Category Archives: home

homesick

My son told me tonight as we were snuggling in his hospital bed reading an endless line of books, “I like home time at the hospital.” As heartbreaking as such a statement might seem, it was, in fact, a bit of a victory.

Already, this has been a very long stay at the hospital. We have been here for two weeks now, which is longer than we were home after our first stay, but during our first stay, there was this assurance that we were here for a finite amount of time, that we would be going home to continue his treatments there, and for the most part, his course of treatment would be on an outpatient basis until we came back for his transplant. This time, while I wasn’t initially prepared to be back in, we were given a minimum of three weeks to be in the hospital. Last week, we were told it would be at least another three weeks. In other words, it’s going to be awhile.

Unfortunately, BG has also been on what is called “droplets precautions,” meaning that he is essentially quarantined to his room, and any hospital employee who enters his room must wear a mask because he has rhinovirus–a.k.a. the common cold. Only, he doesn’t really have it anymore. The hospital policy is such that he is on these precautions until his discharge. We could be discharged one day and readmitted the next, and those precautions would be gone. It’s an important policy on this floor because most of the kids here are seriously immunocompromised, but it means no visiting the playroom or seeing anything outside of this small room for who knows when.

When we realized our stay was extending and might continue to extend–and that we were going to be staying in the confines of this little room–we started bringing more and more of BG’s toys and books to help him feel at home. I managed to score a couple of boxes with which to make a little kitchen for him, and my wife brought some of his kitchen supplies from home. Since he’s not attached to an IV anymore, and we want to encourage him to be up and around, we thought he would love this. Instead, his reaction upon seeing his things was to throw them all across the room and shout, “I don’t want any of my things! I don’t want my kitchen! I don’t want my books! I don’t want the fellas! (his stuffed animals)” We were pretty shocked and saddened, not understanding what was going on. Was he not liking the reminder of easier times? Did he not want to think of home? Was he actually just bored with his things? We knew quite well that he wasn’t letting us read his favorite stories, that he wasn’t interested in seeing his bears, but what was this? The kitchen tools, his play food and utensils, his play coffee maker, these are some of this very favorite things. How could he not want these?

A few minutes into this, our son opened up to us and said, “I don’t want Mommy and Mama to leave me with the nurses. I don’t want you to go home.”

You see, he thought we were bringing his toys and his clothes because we were moving him in here. We haven’t been bringing all of our things, so he put the pieces together, looking also at the fact that these nurses have been taking care of him and taking over some of our mom jobs (bringing food, giving medicine, changing bedding and sometimes diapers), and he had determined that we were going to abandon him here. And holy shit did that suck to feel that even for a moment.

We wrapped him up in our arms and told him we were not going to leave him here, that when we go home, we will all go home together, that we are only here until he feels better. We explained that we were bringing his toys so that he could feel happier and feel a little more like home, but that home is still there, and we’ll all go back to it soon. His little mouth quivered as he reassured himself, “Mommy and Mama are not going to leave me with the nurses! No!” My heart was splintered into tiny pieces.

Our boy has such a minimal understanding of what is going on. He knows he is sick, but on days like we have had this week, he doesn’t feel terrible, so he’s far more aware of his surroundings. He gets bored more easily, pushes boundaries a little more, lashes out a bit more too–and he is very aware that he is in the hospital and can’t leave, even though Mommy and Mama sometimes do. This makes it harder for him to be here. We’re trying to create a little more predictability in his days. We have created a weekly calendar so that he knows when J has to go teach and when she’ll be back, so that he knows the day I will likely take some time off and come back, so that he knows when all of us are here together because he needs to know that we are here together.

After we reassured him that day that we weren’t going anywhere, we watched our boy play in his kitchen. He cut up his wooden cutting food, made us some tomato sandwiches and added pinches of salt with his usual flair. And then he asked us to bring more. He has been letting us read his favorite stories again, letting us give him food he normally eats at home, letting us bring a little bit of home back to him.

So tonight, his love of home time, well that just melted me, stitched my broken heart back together, and left me feeling like he trusts us again because our boy knows that we will go home together. It might take awhile, but the Reproducing Genius family is not going to be leaving anyone behind. Tonight BG told me that his favorite part about staying at the hospital will be when we walk down the hall and get into the elevator to go to our car. “Then we will go home.”

Oh how I wish I could just wrap him up in a blanket and escape to our house right now, to put him in the middle of our bed with my wife and our cats and just sleep–our little family all together, safe and sound and snug in our home.

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a room of his own

…well, not until we move into a place with office space, but the boy does officially have a room in our apartment.

