Category Archives: how squares have fun

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.

my life would probably be a better sitcom than “according to jim”

i feel a little better about the whole “prenatal depression” thing. i sat jared down & explained that i’m not feeling great emotionally & part of it is guilt about not keeping up with what i usually contribute in terms of housework & dinner. if it was just me living alone, i’d let the place get grimy & i’d order dinner in every night, but it’s different when you live with someone. there’s a built-in expectation of accountability. it’s the part of living with a partner that i probably hate the most. i am more tolerant of jared’s occasional messes than i am of my own shortcomings & the guilt that accompanies them.

anyway, jared said he was perfectly willing to take on more of the housework & to make dinner for us every night, provided that i don’t start making special requests all the time. i told him maybe i could still make dinner like once a week. my one dinner this week was stuffed shells, which were fucking delicious. jared always makes yummy food too, but we have different wheelhouses. he’s good at 1001 ways to prepare braised chicken or pork loin; i’m good at various noodles with sauces.

i also feel a bit more cheerful because the public pool like three blocks from our house opens this weekend. they have morning hours everyday for people who want to swim laps without interruption…& i found out they allow water walkers then too! for people that are not 87 years old, water walking is like jogging, but in a pool. it’s popular in water aerobics classes. i really like it. i have been wondering for a while if it’s appropriate to commandeer a lane at the pool just for water walking. the city is selling cheapo early bird summer passes–$60 for all the pool visits you can cram in between memorial day & labor day. jared & i are each going to get one. water walking is going to be my summer pregnancy exercise & jared’s going to keep me company by swimming laps. because he is a legitimately halfways athletic person who engages in real exercise, & i’m sophia petrillo.

mostly i think the whole prenatal depression thing is a manifestation of my obsessive-compulsive tendencies. i seriously just feel shitty because i can’t keep up with my to-do lists. it’s like they’re having one last hurrah before they get thrown out the window in the face of a newborn baby. i’ve been in therapy for this shit for twelve years & it all basically boils down to two ideas: “be mindful” & “be kind to yourself”. i suck at both of those things. but i think they are both pretty important goals for a pregnant lady-soon-to-be-new mom. at the risk of sounding like a giant hippie, of course. i swear i’m still not planning to give birth on a tie-dyed futon mattress while listening to bob marley.

so, i mentioned in a previous post that i had my first sonogram last week.

i think it has my…blob-like qualities!

for anyone reading this who is not familiar with how sonograms work: they ask you to come to the appointment with a full bladder because the expanded bladder functions as a kind of window through which sound waves are shot that help create an accurate image of the uterus, & the little creature living inside the uterus during pregnancy. so you go in having to pee really bad, & then the tech smears some burning hot goo on your lower abdomen, & then whips out this device that looks like a, shall we say, electronic back massager (wink!), & grinds it into your abdomen. you know. right over your bladder. when you really have to pee.

i had the foresight (& doctor office-related experience) to schedule my sonogram for 9am. pro tip: always try to schedule doctor appointments, airplane flights, etc for as early as you can stand, because there’s a smaller chance of delays that way. i really did not want my appointment to be delayed when it hinged on how desperately i needed to pee. i wanted to get this shit over with.

starting at 8am, i began chugging water. at 8:45am, i told jared we should get on the road. jared took this as his cue to wander into the kitchen, slice himself about nine pounds of cornbread, & eat it really slowly. it was probably only one slice, cut in half, but to me–no lie–it looked like he’d hung a horse trough overflowing with cornbread around his neck & proceeded to peck at it like a chicken. i was like, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” & he said, “having some cornbread. it’s my breakfast. i can’t go to a sonogram on an empty stomach.” i told him, “my appointment is in ten minutes,” & he said, “so? we can’t be a little late?” so i was forced to explain the way sonograms work & the fact that i was on the verge of exploding with urine & no we could not be late because if he was the cause of even thirty extra seconds getting between this pregnant lady right here & the sweet relief of finally being allowed to pee, i would put a poisonous serpent in his sock drawer. & he was like, “OH! i didn’t know! okay, let’s go!”

