Friday, April 22, 2011

Where I Get My Hippie On

It's Earth Day, y'all.

And I'm celebrating by taking the day off, keeping the jukebox on all day, blogging over at that other blog that I've decided I shall no longer neglect, putting my feet up, drinking a few pots of tea and sending resumes out to job postings all around the country just for kicks.

M and I have also made a big decision today.

We decided there is no way in hell we are going to not go to Euro 2012 in Wroclaw, Poland. Which would be our first trip overseas in ages. Ages! But seriously, how can we not return to the place where we fell in love to see old friends and inhale the atmosphere of one of the biggest sporting events in the world?

I am wistful thinking of beers on the Rynek, walking along the Odra, jumping on the trams ticketless. I can taste the pitas stuffed with cabbage and vegetables from the train station (oh, I just got a mental whiff of the stench of parts of the train station. ewww.) I can hear the din of people laughing and talking (loudly. because there is no other way) in Polish in my ears. I feel ten years younger just thinking of boarding the plane.

If there were ever a time to demand three (well-deserved) weeks off work, it is then. I have already staked my claim on the calendar. There will be no discussion.

Now we just need to get there.


My kettle's been working overtime this week, not to keep up with my tea intake, but because we've had a "boil water" advisory going on since Monday. A broken water main left us with trickling or no water off and on all week. State workers were sent home, sent back to work where port-a-potties were set up outside our venerable capitol building, sent back home when the rains started again and it was clear that solution was just. not. happening. Bars and restaurants downtown are semi-functional, relying heavily on canned sodas, bottled water and whatnot. People are looking for people to blame. The usual snarling about how our city is a third-rate backwater with a dysfunctional (and most likely mentally unstable) new mayor has risen several decibels.

But M and I are pretty unfazed by the whole affair. We easily reverted back to what one does when living in a place where a water supply is not to be trusted....

We drink more beer.

We re-use the dishes and plates as often as we can. Same with clothes. We make dinners that will require the least amount of water to prep, or give us water that can then be used to wash the dishes.

I don't think its a bad idea to spend a few days like this. I really don't think its a bad thing to be reminded that potable water is a luxury item in most of the world. I think its a pretty fitting way to spend Earth Day: wearing day-old socks, re-reading old posts from our traveling days, and appreciating every warming sip of my decaf apricot tea.

Happy Earth Day, friends.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What If...I Just Don't Think About It

We're just a week away from National Infertility Awareness Week and whenever I sit myself down to write a post I find myself filled with one thought:

I don't want to. I just don't want to talk about this right now.

I'm sorry if my timing is off. But there you have it.

I don't want to talk about how it feels to be four years into a journey with nothing to show for it but a raging, gaping, gasping hole. I don't want to talk about how I feel when I read about someone who's pregnant, how someone is experiencing their first (or second or third) loss, how someone's trying again for the nth time, how someone's navigating pregnancy after a loss, how someone is realizing that parenting is what makes their life complete, how someone is coming to the realization they will never ever be pregnant.

It rips me apart right now. All of it. The highs, the lows, the waiting, the resolve. The pragmatism, the hopefulness, the foolishness, again, the resolve. I need to close my eyes from it for a little bit. I'm feeling a little singed.

There is no hotter fire, no stronger crucible than a body living through infertility. Except perhaps loss. If you don't know what you're made of before you start trying, by god you'll figure it out. Or you'll keep testing yourself with hotter temps, greater risks, all driven by a blinding hope - one of the two.

Don't worry, I'm not going to roll into any what doesn't kill me.....Nietzsche bullshit here. That quote posted on my dorm room wall as a rationale for staying in a ridiculous abusive addictive relationship did me little good then. It doesn't work here either.

I don't feel stronger. I feel more vulnerable. I don't feel more assured. I question everything.

I wince even thinking about breaking down the costs of our attempts through IVFs, donor egg cycles (two), all of it. Luckily, they occurred when we actually had multiple credit cards with high debt limits and we were used to carrying them. The climate has changed a bit since then. These days, banks are a little edgy if you have a balance that is higher than what one of you makes in a year. Those jerks.

I will tell you that the sum total is five digits long and probably starts with a 5 or a 6. I lost track after a while. I will tell you that surrogacy through an agency is absolutely cost prohibitive right now. There, now I'm dizzy.

I will tell you that for the most part I (and I am going to stretch way out here and say we) we are generally pretty happy these days. We love each other wholeheartedly and without reserve. We cherish our time together. We make excuses and skip functions just to have more time on the couch or making dinner or whatever. We are finally feeling emotionally able to handle some risks again - job hunts? relocation? thinking about a vacation? purchasing a new piece of furniture?

Don't laugh. After our daughters died, we were so risk-averse that leaving the apartment for anyplace other than a location we could get to with our eyes closed or meeting a person outside of a very select circle was panic-inducing. We seem to have cleared that hurdle now. An email from cousins who just returned from Paris made me think, hmmm....we ARE due for a vacation. An invite to a family event next month (featuring a baby) had me thinking hmmmm....maybe we'll surprise everyone and show up.

I just might be venturing back to pieces of the person I once was. I can handle being wise-cracking, mouthy, irreverent, impetuous. I can't handle being bitter.

The only thing that pulls me back and wraps me tight into a cocoon is thinking about infertility. About the daughters that should be running our lives right now. About the abject failure one feels after a failed cycle and how no amount of wordplay or positive imagery or reshaping the conversation really dulls that. About how far behind we feel when everyone around us is immersed in their children's lives.

