Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Search For Insurance

So H has been trying to get this business thing off the ground. And I support him. Really. I just really want him to get a JOB right now.

Neither H nor I has what you'd call a REAL job right now. American businesses have figured out that, in many situations, it's cheaper for them to have 'contractors' or 'temps' work for them. (I'm in my third year of 'temping.')

The thing that makes it doubly frustrating is that I'm not a true freelancer. If I was, I could take a lot more stuff off of my taxes. No, I'm an employee of some rinky-dink temp agency. I haven't set foot in the place in two years, and they still get a piece of my paycheck.

Without offering insurance.

Now, my employers have been really supportive of me. When I want to take time off, when I need to switch around my schedule, when I need to disappear for two hours to take care of Mama, they cope. And there's the fact that they are dangling the "hey we MIGHT hire you" carrot in front of me.

So H has decided if anyone is getting a new job, it's him. Not that he wants a job. He wants a business. But if he gets a business, he's not going to be able to insure himself. Or me. We can't get an insurance policy that covers IF, even if we do get it through a business.

We've been fighting about it, these past few weeks. Whose dreams come first? Mine? His? Ours?

In the end, I won. The ticking biological time bomb cannot be ignored.

Never easy, this

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Big Accomplishment Of The Day

The big accomplishment of the day is that I went walking this morning with my neighbor. All though this may not appear as any big deal, it's huge in the Sandwich world. Not only is it time that I spent on myself, but I had the chance to have a talk with someone.

Being a caregiver may not necessitate being isolated, but I'll be damned if H and I have figured out how to do it without getting isolated. There are almost no support groups that take in couples, and while we have had some support from friends... Yeah, well, we haven't had a lot of support from friends. (We've had some, but not the heavy duty "I will gladly sit for your MIL one evening a week" kind of help. Not the big-time impactful on our quality of life kind of help.)

Periodically, I take Mama out to a movie. I do this without H to give H the afternoon off. (He enjoys being completely alone). I usually do this on Sunday, so he can watch the football game. (I actually shoved him out the door on Saturday night to go play poker with friends. H not only copes with a crazy-Alzheimer's mother, but a not-always sane IF wife. He needs all the re-charging he can get. Although I do not like football, I am always sad when the season ends, because H gets so much out of it).

Taking my MIL out is... well, usually it's difficult. On her best day of the week, she's partially paralyzed, motor skill-challenged and in and out of reality. I cannot leave her in unfamiliar territory for more than a few minutes, and I can't have her walk too far. And she never moves quickly (no matter WHAT is going on). On her worst day, she's all this and CRANKY.

But occasionally... it's soul killing. Like the last time I took her out to lunch. Once the order was placed and we were just looking at each other... I realized how desperately lonely I was. How I wanted to talk to her (someone, anyone) about my hopes and fears for the future, about anything that was going on in my life. And I couldn't. So we talked about some pop star she's currently in love with, and her childhood on the farm, and whatever else mattered to her.

I haven't been able to keep ahold of a great deal of friends, and those that I have all have kids or some other huge all-important endeavour. (Context: I have a friend with a dying parent, another with HIV, another who's going back to school and a few others who have children). So they don't have buckets of free time, either. But. There's only so many times you can be half-way through a gut-wrenching telephone conversation only to be put on hold because "Rachel needs something right now." (I have more patience with the others). It's like, dammit, am I not worth fifteen minutes of your time? Huh?

Of course, I talk to my husband, but he's a BOY. (You know what I mean). Sometimes I want to talk to someone ELSE.

So, this morning I went walking with my neighbor. She'd asked me a few weeks (okay, MONTHS) ago if I wanted to do a daily morning walk. At the time, I was focused on how chaotic my morning is. Getting Mama and H up and out takes a bit of doing. But I began to realize that I had 30 minutes free. So I knocked on her door and said, "Um, are you still interested....?"

Halfway through the walk, as we were chatting, she brought up that she has Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. "Ah," I replied, "PCOS." (Not that I know what it is exactly, but having surfed the boards I know it's a common complaint). And we chatted about fertility issues the rest of the walk.

Thanks, God.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Friday Was My Birthday

I awoke Friday morning discovered three things: I had EWCM, I was forty, and Mama had forgotten where the bathroom was (so she defecated in her bed).

Certain things made me happier than others...

H cleaned the bed and I cleaned Mama and then the bathroom, and praised God, Jesus and R.eckit.t B.enckise.r for L.yso.l Wipes. Love them.

We packed Mama on her bus to daycare and H called in late for work. Ahem.

A hell of a morning, even in the Sandwich household.