then i had this vision of myself nine months pregnant, timing my contractions & being like, “okay, they’re a minute long & four minutes apart, i think it’s time to go have this baby,” & jared putting on a lobster bib & settling down at the kitchen table, saying, “okay, let me just polish off this nineteen-pound roast turkey. it should only take me like six hours.” like, DUDE. save your burgeoning career as a competitive eater for some time when i don’t actually need your help.

also hilarious: when i invited jared to go to the sonogram with me, he said, “cool. we’ll get to hear the ‘whoosh-whoosh-whoosh.'” i told him, “i’m only like five weeks pregnant, it might be too early to pick up a heartbeat,” & he said, “that’s the heartbeat? i thought it was just the sound the machine made.” his go-to was to be excited about the sound the machine made! the heartbeat didn’t even occur to him! it’s seriously like i am living in my own shitty sitcom pilot sometimes.

how i started to worry about my consumer choices

this is kind of a scary article.

i have never been a fan of amazon. in 1999, i moved from ohio to portland, oregon, & immediately landed a job in the genre room at powell’s books, one of the world’s largest independent bookstores. i headed up the romance, thriller, nautical fiction, & books on tape sections, & eventually took over erotica. in this era of protesting the WTO & anarchist summit-hopping, agitating for local stores versus huge corporate behemoths was a no-brainer. & for me, living in portland & working at one of the best independent bookstores around, it was all too easy to relax upon my high horse & exhort people to shop local.

for over ten years, i did as little business with amazon as i could. which isn’t to say i did no business with them. i definitely ordered things from them, including things i could have gotten at local independent shops. when i got hooked on the harry potter series, i pre-ordered them from amazon instead of standing in line for a midnight release at a local shop. not because there were no local shops doing midnight releases, but because i was just too embarrassed to stand in line with a bunch of little kids. (i did do the midnight release thing for the seventh book. it wasn’t nearly as embarrassing as i expected it to be, although i think jared disagrees, because he just walked me to the bookstore & refused to wait with me.) i bought all ten seasons of “friends” on DVD from amazon, even though i could have purchased them at a local music shop that sold movies. i don’t even have a good excuse for that one. maybe buying from amazon saved me a few dollars. when you’re living on $525 a month (as i was at the time), even $2 or $3 in savings can make a difference.

but since i moved to kansas, my good intentions have gone right out the window. & especially since jared & i started trying to get knocked up. there’s a company called formosa medical that sells unbelievably inexpensive, reliable, bulk pregnancy tests & ovulation tests. a bag of fifty tests costs $15 on amazon.com. by comparison, a box of three generic drugstore tests will cost at least $4–& if you want to get fancy & splurge on a box of five digital pregnancy tests, you’re going to be spending $17 for the privilege. buying cheapo tests on amazon has saved me literally hundreds of dollars–because, trust me, when you have been trying for months on end to get pregnant, no amount of logical thinking & common sense is going to stop you from testing three, five, ten, fifteen times a day. i also console myself with the knowledge that the cheapo tests are tiny slips of paper with no ecologically destructive plastic casing…but amazon’s super saver shipping makes it too easy to start shopping around for a few more items to add to your cart to take that $15 pregnancy test order up to $25 & qualify for free shipping. why not throw in some fancy french bubble bath, or a pair of jeans on sale, or an obscure book about conception that isn’t available at the local library, or a box of typewriter ribbons that i’d have to mail order anyway? this is but a small sampling of things i’ve purchased from amazon in the last year–justifying it by telling myself that i wouldn’t have been able to get these things from a local independent store anyway.

but that doesn’t mean i couldn’t have mail ordered these items from an independent store. maybe i would have spent more for the items in question, or for shipping, & i would have had to piecemeal the orders rather than doing convenient one-stop shopping…what i’m trying to say is that even though i recognize the consumer tricks amazon uses to trick people into spending more money with them (after all, i ran my own business–a zine distro–for seven years & i used some of these same tricks myself), i have fallen for them over & over again.

