August 1, 2009

Where to go from here

Posted in The musings of Erin at 8:45 pm by Erin

I think it's quite obvious that this blog has…well, faded is probably the kindest word for what has happened to it.  I barely write.  It's not that I don't have anything to write, I just can't imagine anyone wants to read it, and most of my readers seem to have disappeared anyway. 

Those of you who remain clearly have lots of stamina and certainly have lots of my gratitude.  I can't imagine what I would do without you.  So I leave it up to you to help me determine the future, if any, of this blog.

The options:

1) Shut down entirely.  I've been paying $9 a month to leave posts up for weeks at a time, without writing anything.  It's not much money but I can think of other things to do with it if I'm not going to write.

2) Write more often about our current TTC journey.  We've been actively TTC, with metformin and paying attention to cycles for many many months now–15 and counting.  I can certainly write about that, but I'm much less angst-ridden than I used to be.  For example, I got my period today.  It still sucks and I was, of course, hoping not to get it, but it doesn't feel as endlessly painful as it used to before we brought K home.  Actually, I almost feel numb about it–how likely is it that good ol' sex will actually get me pregnant, even with metformin?  It's been almost 5 years.  Still, though, as IVF is stil in our future plans, there will be more to write about later.

3) Write more about life as an adoptive and transracial and interfaith family (heh, we encompass a lot of groups).  There's a lot to be written there but I'm not sure if people are interested in reading it.

4) Write more about our general daily lives.  Life gets more complex and, in most cases, more fun as the kids get older and as J and I struggle to figure out our professional lives.  (Thankfully, our marriage seems particularly strong right now after a recent rough patch.  I finally feel comfortable saying that we've come out of it at last.)

5) Anything else you'd like to read?

I wish I could say what I used to say: that this blog is entirely for me and it doesn't matter if other people read it, but I've apparently become a comment whore–I do care a lot if people read and comment.  This seems particularly self-centered since I've been commenting less on other people's blogs, but there you have it. 

There are a lot of words inside of me, lurking about, but I seem to have lost my direction.  Mel says to keep a 75%/25% ratio of writing about your main topic to other topics, but I don't know WHAT my main topic is anymore.  It used to be infertility.  Clearly, that hasn't gotten any better.  Then it was international adoption.  Clearly, we have the most wonderful little boy because of international adoption, and we do plan to adopt again from Ethiopia in the future (whether or not IVF succeeds, we WILL adopt again), but the paperwork is months away from even being started.  There's really nothing to write about the process right now, though there's plenty to write about the reality of being an adoptive family.

I'm not naturally funny.  I can't make great stories out of my daily life (unless prompted by the actions of my kids or students).  I'm not Aunt Becky or DD, or many of you who make me laugh and think and wonder.  I'm me, and me can be very dull.

So dear readers, tell me.  What do I do?  And know that I love you, no matter what you say.

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July 9, 2009

Working it out

Posted in The musings of Erin at 5:20 pm by Erin

We are working it all out.  It's not easy–the other day we had to have the discussion that if J wasn't going to have a job in the fall, there was no reason to put K into daycare (P will be starting kindergarten).  Financially we couldn't afford it and realistically, it would be stupid to have him in daycare if his very-capable father was going to be home full-time. 

I think that spurred J on to do something.  If I thought I wasn't prepared to be a SAHM when I went through the decision a few years ago, J is certainly not prepared to be a SAHD.  It has nothing to do with his ability to interact and enjoy K.  It has to do with the ability to do so and not lose himself in the process.  Like I said before, the vast majority of his social life comes from work.  If he's home all the time with K, he won't have any of that interaction.  He needs that interaction.  K needs the interaction with other kids, which I don't think he would often get if he was home with J full time.  In short, it wouldn't be a good situation for either of them.

In the last two days, J's come up with several ways to bring in at least enough money to make up the gaps of where my income falls short.  Not having P in daycare this year will help tremendously, as he was at the private school with exorbitant costs until May.  So the gaps aren't as large as they could have been.  They won't be full-time work; he thinks they're things he could do with 20 hours a week, which would leave time to look for a regular job and/or do some volunteer work that he'd like to do.

I'm hopeful for him.  He grew up in a home where his mom stayed home until he was a teen and his dad worked.  It gave him a sense that the man is supposed to be the one providing for the family.  It's not a source of contention for me to make more than he does since I've made more about half of our marriage and we've never even discussed it.  It's just something that he believes inside, regardless of anything else.  Plus, he prefers to have a focus.  Who doesn't?

