Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Well, I survived. It was.....fine. That's the best word I can come up with, I think.

Non confrontational people are perfectly fine to spend time with, as it happens. Because there aren't any, you know, confrontations.

So after two years, we show up at the kids place, everyone hugs (! yes! Hugs! Even me!), says hi, and....that's it. We have a perfectly normal day hanging out. Weird.

I thought there was some coolness directed my way, but it wasn't too obvious.

What happens next? Who the hell knows. At one point when we were briefly alone, my sister in law leaned over to me and said, she's heavily medicated these days, it'll be fine.

I guess the trick will be keeping them at a reasonable distance and not getting sucked into expectations for future obligations.

I did fail in my one goal. I had decided my goal was to call my inlaws something. After ten years of marriage, plus 3, nearly 4 years before that, my in-laws still expect me to call them Mr and Mrs. So yesterday I decided I was gonig to walk up to them and say, Betty, FRank, nice to see you again.

I chickened out. Got by 4 hours without calling them anything. Fail. Maybe next time.

What do you call your inlaws?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

doomsday Wednesday

Tomorrow: the in-laws.

Yep, you read that correctly. And believe me, I'm not happy.

My husband took the dog's passing hard. As did the in-laws. At one point, my mother in law e-mailed that she would call except she was crying too hard. (pu-leeeze). Losing our little dog before Christmas sort of seems to have crystallized losing his family for my husband, is all I can figure.

We had been tentatively making plans to get together with his brother, brother's wife, and 5 year old in this week between Christmas and New Years - meeting in an inbetween city at a children's museum, which we have done before. My husband has been setting this up with his brother, and yesterday turns to me and says, what do you think if others are there. Others? Yeah, my parents. And probably my sister. As as aside, my - I don't know - disgust? rage? wearied annoyance? has lately been focused on this sister of his. I'm sick of all of them, of course. Seriously, my little guy is one year old, and there's been more crying over the dog than missing a full year of the little guy's life. And the sister? The last time we heard anything from her was the shrieking cursing phone call as I was being prepped for c-section. And now she's just going to be there at this family get together?

Bleah. I hate this. Knew it was coming, wish there was a way to prevent it. I feel like I'm just facing the inevitable, though, with no way out. Don't go, and I leave my kids in their clutches. Don't go, and feed into more drama. Go, and suck it up.

Monday, December 21, 2009


We had to put our dog down on Friday. It was horrible, absolutely horrible. It was just on Tuesday that we learned she had cancer, after nearly 2 months of being frustrated by what had been diagnosed as a UTI that wasn't responding to antibiotics.

This dog picked me back in 1997. My husband and I had been dating for about 18 months at that point. So our little westie mix had been there through nearly it all. As a rescue dog, she'd been through a lot in her life prior to us, and it would actually do a disservice to her strong, more than slightly warped personality to pretend she had been a perfect dog. She was as flawed as we are, but at her core, sweet and loving. You might look at her and think fluffy dog, but she was tough, and strong, and determined, and fierce. She could tackle tough trails in rocky areas with the agility of a mountain goat - this was no fluffy dog.

Living in a big urban area, we have the best resources available to us - three pet hospitals fully staffed with top specialists. Our regular vet practice had been working on the UTI issue, and finally said it clearly wasn't a UTI and referred us to a specialist at a bigger vet hospital. That practice spent an entire day (yeah, the $$ added up quickly) figuring it out. We couldn't make any decisions without information. On Tuesday, they prescribed an anti-inflammatory and said it would either help a bit and buy us some time, or it wouldn't, and it likely wouldn't. And that vet called us every day to assess how things were going. Unfortunately, that vet wasn't working Friday, and by the afternoon we decided to take her to the hospital closer to our house, the one I had originally used. We needed more info - our dear little dog was hanging on, but by the slenderest of threads, and we needed to have her examined to make any decisions.

And that vet did an exam and ultrasound, and came back to our holding room and said, this sucks. Yes, she is alert and responsive and relatively happy. And, she will stay that way, until her extremely swollen bladder bursts, and she is in terrible pain. We were seeking the middle ground - the point when you know it's time. This particular form of cancer offers no middle ground - a moderately uncomfortable but fairly OK dog, or one who is in terrible pain. No gradual decline, no point where it was clearly time, until it was beyond clearly time. And, after we asked, the vet said if it was her dog, the time was now. We didn't want to have the regret of putting her through agony, so the decision was made. And it was extremely peaceful, and it was the right decision, and it was hard. The sedative caused her to burrow into our arms, and the final mixture took only a second or two to act.

And we miss her terribly.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

another thing

Well, my sinus infection is slowly clearing, thank goodness.

But now we're turning attention to another member of the family - the dog. I've had our little westie mix, rescued from the pound, since 1997. She's always been a handful - a rough life before us left some scars that have shaped her personality. But she's been a good, sweet dog, too.

She's been having troubling urinating for a good while now, and was diagnosed with a UTI that wasn't responding to antibiotics, but today found out it's aggressive cancer, with no treatment. So we're looking at days, maybe weeks. I'm trying to think of a way to wrap this up with a profound thought, but I'm drained today. We've told the four-year old that our dog is very old and very sick, and that she had a good life with us but that she will die soon. I think that's all we can do. Any words of wisdom?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

a break

Just checking in after a little bit of a needed break. Yes, sick again. Still. Endlessly.

Let's recap - came down with a nasty cold Halloween weekend, totally lost my voice, gained terrible cough. Three doctors and perfectly clear lungs and airways, but a cough that sounded like I'd been a smoker for 50 years and was in the final stages of lung disease. Complete with the little hack at the end of the racking cough to clear out the throat (One of my grandfathers smoked - I sounded just like him and wondered if I should start carrying a handkerchief to wipe my mouth like he did.) It was bad. The last doctor prescribed a zpac, just in case, which normally I hate but this time I was desperate. And I felt sicker after the zpac, and my nose got into the act. Last weekend was awful, and by Monday and Tuesday I felt like someone was trying to drive stakes through my head and out my eyeballs, so Tuesday I saw yet another doctor, who heard something rattling around in my lungs, but wasn't too worried, but gave me a prescription for a ten day round of antibiotics for the evil sinus infection.

Usually when I get a sinus infection, I get the antibiotics, take the first pill, and feel immediate relief. Well, it's Sunday, day 6 of this round, and I am still congested and still coughing, though finally I can see health on the horizon. I AM getting better. Just slowly.

Due to the blinding glare of the computer screen, I've barely been online, and it was kinda nice. But I'm ready to re-engage. And write slightly more interesting posts than the history of my sinuses. I promise.

Friday, December 4, 2009


You'd think I'd have a lot of thoughts about Tiger. And I guess I sort of do, but mostly I don't. And I think that's a good sign, actually. Famous cheating spouses no longer are no more like knives to the gut. (though John Edwards you're still majorly on my shit list).

You never really know what happens between two people. What arrangements they've made, what deals they've struck, what blind eyes are turned. His wife does seem to have been surprised, maybe, to have lashed out the way it seems. And for that, I have quite a bit of empathy for her. Others have said it far better than me, and I won't link around because it's everywhere, but Tiger's image has been burnished to the point we all thought he was squeaky clean. Maybe a bit of a perfectionist temper, but otherwise clean and wholesome goody two shoes. I absolutely do think differently of him. Not just that it's clear he's as human as the rest of us. But also, I do think we need a bit more shame for when people are exposed - he isn't an honorable person. He isn't a decent family man. He is not the man he projected himself to be. He is far, far less.

What do you think of Tiger these days?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

no card

Well, I just sorta gave up on NaBloPoMo, didn't I? I don't know what happened - just got on vacation and the bedtime routines were disrupted and I was (am) still sick with this lingering cold and so tired, and there just never seemed to be time. So no posting. Oh well. I'll catch up.

So we got home after a long day of driving on Sunday. My typical task is to go through the mail, so after little guy was down and the car mostly unpacked I went through it all. And interestingly enough, no marker of the little guy's birthday. There had been no calls or messages on the day itself, not ever from my husband's brother.

My husband saw my rifling through the stack of catalogs and said, yep, nothing. I asked, you checked? And he said yeah, went through it twice to be sure. Nothing.

I'm dreading heading into the holidays. We have no plans for Christmas - no way we are driving again to my parents, where my sister is going, and my brother is headed to his in-laws. So it's just us. We actually get kind of bored with just us, I hate to say it. I successfully avoided the inlaws pre-THanksgiving. I hope their silence has pissed off my husband so we avoid them this Christmas, too, but I doubt that'll happen. Hmmm.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Hard to believe it's been a whole year.

Happy birthday to my sweet little man.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Done and done

Two big work projects finished successfully. Whew. Though tons of wrap up to do, of course.

But hitting the road. It took 50 miles, but it suddenly occurred to me this trip was paralleling the one I took two years ago, my daughter
and me without my husband for thanksgiving.

More on this when I can type on a computer, not pecking it out on my phone.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

few random things

My friend from yesterday, whose sister suffered pregnancy loss at 38 weeks, wrote me back and said she thought Glow In The The Woods was amazing, so I'm glad I sent it to her. She said the doctors were doing an autopsy, and that her sister was mostly angry right now - she was a high risk pregnancy for some other medical reasons and was monitored very carefully, but as we all know things can turn so quickly. I am so glad this resource exists. It truly is invaluable.

