Category Archives: complaining about weather

bumpwatch terror alert: week 17

it’s saturday! which means i get to knock another week off my pregnancy countdown. let’s go to the photo:

arty, huh?

eventually i want to do one with the dripping blood font, but i worry that it’s in poor taste. so i am easing into the world of poor taste by taking a maternity bathing suit photo. to be fair, i didn’t put the bathing suit on solely to take a photo that makes everyone feel uncomfortable. i was getting ready to go to the pool & i suddenly remembered that i’m officially seventeen weeks pregnant today, & jared wasn’t home, so i could pose in front of the full-length mirror in the hallway without being embarrassed by the prying eyes of anyone besides charlotte.

speaking of charlotte…

yeah, she’s really in no position to judge anyone. she sat on the couch in this position for like twenty minutes last night.

hard to believe i will be halfway through my pregnancy (technically–it still remains to be seen if the baby will decide to show up early or late, obviously) in just three weeks. my next prenatal is scheduled for august 31, & we’re also doing the anatomy ultrasound that day, to make sure all the baby’s body parts are developing properly. i’ve decided to go ahead & be appraised of the baby’s plumbing at that appointment as well. i’ve come to realize that i have less of a gender preference than just an overpowering intuition that the baby is a girl. if it’s not, i’d really like to know before the big delivery room reveal, so i can avoid a scene in which i break down into tears because i clearly have no maternal instinct. jared, however, does not want to know, so somehow i’m going to have to not tell him. if the situation was reversed, he would have NO PROBLEM keeping the news from me. when there’s something he really doesn’t want to tell someone, he can really go into lockdown mode. & he is assisted by the fact that i am wildly unobservant. once he got hit in the face with a baseball & cut his upper lip open. eventually the wound healed, but if left a pretty large scar. a scar that i failed to notice for seriously two years. we lived together for that entire time, we saw each other almost every day (unless one of us was traveling). when i finally noticed it, i was like, “have you always had that awesome scar?” i mean, it really suits his face. i don’t know how i missed it.

i, on the other hand, tell everyone everything. & whatever i decide is best to keep from the general public, i still tell jared. i have told jared stuff i have never told anyone before. i have no idea how i’m going to keep the sex of his child from him. but somehow, i will manage. probably by just not telling anyone. i would hate to spill the beans to someone who tells someone who tells someone who sees jared at the library one day & is all, “so, are you excited about the bouncing baby boy?” i would have to hunt that person down & murder them & then my child would have to visit me in prison. no one wants that.

my most recent prenatal appointment was yesterday. these early appointments tend to be pretty dull. they weigh me & check my blood pressure, they take a urine sample, we listen to the baby’s heartbeat on a portable doppler, the doctor asks if i’m having any issues i’d like to discuss, & we schedule the next appointment. but the cool thing is that the baby was going completely bananas at the appointment. dr. mercado asked if i have been feeling the baby moving around yet. i told her that i think i have, but i know it’s pretty early, especially to be feeling a first baby. (they tell first-time moms not to expect to feel the baby until twenty weeks. experienced moms may feel baby earlier because they know what they’re looking for.) but when she was poking around with the doppler, the baby kicked her! she could feel it with just a hand on my belly! so it’s not wishful thinking after all, there’s really something going on in there! the baby was swimming everywhere & she had to chase it down to get its heartbeat. we also kept hearing thumps where it was trying to kick the doppler away. just like mommy when daddy wants to cuddle on a night that’s too hot for human contact! is that gross? whatever.

i also told her that i have been having crippling constant headaches since the beginning of the second trimester. she asked if i had stopped drinking caffeine & i said, “ummm…no. not at all.” she started laughing & said, “you’re like, ‘damn, girl, are you crazy? OF COURSE i’m still drinking caffeine!’ which is good. your headaches would be even worse without it.” um…AWESOME. i love you, dr. mercado! i kind of expected a lecture. she wrote me a prescription for some pregnancy-safe headache medicine (“it might make the baby drowsy”) & offered to refer me to a neurologist. but it’s probably just pregnancy hormones, so i’m not worried.

