Monday, January 28, 2008

the persistence of memory

I was going to type about the latest in my marriage, but a friend e-mailed some interesting stuff today and we got into a whole little research project.

Imagine there's a giant snowstorm that hits Washington, DC, dumping almost 30 inches on the city over 3 days. It's heavy, wet snow, and shuts down almost everything. But, being snowbound for days can be a drag, so a few hundred people make their way to a giant movie theater to take in the latest. Midway through, around 9pm, the weight of all that snow collapses the entire roof of the theater, trapping people in the debris. A congressman dies - as do 97 other people, with over 130 injured, some very seriously.

How big a story would that be? What type of memorial would be erected to commemorate this horrible disaster?

Today is the 86th anniversary of the Great Knickerbocker snowstorm of 1922, so named because that collapse happened at Crandall's Knickerbocker Theater.

My friend lives in DC and is a major weather geek. I am a person who is interested in stories and kinda interested in weather, so he sent me the link to a blog posting about it.

And then because we were both working on fairly tedious things, we started using wikipedia and google and found all sorts of interesting things, though really not much at all.

There appears to be no memorial. None. 98 people dead, and no memorial at all. Currently there's a bank on the site, which is located in a bar area of DC. Here's the Wikipedia story. The collapse happened in 1922, and by 1923, a new theater was built in the shell of the Knickerbocker.

I just can't get over it - 98 people died. Here's a link to some local press coverage from the time. Vivid, dramatic stuff. 86 years ago - there might still be survivors alive, or rescuers, or children who watched and helped. And yet there's very little about this story on the web.

The Titanic sank in 1912, with over 1500 lives lost. Think of the movies, the memories, the news stories of the last known survivor from the titanic dying. Is it the scale that makes that tragedy still real, while 98 people isn't large enough?

Or did we grieve differently then? Move on, pack up our grief, construct a new theater in the shell of the old. Did family members of those who lost their lives come to the opening of the new theater? Or did they refuse to ever step foot inside the new place? Where's the plaque commemorating lives lost and forever altered?

86 years from now, what will be on the site of the World Trade Center? Will people still leave flowers in the tunnel where Princess Diana died? What will exist on the campus of Virginia Tech, or in Oklahoma City? When do you stop remembering a tragedy, and "normal life" takes over?

making plans

I cannot believe how long I let go between posts now. There were more than a handful of things I wanted to type out last week, and a few key things did happen that I want to relate. It seems that now that majorly dramatic events aren't happening on a daily basis, it's harder for me to focus in on typing. I'd like to type more reflective, thoughtful things, too, but have not had the focus to really concentrate. A fair amount happened last week, yet I want to avoid a super long post typing it all out.

Today I want to focus on the visit to the fertility doctor. Tonight I'd like to type in some of the big relationship things that happened last week. Last week there was a confluence of posts among blogs I read that really made me think, and I want to get my thoughts in before I forget them. And then there's more poetry, photos of the house repairs, and of course the weight. A lot of stuff to type. A whole week's worth - not to mention that tomorrow my husband and I have a joint session with BOTH our counselors. So my pledge is a post a day, if not more.

It's harder to post because my husband and I are spending so much time together. Which is a good thing, but leaves little computer time. We watch TV together, work on the house together, go to bed at the same time - great for our relationship, for right now, but not great for alone time. We'll see how that goes.

Anyway, the fertility guy. Not fun. They are a pretty aggressive practice who fairly quickly move to IVF. After relating my history, the doctor said, ok, if you're menstruating every 27-28 days, with 5 days of flow, you're ovulating. He didn't address my concerns about lack of cervical mucous at all, and I wish I had pressed that. He said the only thing working against you is age, and within the year you're probably looking at donor eggs.

So yeah, the clock is ticking. I don't particularly like being pregnant. Let's face it, it's uncomfortable, a little bit gross, awkward, and really disruptive to your normal life. And, I'm going to admit it, genetics matter to me. It matters to me that my daughter looks like me, and twirls her hair like I do, and thinks like me. It matters. Before anyone freaks out on me, hold on! I could/would certainly love a non-biological child - I'm not saying that I wouldn't. I am saying if I'm going to be pregnant, it's going to be with my eggs and my husband's sperm. My desire isn't for "a baby" it's for my baby - a full-blood sibling to my daughter. If that's not going to happen, adoption of an older, harder-to-place child would be the path I'd take for more children. So, for now, for what I want right now (which could change), TICK, TICK, TICK.