My first work event went off very well. The second is tomorrow morning, and immediately after we are hitting the road for Thanksgiving, headed to my parents for a long week away.

And I still am coughing! This all started right at Halloween, so I am on day 19 of a really bad cough. Am so hoping some time away, with no work, will clear things up.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

new member

I got an e-mail a few hours ago from a dear friend. She has two sisters, both pregnant. Sister 1 was due in two weeks, sister 2 December 30. Sister 1 went to regular check up yesterday, and the baby was dead. She was induced, and delivered 12 hours later.

My friend sent this to a group of her friends, letting us know, saying that she wanted to share to have some support.

I wanted to reply immediately, but paused. I wanted to type the right thing, and I wanted to offer resources. But I didn't want to say I know this great! group! of babyloss mamas! and you should check out this blog and that blog and etc etc etc. Because I do not want her to stumble across WhichBox. Selfish! But I also do think you have to come to this organically, in many ways. Find what speaks to you. In the end I did suggest Glow in the Woods. I think my friend gets it. My heart goes out to them all.

What would you suggest?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

what a week

I keep thinking about doing a backdated post for yesterday jsut to stick with NaBloPoMo, but I don't even have the motivation for that. This cough is taking it all out of me. That, plus the fact that I've hit well over 120 hours of work the month of November for my 80 hour per month job. Oh, boohoo, poor me, complaining about working a full schedule. I've grown soft. I used to power through hours like a champ. But not anymore. Just not my priority. But, this is the week my two big projects are complete. two days down, three to go. And then we head out of town for Thanksgiving. And I'm not doing a lick of work while away.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

24 hours and 8 spam comments! So frigging annoying.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

we interrupt for a bloggy question

OK, I need bloggy guidance of a technical sort. A past post, from November 2008, is continually receiving comments from spam. I have this set to send me e-mails when I get a comment, so I know what's going on. If not for that feature, I'd have no idea this post was attracting so much spam. I keep going in and deleting it, and then 2 more messages show up overnight.

Why one post from Nov 08? Is this a precursor to the entire blog being spammed? Should I worry? Do I just ignore, and keep deleting as I have time? Is there a way to stop this? Wait, hmm, you can close coments on specific posts, right? I should probably do that? On all old posts? Can I do it on specific ones? Oh ye of more experience - help!

Friday, November 13, 2009

not asking

So, the story of my sister is long and easy to get caught in the details. The bottom line is for thr past 4 years she's lived with her roommate, who is a women's college soccer coach at a very small university. My sister teaches at a private Catholic middle school. It's taken a while, but for the past year or so my brother and I have been speculating that her roommate is more than merely a roommate. We started out 50/50. There was a lot of evidence on both sides. But over time we've all pretty much moved to yeah, most likely.

I tihnk in a normal family you might ask. She's my sister. We're supposedly close. Since this has come up, though, I've found myself being more distant with her. It's harder to talk to her. Is she actively hiding something central to her life? Is she not? In my family, though, you don't ask. I can't even imagine asking.

My husband actually decided he would ask my mom over the summer. My mom said she didn't know, and preferred just to not think about it. Denials runs deep in this family.

Does it matter? Well, it does matter - it matters that she feels she must keep this hidden from her family. How would you feel if a close relative was closeted? Have you ever had someone come out to you?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

i got nothing

NaBloPo Mo is kicking my ass. I have topics I want to cover (my sister: a lesbian or just friends?), I have thoughts, but I got nothing on a daily basis.

So what you got? What's interesting out there in the blogosphere these days?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Just fine

Well, the pediatrician said my daughter was mostly fine, but that perhaps she's picked up some sort of secondary infection that's extending her illness. Probably a viral infection, so nothing ot be done but get through it.

But, doctor also said - based on my husband's descriptions of all our varying illnesses, that we probably all had H1N1. And, he was quite concerned for me, since my husband said I wasn't getting better and I was a nursing mother.

I am getting better. My husband is a wee bit of a hypochondriac. Last Monday I lost my voice completely for three days, but it's growing stronger every day. Still hoarse, and I'm still coughing a lot, but I'm definitely better. Last Thursday and Friday my throat hurt so much I had trouble swallowing, but I had a strep test and it was clean. I feel fine now - tired, but that could be because my son gets up at 6 am these days.

I think this doctor was showing an exaggerated level of concern. I've had the flu twice in the past 15 years. When you have the flu, you know it. You are flat on your back exhausted and bone deep weary from the slightest exertion. You have a fever. I had none of those things and mostly worked through it all, except for the no voice part.

But now I'm aggravated. With the pediatrician's certainty, maybe we did have a mild case of the swine flu? How to know? So are we done with it and I can stop wishing we'd all get better so we could get vaccinated? If my husband is a wee bit of a hyponchondriac, I'm the flip - it's fine, I'm fine, she's fine, we're all fine, no need to go to the doctor, we'll be fine.

How do you feel about the docotr? About the flu vaccine?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


There are times my husband just annoys me, and this afternoon is one of them. So we've all been sick, and my mother-in-law got wind of it. Her email relayed to my husband that our niece, husband's brother's daughter, has pneumonia. My SIL took her to the doctor and heard just a bad cold. My MIL took her to the doctor two days later and got the pneumonia diagnosis. Now I'm sure my SIL just couldn't take her the 2nd time, but of course my MIL's sense of self importance makes her the savior of the story, the only competent childcare giver in the family. So her offer was to come help us. After all, she was a dental hygenist.

I think - I know - my husband just wants to be a son again, in some ways. It's nice to live by family and when you're sick have family come over and help out. I get that. But the strings attached - it's too much.

Anyway, I'm annoyed because through all this, my husband has become convinced my daughter is not getting and better (she is) and needs to go to the doctor. So they're off - I am busy with work, she's going to miss her little dance class with her friends, and she is getting better.

Now I'm in this pickle. I know she is fine. I hope she is fine. As then I can be smug about my superior medical skills.

Monday, November 9, 2009


So my husband exchanged an e-mail with his mom, but no discussion about the coming weekend, and we've not discussed further. Kinda hoping this fades away in the busyness of life. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

uh oh

So, I was kinda cursing NaBloPoMo and wondering what the heck I was going to post tonight, when my husband gave me a topic.

Kids in bed, we're cleaning up kitchen, and he says, just want to float something by you. Haven't done anything, but want to get your reaction.

Uh oh.

He says, how about if we get together with my parents this coming weekend? Try to meet up halfway in between? (they are 2 hours away)

Dum dum dum.

Uh, why? Is the immediate question. He says he's just sick of the cards and the passive aggressive e-mails after the cards and this just isn't working and maybe we just need to try something else. Plus, she heard we were all sick and sent a nice e-mail offering to come down and help out.

I want to scream hell no, but instead I say, I have a hard time seeing how this would play out.

He says he knows I've been worried that our traveling to my parents for Thanksgiving will just piss them off.

I say yes, but what I mean is that I fear it'll just ratchet up the crazy again. Otherwise, I don't care, and I only care about the crazy because not dealing with them is really working for me. And honestly? If we do this, then we're just in it all again, and there's Christmas, and expectations, and we're right back into having to go up there all the time and her getting mad when we don't follow her desires completely.

He agrees, but says he just can't take where we are with them anymore.

UGH. So now I am thinking about it.

Hell, I know what I think.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

doctor visit

Finally headed to a doctor today, only to get confirmation it was only a cold. I had thought so, then my throat started hurting, so better to check.

The thing is, with 4 pregnancies in 5 years, 2 children, plus 27 months of breastfeeding, I haven't seen anyone but my OB, the RE, or the nurse practitioner/lactation consultant at the pediatrician, in a long time. Anything I needed, the OB could cover, including two rounds of antibiotics with my daughter (bronchitis in the beginning, sinus infection near the end).

So, found a 24-hour clinic near my home, they took insurance, they had appointments, and I was in and out in no time with a negative strep test and perfectly clear lungs. And so I am off to bed to try to catch up on some rest and hoping it does all just clear up soon.

And you know what? It was weird to go into the doctor, see someone, and walk out. I had to fill out the patient history form and I tensed halfway through thinking there'd be the how many pregnancies/how many children question, but it wasn't there. I was just a patient with a cold.

Friday, November 6, 2009

work tears

So, I burst into tears today at work. Awesome. Back story: I work remotely for a company based far away. I'm organizing an event with one of the head guys. I'm also organizing an event the very same week with THE head guy. Let's call them Top Dog and Nearly Top Dog. These two have not entirely been getting along lately, and the Top Dog called me last week furious I had done something Nearly Top Dog wanted me to do. We worked it out. Yesterday, I did something for Nearly Top Dog's event that Top Dog wanted me to do - and was something I thought was a good idea and should be done and maybe Nearly Top Dog wouldn't like it but tough. So Nearly Top Dog calls me this morning and lets me have it. I apologize, I weave around, I explain, I invoke Top Dog - but Nearly Top Dog was having none of it. Why? he keeps asking me, why would you do that without asking me? (Because I knew you'd shortsightedly say no and it's the right thing to do and I'm empowered to make these decisions, jerk, is the technically correct answer.) So finally I say, I...I...I....I can't talk to you right now (obviously crying) and hang up.

