Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Everyone's Doing It

I'm getting ready to order TOIAW's gift: A Kindle. This has been an ongoing debate in our house for nearly a year. In D.C. we only listened to NPR and NPR liked to discuss the Kindle. TOIAW could not be dissuaded even when I told him it was heavily endorsed by Oprah. Well, at one point he thought Kindle books expired but that appears to be Kindle urban legend.

TOIAW and I both love books. Even when our schedules are at their craziest, we read a minimum of one book a week and usually more. I like Paperback Book Swap but there are often other books I want to read and we spend a fair amount on books and although I recycle them via donation or swapping, I also worry about the eco cost (paper, transport, ink, etc.) not to mention the actual cost of the books. Kindle books are $9-$10 for brand-new books; we could save a fortune!

Now I'm just trying to decide which one to buy and if I'm going to do the Kindle vs. one of the other products out there. My hope is that it will be helpful for TOIAW next year while he's in school in addition to the other advanatages.

I just hope we don't miss holding an actual book. It might sound silly but that's a big deal to me. I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Calm Before the Storm

I have done absolutely nothing the past two days. I haven't felt well--just a cold, no big deal--and it's positively frigid outside so I've just been hanging out. I leave for the U.S. early Thursday morning and I cannot wait! I get to see my dogs; oh, how I've missed them!!! We'll of course be very busy while visiting my family for a week and then we'll be off to Florida for the cruise.

This, of course, presents a packing dilemma because I need both cold and warm weather clothing but I do not feel like schlepping multiple suitcases. Out of the eight flights I will take only one will be with TOIAW. When I flew here in October, I had so many bags I felt like a gypsy and since that memory is still fresh in my mind it's likely I will only take my computer and a purse as my carry-ons. Of course, it's far easier to pack for a trip to the U.S. because if you forget to pack something, it's easily accessible. I've ordered a few new things that will be waiting for me in Oklahoma so I know I'll have clothes to wear there but I should probably apologize in advance to my fellow cruisers because they are likely to see me in the same clothes on several occasions. I'm okay with that so I hope they are as well.

Tonight I'm going to continue to enjoy the peace and quiet before I have to pack and get ready for my 18.5 hours of travel time on Thursday. Have I ever shared with you that I've become a super nervous flier ever since I quit my job as a flight attendant? 'Tis true. It's not that I experienced anything scary as an F/A, it's just that you have a sense of control when you're working on a plane as opposed to when you're a passenger. Okay, flight attendants aren't really in control of anything but if they have a question about something that's happening all they have to do is pick-up the phone and ask the pilots. They really frown upon individual passengers doing that. But, believe me, I make sure my area is safe and if you're sitting next to me and your luggage isn't completey under the seat in front of you, I will say something. On a flight last year I was in the emergency exit row and the man next to me had is laptop in the seat back pocket (major no-no) so the F/A asked him to stow it under the seat but he put it behind his legs (with a heavy sigh). I then put on my best sweet smile and said, "She said 'under the seat,' not 'behind your feet.'" Later during the flight the lead F/A discreetly asked me if I worked for the FAA and I said no with a puzzled look. She said one of the F/A's overheard my explanation for properly stowing luggage and assumed I was onboard to evaluate the crew. I was happy to eleviate her anxiety (because who likes to be anonymously evaluated?) and explain that I'm just a former F/A and a forever safety nut. I totally didn't mean to go off on that tangent and I promise to stop after I remind you to properly stow your luggage this holiday season--remember the overhead bins are shared space--and the crew is there primarily for your safety...and also to satisfy their own sadistic need to make everyone to follow the rules. Or maybe that was just me?

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Fantasy

TOIAW's biological mother died when he was about two and a half. I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, but he was born in this very Mystery Country but they actually left shortly after his mother's death from cancer. His mother is buried in a cemetary that is less than ten minutes (drive) from our apartment. When TOIAW and his twin brother visited the grave in August, it was, like many of the other graves in the cemetary, not maintained and needed to be cleaned so they did what they could and then hired a man to take care of it. Saturday we went to visit the grave and pay the man for his work.

TOIAW doesn't remember her apart from a few vague memories that involve visiting her in the hospital. I've often suggested he ask his older brother but he tells me his brother all but refuses to discuss their mother. He's odd, but we already knew that. We do have quite a few pictures of her and she was a beautiful woman and TOIAW and his twin bear a striking resemblence to her.

There are two pictures of her on her grave. As I stared at them Saturday, I entertained this elaborate fantasy of having a nice and loving relationship with her, my "biological" mother-in-law. One in which I am loved and accepted into her family. That is, indeed, just a fantasy and two weeks from today I will be sailing the high seas with the "other" in-laws who neither love nor accept me. Oh well.

As we left I couldn't help but think about how proud TOIAW's mom would be/is of him. As he concludes the graduate school application process I know he is nervous and anxious about the results and that is only exacerbated by his father's insistence that he must go to an Ivy League school or he will be a failure (remember this). If only my fantasy of love and acceptance from his family were true for both of us.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Another Post In Which I Whine...Shocking

I haven't been able to get in touch with the IVF clinic here in the Mystery Country because every time I call, TOIAW isn't home and the girls who answer the phone all claim to not speak Enlgish. To be fair, they probably don't speak English but it's still annoying. I've had little success with the English-speaking coordinator because she never quite answers the questions I ask (this is via email but it's pretty much the same when we speak) but I prefer to get my answers from the doctor anyway. So, in absence of a real doctor's answers, I asked Dr. Google and the timeline he provided is a problem for me. I am trying not to be bitter but having my period delayed because of the ectopic pregnancy is KILLING me.

It messes up so many things like plane tickets for me (the plan is for me to leave at about 7-8 weeks) and completely conflicts with a major trip TOIAW has planned. So freaking frustrating I cannot stand it. I know it's only a month or so in the whole scheme of things but, come on, it would be nice to catch a break every now and then. It just makes me long for Sarah even more. I should be preparing for her first Christmas not working out IVF schedules.

From what I can tell, the new ideal day for cycle day 1 is Friday but I'm sure I will start before then because that's how it seems to work these days. Who am I kidding? That's how it's been for three and a half years.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Goings On

I have so much to say but I just haven’t been in a writing mood lately. Perhaps that’s because I’ve been editing the seemingly endless number of TOIAW graduate school admission essays? Who knows. I am thrilled that process will be over soon! It’s quite complicated because every school has slightly different content and word count requirements and he is applying to around 50 schools. Okay, not quite but it feels like it.

In the midst of my editing, I’ve been rather social. This weekend I worked at the international women’s club bazaar and that was fun. Each country sponsors a booth with goods unique to their country. The U.S. sold food (baking mixes, peanut butter, chocolate chips, etc.); leave it to the U.S. to sell you up with additives and high fructose corn syrup. It was pretty funny trying to use my limited language skills to explain American products! But then TOIAW got there and he had difficulty also even though he his completely fluent. Some things are just difficult to explain. I was amazed at the number of people who tried to bargain! All the proceeds went to charity and they were bargaining! I know it’s an integral part of some cultures but it still shocked me (actually, it made me laugh more than it shocked me).

Yesterday I attended a coffee group club that is part of the same organization and that, too, was fun. I had a nice time meeting new people and chatting and then a few of the ladies went to lunch. There were five of us: 3 Americans (one foreign-born naturalized citizen, one married to a local national, and me), 1 French woman, and 1 Australian. We had a very interesting discussion about healthcare after one of the women asked us why so many Americans are opposed to the proposed health care bill. I found myself longing for the standard, “Do you like President Obama?” question I invariably get at diplomatic functions!

After that I went with a friend to a market that sells fruit and vegetable delicacies like lettuce. It’s one of those markets where you buy from different vendors and the prices are somewhat negotiable. I’ve always gone with TOIAW and neither of us has ever noticed the high prices. That all ended when I went with my friend who speaks the language well but with an American accent. Cherries? $50 for 2lbs. Cucumbers? $12.50 for 4 small ones. Apricots? $16.25 for 2lbs. Tulips? $2 per flower. I did buy some lettuce and bell peppers for decent prices but that’s where the deals ended. I only saw two other shoppers and it is a HUGE market. When I’m with TOIAW and we walk away because a price is too high, they typically yell out a lower price to entice us back to their booth. Yesterday, they just laughed at us when we walked away. I plan on going back with TOIAW soon and seeing what the prices are when he’s with me. Perhaps I’ll also leave my “I’m a SUCKER” hat at home.

Well, it’s time to run some errands. This is always an adventurous task and it is even more so now that the elevator in our building is out of service. We live on the 5th floor but it is an old building with insanely high ceilings and there are 40 steps between each floor (yes, I counted). I don’t have any issues with taking the stairs, per se, but they are made of marble that is very worn, slick, and in many places broken which is challenging in a dimly lit stairwell. Yesterday I tripped on a broken stair and slid down several steps. Just call me Grace. My butt is sore today and I can’t even blame Jillian Michaels!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bless Them

There are web-based editing services to which you can send essays for editing and revision. However much money these people make, it is not enough. I cannot imagine how frustrating their jobs must be.

I'm editing TOIAW grad school applications, can you tell?

