Sunday, October 26, 2008

Running on Empty

I have this bargain-hunting problem. When I know things will be expensive, I'm apt to just suck it up and buy them. But if I think I can get a deal, I try to gather all the information possible, sometimes to my own detriment.

On the way home from work Thursday, I noticed I was pretty low on gas. The station near my house had gas for what now appears to be a bargain-basement price of $2.82/gallon, but I could barely walk that evening because of sciatic nerve pain and decided I'd stop on the way to work Friday morning.

Friday morning rolled around and I found myself running late. No time to fill up, but I'd take care of it when I left work to go to a 2pm meeting. Unfortunately, 1:30 rolled around and I hadn't left enough time for the gas stop. The reserve tank light wasn't on yet, except for a quick flash that morning that I didn't think counted. I'd be fine. It came on soon into my drive to the meeting. Afterward, I headed out of my meeting and hopped in the car for the drive home. I came upon a gas station, but they were charging $2.89/gallon, and I figured I'd get it cheaper near my house.

I merged onto the Beltway into sluggish traffic, my reserve light still bright, and started wondering how much gas was in the reserve tank. I vaguely remembered the car salesman saying the reserve tank had 2.2 gallons in it. Or was that 1.2 gallons? If it was 1.2 I was liable to to run out of gas on the Beltway. I merged back toward the right lane, just in case.

When I made it to my exit, I was relieved. And yet I continued to make bad decisions, driving by the first gas station because it was on the wrong side of the road, and then rejecting the next (2 miles later) -- I saw the $2.99/gallon price and foolishly decided I'd take my chances.

I regretted my decision almost immediately -- what the hell was the matter with me? I don't usually choose to do things the hard way. Walking to a gas station would be a serious problem, because I was limping due to the nerve pain. I drove slowly, in the right lane, and tried to coast down hills. As if that would help. Meanwhile, at stoplights, I tried to look in my car owner's manual for the reserve tank capacity. The information I sought was not provided. It didn't matter anyway -- either I was already screwed and it was too late, or I was going to be fine.

I made it about 2 more miles to the last gas station I'd pass before home. With no choice, I pulled in, running on fumes. After I filled up the tank, I found I'd had less than a half gallon left -- enough gas to get home, but only *maybe* enough gas to then get back to the gas station the next morning. What really chapped my @ss, though, was the price I ended up having to pay: $2.99/gallon.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More Perspective

I had a checkup today to ensure my cervix was still behaving. (Thankfully, it was. All looks good for now.)

While I was waiting in the exam room at my high-risk OBs' office, I noticed an appointment schedule on the bulletin board. It listed women by name, and included a "notes" field. In the notes field were things like, "triplets -- wants reduction" and "blood clot in neck." Leaving aside the obvious privacy concerns, it kind of drove home for me how lucky we have been so far in this pregnancy.

Sure, we have some adversity. But things could be a lot worse.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Music Rules for My Car

Since the XM-Sirius merger, XM seems to have trimmed its playlist. Some of the denizens of the various XM-user message boards say this had been in the works for a while; either way, I'm having to flip through channels a lot more lately to find a song I want to stick with. There have been times that many of my personal automobile music rules would have been flouted had I not continued the search.

My overarching rules are:
  • No jazz flute
  • No James Taylor
  • No "Locomotion" by any artist
  • No Gloria Estefan
  • No Jonas Brothers
  • No Jesse McCartney
These rules are subject to change at any time, and do not include the banning of individual songs (a topic for a later post). What are your music rules? Are they absolute, or are they flexible?

BTW, OB checkup tomorrow. Hoping all is well. Fingers crossed...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Looking for Meaning Where There May Be None

One of the odd symptoms I had in early pregnancy was an apparent increase in the intensity with which songs would go through my head on endless repeat. Since I subscribed to XM a few years back, the variety of options for my internal jukebox has increased exponentially, but suddenly that seemed to make no difference.

I was about five weeks pregnant when I found myself struck with insomnia, while Reba McEntire's "Fancy" rolled through my head, over and over, through the wee hours of the night. In case you aren't familiar with the song, it's about a dying mother who realizes that her teenage daughter has only one way out of poverty, and it's via the proverbial Oldest Profession.
She handed me a heart shaped locket that said
To thine own self be true
And I shivered as I watched a roach crawl across
The toe of my high heel shoe
It sounded like somebody else that was talkin
Askin' "Mama what do I do?"
She said "Just be nice to the gentlemen Fancy
And they'll be nice to you"

She said "Here's your chance Fancy don't let me down
Here's your one chance Fancy don't let me down
Lord forgive me for what I do, but if you want out, well it's up to you
Don't let me down now, your mama's gonna move you uptown."

Well, that was the last time I saw my ma
The night I left that rickety shack
The welfare people came and took the baby
Mama died and I ain't been back
I charmed a king, congressman
And an occasional aristocrat
Then I got me a Georgia mansion
and an elegant New York townhouse flat
And I ain't done bad
A strange song to have stuck in my head, but maybe the message, if there is one, is that Fancy triumphs over adversity in the end.

A couple of weeks later, the Estelle/Kanye West song "American Boy" kicked off its rotation on my internal jukebox's endless repeat.
Take me on a trip, I'd like to go some day
Take me to New York, I'd love to see LA
I really want to come kick it with you
You'll be my American Boy.
This went on for several days. I wondered if my brain was trying to tell me something about the sex of the little bean growing inside of me. At this point, though, I remained completely unconvinced that this pregnancy had much of a chance of success. I tried to just tolerate my internal soundtrack and go about my business.

A week or so after that, as the nausea descended heavily upon me, came another unique selection. The Smiths' "The Boy With a Thorn in his Side" began playing in my head on endless loop.
If they don't believe us now,
will they ever believe us?
And when you want to live, how do you start?
Where do you go? Who do you need to know?
In addition to the clear connection to a fragile life, I noted with interest the gender-specific title, and the fact that my UU condition causes all my pains and twinges to be localized to one side of my abdomen.

A thorn in my side, indeed.

Later, as the 12-week nuchal screen for chromosomal disorders rolled around, my anxiety again neared a peak. The concern nagged at me that we'd find no heartbeat, and if it was still alive, we'd get results that indicated a high chance of abnormalities.

Around the same time, though, "One Step at a Time" by Jordin Sparks (yes, the American Idol winner -- don't judge) started up on the old internal jukebox. Desperate for some sort of philosophy to cling to, I locked onto this one.
Hurry up and wait
So close, but so far away
Everything that you've always dreamed of
Close enough for you to taste
But you just can't touch
Now you're feeling more and more frustrated
And you're getting all kind of impatient
We live and we learn to take

One step at a time
There's no need to rush
It's like learning to fly
Or falling in love
It's gonna happen when it's
Supposed to happen that we
Find the reasons why
One step at a time
At the test, we saw the little bean jumping and flipping around. Steve was fascinated by the ultrasound images. We got great results from the screen. And as of yesterday we're at 16 weeks and counting.

One step at a time, right?

Thanks to for most of the lyrics, with a tweak by me here and there. ;)