Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Review of Past Slogans

Every year we've been married we've toasted to a motto for the year that summed up our desire to have or not have a child that year. It started out so silly and cute.

  • Just us two in '92.
  • Baby Free in '93.
  • Babies No More in '94. (Not that we had one in the first place, just needed something to rhyme.)
  • No Babies Alive in '95.
  • Babies are Nixed in '96.
  • All Babies in Heaven in '97.
  • Babies Would be Great in '98.
  • Babies More Than Fine in '99.
  • Baby is Our Hero in Zero. (Got pregnant & gave birth that year. Must have been a good toast.)
  • Maybe another 1 in '01.
  • Want 2 in '02.
  • Another Baby for me in '03.
  • Another Baby to Adore in '04. (Got pregnant.)

So now we need a toast for '05, which is easier to do while pregnant. I'm thinking, "Another Healthy Baby Alive in '05." After this one, I'll get my tubes tied and plan on not having any more baby or non-baby slogans. Maybe all those non-baby slogans were bad juju. Or maybe not and it was just our way of discussing family planning each year.

Without all my school work to read, I've been able to read again for leisure this break. Last night I read a few chapters in a book called "Expecting Adam." It's about two Harvard PhD's who end up having a child with Down's. It's hard to put down so far. I also have two Downs handbooks so that I can read and learn about my best friend's baby daughter, as well as how I can be a better friend.

I've been back to having nightmares since the tsunami. I'm pregnant (huge like now) and with Janie on the beach in Thailand when the big wave strikes. She can't swim. I'm trying to hold on to her and swim. I'm thinking that if I wasn't pregnant I could do it. I feel like I can't save them both and feel guilty for wanting to put Janie first before myself or this baby. It's really not fair since I haven't met this baby yet and I've loved Janie for years. All those second baby anxieties I guess. I never thought I'd ever really be in this position. I really thought that Janie was it, our only one and we were lucky to have her. We were trying again, naturally for years, 3 IUIs, and then an IVF. Yet, I had lost faith in the process and had come to terms with having only 1. Yet, the IVF worked. And I will have two. I have no idea how this will work. I don't try to second guess it, I guess I'm still surprised despite all this time and this belly. I still think that I'm infertile. I still think that I have nothing in common with other pregnant women I see. I hate answering questions on the pregnancy to strangers because I feel like I'm making it all up.

Back to the minivan negotiations today. I'm struggling over the decision on which options to get. I love all the bells and whistles, but I know that I don't need them. I don't neeeed them. But, having them would make up for the fact that it's a minivan. Doesn't John Travolta call his the "Rolls-Royce of Minivans" or something like that in Get Shorty when everyone questions him on his vehicle?

As for the deal, I know all the available rebates, how much I want for my trade (fair trade in value from kelly blue book, but less than the various listings for same year and model), which fees I will pay (destination if reasonable, taxes 8.75%, license $250-300, documentation of $15 and tire fee of $5), which fees I won't pay (dealer prep, markup, holdback, windows vin etching, flooring assistance, etc), the invoice cost, and the actual dealer cost (invoice minus 3% of the MSRP). As I've learned from my Negotiations class, preparation is the only part of the negotiation that you control and is often the most neglected. The maximum I would pay would be 5% over dealer cost (not invoice) less all the rebates, but I will be working towards getting 3%, which would be the same as $100 under invoice, plus the rebates, plus the 0% financing, plus my fair trade value. I have all day today and tomorrow to negotiate. If not, I will put it off until some month in the future. It's hard to spend the money, but it sure would be nice to have a new car.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Catching Up

Back from the holidays. There's so much to catch up on, I don't think I can give it all justice.

Tuesday night - Janie and I went to The Nutcracker by the San Francisco Ballet in the city...
"Mom, why are the boy dancers naked?"
"Sshh. They're not. They're wearing tights."
"But they don't have any pants on. And no underwears. I can see their butts."
Yes, me too. She was enthralled the first half. The second half she got bored. Part way through she put her red velvet scrunchy with the white faux fur on her wrist like a mini tutu, and had her hand dancing around mimicking the ballerinas. (Imagine a sock puppet with no sock.)

Now prepare yourself for my holiday gripes...

Christmas eve day - While most of my brothers and sisters and their spouses or partners rest and play, I cook up the traditional lasagna, german apple cake, and fudge. When I propose that those who don't cook should clean, my older sister tells me that since she cooked last year (when I wasn't there) she doesn't have to. Whatever.

Christmas day - I cooked french toast, eggs and bacon. I put it all on the table while I finished cooking up the second batch of eggs. By the time I got to sit down, all the french toast was gone. What makes it worse for me is my sister-in-law had several, then excused herself after breakfast to secretly purge. At least I would have digested it.