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Not a day goes by that I don't feel selfish about something. In spite of how difficult this past year has been, my life is filled with amazing blessings. Living in the Mystery Country for the past two months has brought that point home many, many times yet I am nowhere near as thankful as I should be have all that I do. So it's with full awareness of how wrong it is that I will share with you my selfish wish of the day: My sister-in-law has an ultrasound today and I REALLY want her to find out she's having a boy. And you know what? It's not really because I'm jealous that she would be having a girl when I want one also. No, it's more because I know she wants a girls so badly and I don't want her to have what she wants.

So now you know my dark side.

It makes me queasy to read it in print but it doesn't make it less true.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Not So Bad

Well, we ended up going to the Thanksgiving dinner after all. I took a pecan pie but skipped the cornbread dressing. We were the only couple (out of four) there who didn't have children. It was rather chaotic with everyone trying to feed their children so we never had everyone seated at the table which made for an odd dinner. The food was great though and we had a nice time. I was in a very bad mood in the cab on the way over (I'm far too embarassed to admit why but suffice it to say it had everything to do with me being terribly UNgrateful) but that soon disappeared once we arrived. The most remarkable part of the evening happened as things were wrapping up. TOIAW was talking to someone who works with him and I'm not even sure what they were discussing but I heard him say he lost his wife and daughter. TOIAW had a very confused look on his face and had a lot of difficulty asking his colleague what happened. He explained that his daughter died of SIDS and his wife couldn't handle the grief (he never fully explained that part but I shudder to think about what he might have said). TOIAW told him about Sarah and then we all three stood there in the corner trying so hard not to let the tears that filled our eyes spill out. TOIAW has worked with this guy for nearly four months and had no idea...but he told us that God has been faithful and he just takes one day at a time. He is remarried to a very kind and beautiful--in every sense of the word--woman and they have two small children.

The rest of the weekend was spent holed up in our apartment working on grad school applications. Some of which are very detailed and lengthy. [Gutsy Mom, I'm beginning to despise your alma mater and their 10-page application that has me typing in every class TOIAW has ever taken and divulging the balance of our financial accounts.] The essay writing process is very interesting for us and it goes a little something like this: TOIAW writes something and emails it to me. I read, reread, scratch my head, carry my very heavy laptop into the study and ask him what he meant to say, return to my work area, rewrite everything he wrote, and then email it back to him. We do this 2-3 times before sitting together and reading it aloud and finally agreeing on a finished product. It's exhausting but it will soon be over, thank you, Lord.

Tonight TOIAW is traveling so I'm locked into the safe room. The last time I did that was the night of the ill-fated positive pregnancy test. Let's hope tonight is less eventful!

Tomorrow I have to wake-up early for my date with Jillian Michaels. Later, Peeps :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Is That Really News?

I cannot seem to go to a news website today without hearing about Tiger Woods, his accident, and speculation as to what really caused the accident. And guess what? I. Don't. Care.

I mean I like Tiger Woods and all and I'm glad he's not seriousy injured but if he and his wife are having a difficult time in their marriage, does the rest of the world need to know? They're trying to be private (from what I can tell) but that's just unacceptable for some people. Here's a news flash nosy people: They are real human beings and marriage--I don't care who you are or how much money you have--is not easy. Furthermore, I would imagine that Tiger's fame is probably more of a hinderance to a healthy marriage rather than a help.

I've never been so thankful that TOIAW and I don't have hundreds of millions of dollars and that neither of us are famous!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It was bound to happen eventually

It finally happened. I’ve had my miscarriage/ectopic meltdown. I’d like to think it’s tapering off but it’s too soon to tell. The day began innocently enough with me checking my email and finding a sweet note from a dear friend which brought tears to my eyes but that’s nothing new. I knew there was something out of whack when I read the next email about the engagement of a couple we met in D.C. It was a sweet story and all but I couldn’t imagine why I was crying and then, suddenly, I thought back to our engagement and all the pain we’ve had in the short time since. Of course there have been happy times also and the one that immediately popped into my head was Flippy’s (Sarah’s name in utero) first high-resolution ultrasound…one year ago today. I honestly had not thought about it until that very moment but somehow, buried deep in my heart and mind the information was stored. And at that point, all bets were off. Oh my word, how did my life turn out like this? It wasn’t supposed to be like this!

Earlier today I decided to call the IVF clinic here and fill them in on what’s going on with me. Big mistake as I clearly should have done this on one of the previous two days when I was more emotionally stable because it appears as if our timeline is in jeopardy. This wouldn’t be a huge deal if I didn’t already have tickets. Obviously we knew when we purchased the tickets that it was risky but I assumed the only risk would be having the procedure not work. Having to alter the timeline wasn’t really on my radar. So now I’m eagerly awaiting Cycle Day 1 and unless it comes very early, I will be substantially delayed due to our trip to the US for the holidays. There’s no way to know right now what the alternate timeline might be and that frustrates me also. It goes without saying there were plenty of tears after that phone call. Why, oh WHY did this have to happen?! Seriously, I was rolling with it, taking it all in stride, and then this?!

Tomorrow we’re celebrating Thanksgiving with a huge group of people and I really wish we had declined the offer. I don’t want to go. I asked what I could bring and was told wine. We very rarely drink and haven’t purchased one drop of liquor here so that works out well for us. Also, I’m pretty sure they will be serving stuffing as opposed to cornbread dressing and that makes me want to puke in my mouth a little. I’ve considered bringing some cornbread dressing but I don’t know if that would be rude since I was assigned the booze. I also want to make a pecan pie because, for me, it’s just not Thanksgiving without those two items. Honestly, it’s not about pie or dressing, it’s about the fact that I don’t want to be around a bunch of people who I know feel pity for me when they don’t have a clue what our year has really been like.

Well, let me end on a more positive note. I am recovering very nicely and have no pain whatsoever. I was able to walk around Vienna and we had a great time. The Lipizanner’s were nothing short of amazing! Thanks, Gwen J

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I'm feeling better now but I had a small set back yesteray in the form of a fever. I kept trying to tell the nurses I wasn't feeling well and that I thought I had a fever but they told me it just seemed high because it was taken from my ear and that shows higher temps. After three hours of rising temps and coaxing from TOIAW (he stepped out for few hours and wouldn't you know that's when I started feeling bad), they listened to me and I got some antibiotics. Still, it continued to rise and peaked at a little above 102F. It took most of the night for it to get down to normal but it finally did and I was able to take a shower which also greatly improved my mood!

Also, we reached an agreement with the insurance company, the doctors, and TOIAW's bosses that has us leaving on Sunday. A friend of TOIAW's was able to make arrangements for us to stay at an embassy-owned apartment which is awesome because 1) it's not expensive as the hotel, 2) there's a washer and dryer, 3) we won't have to eat out every meal, and 4) they have wi-fi access! TOIAW has slept in my room in a chair for two nights so I'm glad he'll get a proper night's rest tonight. He could have stayed in a hotel close to the hospital but he wasn't comfortable leaving me alone.

So, thanks to the advice of a dear friend, we are going to see the Lipizzaner stallions Saturday but I think tomorrow and Friday will be all about taking it easy. Another thing I hope to do is eat a decent meal. I've been nauseous since yesterday but I'm beginning to think it's just because I'm so hungry.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Can I Go Home Now?

The surgery went well yesterday. It was short and the doctor did not have to remove any of my tube. Also, they didn't put in a drain which was the very worst part about the surgery to remove my previous ectopic. So, anyway, I'm ready to blow this popsicle stand. I mean maybe not today but soon. The doctor who did my surgery said I could leave Thursday but the doctor who is managing my case said they prefer to do a one-week check-up before releasing me to fly....NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

That means I would be in the hotel with nothing to do because TOIAW cannot stay past Thursday unless it's a true life or death matter and, with any luck, it won't be. Additionally, I only have one more book, one magazine (but it is Economist so it will take a while to read), precious few clothes, and no computer after TOIAW leaves. I've been up and walking every hour--though not long or far--to impress the staff with my fitness. Unlike Germany, they have freely offered painkillers but I haven't needed it although I'm sure I'll get some tonight. I'm not just saying I feel good, I do. Not great, mind you, but good considering the circumstances.

Other than being concerned about being able to fly back to the Mystery Country, I'm also concerned about the timeline for our donor egg IVF cycle. I'm just going to put that out of my mind for now, though. Maybe the doctors there will allow this surgery to qualify the hysteroscopy I need. An organized person would have spent yesterday afternoon researching this topic rather than trying to figure it out after the fact. Oh well.

Thanks again for all the kind words of support! It's now time for me to eat my post-surgery day meal of mashed potatoes and carrots.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gruss Gott

Just a short update from Vienna...yes, we're still here. Everything was looking good yesterday; so good in fact that I was discharged and we walked around the city a bit enjoying the sunshine (a very special treat for us!) and Starbucks (oh, how I have missed you, Grande Chai Tea Latte). This morning we had to come in for a quick check to get my labs from yesterday and we would be on our way. I had a good feeling about it since they didn't call us and tell us there was anything alarming in the results. Ummmm, that's because they didn't have them. She called while we were in her office and I heard the incredulousness in her voice when she repeated my hCG number to the person on the other end of the line. My German isn't good but I know my numbers: 58. Which is up from 39 the day before which was up from 36 the day before that and down from 60 the day before that. Ugh. It's kind of a long story but I had asked why the number would go from 60 to 36 in less than 24 hours and stable--or perhaps even up--in 36 hours but the doctor just dismissed it as being different labs but I was never too sure.