My initial thought was good, maybe he'll feel bad he made me cry. But then I really did start to cry. I'm sick and yet working hard on these two events and these two jokers had been putting me in the middle for weeks of whatever it was that was going on between them and Wah!!!!!

So after I calm down I think, great, now what. I need to call Nearly Top Dog back and apologize for hanging up and (hoping he feels bad) just agree to move past this. Before I can, Nearly Top Dog calls. He apologizes, I apologize, he tells me there's been a lot going on in the office, tensions are high, leadership of the office is in question, etc, but that he and Top Dog had a big clearing the air meeting yesterday and things were back on track and obviously I had gotten caught in the middle. So we're all good. (and it is all good - I do love this job, and I love it exactly because it is challenging.)

But back to my first reaction when I hung up. It was definitely good, I hope he feels badly that I am crying. I've worked for some powerful women in my day - one of whom told me never, ever cry. Another of whom said, a good cry, strategically played, is a powerful tool in a working woman's arsenal. I think I've absorbed lesson #2. What do you think of crying in the workplace? Verboten? Or, when used wisely and not too often, a good strategic move?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The creme


The Best of the Adoption/Loss/Infertility Blogs of 2009

I was just reading the instructions for the Creme de la Creme list 2009 style. I've never participated, but, well, why not? So I'll go through my archives and see if anything jumps out at me.

Or maybe I'll try extra hard to write something meaningful this month of blog posting. Today is not that day, however. I don't know what I've got, but it is terrible. And lingering. Last week I was blah and lethargic and felt like I had a slight cold. Over the weekend, it turned into full blown cold, plus cough. Sunday and Monday were horrible. And when the baby is sick, too....well, let's just say the get plenty of rest thing is, well, not exactly happening. Every day I think I must be getting better, but every day is blah. And then yesterday my throat started hurting like crazy. So do I have more than a cold?

Anyway, anything I've written this past year that you think is great? Are you submitting?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

My November Guest

My November Guest

MY Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane. 5

Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted gray
Is silver now with clinging mist. 10

The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why. 15

Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise. 20

- Robert Frost, A Boy's Will, 1915

Tuesday, November 3, 2009



See you tomorrow.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Yesterday I went to a jewelry party, hosted by one of the moms from my daughter's summer co-op, featuring jewelry made by the mom I like. The one that shared with me this summer what a lousy year + she's been having, with cancer, miscarriage, financial troubles, marital troubles, infertility due to the cancer, etc. I told her a little of my troubles, over e-mail, and said I thought life was easier when you were able to share more that life can be really, really tough.

Well, I was there at the end of the party, so for a few minutes we were alone and she again mentioned some of her worries, but said she thoght it was finally getting better. And I sympathized with her, and said it was so hard when you're in the shitstorm to see a way out of it, but that way would come. She told me our exchange this summer had meant a lot ot her and she was really touched we had connected, and how much she appreciated it. We continued to talk, and her marriage is tough right now, because her husband, who had been the breadwinner, is having a lot trouble finding work (he is a consultant) and money is tight and he is depressed and talks about how much better off she'd be if he left, or even if he died and they had the insurance money. So we talked about husbands and their weaknesses and somehow I ended up saying that what I had not told her was that my marital problems included my husband having an affair. She was shocked, genuinely shocked.

I walked home thinking I had overshared. That it was too much, and we weren't really that good of friends, and it wasn't entirely my secret to share - that I had somehow betrayed my husband's trust by sharing. Women's friendships, right, are built on sharing. And men can spend all day with each other and come away not knowing anything about the other guy's life. But is this too much? Is it my secret to share? If she feels very strongly, she might not want anything to do with my husband, so even though we haven't socialized much, any thought of us getting together is gone?

My husband viciously betrayed my trust 2 years ago. He knows I've shared with friends and knows I've needed the support from friends. He probably does not think I still share. And I rarely do. And I know he thinks it's in the past and done. He does not know how present it sometimes is.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I hate the greeting card industry

I mean seriously. I was going to do a post about the start of NaBloPoMo and how I was doing it again this year but didn't have as much going on etc etc etc. Last year was the horrible in-laws and then the wonderful birth. The year before was my marriage, and part of my sanity, dissolving before my eyes. We'll see what this year holds, but I'm sure something will turn up. But then my dumb-ass mother in law, the most passive agreesive idiot I know, had to turn up the crazy (albeit only slightly) to kick off the month.

So my husband's birthday was last Monday. No acknowledgement. Later in the week there were two greeting cards in the mail to the two kids, each with a Halloween card, each with $5.

This afternoon, she sends my husband an e-mail. "Did you get the cards? Cause I hate sending money through the mail and jsut wanted to make sure they were received."

Which translates roughly into, 'pay attention to me, it's been too long with no craziness and I can't stand being ignored.'

Husband says to me, if she wants to see her grandkids, she has to do better than did you get the cards. How about I'd like to move forward and resolve our problems and be in my grandchildren's lives again - or at least meet my grandson. Then he snorted and said, my counselor was right: pathological.

I linked to all their/her craziness with greeting cards in this post. Her passive aggressive I'm reaching out ot you because I sent you a card bullshit drives me nuts. That we're the bad guys because we don't acknowledge her cards. Is there anyone on this planet who puts more stock in the greeting card industry than this woman? Garr.

Well, so that was my Sunday. We need to use some back channels to make sure the in-laws know we're off to visit my parents for Thanksgiving, and thus the little guy's first birthday. Which I am sure will only piss her off more, so maybe buys me yet a few more months of not having to deal with her.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Two years, and this is my 300th post.

A lot has happened in two years. A hell of a lot. A solid year of either really, really bad or merely mostly bad. An uptick starting about with the arrival of the little guy. A messily defined period of time.

I think often about this marriage self help book I read years ago, where a woman wrote that in recovering from infidelity she had cried every day for two years. But had moved past it. It does hit me at odd times, though much less frequently now. Tuesday was a bad night, once i realized it was the mark of m discovering the e-mails. I had not realized any of the other key dates leading to this time. I see people in my blog cohort (for want of a better word) writing about grief and time. Niobe a very succinct one that said it all (as usual). Make no mistake, what I feel mostly when thinking about my marriage is grief - for what I thought I had, for what I wish I had, for what never really was. Recovering from infidelity - the gift that keeps on giving - is about coming to terms with what is rather than what you thought was.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

in-law roundup

Nothing too new from the in-laws, but it's been a while and a few small things happened over the summer, so thought I'd do a quick recap.

The other night I was sorting stacks of mail. Does anyone else let it pile up for months and then do one big sort? No? Just us? Discovering expired coupons, random detritus, overdue bills....sigh. Hate.

Anyway, at the bottom of the stack, I found the unopened father's day card my inlaws sent to my husband. He had scoffed at it when it came in and tossed it on the pile. These many months later, I decided to open it to see if they had anything to say. Standard issue cheap card, signed simply with their first names: Betty and Frank (not really). No love. No Mom and Dad. Nothing. The lengths these people go to to send a message in store bought greeting cards continues to astound me. And the fact my husband never even opened it and I just saw it 4 months after the fact does nothing but amuse me.


We did some driving up north this summer. My husband's uncle lives along the Jersey Turnpike, so we decided to stop off and see them. Remember, it's been nearly two yer since the blow up with my in-laws, and nearly a year since we last spoke with them. The uncle and his wife fixed lunch for us and we had a nice visit, introducing them to the little guy (who's middle name comes from the uncle). People in general do not understand family estrangements.

Uncle: how's your dad.
Husband: well, as I told you ove the phone we haven't really been talking to them. It's been a while.
U: yeah I haven't spoken to him since spring. How's he enjoying retirement? I heard he was busy with some house repairs?
H: uh, not sure.
Aunt: Is your mom still working or has she fully retired?
H: uh, I don't really know, you know I haven't spoken to them in a while.
A: and how are those dogs?
H: uh, they're fine...

Essentially, the aunt and uncle refused to believe we really hadn't spoken with them in 2 years. A family estrangement of that level was just incomprehensible to them. We just played along - when you haven't seen family in a while, there's a lot of vague generalities you can say without saying anything at all.


A: and what's your sister up to these days?
H: uh...busy, you know...
U: Does she like her condo?
H: What?!
U: yeah, weren't your parents buying her, or wht they put down a downpayment for her to move out and buy a condo?

WTF? So these are the people who declared bankruptcy ten years ago, slightly recovered from that, and are now living off the estate of husband's grandfather. That money is going to be gone in just a few short years. A downpayment for his stupid sister to buy a condo. Jerks.


Later in the summer, we met up with husband's brother and family. Nice visit. There was much discussing of said condo. The in-laws are blowing through money like there's no tomorrow - Caribbean vacations, this downpayment, yard work, new windows on the house (the house that is still fully mortgaged, though bought 30 years ago!). They will run out of money. And they will never be able to live just on social security. Father in law has a pension from a solid company, but given this economy? Counting on pensions to last another 20 years is gambling. There's no other retirement money. Brother in law says good thing they signed for that condo, as that's where they'll be living in just a few years.

