Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The Stalker Returns

Matt called last night from Fort Lauderdale. I don't know if that's where they will be working or staying but that's where he was last night.

Yesterday he and his crew were front page of our local paper... Sorry for all the X's etc. There's some crazy people out there so I have to maintain some anonymity.

XXXXX crew off to Florida
PG&E sends teams
to restore electric service in hurricane-ravaged state

They’ve dealt with firestorms in San Diego and windstorms in Anaheim.
But the XXXX-based Pacific Gas & Electric Co. construction crew en route to help out in Florida said it might have a couple new deadly forces with which to contend.
“Crocodiles and hepatitis,” said [Matt Pazel], referring to the possible spread of disease due to the spilled sewage in the wake of Hurricane Jeanne.
[Pazel], a XXXXX resident, belongs to one of two East BayPG&E crews traveling to Florida to help restore power to the thousands of residents left in the dark because of
damage from four recent hurricanes, said spokesman Brian Swanson. The
other Florida-bound crew is based in XXX.
[Pazel] and his crew mates, foreman Tim X, Gene and Mason were busy Monday morning cleaning and packing up their line and bucket trucks, which were to be shipped on trailers to Florida.
They were scheduled to meet up later in Davis with the other 23 PG&E crews from
Northern and Central California also going to Florida. All 130 workers were expected to fly out of Sacramento this morning.
X anticipates his crew will start out inFlorida with a 36-hour shift, and then continue with 16 hours on and eight hours off for at least one month, he said. “They’ve had
to pretty much start from scratch,” he said.
Despite some dread about humidity and mosquitoes, the crew seemed excited to get going. “You know you’re going to help people, so that’s kind of neat,” X said.
PG&E is one of the few utilities in the country that still has its own “general
construction” division, X said. General construction crews, which
maintain infrastructure for electric systems, are considered mobile units, so
they are used to traveling where they are needed, he said.

.... the article continues but you get it.

I don't know where Matt gets this crocodile and hepatitis stuff. I haven't heard of anyone in Florida being bitten or getting sick because of the flooding and I'm sure by now the floods shown on TV have receded. I think those guys get together and try to imagine the worst - like a game of gross out that little boys might play. Anyways, is it alligators or crocodiles in Florida anyway?

Unfortunately this newspaper article hearlded the return of my stalker. I call her my stalker altough technically she's not really a stalker, she's just a bossy woman who won't leave me alone. Stalker-ish? Stalker-lite?

She's a friend of my mother-in-law's since high school, although they've lived hundreds of miles apart since then and have not remained close. When we moved to the Bay Area, she found out from my mother-in-law (MIL) and started calling me. My MIL swears that she didn't give her my number or tell her to call me. When we were buying a house, Stalker would call and tell me to dump my real estate agent and hire her friend who would give her a lawn mower for every referral. Despite the enticement of us getting nothing out of this deal except possibly being sued by our agent since we were in the middle of negotiations and getting instead an unknown agent who deals with lawn mowers, I declined the offer. Stalker is not used to hearing no so she would call me constantly and try to pressure me to use her agent. Because she was a friend of my MIL's, I was polite but still firm. Finally, Matt stopped being polite and told her to stop calling.

When we bought our home and moved in, stalker showed up a day or two later. We did not give her our new address or our move in date, and my MIL says she didn't either. Stalker parked in front and tried to befriend me when I came out. I told her that I'm busy moving and have plenty of help. After that I would see Stalker drive by slowly in her purple PT Cruiser. I used to like those cars until my stalker started stalking me in one. Soon she had our new number and started calling me. Most of the time I wouldn't answer and she would leave urgent messages for me. "Pazel, it's me Stalker, remember? Your MIL's best friend? Call me back. It's very important." I would delete the message and ask my MIL to tell her to stop calling me. She would also leave messages describing how she could watch our daughter (in her house of 25 cats) or the name of a local day care (back when Janie was home full time with me). Stalker couldn't understand that I didn't consider her my friend, she's a stranger to me, and I don't care if she and my MIL went to high school together.

Then Stalker left a bag of used children's clothes on my doorstep. Next time she called I told her thank you but no thank you. Soon there were more bags and boxes of used children's clothing arriving. I no longer called to thank her, just donated them to charity. I grew up with bags of used clothing from strangers and cannot stand the idea of dressing my daughter in the same. They're great for when you need them, but we don't need them. Did I forget to mention how much infertile women love to dress their only children? Anyways, since she got me to answer a call due to a bag of clothing, she was trying to use them to finally pry her way into my home.

Eventually the phone calls stopped, probably because I'm an ungrateful b****. There would still be a drive-by now and then, but I would pretend I didn't see her. I'm a very friendly person, but I hate pushy people, especially unsolicitated pushy people who find my phone number or address from unknown sources and pretend to be my friend. If someone told me not to call them anymore, I would stop. I guess I'm just funny that way. I'm very sensitive to any hint that my friendship isn't wanted and would not need to be told outright to go away - as she has been told.

So yesterday, my husband was in the paper and it brought my stalker back to life. I got home last night from picking Janie up at my sister's after my class. There was a message on my machine and I was very excited since I figured it would be my long lost husband. Instead it was my stalker. "Hi Pazel, it's me Stalker, your MIL's best best friend from high school? Did you know that your husband's picture was in the paper? You have to call me. It's very important."

Oh man, she's back. I deleted the message. She tried calling me again about an hour ago but I didn't pick up. Half of me expects her to stop by for an unannounced visit. I know she's going to keep calling until she reaches me, but I'm not answering. If I did, I would not be a nice person, so it's better that I don't. I'm also waiting for the arrival of more bags of used clothing destined to appear on my doorstep.

I don't understand why this woman wants to contact me so badly. I've made it clear that I don't want any relationship with her but yet she seeks any opportunity to try to insert herself into my life. Frankly, she makes my MIL look passive, and I already have a MIL so I don't need another. Just because they were friends doesn't mean we are. I just don't get it.