Anyway, for lunch we had leftover lasagna as I refused to cook anymore. We also had a big debate on gay marriage. None of us are gay (that we know), but my family loves big loud discussions on political subjects. The problem is that one brother and his wife are conservative Christians so they ended up with hurt feelings, enough for my brother to stomp out for an hour long walk on the beach. It didn't help that he compared a man marrying a man to him marrying a tree or a 10 year old.
My mother was arguing for gay marriage but had used some sort of argument that marriage was set up to protect the children, that if gays with children can't get married then it's not protecting them. My older sister then said that if marriage was for the reason of having children, then all couples should have their fertility tested before getting married and infertile couples not allowed to marry. Yes, she said this in front of me and my husband, and yes she knows we're infertle (or were?). She was being facetious to win an argument, but there are better ways. Anyways, it turned into a huge stressful event for a nice Christmas day.

(My small part was to introduce the subject that despite however many gay couples marry, my marriage will remain unchanged. Actually, if there was anyone who hurt the sanctity of marriage it would be the heteros who marry 6 times or who like my baby sister start cheating a few months after the huge event. It's not the gays like Matt's cousin and her partner who have lived together for 10 years in a monogamous relationship and would like to state their vows publicly and have them respected by society such as doctors who want to pull the plug or Uncle Sam. I still don't get how couples getting married in San Francisco can hurt the marriage of someone living in Wisconsin. But I guess I'm just a California wacko.)

Meanwhile, Janie played with all her new princess and barbie stuff. My brother told me that he didn't get his girls all that stuff, implying that it was wrong, sexist. Frankly, his daughters are 3 and 1, and mine is 4, so she knows what she wants more than she did a year ago. Also, she is being raised by a raging feminist mother, so I don't think that equality will be a foreign subject. These are just the toys she currently wants and will eventually get over. I'm not worried. And I resent the judgments from my little brother.

So I'm glad to be home. I went shopping today and test drove my first minivan. It definately felt like a bus, especially since the steering wheel felt flat to me. Yet I couldn't beat it in space or safety. The negotiations have begun. The saleswoman is a crack up. She doesn't know how much I know and I feel very much in charge. For example, when I asked for the difference from invoice cost, she actually said that she never heard of invoice cost. Later when I told her that I didn't think we could come to an agreement on price because she didn't know invoice, she suddenly knew all about it. She also told me that they had a good 5.9% interest rate. When I told her I'd be getting a separate quote from my credit union, she asked that I not hold her to that rate since they could probably do something closer to 3.8%. My, my, my. Not only is it the end of the year so they have tons of deals, but it's pouring rain all week so business is slow. I feel very confidant that I'll get a good deal on my school bus, I mean minivan.

A minivan. So sad. According to Matt I won't be sexy anymore. But then again, my sedan wasn't all that sexy either.

p.s. You guys are quick! Correct guess already. There was even pictures passed around at Christmas with her and my sister, along with one on the refrigerator. Just in case we forget.

I just completed 25 weeks today. Can you believe it?

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Procrastinating, as usual

I just returned home from my last trip to Arizona until probably June. As to be expected, my boss was able to duck out of the post-maternity leave question by arriving 45 minutes late for our meeting and wanting to go over my latest financial model first. The next day we were to have lunch together, so at last minute she invited 3 other people. She's good, oh so good at getting out of this discussion. So now it will have to be over the phone. Not the most ideal situation, but that's how she made it.

I also have a horrible cold, probably from the airplane. I always catch things from the airplane. On the flight home, I was squeezed into a middle seat in steerage between my daughter and some big guy who was a total encroacher. He not only put his whole arm on our shared arm rest, but elbow way over on my side. He also sat with his legs wide open, knee in my area. I felt like I was a kid again, sitting in the back seat with my little brother, and I wanted to point out the line of separation between his seat and mine. Instead I did my usual passive aggressive warfare and coughed and sneezed in his direction. I hope he's now drowning in his own mucus.

So I'm sick and I'm at school trying to finish a paper. For those who haven't been to Berkeley before, it is on a hill on the east side of the San Francisco Bay. From my seat right now I can see the Golden Gate bridge (only a little bit of haze around the bottom) and some boats in the bay. It really is a beautiful sight. But I'm not allowed to be gazing and dreaming (and who can while they're sneezing and blowing their nose every few minutes) as I'm supposed to be finishing this stupid paper. Once I do, I'm done for the semester. A free bird. I also have all next week off of work. I will finish shopping, rest and hopefully recover.

Janie is getting very excited and kind of stressed about Christmas. Her stress comes from when she met Santa. The first year she met him, she was a baby and slept through it. The second time she sat on his lap with a sad look on her face. The third time she screamed straight-legged and red-faced. (I used the picture for our Christmas cards; I'm that mean.) The fourth time she sat and smiled, but refused to look at him or talk to him. This time she actually said one word to him. "Barbie." After giving me the complete list all the night before and all the way there, all she told him was Barbie, which is not tops on her list (nor mine). I discovered yesterday that she thinks she's not going to get anything but Barbie because that's all that she told Santa. When I probed for why she only told him Barbie, she told me it was because Santa asked her what kind of doll she wanted. So now she's stressed because she wants so much more and at a higher priority, and I'm a little peeved as I'm assuming that this particular Santa isn't asking the little boys that same question.