He outlined 4 steps - 4 pieces of info - in the next month.

1. Testing my husband. Ugh. I said right now, not an option. I explained the loss we suffered a year ago was still very fresh, and my husband was willing to get pregnant, but not willing to do anything outside of sex. He wasn't thrilled with that answer - said after all, nothing had really happened to my husband (thank you!), I was the one who had physically experienced everything. And that time was a factor. And that the male is 50% of the equation, and without that he couldn't give me a full answer. This was not great for my mental state, but I knew all this. It's just not something I'm willing to bring up right now.

2. Sonogram - assess the uterus and ovaries - checking for fibroids, cysts, polyps, assess the follicles.

3. Examine fallopian tubes - the hysterosalpingogram (HSG), an xray test where dye is injected in the uterus and progress of the dye followed through the fallopian tubes to make sure they aren't blocked. Done between day 6 and 11 of the cycle.

4. Day 3 hormones - FSH, LH, Estradiol.

Huh, wait, I'm going through the materials I was given and there's actually a fifth thing, another blood draw by a lab, and I guess that one is antisperm antibody test as well as a whole host of other things - lipids, hepatitis, and a few other things I have no idea about.

And then, after all that info is in, a consult to develop the plan. As I said, this seems to be a fairly aggressive practice, focused on getting a baby. That's a good thing. Not as great for me, who right now is focused on just learning more. Focus on having another baby may come, but given the rest of my life, isn't where I am. So it was emotionally hard to be there. I don't think they deal with many people who aren't full on here's my credit card when can we implant fertilized eggs ready to go types.

I was there on day 7 of my cycle. But given the weekend, I missed the chance for the HSG, so that'll be another month, and can be the last thing I do from the list. I'm glad I went and know what would come next. And my insurance covers everything in this stage, so I can do my 4 things without any financial penalty, and minimal physical commitment.

And this is where we bump into the relationship. I don't stand on my own all that well. I can, and do, but when it comes right down to it, I'm more interested in sharing my life with my partner. So hiding all this, not talking about it, would be hard for me. I guess "will" be hard for me. Other than the HSG, though, none of it is particularly complicated, so I will go through with it. I gave the practice my cell number only, the insurance is in my name, so I can do all this and no one need ever be the wiser. And then we'll see what happens.

The other night my husband said he would do anything I wanted him to do to save our marriage. And I just thought, really? Will you?

Monday, January 21, 2008

first trip

Sitting in a conference room, itching to be free. I traveled for a two day workshop that my new company sponsors, to try to learn more about what we do and how it's received. It's been interesting, but I've been in this conference room since 8:30 this morning. There's an evening session which will start soon. All in all a long day. Interesting, but long. I MUST go to the gym at my hotel.

I love shopping - and love end of season sales hat start before the season is really even up and running. So even though winter is just now kicking in, I just bought a cute scarf from the Gap that was marked down to $4. I wanted it before Christmas, but it was $35. Ridiculous.

So I've bought two nice outfits, very cheaply, but both are too tight. My goal is to wear one in two and a half weeks for a special dinner, and the other in three+ weeks for Valentine's Day. I'm hoping a tight deadline will keep me eating right and exercising every day. Usually when traveling I'm not great about exercising, but tonight when I finally get back to the hotel I am going to break my usual pattern and go to the gym.

This past weekend was another mostly good, a little bit bad. I don't know what happens - we were having a great time, were driving along to a fun activity, and suddenly my mind started to race with the usual how could he have done/said the things he did/said? How can I trust him? How can we get past this? Can we? And in no time I'm teary and miserable. And he's miserable too.

Saturday driving in the car, with our daughter sleeping in the back, he said it wasn't lost on him what these next three weeks are - one year since the diagnosis of problems in my pregnancy and the loss of that pregnancy. A terrible, horrible, frightening, painful three weeks. The thing is, I don't actually think about it that much. I think about him saying I had to drive to see my parents by myself (with our daughter) because he didn't want to spend that much time alone with me. I think about him lying to me about his affair, when I had seen actual evidence. I think about him saying at every point of our marriage, and even before our marriage, he thought he could do better. I thought about the many times he said he just felt nothing for me. Nothing at all.

There's no room to think about a lost pregnancy, when I have to think about the future. Protecting me, protecting our daughter, keeping things together.