I had suspected an ectopic pregnancy from the time my period was late but people kind of look at you funny if you say you think you're experiencing an ectopic pregnancy when you don't even have a positive pregnancy test. Even when numerous doctors (both here and in the MC) told me my numbers were too low for an ectopic, I knew. Of course, I hoped I was wrong but deep down I knew I wasn't. Walking into the hospital today I just knew. Listen to your bodies, Ladies! Listen and take charge of your own healthcare. Don't depend on anyone else to advocate for you; you must be your own advocate because no one knows you like you know you. Enough of my PSA...

My surgery is scheduled for 6 pm Central European time and hopefully I will be able to get up and around tomorrow. Not sure when I will blog again but I'm almost finished with the book I brought so it will probably be sooner rather than later.

P.S. After being in a private hospital, I may be ruined to ever be anywhere else.

Friday, November 13, 2009

...And Away We Go

Today was another long day. I went into the clinic for blood work. The people here are terrible at finding my veins. To be fair, I've had problems with this my entire life but it's worse here than anywhere else (in D.C. this summer they were the best ever; in and out in less than two minutes and usually far less). Combined with the fact I'm not eating or drinking much, it's a disaster. After the blood draw I went to the clinic's cafe for a snack because I was starving. I ate but as I sat there waiting for TOIAW to finish, I began feeling worse and worse. I needed some air so I walked to the front and sat down while he ordered a cab. About two minutes later I told him to cancel the cab and get me a wheelchair. Fortunately they didn't seem to have any available because when I stood up to get to the stretcher they brought, I went down for the count. This, of course, resulted in me being admitted until they had the results of my labs. By the grace of God, I had a private room (I didn't the day before but that's a story for another day).

I had a repeat ultrasound that showed no change so I was left to sleep...and then my phone rang. I don't understand all the details, but there is a company who is contracted by my insurance to monitor the health situations of those people who are in locations they deem to be lacking in a Western standard of care. Apparently they decided yesterday that I should leave and go to Vienna and seek care there. We were supposed to leave at 8 this morning only no one told us. They were a bit frantic when they reached us. I was very confused. They continued to insist we leave ASAP but I was hesitant. Even when we found out my hormone levels are decreasing making an ectopic pregnancy unlikely, they still persisted. Eventually we decided that if something were to happen and I required emergency evacuation, the fact that I refused the treatment they recommended would not look so good for me...and we don't have an extra $75k to pay for an air ambulance. So tomorrow we're off to Austria. It sounds terribly exciting to be jetting to Vienna for the weekdend...unless you know the whole story. Honestly, I do still have some odd abdominal pain and it will be nice to get a second opinion. The thing is 1) there is nothing that indicates I should be having this pain and 2) yesterday the radiologist confirmed he saw something in my right tube, he just doesn't know what it is. Of course, there is no way to know what it is without surgery and right now my labs and physical symptoms don't warrant that. So we'll see; it won't hurt to get someone else's opinion.

Sorry to write yet another sleep-deprived post. I'm so exhausted. Thanks again for your prayers, comments, emails, and words of encouragement. I'm really doing okay emotionally. I haven't yet thought of the miscarriage in terms of life and loss although right now, as I look at Sarah's urn and the sweet angel figurine that sits beside her, I know those feelings will come eventually.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Still Don't Know Much

This morning I went to the clinic where I had an ultrasound that showed nothing in my uterus. I suspected as much considering the very heavy period I had last week. This is how I knew it was a miscarriage and not a normal pregnancy. Also, I had horrible cramps and although I was pretty sure I was experiencing an early miscarriage, I just didn't see the point in confirming it. So much for that plan.

Bloodwork confirmed that I am pregnanct but we have to wait until tomorrow to see what my hormone levels are doing; rising is bad and will result in exploratory surgery while falling levels are good and I will most likely have my hysteroscopy Saturday as scheduled.

TOIAW made it home so he will accomany me tomorrow and we will--hopefully--have more answers. I have a lot of stories to tell about my experience but I am so tired I cannot keep my eyes open. Thank you so much for all the support, sweet comments, and especially prayers.

I will write tomorrow if I'm home...oh, how I pray I will be home tomorrow and NOT in the hospital recovering from surgery!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Scratching My Head

Maybe after I write this it will seem real to me because right now it doesn't.

Two weeks ago I was waiting for my period and hoping it didn't start too soon because I needed to have a hysteroscopy and it can only be done on certain days of your cycle and I was traveling blah, blah, blah. So I waited and waited and started to wonder and had some odd symptoms and blew it off an enjoyed my trip. Last week I was actually starting to think I was having a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. In fact, I recall telling TOIAW I felt there was a 50% chance I was having either a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. On Thursday I had horrible cramping and pretty much made up my mind it was an early miscarriage but for sanity's sake I had no desire to confirm that.

I continued to have an irregular (for me) period but things seemed to be getting back to normal except for some abdominal pain and spotting. Tonight, however, I felt very dizzy and light-headed and I decided I would go to the clinic tomorrow and find out once and for all. I then got up to get a drink and was so dizzy I sat down on the bed and then I had a eureka moment where I remembered I had two pregnancy tests. I could take one, see the 'not pregnant' and chalk it up to the Ambien I took so I would sleep. Great idea except the "not" part of the screen never showed up. Nor did it on the next test I took 30 seconds after I got the result of the first one.

Are you kidding me?!

Naturally I was concerned so I called TOIAW (it actually took me several tries to get in touch with him as he is traveling in another country) who recommended I call the embassy doctor. Blah, blah, blah, I went in and the two VERY KIND doctors--one local national and an American PA--decided I'm not in danger tonight meaning I don't need to be airlifted out of the country and can wait and get an exam tomorrow.

Emotionally I'm more annoyed than anything. I know it's a miscarriage (at best) and it just frustrates me. It also brings back some unpleasant memories and emotions. Ugh. It's just not very convenient and there will undoubtedly be hormones involved at some point and it just stinks. Not now but I know eventually it will.

And I can't help but scratch my head and ask, "Why?" I mean is this really necessary?

So I guess I'll update tomorrow and then in 2-3 day increments as my hCG dies a slow death...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Rest of the Story

Well the housekeeper is here so I’m hiding in my room. Somehow this isn’t what I envisioned. I mean it’s great to have her here and have everything completely organized and clean but it pretty much leaves me with nothing to do but work on TOIAW’s applications (which I should be doing anyway). She’s making me dinner tonight—vegetable soup with chicken—and Friday she bought something she described as “big chicken” which I think means turkey. I keep thinking I should be more nervous than I am.

Okay, you’re never going to believe this but while I was writing the above paragraph a guy came to “fix” our satellite. [I used quotes because I have very little confidence he will be able to do anything of significance. He couldn’t even find our apartment and it’s not at all difficult. The housekeeper used the universal ‘he’s crazy’ sign when she got off the phone with him after giving him directions (which consisted of her sticking her head out the window and yelling at him).] So when he arrived the two of them started jabbering away but neither speaks English. I was desperate so I did the unthinkable: I called my in-laws and asked them to translate. They actually seemed—hold onto your hats—HAPPY to speak with me. Shocking, I know. I couldn’t believe it either. I have strict instructions to call them back as soon as Dude is done running his diagnostics which, according to my FIL, will take half an hour. He keeps making loud sighing noises so I guess we have a tough case. Then again, I would be making loud sighing noises if I were working on it because those things confuse me as well which is probably why I’m not a repairman.

Now, onto the update I promised you yesterday. You’re probably on the edge of your seats. So, TOIAW obviously had a huge argument. It involved me not wanting him to call his brother right before bed because he always talks about my SIL’s pregnancy and since evenings are my worst time of the day I asked if he could wait until the next day. Then it—the argument, that is—morphed into something completely different about my mourning and how I need to stop thinking about Sarah so much (as if it’s a choice?!) and blah, blah, blah. The next day I thought it might be better but it wasn’t. After he came back from his morning meetings I told him I was making an appointment with a counselor and he could go with me if he wanted and he did. The military has a really great program now where a counselor goes to a base and stays for 6 weeks or so. They do not keep any records and it’s completely anonymous. We didn’t care about those things but they are nice for many people. What I did like about her is she isn’t affiliated with the military in any way; she’s just a marriage and family counselor from California who is spending 6 weeks in the Bavarian Alps helping people and doesn’t have an agenda to push. Not that there aren’t excellent counselors associate with the military but, I don’t know, I feel like we have non-military related issues so she was a good fit for us. It was VERY helpful; we both talked and we both listened and we got some excellent feedback. When we left I couldn’t believe we had been there for 2.5 hours! And now we’re both allowed to grieve however and whenever we want. Of course there was far more than that discussed but that’s the gist of it. I never would have thought TOIAW would be open to counseling but he was and he really opened up and that helped me to understand where he’s coming from.

No one said marriage was easy. At least no one who has ever been married.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Locked Up

So I'm back in the MC now, TOIAW is traveling, most things are closed/canceled due to an H1N1 scare, our internet connection is not at all reliable or consistent, and I haven't slept more than 2 hours a night in the past 2 nights because I have a hard time sleeping when I'm alone SO--second time I used that word in this "sentence"--I locked myself in our bedroom which also serves as our safe room as it has two deadbolts and a peep hole. Perhaps this way I won't be awakened by every sound? Perhaps? Please say you think it will work...

