I just realized it has been exactly a year and a day since I last blogged and I don’t know if anyone is still reading this.
There are a lot of reasons for that, although mostly I blame Facebook and its instant gratification abilities (which only slightly make up for the letdown when you say something clever and NO ONE RESPONDS no matter how many times you hit refresh).
P’ito turned FOUR in November. He is a firecracker – intensely loving and excited one moment, absolutely enraged at the injustice of life the next (no mac and cheese? BUT I WANT MAC AND CHEESE!)
We’re still waiting for Hypothetical Sibling. We had one close call, where a birthmother chose us, but then the father decided to sue for custody rather than let her make an adoption plan… So we continue waiting, waiting, waiting…
I got laid off in August and am still looking for work. It’s very odd to be part of the statistics, when I hear about “the unemployed” and I think wait, they’re talking about me. Looking for work is tough because there are very few jobs in my field, or even in the larger non-profit world here in Small City, and I can’t go very far afield because of Pili’s work and my childcare responsibilities.
And of course, I’m still naval gazing about adoption.
Shannon wrote something on Facebook the other day about preparing for a multicultural day at her kids’ school and how she needed to find squirrel to represent her culture. It was all very tongue in cheek, but it made me think: what is my kid’s culture? He is Guatemalan and we have appropriated aspects of that cultural heritage into our family’s celebrations, but our family is what? Jewish/WASP/Guatemalan? So what is Pito’s family heritage? Do I subscribe to the idea that he is part of our family and thus bring on the lox and shortbread? Or is his connection to our family tree and family heritage less significant than if he had been biologically connected to us and genetically programmed to enjoy his matzah balls? I find that insulting to the strength of the adoptive connection, and yet, to say that bagels and lox is his family heritage also seems to slight the importance of where he comes from and his connection to that place and those people.
So – tortillas and lox for family day?
Because I cannot complain about this at work and my skull is about to explode.
Your boss has asked you to handle grant $ in a specific way.
Yes, it is makes more work for you.
I understand that you think it is totally unnecessary and “I haven’t seen an auditor in 30 years of doing this work and 100K is nothing to the feds.”
Times change. The new buzzword is accountability.
Her ass, and my ass, are on the line for what happens with this money.
Please just do your fucking job and stop whining. If you spent half the time you are spending bitching about this situation on solving it, you’d be done already and I would not have a hole in my tongue from biting it.
Off to go actually DO my job, while I’ve still got it…
p.s. You are the only male in the building. Therefore when I enter the bathroom and the light is on, the toilet seat is up, AND there are fresh dribbles on the floor… it is pretty clear who did it.
p.p.s. I do not want to do your job. I simply want YOU to do it WELL. Had you bothered to look at the forms I had filled out previously, you would have seen that the totals are cumulative. The correct response to “Hey, Chuck*, I’m sorry, but these forms aren’t filled out correctly” is not “Okay, you do them then,” it’s “Okay, what do I need to change?”
* Obviously, not his real name.
I keep meaning to post. But there are so many things in my head, and so many of them are unbloggable. I work at a small non-profit, and we are just barely surviving this economy and may very well not make it. Which would be stressful enough without the partner of one of my colleagues suddenly learning (as in four days later he was having brain surgery) that he has stage 4 glioblastoma. Which means that she is barely present at work and when she is, she isn’t. Her family is her first priority, I truly believe that, but at the same time, it puts even more pressure on the rest of us.
So the past two months I’ve been dealing with this, and trying to fight off the demons in my head that threaten to suffocate me in anxiety and depression that paralyzes me and makes the smallest decision agonizing. And then of course, I think, I need to work, I need to get stuff done, and it is even worse because I cannot. I’ve gone back to therapy (good) and gotten some new head meds (also good, although the first ones my doctor put me on caused me to eat insatiably and I don’t know how I’m going to get rid of those ten pounds on top of all the other stress eating ones…) and in general am Hanging In There, You Go Girl and all that jazz.
So that’s where I’ve been.
That and trying to keep up with this whirlwind, whose smile puts it all in perspective for me.
He’s 2 1/2 and so full of ideas, opinions, and questions. “Cause why, Mama? Cause why?” His head spins around on his neck whenever anything wheeled goes by. He is polite (for a toddler) – melting hearts with his spontaneous thank-yous. He is incredibly physical – last weekend he climbed up a steep and rocky trail described as “not suitable for young children” – and he loves nothing more than to play endless games of chase, catch me! catch me!
And as long as that continues, everything else is ultimately gravy (but don’t tell me that when I’m pulling my hair out at work…)
Tags: , health insurance, moving, type 1 diabetes
Most of the boxes are unpacked. And glory glory hallelujah, we finally have both internet and a landline.
Both Pepito and his mommies have been enjoying the new house.
Looking out at his new backyard.
Proudly walking (not independently, thank g-d) amidst the boxes.
Peering through the “chubby kat” cat door.