It's almost like he's finally grieving and experiencing the loss, where I've had losses and hurts since then that have been worse. It's hard to type things have been worse than my poor dead baby, but yeah, betrayal from the one person who is supposed to be my safe place, my soft place to fall, is worse. Cause that's what I've lost - my security that if/when bad things happen there's someone who will face those with me, will help me and I will help him.

So, anyway, he finally said, look, I love you, I love our daughter, I'm not going anyplace....

And I interrupted. Did he realize that's the first time since August he said anything about how he felt about me? And he didn't really respond.

Later in the day, once we were home, I said, look, it's really been bugging me that you haven't said anything about your feelings. Had your feelings for me come back? Had they not? Was he saving up telling me they had, or was he just being a dork and thinking he didn't need to say anything? And he said he was saving it up.

WTF? Saving it up for what?

Friday, January 18, 2008

the job

ok, so week 2 is done. And there have been times I've been wondering what the heck I've done. Not leaving my previous job - I haven't given that a second thought. But there are lots of unknowns with this new position, and some things that make me nervous.

I'm traveling next week - leave Sunday, back Wednesday night. A bummer, I'll miss 4 bedtimes, since my flight gets in late on Wednesday night. I want to minimize weekend travel and length of travel. But this first time I'll let it go. Perhaps I should take a harder line from the start, but I think better to be flexible initially then slowly enforce my own preferences.

I asked a fairly basic question today via e-mail and got this reply - you're entering a movie that's already completed, so XX is what you have to work with. Yikes! Way to be flexible, people. I also asked some questions about programs ongoing this year and was told that since they are already planned, no changes could be made. I replied, I wasn't suggesting that, just asking what was planned, why and how, so we could figure out how to plan in out years.

But also today I spoke with one of the board members, and every time I talk to him I feel like this will be a great position, we just have to figure some things out and it'll all be fine. It's too hard to tell after two weeks.

Ok, this is a very boring post but after my oh my god I'm entering menopause mini freak out I needed to bump that down. (oh, and my body held out for a 27 day cycle, so that's fairly normal, but did mean a lot of PMS days this month. Fun.)

I've been busy, not focused on blogging, so while I'm visiting everyone, I've not had any comments to leave. Maybe on travel I'll have some more time.

And since it's Friday, I'll check in on my weight just by saying I need to do something other than stand on the scale, because that isn't magically causing the numbers to shrink. Perhaps a longer post on that.

Not much on the home front. More on that later, too. Ok, got to go figure out the leftover situation.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

life stages

I was reading some women's magazine the other day and there was an article on menopause. It said menopause is actually only one day in a woman's life - the day when it's been 6 months since she's had a period, after a possibly long stretch of time (10 years or more) of perimenopause. The hot flashes, etc are symptoms of perimenopause.

The article went on to say another symptom is periods closer together. Yesterday, walking to meet my husband for lunch, I suddenly was hit with a wave of PMS cramps. Aha, I thought, last night's sadness, generally feeling blah, now cramping - all signs my period will start in a couple of hours, if not right now, and I have nothing on me. Because my period isn't supposed to start for another 4 days.

So now I've convinced myself I'm entering the menopause era at 39. Which is possible, and doesn't technically mean an end to infertility, just possibly more unknowns in terms of timing things.

Great. Though now it's Tuesday afternoon and I've had some passing cramps, but no period. I've had very regular periods since I was 11. Usually 28, sometimes 29 days, sometimes another day or two later. Rarely shorter. I'm glad I made the appointment for the fertility specialist. And next week would probably be good timing, I guess. Who knows. I find myself absurdly rooting for my body to hold off for another 3 days. Come on body, you can do it. Stick to our regular schedule!

Monday, January 14, 2008

ups and downs

Last time I wrote that recovery is not linear. And of course it's not. But there are times I wish it was.

We had a really good weekend. Really fun. Friday we went out for dinner and then caught up on some TIVOed shows. Sat we went to a local festival, then he took our daughter home for her afternoon nap and I went to clean out my office. Ugh. I just ran out of time/interest in doing it my last few days at that job, so there was a ton to do. I took 4 boxes home Saturday. Then we had friends over for dinner. Sunday we went to a museum to see a show and out for brunch, then once aagin I cleaned out my office while he went home for naptime. Sunday I brought home another 4 boxes. Ugh.

