Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Different Day, Different Conversation, the problem starts here.

By the washer and dryer?

Yes. And we attached this here.


...and then we strung this up across here and drilled a hole through the wall here...


...where it attaches here.


This is where my husband plugs in his computer.

His.... computer?

Yup. Into this powerstrip that's plugged into that extension cord. And then there's this extension cord that's plugged into the power strip there that goes back here, and behind that, and around there, and then there's another power strip plugged into that.

Oh... God. What... what is in the power strip?

Well, there's the cable box, there, and then the AV tuner, and the DVD player and... oh, yeah, the projector and... oh! the speakers, those big ones over there. And, huh. There's another extension cord plugged into this power strip. I think it goes to that floor lamp over there, but I'm not sure.

Does... when... um. When you turn anything on, does anything happen, to, um, the other lights?

Oh, it goes to the XBox! Huh. I didn't know we had this many extension cords. Or power strips. Or extension cords in power strips. Wait, what? Does anything happen? Wow, I don't know. Here, lemme try.

NO! I mean, no, that's... okay.

Oh, okay.

I mean, it's not okay, this isn't okay. There is nothing about this that is okay!

Yeah, okay.

No! Not okay!

Right, yeah, okay. I MEAN! Bad! Bad us!

So can I see your panel?

Right. It's over here.

Uh... huh.


Well, it's... there's... there's a little too much going on here.

Oh, well, that is certainly a shock.


Get it? A shock?

Yes. I got it.

A shock? Because it's electricity? And we're overpluggers?

Right. I got it. Shock. Funny. You'll need a new subpanel.

Um, okay.

I'm afraid to ask but... anything else you want me to take a look at?

Nope! I think this is the only electrical health hazard we have to pour money in after. If you want to take a look at our furnace, though...

Dear god no. The heart trembles.

Right then, that's it.

It's certainly enough. I mean! Should I fax the estimate to you? You... don't have a fax plugged in anywhere down here, do you? Please. I beg you, say no.

Yeah, no fax.

Right. I'll mail the estimate to you.

Great. The heart trembles.


Get it? Because you said that and...

I got it. The estimate will be in the mail tomorrow. No, no, I can show myself out. In the dark. Please. Don't turn anything on until I leave. Please.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


So... how long do we have to wait?

For what?

For it to do its thing.

I think it's done it.

No, I mean, thirty seconds? five minutes?

No, really. I don't think it's going to do any more than it's already done.


A second line isn't going to just, y'know, appear.



Thursday, May 24, 2007

A view into a week without a spounse

Monday: Yay! Get to be naked and lazy! And awww, Matilda misses him!
Tuesay: Please, really, stop whining Matilda. Go out, be Young Single and go out.
Wednesday: No, really, stop whining Matilda. Clean kitchen. Have hour-long phone conversation on speakerphone as he drunkenly watches American Idol on East Coast time. Conversation goes like this:
"And then that guy, that dog guy..."
"Dog Guy?"
"That guy who always says, 'Dawwwg...'"
"Randy Jackson."
"He's dancing with... that ditzy lady!"
"Paula Abdul."
"And that English guy!"
"Simon Cowell."
"He just pinched her! And the guy finalist!"
"He looks weird! And that singer..."
"Who sings that song about wings!"
"Bette Midler? Wind Beneath My Wings?"
"Yeah! She's awful!"

Go to bed at 12. Not because anything is keeping you up. But because that giant bed all empty kind of sucks.

Thursday: Fuck this shit. Drink wine (which I mistakenly typed as 'whine') for dinner.

Friday: go out. Somewhere. Anywhere.
Saturday: Clean house like a demon so spouse thinks I ALWAYS LIVE THIS WAY. Pick him hup at 9. Make him swear in blood to never be gone this long again.

Monday, May 21, 2007

My Chemical Romance

I subbed for a chem teacher today, and it was a disaster. A toxic fumes, caustic chemical, shattered glass disaster.