I spent some time with my sister in law, discussing it all. She said mother in law has moved from bitter angriness to more of sadness. She asks them all the time if they've heard from us. Mther in law is apparently on meds and slightly more stable. I told SIL I was sorry they were dragged into this at all, and she said if it wasn't us it would be someone else. As long as we've known her, she's cycled through hatred of someone - us, my BIL, her sister, her neighbor, her best friend. It really never ends.

I cannot believe my little guy will be one year old soon and they've missed it all. I'm glad they have, but I just cannot believe the craziness. It is incomprehensible, even with all the other bad inlaw stories I've heard.

But for me, it's all just one big relief. And I admitted as much to my sister in law. Look, I feel badly for my husband being estranged from his family, but quite honestly, it makes our busy lives easier. We don't need the drama. And even if there was no drama, just the pressure of visiting them and their demands that we fold our lives around theirs is no fun.


I just picked up pics from my daughter's birthday, and will mail them off. (She sent her a savings bond, so I can acknowledge that then, too.) We're headed to my parent's for Thanksgiving and little guy's birthday. So I don't see any time in the near future for any contact. Thank goodness.

I was cleaning out the dining room last week and found the returned box of their Christmas presents from last year, shoved under the china cabinet. I suppose we just re-wrap the gifts and mail them off again?

Friday, October 16, 2009

family secrets

I have been busy working lately, and am at a conference (intown) this week. A former colleague wants to connect with me for something she has due on Monday, and sent me an e-mail asking if we could possibly talk over the weekend - she doesn't have her kids this weekend.

I swear, that's the saddest sentence to see. I don't have my kids this weekend. All my choices over the past two years have been designed (actively or not) to prevent me from ever having to type that sentence. My marriage isn't perfect, but we are good parents together. And mostly pretty ok together ourselves. It's soon my two year blog-iversary, the marker of two years later, after the affair, after the crap, after putting up with all the crap, after moving to getting past the crap.

From where I sit now, the tradeoffs I've made to stay married, have a second child, be in this relationship, have been worth it. Sometimes the price seems very high, but it's remained a cost that has not been too much to bear.

This latest issue of Brain, Child has an article on the impact of infidelity on families and children. No one really knows, even more so than no one knows how divorce truly impacts kids. So much is anecdotal and depends on the particular circumstances, temperaments, and reactions of the parties involved. But food for thought.

I was struck by a paragraph that talks about not keeping secrets. Will I - we - ever tell our children about our relationship to that level of detail? I don't know. I don't think so. Maybe, perhaps, if a child is going through something similar. But it's still hard to imagine. What do you think? Would you share information like this with your children? Under what circumstances?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


So, if your 10 month old isn't sleeping, and you're totally exhausted, you might just fall asleep with your 4 year old and miss an entire night of TV. Which is probably a good thing, and what happened to me last Thursday night. But, we have a DVR, and I work from home and pump breastmilk twice during the day, so I have little windows to watch TV. I watched the first ten minutes of the season premiere of Private Practice. Judging Amy was discovered minutes after the baby had been removed, was rushed to the hospital, and her friends worked frantically to save her. Cause, you know, far better for doctors from private clinics to do surgery on a friend than actual hospital surgeons.

It suddenly occurred to me they were probably going to have to do a hysterectomy, and I already feared the baby was going to die. So when I went back to work, I looked online at Television without pity and read the entire episode recap. And that made it safe to actually watch the episode, because it all ended relatively happily with baby recovered (and recovering from operation from bad c-section that damaged spleen), uterus safe, and Judging Amy recovering. And of course Addison me me me got to work in several times how she was the best damn neonatal surgeon blah blah blah.

However, promos for next week show that Judging Amy is not adjusting well to motherhood. Someone tells her, you haven't left the house in weeks! Well, guess what. Another facet of motherhood the show isn't going to do well. No new mother, and especially not an older, single mother, not to mention one who has been brutally victimized, is going to have an easy time of it. I myself did not leave the house, or shower, or do anything but recover from my c-section and breastfeeding struggles and new baby daze. I distinctly remember my first real get out of the house and go someplace at 4 weeks (I was out walking around to the store and local errands, but not much more than that).

I'm reading a book about getting fit that says step one is get rid of the TV. So I think of Niobe saying she doesn't have time for TV. I don't have time to work out, but I do have time for TV. And I thought about Jo commenting that at least there is a show that has some level of awareness around fertility issues. That's true, I guess I jsut want more. So I'll keep watching. Plus, the promo blurb for the show in two weeks says Addison's affair with Noah catches up to her. Then I'll be more enraged (seriuosly, these days I'm too tired).

There are times with movies I actively try not to know what is going to happen. Saw The Sixth Sense, for example, and had the real pleasure of a shock at the ending. But usually, I like to know. I like to know what is going to happen. I kill time online reading entertainment spoilers. I read movie reviews in the actual paper, no less. But I never, ever skip ahead in books.

What about you? Do you like to know spoilers? In some entertainment, or in all?

Thursday, October 1, 2009


So I spent all summer thinking about tonight's premiere of Private Practice, and last season's finale.

Do you ever write blog posts in your head? Long, elegant, well-thought-out positions that explain your view of the world? And then they buzz around in your head until they finally make it out or just sort of drift away? Or is that just me? I think I've written and rewritten in my head this post 7 different times, as different thoughts have occurred to me.

I spent some time after the finale reading various pop watch sites, and the general consensus on the baby stealing story was: ewww. Well, not just ewww, but eeek, horrifying, awful, too terrible, not appropriate for TV but for a horror movie type coverage. Not positively reviewed at all. And I've noticed that the producers have taken some of the mystery out of what will happen tonight: pregnant about to be carved up Violet will live. The promos make that clear, the TV guide blurbs state that right away. What's less clear is if the baby lives.

So that brings me to my latest thoughts. Which, quite coincidentally, Tash covered very nicely in Glow in the Woods.

I like Greys Anantomy, even though it is a ridiculous soap opera. I like it because it is a ridiculous soap opera that just happens to be set in a hospital. Who cares of the science and medicine is a little dodgy (the cancer? the FACE transplant?! Please.). I'm not watching for that. But Private Practice? Well, there are precious few places where infertility, baby loss, grief, the whole she-bang are covered in pop culture. Grieving parents, desperate want to be parents - all fodder for a soap opera. And maybe it pisses me off that PP gets it so wrong. They don't even come close to getting it right. And it's quality actors, a quality show, and it's....wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. On so many fronts. A fertility doctor that doesn't even consider the possibility of terminations. A surgeon that would even consider sleeping with a vulnerable patient's husband. A ridiculous mish mash of doctors that don't even seem to work right professionally. All set in a fertility/wellness clinic. In a world where pregnancy, infertility, grief and family building are so misunderstood, can't they get anything right? Any little piece of it?

And then there's this storyline, of a ambivalent mother (a previous victim of a violent rape) being victimized in such a horrifying way. Conscious, telling her attacker how to cut her open to remove the baby safely. It turns my stomach to think of watching it tonight, though the producers have made it clear the show picks up 20 minutes from where it ended - the butchery over, the baby gone, the mother clinging to life. Will they write off this pregnancy by having the baby not survive? My stomach is churning even typing those words. I don't think I can watch. I don't think I can not watch.

The other issue from the finale is the infidelity. The male half has signed onto another show, and won't appear on PP, so it seems that'll just end. I hope, anyway. It was so distastefully done - the wife, on bedrest, with a desperately wanted pregnancy, her disgusting horny husband on the prowl, divining true love in a few lustful exchanges. Ugly, selfish, grotesque people.

But, the network must be doing something right, as I will probably watch. But I may yet retreat into the safety of a less upsetting, more escapist soap opera, and wait for a time where a more realistic protrayal of family building is created. Beaue there is drama. There is heartbreak, There is love. It could be done right. Or it can be done sloppily, and grotesquely.

So what about you? Watching? Any other baby loss stories in pop culture got your attention?

Monday, September 21, 2009


Two and a half years ago, my parents were visiting and my husband and I went out for drinks. It was a few months after babyloss, and I was floundering.

Maybe a bar isn't the best place to have this conversation, but I tried, "I think there's something wrong, I think this has impacted me far more than I thought, [big gulp of air] IthinkIamdepressed."

I've never had clinical depression, I've never taken medication, I'm a pick yourself up dust yourself off kind of person (and I know how obnoxious that sounds to someone who has or has experienced clinical depression, you can't just will yourself out of it). But the darkness was not lifting, and was unlike anything I'd ever experienced before. This was a huge thing - a vulnerability - for me to admit.

"Yeah, it's hit me hard too, it really was something, huh," was my husband's response, as his eyes flicked around the bar, at the TV, at other people, at just being out and about.

So I dropped it, and it took a few more months but the darkness did finally fade, and I could focus on the future and planning with just a few periods of sadness, if there was some sort of reminder, but oops! My husband had already moved on, found a colleague who was fun and understanding and I guess most importantly, not me, no history, nothing complicated.

You read the mommy magazines and mommy blogs and it's a common complaint - your needs are subsumed by everyone else's. You're the one who does the million and one things to keep things running smoothly and create a life for your family. My husband is an incredibly invovled dad. He does a ton for the kids. But there are times I just want someone to think about me. Where am I in all of this?