I'm not scared to go out and I feel very safe and comfortable in our apartment and in the city, I just can't sleep when I'm alone. I hate it! I know I would feel better if the dogs were here but still that wouldn't help very much. It would, however, give me something to do which would be nice. Well, now tomorrow I am going to check the mail and the housekeeper (seriously, I cannot keep referring to her as the House Manager) is coming in the afternoon so that pretty much qualifies as a big day if you compare it to yesterday and today. Oh, and I'm having a hysteroscopy on Saturday so don't think I'm just sitting around reading books and watching DVDs on my computer because TOIAW blew out our stereo/DVD player by forgetting to plug it into a transformer. No way, not me...I am living it up and don't you forget it.

Okay, so tomorrow--if I have an internet connection--I'm going to tell you what happened on that really bad day I wrote about in my previous post. It's actually not that sad and it has a happy ending. Oops, I hope that doesn't ruin the suspense for you...

I have one more thing to say, though. Since our satellite works about as well as our internet, I can only watch news channels albeit from several different regions and countries. I watched a riveting piece entitled "I Knew Khomeni" (or something close to that) today in which his granddaughter talked about how fun he was when he was with his grandchildren. Uh, right, dude looked like he could let loose and play and mean game of Skip-Bo. Anyway, I've heard quite a bit about this story. There are so many things I could say about this but I'll be nice and offer them this advice: You might want to rethink the ol' "we were on vacation in Iraq and accidentally crossed the border into your country, Iran, and we're sorry" because do you have any idea how stupid that sounds? Not that I believe they were spying--mostly because they went to Berkley so it just doesn't make sense that they would work for the goverment--but this is a ridiculous defense. Also? I'm more than a little tired of hearing their families talk about how they're "all alone." What do they think the State department is? A concierge rescue service for stupid people who get way too close to the borders of countries who display hostility towards the US and our allies? Anway, I wish them no harm and do hope they are released soon...and I also hope they have to reimburse the government for what I am sure is a considerable amount of time spent on their situation.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


So I used the phone-a-friend option and called someone who talked me down. I do want it noted for the record that I have never watched an entire episode of Millionaire and I'm not entirely sure how I know the terminology but apparently I do.

Lonliness is--in my completely non-mental health professional mind--one of the most dangerous feelings out there. For me it's probably the worst emotion I have faced in this nearly eleven month journey of loss and learning to live again. Some feelings are uglier--bitterness, anyone?--but none are as all-consuming as feeling alone.

If you feel alone today I hope you will also reach out to a friend. If a friend reaches out to you today, listen to them, speak the truth with love, and talk them down. I love you, Joss, and all my other friends who have listened to me, prayed for me, cried with me, and showed me time and time again that I am never alone.


Today I feel unbelievably alone. I couldn't feel more alone if I lived on an isolated outpost without communication technology thousands of miles for civiliation. On second thought, that might actually feel more isololating now that I think about it. But, anyway, today I do feel very alone only I'm not which is confusing to me. I'm currently in Germany and while I don't know anyone in the town where I am currently, I do know some really awesome people and dear friends who aren't that far away from me. Additionally, if I wanted to pick up the phone that is a mere 12 inches from my hand, I could make an appointment to see a professional counselor. The other day I overheard the counselor telling someone what she does and I'm familiar with her program and she seems so incredibly warm and kind but have I called her? No. Why? I feel alone and don't see how talking about it is going to help.

How can talking about it make it easier to answer the "do you have children" question? How can talking about it make my husband's cruel words and actions hurt less? How can talking about it change the fact that if I ever have another baby he/she will not have my DNA? How can talking about it change how painful it is that my SIL is pregnant and I am not?

In the MC there is no one to talk with so I feel alone. In Germany there are people to talk with and yet I feel even more alone here because I just don't see the point.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful

Rather, hate me because beginning tomorrow I have a house manager. Now, Megan and Krista, I know we talked about this and I said I wasn't going to hire anyone but it truly does seem that everyone here has someone so we gave into the peer pressure. Additionally, we are partially reimbursed for the cost so that helps.

You're probably asking the question, "What is a house manager?" I guess I'll find out tomorrow. We met her the other night when she came over for an interview. She doesn't speak English so we didn't chat much but she seemed to have a meaningful conversation with TOIAW. Initially we wanted to hire your regular, run-of-the-mill housekeeper but once TOIAW listed her proposed duties (cleaning, ironing, some shopping/coordinating grocery delivery, some errands, and maybe some cooking if she has time because TOIAW loves authentic MC food), she said it sounded more like she would be the house manager. So there you go. Also, when he proposed 4 hours a day twice a week she said she would need more time so we agreed on 5 hours twice a week (Note to self: Clean house before conducting housekeeper interviews). She stipulated upfront that she will take taxis when she runs our errands--and we'll pay for them--and she also was clear about having paid vacations (that's one English phrase she knows well). She drives a hard bargain, that HM. There was much discussion over her salary but TOIAW also drives a hard bargain (those of you who know him IRL are probably laughing at that gross understatement) which means we are paying her what we budgeted and we have her for two extra hours a week. Score! Which is not to say we're running a sweat shop but some people here have been known to take advantage of the foreigners if you know what I mean.

The HM looks very young but she's actually 42 and has a 17 year old daughter so apparently managing houses is a career that keeps you young. We'll probably test that theory... Anyway, I really liked her and I think we'll find a way to communicate although I hope I don't subject her to too much butchering of her native language. She has excellent references from others and that makes me feel good because what's the point in saving a few dollars but being paranoid about whether or not you can trust someone?

Now I will be free to spend hours writing and editing TOIAW's grad school applications. Maybe I'd rather iron?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Are You Kidding Me?

I think "Are you kidding me?" is going to be a regular feature for the blog. The problem is there's just so much material. First we'll take a look at this week's runners-up:

  • My Internet connection only works a few hours a day. Mind you, that's not continuous hours. I utter the phrase, "Are you kidding me?" many times each day.

  • After unpacking all kitchen-related boxes I noticed I did not have any serving pieces. It seems TOIAW decided to put those in storage. I finally have a beautiful china cabinet in which I could display so many gorgeous pieces I rarely use only they're in a storage facility on a different continent. TOIAW said he could have them find them and send them to me if I really think I need them. Are you kidding me?

This week's ARKM winner is: Squattie Potties at the ballet!!! Tonight we went to the ballet in a take-your-breath-away stunning theater. I really had to tinkle by intermission so I went to the bathroom and was shocked, no more like SHOCKED!!! to open the stall door and see a squattie potty. I just stared at it. There were two steps up and then a hole in the floor. Now I'm no stranger to squattie potties but, dude, I was dressed up in heels and Spanx so I pretty sure it wasn't going to be safe for me. I turned around, walked out, and practically pushed people out of my way to get to TOIAW and explain what I had just seen only as soon as I telling him I had to go really bad. So back I went and to my pleasant surprise on the other side of the bathroom the stalls contained what could pass for rudimentary toilets. When I went to wash my hands there was no soap, hand dryers, or paper towels*. After one uses a squattie potty, I think the minimum you should provide them is soap.

All through the second act I just kept thinking about the dancers. They were very talented and the costumes and stage design were very well done but would you ever feel like a huge success if you danced in a theater with squattie potties? A question for the ages, I suppose.

*Oh, and by the way, our tickets were not inexpensive; I do believe they could have found the money to buy soap, paper towels, and perhaps even begin saving to buy toilets with seats.

Friday, October 16, 2009

We're Just Two Wild and Crazy Guys

More accurately one crazy guy and one crazy girl...I would just like to point out for posterity that TOIAW didn't get home until 2am!!!

We had a nice evening at a colleague's house. I really love this lifestyle! For over a year I've missed getting together with friends, meeting new people, and actually developing relationships with those people.

Okay, I'm off to bed but first I have to bundle up because it's in the 30's tonight but the mayor of our fair city hasn't yet decided to turn on the heat. I told TOIAW at least we get to freeze for free here because in D.C. we had $300+ gas bills and we were still cold. In the MC, you can freeze on the cheap!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stuff...lots of it

Happy day...our household goods were delivered today! Busy's a lot of work putting away all this stuff.

I have no idea when we accumulated so. much. stuff. I really don't know where I'm going to put all of my clothes. As soon as I gain some ground with the kitchen and decorating, I'm going to go through ALL of my clothes and I plan on making a very large donation.

TOIAW and I have different moving strategies. He likes the movers to unpack everything and then take the boxes with them. I like to unpack myself and discard the boxes on my own. We did it his way today which means I have stuff everywhere. My dining room table is large enough to sit ten people and it's piled high with kitchenware. I mean it's nice to not have the boxes and packing paper everywhere but when it's all splayed out it seems so overwhelming! I am making progress, though.

I found out my SIL is five weeks pregnant. Oh, to be able to be fully excited about a pregnancy at five weeks! She's only known for three days. Right now they're not sure if she's going to go on the cruise. I'm doing better with it...maybe. The cruise will be tough and, honestly, I don't want to go but the decision has to be made today and I guess I'll go. This will be my third cruise with TOIAW's family. It sounds fun, right? It's not. Not even close. They're awful even when I'm not horribly jealous. Oh how I wish I could change my heart and my thoughts!