When I left my second to last job, I had been there 8 years, and brought home 10 boxes of stuff - boxes that are now in my spare bedroom, usually stashed in the attic. I swore I wouldn't gather that much crap again, but after only 3.5 years I had another 8 boxes! These weren't that full, though, only 1 was samples of things to keep, notebooks, binders, reports, etc. 1 was plants, another pictures, another office supplies (mine!). So once I have a new office and a new home office, it'll get sorted out fairly quickly. And then I can tackle the 10 boxes from that previous job!

Oh, speaking of, our new hardwood floors look great in our office. I'll post pics this week.

Anyway, so all in all, a great weekend - we were fairly affectionate, it was good. Normal. Oh, I hadn't typed that Thursday night we had an emotional discussion. Not based on my Thursday afternoon freak out. Well, it was brought on by that, but we didn't talk about that. I need a way to bring it up with him, but I'm not ready. Instead it was just a raw discussion of my sadness at his betrayal. Your typical how could you do it? How could you betray me in that way, and why don't you ever talk about it? It made him cry, and talk about how ashamed he was. He's transferred reporting authority over this girl to another person in his small company. And he's making lots of moves to leave his job, though he has a big deadline in March and he feels he can't leave the company until after they hit that deliverable.

I just wish he would tell me things more proactively, instead of me having to ask. He's not mentioned this girl at work once, so I had to ask what was going on and then it turns out she no longer reports to him. What couldn't he tell me he had done that? He insisted strongly that he was happy and wanted to work on our relationship and make it great. I'm also unhappy there's been no talk of love. We're not lovey dovey people, we rarely say we love each other as a normal course. Throughout the fall I kept insisting I loved him. He signed his Christmas card to me love. Bot other than that, nothing. And since one of the things that drives me crazy is that I always have to bring things up or say them first, I am holding back on this, and don't want to bring it up.

Anyway, I'm all over the place right now. OK, emotion-laden conversation Thursday night, great weekend. And then Sunday night suddenly I was just sad. Just froze up, feeling I don't know what. Insecure. Unattractive. Sad. Betrayed.

And I still feel that way. We actually made reservations for a nice lunch today, so that's coming up soon, and I want to enjoy it. I don't know how to find myself, center myself when these feelings of inadequacy/insecurity/betrayal come up. I don't know if I should talk about it, or exercise, or write here, or what. How to drive these thoughts out of my head. Or, live with them, process them, get past them.

I made an appointment with the fertility specialist. It's next week.

And I deleted the linked in invite.

Baby steps, I guess. Maybe instead of linear it's two steps forward, one step back. Four steps forward, 3 steps back, 10 steps forward, 2 steps back - as long as there is overall forward progress?

Friday, January 11, 2008

moving it down

I don't want my last post to remain at the top of the list over the weekend. Recovery - from anything - is not linear. It's fits and starts, good days and bad days, ups and downs, peaks and valleys, etc etc. Yesterday was a shadowed valley, that's for sure. But today is better.

I appreciate the comments, I really do, and they've definitely made me think. And lean in the direction of at a minimum scheduling an appointment with a specialist. It can't hurt, and more info is better than no info. I'd rather know something than speculate endlessly.

Anyway, having a better day today, I want to change the subject.

Yesterday I got an invite to join someone's linked in network - a former classmate from college. One that I didn't like very much while we were in school, but was friendly with as she was a good friend of one of my good friends. I've not seen her since graduation, what, 18 years ago, and that's just fine with me.

So what's the linked in etiquette? I've had others from my college who I had distant relationships with invite me, and I've accepted because I semi-liked them and besides, what's the harm? I really would like to not accept this one.

I'll probably just not respond. But I do have a horror of being rude (and yes, while I say I'm not, and I certainly don't want to be, clearly I'm a bit of a pushover in the female oh please don't anyone not like me sort of way). Do I decline? Block her? Just not respond? What do you do with unwelcome blasts from the past?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

the other side

Dammit. I really, really like my last post. A lot. It ties everything together, it has a point, it's dare I say a little bit profound. And it's only been up 18 hours or so, and I'm feeling compelled to post again. Yesterday was the wise post, the good day box checked. Today is the pit of despair, bad day posting.

I am taking a break from work and just clicked around a few blogs and read Tash's post over at Awful But Functioning. And it's set me off on a round of sobbing that I haven't experienced in oh, at least a couple of weeks. Wailing, sit on the floor clutching the tissue, curl up on the floor sobbing.

