Wednesday, May 30, 2007

So Much for the Second Opinion

The ultrasound place can't schedule me for that second opinion scan until June 7. I declined that appointment -- this needs to be over before then.

Tomorrow is my follow-up appointment with Dr. Mango. I'm really hoping to have my next steps laid out for me at that point.

Still Waiting

I still haven't started bleeding and I haven't gotten my second opinion. I will call for that tomorrow, but my next appointment with Dr. Mango is Thursday. I believe at that point we will schedule a D&C. I am very much ready to have this situation behind me.

It is so strange to go from being terrified of finding blood to actually hoping for it.

Dr. Mango behaved as if this was my first miscarriage. I had shown him my chart from the first pregnancy, showing a 24-day-long luteal phase. He had no explanation for that, but still said he couldn't confirm that I was pregnant because I never had a positive blood test (because my last doctor wouldn't see me until I made it to 8 weeks). I am so frustrated about this. I am planning to go to a fertility specialist/reproductive endocrinologist in a couple of months. In the meantime, we'll be taking time off from the babymaking attempts.

Two classic statements by Dr. Mango made me think he might not be the doctor for me:
"It's nature's quality control." That does not help. Also: "At least we do better than cows! 50% of cow pregnancies end in miscarriages!"

Again, not helping.

14 things that suck about miscarriages
  1. Pregnancy becomes frightening instead of exciting.
  2. You have to start all over again.
  3. You worry you might not be able to get pregnant again.
  4. Suddenly the number of pregnant women in your world seems to rise exponentially.
  5. Inevitably, a close family member will announce her pregnancy when her pee is barely dry on the stick. Of course, her pregnancy will go swimmingly. She will opine that her pregnancy is God's will.
  6. Your doctor assures you that miscarriages are very common. (Then why do you feel so alone?)
  7. You wonder what's wrong with you.
  8. You want to know why. Why can't you have a baby? Why do kids huffing glue under the boardwalk have no problem, and you were eating your vegetables and exercising and taking your prenatal vitamins ... why didn't it matter?
  9. You study statistics, even though they don't mean anything.
  10. You wonder if overuse of your laptop could have caused it.
  11. You wonder if your prescription eye drops could have caused it.
  12. You wonder if you caused it by not being hopeful enough.
  13. You wonder how you will handle another pregnancy and the worry that will come with it.
  14. You wonder if the worry will cause this to happen again.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Life Goes On ... Time to Crack the Egg

On Saturday, Steve cracked open the ostrich egg. It was an adventure just opening it up. First Steve tried a knife. That was unsuccessful.

Next he started smacking it with a spoon. Breakthrough! (left)

It filled a large portion of a big plastic bowl. I offered Steve the Kitchen-Aid mixer, but he thought that was overkill. So I whisked it.

And whisked it.

And whisked it.

Meanwhile, Steve pulled out the largest frying pan we own, a wedding gift from one of Steve's coworkers. The card had advised me that if Steve gets out of line, I should hit him with the frying pan. Steve prepared the pan with some beech mushrooms, green peppers and onions.

Half of the egg filled the frying pan to capacity. Half of one egg! In the end, Steve ate three large breakfasts from one ostrich egg over the course of the Memorial Day weekend.

Steve reported that the ostrich egg tasted like a regular egg. The findings of our exotic egg project are that duck and goose eggs are the richest. A future experiment will involve using duck eggs in creme brulee.

Below, one-third of the scrambled ostrich egg, some bacon and toast.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's All Over but the Bleeding

Well, that sucked.

Today Dr. Mango couldn't find a heartbeat at all. It should have been 8 weeks, and it was measuring only 7. It wasn't moving on screen and it looked like a crumpled piece of paper. This apparently is what is clinically known as a "missed abortion." The doctor said to go for another ultrasound, and he gave me a referral, but I don't know if I'm going to bother. I know it's over and I don't need to lie there being violated by a plastic wand and see it on the screen again.

Now I have to wait to bleed, and if it doesn't happen then I have to go through the D&C routine next week.

I wonder if I knew on some primal level that it wasn't going to make it, or if I was just randomly pessimistic and happened to be right. I guess I'll never know.

I haven't been able to talk to Steve yet. He's been away from his desk. It is going to be so hard to disappoint him like this again.

I feel like I have this trusted position of bearing us a child and I can't get it done. I know it's irrational, but there it is.