Teachers have "prep periods", one period a day where we ostensibly are able to prepare for the rest of our day. Leaving alone the absurdity of being able to prepare for five fifty minute periods--that's two hundred and fifty minutes (I'm a math teacher!)--in fifty minutes. Yes, that's ten minutes per class, in which to do our grading, call parents, chase down problem children, plan engaging new lessons, write tests, grade tests, file old paperwork, and maybe get a cup of coffee. For each class. (Yes, the cup of coffee for each class too. You think it's easy to be at work at 7:00 each morning, facing teenagers?)

Ahem. Leaving that aside.

By contract, that fifty minutes is our own. (Unless, of course, some other teacher, condemned to the hated "traveling teacher" realm takes over your classroom during your prep, and then your prep is only sort of your own. I've been a travelling teacher, it sucks, but it also sucks not being able to use your own damn room during your own damn prep.)

Ahem, again.

Anyway, that fifty minutes is our own. Sometimes, though, there's a need for a sub (note to anyone in southwest Washington: desperate need for subs!). Since my prep is first period, I often get the call to cover for late subs or late call-ins. It's an extra $30 each time I do it, so hey, free money! Plus I get to see other teachers' rooms, other classes styles, it's interesting. Plus, $30!

But today wasn't awesome.

The teacher who made the late call... he's not good. I mean, he's a great teacher, but dude's had a rough rough year and I can't talk much about it, but I don't think he's doing so well. Mentally. So it's a bit heart-breaking to see him kinda sorta falling apart.

So there I am taking over his class. Chemistry. Not just chemistry, but advanced placement chemistry. And what does he leave me with, as a sub plan? A lab. And not just any lab, but one involving hydrochloric acid, and zinc, and sodium hifuckyouupate and technotronic burnoffyourskinate. And heating things up and then burning shit up.


So I'm just sorta, you know, haning out, because I can describe significance levels and p-values and student t distributions, but ask me about chemical compounds and I'm all drooly and "Whaaaa?" But I'm noticing that I'm coughing and feeling kind of burny in the back of my throat and I'm thinking, um, this can't be right...

These are AP kids, and five of them I know from my little geek squad, so I said a few things like, "Should that be smoking like that?" and "Maybe you should be heating these caustic chemicals under the vent hood sucking oven thing?", impressing them all, I'm sure, with my wicked smarts.

And then I hear, "Wait! How stupid ARE you?"

Never a good thing to overhear while heating things that end with "-ic acid".

And then I hear the glass shattering. And I see the "-ic acid" stuff going everywhere. Apparently one of the other students poured cold sulfuric acid (?) on the heated zinc solution (?) and caused the glass dish to, um, well, break into a bunch of pieces.

One of the students turns to me and says, "Um. Maybe we need a real chemistry teacher in here?"

Ya think?

I go off in search of a real chemistry teacher. He looks at me and sighs through his nose. "You know," he says to me, weaving through the hall to get back to the classroom, "we think that AP kids can handle more, but that means we sometimes forget something." He looks at me. "They're still kids." He heads into the classroom to decide which things can be touched by human skin (not much) and which will cause extreme pain when touched (most surfaces), and orders the kids to clean up.

And then the bell rings.

I'm an awesome sub!

Friday, May 11, 2007


One of the hard things of dealing with infertility is that you don't know who else is. Because it deals with such personal issues (like MY CROTCH), most people don't, you know, bring it up around the water cooler. So when you're dealing with the various indignities of intra-uterine insemination and the cost of dildo-cam appointments that aren't covered by health insurance and what it's like walking back into the fertility clinic that you triumphantly--and pregnantly--sailed out of three months ago, it's hard to find those "Girl, I know" moments.

As good as good friends are--as sympathetic a sounding board as they can be, and level headed as they can be when Clomid is making you cry for reasons you can't even put into words and as you apologize they can say, "I think that's Clomid talking, hon,"--as lucky as you can be to get that support, even those friends (especially those friends) will acknowledge that there's aspects to your situation that while they might understand, they don't truly know.