We are being left behind.

That's how it feels.

And dammit, as a type-A, socially-needy kid who's biggest fear was that there was something going on someplace that she wasn't aware of, that is one hell of an OUCH.

But I'll get over it. I'm getting over it. As long as I don't think about it.

I know this is probably not what you had expected from one of last year's Blogs of Hope finalists. I wasn't expecting our struggle to pull us well into 2011 either. I'm finding myself working through some of my bigger What Ifs while that last mystical one dangles. Just out of reach.

I was reading a post over at My Infertility Woes a week or so ago and it is sticking with me. I can't get it out of my head:

I've got plenty of people who do exist that I can love. With my whole heart. I have children in my life that I can influence, that I can spend time with, and that I can support and care about. That may be enough for me. That may be more than enough for me.

I'm also not ready to say this is it, I'm done. Not yet. This journey has been a long one and I know I need to sit with this idea for awhile longer. But right now, right this second, I can say wholeheartedly that it's not worth it. There's more to life than this one thing. There's so much more.
There is so much more. This year, as I turn 37 (dizzy again) I want to spend some time on the More.

Now, I have five days to figure out how to make my birthday (birthday week?) fabulous. Suggestions?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What's Wrong with This Conversation?

Besides the fact that it happened at 6:30 am?

6:30 am. Phone rings.

me: um, yeah? (because I have caller ID you see and I can see its my boss and I want to make it terribly clear I am none too happy I am standing naked in my hallway where the phone is charging at 6:30 a. to the bleeping m.)

her: (unfazed) hi m. I guess you didn't get my message? I sent you an email. I really need your help on these 3 priority communications that NEED to get out right now. I was hoping we could start work on them at 6 am.

me: when, exactly (oh crazy one) did you send that email?

her: 3 am.

me: (long pause. just to see if any of the crazy is sinking in. no? none?) Um, I'm naked. I need a minute.

her: ok. great. call me back when you're ready. thanks.


So....if anyone knows of a communications, govt relations or public relations gig, or any openings for an exec director or deputy director in a non-profit association in or around PA, I've got a lovely well-crafted resume I'd love to send your way.

For reals.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Perfect moment Monday - the forest gump edition

M sent me a message on Thursday that started out simply enough: "My co-worker's doing this on Sunday and wants to know if you do too?"

That something was an inaugural 10-mile race whose route just happened to go past the trees (twice), along my usual running route and in front of my apartment (twice). Hmm....

Checked the forecast - gorgeous day in store. Checked the registration - $40 and goes to a local arts group. I can do that. Weighed the pros and cons in my mind for a few minutes. And said sure, why the heck not?

Oh wait, just one thing. I have NEVER ran ten miles before at once. Like, ever.

M replies, "She says if you run 7-8 miles regularly you can do it."

Well, define regularly. I think a 7 mile run has happened. Maybe twice. But whatever. On Friday morning, still pumped from our AMAZING DOUBLEHEADER DODGEBALL WIN THE NIGHT BEFORE WHICH VAULTED US INTO THE SEMIFINALS, I clicked on the Register Now button and there you go.

I was far more calm for this race than any of the 5Ks I've entered. Simply because my plan was to finish. That's it. I confessed to another friend who was running it that I planned to get to mile 5, drop down to a walk, hope for a second wind, then pick up the pace again. Maybe. Worst case scenario, I would drop back and walk home. She looked at me in all earnestness and said, "Don't stop. Just don't stop."

And I didn't.

I have to admit, the pace was quick. I confirmed this with M's co-worker, a much better runner than me, post-race. But I am at the point where I actually know my comfort zone. I kept to it. Despite the throngs passing me on both sides. I looked up at mile 2 to see a shivering M on a bench by the trees waiting to cheer me on. What??!? Up and around and back again and what? Mile five? Already? And at a better pace than I was hoping for. Well, shit. Let's just keep going, shall we?

I have to say, mile 6 was brutal. Along my normal river route but into a headwind that I swear was 15 mph if anything. I could feel windburn on my face and my knees start to get sore and oh look there's a nice little incline up there.

But I didn't stop.

And thank goddess, because at the top was M! Again! With his co-worker's hubby, who had hustled over to this spot to cheer us on again! Over and around and now over a mile-long bridge and back again. Did I mention this #$%$ headwind? But look! Mile 7! Mile 8! Wait. Is it possible that I am actually going to DO THIS??

Back onto to solid ground and some brief respite from the wind, then back across the walking bridge to the island where we started. And look, its the cheering section again. These boys hustle. This time M's co-worker was with them (did I mention she's pretty fast?) so I knew there wasn't much more to go. As soon as I saw the finish line, I sprinted! I still had a little gas left in the stove so why not? I passed four people and I could hear M hooting over my earbuds.

Finished at 1 hr. 54 seconds and something.

And it felt so good.

M and friends came over for showers and snacks and some post-race glowing. Then we headed over to his parent for some Sunday papers and poodles and adv*l and ice packs. Then back home for, don't laugh, WRESTLEMANIA. And if you follow me on FB or the twit machine you know this is an irony-free zone. It was awesome.

And as I sat on our new couch with ice on my one knee and the other getting rubbed by my also-windburned hubby, watching Sn**ki do a backflip and pin Michelle McCool in front of 70,000+ people I said to myself yes, this is a Perfect Moment.