Heading to OB Appointment. Nervous

So my HCG tests from last week were inconclusive or something, and I need to repeat the test. This means my levels were not doubling every 48 hours, as is optimal. It's not the end of the world if they aren't doubling -- a pregnancy can still survive -- but it's much better if they are increasing at a normal rate.

Today I have an appointment with Dr. Mango, and he's going to do another ultrasound. I'm nervous about the visit, because what if he can't find a heartbeat this time? I know it does no good to worry, and I have been ok this week so far, but now that the appointment is in a half hour, my stomach is in knots. Uuugh.

T-Minus 48 Hours and Counting...

... to the cracking and scrambling of the ostrich egg.

Stay tuned.

What Do You Do With a Mustard Plant?


We have this herb garden that is finally doing well now that it's outside in the sun and balmy weather. It did poorly when it was inside well into the April freeze. We tried to keep turning it around to get even sun but then the herb stems just grew in circles.

Mustard seeds were among those in the seed kit, so we planted them along with the others. Now we've got this big spicy-smelling mustard flower (left), and it has occurred to us that we have no idea what to do with it. I mean, it's the mustard seeds you want, right? So are we supposed to be harvesting seeds out of this thing? Where are the seeds? Will they be sticky or gross in some way? And how many should there be? We clearly have a lot to learn.

So I looked on the ever-useful Web and found this on Looksmart, from Flower and Garden Magazine. Of particular interest:
By midsummer, the plants will be 3 feet high and covered with brilliant yellow flowers. As the flowers fade, seed pods start to form and by August the mature seed pods will be ready for harvest. The pods have an explosive nature when fully ripe and easily burst and scatter seed. To avoid losing valuable seed, harvest when the plants begin to yellow but before the pods become too brittle.
I have been known to eat half a jar of Grey Poupon with my burger and fries, so I am no joke re: the mustard. I have five varieties in the fridge right now. I guess as long as we pay attention and snag the pods before they explode, I could actually make my own. That would rock.

Meanwhile, the second potato plant experiment seems to be going much better than the first. This plant (right) has purple flowers! Very promising. We may end up with some potatoes this year after all. We've also got about 10 red potatoes planted in the dirt in the back yard, but that topsoil was mixed with clay, so it might not be as fertile.

We'll just have to see what happens.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Becoming One With the Splinter

I think the splinter isn't coming out. I think it's just going to stay in there and maybe dissolve. The swelling has gone down a lot but the wound closed up and there's no sign of movement underneath. I really don't feel like making a doctor's appointment for this. I have an OB appointment Thursday and maybe I'll ask him if I need to worry about it.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Goose Eggs for Breakfast

Steve considered breaking out the ostrich egg this weekend, but we decided to wait until next weekend, Memorial Day weekend, when he'll have three days to eat all the eggs. (He decided scrambling is the way to go.)

Instead, this weekend he ate the goose eggs. Each one seems to contain as much egg as maybe three large chicken eggs.

On Saturday morning, he fried one and ate it on a bagel sandwich (left, prior to placing on the bagel). The yolk was almost as wide and deep as the bagel itself.

On Sunday, he made a scrambled goose egg with spinach and cheese. Look at that thing (right)! It's just one egg!

He reports that the yolk is very rich.

We also mused on the shape of the goose egg, also slang for a zero on an assignment, and wondered if the more oblong oval simply looked more like a zero than a chicken egg, or if people ate a lot of goose eggs back in the day so it seemed only natural.

You never hear anyone threaten kids with a chicken egg on a test or paper.

Finally, Steve harvested our first crop yesterday -- eight tiny red potatoes. It appears they were pulled too early. See photo at left with a penny included to the far right for perspective. The potato volume of the yield appears to be smaller than the volume of the single potato we planted. Lessons learned: plant deeper, pull later. We have another one growing in another pot that we planted deeper, so we're keeping our fingers crossed for that one.

Today we planted some cucumbers, okra, eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, and collards in the new plantar and some nearby pots. My gardener aunt told us last summer that her (evil) father, my grandfather, used to plant seeds and say, "well, grow if you're gonna." I never liked him, but that seems like a wise perspective for gardening. So there's one redeeming thing about him, anyway.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A Splinter in My Butt


Steve and I were out on the deck trying to assemble a cedar plantar I got him for Christmas, when I performed an ill-fated slide across the decking. Turns out my buttery-soft Lucky Brand jeans are not appropriate for manual labor, as a long, jagged piece of wood sliced through my jeans and into my butt. I got up -- very carefully -- and made my way gingerly into the cluttered basement. I realized MUCH to my dismay that the splinter was anchoring my jeans to my skin, and I pulled out the part that was sticking out of my jeans. I dropped my jeans and looked in the full-length mirror. Steve looked on as I attempted a splinterectomy. Of course, a piece broke off way under the skin.