We have been building on this space for awhile, but we never had any sort of concrete plan in place other than the layout. Whenever we have themes for rooms, they tend to be fairly eclectic, and Egghead’s room is no exception. We did know that we wanted plenty of color, plenty of animals, real art, and a space that both moms and baby could enjoy. Without further ado, allow me to take you on a tour.

Outside of the door, we have posted what is to be Egghead’s initial.  Come on in!

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Just to the left of the door is where his changing table will be. Egghead’s grandpa is building a custom changing table to fit our needs and to fit our space. We designed it so that these little drawer units will fit underneath, and once we’re finished using it as a changing table, it will simply be a nice table with storage for the boy’s room. For now, imagine it there to the left of the crib.

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The crib seems to be one that nearly everyone has, but we love that it converts to so many different beds. Two of our dearest friends got this for us at our last shower. Attached to it, you can see frogs with magnetic hands, and draped over it is the blanket I made (note: all hazardous items will be removed before a baby is placed within the crib). The photo above it is of a little boy standing in the water. A friend of ours purchased this for us after we saw it in a gallery a few years ago and loved it. Now we know precisely where it was meant to go all this time. Now to zoom out a bit:

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We have a lot of things hanging from the ceiling in this room. The blue dot chandelier is something J and I bought on a trip up the Oregon coast several years ago, and we had no idea what it was for. We only knew that we needed it. Once again, now we know. The other hangy item displayed here is the beautiful bird mobile that Olive made for us. Note the extra storage space we found under the crib. Hooray for storage space!

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Covered in some of his new blankets and his stuffed animal collection is another piece of furniture that Egghead’s grandpa made. It’s a cedar chest that he made for me when I was about sixteen. Now it holds the baby’s blankets, bedding, and even some toddler clothes.

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Of course, with two English teachers for moms, our boy is going to have a great library. So far, it’s still small, but there are some gems here.

The last item on the tour of Egghead’s room is his half of a closet. He’s even got some cute little clothes hanging in it and a fabulous new stroller he plans to go for walks in just as soon as his moms are up to it:

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That, so far, is his space. While he’s still very small, however, Egghead will sleep in our room in a moses basket.

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He won’t remain at the end of the bed, but that’s where the basket rests for now. We’ll move him to my side of the bed once he’s here.

It’s amazing to have spaces chiseled out for this baby who is about to enter our lives. We both love to just sit in the nursery and soak it in. It feels so different–more peaceful–with baby things everywhere. Of course, it’s still an office too. The remnants of that can be seen here:

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(Note the diplomas–as if this child will care a speck about his moms’ advanced degrees when he wants to be fed or changed.)

And here:

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But as you can see, even these items are flanked in baby gear–and we rather like it that way. Now all we need is a sweet little boy to make it complete. Just a little under eight weeks until his due date. We really are that close now.

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Filed under Egghead, home, nesting

of appointments and showers and joy

I suppose I have let you all enjoy the peak into our bedroom long enough. It’s time I’m a responsible blogger again and start updating on what has happened in the past week–because it’s quite a lot!

Today we had a midwife appointment. It was the first of our every-two-week appointments (although this one was after three weeks in order to get us on even numbers). This week marks thirty weeks for us. Thirty. 30. Holy shit.

The appointment went pretty well. My weight once again was the same as it was when I got pregnant, and my blood pressure was 120/80 where it has been since appointment 2. I’m consistent if nothing else! Egghead is still measuring two weeks ahead at 32 weeks, and his heartbeat was around 140. He’s growing and healthy and everyone was pleased. We did have to discuss the fibroid issue with the midwife. She had spoken with our OB about it, and it seems that they are indeed located at the bottom of my uterus where they could cause problems during birth. That said, they are located toward the back of my uterus, so she and the doctor aren’t overly concerned and they both think it’s a matter of waiting until I’m in labor to see what happens. She doesn’t see a need to worry, so I’m working to tell myself the same. That’s a little easier said than done, but now I’m just trying to prepare myself for whatever sort of birth comes our way. Reading Birthing From Within is making that a little easier.

The bigger excitement happened last weekend, when J and I took a five-hour road trip up the coast to Humboldt where some friends of us threw us our first shower. What a fantastic weekend it was. We stayed with two of our very dearest friends, and we spent the whole first evening sitting around chatting, eating great food, and simply relaxing outside.

The next day was the shower. Since  it was being held at the home where we were staying, we left for a few hours to attend the local farmer’s market that we used to love so much, and we met up with a friend, his eight-month pregnant wife, and their two-year-old son. It was great to see them and especially good to talk with the friend’s wife who had had complications with fibroids during her first pregnancy (but also ended up having a natural birth). It was so nice to discuss this with someone who had been there, but it was especially good to see old friends in this environment.