Maybe she's a sweet wonderful woman and her repeated phone calls and drive-bys are just her way of trying to be friendly and helpful. Yet, when those are rebuffed, why keep on trying? Since I don't want or need her help, why does she persist?

No good can come of this. I'm going to have to be mean again. Maybe sooner rather than later just to restore my sense of security especially now that my husband isn't around. If she's assuming I'm weak without him, she's gravely mistaken.

Monday, September 27, 2004

No News Yet

Matt called this afternoon and told me that they were headed to Davis to fly from an air force base there. They were taking military transport to Orlando because they were also flying their trucks out there. He also said that one of the local papers saw them off so he may may have a picture in the paper tomorrow. He's not sure where he will be working yet in Florida. No call tonight so I still don't know where he is. I miss him terribly.

Bye Bye Love

My husband is gone. Not forever, although it seems that way. His job just sent him to Florida to help restore power. He works on power poles for a living, climbing them, working on energized lines, living the dangerous life. Things must be pretty bad out there for them to take guys all the way from California. Also, I'm assuming that the teams they probably put in weeks ago after the first hurricane need some relief or have to go back to their home states for their own storm damage. In any case, he's gone for 4 weeks.

He swore to me that he will be back in time for my amnio and ultrasound in late October. Two days later will be our anniversary, and two days after that will be Janie's birthday. Last year he missed Halloween and his birthday because he was working for 3 weeks near Los Angeles after their fires to restore their power. In about February he left for 3 weeks to Northern California for storm damage. You'd think I'd be used to this, except I'm not. I get cranky. Not at him, not at anyone, just cranky in general.

I've got logistical nightmares because of my night classes. Instead of Matt watching Janie during my classes, I've got to drive her to my sister's or cousin's an hour out of the way, if they are even able to sit. For work, I don't know how I'll do my next trips to Arizona. My friend's baby will be having heart surgery so she's busy as well as her family. I'm going to have to be very creative.

Still, these are not what bothers me most. First of all, Janie will miss him and not understand why he's gone so long. Sure, I'll explain that he's out there to help people, but it's hard for a child her age to understand all that. Secondly, I'll miss him. I'm used to having him to talk to, to hold, to lean on. It kills me when he's gone.

This weekend I wanted to kick him. He was visiting his parents when his work called about the trip. I called and told him that he could only go if he could come back on the 21st. October 22nd is my big ultrasound and amnio and he has to be here for it. The next day, his work called and said for him to be ready to go at 7am on Monday. I reminded them that he needs to be back on the 21st. They said that he's coming back on the 23rd. I told them that he's not going unless he comes back on that date and they basically ignored me, the shrill wife. I called Matt and found out he didn't tell them about the date stipulation. He said he'd be back for it but didn't think that he needed to tell them. What? After a big "discussion", he said he would call them back.

Sometimes I think he's still in that military mentality whereas he doesn't know that there are options. Coming back two days early for something that important should not be a huge issue when he's going to be gone for 4 weeks. What's 2 days to them? He doesn't want to cause problems or make waves. I've learned with Matt that if I don't stress it, he won't make it happen and I will lose out. You know what they say; you always hurt the ones you love.

Friday, September 24, 2004

More Keller

I've been talking a lot lately with my friend Valerie who's friend Keller is pregnant. I think I've told you about her before in my post titled "Fairness is a Myth" and I'd link you there if only I knew how. As a review, she's accidentally pregnant by a loser guy in a horrible relationship. My opinion has been that she should end the pregnancy. Valerie believed that this pregnancy would wake up Keller and allow her to start growing up.

Valerie and I were both raised by single mothers but in different circumstances. For me, my mother married or dated loser guys, put them first, and didn't place her kids as high priority. I've given examples of this before, but let's just say that I'm not her only kid whose birthday was completely forgotten. Anyways, I can see nothing but misery for this child. I would say that adoption would be better except that adoption calls for extreme maturity and Keller could never rise to that level. Also, there is the drug use which threatens this child's health before it is even born.

Valerie was also raised poor except that she and her 2 siblings were her mother's highest priority. Her mother would do without so that they could have things. Her mother is extremely creative and would find ways to cook up dinners out of nothing or to get food for the kids. They never went without meals because the mother made it such a priority. (I talk about food alot. For me there are several connotations with nurturing, caring, loving that comes with feeding your children or being fed by your mother.)

Valerie imagines that Keller will realize the change in her life by this pregnancy, be grateful for this chance at a new life, and move heaven and earth for her child. I think that Keller has still not learned her worth nor realizes what she has with this pregnancy. She will not make this child a priority and I imagine a sad childhood for this child.

Keller can't make up her mind what she wants to do. Mullet guy wants her to get an abortion. She told him that he needed to pay for it and so far he hasn't been able to raise the money. I think she's using it as an excuse so that if she doesn't get an abortion she can tell him that it's his fault and so he'd better father this child. Frankly, if he hasn't fathered any of the children he's already had, he's not going to start with this one. Last I heard, Mullet called his father and told him that Keller wants to borrow money from him. Keller called the father back and said that it wasn't her who would be borrowing it, but Mullet guy. Now they're in a fight.

Keller has been hinting to Valerie to see if Valerie would let her move in. Valerie, who has a 1 1/2 year old and a baby with Down's, told her no. Valerie has no problems speaking her mind and told Keller that this baby would only be Keller's responsibility and not Valerie's.

Today Valerie called me because she's changed her mind. She found out that Keller is still using crack and even told Valerie that it's okay through the 4th month. I asked, "According to what? What To Expect When You're Expecting a Crack Baby?" Obviously Keller is not taking responsibility or realizing this baby as a gift but is playing with the baby's health. Valerie even told Keller how women who aren't even pregnant take folic acid daily so that once they are pregnant their baby will be healthy. This dumbfounded Keller who does not want to give up the crack pipe. Valerie then told her that she had chosen crack over her baby so she needed to end the pregnancy.