Steve has offered to use a razor blade to dig out the offending splinter, but I'm hoping it works itself out on its own.

In the meantime, this is all quite uncomfortable.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

How to Get Immediate Medical Care Part 2

This is part 2 of my recent medical drama, the story for which begins in the post below.

The irony with the whole situation is that if I had had some medical care earlier on, maybe I would not have worked myself into such a frenzy, and I would have saved my insurance company a bunch of cash on ultrasounds and emergency appointments. Hopefully I won't have to pay too much out of pocket. For the record, the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy and an anxiety attack have a lot in common:

What symptoms can a woman experience with ectopic pregnancy?

* Abdominal pain (90-100% of women)
* Absence of menses ("not getting your period") (75-90%)
* Unexpected bleeding through the vagina (50-80%)
* A vague soreness or spastic (colic) pain in the abdomen
* Abdominal pain can be generally everywhere, or it can be in a specific spot (localized) in one side or both sides
* Pain in the shoulder because of diaphragmatic (broad muscle under the lungs and heart that separates the chest from the abdomen and helps move the lungs during normal breathing) irritation from blood in the abdomen (25%)
* Dizziness and fainting (33%)
* Pregnancy symptoms (20%)
* Urge to have bowel movement (defecate) (10%)

Common symptoms of anxiety attacks
(source: The Linden Center)

* Rapid heart beat, pounding heart or palpitations
* Sweating
* Shaking visibly or inside
* Choking sensations or lump in throat
* Smothering or shortness of breath sensations
* Chest pain or discomfort
* Nausea, bloating, indigestion or abdominal discomfort
* Dizziness or unsteadiness
* Feeling light-headed
* Derealisation (feeling unreal or dreamy)
* Depersonalisation (feeling outside yourself or like you don't exist)
* Fear of losing control or going crazy
* Paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations) in face, extremities or body
* Chills or hot flushes
* Skin losing colour
* Blushing or skin blotches
* Urgently needing to urinate or defecate

So I'm not totally crazy. But I do admit that the anxiety attack symptoms were a 95% match with my symptoms, whereas the ectopic symptoms were only about 70% similar.

Regardless, I feel better now just knowing I have medical care available. If my blood tests look good this week, I might actually buy some transitional maternity clothes. I'm not really the "rubber band around the button" type. I like my clothes to fit and be comfortable.

When I got home from the appointment with Dr. Mango, I called Steve. I told him about my day and reported that I had seen the heartbeat. He immediately started giggling. "Did you?" he laughed, adding, "it's really little."

I think he's imagining it as a teeny tiny cute little baby, rather than a tiny mollusk with a giant head and a vestigial tail.

How to Get Immediate Medical Care

On Monday, I showed up to work feeling just fine, but around 10 a.m. I went to the bathroom and all hell broke loose. I suddenly became dizzy and faint and got chills and cold sweats and pain in my lower abdomen. It felt like food poisoning but I wasn't actually having any stomach issues.

I basically stumbled back to my office, closed the door (thank god my officemate was in a meeting), and lay down on the floor for a few minutes until I stopped feeling dizzy. I googled my symptoms and freaked out when I saw that they appeared to be identical to those of an ectopic pregnancy, which often presents itself between 6-7 weeks, which is where I am.

I went home and changed out of my suit, and then I went immediately to the urgent care doctor near my house.

The urgent care center was a strange place. I definitely got the feeling that urgent care was a side business. They had signs all over the place for weight loss and hair removal programs. (Maybe the sign outside saying "WEIGHT LOSS -- URGENT CARE" should have tipped me off.) But I felt better just being there, knowing that if my fallopian tube burst, someone would get me to a hospital.