Our daycare is short of kids right now also, probably because many kids have a parent out of work who is home with them.  I'm going to go talk to them next week and find out what's the latest that I can get the kids signed up (K for full-time, P for aftercare).  I suspect that they'll be fine with as late as we need.  J is going to spend the next month working out one of his ideas and seeing how it goes.  I go back to work a month from tomorrow, and P starts kindergarten the same day.  August 10th seems really close right now, but somehow it seems more hopeful than it did a week ago.

June 30, 2009

Sometimes you just need to write

Posted in The musings of Erin at 9:43 pm by Erin

We had a great trip to Costa Rica and I will share more about that soon, but I just need a safe place to write now.  J has been out of work since early March.  He closed his law firm after about 4 months of slowly shutting down, not taking new clients, etc.  It was deliberate.  We were both OK with it.  He planned to take a break for a bit and then get a new job pretty soon, figuring that it wouldn't be too tough as a lawyer with 6 years of experience and as a small-business owner.

The job situation in Atlanta isn't any better than it is anywhere else in the country.  The job situation for lawyers in Atlanta doesn't seem to be any better than the job situation for any other job in Atlanta.  It's now been almost 4 months and J has had a grand total of 4 interviews.  The first three were all in March and early April, then he didn't have another until last week.  He clearly didn't get the first three jobs.  We're still waiting to hear about the fourth.

J is not handling unemployment well.  At first when it was by choice, he was fine with it.  He was relaxed more than I've seen him in years.  He had time to spend with the family and took advantage of it, eating both breakfast and dinner with us all and doing a lot with the kids.  He started swimming pretty intensely to get the exercise that he hasn't had time to get in several years.  Our relationship got better because we weren't fighting* and we got to spend some wonderful time together.

It started becoming a problem in early May, when he realized that it had been two months since he closed the firm, one month since his last interview, and was only a few weeks before both kids and I were also home full time over the summer.  He wasn't joking in early May when he said "So I have about 18 days to find a job, huh?"  Being home with the kids full-time can be daunting but I have three years of past experience at this point of being home over the summer.  J had only the thoughts I went through at the same time a couple of years ago.  It took me a while to get through those doubts and worries to the point where I could really enjoy it.  Why I expected that it would be different for him, I'm not sure.  My own fault, really.

But back to my point.  J started getting stressed out that he's not working.  He started getting depressed about it, though he won't admit it often**.  Most of J's social life came from work friends.  He doesn't do much that would help him make friends.  He doesn't go to church–he went through a kind of spiritual questioning a few years ago and hasn't really found a church home since then.  He doesn't play sports.  He doesn't seem interested in doing much with my friends' husbands and vice versa***.  So he's not really doing anything with other people; when he's out of the house, he's by himself.  And when he's home, having all of us around seems to remind him that he's not working.  His best friends live very far away, though even if they lived here, I can't imagine him talking about how he feels about any of this.  It's a horrible recipe for depression.

He's been taking it out on us by sniping at us.  Mostly on me, but sometimes on the kids.  I will put off making plans with friends in the thought that maybe he'd like to do something as a family, then he snipes at me for trying to involve him when he has work to do (he does have some things that he's finishing, and he is looking for a job).  Other times when I've made plans for the kids and I without informing him, he snipes that he was planning to take the kids to the pool.  His initial reaction has been negative and/or insulting to almost everything, whether it's a question about what he'd like to do for the day or telling him what's for dinner.

It doesn't help that our financial situation isn't as good as I thought it was before we took all of our trips.  J doesn't like to talk about work things at home–since many of them are confidential things he can't discuss, he's just gotten out of the habit of talking about much work-related material at all.  He also doesn't like to worry me.  I've asked him repeatedly to give me information as he learns it rather than waiting until he absolutely has to tell me, but he persists in waiting to discuss things.  I think he doesn't like to discuss bad business news because it makes him feel like a failure.  So when he laid the news on me after our trip to Disney and after I'd booked our trip to Costa Rica, I kind of lost it.  We spent a LOT of money between those two trips.  Had I known the full extent of things…well, let's just say that we don't have the financial freedom that I thought we had.  We've been sniping at each other about that.  I went off on J for eating lunch out 5 times in a week.  He got upset with me for buying little presents for the kids for the time that we were gone. 