When we left the market, we returned to our friends’ place where the shower was about to begin. While we were gone, our two hostess friends had prepared a huge brunch and had decorated with tons of flowers and candles.

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In just moments, people started to arrive. We haven’t returned to Humboldt since we left in February of 2008, and while a few of these women have come to visit us, most of them we haven’t seen since before we left. What a joy it was to see each one of them as they walked in. They positively doted on us, and my heart was so full, I thought it would surely burst. I have been very happy since I’ve been pregnant, but this made me positively buoyant.

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Brunch was had, and one of the co-hostesses, our friend A, gathered the beads she had asked everyone to bring and announced that I was to make a necklace of sorts to focus on for labor. I admittedly have not yet made it, but it’s going to be this wonderfully eclectic string of beads that should help keep these lovely women with me. She also announced a writing assignment (since 99% of us are writing teachers), asking everyone to write us advice or great things they remember about their own moms. Reading through this box of missives later made me burst into frequent bouts of tears.

Writing

Later I was surprised with belly henna. All of the women there took turns painting a design or embellishment on my belly. This was my favorite part of the day, for I got one-on-one time with each of my friends.

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By the time the belly was complete, it was quite a masterpiece!

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My wife added the final touch–the only text way at the bottom:

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Sadly, the henna didn’t take well because of a mix-up in directions, but it was lovely to have this done and to spend this time with so many lovely people.

The gift-opening time was great as well. People were so very generous, but they also followed our requests to rely a little more on gently used items. This was fabulous because so many of them are moms and were able to pass on things from their kids (one woman gave us some baby clothes from her 20-year-old son!) as well as from their own supplies. One friend who had been gifted a Kate Spade bag when she was pregnant passed it along to us. Honestly, we could care less about labels (and nor could she), so we’re finding it hilarious to have this over-priced simple black diaper bag. We’ll certainly fit in amongst the label-conscious tourists in our current town.

In all, this was the best of days and the best of getaways. Our friends all seem so genuinely happy for us, and we were so excited to have them there to celebrate the coming of Egghead. There is nothing quite like being filled with the love and generosity of friends.

HappyTandJ

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Filed under Egghead, friends, home, midwife, showers

scene from a saturday evening

In the living room, I am following a yoga “video” that has no images. As the half hour winds down and the voice on the recording leads me into a meditation, the dishwasher swings into high gear with its swooshing of water and soap and the grinding of its gears. Relaxing on my left side, I face the hall bathroom, and the odor of cat urine from a litter box needing cleaning wafts through my breathing space. A cat plops down next to my head to do his own sort of yoga, one leg in the air, face buried in his groin to clean. Namaste.

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home sweet home

Well, the letter is in the mail. My grandmother should receive it in a day or so if she checks her mail, and I am looking forward to hearing back from her. J left me alone in the house for an hour or so on Sunday morning so that I could write it, and I enjoyed it. It went quickly, even with all the requisite small talk.

I have a number of different posts brewing, but some of them require too much work for my level of motivation today, so a ramble it is.

I think J and I have decided to stay in our current living situation. We have the opportunity to lock in our same rent price for another year, and while it’s not ideal, it’s okay. It’s better than trying to come up with first/last/deposit when I’m working part-time, and J is job hunting. There are several plus sides: We have good air conditioning for the hot summer months when I’m going to be miserably toasty, and we have a pool, which will be lovely all summer long.

The downside is space. We live in a two-bedroom apartment. It’s a nice-sized two-bedroom, but we moved here after living in a three-bedroom house. While we pared down significantly, we still have a full second bedroom/home office, and that is going to have to change. We’re trying to get creative with space-saving. This will mean more purging and organizing, both of which are things I don’t mind at all. The problem lies in the things we want to keep. We are, unfortunately, very into our hobbies. We love camping and hiking, so we have a fair amount of camping gear. We make candles, so we have the supplies for that. I crochet, so there are those supplies. J paints. And then my paretns gave us a set of golf clubs for Christmas. And on and on. We have a closet filled with hobby supplies and nowhere else to put them. We considered a mini storage at one point, but here, we might as well rent another apartment for what they wanted to charge for a 4’x4′ space. Seriously. Ultimately, this just means we have to get more creative, get rid of the guest futon, and be more discerning in what we keep. I’m honestly looking forward to it.