i also did an interview with a doula. i expected it to be pretty straightforward, like, “hi, i want to hire you.” “okay, that sounds good.” “here’s a check.” “great! see you in like ten weeks to make a birth plan.” but instead, i wound up going on & on & ON about all the dumb concerns i have about giving birth. i guess they’re not dumb…i just didn’t realize i had so many. like, will i be allowed to eat & drink at the hospital? what i i have a vaso vagal episode & know hydration would help? can i still be in the birth pool or other atypical birth positions with an IV? how would my scoliosis impact the efficacy of an epidural? (that was a big one. turns out they don’t work as well, if at all, in women with scoliosis. so it looks like i’m having a natural birth by default, barring some unforeseen medical emergency.) i’m really not scared of labor & birth (whether that’s commendable or incredibly naive remains to be seen), but i do have a lot of opinions, i guess.

mr. or miss 15-week-old fetus america

everyone says the second trimester is a thing of wonder, a breather between the rollicking nausea & soul-deadening fatigue of the first trimester, & the non-stop discomfort & enormousness of the third. but thus far, i haven’t had much relief. i’m over fifteen weeks pregnant now, still nauseous, still exhausted. & now with extra hormone-induced headaches! & i cannot suffer a pregnancy headache without convincing myself that it’s being caused by undiagnosed pre-eclampsia, even though i have no symptoms of high blood pressure, & that i’m about to have a stroke. so that’s fun.

i’m also sporting more of a bump these days & i’ve moved on to maternity clothes. right now i’m wearing a striped maternity tee & wide-legged maternity pajama pants. i was wearing these pants yesterday when i told jared & i was exhausted & going to take a nap. he asked if maybe my fatigue is being caused by my insistence of wearing a superfluous twenty pounds of fabric. i told him that we can’t all wear skin-tight t-shirts & jeans like he does. some people say that male partners tend to gain sympathy weight along with their pregnant wives/girlfriends. jared is whittling himself down to pure muscle with all of his swimming & soccer-playing & miles of bike-riding in 105-degree heat. he’s always been a slim dude, but when we first started dating, “skinny” was the only way to describe it. he ate ice cream every day to try to gain weight. now i expect he’ll be getting a call from H&M any day to star in their fall campaign. nothing makes a lady feel so frumpy as being too tired to change out of her pajamas & being medically mandated to gain a pound a week while her partner has inadvertently devoted himself to achieving the apex of human hotness.

one of my friends said jared looks like a model for a perfume ad here.

i put on a little fashion show with my new maternity clothes. i was mostly buying for fall/winter weather because that’s when i’ll be at my biggest & most uncomfortable. between the striped t-shirt, striped hoodie, striped sweater, & striped dress, jared observed that i am outfitting myself as a full-time sexy pregnant hamburglar.

sexy non-pregnant hamburglar, halloween 2011

he also exclaimed, “you don’t look half so pregnant when you’re not stumbling around here half-nude!” because the unbearable heat combined with the lack of clothes that actually fit properly had reduced me to wearing tank tops & maybe a skirt if i was feeling modest. turns out that when you wear billowing baggy tank tops & then lay around all day like a hippopotamus sunning itself on a rock, a 15-week pregnancy can look a lot like a 38-week pregnancy.

the bump properly contained in seasonally-appropriate maternity wear.

i had fully intended to try to eke my way through pregnancy in larger sizes of my regular clothes, probably augmented with a lot of forgiving elastic-waist pajama pants. i thought that maybe if i got truly desperate, i’d chop the waistband off a pair of jeans & sew on an elastic belly panel: d.i.y. maternity jeans. but i broke down & bought a pair of real maternity jeans & they were a fucking revelation. i don’t know if i’ll ever go back to buttons & zippers. there’s something really empowering about wearing pants specifically designed to harness the powers of a protruding belly, rather than pants that are designed to try to tamp down the belly & create the illusion of a stream-lined silhouette. & when my favorite pink plaid pajama pants literally exploded off of me when i surpassed the maximum capacity guidelines, i realized that it was perhaps time to call in the big guns.

so yeah. this is kind of turning into a pregnancy blog. & as such, sometimes random anons try to use the pregnancy against me. not too long ago, the internet informed me that i had a new blog comment awaiting moderation. i opened it up & read, “you’re an idiot & nobody likes you & your baby is ugly.” i was impressed with this anon’s ability to wield proper grammar. most insulting anon comments i get mix up their “your”s & their “you’re”s. i was even more impressed with the whole “your baby is ugly” comment. let’s go to the 3D technology. i’m 15 weeks pregnant right now.