one thing i haven’t done is purchased an e-reader. don’t think it hasn’t crossed my mind. i have severe arthritis in my hands & holding books & magazines is routinely a painful experience for me. i have often wondered if having an e-reader that i can prop on a pillow & only touch to turn the “pages” might save me a lot of stress in the joints of my hands, because i read A LOT. but i haven’t done it. for a lot of reasons. i am really attached to the aesthetics of books. i like page weight, paper quality, the smell of a book. i don’t want to fuss with another electronic device that i’ll have to remember to keep charged. & all the restrictions around e-readers confused the hell out of me. some platforms only let you download books in their stores. it seems like no platform features every book i could ever want to read. for more obscure titles, i’d still have to track down paper copies. i wouldn’t know what to do with titles i didn’t want anymore. you can’t sell a used e-book to a bookstore or pass it off to a friend. i like to read books in the bathtub, which isn’t something i’d chance with an expensive e-reader. & i read dozens upon dozens of books every year from the library. how would that work with an e-reader? i have no interest in shelling out $10-$20 for every book i want to read, when i read well over one hundred books a year.

& add to this the fact that so far there is no small, independent e-reader company. to jump on this bandwagon, i’d inevitably end up supporting a huge corporation. ironically, books are pretty much the one area where i haven’t fallen under amazon’s spell. i don’t judge other people from getting in on the e-reader craze–everyone has their own priorities as a consumer & i recognize that being a paper book hold-out is going to make me something of a dinosaur within the next twenty years. but it really scares me to think that this monumental technological development could totally change the entire culture of publishing & bookselling.

(caveat: this is not a topic about which i know a lot, but i do know that i’m not making any novel critiques here, & that people are working on solutions to a lot of the issues i bring up here. maybe they will be solutions that enable me to go crazy with an e-reader; maybe they will just end up making me commit to paper books even more. i’m just trying to nip any condescending “let me tell you about why e-readers are so awesome” comments in the bud before they start.)

damn it, pregnant ladies!

it’s time for another edition of everyone’s favorite blog topic: stuff about trying to get pregnant that annoys the crap out of me. or just makes me feel sad/weird.

because i have no friends that are currently trying to conceive (or if i do, they are doing a way better job at keeping that info on the DL), nor do i have any really tight bros that are already parents, i have to derive some of my sense of community from internet messageboards. & you know what that means! bring out the crazy misinformation, the ladies who know shockingly little about their own bodies, the alarmist hardline scare tactics, the moral superiority complexes, & the hundreds upon hundreds of photos of other people’s pregnancy tests. i never thought i would be that interested in looking at other people’s pregnancy tests. but i guess walt whitman was right–i contain multitudes.

in fact, there is a website that features a whole gallery of pregnancy/ovulation test photos. you can snap a photo of your test & upload it & the website attaches a poll so that other users can vote on whether your test looks negative or positive. i am embarrassed to admit how many hours i have wasted on this website. let’s just say that i had a really sobering moment last night when i realized that someday i was going to die, & that i was unlikely to be malingering on my death bed, lamenting the fact that i didn’t vote on a few more pregnancy test polls.

i try not to look at the website too much–in fact, i installed a program on my computer called leechblocker which prohibits me from spending more than ten minutes on any & all pregnancy websites during a given four-hour block. things actually got that bad. but i have spent enough time on the website to have developed a serious pet peeve.

the situation is that we live in the future now, surrounded at all times by flying cars & hoverboards, & as such, scientists have developed digital pregnancy tests. you don’t have to compromise your eyesight squinting at analog tests, trying to see lines where there are no lines (seriously, my eyesight has appreciably degenerated in the last few months, & i totally blame all the time i spend staring at pregnancy tests–i’m going to have to order new glasses soon). the digital tests just say “pregnant” or “not pregnant,” no ambiguity, no muss, no fuss. these babies are about as close as you can get to being infallible, as they are not quite as sensitive as some dye tests you can buy. they generally won’t tell a lady she is pregnant until she has a rather significant quantity of pregnancy hormone coursing through her system. but that does not stop people from sometimes posting their positive digital pregnancy test photos to this online pregnancy test gallery & asking if the internet community at large thinks they could possibly be pregnant.

i won’t lie: i always vote negative on those photos. because those ladies aren’t really “unsure”. they’re just bragging. if i’ve said it once, i’ve said it a million times: i don’t begrudge any woman her feelings of excitement about her pregnancy, but i definitely reserve the right to judge the fuck out of you if you try to rub my face in it.