Fortunately, when our lease is up, Egghead will be about six months old. That is about the time we’ll probably want to start transitioning him/her out of our room anyway, making it a good time to move into a larger space. It’s not ideal. Moving is never really ideal, but it’s about the best scenario we can dream up at the moment (aside from winning the H.GTV dreamhome, which happens to be in our town this year–that would be the best scenario).

So in the next few weeks, I think we’ll begin working on that second bedroom. We will need a space for baby things, even if Egghead sleeps solely in a co-sleeper in our room, and, frankly, it seems weird not to have any sort of nursery. I imagine with a couple of trips to I.kea, we’ll make it all work.

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ahhhhhh, home

We’re home. It was a good trip full of family and baby cuddles, but we’re so glad to be home. We have a fire going with cats taking baths in front of it. J is lying in front of the fire with them sipping some brandy.

On our drive home, we watched the sunset, and then fruit orchards sillhouetted black and lacy against a fuschia sky.

Tomorrow, we will start on a grading marathon that may not end for two weeks, but for tonight, we’re enjoying our home and our family of felines.

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a wine country holistay

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In light of the recent turmoil, J and I went to the store, stocked up on tasty food, and have hunkered down for a staycation this weekend complete with feel-good romantic comedies.

It’s good timing too because I’m now coming down with another damn cold. I’ll beat this one, and it doesn’t seem all that bad. I just wish my students would keep their pathogens to themselves.

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Tree Huggers

Our camping trip was, like so many experiences lately, just what we needed. We had the opportunity to go home. That is, we went to the Humboldt Redwoods. J and I both spent over a decade on the Humboldt coast (I know; I’m revealing a lot here!), and most of those years, we spent loving the Humboldt Coastal Redwoods. So when the opportunity arose to go camping with our very best friends in one of our very favorite places, we were thrilled, despite the long, long, long drive. This long, long (long, long) drive was beautiful though. It had been months since we had seen mountain after mountain covered in giant trees, since we had been somewhere where heavy traffic was four or five cars passing by the same spot in over the course of a couple of minutes. Once we hit the Humboldt County line, we found ourselves breathing easier.

We arrived at our campground at Humboldt Redwoods State Park on Friday afternoon. J and I have a ritual to pop open a beer as soon as we arrive at camp, so we did. We enjoyed our beers as we surveyed the campsite and determined what we would set up first. Any time we arrive at a campsite for a weekend of camping, this feeling washes over me–this sense of freedom and peace. And this is what we were feeling as we set up camp amongst the redwoods, madrones, and oak trees that hugged our campsite. We built a fire, made some dinner, and even played Yahtzee! (Yes, we are eighty).

campsite at dusk

campsite at dusk

Our friends would arrive later that evening, exhausted, and we greeted them with a campfire and a margarita and warm hugs.

When we went to bed, J and I discovered that the air mattress we had borrowed was significantly less full than when we set up camp. This concerned us, but we aired it up again, and went to bed. Two hours later, we woke up on the ground, and I had a large stick in my back. We aired it up again. Two hours later, we awoke to the same phenomenon. We aired it up again. This happend two more times before we decided that getting up was more inviting than sleeping a moment longer on that thing. So we got up, made our french press coffee and a fire and breakfast, and all was better with the world.

Later that day, we headed to the river.

Eel River

Eel River

One of Humboldt’s greatest treasures, in addition to its redwoods (and its one very notable agricultural export), are its rivers. We found a sunny spot on the Eel River where we stared at the water (and even ventured in a couple of times). The four of us have spent many summers camping at the Van Duzen River (which feeds into the Eel), so we fell right into our old groove as we sat there talking, then silent, then laughing.

J, V, and N

J, V, and N

Our friend, N, walked with me along the banks as I picked out rocks for our balcony garden back home. He’s a geologist, so he identified them for me and told me their stories. This one is volcanic. This one shows a flood happened. This one is made up of fossilized microbes. These are the things we’ve always done together camping, what we will always do.

Our access spot to the river was just beyond a stand of old growth redwoods, so as we were leaving, I snapped some photos of some giants.

 

In groves of old growth redwoods, it is often dark. The canopy is dense and only allows filtered sunlight through to the forest floor, so often, one will see what seems to be a spotlight on a fern or a clover. It’s the most magical sight.

That night, we had a giant campfire. We sang songs, drank too much, ate great food, and laughed a lot. J and our buddy N had spent some time trying to patch the mattress earlier in the day, but to no avail, so our friends invited us to sleep in their trailer, and we took them up on it. Needless to say, we were grateful, even if we had to sleep apart. We were up early again the next morning and crept out without waking them back to our campsite.