The urgent care doctor drew blood and made an appointment for me to get an emergency sonogram that afternoon. In the meantime, that doctor's office tried to call my OB-GYN, who I'll call Dr. Degree From Grenada. Dr. Degree From Grenada will not see a pregnant patient until 8-10 weeks, under any circumstances. Dr. Degree From Grenada also does not seem to work a full week, but I went to her practice because it was convenient to my job (when I worked in Falls Church) and because there are numerous doctors there that I could see at her practice. I have never gotten through to a real person when attempting to call Dr. Degree From Grenada, which is why I went to urgent care instead of my OB-GYN's office.

Typically you have to leave a message and Dr. Degree From Grenada's office gets back to you at their leisure. The urgent care staff managed to get a real person on the phone twice to discuss my issues (ectopic pregnancy can cause DEATH, people), and they were disconnected both times during the call. The third time they called, like 10 seconds later, the "we're closed for lunch" message was on. The urgent care suggested a new OB-GYN and got me an appointment for the next morning.

I was at the sonogram place forever. They did a pelvic sonogram and an abdominal sonogram, and then they did an internal one (they stick the ultrasound wand up your va-jay-jay). They found the "sac," and it wasn't ectopic (whew), but the technicians told me that the embryo was measuring really small for what it should be. They wouldn't tell me anything else, even about the big white dot on the image of my kidney (was that a kidney stone? they wouldn't say), so I got the feeling they were pretty certain of the measurements.

I spent Monday night depressed, wondering when the miscarriage was going to happen. I told Steve and he hugged me and said at least each time things move farther along, so if this didn't work, maybe next time would be the ticket.

Tuesday morning, my new OB-GYN, who I'll call Dr. Mango, talked to me about what was going on. I recapped the symptoms of my illness from the prior day, and he comes up with, "you had an anxiety attack." I objected: "But I wasn't even stressed out about anything!"

Then I thought about it. Every time I go to the bathroom I look at my underwear expecting to see blood. The episode happened in the bathroom at work. Perhaps constantly steeling myself for theoretical blood is not healthy behavior.

Dr. Mango asked me all sorts of specific questions about what happened and whether we had anxiety disorder or obsessive compulsives in my family. (We do.) So he basically said I need to chill out and stop worrying about everything. He asked me why I was worried, and I said because of the prior miscarriage, and because it took my mom four years to get pregnant. Dr. Mango said for a 33 year old I actually have gotten pregnant pretty quickly, even if this is the first pregnancy.

(He thinks the one in February was not a real pregnancy at all -- I don't buy that, but I'll buy the idea of a chemical pregnancy. I'm going to bring him my chart from that cycle to show him all the signs.)

Dr. Mango said it's totally normal for it to take a year for a 33 year old to get pregnant and it's nothing to worry about. He said the sonogram technicians were working at the limits of the technology's resolution, so the estimate of the age of the embryo could have been off pretty easily. Then Dr. Mango did a vaginal sonogram, and what do you know -- I saw the little heart beating. For a second I caught my breath -- I was so surprised. It looked like a little bean flashing on and off.

Dr. Mango said the pregnancy seems viable but we'll know more based on blood tests. He's going to do a blood test every two days for a while and the hormone level should be doubling each time. He said that is the best indicator for whether it is viable or not. I have a blood test scheduled for Thursday and another sonogram for next week.

It's night and day compared to Dr. Degree From Grenada, who I wouldn't have even seen for another 3 weeks, and who would not run early blood tests. Basically, with Dr. Degree From Grenada, it's up to you to get your pregnancy to 8-10 weeks. THEN you get to have some prenatal care. They don't even mail you a leaflet on what not to eat or anything -- what if someone's going around eating sushi and deli meat and seared tuna and soft cheeses because they don't know to avoid them? (I admit it, I envy that person in theory.) You are on your own.

To be continued.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

I never really thought too much about Mother's Day before this year, except to make sure I sent my mom some flowers or something and called on the actual day. But this year, I'm not sure what to make of it.

If my first pregnancy had lasted, I'd be about halfway through, and I might be able to feel confident thinking of today as something I theoretically could celebrate. But now, it's too early to count on anything with this one. It's strange. I wonder if I'll be celebrating Mother's Day as a mom next year.

At the moment, my size 8 jeans are feeling a bit tight around my lower abdomen. Very sad. I still haven't called my OB/GYN about the pregnancy. I have my annual exam scheduled for May 25, and it takes months to get on her schedule for an annual. Initially I figured I might as well hold off on canceling that, just in case. Now I'm thinking maybe they can just change that appointment to an 8 week exam. I still don't want to call them, because I'm worried they might make me come in later. I just want to get in there and find out if there's a heartbeat. It's my understanding that if you make it to 8 weeks with a fetal heartbeat, chances of a miscarriage drop to less than 10%.