The house has a semi-finished basement room, which we call the playroom. Here’s the “adult” side. I got this on Saturday at a yard sale for $60 – delivered.
And while the mommies play pool, the boy can play with his toys… A lot of these were left for us by the previous owner.
I started my new job on Monday. So far… so good. I am a little nervous about the expectations people have of me – after waiting a year for someone to start, it’s easy for that person (um, me) to become supergirl, the imaginary solution to all problems. On the other hand, the position has been vacant for a long time, and I’m basically starting from scratch (well, from scratch with an office full of files going back to 1973), so anything I do will be better than the nothing that was happening before, right?
I have to choose an insurance plan, or negotiate a pay raise (already, I know: I am supergirl) that would enable me to stay on Pili’s excellent insurance and spare new employer the expense of covering me. Amazingly, for a very small, rather financially challenged organization, they are paying my whole premium. This may change once they discover what I will do to their insurance costs…
Last year, Pili paid $3800 dollars for the privilege of having me on her insurance. If Employer paid me $4000 extra, I would happily stay on her coverage. Of course, Pili’s employer’s contributions to my health care are not tax-deductible – in fact, they are counted as additional income and she is taxed on them!
I am usually pretty good at figuring these things out, but for some reason, my eyes have been glazing over on this decision. Tomorrow I will find a detailed current benefits & costs list for Pili’s insurance and post the new options and the current plan here and let you all tell me what to do. I also have to find out how diabetes and pump supplies are covered under the different plans… most of them have a 50% co-pay for non-generic perscriptions. I am terrible at swallowing pills, and the generic version of my anti-depressent pill is not coated, so it always gets stuck in the back of my throat and tastes nasty. In order to avoid tasting battery acid in the back of my mouth all day, I have my doctor write that one DAW and pay extra for the name brand. But I may get depressed all over again thinking about how much that stuff will cost me with a 50% copay.
Finally – I swear this isn’t strictly a mommy blog… although I know it sure looks that way at the moment.
But our boy has started doing some really incredibly cute things. He’s cruising all over the furniture, and he loves to push his little walkie thing around. He has also started kissing. Last night, we were reading Whose Knees are These and when we got to the last page with the picture of the baby, he kissed it over and over again.
This morning, he was occupying himself with his second favorite passtime – pull-all-the-books-off-the-shelf – (his first favorite is pull-all-the-shoes-off-the-rack) and he pulled out The Happiest Toddler on the Block. After studying it for a while, he started kissing the little girl on the cover. By the time I got the camera out though, he was trying to eat the dust jacket. I hope it’s true… you are what you eat!
This post is already reeedicuklously long, so I will not get into the Great Sleep Wars of 2007 that have been waged around here. Except to say, please tell me about how you and your partner
fought bitterly disagreed entirely had very difficult times deciding what to do with a child who Does Not Like to Go to Bed. Even when he is Very Very Tired.
I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without posting before. Life has been… interesting. And not in a very good way.
For some reason I feel very embarrassed and ashamed about what I’m about to write about. Things with the job in MUCDTR are not going so smoothly – it turns out that they have not been able to raise the money they need in order for me to start working there. They’re still trying their damndest and it’s possible that any day now the funding will come through. But for the moment, I wait. And fret. And stress.
In the meantime: I have given notice at my current job (although nothing has been done to replace me, and they would probably be very happy if I were to say I could stay longer) ; I just spent a lot of time at a professional conference telling everyone about my new job and how excited I am about it; and oh yes, did I mention that we have a contract on, and have put down a deposit of not an insubstantial amount of money on, a house in MUCDTR.
Insert head in sand. Scream.
I don’t really want advice or even sympathy and righteous indignation. I feel like I deserve this. I feel like I should have known better. That my old friend, the black cloud is still following me around and who am I to think I could actually have things work out for me.
This feeling is compounded by watching younger babies exit PGN ahead of our GB. Intellectually I know that the fedex delay probably set us back a month, because it meant that our power of attorney arrived a week later than it should have and thus landed in the midst of the holiday black hole that is December in Guatemala. Intellectually I know that the whole fuckup with the DNA paperwork also cost us several weeks. Intellectually, I know that I did nothing to provoke either of these events. Just bad luck. Emotionally? I feel like we are doomed and Guatebaby is never coming home and I will never succeed professionally and why do I even bother?
I got a letter in the mail today officially offering me the position in more-urban-city-down-the-road (MUCDTR) that has been in the works since november.
I am thrilled. I am panicking, big time.
Homes in MUCDTR are twice as expensive as our house here. There is actually more than one neighborhood where we’d consider living. We need to find a home. Very very soon. Mortgage. House selling. House buying. Movers. Aaaaaaaaaack. [sandbox, head, insert, deeply]
We will be moving. I will be starting a new job. And possibly hopefully bringing home our boy. All right around the same time, if g-d and pgn* cooperate. Aaaaaaaack. [deep breath of sand]
Pili will be commuting a loooong way to her job and staying over a few nights a week while school is in session. I will be single momming it a few nights a week while school is in session. [Daycare. Add to list of Things. To. Figure. Out. Very large breath of sand.]