I want another baby. I desperately want another baby. I've not said so explicitly, but surely that's clear. And with my goddamn fucking loser of a husband, plus my shriveled up 39 year old defective egg producing when they were producing which now they're not ovaries, my fertility journey appears to be over.

And because of my goddamn fucking loser of a husband, I don't get any say in the matter. None. No chance to figure out what was going on with my ovaries and reproduction, no tests, no nothing. Just over. And that makes me so angry with him. It's the biggest thing for which I do not think forgiveness will come.

We haven't talked about it, of course. What's there to say? OK, so our relationship is completely fragile and two months ago you were fucking your 25 year old employee, so what say we try to figure out what's going on and get pregnant?

But because I'm 39, it's not like I leave him, meet someone and pop out another kid in the year or two. Odds of that happening are very low. And it certainly isn't in the best interests of my daughter.

I'm also 11 months post loss. A loss I mourn every day. And because of my husband, I have no plan, no direction, no journey from here.

I am so angry with him about this. So angry.

The week before I discovered his affair, I bought the Fertility Cure. And I had an appointment with my regular OB GYN. I sat in the waiting room for an hour, and in the appointment room for 30 minutes. When she finally came in, I explained how it had only been two months of trying, but I was certain I wasn't ovulating. She said, well, there are tests we can do here, but just make an appointment with a specialist because they'd run all the same tests anyway and no sense to repeat them good luck bye. 90 minutes waiting for something that could have been conveyed in 30 seconds over the phone, great, thanks.

My fertility journey never got to the stage of testing me. Starting in 2003, it was try for 6 months, test husband, fix his problem, early just one of those things miscarriage, healthy pregnancy and baby, easy third conception but turned out to be defective egg that resulted in loss, cessation of ovulation. nearly 5 years in one run on sentence. But, it means I don't even know what all those steps and things are.

I have been toying with asking this question on the blog. I am science-minded person, and I like to know things. Even given how pathetic my marriage is, would it help me to go to the fertility specialist and see if there's an answer? What if it's something simple? What if it's definitely over? Will knowing make it better or worse? Is it better to know, or not? What would you do?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

work/life balance

I was giving one of my friends the latest update and she gave me a great piece of advice - she said I needed to think about me, my daughter, and my husband. Anyone else does not matter. My husband's fling (what the hell do I call her??), my mother in law, anyone else.

I am successful at work because I see all sides to an issue and all the possibilities - the big picture. When presented with a problem, my brain quickly runs through every possible outcome. And make decisions accordingly. That same skill in my personal life is a disaster. Seeing all sides, all possible outcomes, sends me off on a spiral of anxiety and indecisiveness.

I worry and fret about secrets my husband has - things he did with his affair. Not sex things (ugh, I can't even think about that) - restaurants, movies, dates. Stories he shared. The "relationship" they built, based on something. I asked him once and he said shared interests. Shared interests?! WTF? (I think I replied something like, what, interest in destroying a 2 year olds sense of self and security?)

I was thinking about all this as I walked to meet my friend. And about all the advice I got throughout the fall - be strong, be confident, stand on my own two feet. And that advice still holds in this new, trying to fix things period. I'm not remotely close to ready for forgiveness. But what I can do is not worry about THEM or the past, which I can't change. Or about her now, what she's doing, how she acts, what she might try to do. I can just be me, be confident in who I am, and either my husband and I work things out or we don't. And if we don't, it's on my terms, and I will be ok.

It's the same with my mother in law. SHE'S the one with the problem. Um, problemS. Many, many problems. It doesn't help me or my life to speculate what she's doing, or how she's feeling, what her next crazy stunt might be, or what motivates her. All that helps me in my career - understanding my audience and how to reach them effectively. My mother in law is not my target audience.

Yet another reason to create a better work life balance. I never thought my work skills - ones I value so highly - are exactly the wrong skills for life. Life is about mindfulness, being in the moment, not letting outside pressures, worries, concerns intrude. My daughter, my husband, me. My priorities.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

new start (professionally, anyway)

This is it! The night before I start my new position.

No one wants to be dooced. I, in particular, am very paranoid about it. I work in a relatively small field and given the personal nature of this blog, while I might not be fired (I've been too distracted with life to talk about some of the unbearable people with whom I have worked) yeah, I don't want to lose my anonymity. So there might only be vauge-ish work postings, though I think work will quickly become very consuming.