yeah, that is pretty hideous & horrifying. my fetus is definitely not in the running for any beauty contests right now. but you know, fetuses are not generally known for their dashing good looks. & really, the only reason anyone would ever tell someone that their baby is ugly–especially anonymously–would be to try to hurt the person’s feelings. anyone who thinks i would actually be wounded by such a ham-fisted insult clearly doesn’t know their audience. (& as for the whole “you’re an idiot & no one likes you” part…yeah yeah yeah. tell me one i haven’t heard 9000 times before from every jackass who ever disagreed with me about something political.)

i have no idea what inspired this comment, especially because it was left on an entry that was pretty light on the controversial sentiment. but i could not stop laughing about the “your baby is ugly” thing. ever since, every time jared refuses to do me a favor, like get me a glass of milk or get up & let charlotte out of the bedroom, i tell him, “bad news, jared. your baby is ugly.” then we laugh hysterically. i left a comment on his facebook wall that said, “i heard your baby is ugly & i feel bad for you, son. i got 99 problems but an ugly baby ain’t one…wait. we have the same baby. damn it!” i told my therapist about it & at first she looked horrified & said, “oh my god!” & then even she started laughing. i would kind of love to know who left that comment. i can’t even hazard a guess. most of the people that i know for sure definitely hate me but are still insane enough to stalk my blog are either not quite that vicious, or just too dour & humorless to go with an “ugly baby” comment. but i’d love to be proven wrong! there’s one person in particular that i would LOVE for it to be, just because it would completely upend my assumptions about her personality. it’s probably someone a lot less exciting though. it’s probably someone i don’t even know, who just read my zine one time & thinks i’m a jerk. oh well.

being pregnant isn’t all bad…except when it is

i keep forgetting to tell funny stories about interactions i have related to my pregnancy because i get all caught up in the obnoxious interactions. okay, so sometime last week i went to the gap because they were having a big 60% off sale. i had a bought a t-shirt there a few weeks before & it’s kind of extra-long & has an adjustable neckline & it is pretty much PERFECT as an early maternity shirt. plus it’s some kind of magical cotton that stays really cool on my skin even when it’s over 100 degrees out. i wanted to pick up another in a larger size, to accommodate more of the time i will be pregnant.

i also found a cute striped hoodie that was a size or two larger than i usually take & especially baggy in the belly area. it was marked down & once you add the 60% off sale, it was like $6. how could i resist? so i brought them up to the register & the clerk was ringing me up & this conversation happened:

clerk: “oh, i love these hoodies. they are so soft & comfortable, aren’t they?”
me: “yeah, i just hope it still fits okay in the fall when the weather cools down.”
clerk: “oh, totally, because hoodies…can…shrink…when the weather gets cooler?”
me: “um, i’m pregnant. i mean i hope i’m not too big for it by the time i can use it.”
clerk: “OH! congratulations!”
me: *stifling guffaws*

& then the other day i went to walgreen’s & bought myself the intelligender test i wrote about recently–the urine test that purports to tell you the sex of your baby weeks earlier than an ultrasound can? yeah. so, i plunked it down at the register & this happened:
clerk: *picking up the box & marveling at it* “oh my god, is this real?”
me: “um, inasmuch as i am buying it, yes.”
clerk: “i mean, does it really work? can it really tell you if you’re having a boy or a girl?”
me: “i guess i’ll find out the hard way, huh?”
clerk: “oh wow, i didn’t know this existed. this is so cool. which one are you hoping for?”
me: “girl.”
clerk: “wow, this is so cool. good luck!”

endless amusement at the walgreen’s clerk being amazed by the merchandise in her own store. i also find it really amazing how often i have been asked if i prefer a boy or a girl. i’ve been asked by other pregnant women, random strangers, even the nurses at my doctor’s office. apparently it’s not taboo to talk about gender preference anymore. when i say something like, “i just hope it’s healthy!” people look kind of disappointed, like they’re talking to an android sent here from 1994 when that was the appropriate response. now everyone wants to gush about their preferences.

i haven’t done the intelligender test yet. i’m supposed to wait until ten days after my last day of progesterone support if i don’t want to risk a false boy result. but of course i will share the results when once they’re in.