My fear is that Keller will get the money for the abortion and use it on drugs, then she will just "have" to be pregnant. If she can't give up crack now, there's no way she will after having the baby.

Last time I wrote about Keller being pregnant I told you all about how I don't think it's fair. It's f-ed up. That hasn't changed. It's not only about getting pregnant, but staying pregnant. How can she use crack and still be pregnant and other women miscarriage who are doing everything they can for that baby.

I know we're not supposed to compare our lives or our sins. It's wrong to feel one is better than someone else. I can't help it. I look at what she's doing and I get angry because I feel that she doesn't deserve this gift. There are women who are better than her who deserve this child. I hold out hope that she will end the pregnancy especially now that Valerie believes it too. If not, it will be like watching a horrible car crash in slow motion.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Roses for all Divas

Last night my negotiations class went well. Half the class played the business manager for an opera company, and half the agent for an opera singer, then we paired off and negotiated. I was the opera singer's agent. At the end all the negotiated agreements were revealed. I was the only one who had negotiated not only salary for my diva, but extra publicity and a blanket of roses to be given to her on stage opening night. Everyone laughed at first, but the professor really liked it. Someone even asked why the singer didn't just get a slightly higher salary (although the one I got for her was competitive) and buy her own roses. Are you kidding? Flowers received as a gift are much better than ones you buy yourself!

What is funny is that at school I'm known for being creative. That's not a term usually used with CPA's in general. I think it's just the pool I'm in, surrounded by prospective MBA's most with tech backgrounds, that I appear colorful and interesting. In real life, I'm very vanilla.

Tomorrow is Janie's school picture day (yes, even in preschool!). This means that today I've got to get out and buy her a new dress and probably something for her hair. Tomorrow I will get her up earlier so that she can shower in the morning and I can play with her hair. Her hair is naturally curly and blond, unlike my brown wavy hair or Matt's black curly hair. Old women love to come up and touch her hair when she's in public. I call them her fans. Anyways, I'll want her to look extra cute tomorrow so I can give pictures out to everyone.

This morning I was making her lunch and wondering about my mother. When I make Janie's lunch, I try to make it different from the day before. I buy special little napkins to put in it, although I don't think she notices. This morning I cut up fresh watermelon and put it into a container for her fruit. I wonder why my mother didn't make our lunches. We didn't have any money, so she didn't have so much at her disposal. I was 2nd oldest of 6 kids, so maybe all her concentration had to be on the littler ones. It gives me satisfaction knowing that Janie will have a good lunch and won't be hungry. I like to think that she knows that I'm thinking about her when she opens it. I do it because I love her and take making her lunch as an opportunity to tell her. Is it because my mother never made my lunch, not even for 1st grade that I put so much emphasis into her lunch? It is just a lunch.

I wonder if the 2nd child will get as much as Janie has gotten. Do you spoil the 2nd as much as the first? Janie has been adored because I had assumed she could be our only child. We wanted her for so long before we got her and then couldn't seem to make another. With the 2nd, I've heard that you're more comfortable but also not as vigilant.

I can't imagine not spoiling this child too. This one will not only be our 2nd, but our last. Our baby. This won't make Janie not our baby, no she'll always be my baby. I wonder how you love the 2nd as much as the first. My love for Janie is so overwhelming and all encompassing.

I have a recurring nightmare. WARNING - Sad real story to follow. My nightmares are based on a news story that happened here in the bay area a few weeks ago. An unlicensed driver crashed her van on a bridge. Two kids who weren't in seat belts were thrown from the van into the Bay. The father jumped in along with some bystanders. The father saved the 3 year old, but not the 4 year old. The bystanders saw him with the 3 year old and assumed that was the only child in the water. The 4 year old drowned.

In my nightmare, I have two little kids who fall into the bay and I jump in but I can't save both. When I get in and save one (who feels like a 100 lb weight in the water), the other is sinking to the bottom of the bay. It's horrible and I wake up in a panic.

I reassure myself that I always use car seats and seat belts. I also tell myself that I will continue teaching Janie to swim and that she will be 4 1/2 years older than this baby so I won't have two little ones at the same time.

I understand that these nightmares are over my concerns for whether I can parent two children as well as one. What if I have to choose? How do you keep things fair? How do you give each child what they need when there is still only one mother and one father?

Sure, it will work out. Parents do it all the time. I would probably have more reassurance if my mother had done better with the 6 of us, but I know that is an extreme case.

In the meantime, I will go shopping for Janie's dress for pictures tomorrow. I guess if I had two kids I could buy two and get two ready for pictures in the morning. Things do work out and hopefully time does expand.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Our New Nightly Ritual

Every night now I listen to the baby's heartbeat with the doppler. It sounds like a train, just like I remember Janie's. It's 162 beats per minute, which according to some sites means it's a girl. There are others that will tell you that the heartbeat speed means nothing as to sex. Personally, I believe it's a girl.

Don't I want a son? Sure, that would be nice. One of each. Perfect, especially since I don't plan on trying to conceive ever again. On the other hand, having a girl has been bliss so I think another girl would be perfect too. I guess that's something you get from infertility, the inability to be disappointed by either sex as long as the baby is healthy. Just a beautiful baby who eats and poops, and sometimes even sleeps.

So every night I take out the doppler, squirt on the ultrasound goop and set out searching for the heartbeat. Sometimes it's more on the left, sometimes in the center. If I don't find it immediately I start to get concerned but my concern level is low and visibly hidden. Usually Matt and Janie are looking on, and I don't want them to know what an uncertain freak I really am. Tonight Matt did the searching which was a nice change. When we find the heartbeat, it starts quiet at first then louder as I zero in. Matt always smiles and I always say the same thing to him, "See, I told you I was pregnant."

