Thursday, April 28, 2016

Take your kid to work day

Apparently there is a holiday (?) in the US where parents get to take their kids to work for the day.  I don't remember this day from when I was a kid, so it either didn't exist way back then or it wasn't nearly as big of a thing as it is now.  Anyway, today was take your kids to work day.

I found out on my drive to work when the personalities on the radio had their kids in the studio.  Naturally they had listeners call in and talk about taking their kids to work.  Once I got to downtown, parents were rushing to work, kids in tow.  I finally got to work and there were kids everywhere.  And events for parents and their kids.  I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that there probably wasn't much work done today.  But that's okay because everybody seemed to have a lot of fun.

I didn't take this day as hard as I might have in the past, but it did make me think that this is yet another thing that infertility took from me.  I'll never get to share my job with my child.  I'll never get to take my child on a tour of campus or show them my office.  Just a little gut punch that I wasn't expecting.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

That first is over

Well, the weekend is over.  It was hard.  Really, really hard.  Not as bad as I feared it would be, but it was still so hard. 

I felt like an alien among my own family.  Alone. 

At one point on Saturday afternoon, when I knew that tears were imminent, I went to my room and basically cried myself to sleep.  My nap was much needed and made the rest of the evening a bit more bearable.

The thing of it is that I love the kids and spending time with them is easy.  I really do enjoy every minute I get to spend with them.  Even when I'm trying to convince a 3.5 year old that Doritos and bacon bits aren't an appropriate breakfast. 

It's just the adults that get to me.  They aren't doing anything wrong or even overt.  But I can't handle conversations about parenting challenges.  Or lack of sleep due to an infant.  Or breastfeeding.  Or returning to work after maternity leave.  Trying to redirect the conversation is an exercise in futility.  And I can't be around breastfeeding.  I just can't.  And all of these things (and more) happened over the weekend. 

So it's over.  And it was hard.  But at least it's over.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Weekend plans

We've put of the inevitable for long enough.  This weekend we are headed to my hometown to see family.  I did meet my newest nephew about a month ago, but this will be my first time with the whole crew.  My parents, all three of my sisters, and all three of their families.  The closer that we get to it, the more I'm dreading it.  I keep telling myself that it won't be as bad as I'm imagining it.

The fact of the matter is that I'm different.  I'll always be different.  My sisters all have kids.  I don't.  Maybe someday I'll get used to it.

Monday, April 18, 2016

My day last Friday

Last week I found myself in St. Louis, Missouri for a work conference. Since I knew that Justine lives in St. Louis, I reached out to her and we decided to have lunch on Friday.  I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but I was a little bit nervous to meet her.  I mean, I've "known" her for a while now through blogging, but would we get along in person?  Would we have anything to talk about?  Would we both be miserable?  As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about.  The conversation came easy.  We have the shared experience of infertility, but we talked about so much more.  I can't even begin to explain how refreshing it was to meet a new person, but to also be able to let my guard down, since I knew there weren't going to be any family planning zingers.  We were just two women, who happened to not have children after infertility, having lunch and talking, and it was wonderful.  It felt so normal. 

Justine was the first of many blogger friends that I hope to meet in person someday! 

Since I was in St. Louis for a conference, I knew I'd be seeing friends, acquaintances, and colleagues that I've known for the better part of ten years plus a whole bunch of new people.  I don't know how conferences in other fields work, but in mine, days are filled with sessions and presentations, late afternoons are for receptions for everything under the sun, and evenings are for fun.  All of my graduate school friends and some of the faculty decided to have dinner on Friday evening.  Since we left graduate school, all but one of these people have had at least one child (the remaining person has no desire to have children).  One of my go to strategies for navigating group situations and preventing unwanted family planning questions is to always be seen with a drink in my hand. Except Friday night it didn't work.  Someone sitting right beside me at dinner said "so.....I heard you were pregnant."  Mind you, I was on my second glass of wine at this point.  I was taken aback.  I can usually navigate the "so.....when are you guys having kids" question.  But rumors going around that I am pregnant?  Not so much prepared for this one.  I managed to choke out a response along the lines of "I'm not sure where you heard that, but I can confirm with 100% certainty that I am not pregnant."  It didn't ruin the evening, but it definitely put a damper on it.  I felt really out of place.