On the home front things are ok. I've gotten a thought in my head I'm having trouble shaking. I want a post nup - a POST-nuptial agreement that spells out I'll get full custody and all our money if my husband leaves me. Not quite sure I should bring this up. We live in a community property state, and in our jurisdiction, the lawyer I consulted made it clear joint custody was the norm.

So in an unsure world, I want assurances.

My husband and I are talking about moving, actually, to get out of the city itself. He thinks it's driven by public schools (and not great private options), whereas for me it's driven by a desire to get to a locality that is more mother-favorable in case of divorce. Maybe my natural optimism is not returning?

Despite my misgivings, things have actually been going well. At our last session, when I was talking about regrets, my husband said he understood that we had reached a point where actions speak louder than words. He can say he's in this, and wants to have a better relationship, but until his actions match it's all talk.

When I got home Friday night he had arranged with our nanny to have her come Saturday and babysit, and we went out and saw Sweeney Todd. Awesome. I'm not a blood and gore person as in slasher flicks, but I love it when it's part of the rich story. The music was really great - soaring, operatic, very singable. I have got to get that soundtrack.

And we spent the rest of the weekend working on the house - prepping our attic project. I feel my last few posts might have given the impression of slovenly living. Well, 9 rubbermaid containers on one floor is a bit much (again, the house was built in 1914 - there are NO closets! well, minimal closets). It's a great house, and fairly often it looks great. When you're in a bad place, as I have been, my bad habits are definitely magnified. I'm excited to have the floors put in, it'll look amazing. I'll have to post pics.

Now we just have to get the tree family has always kept the Christmas tree up until Epiphany (the 3 wise men's visit). I took all the ornaments off when my daughter was napping, so now we have a very dry, dead tree (though still pretty! very green!) with lights and an angel. Tomorrow's project, throw it to the curb. It always makes me a little sad. I told my daughter today we were taking the tree down and she looked at me very seriously, shook her head, and said, "no." So I hope this is not a major drama. In our city people put the trees on the front curb for what appears to be quite random pickup. No notice of when. Often there are trees lining the whole street for a week or so. Quite nice for the dogs, I suppose, though I try not to think about the action they all get. Man, I hope pick up is not tomorrow morning.

Still no word from my inlaws. I've told many friends the story and no one can believe it. Though then they always say, hmm, well, this explains a lot.....

And, finally, the weight. Sigh. I was doing great. I weighed myself before Christmas and I was exactly the same - 173.5. Wow, I thought, good stuff. Somehow that let me slack off even more (plus all the holiday chocolate!) and I know I am up. I'll post a weight on Friday- maybe 5 days of semi virtuous living will get me to my starting weight.

Somehow this turned into a full update post. Not sure how that happened.

OK, wish me luck as I start my new job. I'm feeling really positive about it. We'll see how I feel tomorrow.....

Thursday, January 3, 2008

wrapping up the old

I have 1.5 days left in the old job. My colleagues are actually being quite nice. It looks like I'll be able to purchase my computer, which is a good thing as my ancient Mac (purchased from my last job 4 years ago!) died a few months ago. So this way I'll get a personal laptop, and can have a bit to decide about computers for the new position.

I'm a little nervous about Monday. I think I've mentioned this is a start up, so there is literally nothing. No office, no structure, no phone number, no accounting system, no nothing. So, um, what do I do on the first day? I think I call the Board chair and start figuring out expectations, and also set up calls/meetings with other board members. I might actually think about a trip the second week, to meet with the primary funder - all in all, it's a big, daunting project.

Today I had a counseling session, and then we did a joint one. I think I'm still flummoxed by the switch flipping. My husband truly acts almost as if the fall didn't happen, that we're just getting a fresh start. Which I guess is how you have to act, but I have trouble believing it.

We spent most of the session talking about normal things - well, as normal as you can expect given his family issues. It was at the end that we talked about New Year's Eve. A friend of mine volunteered to babysit for us, and we took advantage and went to dinner with another couple friend. It was hard sitting across the table from them - he kept his arm around his wife nearly the entire time, they were affectionate and so clearly had a solid base of love and support for each other. The woman is a friend of my husband's, and so we knew they actually had a hard holiday season - she wasn't happy with their holiday plans, and she said several times she spent the holiday baking and eating cookies alone. The husband had - without first checking with his wife - agreed to help some friends with a complicated construction project. So he spent most of the time off away, doing his own thing, leaving his wife alone. My husband said he had also noticed how tight their bond seemed to be at dinner, but also thought, what do we know, for all we know they went home and had a huge fight. Which is possibly true. You never really do know what is going on between two people. But still, that night I wanted what they seemed to have.