Afterwards I use the dopper on Janie. That's the only reason she hangs around. Although she's excited about the baby, she's bored listening to the baby's heartbeat every night. She says she has baby duckies in her tummy so we listen there. If we can hear her dinner digested or other noises inside, she tells me it's the duckies. We then listen to her heart which is extremely loud compared to our Flicker's. I remember when hers was once a little train too.

Today while cleaning house, Matt asked if we should throw out the leftover fertility meds and supplies. No way. We both agreed that would be bad juju. I don't know when I'll be ready to throw it out. That would mean believing and although I do, I have to reserve something just in case.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Return of the Panel Pants

I did it. I had to. I wish I didn't because I'm not ready, but I was powerless.

I'm wearing maternity pants. Today is my first day. Some of my jeans are big enough and low enough that they still fit, but yesterday I could not get comfortable. My jeans became a form of corset. I went shopping and purchased some maternity pants, shorts and shirts. The shirts still look ridiculous, but the pants feel good.

I'm only 10 weeks and 2 days today. That's a bit early to be in maternity pants. I could say that with the second child there is a phenomenon known as warming in which the uterus relaxes early causing an earlier pooch. Truth is, I believe I'm just eating too much. I try to eat only good foods, but I succumb.

The other night I was suffering from a tiredness that went straight to my bones. I was so hungry and exhausted, communication between me and my beloved fell apart.

Matt - I'll make you something. You know I can't cook though.
Pazel ~ I know. I just need protein. Really bad. Lots of it.
M - How about a grilled cheese sandwich?
P ~ No.
M - Cheese and crackers?
P ~ (whiny) Nooo. Protein. I need protein.
M - How about a salad? You had one last night.
P ~ nooooo. I need meat.
M - Janie and I were about to have some Spaghettios. Do you want some of that?
P ~ Definitely not.
M - Well I don't know what you want.
P ~ Can't we get some take-out from somewhere?
M - Do you want some McDonald's or Taco Bell?
P ~ Nooo. Like real food.
M - (brings me the raw meat from the refrigerator) Do you want some of this? How should I cook it?
P ~ Eww. No. Don't show me that. C'mon, I'm not feeling well. Don't bring me raw meat.
M - Well then I've tried e v e r y t h i n g but there's no pleasing you. (He gives up on me and gets to making the Spagettios.)

Eventually I made my way up off the couch, called Outback and ordered a filet for take-out. Of course I had to go and get it myself, grumbling the whole way. But it tasted so good, as did the cheesecake I got with it and shared with Janie. He didn't get any since I was mad at him.

See, I'm just eating larger portions than I used to and having desserts when I didn't used to. I'm also not skipping any meals. If I do miss a meal I get shaky. All in all it adds up to a belly that doesn't fit in my pants for a baby that's probably only an inch or two long. I've also gained 4 lbs (on a good morning). The book says that I should only gain 5 in the first trimester. I have a feeling I'll be going over that number.

Monday, September 13, 2004

The War

I'm not a big Dr. Phil fan. The sound of his voice is irritating. The high chairs he puts his guests on are ridiculous. The extreme situations of his guests seem almost Maury-ish. I can only stand a few minutes before I must turn it off.

The other day he had a show about stay-at-home mothers (SAH) versus work-out-of-the-home mothers (WOH). The SAH seemed to me extremely judgmental, carrying on about how there is only one way which is her way. This is not unusual, I've heard it before. I just don't understand it. Today in the comments at Grrls site, another SAH mother named Pam went down that same extreme high road. Her quote, "She'll pay." Nice, huh?

First, how does one develop such a sense of righteousness that they have the extreme wisdom and right to determine what is best for everyone? If it works for you, great, but why do you get to decide that it must work for everyone?

Second, why the hositility? Why the anger at another woman's choice? There's something psychological going on there that I don't have the credentials to uncover.

Third, why is it always focused on the woman? Parenting choices are made by both parents. Why is the mother the evil one for working when the father is to be crowned? Doesn't either have an equal opportunity to give up working and stay home? Yet one only one is chastised. And the SAH mother usually will talk about how the child of a WOH won't know them since they spend such little time with them, while at the same time the SAH's husband is working extra hours to support their choice. Isn't it just as bad if he isn't there either? Why can he still be a good parent but a WOH isn't?

Fourth, why is this the best situation for all children? When SAH mothers describe child care, they describe something akin to a Russian orphanage where the child is dropped off for 10-12 hours a day. In reality, there is such a variety of different nurturing environments, with few children, different methods, caring teachers/care givers, and different schedules. Most WOH parents try to arrange something with staggered schedules, flexible schedules, or extended family to have a shorter period of time in daycare than what is generally assumed. Also, if the parent is going to be miserable at home all day every day, that doesn't make them a bad parent, although some SAH would disagree. By pushing that sort of belief to the far end, you can end up with Andrea Yates. That poor mother needed help, not judgments. One size does not fit all.

I understand how someone could choose to be a SAH parent. I do. I also understand how someone could choose to be a WOH parent. What I don't understand are the harsh judgments made towards the other choice. Why not just respect that what they've decided is what is best for them. It doesn't make you a better or worse parent, just a different parent. We don't all need to be the same. Our kids are not the same and neither are our situations. We don't need the hositility from each other when it is hard enough raising a child today. What kind of example are we being to our children when we pass judgment on one another? We need to support each other and understand there are pros and cons to each side. Make your own decision and refuse to stand judgment on the other side.

For me, I work full time at home. My daughter was home with me full time her first two years while I worked full time for my company as an analyst. After she turned two, neither of us were happy with the situation, so I started her in Pre-K at a Montessori school. First part time, now full time (9-3). My schedule has been such that I can volunteer at her school and be very involved. At the same time I've been able to enjoy my work and being part of that world. This situation wouldn't work for everyone. However, it has been best for us and that is solely our decision to make.

As to anyone who finds fault with it, do what your mother said and mind your own business.