House. Daycare. Car. Two-door tin-can. Want to replace with car that does not require advanced yoga skills in order to get car seat in/out before boy comes home. Buy house. Buy car. Sell house. Sell car? Finish Big Projects at Current Job. Start New Job. Bring home baby? Move. And Still Leave time for Pili to Write Book.
Plus: As much as I gripe about the city with only three thai restaurants, we’ve made some really wonderful friends here. We have a beautiful house here. Now that this possible job is becoming Real, I find myself clutching onto the familiar and wondering whether I could have overlooked some way – in all my trying – that I could have made this place work for me professionally.
I know this is the right move. I think I know this is the right move. I’m so so freakin’ scared.
*This is assuming we are actually in PGN. Because this is a HAPPY albeit panicky post, I am not going to get into my current irritation with GAL today.
Once I can laugh about something it usually seems a little more in control. The thing that got me over the laughing-about-it hump with the current two-career quandry was listening to “The Ballad of Mary Magdalene” by Richard Shindell. The first verse goes like this…
My name is Mary Magdalene
I come from Palestine
please excuse these rags I’m in
I’ve fallen on hard times
Long ago I had my work
when I was in my prime
but I gave it up, and all for love
it was his career or mine
On Friday, my therapist pointed out that we both feel like our backs are up against the wall. Pili’s scared that she will be trapped into a commute that keeps her from having a strong relationship with her son and I’m scared of being “tricked” into sacrificing my dreams and getting stuck in a city that doesn’t offer me any job opportunities. And when someone feels like their back is against the wall, my very wise therapist reminded me, they don’t tend to respond from the most generous “we-thinking” part of themself. I heart therapy, big time.
This weekend was better. Not so much talking about it, but what talking there was felt more mutual and generous to me. We’ve pulled through big tough transitions before, and I feel certain we’ll come through this one too.
And last night, a good email in my inbox. The DNA test was done, two weeks ago. Which means that the results should be available shortly. And hopefully it will be a match. While there are still other opportunities for Guatebaby’s mom to decide that she wants to parent, this is the last time she actually has to see and hold him, and is usually when someone will change her mind about relinquishment if she’s going to.
I hate that my heart lifts at this. That the attainment of my dream means that another woman will not experience parenting her son. I hope that we will be able to connect with her down the road if Guatebaby wants to. We sent a letter for her, thanking her for this indescribable gift, assuring her that we would send pictures and updates. I don’t know what brings her to this juncture, but I hope that she can be at peace with her decision. It’s important to me that I support organizations like Wings, which provide reproductive choice options to women and men in Guatemala, in the hope that doing so will mean that another woman does not have to carry a child she knows she will not be able to feed or care for.
…that things had miraculously improved since that last post.
I can’t. It seems we do not get January photos as the holiday photos we got in the end of December count for January. To which I stick out my tongue and and say phooey. How hard is it, honestly, to snap a bunch of digital photos of babies in a hogar?
It might be harder than I think, as we did get a photo from a visiting family, which, unfortunately, is very blurry and which I am not at all sure is actually a photo of my Guatebaby.
And apparently GAL, who has the unenviable position of running interference between the hogar and the chomping at the bit adoptive parents, has not been able to get January measurements from the folks in Guatemala.
Things at home continue to be, for lack of a better word, tense. I feel like even the cats are fighting more. I’m sure that we will pull through this as we have pulled through difficult stretches before. It really does help to hear that other people struggle with the two career/where to live issue as well.
I constantly question myself: am I holding onto my career dreams just because I wouldn’t know who I am/how to define myself without them? I don’t think so. When I’m at a job that’s a good fit for me, I know that I’m doing what I love. There’s a part of me that says I should just give up these hopes and do what would make life easiest for us as a unit. But why should I be the one to do that?
[This is where I start feeling like the chips are falling along traditional gender lines, with me the woman and Pili the man. And I will be damned if I will give into that tired old narrative.]
Recently I saw my DREAM JOB advertised. A high level position at an organization that I think is doing amazing and unique work – in the Big City Four+ Hours South. When Pili was playing the “soon-to-be-wed” game at her bachelorette party, her friends asked her what my dream job would be. And she answered, correctly, this position, at this organization. I thought about applying but decided that while the compromise we’ve come up with to allow me to take an interesting, career-advancing job in a better location (which will involve the moving and commuting alluded to to in the last post) is unpleasant and hard on Pili, this was simply impossible. Unless Pili was willing to leave her job, which she’s not. Rinse, lather, repeat.
So I’m curious: how do gender roles or your reactions to them (even in a same-gender relationship) shape the way you handle conflict and decision-making in your family?
My first post is up at lesbianfamily.org.
And tomorrow is MY LAST DAY at the Job that Blows. It should be interesting.