Thursday, August 28, 2014


Lately there's been some drama in Husbandido's family, caused by our step-niece, K. (For a complete guide to Who's Who, you can now go to the handy dandy Cast of Characters tab at the top.) 

To be blunt, K is a flake; she's not very good at managing her life, but this latest crisis is a doozy. Here's the backstory: apparently while K and her scummy ex were still together, he got to be buddy buddy with the neighbors. He would go over there drinking at night and would try to get K to go with him. In this case, K showed some sense and wouldn't go because their young children were home, sleeping, and she didn't want to leave them alone. So the neighbors got treated to all the ex's complaints about K, and when they split, he apparently asked the neighbors to "keep an eye on her," but in a "report back to me way" as opposed to a "make sure they're okay" way. So the neighbors ended up nosing around K's business more than is healthy or she was comfortable with. So she decides to move. (In and of itself, that wasn't a bad decision.) Here's where it gets bad, though. Instead of trying to sell the house, even if a short sale was required, she decided to rent it out. Being a landlord is a lot of work and headaches, even at the best of times (my brother owned an apartment building for a few years); trying to juggle it in with working full-time and having split custody of a five year old and a three year old is not the most reasonable option. Then she puts all of her belongings in a pod before she knows where she is moving to. Even worse, the things she doesn't put in the pod are books, not an abundant supple of clothes or basic cookware. Then she moves to a place that the pod company doesn't normally deliver (because she didn't check that before committing to the new apartment) and without having the money to pay to get her pod delivered and her things back. Oh, and then she went and changed jobs from one that paid decently and had regular hours, at a bank, to being a home health care worker. Her new job requires her to work hours that she did not have child care set up for; at one point she was having her ex's mother baby-sit for her, until she found out that her ex is considering going back to court to get full custody.

This has caused no end of consternation for the wider family. MIL and W, her mother, have been out thrift store shopping so the kids would have something to sleep on and clothes to wear. At the birthday party for our nephews this past Saturday, K's kids, Mark and Cindy, were dressed in clothes they had been wearing for three days. On the way home for the party, I started thinking about ways to help. We offered a couple of extra dressers and some spare linens, as well as mentioning the idea of "family-sourcing" the cost to get her things delivered. At first we weren't sure what was in the pod and if any of her furniture had been left behind in the house for her tenant (who may or may not be paying rent), but reportedly everything is in the pod. The last we heard was that E, Husbandido's oldest brother, was going to contact other family members to see who was willing to contribute and how much. On top of it all, E and W are not sure that K has been giving them complete or accurate information; they were hoping to be able to talk to the pod company directly before committing the funds. That was Sunday; we're still waiting to hear back.

Honestly, I have about a million emotions going on regarding the situation. If it were just K, both Husbandido and I would be less inclined to help; we have our own financial problems to deal with, and at some point, she needs to grow up. (K is only 5 years younger than me. If she were younger, we would probably be more inclined to help.) There were so many bad decisions that led to this point that it's hard to count them. But neither of us want Mark and Cindy to suffer. It's not their fault that their mother is a flake and their father can be verbally abusive. If their father was a decent adult, I would say that perhaps him ending up with full custody could be a good thing. But he's not. (At Cindy's second birthday party, he was belittling K to his friends and family in front of her, her friends and family. It was so bad that I turned to Husbandido, saying "If you ever tried something like that, your things would be out on the lawn in under an hour." [And I don't believe in divorce, except in extreme circumstances.] Another example was when he was dropping Mark and Cindy off for a family birthday party, he spent a lot of time griping to K that Cindy, who is 3, would get moody and upset on Sundays, the day they swapped custody. The rest of the time she was fine, but he "was was not going to put up with that kind of behavior." Bear in mind that Cindy is 3, and each week she is being passed back and forth to households with very different rules and environments. It also seems not unlikely that a sensitive little girl might pick up on the fact that Mommy and Daddy don't seem to like each other much anymore.) And so even though we're not spending money on things we might want or could use, we're volunteering to cover up to $100 of the approximately $550 needed to get the pod back. We've also volunteered to help unload, so that process can happen quickly and costs can be kept down. I know it's the right thing to do, but part of me resents it and feels like a doormat. I kept being reminded of the phrase "A failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part," which is also true. There are also times when I feel like there ends up being a subsidy flowing from my family to Husbandido's, through us, which makes me a little uncomfortable. For now, we are waiting to hear back from E; I decided that we are not going to follow-up repeatedly to see if they have it sorted out and when they need the money. We do not need to chase them down to hand them our hard-earned cash. It doesn't mean we won't help; it just means that it is not primarily our responsibility. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Performance Pressure

Dr. P (post-surgery): "The next three to six months are your best chances to conceive."
Me: *gulp*

So maybe that's not quite what comes to mind when the phrase "performance pressure" is used. I guess it's more common for that phrase to bring to mind feeling a need to turn in a performance worthy of, er, adult entertainment, or possibly a romance novel. That's not my concern, since the quality or exoticness of the act of intimacy has no (or little) effect on the probability of conception. The performance pressure I'm feeling is a pressure to make sure that there are plenty of well-timed I's on the chart over these next several months. Mustn't waste the best chances, right? On one hand, absolutely! I didn't go through this surgery for kicks and grins. On the other hand, I have a bad habit of "to-do-izing" things, even things that shouldn't be treated as something to cross off the to-do list. And intimacy really shouldn't be just something to cross off a to-do list - unitive as well as genitive, right? 