It might make me feel better about the whole thing.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Stupid Neighbor

My stupid white trash neighbor with her damn barky dogs is out on her deck smoking like a chimney again. I'm all for individual rights, but it sucks that her smoke somehow always makes it inside our house. Her deck is just a few feet from our living room window, the one I always sit by. It's a beautiful day and I don't want to close the window. But I need to figure out what to do about this on a larger scale. I can't be second-hand smoking at least three ciggies a day here if I'm going to stay pregnant. And she needs to control her damn dogs.

At least she cleaned the piles of garbage, leaves, and dog poop out of her tiny back yard. I think she only did it because it was starting to smell as the weather warmed up.

Townhouse life was fine until this nasty woman moved in. The only good thing about her is that at least the smoking will make her die earlier. Unfortunately that doesn't help us right now.

This morning I made the terrible mistake of giving Wendy a whole piece of turkey bacon in exchange for a few barks. I know now that this was a terrible mistake because she is resting comfortably against my chair and passing copious amounts of gas. Worse, the gas smells slightly of turkey bacon.

Steve is down South with his parents this weekend. He's helping them paint the homestead and visiting some plantation homes. They are visiting Greenville, MS, today. I just looked it up and it seems they happen to be visiting on the day of the famous Catfish Races.

I have to admit, I wouldn't have minded seeing the Catfish Races. I guess they race them in glass-covered tracks filled with water. That's something you don't see every day.

I especially would have enjoyed it if it were followed by the consumption of a catfish po'boy. Mmmm... catfish po'boy.

I try to limit my trips to see the in-laws because I have an almost incapacitating cat allergy, and they have two cats inside and dozens outside. The inside cats are the ones that make it tough to breathe, but the outside cats are becoming far more disturbing. Steve's dad is an animal lover and enjoys feeding the (mostly feral) cats, so over the years the cats have stuck around and bred with one another. A mother with her son, a brother with his sister, and now they have a handful of cats hanging around the farm in various stages of deformity.

Last Thanksgiving, Steve's brother-in-law came in from one of his many visits to Wal-Mart in a state of utter revulsion.
BIL: WHOA! Did you see that cat out there hopping around with its arms stuck out to the side and its butt up in the air? What the heck is THAT?
FIL: Aw, you mean Flipper?
Next time I go, if Flipper is still around, I'll have to take a picture. He (wisely) stays under the shed most of the time, though, so he's a tough photo subject. Here's hoping his lineage stops with him.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Going for No. 1 Baby

If this pregnancy sticks around -- and I'm still not remotely convinced that it will -- the due date is January 3, 2008. Two random things strike me about this date:
  1. We might narrowly miss a nice 2007 dependent tax deduction. (Shoot.)
  2. We have a shot at first baby of the year! woohoo!
I'm by no means impressed by the idea of getting on TV, especially in a post-childbirth state, but I do seem to recall some fabulous prizes are awarded, such as diapers (for the kid) and jewelry (for mom). I wouldn't mind some free gifts. It would also be a great story to tell the family.

But I do feel bad for the potential kid -- January is a terrible month for a birthday. Everyone's done with parties after the holiday season and people just want to hunker down inside. One year, as a kid, I celebrated my January birthday in June so I could have a pool party and we could go horseback riding. As an adult, I've had several birthday celebrations canceled due to terrible weather or plague.

Regardless, I'm definitely getting ahead of myself. The kid thing all remains very theoretical to me.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to stick to the rules and avoid eating uncooked sushi or hot dogs or Italian subs or basically any of the things I always ate as a treat. Yesterday I nearly had a sub anyway, but then I looked up Listeria online and saw that it causes miscarriages. If I have another miscarriage, I want to know for sure that it WASN'T due to consumption of deli meat.

So, no sushi, no cold cuts. No soft cheeses (although I still do have pasteurized feta in my Greek salad -- I gotta draw the line somewhere). No decongestants, which sucks today because my sinuses are killing me. No wine, which is a major drag, especially because my hormones are causing a lot of anxiety and a glass of wine would take the edge off.

