The Daily News

LFCA Latest Issue: Friday, September 25, 2009.

Latest Post on BlogHer: Parenting after Infertility.

My Status: Fed Josh's almonds to the squirrels. They needed them very badly.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Friday Blog Roundup

Everything in our house is breaking. All at once. Which is how these things seem to go. It started with the air conditioner last summer. It was getting progressively hotter in the house and we realized that regardless of how high we set the dial, the vents were no longer blowing cold air. Luckily, my parents live in the area so we spent two nights at their house, installed a new air conditioner, cried about the price, and moved on.

Next to go was the dryer. This was learned after I opened the dryer door an hour later and found my clothes just as wet as when we began. Most recently, we've had a problem with the gutters, learned we have to insulate the attic, and replace the refrigerator entirely. Our dishwasher is about to go, every door in the house has fallen off their hinges and are currently either at the dump or resting against the wall, and the ceiling needs to be repainted following the gutter incident.

It sucks being a homeowner.

I'm not really sure why we bought a house. I mean, I know the whole financial planning side of it--how it will help us in the long run to be paying for something we own rather than something we rent. But I'm currently looking at what is happening now vs. how this is setting us up for the future.

The other thing that occurred to me this week is the whole working/family planning factor. I have been wondering for a while what we did wrong. We know a lot of people who seem to have larger houses and more wiggle room but work in comparable jobs. It just didn't make sense. Yes, there was the whole paying-for-treatments thing that sucked up a lot of savings, but at some point, it felt like it should all shake out. I'm not talking about friends who lived in different areas with different housing prices. I'm talking about people right here in town, who make a comparable salary, have two kids, and don't have a secret trust fund.

And then it hit me this week as I was reading a new book. We bought our house a few years into the marriage. Maybe two? And we got married when we were relatively young. And we started trying to conceive soon after the wedding, but bought the house before we conceived the twins. Where we went wrong, I've come to realize, is that everyone else worked longer--either before getting married or after being married--before buying their house and certainly before having children. They waited until they were settled in their careers before building their family.

Of course, the flip side for us would be that if we had waited and worked and focused on the career-building aspect of the equation, we wouldn't have these kids or perhaps any kids. It was more of an a-ha moment than a oh-damn-I-wish-I-had-done-that moment. I wouldn't want a different house if it meant a different life. But it was still interesting to pinpoint the place where we veered from the path that would have meant less stress when the refrigerator breaks.

Feh, you win some, you lose some.

My other focus is losing weight without doing exercise. Let me rephrase: to lose weight without doing more exercise. I just can't pack another thing in my day and this article sealed the deal. I know that I could go back to jogging a few miles a day without incurring the heart attack risk by jumping in a lake, but why even start down that road?

So, instead of changing my exercise patterns, I'm changing the way I eat. And that's it. I'm starting out by seeing how much I can lose simply by not eating dessert or highly-processed foods. I'm eating salad for at least one meal and using fruit or nuts as my snack. If I don't see the change I want to see doing it this way, I'll bump it up a notch.

But I'm sort of in a space mentally where I can only deny myself so much. I was in a space a year or two ago where I couldn't deny myself anything that all because it felt like too much was being denied to us in other places. Leaving treatments for the time being has removed that from my plate so now I feel like I can deny myself a little from time to time. So no more cookies. Or, if I have a cookie, it needs to be a conscious decision rather than grabbing one as I pass through the kitchen.

I've done this for a week so far and it hasn't been bad. I barely think about it, really, because I'm not counting points or measuring portions yet. My goal is 20 pounds by the end of August. I figure this is do-able. It's a pound or so a week. I'll obviously kick up the exercise a bit come summer. But I thought I should state it here so I'm accountable for the weight loss. My weight has rarely bothered me, but it is right now. I don't feel like myself lately. And clothes I love aren't fitting. Though, even after only one week of doing this, my jeans are feeling better.

I started a new group within the forum for anyone who wants to join along and make a commitment to lose the IF/sadness eating weight by the end of August. I needed the moral support and perhaps others do too. So if you want to make a commitment to hit your goal by the end of August, join along and gather support from a group who understand why you need to have a cookie when you're getting negative betas or waiting to adopt. A girl can only deny herself so much.

The Weekly What If: What if you could have one author (dead or alive since this is a what if) work you into their next story (again, assuming the dead ones are still churning out new prose)? Everyone would know that you were the person mentioned in the story (the same way we assume Carly Simon is singing about Warren Beatty when she croons "you're so vain."). Who would the author be? Double points if you dream up how you'd be featured.

