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

Selfish

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 :)