Guess I'll get back to organizing. Things are far better when I'm thinking about other things.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A few hours later...

Crying always gives me a killer headache.

I had a nice chat with my sister-in-law (not the pregnant one but my brother's wife and my only SIL with whom I'm close) which helped me to think/talk it all out in ways that are difficult for me to do with TOIAW because he 1) doesn't always get it and 2) is too close to his brother to hear any of my not-so-nice comments. TOIAW did, however, offer to move up the timeline of our next cycle. I don't necessarily want to do that but I am concerned about a cruise his family has planned over New Year's. Right now, the thought of that freaks me out. Big time. Oh, and then I'm supposed to drive with BIL, SIL, and Nephew to their home town in order to fly back to the MC because we are using airline miles to buy the ticket and that's the only city where I could get a flight. I know that's an awkward sentence but hopefully you know what I'm trying to say. And hopefully you can maybe understand how and why that would be difficult for me. I need to talk to TOIAW but I just really don't want to talk about it. Ick.

Whatever, it is what it is and I cannot change it. I hate that this news through me for a loop but it did and, again, I cannot change that. I can, however, hold onto what I know is true. I have re-read the verses I posted earlier today and still I will not doubt God's love and faithfulness. He gave me a beautiful day of fellowship, hope, and confidence because he knew I would need that to face the news I would soon hear. And "the worst" will never be the worst because no matter what I will never be separated from his love. To this promise I cling.

Eating My Words

Remember what I said in my previous post? The one I wrote an hour ago? Yeah, well, turns out I'm never very far from disolving into a complete mess.

TOIAW came home, presented me with flowers, asked me to sit down, and told me his sister-in-law is pregnant. I didn't cry immediately--though, admittedly, that required not an insignificant amount of effort--but eventually I couldn't hold it in any longer so I went into the study and when I noticed rain drops on the windows, I lost it. It was if even God was crying for me, too. Now the sun is shining but I'm not feeling it.

I don't get it. Another child for a couple who has extreme marital problems, a child with considerable behavioral issues, and militant atheist beliefs. And you know what? I could get beyond all that if I just knew why I can't have one, too. Why? Why not me, too?

New Every Morning

Few things amaze me as much as God's faithful love for me. As I was getting ready this morning, I listened to a song whose words ask--and I'm paraphrasing--Many people ask me how I still have faith after everything I've been through and then the lyrics answer the question saying this question amazes me because how could circumstances ever change who I am in God's eyes. I love this song. It's like my anthem because with all I have been through the ONE and ONLY consistentcy is God's love and the hope it gives me. Hope is a mighty powerful thing, Friends!

Today I went to a luncheon held by a really great women's club here in the MC. It was really lovely to chat with women. I even sat by a pregnant woman who is due four days after Sarah's due date. Her name is Sarah. We chatted about my Sarah and I didn't even cry. Later, someone at the table complimented me on my hair color and I told her that it is so special to me now because it is something I shared with my daughter. I didn't bring Sarah to the MC in my arms, but I brought her in my heart and I'm not afraid to talk about her. Before you think Sarah was all I talked about, it was a 2.5 hour lunch and I promise I didn't talk about her long but I just couldn't help but mention her when it seemed natural to do so. I am sure no one felt uncomfortable.

I can tell that even though I might not ever fall in love with the MC itself, I am going to meet--and hopefully get to know--some wonderful people here. There is not even the slightest doubt in my mind that this is where God wants me right now which is something he continues to reinforce on an almost daily basis and, I might add, in very cool ways. As I walked home, I planned dinner parties in my head--it felt so good to feel like my old self and want to do things, such as entertaining, that I have always enjoyed. I thanked God for new beginings and his mercies which we know from reading Lamentations are new every morning. This translation is from The Message:

19-21 I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there's one other thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

22-24 God's loyal love couldn't have run out,
his merciful love couldn't have dried up.
They're created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He's all I've got left.

25-27 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It's a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
It's a good thing when you're young
to stick it out through the hard times.

28-30 When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself.
Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer.
Don't ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Don't run from trouble.
Take it full-face.
The "worst" is never the worst.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Picture Post!

Friday TOIAW had a fun walk in a park. As you can see, the leaves are beginning to turn here in the Mystery Country. It was a gorgeous day and apparently we weren't the only ones who thought so because look at all the people in the park in the middle of the day!We ate lunch at a cute little restaraunt in the park. I just had to take a picture of these women having lunch with their dog on the table. Maybe I'm just jealous because my dogs would never be so well behaved?

I'm not trying to be rude or culturally insensitive but I really cannot understand why people walk arm-in-arm like this. Frankly, it really bugs me (which is, of course, silly because why should I care?) and it offends my American sensibilities regarding personal space. Also, I would probably fall if I were walking that close to someone else. Sure, TOIAW and I hold hands but we don't walk down the street with arms linked. I suppose it would be handy if we ever want to spontaniously bust out some square dancing moves.
And this, well this is a few lines from a famous MC folk song about when women tease men. Yeah, because it never happens the other way around does it? Men can be so dramatic!
P.S. By now you're probably figuring out the name of the MC. I'm not trying to be super secret about it, I just don't want to say it outright.

Friday, October 9, 2009


We are home from the happy hour and it wasn't bad at all. It was very casual and I'm glad I didn't wear my original outfit because it would have been far too dressy. Also, I found out where to buy meat and what meat to buy. The lettuce will be iffy until spring.

Another interesting thing that happened is TOIAW was blatantly hit on while we were waiting for a taxi. The young woman was touching him with her body and just as I was about to say something, TOIAW turned around--expecting to see me--and realized there was a strange woman pressed up next to him so he walked around her to stand on the other side of me. I may or may not have made a comment in English that she may or may not have understood but judging from the looks she gave me, she did. Oops. How about next time you don't get all up in my husband's grill and then we'll be cool? Also, an absolutely precious little boy* announced that TOIAW is his "Super Best Friend." He gets to have ALL the fun!

*Whose age we cannot agree upon but TOIAW swears he is not yet two which would mean he has amazing verbal skills.

Tonight's the Night

Remember how we were supposed to go to a dinner party last week but cancelled because I was sick? That means I haven't yet had my first post-Sarah and first MC social event but tonight's the night, Ladies! It's only a happy hour shin-dig and there's a set end time which should prevent any awkward "is it okay to leave yet?" moments.

I'm a little disappointed because I had the perfect outfit but I really think it's going to be too hot to wear it. Wouldn't it be great if such things were truly my biggest concerns?

Anyway, I'm going to have to cut this short because I'm trying to think of a way to casually ask someone where they buy their meat. So far I've found chicken and pork and we don't eat pork so we've been having mostly vegetarian meals because there are only so many ways to prepare chicken with the ingredients I have found thus far (not to mention that I our household goods and therefore, kitchen supplies, have not yet arrived). Oh, that reminds me, I'm also going to ask where I can buy lettuce. I didn't realize what an exotic delicacy lettuce is. Who knew? I told TOIAW that when we go to Germany at the end of the month, I'm going to eat salad with every meal.

I promise a fun picture post this weekend. Also, in case you haven't figured it out, I am feeling much better. Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

So Sick

I arrived in the Mystery Country about 58 hours ago. I've already been to two medical facilities. As soon as I have the strength I'm going to google the local word for insane because I'm sure I've been called that. Well, maybe not yet but there's a better than even chance I will hear it if I don't start feeling better soon.

Actually my first medical clinic encounter was a maternity/fertility clinic. We took a taxi there with a 3-pack a day smoker driver and a fleet of trucks with no emissions standards. Cue headache from hell. As soon as the doctor saw me she was alarmed and took my blood pressure and it was quite high for me so she suggested shot. I am so embarrassed to say this but I felt so bad I didn't even question it. It makes me shudder to admit that. I felt better within 5 minutes although still a little woozy. I'll tell you more about the clinic later but it was very nice, new, and beautiful and on the outskirts of town (because you can't build new construction in the middle of town) which meant we had another long trip home. We decided to stop and buy a tv even though I was starving and could not care less about having a tv. That took forever and I could barely stand by the time we got back in a cab because--oh yeah, me feet HURT like you cannot imagine. Okay, so we're finally on our way to dinner and we had a nice dinner right around the corner from our apartment. By the time we walked home, I wasn't sure if I was going to able to make it to bed. I was shivering, nautious, and my head was pounding. This went on for most of the night. Late this morning TOIAW cancelled our dinner plans and loaded me in a taxi to see the PA at the embassy. He diagnosed me with a tension headache due to the stress of the move and sent me home with pain medicine and valium because he's a little concerned that "the move has been far more emotionally difficult that I realize." He's wrong about this because I totally realize how difficult it is.

I slept for many hours this afternoon and hoped to feel better when I awoke but I don't really. I'm so hungry but we have very little food, no pots and pans yet, and everytime I start to eat I get full very quickly. At this point, I'm praying this is a virus that will run it's course soon.

If you've made it this far in reading this post, you deserve an award because it's beyond pathetic and whiny. Hopefully I will feel better soon--please, Lord!--and can write some positive things about the MC.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bon Voyage!