While putting together the LFCA, I decided to stop using the abbreviation 2ww and make it WUB (wait until beta). You can even change it into a verb that absorbs all the shittiness of the wait: "I'd love to make plans, but I'm feeling really wubby and can't really focus on anything else."

The problem was that some people had two weeks to wait and some had 10 days and some had sadistic clinics that made them wait more than two weeks. So WUB. Just so you understand the next time I use it.

And now, the blogs...

Over My Ovaries has a beautiful post about the things she has learned in her four days of parenting two foster children. The list moves from the incredibly funny and brilliant (goldfish clean-up tips) to the heart tugging (her commentary on silence). As well as the completely honest--it is impossible to guard your heart entirely in this process. Love has a way of seeping in. A gorgeous post.

Life after Infertility & Loss has a post where she dreamed she was pregnant, post hysterectomy. She writes of habitual behaviours, the things our body does on auto-pilot. The way we can't erase what the heart wants. She writes: "Even now, my past is trying to rob me of my happiness. That which I worked for, bled for and cried for - even now, it wants to taint my joy. And I feel guilty." It is about the feelings that come from being in this strange space of outwardly getting everything you ever wanted while inwardly knowing the route it took to get there and what was lost along the way.

Healing Arts has a post about what she wished she had known before. After her father checked in with her many times about her move to France after getting married, she writes: "Perhaps my father knew more than I what life could hold and wanted me close by to protect me in the eventuality that bad things happened. I was so sure at the time that I was doing the right thing that I arrogantly told him I’d be fine and not to worry and I was only in France, it wasn’t that far away, etc…" The post muses on how life could have been different if she had asked that they remain in England, but more importantly, even though we only have one life to live and she'll never know if the other roads-not-taken would have been better or worse, she has learned things along the way to pass on to her children.

Lastly, The Not So Secret Life of Us dyed her hair so that her outside matched her inside. It is an angry post, a sad post, but it's also a deeply honest post and one that people should read to understand how people process recurrent loss and IVF. But more so, she writes of that space where you don't want anyone near and yet need everyone close and therefore, I ask you to go leave her some words of comfort.

The roundup to the Roundup: I finally get why we are where we are financially and I can embrace the answer and move on. I am committing to losing weight and will support you if you support me. Answer the Weekly What If. WUB. Lots of great blogs to read. Catch you back here on Saturday night for Show and Tell.


Lori said...

I want to comment on your thought that's on top of the post.

And say, once again, you are so wise, and you don't have to resort to talking AT people.

Ironically, it can be very difficult to hear someone when they are shouting at you. Well, not the hearing but the understanding.

I like your weight loss plan. I cheer you and support you.

LJ said...

Our major house thingies (furnace, both a/c units, washing machine) are all at least 25 years old (30+ for the washer). We're living on such borrowed time it isn't even funny. I feel ya girlfriend.

areyoukiddingme said...

Uh...I thought You're So Vain was supposed to be about James Taylor. Now I know how I'll be spending my day.

I would like to be a character in a Christopher Moore novel. The protagonist is usually somewhat clueless but very funny, but there are always secondary characters who have a grip on reality and provide the foil for the humor. Yep, no great prose for me...I like silliness.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter when you buy your house, I think. There are always going to be problems, and some regrets.

For us, we bought because we had finally gotten the money together for a downpayment. We chose our house and THEN my husband got his job on the other side of the city (1.5 hour bus ride one way). Add to this a hot water tank exploding, a major flood in the basement, and a sewage back up, and that was our first year in our house. And we're not even going to mention the whole IF thing...

I am still considering this our best investment (despite the economy tyvm). And I love the fact that I can paint walls purple if I want (I haven't, but I'm just saying I could. :p

Tally, whose feeling the WUB (Clinic wants me to wait 17 DAYS??? good g-d)

nishkanu said...

***** Assvice alert - Assvice alert - feel free to ignore *****

When I decided to lost my IVF weight, I started weight-lifing using this program:

You can do it at home, 3 x a week, 30 minutes/week to start (though it gets to be a bit longer when you are later in the program, but never more than 3 x a week and 2 x a week is fine too). That is ALL the exercise you need to do, you don't also have to do cardio - you work your butt off during the time you are doing it, then you are done. I lost 10 lbs in the first month. I also got things like abs again and was full of energy. It is a miracle. Really enjoyed it. My DH did it too and watched the weight drop.

It is an amazing feeling of joy to feel your body get fit and healthy again after all infertility has done to it. Has nothing in common with deprivation.

Note: this plan also comes with suggested eating plan which I ignored except to eat a bit more protein than usual and to eat more frequent meals (5-6 per day).

***** Assvice over *****

Kristin said...

Good luck with the weight loss. As for the housing appliances, check to see if Habit For Humanity has one of their stores locally. We replaced our dishwasher for only $45. It may not be new but it works like new and was affordable.