on this note, i started seeking out blogs written by women struggling with various types of infertility a few months ago. they didn’t always feature the most incredible writing or the most inspiring examples of women coping in a healthy way with disappointment & loss, but they were blogs by women experiencing something similar to what i am dealing with, & like i said, the whole trying to get pregnant thing is a pretty isolating experience in my social milieu. maybe i need more friends that are over thirty & not dating a bottle of kentucky gentleman. but i digress.

in the last two or three months, every author of every infertility blog i read has gotten knocked up. & congrats to them all. but all of them except for one now writes a blog where she just complains incessantly about how uncomfortable pregnancy can be. it’s just post after post about nausea, heartburn, & vomiting. there’s so much whining. oh, there’s also a lot of really gross mainstream baby things mixed in there, like being excited to learn the gender so they know how to decorate the nursery (puke) or running out to start stocking up on baby clothes literally the day of the first positive pregnancy test, because surely friends & family aren’t going to shower you with free baby gear & you really need to throw your money away on that shit.

do these ladies not realize that a lot of pregnant women spend a lot of time puking? & that the rearranging of internal organs often leads to heartburn? it’s just unbearably annoying to go from reading these posts about, “another negative test, cry cry cry,” to, “well, i’m eleven weeks today & i threw up again at work.” let me throw up at work! (except that i don’t have a job.) okay, let me throw up…i don’t know…while watching “america’s next top model” or whatever it is that i do. & let it be from a baby & not just because of tyra’s jumpsuit collection like it usually is! i expect pregnancy to be horrifically uncomfortable & for me to have many many days of wondering why the fuck i ever wanted to subject myself to such a nightmare-ish invasion of my body, but i solemnly vow here & now not to complain about it on my blog. i don’t even know if there are any other infertile myrtles reading this shit, but just in case: ladies, this will be a safe space for you! even when/if i get pregnant, you will not be hearing me whine about my swollen ankles & there will be nary a whisper about how anxious i am to know the gender so i know whether to buy a layette of pink satin adorned with teddy bears practicing ballet or scratchy black canvas covered with diagrams of AK47s, footballs, & topless bitches.

hopefully i’ll still be alive at the end of the month

i woke up yesterday in absolute agony. my entire upper back & neck were locked into place. i couldn’t look side to side or up or down without excruciating pain. i am no stranger to chronic back pain, but this is a new one for me. usually my pain is concentrated in my lower back & hips. i’ve had a few sore neck incidents, but i don’t remember anything like this.

april is off to a pitiful start so far. sunday was jared’s first full day home from the environmental history conference, which was in some ways great, but in other ways–it’s tough for a grad school widow, you know? your partner is always packing up & leaving town, which forces you to come up with your own little tricks for managing the household by yourself. & then your partner comes home & screws up your system. jared woke me up from a nap on sunday, not once but twice! i overlooked it the first time because he had just come home from a soccer game. he had no way of knowing that i was asleep. but he woke me up again coming into the bedroom for a robe after taking a post-soccer shower. & i wasn’t taking some ordinary everyday nap that’s no big deal. i was that kind of tired that you get sometimes where you’re actually crying about how tired you are. chalk it up to the progesterone supplements i have to take.

he then multiplied the crime of waking me up by moving my typewriter off of the kitchen table (where i had stationed it with the best intentions for catching up with all my mail–totally did not happen, by the way) & on to my desk. even though the typewriter clearly belongs on the bottom shelf of the living room bookcase. my computer goes on my desk. i was in the bedroom watching “roseanne” & trying desperately to stay awake until 9:30pm when it would be acceptable to turn in for the night, so when i brought my computer back out to my desk, i had nowhere to put it because the typewriter was in the way. so i moved the typewriter & plugged my computer back in…but it didn’t start charging. i started freaking out in a really exhausted, low-key way, wondering if the power cord had finally given up the ghost. then i realized that jared had simply unplugged my charger to plug in his own. rather than unplugging, i don’t know, maybe the gratuitous floor lamp that we turn on maybe once a year when all the bulbs in the overhead light burn out at the same time.