There's been a variety of creeping cruds in our house the past few weeks, and I've managed to miss all of it. So I've done the runs to pick up medicine, taken the burden of much of the middle of the night wakings, the doctor visits, the jello, the lot of it.

And now this week is our oldest child's birthday, and there was planning for a birthday party. We did a joint party yesterday with a neighbor whose daughter has the same birthday, and her husband was completely absent. My neighbor exudes loneliness, and we never see her husband, and so I asked and he works long hours on a late shift - til 10 pm most nights. So, a stay at home mom, she does all the heavy lifting of parenting. And I think how spoiled I am, how much he does, how I have good childcare, how I have time for myself.

But still. Days I'm tired, he's so exhausted he can't keep his eyes open. Days I have a work issue, his colleagues are idiots who are going to screw up their entire important project. And so it goes. It is never just about me. I think, in general, this is a common complaint in the male/female dynamic.

And now the crud has finally crept my way, so my head is heavy and I'm trying hard to tie a bunch of threads together in this post and it's not quite working. And there are cupcakes to make and presents to wrap and a last minute present to pick up and just all the extras to think about to make a 4 year old feel special. And I am tired. I think the biggest lesson of the past two years for me was that ultimately, I can only count on myself. And when I am physically tired, that makes me feel sad, but at the same time, keeps me going. So it's off to finish up birthday prep, after a nap. I need it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I wish it wasn't raining

Because otherwise I would put our flag out. It's hard to believe it's 8 years later.

The thing I remember most is how we kept the TV on 24 hours a day for the rest of the week. We slept, uneasily, with the TV on. This sticks with me I think because of now having children. You would never want to subject your kids to those images, over and over and over again. I'm a news junkie, but there are days the news does not go on - at nearly 4, she picks up too much already. And there are some things she doesn't need to know yet.

Maybe it will clear up. And when it does, this liberal will show her patriotism by unfurling the flag on our front porch. And remember.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I am totally crazy

So I mentioned this in the last post, but both kids have been sick, sick, sick the past ten days or so. Before that, my little guy hit a 9-month sleep regression - he's crawling, pulling up, trying to walk, teething, and learning baby sign language all at the same time and with all that going on, sleep is the last thing on his mind.

We're talking 2, nearly 3, weeks of massively interrupted sleep. Newborn baby type sleep, snatches here and there, never more than a few hours at a time. That takes a huge toll on the relationship. Huge. We do not handle sleep deprivation well. So it's been a rough time. Looks like we are coming out of the sick period, and tonight my husband and I talked about how short we've been with each other and how much this period has impacted us. So, communication is a good thing, it seems.

I had been exercising and eating well following my birthday and was seeing some early results, which have all been wiped out. I'm back on the wagon tomorrow, I think. Even with the exhaustion, you have to just power through, something I've never been particularly good at doing.

So, change of subject, how worried are you about H1N1? Have I asked this before? With a child now in school, for us I think it's matter of when, not if.

Monday, August 31, 2009

I might be crazy....

So, you may remember my anniversary was a few weeks ago. There may have been a fair amount of wine consumed that night, by both of us, and that may have led to a little bit of marital relations, which may have then led to a, uh oh, what day of the month is it calculation, which resulted in a realization it was day 15. Realistically speaking, I thought we were 'safe.' Day 15 hasn't proven to be a key day for us in the past, and sure enough, last week on Day 28 cycle started all over again.

And I was......bummed. Yeah, bummed. Like everyone else I'm clicking furiously at Niobe's and holding my breath and hoping for good news. And wondering, what about us?

Emotionally, I'd like to have three children. But I look around and think, am I crazy? First, not entirely sure the marriage could handle a third. Sleep deprivation is a tough, tough state. My daughter is down and out with strep and my son is going through teething, so we take turns in the middle of the night up with each of them. Who the heck would take care of a third? There are only two of us! Add in a fragile marriage, a small-ish house, an already manageable but tight budget, my age, past difficulties, not great physical condition, a desire to spend more one on one time with the children I have......why in the world would I want a third?

On day 28 my husband came home from work and told me friends of ours with kids roughly ours ages were going for #3. Husband said friend asked him if we were, and husband told me, I said I don't know, we never talk about it. I don't want to talk about it right now, because logically the answer is no. So I changed the subject to our own kid crisis of the moment, whatever it was.

And I wonder. Maybe next summer, breastfeeding over, me in better shape, still 41 not quite 42...maybe? Maybe? I don't know. Maybe I am crazy.

Meanwhile, I'll keep cheering on everyone else, and hoping for good news.

Monday, August 24, 2009

working dreams

The other night I had the weirdest dream, one that felt so real during it. The kind where you can feel the tablecloth under your finders, smell the room, feel the presence of the people sitting around you. And, it was about the job from which I was fired last year. I dreamed that I went to a meeting with two of my current colleagues, who took me to a meeting with the two people who fired me last year. We sat at opposite sides of a table, me between my two colleagues, just staring at my two former colleagues. I hadn't known we were meeting with them, and I felt surprised, but proud of my current work and current colleagues. I sat mostly silently as big issues were discussed. Then, there was a lull in the discussion, we were waiting for a decision or more information, so the 5 of us sat silently. I broke the silence and said, we can't pretend we don't know each other, how are you all? What is going on with the project I was on? The two of them looked uncomfortable and hemmed and hawed a bit, but never gave an answer.

I woke heavy with sleep, still feeling like I was in the meeting room and waiting to hear how things were on this old project. The feeling stayed with me for the entire day. The dream actually happened before I typed out my job history post, so it wasn't brought on by that. I don't know what did bring it on. The job had been to launch a new non profit. And since I left, there's not been a word of progress. Every once in a while I google the name of the organization, or key phrases, and nothing ever comes up. Did they decide to kill it altogether? Did they retool and did that slow them down? They were impatient when I was there, could they possibly have just delayed the entire thing over a year? Given that it's been over a year, and I have a new job, most of these questions don't matter in terms of how the job loss may or may impact my career. If I had been fired and they moved quickly and publicly without me, there might have been an impact. But now, it's mostly just raw curiosity that makes me wonder. Months and months ago, I e-mailed another consultant who had been part of the process. But I never heard back from him. I consider writing one other person who worked within the corporation, but I always decide better to leave it alone. This dream, though, brought it all present again. What is happening? Why do I care? Could I find out? Should I e-mail the insider, or just let it go? I had liked this person and she seemed to like me, so sometimes I think I could just e-mail her to let her know I had a baby and just to say hi and hope she is doing well, and hope she'd e-mail back some news. But then I think better to just let it go. The dream was so real. So real. I'm not generally a person who thinks much about the meaning of dreams, but it does make me wonder.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another one

Another year down.

And, once again, I turn to the if today is your birthday feature in the paper for inspiration and guidance*:

"This year is delightfully unconventional. By the end of September, singles find offbeat romance, and couples make novel choices to spice up their relationships. Your needs change as you evolve through the fall. The changes you make in October help your finances and lifestyle to improve all at once. Taurus and Aquarius adore you."

Hmmm. Horoscopes really are mindless crap, aren't they?

40 was a good year. Not as good as I intended, but good in its own way. But yes, I have the exact same resolutions this year as I did last, and as I've had, in some form or fashion, every year. I think being over 40 means you start to become more accepting of your place in the world. It is what it is, you know?

*not really

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Job update

One of the reasons I haven't been able to manage much posting is job related. I spent some time in my archives with the last two posts and wow, I posted A LOT about my job dramas over the past year+, so perhaps it's time for an update and explanation - and query for ideas, too.

So, when I first started this blog nearly two years ago, I had a full time job that I despised. We were going through a merger, my boss and company were clearly going to be on the losing side of the merger, I liked the other company better anyway, which could have been good, but the tensions were too high and I wanted out. So I searched and searched and searched and networked and landed something that seemed like it would be a dream job - an executive director position starting up a new non-profit for a cause that was important, and that also came with a huge pay increase. The new org was to be sole funded by a reputable company, but since it didn't exist yet, we worked out a gentleman's agreement and baseline contract, with the expectation the new org would be ready to go and funded within a few months. Gentleman's agreement means I trusted them - I didn't fully vet the contract with a lawyer (I did have a lawyer look at it, and she pointed out some flaws, but I didn't have her negotiate anything stronger for me), I let it slide. I started in January 08, and worked my tail off, against some fairly strong opposition. I had no idea that some within the company did not want to spin off a new organization, that there was infighting within the board, that what had been promised as settled was in fact no way settled. I was fired. And I was pregnant. And the jerks at the company wanted to can me with no severance or consideration. I fought hard to get what little was due to me, and after too much stress was finally paid off the small amount.

And I started job searching all over again, while pregnant. And had a ton of leads and good interviews and strong networking. I had only once in my entire career interviewed for a job and not received it. But this was rejection after rejection, and not because of the pregnancy. And not because of the economy, either. Just because. Slow decisions, not quite the right fit, just nos.

In August I learned of a part-time contract position with an organization I had worked with previously. They wanted someone to do some outreach education, which was a good fit for me, and they were fast tracking the application. Ha, hahaha. I'll never hear fast tracking the same way again. I interviewed in late September, and then the wiffling and the waffling started (honestly, it's too exhausting to link to all the ups and downs). They asked for references in December, called references in early January. And finally, I was notified I got the job in January, starting in March.