It's hard to take these prohibitions seriously, because I still have the mindset that it would be foolish to expect to end up with a baby in January. Right now, if all is developing normally, it looks like a tiny pink worm. It doesn't start resembling a baby until about 10 weeks. But I had a friend who miscarried at 10 weeks, and another friend who miscarried at 13 weeks -- right after she made it out of the high-risk time period.

I wonder when I'll start believing this might actually happen.

We've got EGGS! (Ostrich eggs, that is)

We hit terrible traffic on the way home a couple of days ago, so we stopped in Old Town to see if a grocery store there did in fact offer ostrich eggs for sale,
as advertised
. I parked the car, and Steve ran in, coming out a few minutes later with a goofy grin on his face.

6 quail eggs
2 goose eggs
1 ostrich egg

The ostrich egg wasn't quite as big as I thought it would be. I'd figured it would be about the size of a football. Instead it was a little bigger than a softball. In the photo below, you can see a quail egg, chicken egg, goose egg, and ostrich egg lined up for perspective. Apparently one ostrich egg contains the equivalent of two dozen regular chicken eggs. The cost of one ostrich egg: $20.

Exhaustive Web-searching turned up only two real ways to cook them: scrambling or boiling. The boiling seems to take anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours, and you have to continually turn the egg so it cooks evenly. Once it's done, you slice it up and you can put the slices on a sandwich or eat them with various sauces suggested online. The scrambling option seems quicker, but results in a LOT of scrambled eggs.

Luckily, the giant egg won't go bad for months and months, so we have time to decide.

I am a little worried there will be an ostrich in there. For that reason, I don't intend to witness the cracking of the egg's very hard shell.

Steve did cook up his quail eggs already. He's eaten quail eggs before, raw, on sushi, but never cooked. He fried them up and made quail eggs benedict. He reports that it tasted like regular eggs. To the left, a plate of fried quail eggs, next to a pen for perspective.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Annoying Questions From Well-Meaning People

Yesterday I talked to my friend Christy for the first time in a while. She mentioned that she's talked to her longtime boyfriend about getting married. I admitted that I had been wondering about their plans -- they've been dating for about 5 years -- but I didn't want to ask, because it might be a sore subject. Turns out, it may have been. She has been bringing it up for a while with her boyfriend, and he's just on his own schedule for the whole thing. Stay tuned.

The inappropriate-question issue has hit home recently for me when people ask when Steve and I are going to have kids. I just say, "it's on the agenda," and think "you idiot." There are so many questions that people ask regularly just to make conversation without realizing how upsetting/annoying they might be.
"Are you going to get married?"
"Are you going to have kids?"
"When are you going to have kids?"
"Are you going to have another kid?"
None. Of. Your. Business.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Dirt and Toilet Bowl Cleaners

We had dinner last night at my brother and sister-in-law's house. They announced her pregnancy a week after I quietly miscarried. They don't know about it at all. They have their 9-week ultrasound photo framed and matted in their living room.


At least my sister-in-law got sleepy around 8:30 p.m., so we took our leave early.

I woke up early today, because our beagle Wendy decided she NEEDED to eat RIGHT NOW at about 7 a.m. I did a bit of ghetto shopping at K-mart, across the street from the local hub of Salvadoran gang MS-13. I went early, before the bad people were awake, a tactic I learned when living in Brooklyn, N.Y. My neighborhood post office was on the other side of the Gowanus Expressway, across from the infamous Red Hook projects. I began using the early-morning tactic after just one very uncomfortable trip down there on a late summer afternoon to pick up my delivery, a large box with J.CREW printed conspicuously on the side.

Things at K-mart were quiet Sunday morning. The highlight of my day was my purchase of a disposable toilet brush system. I recently had to throw out our reusable brush because it had poo on it. The brush holder also featured a small but thriving ecosystem of liquid and poo germs. In this day and age of global warming I know we should be moving away from disposable anything, but I think our house will be a far healthier place for this decision.

Steve spent most of the day out back grooming the grounds. (And when I say "grounds" I am referring to our .04 acre of land, including the townhouse footprint. Yes, the decimal is in the right place.) I spent about half the day out back trying to find a gardening task that agreed with me. I first tried pulling up monkey grass. I didn't like that. Then I tried hoeing (heh heh) the dirt to get up the grass roots. Didn't like that either. Finally Steve suggested I prune the giant 20-year-old azalea. I didn't really like that either but it was better than the other options. Now my back hurts and I have twigs in my hair.