That night, H took me to a fancy vegan restaurant. It was great. I got to dress up (contacts and make up, even). We saw an actor I recognized coming out on his way in, and our table was between a super-hip Middle Eastern couple (she kept saying she wasn't responsible for the break-up of the marriage of the fellow she was sleeping with) and a lesbian couple on their first date (the one closest to H was so stressed she could barely eat).

I love to eavesdrop on other diners. I'm horrible that way. But we had a great time at dinner. An old married couple from the 'burbs (by Manhattan standards) having an exotic outing in Greenwich Village.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

And the Ward Goes To...

We didn't go. But not for any reasons you might think.

It turns out that H’s friend has beliefs that preclude non-family members from viewing the baby until the baby is a certain age. (Eight months, I think, but don’t quote me). These same beliefs prohibit them from receiving gifts (so no online registry), from taking photos the baby and from getting the baby formally named (although I think the naming happens sooner than the viewing, but again. Don't quote me).

So, uh, yeah. We didn’t go.

I've heard of traditions like this before (I have 2 co-workers who did the same) but I have to say, my first reaction was negative. And then I thought about it.

And then I remembered us. The minute we got a positive on our Beta test, H was calling everyone in sight telling them we were a go. I was slightly more restrained, but only slightly. (I started my online registry). And then when the pregnancy ended (most doctors agree it was a c.hemica.l p.regnanc.y, although the RE who did the implantation insists it wasn't) H had to call up -- or at least deal with -- all the folks he had told. Me, I only had to hit the DELETE button a few times (sobbing all the way).

Some folks start celebrating at 7 weeks, when they hear the heartbeat. But those of us who have been around the blogs know that that's not even a guarantee that all will be well. Heck, we IF'ers know that even giving birth is not an indication that it's all roses. Sadly, we now all know the tale of someone somewhere that it didn't work out for.

So eight months. Keeping the child indoors and under wraps for eight months. Protecting them fiercely, keeping them close, watching them like a hawk. And then at eight months, taking them to your place of worship, dedicating them to God and presenting them to the world.

And so when I thought about it, I liked the eight moth waiting period. Not that, necessarily, waiting to have your child photographed and out in public will have an impact on whether they survive. But that is (God forbid) something bad happens... it's a private thing. No phone calls to make. No registries to delete. No onesies I purchased in a moment of hope that I can't bear to throw out but hate having to keep.

The waiting makes sense to me.

(Not that I'll ever do it...)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Okay, Here's the Deal

I used to post mostly from work. And my work regularly bans access to chat rooms, e-mail and BBS's just found out about blogs. Or, at least, just got around to banning them. So anything from "blogger.com" I can't read.

Ironically, while I can't get in to post, nor to comment, nor to see other people's comments, I can still see the main posts. So I have become Queen of the Lurking. (It's frustrating to be the Queen).

Anyway, I now have to post from home, which will be difficult. Living with a doubly-incontinent victim of Alzheimer's means never having to say I Have No Housework. Because there is always, always something that needs to be washed, tidied, laundered, or policed. (Like this morning. I unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, wiped down the countertops and cleaned up after Mam's decision to make breakfast. You never knew how many places jelly could get). And of course, H likes when I have a conversation with him. (Go figure).

This should be interesting...

PS -- I'm not upset at my work for the lack of access. It's well within their rights and honestly, it's prolly for the best.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties

I have less internet access than I used to, so it's going to take me a bit longer to post.

Please be patient.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Husband Says: Let's Go To The Maternity Ward!

Wife answers:
Are you freakin' crazy?

Husband replies:
It'll be good. Baby vibes. They're good for you.

Wife says:
Are you freakin' crazy?

Husband says:
She's a really nice co-worker, and I'd love for all of us (her, me, my husband and her husband) to become friends.

Wife says:
We'll go Friday.
But you're freakin' crazy.

What do you think? H thinks it's a GOOD idea to go visit his co-worker in the hospital. Now, I am (trying) to be Little Ms. Positive, (see any damn previous post) but I'm thinking that for me to visit a maternity ward... well, I'm thinking we'd be better served visiting the psych ward.

Hey, it's one thing if I knew her... But I don't. H hasn't even mentioned her (I don't even know her name). And to meet her there, in the hospital...

What you think?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

It's That Time...

We hate periods around here, don't we?

Exclamation points, also known as the positive lines on tests we like (understanding or course, that exclamations are both for joy and fear). We (or at least I) live for weeks with the question mark, and the vague and hopeless hope that accompanies it (the hopeless hope that whispers that even though H's sperm count is so low, that maybe one of the swimmers was an overachiever and we'll have a small miracle).

But we (or at least I) don't like period. Period.

It's hard to see the period as beginning. Who decided it was Day 1? That never strikes me as right. Science schmience. The period is the end, not the beginning.