So here we are, 5 months down. It's going well so far, I think. I had a 4 month review that was very positive and they guaranteed the position for thr full 12 months. Fundraising in this climate is no easy task, though, so while they'd like it to continue a second year, we'll just have to see.

The hard part is the 20 hours contract. I'm paid monthly, for 80 hours, so it's 20 hours on average. And they've said it can even be a two month average. This matters because there is no paid vacation. So we've gone away a fair amount in July, but I worked 99 hours in June, and still managed 75 hours in July, so ahead of the game. I have a hard time constituting what is work. At a salaried position, you take a break and read some blogs and write a post and 30 minutes have gone by and that's fine and you just get your work done. But if you're on contract, are those 20 hours work only hours? I think mostly so. If I read news or catch up in my field, I count that as work. But blogging? Or general surfing? A little harder to justify. I'm a slow writer - when I have a writing assignment, I mull it over, pace around, work it out in my head, then eventually sit down and blow it all out. So. The mulling counts as work, right? Or no?

That's my biggest struggle right now. Finding discipline to get work done and over, then being ablet odo what I want to do. So for example, I needed to go to the grocery yesterday - I finished my project with enough time to do so. But on Friday, I didn't finish my particular task and worked on it Sunday night. I spent time Friday mulling it over, daydreaming, I guess. I counted those Friday hours, but not the Sunday night.

How would you count hours? Would a position like this force you to be more disciplined? How disciplined are you at work? How do you find that discipline? When do you find time to blog?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Time heals all?

Thanks for the well wishes. It was....nice. Flowers showed up at the door, dinner was delicious, we talked about our favorite memories from that day and from the honeymoon. All in all, it was what it should have been.

Though I do wonder, does anyone actually get that diamond anniversary band? Kidding! But come on, I like shiny pretty things as much as the next girl.

So did anyone see this in the NY Times? Happily (so she thinks) married woman's husband tells her he doesn't love her anymore and wants out and she.....ignores him. Gives him space. Lets him work it out until, 4 months later, he's back in the family fold (upon which there are lots of hard talks and working things out, it's not as simple as it appears). Fascinating. It's essentially the same advice in the various prevent divorce books (divorce busting, etc), and mirrors other advice I've received or read. And it, sort of, is the strategy that worked for me, too, except I was more in his face about it than is recommended.

I don't know how sustainable my marriage is over the long term. But the truth of the matter is no one really knows for sure, either. It is what it is, for now. I do know there is a deep and lasting scar, and I don't know if we'll transcend it. I don't think, right now, it's healed particularly well. But it is definitely still in the healing phase.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Long time readers (hello-ooo-oooo? Anyone still there??) may recall that my wedding anniversary is this month. Tomorrow, in fact. Ten years.

Which means that yesterday was another anniversary of a date that never was. And I'm just realizing I didn't spend any time yesterday thinking about the baby who wasn't here, who might have turned two yesterday in another universe, though in yet another universe we might have celebrated a birth followed, at some point, by a death due to the myriad of problems this baby would have had, had he survived to be born.

Two years is some sort of a marker in grief time. Far enough out that it's become an event of the past. Life has changed and other events have overtaken.

Last year, during this week, I was a mess. A weepy mess, a pregnant woman who took to her bed not from any doctor's orders, but just from crushing pain. One year out and crying every day, multiple times a day, beaten down but not yet out. It's hard now to remember it all, to remember the intensity. Two years out is a different place.

I bought a card. We're going out to dinner tomorrow night. I wonder what he will want tomorrow to mean. How am I supposed to view this anniversary? I rejected so many cards. I swear this has to be a business model for simple cards that just say Happy Anniversary and not much else. That skip the poem and flowery crap. Even in the best of circumstances I'm a pretty straightforward gal. And these still aren't the best of circumstances.

We honeymooned in Nova Scotia. Given various family schedules, we sort of had to schedule the wedding for August, even though I dreaded the heat. So we wanted a honeymoon someplace new, different, that was a little cool. It was a great vacation, and we talked about how fun it would be to repeat it for our tenth year. Earlier this summer, actually, my husband brought that up, but it was just impossible given finances, obligations, kids. Maybe someday we'll go back.

Where was your honeymoon? If you've been married that long, did you do anything special for ten years?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Turn around

We have my daughter enrolled for the second year in a summer co-op pre-school, which means it's organized and staffed by parents, generally the moms. I've gotten to know a few of the moms over the past two years, though haven't made the leap to outside of school connections. There's one mom though I've always liked. She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer this spring and had an operation just before summer started. She seems to be doing ok with recovery. I like her because she's open and honest and direct and common-sensical. She calls it like she sees it, and we generally see things the same way.

One day a couple of weeks ago we were the two parents moving the kids to the gym area and as the kids ran ahead and started to play we were chatting about stuff in general when suddenly talked turned to life. She said, it's just been a really rough time, lost a pregnancy last spring, husband quit his stable job to open his own startup, economy collapses and his business is failing, I've not worked in 4 years and have to find work now, cancer, always thought I'd have three kids and now once things are back on track we'll look into adopting, I'm just so angry all of the time - so angry - and I'm taking it out on him for everything. Jsut a rough time.

I did those general female support things, nodded, made appropriate mummurs of empathy, etc. While inside I was blown away - by her honestly, by her matter of factness in reciting this litany of crap. And then the moment passed, and the kids demanded our attention, and I just filed it away.

And the next week her kid developed pneumonia and was hospitalized (though it was not too serious, her son just required oxygen support for a few days). I sent her an e-mail, replying to the news, and said it really seemed like she was in the shitstorm, and I had been though my own period of crap - one that lasted almost two years. I ran through the list- lost baby, marital problems, lost a job, money worries, family illness, family issues, etc (though was very careful to word in such a way that I wasn't comparing and certainly nothing like fighting cncer in the middle of it all - I imagine a cancer survivor is sensitive to "I know just what you're going through, I stubbed my toe last week!"). She wrote a nice note back from the hospital room thanking me for sharing, and I wrote her back saying I think everyone goes throuh their own various hellish periods, and the more we're honest about life sometimes sucking, the easier it is to get support during those times.

So, who knows. Maybe a new friendship is emerging. But, I tell this overly long story for a few reasons. As always, you never know what others are going through. I do think honesty begets honesty (at some level). After all, my litany of crap was heavily edited. Left out the crazy inlaws, the infidelity, the divorce lawyer consulted, the huge sums of money spent on counseling, the firing, the lawyers, the stress. You can't look from the outside and presume to know what's happening in a family. From the outside, heck, other than my obvious weight problem, I look pretty darn good, too. Two kids, a good job, supportive husband, fun activities. You don't see the scars or damage below the surface.

But, it also made me think, as I was typing out this sanitized version of the great shitstorm of '07, what were the parameters of this shitstorm? And when did it end? 'Cause, much to my surprise, I realized it did end. It felt endless when in the middle of it, and without a doubt there are lingering effects, but if something bad were to happen now, it'll be a new bad thing - no longer a continuation of what started in early '07. It didn't end with the birth in November. Those first early baby days were hard. The little guy settling down and getting on a schedule and us all adjusting to his presence helped turn the corner. (oh lord, am I totally jinxing myself even typing this? Am I asking for trouble?). Getting the call of this new job, and starting the job, and having positive feedback I was a valuable member of the team - that's really what helped set my ship a little straighter in the water. Life isn't perfect. But it's a whole heck of a lot better than it was a year ago. Or two years ago. Oh, there are plently of things out there to knock me off course - the ever present inlaw issue. The Marriage and What To Do about our issues. Plenty of other shoes that could drop. New things to constantly worry about. PLENTY.

I feel like I'm emerging, blinking, from the darkness. And that, for now, is good. A fragile good, but good nonetheless. For now. I can't - and won't - stop caveating. More than anything, I think, surviving a shitstorm teaches you to be humble. There's not much that keeps me or anyone from the bad.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Still here - back from vacation, and just taking a little blog rest. It's not that I don't have topics or thoughts. But maybe I have too many, and they are too jumbled. I've jsut been filled with a vaguely dissatisfied feeling for....well, for too long.

Our vacation was great. Mostly great. Was it great? Two years ago, we vacationed with our friends. My New Zealand friends are in the US this month, and we all got together - 6 adults, 5 girls ages 3-5, 3 boys under a year old. And we had our usual good time together. Which is what I thought we had two years ago, as my personal shit storm was gathering force, about to really wallop me.

Vacationing with kids is busy. Always a lot going on, always something to do. I felt my husband and I weren't connecting very well. About halfway into the week, he said something about how well things were going between us. There was a context, but I can't remember now what had caused that statement. I was agog, though. I felt he had been distant. I knew I didn't think things were good between us. There was no affection whatsoever. I've been thinking about this for awhile now. I think he is on autopilot. We're in the midst of small kid-dom and you just get through it as best you can. That's where I thought we were 2 years ago (with a huge side helping of grief and regret on my plate), but he was miserable and plotting his escape. And this time, I wasn't happy. Not miserable. Not plotting my escape. But not happy.

