Monthly Archives: November 2007
First, we will be writing a password protected post in the next couple of days. If you don’t have our password, reply here, and we’ll send it to you–or if you don’t want to reply here, send us an email.
And now for our regularly scheduled quick update post:
We are home from our holiday travels, and I am so very glad. I love visiting my family, but I really love our cozy bed, our kitties, our quiet, and our relatively drama-free home. So it’s good to be here.
Tomorrow we start in on our second to last week of school. The students are going to come back from Thanksgiving break with a taste of vacation on their lips, and they aren’t going to want to do anything, even though they have a week and a half before their major final projects are due. That means we have to scare them a little to shock them back into productivity. It’s a strange dance we do every year. I am so very glad we’re almost done.
This week we should also be inseminating, but much to our chagrin, we aren’t. Mr. G is supposed to be out of town (although I haven’t heard from him since he last sent us a shipment), and we couldn’t get the paperwork together soon enough for spermsicles. It sucks, and it’s going to be hard to sit this one out, but with all of the stress in our laps with the end of the semester looming, I will probably hardly notice it.
Who am I kidding?
J here with a few thoughts before we head out to T’s folks for a few days to “celebrate” Thanksgiving. I’m going to probably sound like an old curmudgeon, but perhaps I am guilty of this just a wee bit. First, you should know that Thanksgiving is my least favorite holiday. I don’t come from a very big family myself, and we never made a big to-do about any of the holidays; we were the least traditional family I’ve ever known. Yeah, we ate turkey and what-not, but it was just a meal.
To me, Thanksgiving is a glutton’s holiday. Eat lots of food, feel bloated, fall asleep. That’s it. That’s Thanksgiving to me in a nutshell. So, for the almost ten years T and I have been together, I’ve begrudgingly loaded up the car and made the seven hour trip to endure this gluttony. Well, except for last year. Last year I won a hard-fought battle to stay in town, claiming “too much work,” which by the way is always true, to make the trip. It was great. I think we ended up at a buffet somewhere and didn’t have to wash a single dish.
Now, none of this is to say I don’t like T’s folks, who I lovingly call the “outlaws,” since I’m not legally connected to them. I love them, and I look forward to all sorts of other family activities together, and these became even more meaningful after my parents died years ago. I love to go camping, wine tasting,etc. but large events tend to stress T’s mom out big time. The more people that come, the more stressed out she gets wanting everything to be perfect and shouldering all of the responsibilities for these holidays herself. Anyway, somewhere along the way I decided that if we were going to survive the holidays with her, we ought to pitch in and help to alleviate some of the stress. This worked a couple of times, and she was very grateful for the extra hands in the kitchen, but then, and I’m not sure how or when, but it occurred to her mom that with extra help, she could make the events even bigger and more complicated. So now, two extra bodies in the kitchen only mean that three people are stressed out and exhausted by the time it’s all said and done. My idea to help turned T and I into kitchen slaves, which seems patently unfair considering that no one else in the family has to travel seven hours just to be there. Oh well. Oldest daughter syndrome, I guess.
So that’s the back story. Now, for those of you who read our password protected post, you know there’s a special added element to the stress this week. We’ve got to somehow be helpful in the kitchen, keeping mom’s stress to a minimum and somehow deal with “the news”, which I’ve been desperately trying to change my attitude about. AAAACKKK!
Will let you all know how it goes. One thing I can tell you before it all starts is that I am incredibly grateful to have these people as my Outlaws, stress and all. These people embraced me and accepted me almost from the get-go. They love me and never treat me as an outsider. They truly are “our” family, not just T’s family, and so I experience all the joys and woes of being a member of this family, including holiday stress. I’ll take it!
Ciao ladies, and have a relaxing T-day. I know I won’t, but at least I’ll be with my Outlaws.
Even though it’s break, J and I are still burried under mountains of papers. These give the Himalayas a run for their money. I’m so tired of student essays.
I thought that the fact that I was leaving the teaching profession soon would make me enjoy the papers more this semester, but the fact is, grading papers is the most odious part of teaching composition. It takes hours; it hurts my hands; it’s as boring as boring can be. Bleh. I’m sorry to complain so much, it’s just that I got up early to do papers, and I just don’t want to. Not one bit.
This morning I awoke to something very unusual: sunlight. While this may not seem all that remarkable, it is–believe me, it is. Every day I wake up to the dark, and I go to work in the dark. A couple of nights a week, I stay at school until well after dark, and I come home in the dark. There’s really nothing more romantic than watching the sunset with a bunch of eighteen-year-olds who are coughing their strep throat and mono all over me. But today, I awoke, and the sun was shining. There wasn’t even any of our famous morning fog–just sun and some poofy autumn clouds. Yes, I’m on Thanksgiving break.
So far, our break has been fairly uneventful. I had to have my hair color fixed–the guy who shaved my head painted in some blonde tips, but the problem was that he sucked at coloring hair, so I ended up with blonde splotches, resembling some sort of cheetah. So this had to be repaired, and now, I’ve got all kinds of blonde streakies, and it’s great fun.
We had the greatest day that day. It was rainy, and J and I sat on the sofa, while she read and I crocheted with candles burning and classical guitar playing. Really lovely. We’re trying to have lots of quiet, relaxing together moments. Today we will go buy more yarn and another book and continue this trend because Wednesday we’re going to see our family, and Thursday, oh fuck, Thursday.
Thursday my parents are hosting eleven people, including my siblings for Thanksgiving, and this is the first time we will have to face the reality of the recent news. All I can say is that it’s a good thing I can drink.