Friday was an interesting day.  An amazing lunch with a person I'd never met in person where I felt so normal and a dinner with people I've known for years where I felt like a fish out of water.  A sharp contrast.  I just have to laugh about it.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Stuck in the middle

We currently rent the townhouse that we live in.  We really lucked into this house when we moved here.  It was on the market because our landlord was transferred for work, but four years ago when we moved in, the housing market wasn't good, so rather than it sit vacant and pay a realtor, he rented it to us.  It's been a great landlord tenant relationship.  Essentially we pay the rent on time and he stays out of our business.  His mom manages the property (since she lives in the area and he doesn't) and we call her whenever repairs are needed.  Because we've been such great tenants he hasn't raised the rent since we moved in, which is almost unheard of for renters.

Since we are buying a house, we let him know that we would be moving out by the end of May.  He decided that instead of renting his townhouse out again, he was going to list it for sale.  He called me earlier this week to let me know that his mom and his realtor would be stopping by today to look over the property and determine what needs to be done in order to list it.

His mom arrived a bit ahead of the realtor and we visited with her.  We like her a lot so it was nice to visit.  During the course of the conversation we learned that her son (our landlord) and his wife (they were married in June 2016) are having a baby, due on May 1st.  The baby will be her first grandchild.  I don't know why, but it caught me off guard a little bit.  Basically she got pregnant about a minute after they got married (because one doesn't forget fertility math).  I should have expected it.  Which served as a not so gentle reminder of how hubs' and my story is so different from most other couples. 

The realtor finally got the house, also another middle aged woman, and she seemed quite nice.  The realtor and the landlord's mom did a walkthrough on the house.  Afterwards we were talking, it came out that the realtor's son and his wife are also expecting their first child.

Two expectant grandmas.  In my living room.  Talking about their excitement about becoming grandmas.  About planning and throwing baby showers.  About buying things for their new grandbabies.  I had no escape.  It took everything I had not to burst into tears. 

It was a painful reminder that I will never get to experience pregnancy.

It was a painful reminder that my mom or mother in law will never get to cackle over their excitement because I'm pregnant.  Hubs and I are both oldest children.  So both of their oldest children failed to have their own children.

Not what I needed after a pretty craptastic week.

I'm over it now.  But five minutes seemed like five hours.  It caught me off guard and stung like hell for a bit. 

If there was a silver lining to the whole thing, it was that they were so caught up in their own glee that neither woman bothered to inquire about my family planning status.  Which is good since that would have put me over the edge. 

I am proud of myself because I didn't let this brief encounter ruin my day.  I'm finding that situations like this hurt just as bad as they always have, but I'm starting to rebound a bit faster.  So that's good, I guess.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Spring cleaning and other news

Hubs and I have been doing some spring cleaning.  It started two weekends ago with getting rid of a bunch of boxes.  Hubs has a (bad) habit of saving boxes from stuff, mainly tools and electronics.  His logic is that the box would be helpful if he ever needs to file a warranty claim.  The problem is that he doesn't bother to sort the boxes and throw them out after the warranty period has expired.  So last weekend we sorted through all of those and threw out everything.

This past weekend we moved upstairs and sorted through all of our clothes to donate to charity, throwing out anything we hadn't worn in the last year.  This wasn't too bad because we usually do this at least once a year.  I sent a bunch of my heavy sweaters to charity since I don't see myself wearing them anytime in the near future (thanks, perimenopause!) and (finally) got hubs to throw out some of his old (terrible) concert t-shirts from his 20s (he'll be 39 this year.......).  We also sorted through a a few boxes of stuff that I don't even know why I've held on to for this long.  Some of the gems that I found included a 3.5" floppy disc containing pictures from my college graduation (which took place in 2003), my tax returns for 2000-2007 (I have every tax return since too, but they are digital files), a few letters that hubs wrote to me when we first started dating, a card from my grandma (who passed away in 1996), a bunch of old pay stubs, and an entire box of random stuff that needs shredded. I was feeling pretty good at this point.

Then.... hubs mentioned the crib that has been stored in the guest bedroom closet for four years.  I felt that all too familiar kick to the ovaries as soon as he said the word.  I took a deep breath and asked him to put it in the pile for charity.  He was argumentative for about three seconds and suggested that I would be better off to sell it rather than just give it away.  I suggested that unless he wanted to deal with the fallout of a breakdown that he would put it in the damn charity pile and not mention it again.  So he did.  Yes, it probably would have been more reasonable to sell it.  But here's the thing, I would have to think about it, about everything we lost, when I created the advertisement to sell it.  I would have had to think about it when I researched how much to sell it for.  I would have had to think about it whenever people contacted me for more information.  And worst of all, I would have had to meet a person, likely a pregnant woman, to actually sell it.  Before I lost the nerve we loaded everything up and I hauled it to the charity store's donation drop of.  The whole way there I was certain that it would be a 40something woman who would demand to know why I was donating a new in box crib.  Mercifully, the  person manning the donation station was a teenage boy.  He asked what was in the box, I told him that it was a crib, he gave me a confused look, and I followed up with "you know, the thing a baby sleeps in."  