As for the author, I'd like to be in the next book in Christine Feehan's Dark series. I want to be one of her Carpathian heroines.

Anonymous said...

Author answer: Barbara Kingsolver. Except I would put in a no-nudity clause.

JuliaS said...

Initially I was thinking of Sylvia Plath, mainly because I am in a bit of a Pink Floyd/Bell Jar type funk lately. On further retrospection though - I think Steinbeck. He could make even the mundane sound noble and I would like that. Or maybe Jennifer Weiner, just because she could take all my drama and angst and make it absolutely hysterical - and I would like that too (Erma Bombeck too, for that matter).

I hear you on the denying yourself. I've been eating my feelings and issues for years. Maybe I will join you - just so when someone uses the term "hot mama" to describe me - it won't be because I am hot flashing again.

As for the rest - both cars are paid off, which of course means they will now spontaneously blow up any minute. We've had the washer about as long as we've been married and naturally that means I have to eye it suspiciously every time I start a load. It will die when every pair of underwear I own is soaking wet and full of soap in it. Out of 3 dvds players and 3 computers in this house - not one will actually play a dvd.

The roof is leaking - in my bedroom of course, and we've entered the season fondly referred to as "Rain" around here.

Did you ever see the movie "The Money Pit"? :0)

one-hit_wonder said...

I want to be a character in either Toni Morrison's or Miriam Toews's next novel. My mind is blank on possible scenarios, though!

Good luck on the weight loss!

devonmarie said...

Weight Loss...I think it's a struggle for everyone.

As for the author, I would love to have John Irving write a book about my life, something like The World according to Garp.

Photogrl said...

When it rains, it pours...and being a fellow homeowner, I understand your frustration. I wish I had an answer for why everything breaks at once!

Good luck on the weight loss!

I'm definitely heading over to join the group. Support is always welcome.

ms.bri said...

I lost 27 pounds in six months on WW without moving my ass AT ALL. The fibro makes real exercise damn near impossible but eating less (and more mindfully) certainly worked for me. It can be done, for sure.

chicklet said...

As one who just did a weight-loss kick without dieting (or what I consider dieting), here's a couple more things that might help. For us:
-We cut booze as we were having a lot of empty calories there.
-We also started watching the "balance" of our meals, similar to you having salad for one meal. We didn't count calories but we really watched how much fat and carbs were in meals so we knew we were eating healthier.
-We did all that during the week, and then on weekends we were allowed one treat day, but only one. That way during the week if I missed something or felt denied, I knew I'd get it on the weekend. But we also didn't blow an entire week's worth of effort on the weekend.

Good luck!!

Jennifer said...

I always wondered who Carly Simon wrote that song about...Warren Beatty?! Interesting.

I'm on a C.S. Lewis kick right I would have to say I'd want him to write me in. Preferably, it would be something more in a Narnian vein than Space Trilogy-ish.

Good luck with the weight loss!

kate said...

I'm wishing you all the best with your revised eating plan. Personally, the only reason I run is so that I can eat like the ravenous pig that I am. I noticed years ago that diet + exercise (for me) had the same result as exercise alone. So I quit dieting, because I hate it. I suppose it needs to be said that my diet isn't that poor to start- I eat mostly vegetarian, mostly whole, mostly homemade. Of course, I certainly don't deny myself the occasional cheeseburger, and me and sugar are BFFs, so I just try to make sure I fill myself up with fresh veggies and if I'm still hungry, I go ahead and dig in to the candy bag. Anyhow, I think your plan sounds sensible and I wish you the best with it! Go, Mel!!! You can do it!

And oh, boy, do I hear you on the whole 'house falling apart' thing. Before we bought our house, at the inspection, the inspector said that I needed to think of it as though I would be dating a much, much older man. I needed to expect that things would be slower, that I would need to fuss with upkeep a lot more, but that in exchange, I would get all the interesting details that come with having been around for 70 years. And he was so right. Luckily (knock wood), the only appliance to go so far has been the a/c (which we ended up replacing a year later when we got rid of our oil furnace- just in time for fuel prices to drop to a ten year low... but at least we don't have to worry about it anymore). But yes. Like you, we need to insulate the attic (upstairs its virtually unlivable in the summer), we need to fix the gutters, we really need new windows in a few rooms (enough that we really should go ahead and do the whole house). We're trying to extend the life of our dryer by line-drying our clothes when possible (like today! Sunny! Breezy! Beautiful!).

In my fantasy world, I would replace all the appliances in our house, but the former homeowners bought top of the line stuff back in the 70s and 80s, so everything (EVERYTHING) is solid as heck, and I can't imagine replacing things that still work but are just old and inefficient. Sigh.