so i had to share my feelings, which consisted of saying, “i’m so aggravated,” & then i burst into hysterical sobs. i’m also going to blame this one on the progesterone supplements. they can make a person a bit emotional, especially when she’s so tired that watching “everybody loves raymond” is starting to seem like it might be a good idea. jared did his best to escalate things into a real fight (“these are tiny problems that aren’t even worth mentioning, but i guess to you they’re evidence of what an asshole i am, huh?”) but i was too tired to take the bait & instead, i just cried.

okay, i will blame it a little bit on grad school widowhood. every time jared leaves for a conference or a research trip or something, i miss him so much & am simultaneously in vacation party mode & completely at loose ends until he gets home. sometimes i feel like a housewife from 1962 because i have taken on so many of the responsibilities for managing the household, just because i know i will probably be around to handle them–i don’t have to leave at random intervals in order to further my career. so i pay all the bills & take care of a big chunk of the housework & have a mental calendar for recycling day & whether we need to stock up on cat food & laundry detergent. i don’t mind it because i’d probably be stressing about this stuff anyway even if someone else was taking care of it, but it does start to feel feminine mystique-y sometimes. more than once, jared has been accepted to present at a conference or won a fellowship on the same day when my biggest accomplishment was that i cleaned the litterbox.

anyway, yesterday i woke up with this stiff neck situation. i couldn’t even sit up from laying on my back because i couldn’t move my neck that way. i had to roll on to my side & push myself into a sitting position. i spent most of the afternoon laying flat on the floor, listening to “this american life”. then i drove across town for an emergency massage. the massage therapist said my neck muscles all felt like rope, which is apparently not good at all. she always does a little stretching with her massages, & it usually feels nice, but this time i actually screamed in agony. pretty embarrassing. she worked on me for an extra half hour & knocked $10 off my bill, & sent me home with a bag full of some weird icy hot knock-off called biofreeze. she suggested a heating pad, but it was over 90 degrees yesterday, so that wasn’t happening.

also yesterday, i cut my leg on this part of the car that i fucked up by driving into a tiny pole, i smashed my left hand in the front door, i hit my head on my bedroom door jamb, & then i hit my head on my car window. i don’t even know how i did any of this stuff, but i did openly sob about it in public.

today my neck is still killing me, but truthfully, i think it’s a little better. i at least felt motivated to take the car to the car wash, as it’s probably more disgusting filth & schmutz than car right now, but wouldn’t you know? literally the second i pulled into the parking lot of the car wash, the sky opened up & it started pouring. so i turned around & went home. it’s like my life is a stand-up routine from 1986. “you know the difference between white people & black people?…melanin, probably. i don’t know. so, sun-dried tomatoes, am i right? what else can the sun dry, i wonder?”

tomorrow me, my stiff neck, my sudden predisposition for injury, & my constant sobbing are going to a yoga class for the first time. it should be pretty exciting. i can hardly wait to trip over a pile of mats & fall down the stairs & cry in front of some more strangers. tomorrow is also jared’s birthday. i think he intends to celebrate by doing lots of schoolwork & being incredibly anxious. but i’m going to make him a flourless chocolate cake, whether he asks for one or not.

a few of my favorite things (& a crazed rant about bingo)

alex’s photo challenge day two involves taking a photo of something you like. as one might imagine, this was challenging for me, because i prefer talking about things i don’t like. but jared & i both made new year’s resolutions to try to be a little more upbeat & positive in 2012. we made these resolutions after having lunch one day in boston with a couple of folks that jared attended quaker youth activities with as a teenager. one of them told us that we should totally, definitely for sure check out this amazing stage production called “hadestown”. apparently some other woman that had been in the quaker youth circle with them had written it. it’s a musical that riffs on the whole orpheus & eurydice myth & takes it in this rock opera kind of direction. jared & i had in fact seen one of the first (& apparently) only actual musical versions of it right after we started dating. (apparently it is now performed as more of a concert than a musical. i don’t know.) we did not care for it. mainly just because we don’t care for musicals. i can’t speak to jared’s feelings, but musicals make me super-uncomfortable. all that singing & emoting & earnestness. plus anything that is too religious-y makes me cringe & while i know orpheus & eurydice are characters from ancient greek mythology, hades makes me think of hell & hell makes me think of evangelical christianity &…just, no thanks.