I should know, I have great friends. So that when my family or inlaws make well-meaning but bonehead moves like sending me emails about how great adoption is, or how "it's meant to be, so it'll happen", those great friends are there to be outraged on my behalf. When yet another friend finds out they got pregnant the very first time they tried and isn't that funny? these wonderful saintly friends will let me rage and rant and cry until I'm ugly and they still love me (I think). I'm super super lucky on that point. But... they don't, and they can't, and I wouldn't want them to know

And I just don't have the wherewithal to go make Infertile Friends because blech. I don't want to be friends with someone just because they can't get knocked up either.

Which makes my newish friend a lifesaver. I'll call her Rhoda.

Rhoda is really a friend of a friend. We've orbited past each other for a decade or more. I've known of her for a long time, but we've met and hung out for the past few years a couple times a year and I've always really liked her. She can be crass (like, um, someone else I might know) and that's a good thing. She can be funny. She can be thoughtful. She's not embarassed to be blunt and to have a sense of humor about things that suck.

And some things suck a lot.

Turns out we see the same fertility doc. The same Doogie Howser has his face in each of our crotches.

Ordinarily, this might be awkward.

With us, tonight, it was a chance to compare pubic grooming.

We drank cheap beer because her second IUI just failed and I'm preparing for IUI#3 and we're both wired on Clomid and we toasted the crappy things People Who Don't Know Better say.

"It's good you miscarried because it means something was wrong."

"At least you know you can get pregnant!"

"Just relax! I have friends who..."

"Have you ever thought of adoption?"

We made each other cry and made each other laugh and bought each other another round because hell, we're not pregnant so we might as well drink! And Mother's Day is Sunday! And I know I'll get a call from my mom and I dread her fucking sympathy! And then...

... and then we talked about how her husband doesn't understand that mesh tank tops are not hot and my husband accidentally shaved his head last week (yes, it can be done) and where is there good shopping when you're not a size eight and what's it like working with all guys (as it turns out: a lot like working with all teenagers, so a lot of great same-experiences going on there) and we talked about things that had nothing and everything to do with all this crazy shit we're both putting our bodies through.

And suddenly five hours passed.

Because she knows. I don't have to explain why I threw a full glass when I found out my sister-in-law was pregnant even though I really am happy she's pregnant, or why I resent having to be the one to email pregnant people to let them know it's okay to talk to me, infertility isn't catching. She doesn't have to preface a story with "I know so-and-so's trying to help but..." when explaining the crushing blow someone inadvertantly landed or feel lame for describing crying her eyes out when hearing that her sister got pregnant from a guy who isn't really sure he wants kids. Because I know.

But also because we both know that we are more than our bruising desire to be pregnant, and so having a conversation meander off into the embarassing story of a dream one of us may or may not have had about her high school students (it's a dream! we can't be held responsible for our dreams!) isn't weird or awkward because it's what friends do. And then we could both twirl around back onto the topic of our pregnant friends who complain about gaining weight because they're pregnant or how tough their choices are and we both know that anger that has no place to go and we aren't scared by that anger from each other.

We're not friends because we get thrice-montly dildo cams and count those two-week-waits every month... Our friendship as the two of us that isn't mediated by our mutual friend is still new-ish, but I think this is the beginning of something good.

In fact, I know.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Essentially on Empty

They did it. It's done. It can't be undone, and whatever got done is now done.

They dang did take that darned ol' AP test. It's... over. Essentially.

I mean, sure, yeah, we have a month of school. (six weeks for non-seniors, thank you snow days!) And in that month, we'll be "working" on a "project". So, yeah. Technically, not over. But in essence, the statistical essence that has permeated my every waking thought and several of my sleeping ones (including some great "dreams" where my necklace was coming alive to choke me, or where my teeth were falling out of my head), we are done. We cannot be undone. We cannot be more done. We are as done as we can get and we can't get donner, but then, we can't get less done either.

However they did--whoever passed, or didn't pass, whatever--I'm so freaking proud of them for sticking through this with me the whole damned way.

But we're done. They're done. It's done and I can't squeeze in one iota more of doneness.

I could keep going. Because I'm sure this is going to sink in.