Can you say that to yourself? I'm sure it's not really appropriate but whatever. I've had very little sleep and a lot of caffeine so I'm not working at full capacity. I don't have everything done yet--shocking, I know--but it's getting there and I'm almost ready to hop in the shower. I might as well start out fresh even though I know I won't arrive that way. Once I arrive in the Mystery Country, all you bloggers can check your analytics page and try to guess my exotic locale.

I keep thinking of how tired I am and how I hope to sleep on the flight and I remember once I was flying back from Israel and the flight attendant actually woke me up during the flight to make sure I was okay because I had been sleeping the entire time. Oddly, that happened on a route that I will be taking today. I really hope it has the same effect on me today so I don't arrive too exhausted.

Next post will be from the MC!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Am I the only one who does this?

I leave Wednesday for the Mystery Country. I'm nowhere near being ready to go. I don't have one thing packed, I still have clothes at the tailor, I have laundry to do, boxes to pack and ship, a few gifts to mail (and finish making), and a car to clean. I really hope to get all of this done tonight so I don't have to do anything Wednesday morning. I'm feeling tired just looking at my list! When you are preparing for a big trip do you wait until the last minute to pack and run errands or is it just me?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Like Riding A Bike?

It's been a LONG time since I've been in a social situation with strangers. Well, that's not entirely true because in late April I went to a party at one of TOIAW's friend's houses but it was rather low-key and the evite mentioned jello shots (because of this, I almost didn't go) so it wasn't what I would call formal. I've been in a bit of a cocoon the past nine months and while I'm okay with that, I think I'm ready to break out. At least I thought I was but earlier today when TOIAW told me we have plans next Saturday night I kind of froze a little inside. For those of you who don't know me, I used to be good at this kind of thing and it certainly didn't ever scare me.

I hope it all comes back to me. You know, like riding a bike. That would be so lovely! I really want to tell you about the guest list but TOIAW has already expressed concerns about possible security issues with my blog so I better not. I don't have the I-regret-I-have-but-one-blog-to-give-for-my-country attitude and I intend on keeping this one, albeit as anonymously as possible.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Man Shoes

I have about six posts I need to write but tonight I am going to forgo those and write about the internal debate I am having regarding fashion vs. comfort or, in my case, safety. It seems the women in the Mystery Country like their high--very high--heels. They're called "clickers" only pronounced with an "ee" sound in place of the "i." All other shoes are commonly referred to as man shoes. Awesome.

Did I mention the MC is not known for it's mild winters? What do I do? Have my pants tailored for heels or flats? I can't wear heels in the snow. Well, I suppose I could but that would be very stupid (note to self: ship the walking boot just in case). I do own a few pair of cleekers and some boots with a short heel so maybe that will do for now?

Today TOIAW discovered a very big problem with the shipment of our household items. The problem being they're still sitting in a warehouse in Virginia. Rock on. I may or may not have suggested to Rocky (names not changed to protect the guilty), the lovely moving company employee, that he had approximately zero interest in shipping my crates to me because every day they sit in his facility the government pays him a handsome storage fee. He didn't appreciate my insinuation. I didn't appreciate his lackadaisical attitude so I think we're even.

All this prompted TOIAW to be very concerned about my lack of warm clothing as I am scheduled to leave next week and the weather there is already getting cool. Apparently he hasn't had time to check our bank account or he would see I will be just fine until my clothing arrives. Those are beginning to look like necessary purchases if you ask me. Actually they were necessary purchases because in addition to wearing cleeckers, women in the MC tend to dress up far more than I--a stay-at-home mom to two dogs--usually do. Make that "usually did" as I now possess a fashionable wardrobe heavy on what I like to call "everyday fancy" items. I'm still somewhat nervous about having the right clothes which I fully admit is ridiculous. I'm moving to a different country, not starting junior high. If I begin to write posts about traveling to Italy to shop and raving about paying $400 for a pair of boots that normally cost $600 send in the deprogrammers!*

There are so many real problems in the world--I should know, I've experienced several of them this year--I feel guilty that I am thinking about these things. Of course, that being said, I'm not sure my fragile psyche could take hearing whispers behind my back about being the "woman wearing house clothes and man shoes."

*Because, yeah, my SIL [from a country culturally similar to the MC] actually does this. Also, she complains how the US size 00 does not fit her. Sadly, sometimes it doesn't.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Who's Been Sleeping In My Bed?

I've been holding my breath about posting a PP update because I wanted to make sure she actually is doing well before I shout it out to the internets and jinx myself. Nevertheless, I think I can finally say she is on the road to recovery. This, however, did not come without a setback. This weekend I was that patient (or that patient's owner, as it were) with multiple phone calls to the hospital about PP's hunger strike and other odd behavior that had me very concerned. On Sunday morning I knew I could not face another day of wondering if she was okay so I took her back to the hospital. She had a high fever but after x-rays and blood work the culprit was found to be something rather simple: the area that was shaved in preparation for the surgery had broken out. I believe the technical medical description is "nasty." I felt really awesome for not having noticed this and I'm not sure if they believed me when I told them I had only seen her try to lick/clean the area a few times. They said they believed me, but if you had seen the area you might wonder how I could miss it because I sure did. In the end I was sent home with the world's most expensive tube of diaper rash creme, stronger antibiotics, and peace of mind that she was going to be just fine.

Oh, and I also left with the new found knowledge that PP loves baby food (they fed her some to see if she would eat it). She's eaten like a champ ever since which sure beats sitting on the floor trying to feed my dog pumpkin and boiled chicken with a spoon. The baby food is actually an excellent way to get both dogs to eat vegetables which is great. What is not great is the cost of organic baby food. Yes, I feed my dogs an organic diet. All my strict "no people [bad] people food for dogs" rules are really paying off for me, don't you think? Wait, don't answer that... Anyway, I always planned on making baby food for my children and now, after discovering the cost, I'm even more convinced!

So now I have a healing PP who has lots o' energy which does not mesh well with her discharge orders for "extremely restricted activity." She and Bootsy are separated most of the day and then Bootsy gets home and immediately looks to see if the crate is empty as this is her favorite napping spot (much to her sister's dismay). She also seems to enjoy the crate for the first part of the evening after which she transitions to my bed. Not to be outdone, PP gets on the bed and if I ever leave to go to bathroom, I usually return to a bed full of dogs and I have to move one or both of them. Last night I just tried to sleep in the unoccupied space and this morning my back is killing me. Tonight I'm considering trying out the crate.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


This past week and a half has certainly brought up a lot of Sarah memories. Not that they're ever buried very deep but I've gotten better at not letting the really bad ones surface too often. But all these feelings of helplessness I feel with PP are all to familiar for me. It's probably not even good for PP for me to be so upset.

I caved tonight and gave her a sedative (not the full dose) but now that I think about it, I gave it to her too late. I guess a learning curve is normal I just don't want it to put her healing in jeopardy. Also, I called the cardiologist with a question and she told me--through the on-call vet--that the issue I had is nothing to worry about and she will call in the morning. I'm obsessing, I know I am, and yet I cannot stop it.

Oh, and I delayed my flight to the Mystery Country by ten days so I can be with PP during the most critical period. At this rate the MC is sounding like paradise where I get to go to escape this stress and fall into the arms of TOIAW. This is so awful it's making the MC look good to me?! Frightening.

She's Home!

Let's see...PP has been in my "care" for almost 3 hours and so far it's harder than I thought it would be and, for the record, I didn't expect it to be a walk in the park because she can't walk in the park or in the yard or in the house unless it is to eat or go outside in order to perform a bodily function. As expected, I'm paranoid that she is going to dislodge the device. She has already tried to jump on my cousin and play with Bootsy AND she escaped from her crate because I didn't completely latch it. I won't be making that amateur mistake again. Did I mention she was given a sedative less than 4 hours ago? She can take another one later but I'm going to try to wait until morning. I have a plan and I really hope it works so we can get into a routine.

Okay, I'm watching the news and there is a story about "new poverty." I think that's my cue to shut-up, suck it up, and drive on. Our sweet PP is going to be just fine and we'll make it through this no matter how many sad looks she gives me!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dr. McDreamy, DVM

After I finished my previous post, I realized I wouldn't sleep a wink without an update so I called and Dr. McDreamy, DVM (or, "my student," as the hospital refers to him which I assume is because he is the student assigned to our case? not sure on that) just called me back. His voice is soothing and so is what he had to say: PP ate a bit and is now resting. He will check on her early in the morning and will call me mid-morning after their rounds.

Breathe in, breathe out, repeat...

Will I ever be normal again?

I am exhausted--physically and emotionally--but I can't sleep because I am so afraid my phone will ring with bad news about PP. The doctor gave me no indication she expects there to be issues but why would I let a little thing like that get in the way of my worry? I just keep remembering Sarah's last night...everything happening so fast...watching the monitors...hearing the sounds of the NICU...seeing the doctors gather and consult...watching the nurse hook-up more medications for her tiny body...leaving for a few minutes of sleep only to be awakened by my phone and TOIAW's voice telling me to come back because she was declining...and so much more after that that I cannot write about because it's better if it just stays in my head. Such an awful, scary, horrible night.