anyway, we were like, “oh…yeah…we’ve seen that, actually.” & the guy we were chatting with was bubbling over with enthusiasm & was all, “you have? oh my god, wasn’t it amazing! i am just so proud of her for writing this incredible music & telling this phenomenal story! god, it’s just the best stage production i have ever seen. did you love it?” we were like, “um…the costumes were…great. &…the sets were…very colorful.” i mean, i didn’t want to shit all over this thing this guy loved. that was created by someone that jared apparently knows from his teenage days. i know i don’t like musicals, i have never liked musicals, & so i am the last person who should be offering her opinion about musicals, & no one should really listen to me if i say i dislike a particular musical. & my exposure to this stage production or whatever it is now was as a musical, so obviously i was biased against it.

when we left the lunch date, i remarked that every quaker i have ever met is not remotely shy about being enthusiastic about the stuff s/he likes. save for jared. jared is like me in that he likes to make fun of everything. jared said he felt the same way & we started getting all neurotic (which is what we do when we’re not making fun of stuff) & wondering if people who are more expressive about their interests & passions are somehow happier, more well-adjusted, have more friends, are better-liked, etc. we decided to give this whole “talk about stuff you like/maybe don’t constantly condemn everything you don’t like all the time” thing a whirl. i know, it’s totally counter to the entire spirit of who i am as a person & what i have been writing about for at least the last fifteen years. but. maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks.

i've got a fever & the only cure is more dabbin'!

i like bingo. i cut out & save all my winning bingo cards so i can relive the good times. actually, i don’t know why i do it. probably just because i’m a little bit obsessive. i’ve only been to bingo twice so far this year. it’s a lot of money to spend if you don’t end up winning anything. i usually spend $34 on cards. i only have to win one of the lowest-paying games to make all my money back & then some, & if i win multiple games or one of the higher-paying games, i come WAY ahead…but it is hard to justify dropping over $30 only to win nothing except for three hours spent in a room with a bunch of oldsters with their quilted bingo caddies & oxygen tanks.

the last time i went, i wound up sitting next to some woman, also alone like me, who would not stop mumbling to herself all evening. she kept muttering, “the next one is gonna be a B, i know it. probably B3.” then the next ball would be, like, N34. but that wouldn’t stop her from trying to predict the next ball, which was incredibly distracting. & not once in three hours was she correct. or even in the ballpark. she also kept saying, “ooh, my hand is getting itchy. the last time i was in vegas, i played the slots every time my hand got itchy & i won so much money. i always know i’m about to get on a hot streak when my hand starts getting itchy.” then someone across the room would call bingo & the game would be over. & she’d be all, “oh, i was so close on that one. all i needed was a B2, a N42, & a G56. oh, & an I13, & an O71.” i mean, come on, lady. if you were two away from the bingo on five of your cards, don’t you think EVERYONE ELSE in the room was as well? except the lucky duck that bingoed? get over yourself. & THEN. the last game of the night was the progressive blackout & the big prize was $1000. this woman is all, “oh, my hand’s getting itchy.” (try to imagine all of her dialogue in this raspy, toneless mutter.) “wouldn’t that be just like them? make me wait all night before i finally win something.”

WOMAN. you are talking about winning ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS. are you seriously trying to COMPLAIN about CHOOSING to go to a bingo night & losing every game except for the very last one, which has a THOUSAND-DOLLAR JACKPOT? i would gladly spend three days in a sensory deprivation tank for a thousand bucks! bingo is actually fun–even when you lose! take your itchy hands & get out of my face! (she didn’t win, by the way.)

okay, i’m not doing a great job of talking about stuff i like. here are a few other things that shouldn’t provoke quite as much emotion:

a small portion of my complete collection of babysitters club books.
my landlady's kitty cats. we call the orange-y one the little lion & the white one sir poops-a-lot, but their real names are vinnie & frankie or something else vaguely mafioso-inspired.
look at this fucking weather forecast! it's february, motherfuckers! i don't know if this is climate change or just kansas's one redeeming quality, but i am loving it right now.