The counselor reminded us that it was a miracle we had been together to go out at all on NYE, and that's true. It did lead to me saying I had spent most of my 20s insisting I wanted to lead a life of no regrets. I never wanted to look back and say I regretted my choices or any aspect of my life. Maybe that's unreasonable? Does everyone have regrets? Big regrets?

Even with my daughter as part of the mix, right now, I really regret marrying my husband. I wish we had broken up when we were dating. At this point in my life, I really do regret our entire relationship. In my alternate universe, I would have married someone else with whom I shared more core values. We'd have lived a more adventurous life, and we'd have 3 kids. Not quite sure how the adventurous life would match with earlier procreation, but hey, it's my fantasy alternate life.

Our counselor told us about a story in this week's New York Times, The New Year's Cocktail: Regret With a Dash of Bitters. The subhead is: Ruminating on paths not taken is an emotionally corrosive exercise and the common wisdom about regret appears to be true. I need to read this a couple of times.

Our joint counselor is a cognitive behaviorist. So she's big on us moving forward, putting regrets aside, changing behaviors, getting better. Usually I'd be that way too. My own counselor, though, said it best - it's too soon for me. It's OK that I'm not not quite ready to forgive and forget, just move on, after I was dealt such a blow. My husband kicked me when I was down. Hard. And it's going to take some time to heal from that.

I've only read the article once, and I think I'll need several re-readings. Read it (registration might be required) and let me know what you think.

What regrets do you have?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

fresh starts?

you know how when you have a huge project to tackle, you focus in on one small detail that's only slightly related to the big project? But that side project looms large and prevents movement on the big project?

Or is that just me?

Well, that's totally what's going on with me and the last post, and feeling sad about infertility in the face of everything else going on.

In a nutshell, since 2005 we've been working on a project in our attic - converting the attic to usable office space. I live in a house built in 1914, and the list of projects to do is never ending. And it seems we never fully finish one thing, or one area - there's half finished work all over the house, and at times it drives me nuts. Mostly we just live with it.

The attic has been ongoing since 2005. Good lord, now I can say that's 3 years! We improved the steps up to the attic, raised (and replaced) the roof, added heat and AC, and finished off what was unfinished space. Now, we need to clean the mess resulting from construction (I despise drywall dust), paint walls and ceiling, install flooring, and ta-da, brand new empty office. (Getting furniture up there will probably be another 3 years in the making.)

We've picked out the flooring, bought it, arranged for installation, and are just waiting for the installation date, probably in the next two weeks or so. Which means cleaning out the attic and painting has to happen soon. There are about 10 boxes of stuff - office stuff from my last job, old clothes, extra stuff, general junk - that have to go someplace.

Have I blogged about my dad and his looming hoarding problem? I did a little bit. I am a packrat, too. Too much stuff. Our basement is full of stuff, so the attic boxes can't really go there.

The upstairs hallway is already hosting two rubbermaid containers - my maternity clothes. My daughter's room has reached capacity with rubbermaid containers - 4 - of baby clothes. And the spare room also is at capacity with 3 rubbermaids of more outgrown clothes from my daughter. All carefully packed away for child #2.

So that's 9 - NINE - rubbermaid containers waiting for another pregnancy and baby. The basement has its own issues with older junk, but reached capacity because of discarded baby paraphenalia - infant car seat, baby swing, stroller, etc etc etc.

And now it's 2008, a fresh start, and throwing things out is generally what people do when they want to clear out clutter. I could sell all this stuff and get a few hundred dollars.

I can't do it. I just can't.

I've been thinking about this stuff obsessively for the past week. My daughter was born in September, so to break my logjam I've decided that I'll get rid of it next fall - find someone with a daughter born at that time so the sizes match the seasons. And then deal with the baby gear then, too.

I have other stuff to throw away, clean out, make room. I'll deal with that stuff now, and get this attic project moving. I need to put off the baby gear for awhile, just not think about it, have it hidden away in the basement for another few months. I'll deal with it later.