I think I'm better--that I can function--and then, BAM!, I'm reminded I'm not. I'm pretty sure I never will be. Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the day we first saw her heartbeat. I want to remember and then again I don't want to remember but it doesn't matter because I do remember. I remember it all.

Phase One: Complete

Well, the surgery went pretty well. The cardiologist didn't "like the way the device looked" once it was in but she said she pulled and prodded it quite a bit and was comfortable that it is in as securely as it can be at this point. Also, they did a test to see if there was any back-flow blood going through the hole and there was not. So I guess that makes us 2 for 3? Oh how I wanted everything to be perfect for a change! Whatever, it is what it is and we must deal with it which means that rather than three weeks of completely restricted activities, she will have six weeks. Good times, good times. The restriction is necessary in order for the blood vessel to mold around the device and completely close the hole. If she gets too rambunctious causing a lot of blood to flow at a heavy rate, the device could be dislodged and that would obviously be bad.

Okay, enough with the medical speak...on to my day hanging out in the vet clinic. First of all, the vet student assigned to PP is like the veterinary version of Dr. McDreamy. Seriously, even she loved him and he's a doctor! Every time he called me he stated his name and that he was calling from the veterinary teaching hospital at Oklahoma State University in know, just in case I was unsure. Very proper in that student kind of way; weren't we all once? When he called me this morning he said the surgery was delayed due to an emergency and gave me the new estimated start time but I was already on my way so I just got there really early. I kept myself busy for a few hours then went to the clinic and laid claim to an area. Dr. McDreamy, DVM came and told me they would be beginning the surgery soon so I settled in. At some point I could tell one of the receptionists asked another one about me (yeah, not too subtle). About 20 minutes after I reached full panic shaking mode, Dr. McDreamy, DVM came out in scrubs--yeah, so cute!--to tell me the device was in and there was still a bit to do but the cardiologist would speak to me when she was done. I settled down a bit but began to reach full panic mode again just as the doctor came to get me. Basically, she said everything I already told you. I asked her to only call tonight if there was a problem because I just didn't think I could wait for another "update" without having to seek the services of a human cardiologist. They will call me in the morning and I should be able to bring her home tomorrow afternoon. Thank you so much for your kind comments, prayers, and sweet thoughts!!! I know PP isn't a human child but I think I have a unique perspective on all of this and I will never regret doing everything I can to give back to her the comfort, companionship, compassion, joy, and love she has shown me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Drop-Off Complete

I took PP today, signed all the papers, paid a 50% deposit, and left in tears. When I left the room she was running in place to get to me...ugh, it makes me cry all over again to think of it. I should be getting a call from Joe--the fourth year vet student who will be updating me at least twice a day--very soon. I'm also going tomorrow just to be there during her surgery. The doctors and tech gave me the impression people don't usually do that but I am because, really what else am I going to do? So the surgery will begin around 10 and I should hear from them by 1 when she is in recovery.

I AM SO FLIPPING NERVOUS!!! It's awful. Can you imagine what I would be like if Sarah were here and needed surgery (which she undoubtedly would)? Yeah, me either.

Something I didn't recall the cardiologist mentioning last week was that PP will be completely restricted for THREE WEEKS. Any by restricted I mean in a crate inside and on a leash outside; if she's not in her crate, she will probably need to be on a leash in the house. This is so the device doesn't dislodge. I can handle it, I suppose, but I'm leaving 11 days into the restriction period and it's going to be challenging for my mom to exercise one energetic dog while trying to keep the other energetic dog calm. I guess this means that if/when I find out the surgery went well it will be time to begin freaking out about the recovery period.

I'm still waiting for Joe to call...

P.S. After this crisis is over, I promise to get back to writing emails and commenting on blogs...I've just been really busy lately with all this anxiety.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Paranoia, Thy Name is Rachel

Apparently I was so focused on PP's activities that I couldn't even see the glaring typo in my title. Oh well, it's corrected now.

Wikipedia defines paranoia as "a thought process characterized by excessive anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion." That pretty much describes me since Monday when I found out that PP needed to see a cardiologist. Even though yesterday calmed my fears a bit--insomuch as we know her condition is treatable--I'm still a nervous wreck and probably will be until I drop her off for Tuesday for her surgery Wednesday*. The cardiologist told me it was highly unlikely she would develop any problems but that hasn't stopped me from watching her every breath and every move. Is her breathing too shallow? Is that a gasp for breath I hear? Is she too lethargic? Why isn't she eating?

The not eating question prompted me to call the university vet clinic who, by the way, is so kind to have a vet student manning the phones around the clock just in case my neuroses get the better of me and I call to get a professional opinion. As it turns out the not eating thing slightly concerned the on-call vet and she told me to feed PP her favorite meal: boiled ground beef and rice. I was actually leaving Target when she called me back and I had already purchased the ingredients to prepare this canine delicacy. So, you ask, did she eat this gourmet meal? Yes, and without hesitation.

Now I can return to my regularly scheduled program of monitoring her breathing.

*and even then I will be a nervous wreck but I won't be able to watch her so that will prevent me from constantly monitoring her.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Diagnosis

This is going to be brief because I barely slept last night and right now I am physically and emotionally exhausted.

PP was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. [A PDA for all of you who know what that is--and if you've had a preemie, you know.] Most dogs--60-65%--who have this develop congestive heart failure within the first year of life. Do you know how awesome it feels to be on the GOOD side of statistics for a change?! So let's hope to stay on the good side of the statistics when she has corrective surgery next week! The surgery is not without risk but it's necessary (though it does make me nervous that the risks are minor...see above comments about statistics). I really liked the cardiologist and was very impressed with both her and the clinic.

Oh, and by the way, heart surgery for dogs is not cheap. Who knew?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Two More Thoughts:

1. The internet is in serious need of information on aortic bulges in canines. Also, this information should be in the form of blogs and message boards rather than papers published in veterinary journals.

2. If anything does happen to PP (parish the thought!), I might have to rethink the notion of bringing any other living entity into our home and lives. This includes, but is not limited to, babies, animals, potted herbs, and chia pets. We are not safe.

By the way, is this year almost over?

Please, No

Princess Poopsalot had a routine appointment two weeks ago and the doctor heard a heart murmur that concerned her and she wanted to get x-rays. She didn't seem too alarmed and I was doubtful since she had a check-up less than a month earlier (the only purpose of the appointment was just to get a health certificate for her to fly and enter into the Mystery Country) so after her appointment last week I rescheduled it for today. It was a drop-off appointment and when I went back to get her the doctor ushered me back to look at "what they found." It was about that time I began to get worried. PP's aorta has a large bulge in it and pretty much all the potential causes are less than desirable. I am SICK with worry. I just keep petting her and trying not to cry. She has an appointment tomorrow at a veterinary school with their cardiologist where they will do an ultrasound and hopefully have more answers. I am so scared. We can't lose her. She seems just fine--perfect, really--which makes all this better and worse.

This would be difficult no matter what but, as you might imagine, this brings lots of bad memories to the surface...not that they're ever buried too deep. We simply canNOT lose her. We just can't. It's not an option.

Oh, and today I got the IRS check and a check returning our security deposit from our house in D.C. I should have been happy but I'm not. Money can't make PP's aorta normal. Money can't bring Sarah back. Last week all I wanted to do was deposit those checks and admire them in my savings account. Today I really could not care less. Reminds me of the saying, "If money can fix it, it's not a problem."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Just call me Grace. I stepped in a ditch at the dog park--well, technically, it was outside the dog park--and felt a loud pop and severe pain. I had to walk to my car to get my phone and call my aunt to come get me because I couldn't get the dogs to the car by myself and I didn't feel I could drive because it was my right foot. I haven't gone to the doctor because I'm quite sure it's not broken but I can't really walk on it so I have that going for me. I can rotate it to 2.5 cardinal directions so that's good, right? I have iced it and elevated it and now I'm waiting for my dad and brother to finish coaching their respective high school football teams to come home and give me their expert opinions. I'll probably be told I have to sit out of practice tomorrow but hopefully it's not any more serious than that.

I love my dogs a lot but I really wish there was a way to blame them for this.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Trick Question?

TOIAW and I recently purchased a house. This qualified us for the first time homeowners' tax credit and once we heard we could file for it now rather than wait until we filed our taxes next year we were all over it.

Friday the IRS was so sweet to send TOIAW and I both identical letters stating they had credited our account (not sure what account that we all have IRS accounts?) and we would receive our refund within two weeks. I was very concerned to see they sent these letters to our previous address. I was sure sure to put our new address on the amended return and, well, it just kind of makes sense that if we purchased a new house, we would have a new address, right? Mr. Ship at the IRS thinks so and he is "so very sorry" and he "has no idea what happened" but the check was sent to our old address before the aforementioned letters that have already been forwarded and received. That's not good news for the home team, kids.

So I called the post office to ask if they could please check our old mailbox (the house is empty) and make sure there wasn't anything there that was accidentally not forwarded. The postal worker then asked me, "Are you receiving all your first and second class mail?" How could I possibly know that? I asked her just that and she replied, "Is that a trick question?" I hate to admit defeat but I just thanked her and hung up because I didn't see that conversation going anywhere.