Friday, September 10, 2004

My rage

Pregnancy makes me angry. Actually, I'd be angry anyways.

Work. I get a call from a Director. Her software for budget wasn't installed and IT said they wouldn't get to it for 5 more days. I call IT and explain that I had put in the request in July and got a note that it was completed in August. Yet, it must not have been completed since she doesn't have it installed yet.

IT explains that they thought they had installed it correctly, but they didn't. They have 500+ applications and this is a once a year process for one. They checked with the DSS department and they assured them it was done correctly. They didn't know it wasn't done right until this week. Now they are trying to fix it but won't get it done for a few days. Big apologies.

Next I email DSS. I don't call them because I deal with these smug know-it-alls all the time and I want their boss to know. I tell them how this was not done correctly by IT and their portion of responsibility for it. All I wanted was that next year they work better with IT to make sure it is done correctly. After all, I am the one dealing with the phone calls from Directors and they are the experts for this application.

DSS email me back that I did not request it properly or in the right time period.

Excuse me? Oh, I requested it exactly as DSS told me to, with more than a month's advance notice, like they told me to. In my email I wrote "exactly as you had instructed" a few times in italics throughout my note so they will be able to clearly read it. I included other choice saying such as how I don't understand their reluctance to work with IT on this issue or why they wouldn't want suggestions towards improving next year's processes.

I wanted to end it with "You Stupid Bitch" but unfortunately I could not.

Now they've set up a meeting next week to discuss. Fine. I invited IT since they hadn't. I can't see what there is to discuss since all of them messed up but we are paying the price. Totally ridiculous.

But I like to rage now and then. It gets my heart pumping. It gets me to stop smiling and look serious. I'm so much better at business when I'm angry. I get taken seriously and scare a few people. Not good people, but the ones who think they are hot stuff but are really warm bodies.

My younger brother was closing on his house this week and having some troubles. I told him what to say when he called back the title company. He asked how I pull myself together for such confrontations. Actually, I hate confrontation, but I do have an inner rage that I can tap into now and then. It's not that visible from the surface and I don't yell or lose my temper. I wish I had a vein that bulged, but actually it's kind of hard to tell unless compared to my usual easy-going self. Well, Matt can tell. He's had the day off and has spent it playing with his tools in the garage. He said he heard part of a call, saw the look on my face, and decided he was safer out there.

I'd agree.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Fairness is a myth

My friend's friend (not my friend) whom we'll call Keller is pregnant. She just found out. She is surprised, despite the fact that she wasn't using any reliable form of birth control for years now. Her boyfriend, Mullet guy, has 4 kids ranging from 8 years to 6 months with 4 different ex-girlfriends. He hasn't worked as long as she's dated him (a year), has never paid child support, and has spent time in jail during this short period for domestic abuse and other crimes. He keeps all the money she makes, and will not allow her cash or a credit card. Keller is also not allowed to chat on the internet, which is how they met. He checks the computer to make sure she hasn't been on. My friend had him over once, and believes he stole from her during that brief visit. Keller has a low paying job and could not possibly afford day care so she could return to work after having a baby.

During this year, Keller and Mullet have broken up at least once after he became violent with her. She took him back of course. Keller drinks heavily daily and uses many different drugs regularly including crack. Her face looks constantly swollen, looking almost 20 years older than she should from how badly she abuses her own body. She cannot count the number of men she has been with in her life. Keller is the one who recommended that I "do what the lesbians do and use a turkey baster" after finding out from my friend that I was having trouble conceiving.

So now they're going to have a baby, Keller and Mullet. Actually, that's not been totally decided yet, but I have a feeling they will. About 2 years ago, after Keller's last breakup with her last loser guy, she cried about how she was getting older (still in her 20s) and wanted to have kids. Considering this guy's 4 other kids with 4 other women, I guess she found someone with proven fertility who could make this happen for her. Despite the fact that he will probably steal her money, have a violent episode then dump her as soon as she has the baby, and despite the fact that he has no plans to work or pay child support for any of his other kids so he won't support this one either, and despite the fact that she must know she cannot solely support this child so she will probably end up on welfare, I'm certain she will have this baby.

So this begs the question. Why? Why can Mullet guy have an abundant supply of his ignorant mullet sperm, yet other good men do not? Why does it seem more likely that a baby will be born into a bad situation than to an infertile stable family who will provide love and security? Why would someone choose to bring a baby into such a bad situation, closing their eyes to the truth? Actually, why would anyone ever have sex with a mullet-wearing, abusive, unemployed, controlling, deadbeat prick like Mullet? I don't get it.

Although this story seems unusual, I don't think it is. There are a lot of people in bad relationships and situations having babies. For the life of me, I can't figure out why. Why are they fertile and not me or others? Why do they think a child is appropriate and would be happy in that situation? Why do they go ahead with birth and keeping the baby not knowing how they will be able to support or protect the child?

It's not about money. There are plenty of stable loving families who don't have much money. Sadly, they can't afford IVF if they need it. They stand very little chance of adopting because of the cost. I wonder what happens to them and how they deal with it. They deserve babies if they can provide a stable loving home for that's all a child really needs. Loving, committed parents.

Yet babies are not conceived out of love. That's a fantasy. You can have all the love in the world and no babies. Or, you can have no love and conceive. Babies can be conceived through one night stands, abusive relationships, and rape. Fertile women are not more loving, they are just more fertile. With that fertility comes responsibility not to make babies indiscriminately. With infertility, making babies is an exaggerated deliberate act. It involves multiple commitments - with each trip to the drug store, forms signed, donation given, injection, scan... and so on. It cannot be an accident, it is as purposeful as they come. Having a baby and all that it entails is what we dream about. We want to have a child. We want to give them a home, loving parents, the world. Yet... that is not enough.

