseminate this month, I will have missed out on a freaking trip to Dublin, Paris & London FOR NO GOOD REASON. Imagine how well that’ll go over with my current emotional state. Hah.

Unfinished

I have a finishing problem.

If there was a 12-step program called Unfinished Projects Anonymous, it’s unlikely that I would EVER manage to secure my 30-day keychain.

I LOVE beginnings. Love them. Few things make me happier than starting a project.

The problem is the middle. I hate the middle more than I love the end result.

Our garage is filled to the brim with unfinished projects—hobbies I took up that were exciting for a while… until they weren’t. There are scrapbook supplies purchased so I could scrapbook with an ex friend that have not been touched since the ex was added before friend. We have an abundant supply of mason jars for a canning project that got more complicated than anticipated and was discarded rather than risking botulism. Shelf after shelf is filled with discarded remnants of problematic middles.

That is precisely where I am right now… a problematic middle.

There’s a reason why I tattooed the Gemini symbol on my back. My astrological sign suits me perfectly. Impatient. Hot/cold. All in one second, totally out the next. It is the sign of the twins because we are either happy or unhappy. The ultimate devil/angel scenario. There’s no middle. Middles are trouble.

I have lost steam on our TTC journey. I am tired of thinking about it. I’m sick of charting. Sometimes, I pee on a stick and forget to check the result. We are beyond the start, but not yet near the end. It’s the middle. We’re stuck smack dab in the damn middle.

I wish I could pretend I haven’t noticed. I wish I could muster the same enthusiasm every CD1 that I did for the first CD1. I wish running out for a box of OPKs still seemed worthy of my lunch hour.

The middle sucks.

This time, though, I have no choice but to see it through to the end. We won’t be adding a box of TTC paraphernalia to the garage shelves. That space belongs to the outgrown baby clothes. One way or another, this project will reach its end. It has to.

Besides, there are so many baby-related projects on Pinterest that are just DYING to be abandoned at the halfway mark and I can’t start those until I finish this. Excuse me—I think it’s time to go pee on a stick.

(Over)Inflated

Early last year, we planned a cruise to Alaska for my mom’s
60th birthday in July.  I was
instantly excited.  Alaska! Pictures! Bucket list! Only 7 months to wait!

Catch looked at me like a crazy person. 

Catch is cautious. 
Reserved.  She is not one to get
prematurely excited in the event that a change of plans will be monumentally
disappointing.  She will do just about
anything to avoid disappointment.

I am the opposite.  I
don’t want to miss out on one minute of build-up.  If things fall through, yes, I will be
crushed—but in the meantime, why pretend?

Catch waits until about a week before anything major before
she starts showing signs of enthusiasm. It drives me CRAZY.  We have the same totally predictable exchange
EVERY TIME.

Me:  OMG! 
We’re going to do this, and then we’re going to do this, and then we’re going to do THIS!  Aren’t you excited???!!!

Catch (Unimpressed):  You know me. I don’t get excited until it’s
HERE.

Me: Sigh

Sometimes, she’s the bucket of tepid water we throw on our
campfires at night. 

She’s onto something, though.  

My doctor called on Tuesday and said that my blood work was
textbook perfect and that since my period was so normal this time, she has no
reason to think that this cycle will be a bust. 
If it is, she said we’ll start Clomid next month.

If Catch had been on the phone with my doctor, she would
have taken the information at face value and gone on with her day without
allowing it to occupy much more space in her brain. 

Not me, though.  Never
me.  That would be too easy.  I
am sitting here battling my excitement—trying to remind myself that all of the
enthusiasm in the world during past cycles hasn’t done a damn bit of good.  All it does is leave me feeling like a popped
balloon—on the flip side, Catch’s balloon was never even inflated to begin
with.  Who’s better off?

I can’t help but notice how it feels different this
time.  Things are sliding into place without
effort.  For the moment, I feel like my
hope isn’t unreasonable.  I just want to
make it to the darn IUI.  I fully
anticipate that we’ll need several, but gosh—it would be nice to make it that
far. 

I am trying so hard to curb my excitement and to stop
reading into things.  For once, I would
like to let my teacher wife’s lesson rub off on me.  This time, it would be nice to be able to
sail through any oncoming disappointment with a shrug of my shoulders and an “onward
and forward” attitude.

Desperately Seeking Change

It’s mid-September and the late afternoon light is changing
from harsh white to more golden yellow. 
When I leave the office in the afternoon, leaves are crunching beneath
my heels.  Traffic is worse with all of
the kids back to school. When I found myself in desperate need of a swim suit
the other day, all the stores had to offer were sweaters and boots. 

The signs of Fall are everywhere, but the weather has yet to
get the hint.  It was over 100 degrees
yesterday—and the day before that—and the day before that.  Our air conditioning has been running
non-stop for weeks along with every fan in the house.

I am so, so tired of it. 
They say that Los Angeles doesn’t have seasons, but they lie.  We do. 
They may not be as extreme as seasons elsewhere, but we see the change
of light and we feel the change of air. 
We just don’t have to worry about ice scrapers and snow boots.  I appreciate that. 

I am a fan of change. 
I love changes in weather—changes in scenery—changes in nail
polish.  I just don’t have the patience
to WAIT for change.  When I am ready for
change to happen, I want it to happen right now.  Yesterday, even. 

I am so tired of waiting. 
This shift of seasons is a metaphor for my whole life, lately.  Hanging in there.  Doing what we can to stay comfortable.  Watching. 
Waiting. 