I really don't know where I am right now. I have no idea where "we" are. It makes it tough to write. My thoughts meander. It's no wonder, if you look at the past few months of my writing, it's all external. Comments on bad politicians and bad TV shows. Not inward, because inward is jumbled, disordered, unclear.

How are you feeling these days? Satisfied? Dischordant? Any tricks for cutting through the clutter and coming back to the clear?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


We're on vacation, so this is just a quick dash off - wow is this
Sanford situation crazy or what? By far the most public unraveling of
a marriage I've ever seen. But also the most real. It is interesting
to hear various media accounts. Ultimately, we prefer our gossip a bit
more sanitized. Not quite so revealing, perhaps. But this guy is
putting it all out there. He's going to get drummed out if office for
the unseemly public display, not the actual offense.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I swear, there's a sex scandal around every corner. (and here is a very funny link to a flowchart of Republican sex scandals, 2006-2009 - don't worry, I'll get back to bashing John Edwards (D), soon enough. Sex scandals are bipartisan).

At least this time, Sanford's wife wasn't forced to stand beside or behind him as he made his lame apology. It seems like wives have learned they don't have to humiliate themselves when their husband acts like an ass. And, Jenny Sanford issued a pretty substantive statement, something we've not really seen before. In part:

.....I believe wholeheartedly in the sanctity, dignity and importance of the institution of marriage. I believe that has been consistently reflected in my actions. When I found out about my husband's infidelity I worked immediately to first seek reconciliation through forgiveness, and then to work diligently to repair our marriage. We reached a point where I felt it was important to look my sons in the eyes and maintain my dignity, self-respect, and my basic sense of right and wrong. I therefore asked my husband to leave two weeks ago.......

I believe enduring love is primarily a commitment and an act of will, and for a marriage to be successful, that commitment must be reciprocal. I believe Mark has earned a chance to resurrect our marriage......

.......I remain willing to forgive Mark completely for his indiscretions and to welcome him back, in time, if he continues to work toward reconciliation with a true spirit of humility and repentance.

This is a very painful time for us and I would humbly request now that members of the media respect the privacy of my boys and me as we struggle together to continue on with our lives and as I seek the wisdom of Solomon, the strength and patience of Job and the grace of God in helping to heal my family.
A bit different from the usual, and she leaves the door open to reconciliation. I might dislike her husband's politics and actions, but I applaud her statement. Though, not to quibble, I'm not quite sure how a trip to Argentina is earning a chance to resurrect his marriage. Last year, the Spitzer affair caught me by surprise by how much it hurt. The Edwards affair was devastating. By now, I just roll my eyes. I suppose that's healing?

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I've had a ton going on lately, but when I was in a somewhat boring meeting I was clicking around and saw the unfortunately meme, so decided to see what turned up. Nothing on which box - which means "unfortunately which box" was a goolenope, until just now. Someone has coined googlenope for phrases for which not a single google hit pops up. I think there's some website or contests to come up with new googlenopes - I heard a funny one the other day but have forgotten, if I find it I'll link it back here - oh someone sent it in an e-mail - they had read it someplace - "the only white guy in my golf class." Funny.

Anyway, so Unfortunately [Which Box's real name] yields a few good ones:

  • Unfortunately, [Which Box's] ardent supporters began turning on her...
  • Unfortunately, [Which Box] made things worse by showing up at the review board drunk and accusing the hospital administrator of having a vendetta against her.
  • Unfortunately, [Which Box] is unaware that the last man she was with is entangled with the mob.
  • Unfortunately, [Which Box's] in rehab, not for substance abuse, but for exhaustion. She's just plain tired.
  • Unfortunately, [Which Box], your short questions require long answers.
  • Unfortunately [Which Box] was told by the doctor that the chances of her conceiving were very slight and so they stopped trying only for [Which Box] to discover a few weeks later that she was pregnant.
Wow, through a very fuzzy lens it does kinda parallel my own life. (note: very, very fuzzy lens)

Monday, June 8, 2009


This past weekend my undergrad college held its annual reunion weekend. I was part of a large, boisterous group of friends that spanned several classes. So even though it was not a reunion weekend for my particular class, many of my friends have just decided to make it an annual tradition to gather at the college this weekend.

I attended a very small womens college (small college, not women) that has since gone co-ed, as nearly every womens college has over the past thirty years. (is it women's or womens? probably best to say a college for women?).

As a backstory, I have lots of friends from all the different places I've lived, gone to school, worked, etc. As fits my Which Box persona, the groups are fairly separate, with my closests friends crossing several of the boxes. But many close friends staying put in their one category. Heck, I organize my section of the Christmas card list by category - it helps me find people when I need to change an address to know, in chronological order, my friends are listed by hometown, undergrad, grad school, long past job, long-time job, recent job, and current city friends (and then including my dad's family and my mom's family).

Over the years, I've lessened my involvement with my undergrad friends. It's a variety of reasons, really, that mostly have to do with our respective growths as individuals. Or not. One of the things about a very tight group of friends is the group-think that ocurrs. We were at this small, isolated college for women, with little to do, and a certain code of behavior emerged. Several of the more rebellious in the group, including me, took to calling us "the collective." It could be almost suffocating, that intensity of group think. You'd think a college for women would create a group of strong, confident, assertive women. And in some ways it did. But mostly, it did not. My friends are an odd mix of passive aggressive personalities, with a layer of martydom thrown in for good measure. Two of the women have children on the austism spectrum, and both are strong advocates for their children, and one has established an autism awareness non-profit. But, we had bad - abyssally bad - service at the restaurant we chose for our group dinner, and both these women didn't want to make a fuss or in any way insist that we be treated better. It makes me crazy. I'm the assertive one in the bunch, so even though I had nothing to do with planning the dinner, guess who dealt with the restaurant's management? (unsatisfactorily, but that's a completely separate story about jerk management).

Anyway, the point of all this was to say that it had been a while since I'd be involved much in the group. But it was nice to see everyone, to hang out with husbands I'd known as boyfriends back in the day, to see the kids. I've especially been laying low these past few years, with the pregnancies and job issues. So of the 9 women there, as we were catching up, 3 of them asked what I was doing now? And all three followed with, I hope you're staying home with that precious baby. AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH. We are graduates of this college for women. We were there in the 80s. The time of women having it all - job, husband, kids, the whole thing was suppose to be within our grasp. I've been probably the most career driven of all of them, and they tell me they hope I'm home with my baby????

Somehow, for now, I've achieved the holy grail of parenthood (according to a study a few years ago by Pew, reported here for example). It was arduous to get here, believe me, but now I have meaningful, reasonably well compensated part-time work. I'm proud of it. And I'm glad it's part-time. I'm happy for my friends who get to do what they want, whether it be full-time work, part-time work, or being a stay at home mom or any of the variables inbetween. But I don't project my preferences onto anyone else.

So I left the reunion loving my friends, but as expasperated by them as ever. I've gone from a central figure in the collective to being a peripheral member, which is probably just fine. A weekend day and evening was probably the perfect amount of time to spend. Do you go to reunions? High school, college, other? Do you enjoy them?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

brother in law reappears

My husband tells me yesterday he got an e-mail from his brother, asking if we could get together. E-mail says don't blow me off, let's find a time, we can meet in the middle (they live 2 hours away).

My husband wrote him back and said July was crazy and we had a narrow window in June where we could make this happen.

I would like to write a catch-up post to lay out the rough outline of the inlaw saga to keep it all straight. But the little guy was up at 5:30 am and I am tired. Too tired to think about the stupid inlaws. And definitely too tired to search past posts and find the right links. In the in-law saga, my brother in law has been a bit of a puzzle. Let's see, if this all started in December 07, he was neutral or supportive for most of the first bit - actually until the final blowup (ok, one link) with the parents in law, just before Little Guy was born. But, as far as I know, there was no announcement he was mad at us. He and my hsuband had been in sporadic, yet semi-regular (ie, normal) contact leading up November. After the birth in November, BIL's wife sent us a card and present, and then sent us a Christmas package. We sent them a package. Which they did not return. My husband called their house on Christmas Day and BIL was in bed, but chatted just fine with his wife. But since then, nothing. As far as I know.

I konw I am beyond tired right now (and was yesterday, too). But I also know this contact from my BIL is contributing to a bad mood. I so hate dealing with them. I so wish they would go away. Popping up every once in a while is stressful. We'll see where this goes. My current strategy is just to live my life and not own any of their craziness. Do you have a good coping strategy for letting go of other's craziness? Of not letting it get to you?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

the good and the bad

Sunday we celebrated the little guy's 6 month b-day. There's been good news from my little blogroll on the right over the past 6 months. Antigone's Perseus, Niobe's boy, CLC's Denis.

But then there are the reminders that not every story leads to the heart's desire. And your own heart breaks. Kym's betas started low and fell over the weekend. Chance's last chance. I'm so sorry. And I'm angry. Has anyone watched the awful Real Housewives of NJ? I've never watched any of the other shows, but given my in-laws, we thought we'd try out this NJ show. And it's awful, but not in-law awful. Last night we finally watched the second episode, and one of the housewives (the only one that seems like a decent person) went to the fertility specialist (after her 4th miscarriage). And he told her the same thing my RE told me. About half the time, the doctors can find no real for infertility or chronic loss. Half the time the doctors have no idea. How is that freaking possible? How, in this world where science and medicine can do so much, is fertility such a mystery? How can there be no answer? And how can no answer cost so freaking much money? It makes me angry. But, mostly it makes me sad. I wanted another baby in the blogroll. Chance and I once spoke to each other about hope. She helped me find hope. I wish there was something I could do for her.