We had a LONG discussion about it the night before my ILs came.  I'd been trying to be patient and understanding about his attitude, knowing full well that he was depressed about the job situation and that was the reason for it…but I was done with that.  I told him that I was tired of being picked on, that we don't deserve to be treated that way.  He said that he's just upset all the time and can't always pretend to be happy but would try harder.  I told him that wasn't OK with me, that I don't want him pretending, that I want him to go talk to someone and do what he needs so that he can be enjoyable to be around and can enjoy us again.  I said I understand that he's upset about his job but that he needs to find a way to allow himself to be happy with other things also. 

I hate to think of him spending all day unhappy.  It breaks my heart.

We didn't really resolve things that night, though it helped tremendously to talk together.  He didn't seem against the idea of going to a counselor but also didn't seem enthusiastic about it.  We had a great trip to Costa Rica together–it was truly the second honeymoon that I envisioned.  He's been mostly OK since we got back but I know very well that he's just trying harder to hide how he's feeling. 

I just don't know what to do about it.

*I'm not trying to blame all of our fighting on J's work but there was a lot of stress associated with his job.

**He will admit it from time to time, so he's not fully in denial about it. 

***Which I regret since I'd always envisioned being able to do things with other couples on the rare night that we go on dates.  When we do things with the families of my friends, he always seems to manage to say the wrong thing.  I'm amazed at how he's one way with our family and can be a complete jerk when we're with others.  Frankly, I wouldn't like him much then either.

June 15, 2009

As I sit here at the computer

Posted in The musings of Erin at 7:52 am by Erin

With P doing a puzzle behind me and K grinning at me from underneath the table, I am thinking:

"I should really go upstairs and put on more than just this T-shirt and jeans."

Because I threw on the T-shirt and jeans…and ONLY the T-shirt and jeans…when the squirrel-removing people showed up 45 minutes early and I was still in my nightclothes.  Cute nightclothes.  Nightclothes that I couldn't exactly wear to open the door for fear of being arrested.

Oh, the week is off to a brilliant start.

June 13, 2009

Father’s Day is next week

Posted in The musings of Erin at 9:35 am by Erin

J and I got married on Father's Day in 1999, so Father's Day holds a special meaning for me.  I will always remember my dad on Father's Day 1999: fixing his tie in the hallway of my parents' house before we went to the ceremony, seeing his expression of me in my wedding dress.  I went to the ceremony in the limo with my bridesmaids, but my aunt told me that my dad spent the entire drive to the ceremony crying.  My dad doesn't cry but I have pictures of him tearing up at the ceremony.  I danced with my dad to "Unforgettable" on Father's Day 1999, though during the dance I told him that I'd hoped to be able to have "Unforgettable" morph into "Go go, Godzilla" or "Meet the Mets".  It made him laugh.

Father's Day 2004 was our 5th anniversary, and J's first year of celebrating Father's Day with 6-month-old P.  I believe I gave J a bonsai tree for our anniversary (that he promptly killed) but have no idea what I got him for Father's Day.  I am a terrible gift-giver.  No matter how well I know the person, I cannot figure out what to get them.  So I was thrilled when I received a link for Mom Central's Father's Day Gift Guide!  They have gifts listed by price, from under $25 to over $100, and there are a huge range of gifts in each price range.  I was really happy to find lots of gifts over there that I could afford to get for J and that I think he would like 🙂

PLUS!!!  They're having a giveaway each day for a whole list of Father's Day presents.  Today, on Sunday, they're giving away 5 gifts, and they'll post more each day.

Our 10th anniversary is next Saturday, the day before Father's Day.  We're going on a trip to Costa Rica for our anniversary (not leaving until the next Tuesday) but until today, I had no idea what to get J for Father's Day.  There was extra pressure because J's father will be here for Father's Day (my ILs are coming to watch the kids while we're gone) and so we need to figure out what to get for him that he can easily transport home in his suitcase.  Having taken a look at the gift guide, though, I can already see several possibilities that we could get.

I feel very relieved that I'll be able to find gifts for J, my dad, and his dad pretty easily this year!  One less thing to worry about on top of my ILs being here, watching the kids, and leaving the kids for several days for the first time ever*.

*We've left P overnight several times with our parents, but never more than one night, and we've never left K before.  I hope it goes well!

May 26, 2009

Some days

Posted in The musings of Erin at 5:15 pm by Erin

On some days, there is just too much testosterone around my house.  A husband, two sons, two male dogs.