Then I called my insurance to try to sort out my behavioral health referral. That was equally awful and fruitless. I don't have the energy to explain the details--besides, it would be really boring to read--but it looks like I'm going to have to pay $300 and then 50% after that. That's not really that big of a deal but I shouldn't have to pay anything. Don't worry, though, I'll still go to my appointment on Wednesday and I already have a list of things to discuss.

The mail just arrived with plenty of forwarded mail but sans refund check. Bummer.

One Year Ago

One year ago today I saw 2 pink lines. Those lines were my sweet Sarah announcing her presence. As I enter into this season I am filled with tremendous sadness, loneliness, and longing. It's gotten so bad that I saw a counselor last week (and I'll see him again this week) but he says I'm doing fine, all things considered. It's difficult to imagine that this much pain could ever be considered normal.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Checking In

Just a quick note to say we made it to Oklahoma without any issues. We're so thankful for that! I have many emails to return but that will probably have to wait until TOIAW leaves on Sunday. We've been busy with quite a few errands but I'm sure once he leaves I'll be back to my prolific blogging which is to say I'll probably be a little bored.

We're actually getting ready to leave for my grandma's farm (aka, The Dog Shangri la; they LOVE it there) and then back tomorrow morning. First, though, I need to clean the house so my mom doesn't kick us to the curb.

Can you believe that two weeks ago today I spent the entire day crying in bed? I know a lot of you think I should be more upset than I am but, again, losing a child--a pain that never goes away--makes sucky eggs pale in comparison.

Monday, August 3, 2009

On The Road Again

We're almost ready to leave for our drive to Oklahoma. I'm still thankful I didn't have to spend the weekend with my in-laws but I had a crazy one here alone and I am exhausted. Not the best tone when beginning a two-day journey with a trailer, two dogs, and a husband in tow.

I'm sad to leave this house but not because I like it (because I never really did). Rather, because it provided shelter during the hopeful times of my pregnancy and shelter again in the darkest days of my grief. Yesterday we went through the house designating what will go where and when I saw the shelf containing Sarah's things I just sat down and cried. She never got to 'come home' to this house in the way I wanted her to. Instead, she's in a beautiful silver urn that will leave with me today. It's not the way it was supposed to be.

It seems fitting that I would cry a few (several) last tears as we drive away.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Oh No!

I arranged for our phone and internet to be disconnected tomorrow because we were both scheduled to be gone this weekend...but now I'm here and the company says it's a done deal. I guess I'll actually have to do the work I stayed home to do. Whatever.

Actually, the real reason I called to adjust the shut-off date is because TOIAW will be spending a few days here when he comes back to D.C. before he leaves for the Mystery Country. He was going to stay in a hotel but there are absolutely zero reasonably priced hotels near us and he's not willing to stay very far away so he's decided to camp out here. Oh, the joys of moving...

Don't worry about me, though. I've already mapped out several wi-fi spots close by. You know, for when I'm done with all my tasks.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Song Writing

My eggs suck rotten eggs, my dog has worms, and my husband is leaving on a train tomorrow. I know it's a little raw right now but I think there's a country song here. Not a country song where the singer changes the arrangement of a rap song and re-records it. No, more like a song sung my someone with frosted hair that hasn't moved in four days supported by a Bumpit--or eight--wearing blue eyeshadow, petticoats, and satin clothing adorned with rhinestones.

You already know about the sucky eggs. I know I probably don't seem to be properly dealing with it but you know what? When your watch your daughter die while your husband is holding her, even something like being told you will probably never have any more biological children doesn't hurt as much and as long as you might think. It does hurt--make no mistake--but if I let myself cry and cry and cry it won't change anything (but that's not to say I want to cry and I don't because if I want to, I do; I just would rather cry for Sarah).

Apparently we should have gone with the dog acupuncture yesterday because today I got a phone call informing me Bootsy was diagnosed with worms. I didn't study the dog energy meridians chart today when I picked-up her meds, but it most likely has to with her Qi being misaligned. Either that or she never got over the intestinal worms she had when we got her. It really frustrates me because she's had two follow-up checks that she passed with flying colors, she has zero symptoms (if we're experiencing Bootsy at 'reduced energy levels' I'm going to need medication also), she's at a healthy weight, and I faithfully give her medication that is meant to prevent intestinal worms which means she probably never got rid of them. Thankfully, PP is fine but she has to take medicine also just in case. The amount of medication consumed in this household rivals that of a nursing home.

And, because of the aforementioned worms, our dog walker doesn't feel comfortable keeping the dogs at her house this weekend so TOIAW will be visiting his parents alone. As you might imagine, I'm beside myself with disappointment about missing a weekend with the in-laws. That's why he's leaving me on a train. I'll work on the lyrics tomorrow and see if the Gutsy Mom can help me write the tune. Or is it called a melody? I don't think I'll be getting a Grammy anytime soon...

P.S. The Major's Wife (who needs to update her blog...hint, hint) asked to what exciting D.C. area eating establishment TOIAW escorted me last night. I am happy to report it was an actual restaurant and not just 5 Guys. We went here and if you're ever in Alexandria, I highly recommend it. I want you to know, TMW, I laughed out loud when you said the nicest restaurant where you are is Chile's; I feel for you but that totally cracked me up.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Good News:

  • The dogs are mostly okay but they did need medicine so it's good I took them in.
  • Apparently, if your IVF cycle is cancelled before you get a chance to turn around twice--or before transfer--you get a refund. A very pleasant surprise. We're thinking of using the money to buy lottery tickets because I really think it's about time we are on the right side of the very small probability.
  • TOIAW is taking me out to dinner so I don't have to cook.
Could Be Better News:

  • We need a tow hitch installed on our vehicle which seems simple and straightforward, right? For most people it is but we own one of the two models that every tow hitch installation place in the metro area refuses to wire (see my second point above). The dealership could do it and it would only cost us $1500. If we did that and used the your-eggs-may-be-disappointing-but-at-least-they-disappoint-early-enough-for-a-refund money we would have $15 left for lottery tickets. What do you think?

P.S. Just to clarify, I have no objection to Chinese's just that acupuncture for dogs seems pretentious. In the vets' office there is a chart of a dog's energy meridians; that's just too much. The herbs for dogs, however, are awesome.

Sick Puppy

Make that puppies. PP awakened me several times last night to go outside. I never know when to just monitor her at home and when I need to take her to the vet. She vomited this morning but then ate a little of the prescription bland diet and drank some water so I don't know. Then Bootsy began having the same problem and they're both just laying around which is a highly unusual morning activity for we have an appointment in an hour. I'm sure the vets love us for all the business we provide. I rationalize it with our upcoming busy schedule that will have them staying at their kennel this weekend (it's really their dog walker's house and she's awesome and is more than willing to dispense medication, mix food, and whatever else our princesses demand). But I being too obsessive? I promise I haven't always been this bad but when they were sick in March, it was almost more than I could handle. When PP spent the night at the vet, it brought back way too many bad thoughts of my other little one in the NICU and I'm pretty sure I could not deal with another scare like that now.

Oh, Jess, why can't I just follow you around the world? You're the only vet I've ever really trusted! The vet we're seeing today has a special interest in pet acupuncture. No, I am being serious. [I double dog dare her to try it on Bootsy.] She'll probably be very impressed with the special Chinese herbal supplement they take to help ease digestive issues. I know, but it seriously would probably work better if I wasn't too lazy to go buy more yesterday after running out on Saturday. I'm still a fan of the magical medicinal mixture but I'm afraid we might have escalated beyond that at this point. UGH!!!

TOIAW is in SO MUCH TROUBLE for taking them to the "swim" dog park. We [narrowly] escaped this illness last week but he just had to tempt fate and take them again this week. I know they love it but unless they get jobs to pay their vet bills, they're never going there again.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Planner

With a few exceptions, much of TOIAW's career has been spent working in a planning capacity. I've never been quite sure what he planned but, from what I hear, he's pretty good at it and he has all these acronyms, formulas, and spread sheets that help him plan. Those have come in very handy in the past 36 hours. We've had to alter all our plans but it looks like it's coming together. There is, however, a famous military saying that 'a plan never survives first contact' so we have to wait and see what tomorrow has in store for us when he calls to make a few adjustments to his current plans.

Not surprisingly, none of the late maturing eggs fertilized which is actually a blessing because if they had we would be in limbo for another 10 days with less than a 2% chance of pregnancy. Ugh...I can't even imagine.

So what now? Well, this weekend we are going to NYC to visit the in-laws...always so much fun. We will return Sunday, pack a trailer of things to take to Oklahoma, load the dogs, and leave on Monday morning. TOIAW will leave the following Sunday to meet the movers who will send some things to the Mystery Country and put the majority of our belongings in storage. He'll leave for the MC later that week. Meanwhile, I'll stay in Oklahoma until it's cool enough for the dogs to fly and then we'll all join him in the MC! Woo-hoo!!! Okay, I'm still working on genuine excitement for the MC, but I am genuinely excited I get to be with him.

Probably the most interesting development is that the MC is heavily involved in the practice of IVF, donor eggs, and infertility tourism. Who knew? While I haven't completely warmed-up to this idea, I am willing to do some investigation. They seem to cater mostly to Brits and Germans so I'll probably talk to their embassies and see if they've heard of any issues. Please don't think I'm crazy just yet; I promise to be careful and objective.

I need to go to bed now so I can rest up so I can tackle my very long to-do list tomorrow.