So yes, I could have got money out of it, but no amount of money was worth it to me to put myself to the torture.  And you know what?  It feels good to be rid of it.  I didn't even cry.  Well, that's a lie, I did briefly tear up, but it was over finding the card from my grandma and not from anything to do with the crib.

This all brings up the elephant in the room.  Why are we spring cleaning?  Well, because it's spring (even if winter is making a last ditch effort to hang on for a bit longer).  Just kidding.  There's a bigger reason.  We're buying a house!  When we walked away from the other house, we decided to take a bit of a break from looking for a house and restart our search in month or so.  Frankly we were disillusioned with the whole real estate business and had a bad taste in our mouths because of the sellers of the house we walked away from.

We walked away from the other house on a Sunday morning.  Later that afternoon I was mindlessly browsing real estate listings and came across a listing for a cute little house that we hadn't seen previously (the house or the listing), despite the fact that it had been on the market for a while.  Upon closer investigation it met all of our "must have" criteria except central air conditioning.  As luck would have it, there was an open house going on for that house literally as I was looking at the listing.  I anxiously showed hubs the listing and told him that I thought we should go to the open house.  Now, my husband is not known for being spontaneous nor flexible, and once he gets something in his head, it's hard to change his mind.  So I fully expected him to say that he didn't want to go since we'd already agreed to take a bit of a break from looking.  Shockingly, he agreed to go without argument (though maybe this had something to do with me telling him that I was going to go with or without him).

We got there and had to park down the block because the open house was so busy.  Once we got in the house we got a good feel immediately.  Our initial impressions were that the house was small but had plenty of space for our current needs and room to expand (it has an unfinished basement), that it was in need of some updating but not major remodeling (think circa 1970s wallpaper).  Suddenly central air conditioning didn't seem like such a big deal.  We left the open house and couldn't get it off of our minds, but we also wanted to make sure that we weren't just falling for it because we were rebounding from the other house. We agreed that we'd see a few more houses and then schedule a private showing with our agent to see this house again (well, our agent's colleague....remember that our agent was on vacation in Italy).  Basically we said that if it was meant to be, the house would still be available in a week.

The next week we couldn't stop thinking about the house.  We went to see a few other houses but they didn't measure up to the cute little house that we'd seen the previous weekend.  Finally, we went back to see the little house and were able to give it an intense looking (something you can't really do when you're at a packed open house and the seller's agent is present).  We decided to make an offer right then and there.

Our agent (who is fabulous) wrote the offer from Italy and sent it to us to electronically sign and it was off to the seller.  Long story short, we went back and forth with the seller a few times and finally agreed on a fair price for both parties.  Next up was the inspection.  We ordered the standard home inspection, but also a Radon test.  Radon gas is extremely common in the area of the United States that we live in and is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers.  Houses can easily be retrofitted with a mitigation system that safely and effectively removes the gas from the house.  The inspection went great and only revealed a few extremely minor issues that we decided to not even bother to ask the seller to address.  The Radon test came back elevated so we asked the seller to install the mitigation system.  Unfortunately (for us) we sent that request to the seller the Tuesday before Easter and apparently the seller is deeply religious and indicated that she wasn't going to even look at the request until after Easter.  I must admit that my patience was stretched quite thin.  We found out on Friday that the seller agreed to install the radon mitigation system.  Apparently our agent really earned his commission for this sale because the seller's agent is notorious for being difficult to work with, which was definitely the case in this sale.  We close and officially get the keys to our new house in early May.

I can't wait!  Our life is different then we envisioned it, but it feels good to know that we'll be settling down soon.  It's also nice to envision a space for what we need and how we will use it as opposed to viewing the space as potential for family friendliness and growing into the space.  Oh, and our plan is to rough it with window air conditioners this summer and then have central AC installed next summer.  :)

Do me a favor and keep your fingers crossed that there aren't any curve balls that delay closing!  We're informing our landlord of our intent to terminate our lease at the end of May, so there's not a whole lot of spare time to play with.