We do not get pregnant because we deserve it or we really want it or we have followed all our instructions perfectly. We may get them only if we find the perfect combination of all of the essential elements (sperm, egg, tube, uterus, drug protocol, number of follicles, quality of embryos, progesterone level, etc) and still get very, very lucky. It is the basketball shot not from the center line but from the farthest end of the court. One, two, maybe three tries, should we keep going? Each attempt costing more of our soul, more of our savings, more of our lives, more of our precious time. No one outside our infertile circle understanding our unending desire and drive. Somehow we sometimes get lucky and it works anyways. Despite the odds. Despite the past. Despite our mistakes.

So how is it fair that someone else who did not have to go through that deliberate journey can conceive easily? It happens every day. Actually, they outnumber us. Science does not discriminate. I wish it would. I wish there was a resume that had to be produced in order to conceive. It wouldn't be of jobs, but about how much we wanted a child, how much we had prepared to have one, and of our lifelong commitment to the care, protection, support and love of a child.

For Keller and Mullet's future baby, I worry. All I can see in this baby's future is suffering. At some point the child will grow up and wonder why they are the one paying the price for their parents' mistakes. The odds were stacked against him/her from the start. It's so sad when there are other avenues that could prevent or could have prevented all this. Unfortunately, because of all I have witnessed of Keller and Mullet, they will not wise enough to make a responsible decision now.

The whole thing makes my blood boil, and at the same time makes me very, very weary. There is no such thing as fairness.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Heat

The heat is making me crazy. Here in northern California, weather is supposed to be cool and mild. Instead it's been in the 90's, which may not be that hot for someone in Arizona, but we do not have air conditioning here. Working at home means I can't escape to an air conditioned office. Every day I close the house up in the day and open it again in the evening.

Our home was originally built C-shaped, with a giant courtyard in the middle. All the main rooms open up to it, including the master bedroom. Some time in history, someone added the courtyard to the house by adding a ceiling, walls and windows. The previous windows are now openings looking into this family room, except the master bedroom whose window was closed up (there's still another on the other side). The result is more floor space with the added family room, but also horrible air flow. (It also lacks all its former design becoming instead more practicable. Apparently 50's space and style can't compete with the square footage needs of a more modern family.)

At night when it gets cool, I open all the windows but the air doesn't come in. The cool air stays on the outside of the screen, refusing to enter no matter how much it would be welcomed. I want to get my sleeping bag and sleep in the backyard. Instead, I sleep on the couch because our bedroom has to be the hottest room in the house. (Also, Matt sleeps well in heat, snoring immediately, making it worse for me.)

This morning on the Today show I saw it raining in New York and I was jealous. I love rain and absolutely miss it. I love to hear the rain on the roof, or walk in my raincoat. I love knowing all the roses are being watered and the streets are cleaned. I even miss the sound of my windshield wipers and collection of umbrellas outside my front door.

Tonight, I will eat another popsicle and linger in front of the freezer. I will go to bed with wet hair and dream of rain drops on my roof. May the time return soon when I can hide my prickly legs in jeans and cuddle with my throw. I'm tired of this blasted summer. Come on Fall, save me from this heat.

Gossiping Busy Bodies

My brother called me yesterday to ask me some financial questions. Midway through the conversation, he tells me that our Dad found out I was pregnant from a woman at his work. Phoenix is not a small town. This is the work of some special busy bodies who should mind their own business.

At work, I've only told my boss and her assistant Di (my friend). I'm close with both, plus I had told them about the IVF since I would be missing so much work. They also both know that this is still a secret until I get past some of this danger time. In case something happens, you know. I trust both completely, and both have told me that they did not tell anyone.

There's a woman we'll call Beckitch who used to work at my office and now works at my father's work. She only worked in my office for 4 months before she was fired. Imagine a brand new person joining an office that has employees who have all been there at least 5 years, some with over 20 years experience. She is paid more than any of us (big mistake my boss hasn't done again). She cannot do the work. During a meeting with all but my boss she actually presented the idea that instead of us doing our work independently, it should all be routed through her. She would collect the assignments and present them for us. No one said anything. Well, no one except me. I couldn't possibly keep quiet. Like I need another boss and not to get credit for the work that I'm doing. The indepence is part of the job we like the most. My boss is very hands off; she doesn't want to get involved in the detail and trusts us to manage ourselves. I think Beckitch was desperate to find a way to stay in the department but without doing the actual work.

Beckitch then got a job at my father's work. He says she has a do nothing job which would be perfect for her. I told him not to trust her. The work in separate departments in this large company, and his position is much higher. She tried to ingratiate herself with him (brown nose) by telling him she was my friend, but he knew better.

Beckitch is still friends with one woman in my office, Sallitch. The rest of us couldn't stand Beckitch, but Sallitch actually believed all her smoke and mirrors. There is always one.

Back to the original story. There is a rumor at my father's work that I'm pregnant. (Rumor, as if I'm his 16 year old wayward daughter instead of married and 33.) I know immediately it is Beckitch because no one else knows me there. Beckitch must have found out from Sallitch. Di checked Sallitch's schedule and found they had lunch together last week. I just don't know how Sallitch found out. Either someone told, or she guessed.

Yesterday I spent raging. I was so angry. These small minded busy bodies discussing my personal life over their lunch and then having the nerve to bring it to my father's work. I wanted to call them up and ask them who the hell they think they are and why they think my life is their business. I sent a note to my father apologizing, explaining again that Beckitch is a useless busy body and asked for her number so I could tell her off. Unfortunately he didn't give it to me. And I don't want to cause him problems.

I also want to know how Sallitch found out. Did someone I trust betray me? My stomach turns at that thought. How could she have guessed this? It's not like I've been pregnant that many times, or that I hadn't missed work before for health issues that had nothing to do with pregnancy. Maybe she overheard something.

Maybe I should shrug it off. Is it a rumor if it's true? It's just that I'm not ready to tell and yet it's out there. Like it's no big deal. Like it's not my good news to share. Like it's a sure thing.

