Thursday, July 31, 2008

I had a bad dream

last night that I was a lawyering imposter who was working on a big case for the city. Everyone, including my step-mom and dad, had things to say that I totally didn't understand. I lived in a big ritzy apartment, and there were weird people half-coming on to me who just traipsed into the bathroom as if it were their own. I knew I was going to have to sub in some help in order to get through the whole thing. When I woke up, I was so relieved to be teaching writing, something I feel well-qualified to teach, even if I'm teaching it in a summer program to high school students who are worried about their SATs and personal statements. What a relief! Then I went over to Writing Maternity and read a post on Writing Studies and immediately wanted to weigh in, happy to be in my element. YAY! Now I have to get myself up and into the shower. But even if my life is totally absurdist and weird and sometimes seemingly impossible to navigate and pay for, at least I get to spend some of my time doing the things that I love and am good at as opposed to doing the secretarial work that I'm not really good at or pretending that I'm something I'm not all the time. Compared to the panic of having to teach myself the law profession well enough in a short period of time to do a big public case for the city with a bunch of other lawyers all as stakeholders watching me, being pregnant, underemployed, and seriously impoverished doesn't look so bad. (Not to mention, as much as I like nice clothes and nice things, I don't need a ritzy apartment or to spend my time wearing high heels and skirts. I don't want to yuppify myself and have the latest everythings. I want to be my slow weird intellectual self, spending myself on my boyfriend, baby, cat, garden, writing, and students!) After a lot of complaining last night to my mom about how the world treats pregnant women and me in particular (my niece and nephew, both under ten years old, told me this weekend that having the baby "was going to hurt." Who nobbled them, I wonder?), my wonderful brain reminds me to count my blessings. It could always be worse. Much worse.

Today is Maudie's defense day! YAY Maude! In a few short hours, DOCTAH MAUDE!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Belly Photo, Finally, and a Rundown of the Week

This photo is actually from a couple weeks ago now, when Similarly Neurotic Fabulous Friend (who really needs a better pseudonym) asked for pictures. Please ignore my giant fat arms.

Much is going on here -- both good and bad. Here's the good: my fabulous grandmother (the same one who has breast cancer and had a lumpectomy and lymph node removal in the last few months) fronted me the money for the birth center. So we're a little less freaked out over here at Chez Absurd about money. Of course, next week things may be very different -- but I'm totally pleased that we're going to be able to go to our midwife and birth center with no problems, especially since we've just started our birth class there (which seems to be more information and education than sitting around doing deep breathing exercises and singing kumbayah, which I'm sure would be good too -- my apologies to Bradley and Lamaze classes for characterizing them that way -- I could do with someone telling AL to massage my back even more). Other good: Absurdist Lover's job is officially set to launch on Monday. That is, the call center will be working and he's all scheduled on their list and hopefully they'll call him a lot and send him to fix computers a lot! Not only will this really help with money (assuming he gets a good amount of work), but equally important, he will feel more productive and happy with himself. He's not the type who sort of falls apart and gets depressed and hopeless when not employed, but working will really make him feel better and stronger. More good: Grandpa is getting better, though he is quite tired. Even more good, though strange: a state university has called me about coming in to interview for adjunct work. I don't know exactly where the u is and cannot make the interview times they mentioned on the message, so I'm not exactly thrilled yet, but it's nice to know my CV is still academically viable -- I'm so swiss-cheese brained that I feel like I'll never get hired again.

The big bad is that a professor I know was, I believe, found dead in Grad City early this week. The details are really unclear to me but it appears now that he killed himself. Or at least that's what the police have determined, which I think means that there was no note. He was a good man who cared a lot about grad student issues, and I had a good working relationship with him. I'll miss him, though of course it feels only vaguely real considering that Grad City is so far away. Every day I've looked for info and obits, but similar to last year when a friend of mine killed herself, the newspapers there are not very forthcoming in cases of suicide. (Can I just stop here to focus on me and say that I really don't like this particular pattern? Three people I've known in Grad City have killed themselves in as many summers. I don't like this, not one little bit.) The most pressing issue about all this is that Maude's defense is in a week or so -- and what do you do when your advisor checks out right before your defense? I want to call the department and make sure that it's going to happen, to beg my advisor to please sit in (though Peppy Advisor is in a totally different field and is not Maude's fave person) or something! Not that she can't do it herself, of course, but. . .I just want to do something.