Any minute now.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Yesterday started with giving blood and running into a friend at the next little recliney bench("Hey, anything new?" "Well, our son was born." "Well, yeah, besides that?").

It rounded the corner teaching Will how to watch the Kentucky Derby, substituting apple juice for mint julep*. "See, they lead the horses into the little rooms... and close the gates... and now ready? set? GO! GO! GO!" Given the roomful of adults slightly tipsy from National Home Brewers Day** and tasty tasty mint juleps, in the end, Will's only description of the Derby ends up something like this, "Horses! Go Fast! Real Loud! Yayyyyyy!!!" with lots of clapping to celebrate.

Then my day gently turned the corner as I chaperoned Prom. Some things (the hair, sprayed to withstand a tornado, the tuxes making the boys ever so slightly uncomfortable and unnatural) never change, while others (cleavage, dear GOD THE CLEAVAGE) certainly do.

No real point to this posting, other than to notice and earmark how very weird and whiplashy yesterday was.

* (which, except for the spring of mint inserted by a delicious mint julep maker person, look startlingly similar, so I can understand Will's confusion).

**Seriously, National Home Brewers Day, the Derby, and Cinco de Mayo, all on the same day: it's a wonder we any of us have livers left.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


" do you think it's PMS?"

"I dunno. I mean, I don't feel especially PMSy. Except..."

"Except what?"

"I did cry tonight at an episode of NUMB3RS."


"What? It was really sweet moment where the guy on death row got to meet his daughter for the first time, and all he could say was, "Sorry.""


"Yeah, okay, so maybe PMS."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Wanna teach AP?

They say, so, you wanna teach AP?

And you think, oh my god, I can't believe that (a) they think I'm smart enough to and (b) I'm experienced enough to without having to wait until I've been at the school for forty billion years and (c) I'll get to teach kids who are, y'know, MOTIVATED, and so you say, of course, sure! even though it's possibly been, say, perhaps, a DECADE since you took that ONE CLASS in the subject. (Somehow, maybe, they think because you come from business you have some deep insight into the subject. You let that misconception lie, because, hey, you get to teach AP!)

You don't think about the fact that EVERY DAY you have to make up what you're going to teach them.

And GOD FORBID they ask questions! Because if it isn't about today's (okay, maybe also tomorrow's) lessons, you really truly might not know. Given, there's worse things than saying, "Okay, I don't remember, but I'll get back to you." But still.

And you really really really REALLY don't think about what that week (month!) before the AP test is really like. When you worry that that one part that you didn't emphasize enough is what is gonna be the difference between them passing with a 3 or not passing. When you think, okay, I didn't teach probability well enough and now they're all stressed about it even though it's not that tough or really that important so they're spending time on probability even though it's only like 10% of the test when they COULD be spending studying time on inference tests! Which are way more important!

You don't think you'll be waking up at 4 a.m. wondering what the HELL are you doing in class today and HOW will you get through the day and OH DEAR GOD WHAT IF YOU'RE LETTING EVERYONE DOWN????

You don't think of that.

You just think, "AP! That's cool!"

Of course, you also don't think you'll be falling in love, just a little bit, with these kids who are leaving the school next year and that you'll never see again. You don't think that you'll ride the acceptance roller coaster with them as they sort the next major chapter of their lives out. You don't think of how momentous senior year is, and relationships are, and how you'll deal with all of these almost-adults and how you just want them to come back in five years and let you know how they're doing.

You don't think of that either, of how they're going to take this tiny bit of your heart with them when they leave.

You just think, "AP! That means I don't have anything to do after the AP test! for a month until the end of school!"

You don't think that your life, until that AP test, is a slave to What The AP Test Tests and that you'll always feel inadequate. That getting these kids to pass will take over your life and you'll spend--yes--it's true--FIFTEEN HOUR DAYS because you have pizza-bribed study sessions because you just want them to pass, if they could pass then you haven't let anyone down.

Good Gods and Goddesses. My life, until May 8th, is a walking, living, breathing ulcer.

"Yeah, AP! That'd be great!"