For dinner, Steve cooked some delicious grass-fed steaks on the grill, and I partook of an O'Douls. Not a bad day.

Today also marked the day that this pregnancy has officially lasted longer than the first.

Actually, when I called the new toilet brush the highlight, I misspoke. The highlight really was this conversation with Steve, while we cleaned up after dinner:
Steve: I'm happy I'm here.
Me: Instead of in Iraq?
Steve: Instead of anywhere else.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Townhouse Living

The amount of work I have to do always seems to expand or contract to fill the time I have in which to complete it.

I've been wondering lately if that is also the case with the amount of crap I have -- that it expands or contracts to fill the space I have. This morning I started trying to clean out our spare room, which is connected to the guest room, and therefore makes quite the bad impression when people come to stay. I've basically tossed all my random crap in the spare room.

Steve has the basement for his crap, but I don't really have a place for mine. Still, that's no excuse -- I don't like to see myself as a hoarder. I have a pile of purses in the spare room that I'm probably never going to use again. I should at least weed those out. The biggest issue is CDs. I listen to music on my iPod now -- I haven't bought a CD in years. I have 100s of CDs that are covered in dust. I've already ripped the songs I like from them and saved them to my computer. Do I throw out the CDs? Sell them on eBay (too much trouble)? Donate them? Stick them in a few boxes and put them in the attic until we move? And then put them in the next attic?

And what about my 1988 Technics component stereo? Apparently they don't make them with that kind of power anymore, my audiophile friends say. It also has a cool turntable. However, I haven't really used it in years. It's a waste of space. But they don't make them like that anymore, right? What if it's worth something someday? Even though it gets all staticky while I'm changing the volume. I can't even use the excuse that I need to own a turntable -- my dad bought us a combo turntable/CD player last Christmas. The gift still sits in its box in the basement -- no place to put it.

I'm paralyzed by this situation.

My First Blog Title

In 1997 movie In & Out, actor Kevin Kline's character is inadvertently "outed" during the Academy Awards. In that scene, a list of spoof nominees/movies is read, including "Steven Seagal for Snowball in Hell." I'd been dragged to enough of his movies to loathe the sensei's work. Most galling was the ever-present female supporting star, who always seemed to be there only to carry Seagal's stuff and make out with him in the end. A snowball's chance in hell, indeed.

Back then, I was working in the new media industry and thought I might pull together a Seagal-hating web site with the Snowball in Hell title. It turned out, though, that I didn't quite loathe him enough to spend my personal time creating an anti-tribute to the man. But I can at least use the title for this blog, until I come up with something more appropriate.

Life is about choices -- like today. How pissed am I at my neighbor Janet for throwing garbage out on the curb three days before the garbage trucks come? Am I angry enough to send her a terse HOA board warning letter, thereby escalating the bad energy between us?

I think I might be. I'm going to give it one more day and see how I feel. I tried to befriend her, her and her little barky dogs and her nasty cigarettes she smokes on her deck right outside our living room window. Her and her way-too-short shorts that might have been appropriate 20 years ago. Her and her recycling bin containing an astounding inventory of liquor bottles on a very regular basis. Her and her punk kid who yells at her that she's stupid. Her and her surprisingly upstanding-looking ex-husband. Her and her constant attempts to avoid saying hello or making eye contact.

Last weekend I had a breakthrough with her when she was standing in her yard for a period of time. (Not sure what she was doing.) But now, forget it. When I saw her toss the bags on the curb, I told her garbage day was yesterday, and she told me she didn't care. She said someone else put their garbage in her can, and she wasn't keeping it. "Great," I said, "now you're making it everyone's problem." She slammed her door. I cleaned up her crap, because I try to have some pride in our stupid little neighborhood. Then I went to Steve and hysterically informed him that we need to move.

I'm a little off my rocker these days because I'm about 5 weeks pregnant. Nobody knows, so this blog will stay private for another 7 weeks or so.

I had a miscarriage in February, so it's hard to get excited this time. I'm not convinced this will last. The other night I had a moment where I sort of sensed another presence, but I mentally rejected it, thinking, "I can't pay attention to you just yet." Too risky.

So I haven't been planning ahead for it, and I carry around a little self-designed "miscarriage kit" containing a jumbo maxi pad and four Advil, just in case it happens at work. Hopefully I won't need it. We'll see.