In other news, I'm starting to research vaccinations, because Absurdist Lover is adamantly against them; my view in the past has been that I would really rather not have my child contract polio, but now that I see the sheer volume of vaccinations we're talking about -- it's just alarming how many times medical science advocates poking a child. A vaccination for chicken pox? Uh, I had the chicken pox as a kid, and I don't think there's any reason to take a shot for it. Having chicken pox is uncomfortable but that's not a good enough reason to potentially mess with the development of a baby-child when I swear we really don't know enough about child development to really say whether all these vaccinations are completely safe. Flu shots? Easy. They don't work anyway. I'm pretty skeptical of what the medical establishment thinks it "knows" about childbirth and child development -- I believe it's perfectly possible that the mercury in these shots may cause autism in mercury-sensitive children and the medical establishment just hasn't caught on yet. (Though avoiding fish -- I just can't do that, can't condone that. We ADDers NEED our fish oil omegas!) After all, the medical establishment hasn't caught on to the idea that important hormonal bonding happens between mother and child in the first hours after childbirth (which is why rooming-in is important) or that epidurals and pitocin are bad for the mother and baby (oxygen-deprivation risk to baby, not being in touch with your body during, arguably, the most important physical experience of your life, drugs passing to the baby) or that sugar metabolism, g-i tract problems, and one's reproductive cycle are related. So I'm trying to do somewhat balanced research, distrusting the extremist alarmist views (as is my wont) and evaluating the science, while of course taking into account the views of the granola set with whom I often agree. Sigh. Parenting has more contested issues in it than anything I think I've ever been a part of. (Circumcision, schooling, diapers, vaccinations, staying at home versus working -- as if I have the choice -- gah and double gah!) Oy vey.

Today I only go to the office, thank goodness, though I'm having a good time teaching as well. And this weekend Absurdist Lover will be at a meeting on Saturday and then going to see his children on Sunday, so I will get some time to myself and obsess and worry focus on other things -- me things, like maybe the academy and writing. I am not going to obsess and worry about AL. I simply refuse. Maybe I'll continue reading Middlemarch (the authorial commentary and intrusion annoys me so it's been slow going) or maybe I'll watch all the movies that I don't watch when AL is here and work on this cross-stitch project. Or maybe I'll just play WoW. Let's face it -- I'll probably blog. Woohooo!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Monday

Let's face it -- I'm much better at getting myself to write a post in a couple minutes than I am when I have great big swathes of time. This is an ADD thing, I'm pretty sure. Also, can I just say that I should be in the shower if I really want to leave in 20 minutes? But this is so much more fun!

So today I start a new class in another one of these summer programs. This one is all about writing -- and should be so much nicer than teaching the SAT! Though, who knows how the students will be -- and that can make or break the experience. Then I have to go to the law office. Then I really should go visit my grandfather -- who is no longer jaundiced and can speak and is much better, or so I've heard.

Over the weekend, Absurdist Lover and I celebrated his birthday as I was on a sugar fast, which totally sucked. So no birthday cake. No ice cream. No doctored coffee. No scones. No nothing. On Sunday, when it was over, I went to Starbucks, but am proud to say that I did NOT consume any Ben and Jerry's. My baby will not be made of ice cream after all! I had to go on a sugar fast for reasons that I'll spare you, but it all came out of seeing the midwife, who is awesome. She asked me all about my medical history, and I put things together that I would never have put together before -- though much of it I've been wanting a doctor-type to take in and make something of for years to no avail. Western medicine is just too compartmentalized to see a relationship, apparently, between sugar intolerances, digestive trouble, and reproductive health. Whatever. At least now I have someone who sees the whole -- and will explain things to me.

Last week, I also had an interview with a community college -- and it must've gone well, because the chair called me and basically said that I'd be in the pool for the fall. We also got to talking and found we knew some of the same people in the neighborhood where I grew up and he now lives. Very strange. But cool. And so when I go out on the market, I figure I will have had this great experience of teaching high school students and getting a real feel for who at least some of the rich kids are and how they prepare (and how the SAT makes them think about what college must be) and teaching community college students and seeing who they are. I realize that universities often care only about university teaching, but I think I will be much more well-rounded as a result of these experiences. At least that's the story I'm telling myself. The focus on the transition to the university should be made easier by actually knowing something about who these students are before they get to the university.