I've completed all my long distance shopping and shipping. I've just got to finish up my local stuff. I've got Jamie nearly complete, and haven't bought a single thing for Matt. What do you get for the guy who secretly buys whatever he wants? Matt had not finished his family's long distance shopping (except for that which I did for him). I could say that maybe he thought I would be taking care of it for him, with my cold, with my backache, with my cough, with my paper due, but I don't think he considered it at all. I think he just didn't worry about it until I brought it up to him today that he needed to do it and get it all done today. Then I wrote him a list of all that he needed to do to get it done and he groaned. Not only does he have to face the last-Saturday-before-Christmas crowd for 5 different stops, but he has to bring Janie too. Didn't I warn him to order it online? Yes, but he wants to wrap them...ooops, I guess he just added another step that I forgot to write down. Lucky, lucky guy. He's probably still out there, and probably not too happy about it.

And here I sit, with this view of the bay, surrounded by other students, listening to jazz, and eating whatever sweets they sell. I just try to space my trips to the counter so as not to appear as gluttonous as I really am. Mmmm, lemon cake. Okay, back to work. This paper won't write itself. And when I'm done should I run straight home to relieve Matt, or knowing that I will end up with Janie all tonight and tomorrow should I take advantage and do some solo shopping? Is it an ethical dilemma or just tiny fieldtrips to save my own faculties?

p.s. first hint towards actress... initials M.S.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Ornamental Destruction

Pazel Quotes from this morning:
"Janie, don't throw that! It's not a ball, it's an ornament."
"Don't kick it either."

Pazel Quotes from last night:
"No, that ornament can't go in the bathtub."
(in best Fat Bastard voice while playing with nipple) "I'm sooo sexy."

Actual weekend conversation between Pazel & Janie:
"But how does Santa know I've been nice?"
"Because he checks his list."
"But I've been naughty too."
"You've been very nice. Santa knows."
"But I want Santa to know I've been naughty too."
"Why?"
"Because then I can have rocks. I like rocks."

We went yesterday to Half Moon Bay and got our tree. Last night we decorated it, although most decorations are in one section on the bottom due to Janie's inherited decorating sense. Whenever I tried to put them up high, she would complain that she couldn't reach them there. I also now have decorations everywhere else in my house as she takes them down to play with them. I don't complain, except that I need to go buy more ornaments as our tree looks kind of bare. We've been running a deficit lately with more ornaments lost or broken than purchased. The great Ornament Destruction of '03 is forecasted to continue through '04. She's very creative in finding new ways to break them. It's not that she's trying, she just plays with them to death.

In other news, I had my garage sale and sold off all my office furniture and the grandmother's table. Yay! The garage sale was tougher than ones I've had in the past for many reasons. First, it was freezing cold here which is very unusual in this part of California. Most of the furniture developed a slight layer of frost. More people drove slowly by looking than got out of their cars. I couldn't blame them as it was bitter cold. I don't know how you cold weather people do it. Second, we live on a steep hill so our driveway is a 45 degree angle. We had to put the furniture on the sidewalk, which had a lesser angle. The chairs with wheels kept trying to roll down the street, where they could easily have turned the corner and coasted another mile down hill.

I've learned many things from my negotiations class that I was able to put into play for my garage sale. First, you have to understand your interests. What is your motivation for selling these things? For me, it was to make space for my baby's room. We didn't want to store it, but more get rid of it. The financial aspect is pretty low, so I was very amenable to bargains. Second, you have to understand the buyer's interests. People shop garage sales because they love the hunt and they want a good bargain. I was willing to give them that bargain.

There are also those tricks and ploys used during a negotiation. One buyer explained his low offer price in that his wife (waiting in the warm car) really didn't want it, but he did. This is called the hard-hearted partner trick. It is similar to good cop/bad cop except that the bad cop doesn't have to be there (or even exist). I responded to this by extolling the strength of my BATNA, or Best Alternative To Non-Agreement. This meant telling him that his offer was too low since I could just store this until spring when there would be more buyers. The strength of the BATNA is judged by perception, not actual strength. In reality, I did not want to push any of that furniture back up the steep driveway and into my garage to store it until spring. Yet, by telling him that my BATNA was strong, I could show him that I did not have to deal with him at such a low level. Eventually, we were able to strike a deal and because it was battled, we both felt victorious.

So I've gotten rid of my office furniture, bought the crib and changing table, and purchased all the crib bedding. You'd assume I was very secure in my pregnancy. Let's just say that I'm feeling good. Very good. However, not all is perfect and rosy. I still haven't gotten rid of the rest of my follistim or lupron from my refrigerator. I also still have my large bag of needles, antiseptic wipes, and left over progesterone, and my nearly full sharps container. Getting rid of those would be bad juju, and they don't take up much space. It's better that I hold on to them. Kind of like a signal that I'm not being too cocky. I know that such confidence doesn't cause problems, but I can't help but keep a certain level of respect for the dark side.