yesterday was a not-so-fun day. i told jared that we needed to start making some decisions about prenatal testing because i am rapidly moving out of the window when the nuchal translucency screening (can identify down syndrome risk factors early) can be performed. he was all, “whatever you think, it’s up to you, don’t ask me, whatever makes you comfortable,” etc. i didn’t know what to choose because i don’t know that i would necessarily abort if prenatal testing turned up birth defects. maybe i would, i honestly have no idea & all i want out of life is to not have to make that decision at all because my little fetus looks perfect. but then he started talking about how having a baby with down syndrome would really change things, & it’s already going to be hard to write a dissertation with a baby full stop, but a disabled baby will complicate things even more, & maybe he would have to reconsider his career goals & give up on being a professor & just teach high school instead because it’s less demanding, etc etc etc. so i was like, “it sounds like you would at least like to be pre-warned.” long story short, we decided to do the NT scan.

i needed to schedule a sonogram anyway to follow up on the chorionic bleed incident from a month ago, make sure the placenta is looking good. so i called up my obstetrician’s nurse & she’s all, “oh yeah, we can schedule that for thursday morning, blah blah blah.” i was pleased. but then she said, “let me just pull up your chart…” & then she was like, “oh, we actually can’t do the NT scan until next week, the 11th or the 12th. what would you prefer?”

i was all, “why the hell not, i thought you could do it anytime between eleven & thirteen weeks?” & she was like, “yeah, but you’re only ten weeks.” i said, “no, i’m eleven weeks four days.” she was all, “well, according to your due date of january 23…” & i was like, “yeah. i know. you have my due date wrong.”

see if you can follow this madness: okay. based on the actual date of conception, which i know to within two days because i was doing infertility treatments, my due date is january 17. my first sonogram, to gauge gestational size, put me pretty much on target with a due date of january 19. the follow-up due date two weeks later (to make sure the embryo was growing properly & appeared viable) showed a slightly smaller embryo & my due date was readjusted to january 23. five days later, i had that bleeding incident & was scheduled for an emergency sonogram to check out the placenta. the embryo had grown like gangbusters since the last sonogram & my due date was readjusted again to january 18. needless to say, this shit is far from an exact science, which is fine with me, i get it. but what is NOT fine with me is that the most recent gestational age estimate was apparently never recorded in my charts, so my doctor is working with the wrong due date & is pushing back my NT scan until i’m twelve weeks, six days along–almost out of the window where it’s effective.

it doesn’t REALLY matter in the greater scheme of things, especially because the baby is more than likely perfectly fine. it just makes me wonder what other simple, obvious thing they’re going to get wrong. these are, after all, the same people who turned up a negative pregnancy blood test when i was indeed pregnant. one more dumb mistake & i’m really going to start wondering if they even have a firm grasp on where babies come from. i am SO tempted to switch doctors, maybe go with the birth center in topeka instead. the only thing holding me back is the fact that i’m due in january & i’m reluctant to take the chance on having to drive to topeka in labor, in a blizzard.

but my irritation has a happy-ish ending: i felt that i needed to take a walk to work out my frustration, so i went to the library, & someone from the local paper was there, interviewing people about their reading material for the “person on the street” feature in the local paper. & she asked me while i was paging through a book on how baby clothing & gear has become so stratified along gender lines. i looked totally sweaty & grumpy in the photo (as in life), i am sure, but hey. it’s always fun to be in the paper, as long as it’s not for, you know, something gruesome & weird. i just feel like a complete doofus because when she asked about my job, i said, “growing a baby.” ugh. i mean, i don’t have a job, & i don’t like to advertise the fact that i’m on disability to strangers, but that was such a stepford wife 1954 thing to say.

relevant phrase: “on the topic of pelvic floors”

this morning i came the closest to throwing up that i have come in all my ten weeks & three days of being pregnant. & it wasn’t even because of morning sickness! it was because of a migraine. i have heard that some women who are prone to migraines have fewer symptoms while they are pregnant. (i have actually heard that about a lot of weird stuff, including arthritis, which you’d think would be worsened by the weight gain & altered center of gravity involved with pregnancy.) maybe i got a migraine because i was a little dehydrated. it was over 100 degrees yesterday & i arguably didn’t drink enough water. but i am worried i’m going to be one of those women whose migraine symptoms are the same or even worse during pregnancy.

about four months after jared & i moved in together back in 2008, swine flu hit the news. at the time, jared usually got up at around 6am to get ready for his long train commute to work, & i got up with him because otherwise we hardly would have been able to spend any time together, & i would have felt like a total jerk for sleeping in every day until 11am when he had to get up at 6am. so one morning jared woke up to get ready for work, & i woke up too & immediately burst into tears because i had such a horrible migraine. jared went to take a shower, & when he came back to get dressed, he found me writhing around in bed, sobbing hysterically. “do you have swine flu?” he asked.