So then the problem is this: how do we maximize our chances by getting plenty of well-timed I's on the chart without making it into a task to be accomplished? My first step has been to acknowledge that I am most likely to "to-do-ize" everything when I feel overwhelmed or have a lot going on. That means I need to pare down what I'm doing so that I have as much time as possible unscheduled and uncommitted. You would think, being a housewife, that I would have plenty of time already, but I started opening my mouth and volunteering for things. I have recently been walking back those commitments; I resigned from serving as VP of my local alumnae club; I decided not to do bible study this year. We'll still be doing our ballroom dance classes, though we might not go to quite as many classes as we otherwise would. I'm still on parish pastoral council, but we're preparing to roll out the new pastoral plan, so we shouldn't be meeting quite so often in the coming months, thankfully. 

The second part has been making sure that we are communicating our expectations to one another clearly. We've all heard tales of couples who had 10 (or more) straight days of I's when they conceived, and Husbandido and I agree that aiming for that frequency is beyond our capability. Too many times in a short period makes it far too difficult. Our current plan is every other day once I start observing fertile CM. If I continue using OPKs, we will aim for smiley day (the day I get a positive) and the next 2 days, most likely. (I have found that smiley day is usually within a day of peak day.) As we go through the process, we need to make sure that we keep the lines of communication open and don't start making assumptions.

Lastly, I need to pay attention to how Husbandido is doing at work. He is heading a key project at work that is perhaps the biggest update of his company's biggest product, and the deadline for it to be finished is the end of the year. I need to be aware of how much overtime he is working and how tired he is. Conversely, he needs to be aware if I start flipping out or worrying too much about money. Granted, his OT helps deal with the money stress (unlike most programmers, he gets time and half when he works OT), but it can leave him staying up too late to get his down time in (and fatigue can affect performance - just saying!). So we have to be careful to strike the right balance. 

If you have any thoughts on how to get those I's on the chart without pressuring yourself (each other) too much, please share!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Being Last

Let's face it - none of us wants to be last. We don't want to be the last one chosen in class, the last one with a date for Prom, the last to leave home, the last to get married, the last to have a child... It hurts. It hurts a lot to feel unloved, unwanted, undesirable, unworthy. The hard part is remembering that not wanting to be last is a worldly, earthly, human way of thinking. (That I do, too. So don't get me wrong - I'm preaching to myself as well here.) The exact verse from scripture (NIV) is "So the last will be first, and the first will be last." (Matthew 20:16) I can't claim that I want to be last off Infertile Island, and I freely admit that I threw I gigantic hissy fit when my kid brother and his wife had a child before we did (after having a snit fit about him marrying first, too). I'm as guilty as the next person, but what I am trying to remember right now is Jesus' reminder in the parable of the vineyard workers that we are to take what has been promised to us and not compare it to what He has given others. Now if only it were that easy to do...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

“O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.”

Am I the only one who doesn't like that like out of today's Gospel reading? Though truth be told, it isn't so much that I dislike that line - I have a seething hatred of the fallacy that sometimes get interpreted into that line. Yes, Jesus compliments the Canaanite woman's faith; yes, Jesus grants her petition as a result of her persistence and her faith. That does not mean, however, that if God did not grant your petition it was because you didn't have enough faith or pray hard enough. Sometimes you see that implication: you just need to pray harder; you need to have a deeper, stronger faith; you need to petition this saint, say that novena. I find that implication deeply offensive; I actually prefer the clueless but painfully offensive "Maybe God didn't mean for you to be parents" to "you need to pray harder." None of us here on Earth know how or when God will answer a prayer; it is nothing but hubris to presume to know how, when, or why He will grant a particular petition.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Surgery Says....

(I couldn't find an appropriate video, but those of you of a certain age may remember the host of Family Feud saying "Survey says..." That's what the post title is supposed to evoke.)

It's now a little more than a week post-surgery; I'm still amazed quite how much it took out of me. Today is the first day I've worn contacts again; Tuesday was the first day I didn't nap. I'm still wrapping my brain around the surgery results. Uterine polyps were found and removed; we're waiting on the pathology report to come back on them. Stage I endometriosis was found on my bladder, ovaries, cervix, and behind the uterus. And my right fallopian tube had higher than normal pressure and needed to be opened up. Oh - there was one benefit to having the surgery so early in my cycle; apparently there was a very good quality corpus luteum observed during surgery. 

All together there are 4 incisions (two on the left, on on the right, and one in my belly button). Healing is slower than I would like, though I've seen noticeable progress. It's a bit disconcerting seeing my belly button glued shut. By mutual agreement, we are taking this month completely off, though I was instructed to still take HCG post-peak. Since it was so early in the cycle, we were given the option of trying this month; we were both firmly of the opinion that it would be better to take this time to just concentrate on healing. 

Tomorrow is my first day really leaving the house. I have an appointment to get my hair done, and Robin has his annual vet appointment. Fortunately I can collapse after those appointments.