I have not worked on revising the Never-Finished but-hopefully-to-be-finished Article for weeks. I've been too busy with cross-stitch, WoW, searching for stupid things on the internet, dumb things like work, and being very big and tired to actually focus on something so productive. Not good. But AL will be gone this weekend (and I will no doubt be very nervous all weekend because it didn't go all that well last time), so I should be able to get something done. Money is ridiculously tight, though I just got paid. Crap, it's 8am. Didn't I want to leave now? Oy vey. See y'all later.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Shortie Post on the International Day of Absurdist Lover

So of course I'm going to write a shortish post for now when I could've written a longer post a few days ago, but I was. . .you guessed it -- too tired. But here are the things I promise to write about soon: my visit to the midwife on Wednesday and my interview with Community College on Tuesday. Here's a preview: both went really well. The midwife took the most complete medical history of me ever taken -- and she had some new ideas for some old problems (g-i tract problems, blood sugar troubles) that were really interesting. When I was sitting and talking with her, I thought that I may want to go to her even when the baby is done and out. She's the teensiest bit alarmist, advocating no alcohol, but I think it's not that it is bad per se, but that we want to maximize our chances of a happy and easy birth center birth rather than having to be carted off to the hospital where the attitude in this town is that Caesareans are easier and more efficient.

The interview at Community College went so well that I'm pretty sure I'll have some teaching for the fall. I know it sounds insane, but I said I'd need two weeks out for the birth -- now I know this sounds ridiculous to many, but remember that it's not a full-time gig or anything -- I won't teach more than two classes -- and I may well be able to teach and everything pretty soon after the birth. All the chair said was that if I need more time to keep them informed. So if anything goes wrong (knock on wood that Absurdist Baby and I have an easy birth and that AB is healthy and happy) or I'm exhausted or whatever, then I'll take more time. (I mean, I'm sure I'll be exhausted. On the other hand, we really need the money and I'd rather teach at CC than the SAT Company, just because I'd rather teach in my field than the SAT! Not to mention that I'd rather know I'm getting paid for four months rather than six weeks.)

But today is Absurdist Lover's birthday! And since I just got paid for all the crazy work I've been doing at SAT Co (with no more to come because my class next week was cancelled and now I just have a short writing class in another summer program -- yippee!), we have some money! AL, who had boringly said all week that "it's just another day," wants me to get to work so I can get home and we can have some fun! YAY! So I'll post this weekend about the midwife, the complete sugar fast I'm on and how much it sucks (which tells me how incredibly toxic I am, because at my most gorgeous and healthy, I didn't eat sugar or dairy), and Community College coolness. And I hope I'll also get some work done on this huge cross-stitch project I have for Absurdist Baby, which at the rate I'm going I might just be able to get done before he goes off to college.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Quick-Fire Bullets

I'm in such a hurry this morning, but I really want to write something here because I think it will make me feel better -- more like a person to be in touch with my blogworld. You know what I mean?