“i don’t have swine flu!” i apparently sobbed, which made jared laugh REALLY hard, because apparently i sounded sad about not having swine flu. i did my best to get back to sleep, & woke up six hours later still feeling terrible. i got out of bed to get some advil, but just standing up made me throw up. migraines are the worst.

anyway, i didn’t throw up this morning. jared was kind enough to bring me some ibuprofen (i know, i know, it’s contraindicated during pregnancy, but when i tried to figure out why, all i found is that it can cause heavy bleeding during childbirth, if taken, like, right before delivery–if someone else can point me to some study that shows that ibuprofen will cause my baby to grow an extra set of limbs or something, i’ll stop taking it, but for now, i don’t really see the problem in downing a couple of advils once or twice a month) & i snoozed until 10:30am & begged off going to the pool.

yeah, i haven’t thrown up once during this pregnancy. i haven’t even come close. i was pretty nervous since almost everyone i know & definitely every pregnancy blog i’ve read goes on & on & on about how awful morning sickness is & how all the did while they were pregnant was puke. i even followed one blog for a while on which the author would write at length about how she peed herself a little every time she threw up–& she was throwing up a few times a day. she wrote about how she had to keep a change of outfits at work for the inevitable pee emergencies. & this is someone who was pregnant with her first baby! apparently her pelvic floor has no muscle tone whatsoever. i was worried that this was some kind of secret truth of pregnancy that no one talks about–that you just pee yourself all the time, until it starts to seem normal to be covered in pee. but that definitely has not been my experience even a little bit. knock on wood, i guess?

i’ve definitely experienced nausea, just for the record, & it has even been severe enough a few times that i spent literally the entire day in bed, sleeping (my only respite from the nausea, which actually seem to get worse after i eat, & is particularly triggered by just plain water). i’ve been nauseous pretty much non-stop for the last two & a half weeks. but never have i felt the need to vomit.

on the topic of pelvic floors: when i had my HSG done right before i got pregnant back in april, the nurses were trying to distract me from what i imagined to be the unbearable agony of the whole thing by asking me lots of questions. & of course they asked if i was trying to get pregnant, if it would be my first baby, did i want a boy or a girl, etc etc. at one point, one of them gave me this stellar advice: “it’s never too early to start doing your kugels, even before you get pregnant.”

i actually laughed out loud. for kind of a long time.

this is a kugel:

it’s a very delicious jewish noodle dish. YUM.

this is a kegel, which is what she actually meant:

an exercise to strengthen your pelvic floor, helpful for maintaining continence throughout life, even after the trauma of a vaginal delivery.

not that i would turn down the opportunity to enjoy kugel on a regular basis!

another thing i want to enjoy on a regular basis is GARLIC KNOTS. jared & i went to the royals-cardinals game in kansas city on friday with our friend cait (the culmination of the I-70 series, which is apparently a rivalry on par with yankess-red sox, or hatfields-mccoys). we got pizza first, & after i devoured a whole platter of garlic knots…i ordered a second platter for the road. they took so long to cook that we missed the opening pitch, which was apparently thrown by a very drunk jon hamm (“mad men”‘s don draper). throughout the game, cait kept saying, “what do you think jon hamm is doing right now? we need a hamm cam.” she also observed, “your baby is going to have the bluest eyes ever. you both have such blue eyes! are you trying to create an aryan super-race?” to which jared replied, “worst. super-race. ever.” i told her that she should get a fake hollowed-out pregnancy belly for the next time we attend a game & fill it with cheap beer. i think that’s what jon hamm did because he was nearly falling down drunk when he helped lead the crowd in “take me out to the ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch. we stayed for the friday night fireworks, which were set to a confusing disco medley that included a surprising amount of queen’s “bohemian rhapsody”. after the grand finale, the beefy royals fans in front of us started chating, “U-S-A! U-S-A!” because, you know. fireworks are inherently a celebration of america. when we got home, at like 1am, i discovered that my garlic knot consumption had in fact been so fevered that i had marinara sauce splashed on my forehead. it’s the miracle of being ripe with child: you just don’t give a fuck about dignity anymore, like at all.