I had the urge to pick up my knitting needles on Saturday.  Instead of working on some almost-forgotten  work in progress, I grabbed my circular
needles and a ball of something deslightfully squishy, cast on 64 stitches and
was knitting a baby hat before I even realized what I was doing. 

Photo

I have always had a thing for baby hats, but I haven’t
knitted a single one since we decided to start trying back in February.  I just couldn’t do it.  I am tired of knitting tiny, adorable things
for other people to put on their tiny, adorable offspring. 

I'm not sure what will become of this little hat.  Maybe I'll save it for my pregnant cousin's shower.  Maybe I'll save it for my pregnant co-worker's shower.  Maybe if I sleep with it under my pillow, the baby fairy will take it in exchange for an infant.

I am so ready for a change.

Live Long

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week.  I have a few stories I could tell about how
suicide has touched my life in one way or another, but they all pale in
comparison to this:

On October 26th three years ago, my
happy-go-lucky, quick to make everyone laugh, thoughtful, responsible, and
loving uncle drove himself to a parking lot in a different county, put his
truck in park, and shot himself in the head.

Tim

He left behind the love of his life (my aunt) and three children
ranging in age from 16 to early 20s. 
None of them saw it coming. 

Tim2
(At our wedding)

The last time I saw my uncle, we were talking and laughing
as we floated down the American River in tubes on a family vacation. I sure as
hell never imagined that two months later, I’d be attending his funeral.

Coloma

The Amercian Association of Suicidology suggests some warning signs for suicide (listed below). Some of them are obvious, and some of
them are so generic that they could apply (or have applied) to every single one
of us at some point in our lives.  After
all, who among us has never felt humiliated or suffered a severe loss?

Be Aware of the Warning Signs

A suicidal person may:

  • Talk about suicide, death and/or no
    reason to live.
  • Be preoccupied with death and dying.
  • Withdraw from friends and/or social
    activities.
  • Have a recent severe loss (esp.
    relationship) or threat of a significant loss.
  • Experience drastic changes in
    behavior.
  • Lose interest in hobbies, work, school,
    etc.
  • Prepare for death by making out a
    will (unexpectedly) and final arrangements.
  • Give away prized possessions.
  • Have attempted suicide before.
  • Take unnecessary risks; be reckless,
    and/or impulsive.
  • Lose interest in their personal
    appearance.
  • Increase their use of alcohol or
    drugs.
  • Express a sense of hopelessness.
  • Be faced with a situation of humiliation
    or failure.
  • Have a history of violence or
    hostility.
  • Have been unwilling to “connect”
    with potential helpers.

We all cope with life
differently.  I have been guilty on a few
occasions of rolling my eyes as a friend “overreacts” to a breakup, or takes an offhanded remark from a stranger "too personlly," but my
uncle’s death reinforced something truly basic: emotions cannot be trivialized.  The things we feel are real.  Our feelings may change in five minutes or
tomorrow or a year from now, but what we are feeling right this very second is
real—and if that feeling is desperate enough, all it takes is a moment to end a
life.   

If you know someone who exhibits any of the signs above,
offer help.  Offer love.  Most importantly, acknowledge their feelings and try to keep your feelings about their feelings out of it. 

There isn't a doubt in my mind that my uncle would rather be here with us today–that he never would have wanted to his wife and children to have to experience this trauma. He was a wonderful, kind hearted man, but in that moment he couldn't see past those awful feelings. I wish more than anything in the world that we could have shown him a light at the end of the tunnel.

With Sympathy

My great Uncle Al passed away a few weeks ago. I don’t have a lot of childhood memories of Uncle Al—primarily due to the fact that most of my childhood memories are sort of a haze courtesy of some neurological malfunction—but I do have a number of memories of Uncle Al in more recent years. Most of them involve a glass of wine (or two) and some of the best political or religious conversations I’ve ever had with someone his age.

Uncle Al was an anomaly in our family. A twinkle-eyed, grey-haired, questioner of everything. He didn’t take anything or anyone at face value. He was warm, genuine, and true to his word.

I didn’t know him as well as some—maybe even most—but I do know that he supported me and Catch and the life we have together.

Uncle Al’s memorial service was on Saturday in a small funeral home with inadequate air conditioning. The service was lead by my mother’s cousin’s husband—a Baptist minister who I have never met in my adult years.

As introductions were made before the service, I was introduced to Reverend Roger and Catch was introduced as my wife.

It has been years since anyone has made me feel as uncomfortable as he did on Saturday. The shift of his eyes—the drop of his jaw—the turn of his head—blatantly ignoring us. Never acknowledging the introduction.

Not a single member of that family spoke to us on Saturday. We’d driven hundreds of miles to be at the services, and we were ignored and made to feel uncomfortable by all of them.

I’ve felt a lot of things in the days following. Shame for not being “acceptable.” Betrayal—because we are family, after all. The hurt that comes with heckling no matter how hard you try to rise above it.

Really, though—the feeling that I am trying desperately to hold onto is sympathy. I feel sorry for them. I am sorry that they are not adult enough to look someone in the eye, shake hands and say, “Thanks for coming.” I am sorry that they have closed their minds and hearts to people who are not like them, because there is so much we can learn from each other. I am sorry that they have chosen to make their world so small.

As we left to drive home on Saturday, my mom put her arm around my shoulders and said, “We never have to see them again.”

I’m sorry they’re missing out on us.