I know women who hate their period. As in HATE their period. They give it different names (some really, really funny names) and they treat it as if it is some kind of alien creature invading their body. Not only alien, but traitorous as well.

I so completely get that. For me, in addition what it means (no baby) I hate how it feels. No emotional "feels" either, but the physical sensation of it all. (I'm not going into details. You know what I'm talking about.) I hate the mess, I hate the embarrassment and even more the potential for embarrassment. Oh, Aunt Flo, how could you?

So when I tell you that I am trying to love my period... Yeah. I'm nuts.

It's like this: I have a lump on my butt. (Have I shared too much?) It's not cancerous, or dangerous, or even THAT noticeable. But it's there and you can see it (if you're looking for it) and I wish I could get it removed. And when I'm shoved in a subway with thousands of fellow New Yorkers, my mind starts to wander. About how I'd like to have the lump removed, and maybe some cosmetic surgery in the area wouldn't be bad. About how I'd like to lose weight, how I'd like to reduce my hips by several miles. About how not satisfied I am with my body that aches and creaks and ISN'T PREGNANT.

And then I start to hate my body.

Now, I am going to be a mother (someday). We will either conceive or adopt. And if we conceive, it will be with this body, my body. And I think I will have a better chance of conceiving if I don't HATE the vessel that brings me what the most in all the world. I think I have a better chance of getting pregnant if I don't hate my body. (Call me crazy).

And even if my body never brings me a child.. well, my adopted child will see what I bring to my body. And I don't want to teach my daughters that it's okay to hate yourself. (Even the lumpy, alien, traitorous parts).

So I'm trying to love my body, dimpled thighs and crampy period included. Isn't it great that my cycle is regular! Isn't it comforting that my flow is consistent!

(I know. It doesn't sound so convincing yet. But I'm working on it, and welcome to suggestions).

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Other Side of the Sandwich

There was an article in the NY Times, "Elder-Care Costs Deplete Savings of a Generation."

The synopsis of the article is "Never before has old age lasted so long or been so costly, compromising the retirement of baby boomers." And while I am not a baby boomer, yeah. We spend about $700 to $1,200 taking care of my MIL. We've lost jobs because of taking care of her, because of the need to be with her and take way too much time off.

Medicaid thinks a person can live off of $600 a month. So we have to PAY BACK from her Social Security.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

What I forgot yesterday...

2. Continue with the somewhat goofy but "good for me" things I do. (Continued)
I. No smoking or drinking of alcohol (which will be easy, because I never smoke and rarely drink)

see others from yesterday...

7. Start a Medical Binder for me, and one for my MIL
This is something I saw on one of those shows like R.ea.L S.impl.e or some such. One of those shows for the organized about how to be super-organized. I fall into neither category, but it is an idea whose time has come. Especially for me -- H got the results of his new SA, and couldn't remember if it was an improvement or not. We had to go digging through previous pieces of paper, and even then we weren't quite sure. So, I thought, Medical Binder. That may, we can put in notes, and try to be organized. (Emphasis on TRY).

And for my MIL -- H and I both take her to the doctor. Always, there is some card or piece of paper that the other one has when we're there. So having one central location (not to mention portable) makes sense...

What are your resolutions?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Resolved: This Year I Will...

1. Update my resume. And when the resume is updated, I will look for a job that will offer me health insurance.
(Even if it means re-typing the resume, as the computer it's stored on is on my husband's list of "things to be fixed". And even though it means calling a bunch of old employers and checking the exact dates of where I worked there, and when I was fired, which I dread dread dread).

2. Continue with the somewhat goofy but "good for me" things I do.
(Please note: by continue, for the most part, I mean "start again." )
A. I will sleep with a sleep mask, because light can impact your body's production of melatonin, and with my MIL, I don't always get to sleep at night.
B. I will take Synthroid, because I have hypothyroidism.
C. I will (try to) cut down on sugar. Sugar raises the insulin level, which inhibits the release of growth hormones, which in turn depresses the immune system, and in general antagonizes the endocrine system.
D. I will have (almost) no caffeine.
E. I will eat (almost) no dairy products. (But I am slightly lactose intolerant, and find that when I cut out dairy it makes my allergies much more easy to bear).
F. I will eat (almost) no meat, especially red meat. (Hard for my husband -- he's a carnivore.)
G. I will (try to) eat a diet rich in alkaline, specifically green vegetables.
H. I will take my vitamins, including folic acid, B6 , B12 and zinc.

3. I will laugh really hard at least once a day.

4. I will ask myself Powerful Questions.

5. I will blog at least once a week.

6. I will do something positive (per Bea) as often as I can. (I hope I can get to 50).

Did I forget anything?