the existential crisis prompted by filthy lucre

so, last week i talked jared into driving us to topeka to bask in the wonders of the baby industrial complex that is babies r’ us. but wouldn’t you know it? as soon as we pulled off the highway & into the city, the car started making this awful clunking noise & kind of shuddering every time it changed gears. i know next to nothing about cars & i figured we’d just driven over an especially egregious bump in the road, but jared knew better & suspected the worst of all possible car repairs: a bad transmission.

we tried to enjoy ourselves anyway, hoping that sitting unused in the parking lot for an hour or two would magically heal the car, but of course we both felt anxious, which made the babies r’ us experience even more horrible than it would have been on a good day. & trust me when i say that babies r’ us is a very depressing place. the topeka store has an especially distressing dollar store vibe to it. actual dollar stores can get away with being kind of plasticky & depressing because, hello, everything costs a dollar! but when i’m looking at stuff that costs hundreds & hundreds of dollars, i want a somewhat more luxurious environment. nothing says “aspirational consumer experience” quite like shopping for supplies for your first baby. so let’s see fewer pacifiers embossed with the words “future diva” & more silk-stuffed organic crib mattresses, please.

this all transpired last tuesday. on thursday, we finally got around to calling mechanics, & i was shocked when they all wanted us to make an appointment to bring our car in. & all available appointments were several days into the future. i’ve only had to take the car to the mechanic once, & they not only allowed me to bring in my car immediately, but they had it fixed & ready to roll within a couple of hours.

our appointment was for monday, & the mechanic finally called us late on tuesday with his diagnostic: bad transmission. he gave us the option of replacing a few broken parts & a fluid flush for around $1400, or a complete transmission replacement (with a used transmission) for $2200. bear in mind that we only spent $2800 on this car when we bought it. i know there’s probably some punk rocker reading this, feeling all smug because he gets around solely by bicycle, thinking the chickens are coming home to roost thanks to our yuppie asshole car-owning ways. when that punk rocker becomes an arthritic pregnant woman who lives three miles away from the closest grocery store in a town with very patchy public transportation that nonetheless is routinely 95-105 degrees for four months out of the year, maybe then we can talk about poor life choices, okay? we don’t use our car much, probably only about 2000 miles a year, but it’s helpful to have it for things like grocery shopping, going to the airport, visiting friends across town & not being beholden to other friends to give us rides, doctor appointments, etc.

luckily i have been hoarding money like a great depression survivor because i still have no idea how much all of my prenatal care & baby delivery is going to cost me out of pocket. the payment info i got my from my doctor said that an uncomplicated vaginal delivery costs $3000, & of course they will bill my insurance before they bill me, but that price doesn’t include any medications, anesthesia, hospital stay, IV fluids, prenatal care, sonograms, et al. & of course we will also have to buy a separate insurance program for the baby & hire a pediatrician, & i couldn’t even begin to guess how much that will cost. i doubt any of it will really plunge us into poverty (so long as the baby does not require the services of the NICU), but it’s going to require some shuffling around of budgetary priorities & i don’t know how bad the hit will be. the baby may also be eligible to collect social security as a child of a disabled parent, which would really help, but we still need to see a lawyer about all that stuff (another expense).

suffice to say that i have been a little bit freaked out about money lately.