  • After posting a comment on Ianqui's blog about how my family isn't into my pregnancy, something that has really been bugging me lately, my step-mother offered to throw me a baby shower. Now, I know about six people here in Urban Home City so it will be the tiniest shower ever, but still I feel bad that I characterized my family that way. I know that everyone has other things going on, especially related to bullet number 2. I just wish that I felt like there was going to be this warm happy set of people to surround this baby with. Maybe everyone feels this way.
  • My grandfather is still in the hospital, recovering very slowly from abdominal surgery. He has colon cancer that they figure is fully treatable, but we're very concerned that he has already given up no matter what the prognosis.
  • I have an interview tomorrow for an adjunct position at a community college that I applied to ages ago back when it was virtually the closest around. Now it's a bit of a hike and there are definitely closer ones, but then they called me for the interview. The HR person was talking about how there was a "topic," which I think means a teaching demo. I haven't received the "topic" yet, so they are going to get the shortest prep time on record, since today I have to go teach the college admissions class, go to the office, then go teach the essay class tonight. It's the last of these crazy days, thank goodness. Of course, this also means less pay for less crazy days. And Absurdist Lover is still not working yet for the new job -- in fact, he's nervous even about the background check, though he's got nothing to worry about. Money is the single greatest stressor here at Chez Absurd. We don't have a toaster, an air conditioner in the bedroom (which is the baby room and where we don't sleep anyway), a new bra for me, nothing. We're basically at the starting point like a couple in their twenties who has nothing. Our bookshelves are broken cast-offs. Meanwhile my family is about to go to Honduras while their upstairs gets remodeled. It's really hard being so broke and watching other people spend so much money just on lunch. Sigh. I hope to soon not be running around so much -- and able to focus on the impending job market. Anyway, I don't know if the community college will want to hire me when I'm due in October and would definitely have to be out for some length of time, but I figure it's worth a try, especially because teaching this essay class has reminded me how much I love teaching writing.
  • I'm also mad at my SAT prep company. On Friday, the teacher of the other class called me an hour before class and said that he was sick and could I please take his class? Well, of course I want to help out and how could I say no? I totally refigured what I was doing in my class so I could present things the other class hadn't already done when I put the two classes together -- and it was a zoo, I tell you, a zoo! Too much! When I called SAT prep company and asked if I would get additional compensation they said no because I hadn't worked any extra hours and "thanks for teaching a larger class today." These classes are not like the SAT classes, structured and set by the SAT prep company at every step. These are more like regular classes where you have a certain amount of material to cover, but how you do it is going to be different from the person down the hall. I realize I didn't exactly sub a class that wasn't mine -- or work extra hours. But getting nothing is like them telling me that it was nothing for me to have an hour to figure out what on earth to do! I'm really upset about it, but though I intended to deal with it on Friday by asking a trainer I know what to do, then I went and saw my grandfather in the hospital and tried to convince him that life was worthwhile and that frankly sapped all my energy.
  • I'm also really angry at my doctor's office. I need my records because I'm going to see the midwife on Wednesday. (YAY!) I've never had a doctor's office balk at faxing the records, but they are. They want me to go over there (which is a total shlep into a different area with a lot more traffic and a pain to boot), sign a form, and give them $25. Now, I'm angry at SAT company for not giving me another hour's worth of my salary, which is little more than $25. I'm poor and think $25 to be a lot of money. I wish I didn't. But this feels like extortion. I looked up the statute for the Stupid Overpriced State Health and Safety Code and it does say that doctors can charge up to $.25/page plus reasonable costs in attaining records (I take this to mean charging if people need to go into storage). I've been seeing these numbskulls since May or so -- there is no way that my file is 100 pages long. I'm ready to write a letter to the editor over this one. This really pisses me off because when I had to get a mammogram in a country typically thought of as third world they gave me my own films because, their thinking was, who is going to take better care of your records and be more interested in your health than you? Here in the U.S., we think that people aren't responsible enough to have their own records -- or often be told exactly what their test results are beyond whether there is a "problem" or not -- and then we charge them just for getting them! It's totally ridiculous. That $25 charge is the bra that fits instead of me squishing into an undersized old bra every day! Grrrr. I'm too poor, tired, and pregnant for all this.
  • I'm 27 weeks as of last Friday, which means I'm officially in my third trimester. Please, please, please dear G-d and heavenly minions let Absurdist Lover's job start up in a real way so that I can stop working so hard and relax a little before this baby is born -- and not have to put the baby in daycare as of Day 1.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


All I can manage right now is a bullet list. Here goes.
  • I'm starting a college admissions and essay writing course in a summer program tomorrow. GAH!
  • My grandfather is in the hospital, recovering from major abdominal surgery. The blockage he had in his small intestine looks like it's cancer.
  • My mother had a seemingly serious g-i tract problem of her own, where she was telling me how alone and isolated she felt. (She lives in a faraway city without family, or, as far as I can tell, many friends.) She was totally going nuts, ending up in the hospital, but then even though there were no tests performed, no answers about her condition, she just decided that she wasn't going to take it very seriously. That is, she's not going to deal with it or get the tests that a few days before she believed were crucial. She had completely whipped me into a frenzy, getting me to rally the other kids into supporting her with phone calls. And then she decides she's just going to wait for her low-income city insurance to kick in rather than ask her mom for the money for a really good specialist. She should be able to have her test in one-four months. After me really taking a lot of time and energy out to support her, I am just not amused. She whips me into her drama, then when she decides that the drama should end, she wonders why I think she's being ditzy and irresponsible about her potentially-serious condition. We are not amused. I want those days back where I tired myself out worrying about her.
  • I still don't have the whole birth center/insurance thing worked out. At least I can now ask my grandmother because I know she's not going to be tapped for an expensive specialist and tests by my ditzy mom.
  • My intensive SAT class ends tomorrow.
  • I have an editing job due Tuesday.
  • I'm 26 weeks pregnant and getting big and uncomfortable, especially since I have still not been able to afford a new bra. (I tried to go and get a maternity bra, but apparently dumb stores like A Pea in the Pod think that all women start off as A- and B-cups, so we all have double Ds when our boobs have inflated like balloons. Uh, someone ought to explain that some of us girls have. . .well, big girls to begin with. Even online, the prospect of decent support for these pregnant super-boobs is not good. JC Penney's seems to have bras. But by the time I did all this research, the money ran out.)
  • My laptop is screwy, just dying and overheating and turning off in the middle of working. It clearly needs to be fixed. But that requires. . .
  • Money that we don't have. The money crunch over here at Absurdist Household continues. Even working two jobs. Even with Absurdist Lover having gotten hired last week -- at a start-up company that hasn't yet really started up. Oy.
  • We got library cards. Woohoo!