Today I'm not as angry, just smoldering. Feeling like I can't trust anyone. In the meantime, Sallitch better not cross me or I will have my say so. May her 65 year old dyed blond hair immediately self combust into a flaming ball of fire.

Monday, September 06, 2004

How Hard Could it Be?

My mother told me she watched a whole Discovery channel show on IVF. Now that she knows we went through it (after the fact), she was especially interested. She went through some of the cases in the show that got her attention. I had already seen the show but was interested in her interpretation. The stories she brought to me were of the woman who went through IVF at 60 something, and the woman who had the nucleus of her egg used in another woman's egg. She must think that IVF is full of wonderous miracles rather than a toss in the dark. Afterall, if they can get a woman pregnant in her 60's, how hard could it be for a woman in her 30's? I wish there was a show on IVF that went through more than just the science. It would interview an infertile woman at a baby shower, or buying her 100th pregnancy test, or deciding whether to go through the next level of treatment. It would go over the facts of infertility as well as tactfulness and manners, i.e. don't tell her to relax or use a turkey baster (actually said to me) or just file for adoption in order to get pregnant.

But, I take it as a good sign that she's trying to learn. I haven't been too forthcoming. I've been kind of slipping back into my shell again. I feel as if this pregnancy isn't real, or is only temporary. That I will have to retrace my steps and tell anyone I told that it's not going to happen. I haven't had any more spotting or other issues. It's like it's just too good to be true. After all these years of wanting it, it has finally happened. No way.

Friday, September 03, 2004

My Joy

I don't know if there's anyone who hasn't been reading about what an anonymous person posted to another woman's blog right after her miscarriage. Basically she said that because she already had a child, she had no right to mourn the loss of another. I could go on about this, but I won't. Enough has been said. Yep, the woman who posted it is an insensitive moron.

One thing she also insinuated was that somehow Julia was neglecting her first child by mourning or trying for a second. There was one comment posted somewhere that someone had witnessed other blogs where she felt this happened, but not at Julia's. It kind of stuck with me.

In my blog, I write about mostly infertility and IVF and now pregnancy after infertility. There are also posts on other thoughts or concerns I have. I don't write much about Janie, except in the last two days, because I talk about her all the time in real life. Also, there are many women who do not have a child yet who do not need to hear all the cute things she does. There are more appropriate places to gush. By not writing about her, would someone get the impression that she is neglected or unloved?

Truth is, I can't think of a child who is loved more. She came to us after years of trying to get pregnant, on our 3rd IUI which they told us would not work, when we could not afford to go any further with ART. We were so excited and so happy about having her that we gave her the middle name of Joy. She is my sunshine and the best thing I've ever done. It's hard for me to imagine an infertile woman finally having a child and not loving them beyond all measures. That's what we do. We recognize the extent of this gift, that it may not happen again, and how different it is to have one than not. It makes me wish I could give every infertile woman a child just like her.

But is an infertility blog the right place to talk about all that she does or all that we do together? Need I chronicle our outings, our daily book readings or colorings, our trips to paint pottery or how I got an award at her school for volunteering? I assumed that even if I didn't talk about her at all, the assumption would be that she is the only child of an infertile couple. Therefore she must be loved and adored and cherished. She is far from neglected.

Of course they were probably not talking about me. But I can't help but wonder. Hopefully they are the minority. For their sake let me say this plainly. Just because I don't post on and on about Janie's activities doesn't mean I don't love her or cherish her. I also don't post much about Matt, but believe me when I say that he's the only man for me. He's not perfect, but he's perfect for me.


As for Janie's school, she reminded me this morning that it was time to go to her new school. She picked out her clothes and quickly dressed herself. Maybe I wouldn't have picked the pink belt to go with the red shirt and khaki shorts, but she loves that belt so why not. At the playground, she did not cling or look nervous in any way. Actually, she was giddy and excited. She started climbing on the equipment right away. This is not her usual style. She is generally so shy, I'm just shocked.

I didn't ask her anymore about what happened at the old school. I don't want to stress her out. Valerie suggested that sometime I take some toys and role play with her. Valerie also said that as she watched Janie for the two days last week, she noticed that Janie seemed very sensitive to reprimands. Janie has never been spanked or hit in any way, and we also don't yell. If necessary, she will get a time out, but lately those have been only every few months. She really is a well behaved child.

For some reason, I don't think that any adult at that school was physically hurting her. I wonder if they were inappropriately stern or mean in their words. It wouldn't even have to be directed at her to effect her. She must have felt powerless because they were adults.

Janie and I have some games we play. I tell her that I'm a child about to pull her hair, and start reaching. Her role is to say no. I encourage her to yell it loudly, making it fun to see how loud she can get. Then she plays like she's a child who is going to hit me. I yell NO! NO HITTING! and tell her that I'm going to tell the teacher. We do this with many different scenarios. Because she's so shy and quiet, I worry about bullies.

A few months ago, she was bit at school. When I picked her up, another child told me that Janie was playing in the playhouse and another boy wanted her out. She refused to leave so he bit her. I was glad she stood her ground. We incorporated this into our role playing. (When I met the mother of that child, she had also found out that her son had bit my daughter. She gave him candy and told him that they were going to have a talk that evening. I was outraged. The director was next to me and snatched the candy from his hands telling him that he didn't get candy because he bit someone. The mother was at first shocked, ready to pounce, then quickly changed her mind and echoed the director although softly and sweetly. Since I felt this child would bite again, I had the director move him to a different class. It was plain to me that the biting was not the child's fault, but parents are harder to change.)

In our role playing, the common themes are that the bad one is another child and she should tell her teacher. Now, if the teacher was being mean, what should she do? We hadn't discussed it. We had role played about her privates and how they are hers alone, and no one should try to touch them. As to this supposedly mean teacher, sadly she didn't do anything. As much as I feel that we have a wonderful relationship, she must have felt inhibited since the teacher was in a position of authority. Taking her out of school for this break must have been very liberating for her. And she must have hated it enough for her to tell me that she wanted to go to a new school. I'm glad that I listened to her, but I wish I knew earlier. It shows me that I still have a lot of work to do in getting her to feel confidant and that she can tell me anything. Anything.