Tash and I were thinking alike today. In addition to Kym and Chance, she points to two additional stories from the weekend. Not a great weekend for happy stories.

Friday, May 22, 2009


So, here I am. I did finally get off my butt and write to Mel, and though she told me she doesn't usually start a category with only one blog, she could see the value, and she created a brand new category of which I am the only member. Awesome. And I mean that positively and sarcastically.

I looked over my latest posts, and I've been better about writing more often, but what I'm not writing about is my marriage. My communications problem in relationships is that I shut down when upset. I give 'the silent treatment.' Which is apparently one of the worst ways of communicating, all about power and just an awful way to treat your partner. According to a myriad of well paid counselors and experts. I go silent because inside I am screaming I hate you I hate this we never should have gotten married this is all a mistake I hate I hate I hate. And I think I can't say those things, so I wait it out until the drumbeat wears itself out and I can think rationally and I remember I don't really entirely hate everything and let's talk things through and figure a way forward. In my mind, this does not feel like a power trip or an awful way to treat my partner, but like a way to be nicer - to let the emotion burn out and then talk.

Hmm, where I wanted to go with this post is not where it's going. I've been giving the blog the siltent treatment on my marriage lately, except it's not because I hate the blog, it's because. Well, I don't know. We had a bad period a little bit ago. A really bad time. A time where I said I understand why you had the affair because believe me, if someone would just be nice to me and listen to me and support me and just generally treat me as if I were a valuable, worthy person, I'd leave you in a heartbeat. A time where I said maybe it was time to end this farce and just move on with our lives. A time where I said I just didn't care anymore, I was totally checked out. And he said, he wouldn't let me check out because the stakes were too high. It was too important. And I said he had no right - no right - to get on his high horse now. Too bad he didn't take the moral high ground before having the affair.

So, I agreed to look for yet ANOTHER new counselor. And I honestly can't remember when this was because the past weeks have been a blur of no sleep and colds and runny noses and no sleep and did I mention no sleep?

But, since then, despite the no sleep, things have been better. He is trying and paying attention and not just working working working, and I feel better having said some of it out loud. And the real point of this was I had lunch with a blunt friend yesterday and we were talking kids and I admitted I love the thought of three kids and she flat out asked (and it was fine she did so) if my marriage would survive a third and I said no. Kids are awesome and great and even with the heartache and effort to bring them into this world, I can still admit they are freaking hard work. And did I mention no sleep?

So yesterday morning I said to my husband maybe it is time to get the big-ass swing out of our room, since the not so little guy (20 pounds! at 6 months!) has outgrown it and he said yes and I said what should we do with it (loaded question - sell it since there are no more babies to be made?) and he said stick it in the attic. So yes, we'll stick it in the attic. For now.

What kind of fighter are you? The silent treatment? The screamer? The avoider?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

blogging for good

I never do this, but this time I'm stepping forward and promoting a good cause. I've written before about Gwendomama - her story of loss is heartbreaking, her writing is clear and lucid and compelling. She has been treated very, very badly lately. Very badly. Domestic violence and abuse badly. And right at the time when she should be allowed to have space and time to continue to grieve the loss of the precious Elijah which pisses me off almost more than the rest of it. Almost.

Her blogging friends have banded together to help her out of this financial hole she was forced into. I've never mentioned a cause before, I don't think, and I've never asked anyone for donations. More than anything, I want you to go to Gwendomama and show her support. She has a lot to get through. And, if you are so inclined, one of her genius friends made this little widget that allows donations through paypal.

When your husband - the one who helped you say goodbye to your precious son - doesn't pay the bills for months, despite telling you he has; when he chokes you in front of your living son, a mere toddler; when he uses classic abuser techniques like blaming you for reporting the incident and breaking up the family; when he uses what meager funds are in the joint bank accounts to bail himself out of jail - well, hell, you could use a little help and support.

Monday, May 18, 2009

inlaw update

Nothing too exciting - my mother-in-law sent my husband an e-mail on Friday.

It was very short, just said thanks for the Mother's Day cards, then reported that they, my husband's brother and family, and husbands sister spent Mother's Day in Florida, at in-laws new time share and they all went to Disney. (Have I blogged about their ridiculous timeshare purchase? Husband's grandfather died, leaving $$ to parents, who immediately went out,with no thought or planning whatsoever, purchased a brand new timeshare in Florida. That requires a plane ride and a rental car to reach? Good for them, I guess, but maybe not the best purchase for people on a fixed income????)

Anyway, the money line was subtle, at the end: Hope WhichBox and the rest of your family had a nice Mother's Day. The dig was the subtle "your family." Because her beef, among many, is that my husband has chosen my family over his own. Please. Grow up lady.

I asked my husband where his thinking was on his family, and he just sighed and said he'd rather just ignore it all. He sees his counselor every couple of weeks (we're too busy and it's too much $$ for weekly sessions) and said they talk about his family every session, but he's had no further thoughts about them. I have to admit I like where we are now - just living our lives and ignoring them. It's been 18 months. I hope this period of relative peace will last a bit longer.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Every once in a while I check my visitor stats. Check out who's visiting, why, where they came from, etc. And I love a few blogs that semi-regularly report on google searches that resulted in their blog. By far, most google searches that send people here come from "I am jerk" a post from about a year ago, when a friend's mom died and I inadvertently offended her. (but friend and I have patched things up - saw her a couple of weeks ago for dinner at our place).

One last week caught my breath. "infertile husband is leaving me" I suppose the husband might be infertile. Actually, our infertility troubles were partially caused by my husband's diagnosed 'sub-fertility' and varicoceles. So, friend, regardless if your husband is infertile or you are or you both are together, I'm sorry. Really sorry. For all of it. For whatever sent you to google. I recall desparate google searches of my own (on different topics), trying to find others like me. Or sort of like me. Or maybe not at all like me, but at least entertaining. Or diverting. Or supportive. Or validating.

Do you track to see how people find you? Any good searches lead anyone to you?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

out of time

Today is my sister's birthday. She is almost 14 years younger than I am, turning 27. (Our brother is 2 years younger than me, almost 12 years older than her.)

My husband is two years older than his brother, and six years older than his sister, whose birthday is Thursday. So both our families have two siblings close in age, then a third a bit of a tagalong.

I think that influences my thinking about kids and siblings a great deal. Kids are hard. And having kids (and trying and failing to have kids) is incredibly hard on a relationship. I thought we would have three kids. I don't think our relationship would survive a third. Maybe, if there was time for a bit of a lag. But I'll be 41 soon.

I think, given that my result is two happy, seemingly healthy children, my biggest regret from the infertile/loss/shaky relationship years is the time lost. There is no chance for a "surprise" baby. If we had started earlier? But heck, we barely survived the should we have kids decision point, but went ahead and someplace in the files on my dead computer is nearly two years of basal temperature charting. Barely, barely survived the first child and then the loss - another year or so gone by. Hanging on by a slender thread with child #2. 6 years, two kids, two losses, infidelity, endless marriage counseling, and here we are. In the grand scheme of things, I probably can't complain much. But I can regret.

My sister enriched/enriches our family in so many ways. I'm so grateful to have her in my life. But then again, there's my husband's family - he was close with his sister, but she's fallen by the wayside, now, too. (a quick update - nothing to update - no contact, no nothing the past few months. I'm sure we're considered even more awful for the lack of a card for Mother's Day. Oh well. Hard to care, really.)

I used to be one of those people who would say things happen for a reason. Now I think things happen for no reason whatsoever. And you?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Eye Opening

Wow - have you been over to Niobe's place lately? On Friday, she opened her comments section to anonymous confessions. And boy, have they rolled in. I was curious to see what people might write. I think of blogging as very confessional, so I couldn't imagine how these comments would be different. I don't know about you, but I am blown away - blown away - by the number and intensity of unhappy relationship/infidelity comments. The statistics are pretty stark - a high percentage of marriages experience infidelity, and the majority of those marriages survive.

I've thought about writing Mel at Stirrups Queen and putting me on the list in a new category - how reproduction difficulties exposes flaws in your relationship, or something slightly more catchy than that. (ideas, anyone?) I have on my perpetual to-do list to get added to the blogroll, but I can never decide where I might belong - relationships suck after infertility? (I have some progesterone to donate, so I have got to get this off my to-do list and onto the done list too, and pronto. I'm calling myself out here so I can actually get it done).

I am fairly certain the intention of anonymous confessions is to open it up, let it go, and never speak of it again. So here I am, violating the first rule of fight club by talking about fight club. The guilt, the questioning, the depressions, the fear and worry - all of that seems, to me, to be a more raw extension of what we read in blogland. Not much there surprised me. The relationship stuff - I don't read that much online along those lines. I was, am, surprised by those comments. There are times I feel like the one of just a few people struggling to keep a marriage together, and wondering if it will last.

Do you want to talk about fight club? Anything surprise you, or not?