In the meantime, I’m cherishing this time with J because we need the time off together to keep each other sane. When we return from this break, we will have a week and a half to prepare our students to pass freshman composition and their assessment portfolio. And then we turn in grades, and then we’re finished at this school for good. It’s all coming so soon!
We live behind what is called the Redwood Curtain. This is an area that is secluded from the rest of California. Our county is surrounded by redwoods on three sides, and on the other side, we have the Pacific Ocean. Behind the Redwood Curtain, life is fairly peaceful. It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth. When the thick Northern Pacific Fog rolls in, it sits on our trees like a down blanket, and it makes this place one of mysticism and awe. But one can only live so long under a wet blanket. This was a lesson we learned last weekend, and something I wanted to write about before the big bomb was dropped in our laps.
Last Sunday, until said bomb, we had a fabulous day exploring our new hometown-to-be. We started off by driving around to a few apartment complexes that I had scouted out. We stopped at one, had a tour from a super-skinny woman with Lee Press-on-Nails (I had no idea they still existed!), and found ourselves more than a little underwhelmend with what they had to offer for the high price they were asking ($200 more than we were hoping to pay). This started us on a small downward spiral. As we drove up to other complexes, we started realizing that the places we thought would be in our price range were exactly the sort of places we would have settled for as college students. They are not, however, the sorts of places we want to live in our thirties, and they are certainly not the places where we want to have a baby. That was it. We were officially discouraged.
Then J saw a sign for another complex, and we took a look. It was this beautiful villa-style place that had class and charm and was around the same price as the first place where we had stopped. And then we saw some others like this. J looked at me and said, “This is what we need to be looking at from now on. We have to stop lowering our standards.” And she was right.
We found a great Mexican place for lunch, and we proceeded to have a fairly monumental conversation about why we have been aiming so low. I say this because we were really starting to consider pouring wine at the local wineries for jobs. We were seriously considering living in substandard dwellings in pretty crappy neighborhoods just so that we could move. But when you add all this up, it means spending thousands of dollars to move, then working jobs for which we are way overqualified, living in apartments that we outgrew about seven years ago, watching our backs in bad neighborhoods, and generally being miserable. We had to ask ourselves, how would this be any better than here? And why are we aiming so low? And how is it that we’re suddenly thinking that we ought to aim higher?
When we sat down to lunch that day, we realized that behind the Redwood Curtain, we have learned to strive for mediocrity–for just getting by. For example, recently one of our mentors (the director of the program in which we teach), upon hearing where we were moving, told J, “I can see you running an office.” Alas, this is not the first time someone has urged us into careers as receptionists and secretaries; some of our best friends have done that too. But we have masters’ degrees. The thing is, with masters’ degrees, people here behind the Redwood Curtain are receptionists, secretaries, bartenders, and waitresses because that’s what this place has to offer. I have the greatest respect for people who hold these positions, but we have five college degrees between us. We teach at a university. We don’t have any business being secretaries.
That day at lunch, we sat there with tears welling in our eyes, becoming aware of just how oppressed we have been by this place. We’ve been brainwashed by our colleagues and mentors here that we are doomed to lives of multiple jobs and part-time work without enough pay, but suddenly on that day, as we looked out at this city sprinkled in autumn leaves, sunlight, and people walking through the park and playing with their kids, that we’re capable of so much more. It may seem a simple realization, but to us, it’s what we had to discover on our fact-finding mission because it’s the only thing that is going to get us out of here, out of the fog behind the Redwood Curtain.
First, thank you to everyone who commented over the last couple of days. Your support and kind words have been remarkably healing, and you’re helping us see how we might get through this. I have been awed by this support for others out there in our TTC community, but being the subject of it oneself is truly remarkable. You all really are helping us get through this. What an amazing group of women! To others who are going through similar issues, know that we’re thinking of you often and sending you strength and compassion.
Last night I started spotting. Nothing today, but that doesn’t mean anything. It’s happened before that I’ve spotted and then stopped only to start my period full force later in the day, so I’m not holding out any hope at all. My temperature is way down. We’re out.
This month it looks like we’ll have to deal with a foreseen donor issue, as he warned us a few months ago that he would be out of town from the last week of November through the first week in December. Because my body feeds on inconvenience, it looks like I’ll ovulate the last week in November (I’ll also likely ovulate Christmas day). We’ve decided to be proactive, though, and go through a bank this time so that we don’t have to sit this cycle out. At this point, with everything that is happening, I think it would be really bad for our morale not to go ahead with this. So, we’re biting the bullet and getting each other sperm for a Winter Solstice gift this year.
In the meantime, we have ladies poker on Saturday, and I’m going to drink a lot of wine.
J and I had a productive weekend learning about our new city, and more importantly, learning about ourselves. I will be writing about this later in the week when I’m not so exhausted.
In other news, I will be writing a password protected post tomorrow. If you would like to read it, please respond here, and I’ll be sure to send you the password.
It’s raining today, making it a little difficult to get around, so we’re taking it easy. It’s not that we can’t get around in the rain. Hell, it rains about two thirds of the year where we live, but getting one’s bearings in the rain when people are driving erratically is challenging. That aside, we’ve been enjoying our time figuring out how to get around, doing a little shopping, and talking with people about this place. The storm should pass by tomorrow, so we’ll be driving around quite a bit more then.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to post this until tomorrow because our internet service at the hotel is weird. We can pay five dollars for four hours, but we apparently have to use those hours consecutively. I made the mistake of shutting my laptop down yesterday, thinking I would come back to use the rest of my hours only to discover that I had to pay AGAIN! It’s a racket, I tell you.