Now that swim class is over I've been searching for her next out of school activity. I was suggesting dance because she loves to dress up and dance around the house in her tap shoes. Matt wants gymnastics or something else more 'sporty' because he wants her to be a strong girl, not delicate. Now I wonder, martial arts? I have to see if there is a self defense or confidence class she could take. I think that's an excellent suggestion. Of course she could still do that and dance. Who says dancers aren't tough?

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Janie's School - Part II

More child talk... continue at your own risk.

This morning Janie and I went to the other Montessori school to check it out. When we first got there, she turned quickly silent and watched as the other kids played. She stayed stuck to my side. A little boy came up to me crying. It was his 3rd day of school and he was still adjusting. Of course I hugged him, and he wanted to be picked up. What could I do? Of course I picked him up and told him it was going to be okay. The Director came over and told me that he won't let any of the teachers pick him up. A teacher even tried to come and get him, but he clung tighter. Meanwhile, Janie started investigating the playground equipment, although tentatively, and not without keeping one eye on me and one eye on the other kids.

This is a much smaller school. Only 2 classrooms compared to 4. We went with the 4-6 year olds. Janie quietly did everything the other kids did. We investigated everything, and stayed watching for an hour. At the end I asked her if she wanted to go here or her old school. You would think it would be a hard decision, but she quickly said, "Here!" She seemed so excited. It confuses me because I know she will have to learn their methods and all the new kids and new teachers. But, she seemed so certain and so excited. I spoke to the director and they will transfer her file. The amounts I paid are fine because they are all the same company.

When I was putting her in her carseat, I asked her again if she wanted to go here or her old school. She told me, "Here. Then the kids or teachers won't hurt me anymore." I tried to ask more, but she wouldn't answer or elaborate. Matt says I can't question her but let her come forward on her own.

I have no idea what she's talking about. Were the new teachers really hurting her? What kind of hurts are we talking about? The whole thing makes me very upset. Was it manner, words or actions? Teachers or kids or both?

I am happy that she likes her new school and is excited about going tomorrow. But, I'm very unhappy thinking that someone could ever be mean to my child. She's a very good girl. She tries very hard to follow all instructions given by an authority figure. It just makes me sick to my stomach thinking about it. I hope it's all nothing. That I'm worrying for nothing. I wonder if the worry ever ends.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Janie's School

Post all about my child.... be forewarned....

I kept Janie out of preschool today. She has been out for 1 1/2 weeks for vacation. This is some of the conversation.

J - "I don't wanna go to school." (imagine genuine sad face, not fakey one)
P -- "Why not?"
J - says nothing, looks down, sees my purse by her leg and starts getting into it
P -- "Is it the kids?" "The teachers?"
J - still says nothing, starts scribbling on my checks
P -- "Do you want to go to a different school?"
J - "YES!" (looks up at me, smiling, nodding head quickly up and down)
P -- "But you won't know anyone there."
J - starts typing on the calculator she found in my purse
P -- "Who is meanest, the kids or the teachers."
J - "The teachers."
P -- "Who is the meanest teacher, Ms. I or Ms. J?"
J - scribbles more
P -- "Who is the meanest, Ms. A or Ms. S?"
J - "Ms. A."
P -- "You don't like Ms. A?"
J - nods her head yes with bottom lip stuck out and eyes down
P -- "Why not?"
J - starts pulling coins from the bottom of my purse
P -- "Do you want to be in Ms. R's class instead?"
J - "Yes."
P -- "Or do you want to go to a new school?"
J - "A new school!"
P -- "But you won't know anyone there."
J - "Maybe I will." starts putting on my chapstick all around her lips and inside her mouth
P -- "No Baby, you won't, but that's okay. If you want, we can go see a new school."
J - "YES!" big smile at me with those big blue eyes, I don't stand a chance.

So I kept her home. In June she graduated from the 3 year old class to the 4 year old class with Ms. A. This teacher has been out most of the summer on vacation. I don't think she was back yet when Janie started her vacation. I don't know if Janie is just unsure of the unknown of Ms. A, or if she really doesn't like her from the few times she's been with her. I know that I find her style to be a little stern so that's why I'm not fighting this too much.

Am I spoiling her? The only child of an infertile couple is bound to be a little spoiled. I just can't imagine not listening to her. If she's willing to try a new school, then that's what we'll do. Of course I've already paid the $200 deposit, $650 first payment, and $650 second payment for school that officially started today. What I did was set up an appointment at the other Montessori school for us to visit tomorrow. They are run by the same head office so I'm hoping if I change her to this school they will transfer the money. If she doesn't like the new school, then I can see about putting her in the 3 year old class for another year or the 5 year old class. I like the teachers in either class, but it's not the best situation since she's about to turn 4 in October. She's bright, but very (!) shy. She doesn't talk to people she doesn't know, and even takes time to warm up to those she does. That's why I'm surprised that she would be willing to start a new school. The whole conversation really surprised me. It gave me a stomach ache. I don't want her to hate school and I can't stand the thought of anyone not being nice to her.

I tried asking her more about Ms. A later, but she told me that we'd already talked about it. Funny how she can get that concept but not the one of answering all questions. That's okay. Preschool is not supposed to be stressful.

Since she's home, today she is wearing the dress-up wedding dress my mother bought her along with a princess hat with veil. She's playing her Wee Sing tape, and typing on our label maker which is out of tape. She's pretending it's her laptop. She said that she's working so not to bother her. I'm also under strict orders to be quiet because the ducks (toy) are sleeping. She laid them down for their naps in my office because she's too busy working to watch them. Sometimes her imitations of me are not that flattering.