We cleaned up camp and said a sad goodbye to our friends as they went back to our old hometown where they live and we prepared to go back to our new home. On the way, we opted to take the Avenue of the Giants. This is a road that parallels Highway 101, and it drives through some groves of incredibly huge trees. We stopped for a short hike at one of the groves. It was Sunday, and this was our church.

When one enters a grove of old growth redwoods, the modern world disappears, and thousands of years of history unfold before your eyes. The ground beneath your feet becomes soft and spongy from centuries of needles and bark falling from the trees (this special soil is called “duff”).

The air smells sweet, and the sun sifts through the branches of the trees. There is no better word to describe this than magical.

A few times, J and I stopped, held hands, and closed our eyes. Other times we walked, hand in hand, with our heads tilted toward what would normally be the sky, staring up and up and up at trees that rival skyscrapers.

We hugged some of these trees.

J hugging tree

J hugging tree

We spent time with one enormous tree that must have had a forty-foot circumferance.

We stood at its base, contemplating its age, looking up to try to see its top.

We couldn’t. We loved this tree.

We would stall as we walked, slowing our steps, looking up, then around, taking photos, trying to soak in every last feeling of wonder and enchantment, burning images on our brains of our trees. I wanted to stay forever.

But soon enough, our hike was over. It was time to drive home, away from our beloved Humboldt Redwoods, trees that feel like family, trees that feel like home.

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Filed under camping, friends, hiking, home, redwoods

Four Things

I’ve got a lot of bloggy business to attend to today, so here goes!

First, I have a couple of Photo Friday shots to share. This week, the theme was Four. First, I present to you four cat toes:

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The other contribution showcases some apples that I got at our little farmer’s market this morning. I was frankly quite surprised to find apples so late in the season, but they are local and fresh and juicy and tasty. And there are four of them here:

Apple Shadows

Second, for those of you who either did or didn’t obsess for me the other day, I had another high temp, and today a lower one. I’m a bit crampy with sore boobs–quit typical of the week leading up to the blood. I did have a dream about taking a series of pregnancy tests that were all positive, but the test results would fade after about three seconds, so I couldn’t prove that I was truly pregnant. I woke up annoyed. Honestly, I don’t think I could be any less pregnant, but I’ll keep you updated.

Third, I’ve been tagged by j. k-c. for a fun little meme involving books, which I find utterly appropriate considering my intimate involvement with the things this week. The rules are as follows:

1. Grab the nearest book of 123 pages or more.
2. Open it to page 123.
3. Find the first 5 sentences and write them down.
4. Then invite 5 friends to do the same.

At my desk, I have primarily reference books related to writing. I avoided The Dictionary of Modern American Usage as well as the Thesaurus. Ugh. So, I turned around to find a copy of Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss sitting on a shelf directly to my right. It looks like my readers are going to get a little punctuation lesson because here are the first five sentences of page 123:

So it is true that we must keep an eye on the dash–and also the ellipsis (…), which is turning up increasingly in emails as shorthand for “more to come, actually . . . it might be related to what I’ve just written . . . but the main thing is I haven’t finished . . . let’s just wait and see . . . I could go on like this for hours . . . ” However, so long as there remain sentences on this earth that begin with capital letters and end with full stops, there will be a place for the semicolon. True, its use is never obligatory, because a full top ought always to be an alternative. But that only makes it the more wonderful.

Popotakis had tried a cinema, a dance hall, bacarat, and miniature golf; now he had four ping-pong tables.

Don’t you feel more informed? I tag Chronicles of Conception, Baby Steps, Notes from Two Moms, Milk in the Batter, and OhChicken. You’re all it!

And finally, for those who have been interested in seeing the bookshelves that T built (err, assembled–and sorry about referring to myself in the third person), here they are in all their glory with a bonus shot of our little cat, Zoe. For some reason they don’t look nearly as massive in this photo, and I can’t, for the life of me figure out how these books filled a whole ten boxes. There seem to be so few once they’re on the shelves! I will admit that we still have another large bookcase in the office as well as small bookshelves built into the desk and another small bookcase to the right of the desk, but those books filled another four or five boxes. We are a slave to our books. One day I dream of a full room with walls lined with floor to ceiling built-in bookcases and two very comfy reading chairs. Ahhh…that would be lovely.

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Have a good weekend everyone! And if you made it this far, you get a gold star!

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Filed under BBT, home, moving, new home, Photo Friday

Home Again (and Upcoming Password Post Warning)

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.

Ha.

Who am I kidding?

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Filed under holidays, home, missed cycles