i am reading this personal finance book that is supposedly, according to all the reviews i’ve read, really life-affirming & not scary, etc etc, but right now, just thinking about money even in the abstract sense is scary to me, & the book isn’t helping. it asks good questions, like, “what do you want your money to do for you? are you spending your money on what you truly value?” the author is trying to get readers to rethink the traditional wisdom that you should be spending like 45% of your income on housing & transportation costs, for example. maybe you value having a large/expensive home less than you value being able to travel, so maybe you can downsize into a less expensive home & use the difference to travel. it’s good advice, but housing & transportation (even accounting for occasional catastrophic emergency car repairs) is only costing me about 22% of my income. compared against the approximately 30% of my income that goes straight into a savings account for emergencies. i did try to use the book to figure out what i value & what i want my money to do for me. this is the boring shit i came up with:

i want to be able to pay all my bills without going into debt.
i want to be able to buy whatever i want at the grocery store.
i want to be able to go out to eat pretty much whenever i want without worrying too much.
i want to be able to buy a monthly pool pass.
i want to be able to pay all my baby-related medical bills without going into debt.
i want to be able to buy all the start-up stuff we need for the baby without going into debt.
i want to be able to do all of this without dipping too heavily (or at all) into my emergency savings.

this kind of makes me feel like a loser. i don’t have bigger dreams than this? i don’t want to, say, spend a week in paris before i’m 35? or have the funds to self-publish a book? or even buy a family membership to the kansas city zoo or something? my only “experiential” expenses (which experts say inspire more happiness that object expenses) are going out to eat (by which i mostly mean being able to order pizza like once a week) & going to the pool. i mean, the pool is awesome & pizza is delicious, but damn. life has beaten me down & the bar is now very low. i basically just want to be able to afford to put one foot in front of the other without leaning on my credit card. a worthy goal, to be sure, but also a very quotidian one.

ms. excitement

jared & i are flying to boston tomorrow to visit with his family for the holidays. so today i have to do laundry, pack, clean up the house so i am not embarrassed in front of my cat-sitters, etc etc. i am not saying that i definitely won’t be posting any more blog entries in 2011…but i’m not saying i will either.

i’m hoping to get back into the groove of writing for an audience in 2012. i have become very out of practice. i haven’t written a new zine in a year & a half, & i have definitely fallen down on the job of keeping this thing updated in the last few months. i have found it challenging to find my creative footing since i shut down the zine distro in early 2010. i know! that was almost two years ago! it was just a lot easier to keep up with my mail & feel like i had a legitimate platform when i was going to the post office everyday & maintaining a huge website (even if there wasn’t really any personal content on it).

the only “project” that i have really come up with to replace the zine distro is this whole trying to get pregnant business, which is turning out to be a lot more difficult than i anticipated. i wish it had been this hard to get knocked up when i DIDN’T want to have a baby. i had four dreams last night in which i did a pregnancy test & it was positive. in every dream, i was like, “no way. this is totally a dream, i’m going to wake up & not be pregnant. or is it real? maybe i’m pregnant!” but of course, i am not. i do have an appointment set for a fertility work-up after the holidays though. maybe my doctor will take pity on me, prescribe clomid, & at this time next year, i’ll be writing about how difficult it is to maintain a blog when i am caring for a newborn. or maybe i’ll just luck out & get pregnant without intervention. i can’t even work up any feelings about it anymore. the stress has been too exhausting.

i am a little bit anxious about boston because seeing people you haven’t seen in six months to a year always want to know, “what’s new? what’s going on?” & literally all i have to say is, “well, i’ve been trying to get pregnant & that’s not really going anywhere. but i know that you really wanted any information at all about my sex life, so let’s move on. i’ve gone to a bingo a few times & have won $210 altogether, which is pretty cool. that pays for like half of my share of the bed & breakfast we’re staying at. bingo is a little depressing because it’s a lot of oldsters blowing through their social security checks & a sprinkling of younger people in sweatpants looking like they probably make meth. but you know. i get social security too & would definitely just wear sweatpants if i didn’t think jared would break up with me because of it, so maybe i have found my people. i’m thinking about signing up for another water aerobics class in january because my arthritis has become increasingly crippling. i now struggle to button the snaps on my coat, & am sometimes in too much pain to drive or use utensils, keys, or my squeezy water bottle. i don’t know if this is a permanent aspect of the degenerative condition or if it’s just a temporary slump due to the cold, damp weather. & i’ve been reading a lot of library books. mostly children’s books. mostly the american girl historical books, truth be told. which i then recap over on goodreads in foul-mouthed, sarcastic, political reviews that are probably not suitable for children. how are you doing? what’s new with you?”

so. that will be fun.

but hopefully i will get with the program in 2012 & come up with some interesting things to say. same bat time, same bat channel.