I was never a girly-girl but sometimes, I get a little overwhelmed.

'Nuff said.

May 16, 2009

Is it really sick

Posted in The musings of Erin at 4:12 pm by Erin

to get a little thrill out of the "Don't be ridiculous" look that J gave me when I said I was glad that I didn't get a milkshake at lunch today because my butt didn't need it?

Tell me honestly, because my heart went pitty-pat.

April 24, 2009

I have no idea what’s going on lately

Posted in The musings of Erin at 9:51 am by Erin

I feel like I'm walking around in a fog.  Not an unhappy fog; on the contrary, I feel stupid and yet happy.  Little things are passing me by.  Did you know, for example, that it is already April 24th?  That's almost May.  J and I are supposed to go to Costa Rica for our 10th anniversary in June.  Ask me if I've even started planning the trip, beyond picking dates and asking my ILs if they'll watch the kids.  Ask me if I've gotten my passport renewed, since it expired a month ago.  Go on, ask away…but I'll bet you don't need to.

Our readoption hearing for K was rescheduled from Monday because the judge's assistant was too busy to read our paperwork until the Friday before the hearing.  Have I called her to reschedule?  No.  At first it was because I was angry with her for scheduling it 2 months ago and then rescheduling it at the last minute, but now it just keeps slipping my mind.

Ask me if I've gotten the forms to get P registered for kindergarten yet.  He gets registered 2 weeks from yesterday.  Have I called the pediatrician's office yet?  Have I found out about any open houses yet?  Not a whit.  Actually, I think I may just be in denial that my oldest baby is starting kindergarten.

I was brilliant this semester and had students turn in their research papers a month before the end of the semester.  The semester ends in 10 days.  Guess what I've just started grading?  Guess how many tests I gave this week that also need to be graded?  Three!  Three tests and a pile of research papers!  Not to mention writing finals and grading lab reports and all other things.  Am I working on them now?  No, I'm blogging.  I seriously have this mental block about everything teaching related right now.  I keep reminding myself that it all gets done somehow at the end of the semester, therefore it will all get done.  But I can't seem to connect the fact that it all gets done with the fact that I GET it all done.  It doesn't get done without my help.

I hope to break through it this weekend.  But it's going to be gorgeous outside, we have lots of plans, and my garden is simply begging to be planted more extensively.  I guess I'll just stay in my happy little fog until it breaks!

April 15, 2009

Strep throat

Posted in The musings of Erin at 7:58 am by Erin

Urgh.  I had forgotten how miserable strep throat is.  I spent all day yesterday either exhausted or feeling like I'd been hit by a bus, or both.  I didn't remember all the achiness that went with strep.  I had a fever most of the day.  Ty.lenol took care of the fever and a lot of the achiness, thankfully.  I went to the dr first thing this morning to get my antibiotics and hope to be feeling much better soon.

According to the PA, my throat "looks horrible.  Horrible, horrible, horrible."  And that's a direct quote.

Later, I will take the kids to the dr since they're both complaining, and J will go to the dr.  Maybe then our family will be less grumpy.

April 14, 2009

So freaking tired

Posted in The musings of Erin at 8:50 am by Erin

I am so exhausted and I'm not sure why.  It's probably just from bad sleep over the last couple of days.  But I'm so tired that I actually laid down on my office floor a little while ago–if I could have fallen asleep, I would have.  My eyes tear up every time I yawn.  My class doesn't start for 2 hours, but then goes for almost 3 hours.  I'm going to fall asleep while looking into a microscope, I know it.

I was going to say I don't know when the last time was that I was so tired, but then I figured it out.  I get this tired while pregnant…both of my confirmed pregnancies have left me so tired that I couldn't function.  But since I only ovulated 2 days ago, and I'm not entirely sure I actually did ovulate then, it's just wishful thinking that that could be the reason.  Alas.

This is the kind of tiredness that makes you worry about driving home.  That makes you worry about having to do any sort of work involving thinking.  That makes you worry that you'll slam a finger in a drawer because you simply can't make your brain work fast enough to pull it out in time (I actually did that once).  I have no idea how I'm going to make it through the rest of the day, then to our plans tonight after work.

I wish I were a better napper.  I could so easily curl up on my floor and sleep.  I wish I drank coffee so that I could have a hit of caffeine.  I desperately need it.  Any suggestions?

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