And I also get what you are saying about finances. We didn't get married young or buy young, but we bought very early in H's career. Of course, because of that, we also bought a house that we could clearly afford on his lower salary back then, which means that now that I'm not working, it's not such a stretch to make the mortgage payment, because we planned for it to be affordable at a smaller income. But yeah. It does seem like there are people around us who can afford much more in their lives, but have comparable salaries, and I wonder how they do it.

Yes. Sometimes I hate being a homeowner.

But then I remember this news special I saw that pictured a guy and his kid sitting on the curb outside of their recently foreclosed-upon house, saying, "I did everything I could. I don't know what else I could have done to save my house, but I just can't create money where there isn't any..." And then I think about how incredibly lucky I am to still have a house at all. Yes, the bathrooms all need serious work. Yes, the windows are leaky and old. Yes, the appliances suck. Yes, there are major, MAJOR renovations to be done, but at least I'm not sitting in my driveway with my stuff thrown out on the lawn because we couldn't keep paying for it.

Perspective, I guess.

Changing the 2WW abbreviation is a good idea, I think. I wonder if WUT might make more sense in some cases, though (Wait until test), 'cos at least in the "In The Beginning" section, many aren't being treated by a professional yet, and thus won't have a beta (though they are also subject to the same time concerns that you bring up- not everyone has a 14 day luteal phase, not everyone can bring themselves to test at the exact two week mark, etc.). Everyone has a test of some kind, but not necessarily everyone will have beta numbers to remark upon. Just my (totally unsolicited) opinion.

kate said...

Oh, and I would choose Kurt Vonnegut to write me into a novel. His characters are so weird and smart and I would love to be written in as a secondary character who serves to point out the total insanity of whatever adventure he has us going on (I think of Galapagos here for some reason).

Elizabeth said...

About the homeownership, oh, I KNOW!!! Last year we had the roof re-shingled, and this year our furnace, toilet, and dryer all busted AT THE SAME TIME. On a Friday the 13th, no less.

I don't know that WUB has to *replace* 2ww, for the reasons that Kate said; each is accurate for a different situation. I never had a beta, e.g. but lots of 2wws.

And I like projectkjetil's no-nudity clause idea!

My word verification is "spiffles." Is that like spring sniffles?

JamieD said...

I really like your weight loss plan and group. I did so much comfort eating after my losses I felt like I had 'baby weight' and still no baby.

The extra weight and the IF was a double hit to my self esteem.

As for the author . . . hmmmm . . . I could go two different ways here. I've always like Anne Rice and they way she could take a monster and make them seductive and beautiful. Or maybe a character in a fantasy novel. I'd love to see Margaret Weis make me into a dragon slaying hero.

Not to mention the cool clothes I would get to wear in either one!

Alyson and Ford said...

Catching up, haven't by in awhile (something about going to China and I have a new toddler! And working full time!).
Our house is a disaster waiting to happen. Lots of value increase until last year; thought it would be our cash cow - not now! We had to replace the entire septic system (yep, tank, pumps, drain field..). Tore up our yard. $$$$$$
We are planning to sell and downsize so we can have fewer possessions and more time for AA and the grands!
Have a fun, happy weekend!!

Alyzabeth's Mommy

Sarah said...

My husband and I were talking the other day about how we are really kind of content just renting. We have a great apartment(its big!) and y'know if the furnace goes...well, its not coming out of our pockets. And while the idea of owning something is still pretty appealing in the long term aspect, I like you, am thinking about the now....right now, we just have to pay rent and utilities. No taxes, no water, no repair bills. Its kinda nice to have one less responsibility.

Cassandra said...

Dorothy Allison has beautiful prose, but most of her books are about abused children, so it wouldn't be so fun to be a character of hers.

Let's go with Tolkien. He would undoubtedly write a jaunty theme song for me.

Coffeegrl said...

I'm skipping right to the book question:
Either I'd be in a Jane Austen novel (I always had ideas about the kind of character I'd be in one of her books, so I'd love to see Austen's own ideas about me)

Or else I'd be in a book by Janet Evanovich. Her characters are all totally wacky and hysterical to me and I'd love to see her take on my personality!

Lollipop Goldstein said...

I'd like to be in a Jennifer Weiner novel. Either as the main character or her best friend. And, if possible, I'd like to have a catchphrase that would become so popular that it would enter the lexicon like "where's the beef?"

Io said...

I think you would be awesome in a Jennifer Weiner novel. I would buy that book. (Granted, I like her books anyways, but if *you* were in it, I would buy copies for everyone I knew...hint hint Jennifer. Mel sells books.)