unfuck your habitat changed my life

i have been incommunicado mostly because the colder weather is making my pain/mobility issues flare up. there are often times when i am literally in too much pain to sit in front of my computer & type anything. sometimes the only thing that helps is laying flat on the floor with my legs elevated on a footstool or the bed. i wonder how long it will be before i’m wandering around town with a walker or recovering from a double hip replacement. i’m not even employing hyperbole here.

i have also just been less interested in spending time on the internet. but when i am on the internet, i am obsessed with this tumblr. i know! i never thought i would actually sincerely like a tumblr either! & of course sometimes there is annoying shit on here, mostly from college students who write in to say, “i have four papers to write & my dorm room looks like the city dump, but i am too lazy to do anything but lay on the couch working on ‘glee’ fan fiction. halp?” luckily, the blog maintainer’s response to everything is, “just do it. NOW. stop being lazy!”

this tumblr (which i found after a friend linked it on facebook) is not the first time i have ever heard of 20/10s (where you work on something for twenty minutes & reward yourself with ten minutes of dicking around, lather, rinse, repeat until you’re done). they pop up all the time in articles, books, & magazines about how to get shit done (tedious shit, like housework or other tasks a person may be inclined to avoid). but it was not until i found this tumblr that i decided to actually give the 20/10 method a spin & see if it did anything for me.

i wasn’t expecting much because i am already a pretty tidy, organized person. i keep color-coded daily, weekly, monthly, & yearly to-do lists, okay? i have a spring & a fall cleaning routine. i write down every penny i spend & what i spent it on, & then i make spreadsheets detailing my expenses so as to better fine-tune my budget. i have actually lived the monopoly dream of catching bank errors in my favor because i so obsessively balance my checkbook down to the penny & compare my records against my statements.

but i was delighted to find that 20/10s actually boosted my productivity & simultaneously lowered my anxiety levels! this method is fucking amazing. in the first week that i started employing it, i cleaned out my entire bedroom closet, including a bunch of random unpacked boxes jared had asked me to store in there from the last time we moved. (we are seriously like “the odd couple”. jared has an organizational system that works for him, but it says a lot that it is called “the random teetering piles of crap on every surface” system. our living room is bisected by french doors. i consider the westerly half mine & the easterly half jared’s. my half generally appears ready to be shot for a home decor magazine, save for the end table next to the couch, which is piled with jared’s crap. there are no words to describe jared’s half. it’s like a history archive & a bike shop collided & exploded in there. but he says that he knows where everything is, which is all that really counts.) i unpacked the boxes, threw out what needed to be thrown out, put away what needed to be put away, re-organized the bibs & bobs that remained in order to store sheets with sheets, curtain with curtains, pieces of halloween costumes with pieces of halloween costumes, etc. everything that could be put into long-term storage was put into long-term storage.

i cleaned out my dresser as well, ruthlessly casting aside items of clothing that don’t fit, don’t get worn, or are beyond repair. items in good condition that didn’t fit or that i now consider ugly went into bags for donation to a thrift shop. everything else was tossed. that left me with two completely empty dresser drawers, into which went special occasion shoes & art supplies.

i cleaned out my dresser too, throwing out tons of paper recycling, organizing my pile of unanswered mail, corralling bits & pieces of electronic equipment (i didn’t even know i had a memory stick! weird!), & consolidating more frequently used art supplies. i was left with two empty desk drawers, & i loaded my considerable collection of old journals & half-used notebooks into them. which opened up an entire small bookcase, so i unpacked the crates that had contained DVDs & zines. the bottom shelf was piled with library books that has been stacked on my desk.

& the vast majority of this was accomplished in twenty-minute bursts, followed by ten minutes of doing something mindless, like looking up otherkin-themed tumblrs & laughing at them. (apparently there’s a dude who thinks he’s a rocketship? WTF?)

maybe reading play-by-plays of how someone cleaned their house is not that exciting to the average person, but i love it! the new year is right around the corner (i’m sure i have mentioned before that new year’s day is my favorite holiday, just because i love fresh starts) & this feels like the perfect time to clean, tidy, organize, & start 2012 out properly. i am hoping to really be on the ball in 2012. but those resolutions are for another post. in the meantime, please enjoy this adorable photo of christmas kittens posing in the window of doodlebugs, the baby/maternity consignment shop in downtown lawrence: