Third Location in Three Months. This Time, We’re Staying!

Well, our little stint in New York didn’t last very long. In what seemed like an overnight whirlwind, we’ve moved on down to Charlotte, NC. So far, it’s a beautiful little city with the friendliest people we’ve encountered in a very long time! Things just weren’t working out in New York, perhaps as quickly as we were hoping for, so when a job opportunity popped up for Husband here in Charlotte, we just couldn’t pass it up.

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I had to walk away from NYU for the second and more permanent time, but in all honesty, it’s a decision I am thoroughly okay with. There were little to no job prospects for Husband in NY up to this point, and let me tell you, I’ve never seen ANYONE fill out as many applications in one day as he had. It was a strange situation, because it’s not like Husband doesn’t have a really impressive resume, because he does! Yet, because things were looking bleak career-wise for Husband, the apartment hunt was even worse. The real estate market in New York is ridiculous. In order to rent even the most miniscule amount of space in even the most unsafe of neighborhoods, in any borough, you’ve got to make at least 40x the rent, annually. Then there’s the broker’s fee of 12-18% of the entire year’s rent, first and last month’s rent, and typically a security deposit of equal to the amount of one month’s rent. You’d also need proof of income, proof of employment, previous bank statements, and a credit check. But fret not my friends, if all else failed, you could always use a guarantor; they’d only have to make 90x the rent annually, plus all those other requirements as well. 0_o

And thus, our move to Charlotte.

Husband landed the job in five days within applying to it, and we signed a lease to the most amazing space just a few days later. It’s been about two weeks since we’ve been in our new apartment, and it still feels a little unreal. Husband and I have been living like two teen-parents in our parents’ homes for the extent of 2013, and this blessing couldn’t have been more on time. For nearly half of the budget we set aside for a studio/one-bedroom in New York, we’ve landed ourselves a huge 2-bedroom/2-bathroom unit with a fireplace, the biggest closets we’ve ever had, valet trash, full amenities in the kitchen, and so many other perks! We’ve even been reunited with our little son Apollo! The most amazing aspect of this entire blessing however, has got to be our renewed access to PRIVACY! Husband and I can once again be a couple, a married couple at that! Excuse me while I praise dance!

Freedom!!

Freedom!!

Apollo LOVES all the space!

Apollo LOVES all the space!

This has been Husband’s first full week at work, a 3PL logistics company, and so far he seems to like it. Training is a drag, but he’s using his degree and we’ve got full benefits for the baby when he gets here! I, on the other hand, have decided to take a crack at the stay-at-home-mom thing for the upcoming year. Husband’s job will require many, many hours of his time weekly so it’s probably best for me to keep my schedule open. I’m not sure how long I’d be home next year, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

This whole year has been nothing but chaos, and similarly, my pregnancy is flying by and I’ve barely noticed. We’ve been so preoccupied with trying to get ourselves stabilized, that I’ve become completely disconnected from the pregnancy. I’ll officially be 7 months pregnant on Sunday and the fact that I’m pregnant still hasn’t really dawned on me. Staying home for the remainder of the year and clearing my plate academically will really give me a chance to sit in this moment with this belly and this baby and try to be present. I don’t want our son to get here in February and I not know what to do with him. So, I’ve got about 13 weeks to get it together!

Oh, and in baby news. Our son is developing wonderfully! We still don’t have a name yet, but Husband’s 4 year old step-nephew has so graciously taken it upon himself to name our son Tarzan. Tarzan Youngest, actually. I don’t know where his brilliant little mind came up with that, but it’s sort of stuck! We all now, grandparents included, refer to our baby as Baby Tarzan! It really does fit considering the amount of pain I am in day in and day out from all the moving and kicking and bouncing around he’s doing in utero.

We passed our glucose test the other day, no gestational diabetes!! We’ve also been doing very well with all the other testing he and I have had done; everything is wonderfully normal. Except for, perhaps, his size. I am carrying a big baby. (My Husband is 6’4 so…. yea) Even at my very first 6-week sonogram, he measured 3 days bigger, and that notion has certainly continued. At our last sonogram, several weeks ago in New York, he should have weighed between 10-12 ounces when in fact he weighed in at a whopping 15 ounces. He’s 2.5 pounds now and I am feeling every bit of it: back pain, pelvic pain, abdominal pain, knee pain, neck pain, and thigh pain… I don’t think I could even express to you in words the severity of muscle pain and soreness I feel in my lady parts. It feels like my vagina muscles are shredding. I’ve been walking around for weeks with my hands in between my legs trying to hold my crotch UP to alleviate some pressure. I am definitely carrying LOW! So low in fact, that with a single kick, jab, or stretch of his body my extremities go numb and I am frozen, paralyzed in pain. Damn sciatic nerves. Pregnancy sucks. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I feel exactly like Elizabeth Banks’ character in What to Expect, When Expecting!

This juice tasted like a thousand sour skittles, and had Baby Tarzan bouncing off the walls of my uterus for HOURS!

This juice tasted like a thousand sour skittles, and had Baby Tarzan bouncing off the walls of my uterus for HOURS!

Chronicles of the Broke-Down Bronx

Husband and I have been in New York for about four weeks now. We’ve been staying in the Bronx with my grandma, and boy has it been a whirlwind already! It really doesn’t feel like it’s been JUST three weeks, and it feels more unreal that we’re actually here…

The Bronx really isn’t all that pretty, (our opinion) but our trips in and out of the city have definitely made this move FEEL all the more worth while! We have a little over an hour commute (1 bus, 1 train) to NYU, where I take two classes once a week. I arranged them both on Tuesday, so Husband and I get to walk around and discover the village in between them. While I’m in class, he spends his time wandering around just gazing at our new scenery! Just last week he told me he stumbled upon Georgetown Cupcakes SOHO! So far, he seems to be loving New York.

Vanilla & Chocolate. Red Velvet. The most amazing cupcakes we've ever had in our lives.

Vanilla & Chocolate. Red Velvet. The most amazing cupcakes we’ve ever had in our lives.

Central Park

Central Park

As for me, I’m loving NYU. I’ve got two really awesome professors. One who has the most amazing sense of humor and the other is a defense attorney, and is as sharp as a whistle. I was lucky enough to be transferred over in to the extended program, so even though I don’t get to spend much time on campus, it’s really worked out in my favor. For one, the Baby Brain myth is real! I can’t seem to focus outside of the classroom at all! I find myself struggling with the readings, and while I’m sure the fact that I’ve been out of school for so long doesn’t help, I’m pretty sure it’s the baby. Especially now that I can feel him kicking!

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HBSE-1. Social Policy. NY Times. Ugh.

HBSE-1. Social Policy. NY Times. Ugh.

Baby's 20 weeks!

Baby’s 20 weeks!

Everything is so different here; I think we’re (more Husband than I) experiencing quite the culture shock. Look, I was born in New York and both sides of my family have lived in the Bronx all of their lives… but we’re just not about this Bronx life. The poverty rates are astronomical. The crime, the deficiencies in education, and the quality of life here very different than what we’re used to. We are living right now in a fairly decent neighborhood, but I don’t want to raise our son here. We’re just not that interested. The Bronx is also very far removed from EVERYTHING. We have over an hour commute to NYU, and just the other day we went to a Housewarming party in Brooklyn, for a girlfriend of mine from Seattle to also moved here for grad school and lives in Windsor Terrace, and it took us almost 2 hours both ways to get there. There are no Trader Joe’s, no Whole Foods, no nice stores or boutiques, no quaint coffee shops or café’s here in the Bronx, and that’s what we’re looking for.

Look... Between the trash and the cigarette smoke... Not about it.

Look… Between the trash and the cigarette smoke… Not about it.

The only real positive we’re getting out of being here, is being around some of my family member that I haven’t seen in YEARS. My paternal grandparents live just a few blocks away from my maternal grandmother (who we live with currently) and it’s been wonderful to be able to finally spend some quality time with them. While it sucks that I can’t share my pregnancy with my parents, who I “left behind” in Georgia, I do get to share this experience with my grandparents. Oh, and boy do they LOVE Husband! Things are working out fairly well here. The weather is starting to change, which puts a little pressure on the apartment hunt. THAT in and of itself is a nightmare, but within the next few weeks, we’ll be starting that adventure. Ideally we want a place before the dead of winter hits and obviously before the baby comes. There’s just no space here at grandma’s house for an additional person, little as they may be. Husband is sleeping on a daybed, and I’m sleeping on an air mattress as it is!

Husband with my little cousin.

Husband with my little cousin.

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June Blog Challenge, Post I: Family

Here’s the prompt for Day 1 of the June Blog Challenge over at Waiting for Baby.

How did your parents meet?

I am not quite sure how my parents met. Sometimes, I wish they hadn’t at all. Then again, when you witness a divorce as nasty as theirs, it’s sort of hard not to wish they never met. My parents separated when I was in the 8th grade and my sister was in elementary school. I don’t think I really understood why they were separating at the time, but I understood completely that the family dynamics were going to change tremendously.
I was a total daddy’s girl, and the separation broke my heart. I spent a lot of time really angry with my dad. I felt like I was being abandoned. It was like he sort of checked out, on being a parent. He wanted to be there part-time, and he made that very clear. There’s always been sort of a divide within my family: my mom & sister, and my dad & I, and here I was, being left with them. There was a lot of tension in my household when my dad left. They fought all the time and in the most explosive, verbally abusive ways imaginable. We, children, were the ones to pay the price.
By the time I had gotten to high school, I hated my dad for “what he did,” and I hated my mom for turning us against my dad. Because she did, she would bash him to us, and naturally we were swayed. I was a little older though, so I could filter out most of her hurt, but all of this happened as my sister was growing up. She grew up programmed to hate him, and she does. It’s pretty tragic.
My parents divorced officially ten years later, while I was in college and by this point, I had learned to function with my anger. I learned that their failed marriage had nothing to do with me, their separation was not my fault, and that their divorce had no reflection on my life. I’ve been able to keep my resentment for such a shitty childhood separate from how things are now in my adulthood.
I have to learn to love my parents from a distance, because if not, the dynamics of our family infuriates me, and that’s therapy session I NEVER want to have.

Do you have any sisters or brothers? Tell us what you want.

I have one biological sister. She’s five years younger than me. I say biological, because our “sisterhood” is nonexistent. My parents raised us very differently, and because of that, she and I can barely co-exist. I’m the oldest, so naturally, my parents (specifically my mother) were very hard on me. My household was very strict; my figurative leash was incredibly short. My sister, however, was the fucking golden child. She could come and go as she pleased, and whenever she messed up, it was my fault, because I was the oldest. She never had chores, she never had her own responsibilities, she was never held accountable for her actions or her mistakes. The rules I had growing up, were never imposed on her, she did no wrong. She’s…..

…. You know what, I’m going to stop right there, because I’m starting to get upset. I hate her for reasons I really don’t want to share, and there’s nothing more to say about it.

Actually, let me start over.

Do you have any sisters or brothers? Tell us what you want.

I’m an only child.

The Quiet After A Storm

Husband and I have made a relatively permanent move to Athens about a week ago. Long story short: I have a lot of issues with the women in my family, namely my mother and sister, and being in their territory was becoming a bit of a hazard. I was pushed far beyond my limit, and I needed OUT. So, here we are, in Athens, to stay.

Husband and I are doing much better here. He’s a lot closer to his job, which cuts his commute about 20 minutes. We also have a lot more privacy here. His dad is rarely around, and when he is, there’s no tension. The stress of being at mother’s house has diminished so much and is tangibly visible. My skin is so much clearer, my headaches have stopped, my nausea has subsided, and I just feel more peaceful.

We’re finally able to spend time together, talking freely, without fear of being overheard and redirected. My mother has developed this nasty habit of eaves dropping and sort of telling us how we should be living our lives. Here, we’ve been able to have a lot of easy conversation. I never really realized how structured our conversation had been at her house.

Recently we’ve been talking about finding a place here, now that we have an idea of what our prospective Peace Corps timeline may look like. I’ve also started the job hunt! I finally feel more confident in my body. I’m not spending so much time feeling sick or in pain. Plus, I’m getting rather bored. It’s been about nine months now that I’ve been on a medical leave, and I’ve NEVER spent this much time unemployed. I’m ready to move forward with my life; ready for our next phase.

Left Behind

It’s finally hit me: The thought of going away to the Peace Corps with Husband and leaving Apollo behind. I can’t imagine being away from him for two years; I can hardly tolerate a weekend away without him. He’s such a huge part of my life. I was very skeptical of even having him join our family, but he’s become something so precious to me. He’s become a symbol of hope. He’s like a little person with a huge personality! He’s everything I could have ever wanted in a companion. (Besides my Husband) He’s always by my side, he loves me unconditionally, and I’m not sure how I’m supposed to just leave him behind.

I never understood how people could get so overly attached to their pets, or why they’d want to, but in this one short year, it all makes sense to me. It’s not about it being a human to pet relationship, or obedience vs submission, it’s about falling in love with a creature who loves you with all of their might, feeling needed and responsible for a life other than your own, it’s about knowing that no matter what you did, or who you are, or what bad shit you’re into, that creature will never judge you, never disappoint you, and never let you down.

Our Peace Corps interviews are now THREE days away, and although I’ve been struggling about this bit the entire time, it’s hitting me pretty hard now, especially when I think about the circumstances I’d be leaving him in. No matter how much I daydream about life in the Peace Corps, I have those moments where I have to ask myself whether or not I’d be able to leave Apollo behind. Here’s why I don’t think I can:

1. Apollo is my son. I say this all the time; I’ve even mentioned it in this post. He’s my Husband’s dog, but he’s my son. Apollo came into our home before I knew of our infertility troubles. We got him at just a few weeks old, so it’s safe to say I raised him. I endured that very frustrating puppy-crying-at-night phase, that god awful potty training phase, the sit-down-stay phase, and the “I am the boss of you” phase. All in all, Husband and I molded him into a very well behaved puppy, and when I got sick my love for him grew stronger. I’d come to terms in the depths of my mind that regardless of what the doctors said, I’d never be able to have kids. Apollo became that substitute for me. He’s a little spoiled because of that, but he’s a good baby. He’s the little child that, in my mind, I’ll never be able to have.

2. When I move, he moves. No matter where I go, there’s Apollo. I like it that way. I can always know what he’s into. He’s so inquisitive and he eats everything he can mouth! I don’t even like him being outside where I can’t see him. I feel so overwhelmed when Apollo isn’t around. On the rare occasion we go out of town without Apollo, I miss him with every inch of my being. I feel so disconnected. I feel naked almost. We’re a trio: Husband, Apollo and I, and when we’re separated, it’s as is our chemistry is off. How am I supposed to manage being away for 27 months?

3. Mom’s irresponsible. With Apollo at least. He came back from the doctor with very strict dietary guidelines. She’s got two dogs of her own, and honestly, I don’t trust her to be able to give Apollo the necessary attention he needs. One of the foods his vet recommended costs 20 bucks, and the bag isn’t even that big. But, it’s what will make him better so I buy it. She’s the type of parent, and I see this happening with our future children pending God’s approval, who will give him something against my specific instructions, saying “Shhh, don’t tell your mommy. This is yours and grandma’s secret” and then end up with the “Oh shit” face when he ends up having an allergic reaction to whatever it was. Unfortunately, unlike children, he’s reactions aren’t hives. He ends up with the worst runny eyes, exploding bowels, and terribly severe ear infections. She doesn’t know him like I do, she’s not every aware of his behaviors. I ALWAYS know when something isn’t right with him.

4. Mom’s house is a zoo. She’s got a yappy Yorkie who’s about 4 years old now, so spoiled and untrained. She wears dresses, and basically runs the house. She’s the pack leader in their dynamics. She still shits/pisses in the house for god’s sake. She’s also got a young golden retriever, who spends most of her time with nothing to do in the backyard or shoved into a kennel that is two sizes too small. She’s so unruly; she’s eating all of my mom’s light fixtures in the backyard!! Her and Apollo play so roughly. She’s a big dog and Apollo’s a miniature. She knocks him down the stairs all the time. When I’m here I keep those two separated, who is to say she’ll continue to do that with me gone for two years. She thinks their roughhousing is cute! Honestly, Husband and I say quite often that if my mom’s choice of dog food doesn’t kill him first, then her dog will!

5. Apollo’s coat mats so easily. Apollo is a miniature schnauzer, which means he’s a hypoallergenic breed, which also means he doesn’t shed. Because he doesn’t shed, his hair grows really long, really fast. If we miss ONE day of brushing him, he’s all matted up! He gets these big huge mats under his chest, on his legs, around his neck, and in the pockets of his hind legs. We shave his coat down ourselves to keep costs down. I have absolutely no faith in the thought or idea that my mother would get him groomed, or groom him herself. The mats hurt him, and he’s gets very angry when they’re touched. Rightfully so. We’d go to the Peace Corps, and come back to see our dog looking like some homeless stray and would have to shave him bald. I just don’t trust that he’d be very well taken care of.

6. My sister is a total bitch and I don’t want her touching my dog. I don’t even want to get into the logistics of the lack of relationships we have, nor the lack of shits I give about it, but I don’t want her touching my dog. I want his shots, his updated medical exams, whatever, done by a fucking professional. I am not, and have never been, one of those people who do that shit on my own. I will not ever administer shots to Apollo alone, nor will Husband. I will never DIY immunizations or boosters, or any of that shit. I don’t want her bullshitting around and giving Apollo a shot and having to receive a phone call about the consequences of her incompetence. I hate her, I hate seeing her, I hate the thought of Apollo being anywhere near her when I’m not around.

I don’t think I can leave him here for two years, let alone in the care of my mother, but she’s our only choice. I couldn’t ask anyone to take him for two years, because having a dog is a really big responsibility. At least with my mother, I know she loves him. She sucks at taking care of him, but she does love him, and he loves her. So, although I’m technically not leaving a child behind, that’s exactly what it feels like.

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The In-Betweeners

If we don’t get a space of our own, or some privacy for God’s sake, SOON… We’re going to explode.

Husband and I are, uhm, in between spaces right now. We’re in that awkward phase between moves, where our rent was up, and we haven’t decided where we’re moving to next, so to keep from living in our cars, or signing and breaking a lease, we ended up at our parent’s…. yea….

It’s very tense and touchy. See, we can’t exactly get a place because I might be going back to NYU in the fall, well, that is unless the Peace Corps works out, then we’d do that instead. Basically, we’re camping out between our parent’s places. Husband is working in Athens, where his dad lives, and my mom lives in Lithonia, about an hour away. So, when we get annoyed with one parent, we move on the next parent’s place. It’s frustrating, and getting old. We can’t keep up with our belongings, we don’t get any privacy, and we’re completely out of our element.

My husband is grown. Like, 32 years old grown. Military veteran grown. Oh, and I’m pretty grown too! I mean, I’ve lived, I’ve traveled, and I’ve got a degree. I’m 24, but hell, I’m married and THAT means I needz my space. At my mom’s house there’s two dogs (excluding mine), and a sister I don’t like. My mom is so OCD about everything that it makes it difficult to be in communal spaces with her. Plus she’s so loud. She makes the most ungodly ruckus every chance she gets, AND she works from home!!! So, that means, we get special access to her kitchenette band practice early Saturday & Sunday mornings. I didn’t know she was in a band, or how many people are in it, but judging by the noise and the variety of instruments, I’d say there’s at least 6 people in it and there favorite instruments are the pots, pans, pantry doors, and the got-damn refrigerator. They aren’t very good. Not only that, every conference call is frustrating. We can’t use the kitchen when she’s working in there. We can’t walk up and down her stupid creaky steps. Apollo can’t make a sound. Come on lady. Take your ass to your office. In the basement. Jesus.

Husband is a giant. 6’4. 290. He walks hard. Hell, he moves strong. Nothing in his path is safe. Apparently, he’s supposed to be as light as a feather. Everyday, “Jennifer, your husband is so loud. I was on a conference call and I could hear him on call.” Oh sorry, I left the clouds in the car, I’ll be sure to bring them in so he can walk on them next time.

“Jennifer, he eats so much. I don’t know if I can keep up with him.” Yes mom, he’s a big man. I’m pretty sure a normal meal for you, is a snack for him. No one can get by on that “carrot and a cup of coffee” excuse you call a meal. We need FOOD. Real food.

We went to a movie this weekend, and six minutes into it my phone rings, “Jennifer, uhm, I forgot my key. Are you far away?” Apparently, and I didn’t know this but, the movie theater will pause your movie for you or completely refund your money with good reason, like “Mom’s got issues.” And she does.

No where is safe, his dad’s house is not a space I am familiar with, so I don’t feel comfortable there for long periods of time, just like I’m sure Husband hates being at my mom’s for too long. His dad’s got a girlfriend and works late, which means he’s not there much or for veylong, which is great for us. Unfortunately, I don’t know my way around Athens, so when he’s at work all day long, Apollo and I are stuck in the house with nothing to do. So we sit and wait, and when that time comes, we’re sitting at the door like little puppies waiting on Husband to walk through the door. It’s pretty pitiful.

His mom lives in North Carolina. She remarried and her living quarters are… exhausting. My dad also remarried and lives in Jasper, GA. Those two parents are the farthest away from us and we don’t get to visit much because of Husband’s schedule.

We’re just ready for our own space again. I am ready for a decision to be made so we can have our privacy back. No noise is a noise we didn’t make. We can walk as hard as we want, eat whatever we want, Apollo can play around and not be attacked and thrown around by my mother’s unruly, untrained dogs, and we can finally put the duffle bags away. I am sick of living out of bags.

The minute we make a decision of where to go to next, I am bolting out of here, Husband & Pooch in hand, and not looking back, and I don’t want to SEE another family member until I say so!

squiggle face

This in-between phase SUCKS.

-Jenn

Decisions, Decisions…

It’s time for me to make one of the most bittersweet decisions of my very young life; a decision that I have been battling internally with for months now. One that is taking me a lot longer to come to terms with because of the circumstances. I am not one for being still, not one for moving slowly or taking time off, or “giving myself a break.” Truth is, I love living fast. I love having a million commitments all at once, stretching myself just thin enough to accomplish a world of things while remaining relatively in tact. I love being involved, and I love being busy. I love those really late nights and super early mornings. I guess in my mind I always equated busyness with successfulness, or productivity. I always had to be doing something. I could never just sit down, because when I did sit down, I crashed. My body would fall apart, I’d sleep the days away and I’d just feel like I wasn’t being a contribution to society. So… I just kept moving.

I graduated from high school in May of 2006 and went to college early that June. I did what every freshman/sophomore does… I partied my ass off. I became such a social butterfly and kind of forgot about the college part. But, I paid the price: fully loaded summer terms every single summer with no spring breaks in order to graduate with my peers. I brought my GPA up from waaay down in the dirt to an above 3.0 GPA, joined a sorority, landed a dope internship and graduated in May 2010, exactly 4 years later. From May to August I did my internship with the Boys & Girls Club, and by the end of August, drove from Georgia to Washington to join a 10-month AmeriCorps program. During that program I had 3 jobs. I worked in an elementary school from 8-3, then an afterschool program from 3:30-6, and during the nights I worked at “Latino Night School.” I did this all the while participating on community chapter sorority events, maintaining my gym membership and again, partying my ass off with my teammates. On average, I was clocking in over 93 hours of service each paycheck from AmeriCorps alone. I drove back to GA in August 2011 with my then-boyfriend Tommy (who was living in GA) after the program ended and we got married that December. I started working at Old Navy during those months. What was supposed to be something just to keep me busy, turned into the primary household income, as Tommy was still a college student and stopped receiving military student aid. I was driving an hour to Savannah to work minimum wage, trading shifts to make rent & utilities. He was supposed to graduate that May, but things just didn’t work out. We couldn’t afford his summer tuition, and I ended up cashing in my AmeriCorps education award just so we could make it.

Earlier that year, in April I believe, I was standing with Tommy in line at Old Navy, when I got the email that nearly made me pass out. I had been accepted into the Master’s of Social Work program at NEW YORK UNIVERSITY!! That school has been my dream school since I was a child. NYU was everything to me. So, it was settled. Tommy and I decided that I would go and start at NYU during the fall of 2012 and he would stay behind to finish his last semester at Georgia Southern. It would just be one semester apart, I have family in New York so no big deal.

Then I got sick.

Actually, I had been sick all along. Sick for years, but I was too busy to really notice. Or care. It’s an addiction, the fast-paced moving and shaking. If I had a pain, I’d pop an Ibuprofen. If I had a cold, I’d pop a NyQuil. Stomach ache, heartburn, skin rash? Tums and Neosporin. NEVER a day off! I wasn’t listening to my body.

I was spending the summer preparing myself for my move to New York since school started in September. UW had denied me, and George Mason accepted me… but come on, there was NO way I wasn’t going to my DREAM SCHOOL. So here I am going to my OB/GYN for a bladder infection & routine pap in July suddenly I’m having surgery in August. I had a laser laporoscopy on August 17th, stitches removed (early) on the 24th and I was on a plane on the 26th. During that time, it was suggested that I consider having babies really soon because of the endometriosis and the PCOS. I also needed another procedure for an abnormality on my pap smear, but that shit had to wait because I WAS GOING TO NYU!!

Yea right. I was an NYU student for all of two weeks before I had to take a medical leave of absence. I’m on a plane back to GA and in another surgery just days before Tommy graduates from college in December. We’ve been here in GA ever since. I was supposed to submit my paperwork to come off the medical leave in January of this year, but I haven’t yet done so. I’ve been trying really hard to get my health in order but just can’t seem to get a handle on it. Tommy isn’t too keen on being in NY while trying to start a family, and honestly, neither am I. My NYU dreams are toast!

Sometimes, I feel like I’m having to choose between two very important things. Do I try and start a family now, because I may not be able to later? (This includes fertility drugs, treatments, tests… the whole nine.) Or do I continue to follow my dreams? (Go to graduate school, join the Peace Corps, save the world and try for babies later when it MIGHT be too late.) I get so frustrated because everyone else gets to have their cake and eat it too, but me… I’m falling apart. While I was walking all over the city post-surgery, doped up on painkillers… I was damaging myself. I was in so much pain and developed internal hemorrhoids. I was being incredibly irresponsible and reckless.

I’m taking the time now to really take care of myself. I’m eating better, working out, actively listening to my body. It’s telling me that NYU is a no-go. More so then my body, my marriage is telling me NO. Neither one of us, at this point, want to go to New York anymore. I don’t want to start a family there, it’s so damn expensive, and I wasn’t really crazy about the curriculum anyways, but still I get caught up on what NYU symbolizes. NYU is fast-paced: it’s grad school classes and internships, papers and busyness, late nights and tears, stress and accomplishment. NYU needed single Jenn, able to run around like a crazy person with no commitments Jenn. But I’m not her anymore. I’m married, ready to have a home Jenn. Ready to start a family with the man of my dreams Jenn. Ready to live life slower, because not only does my condition require that, but my quality of life does too.

I mean, we haven’t ironed out the details of our “baby-making” timeline because we still have so many other possibilities out in the universe. We’re still waiting to hear from UW, did I get in or didn’t I? We’re still waiting to hear whether we can move forward with the Peace Corps. We’re in between the references and interview phase. We’re still trying to figure out what state we want to make home base, and while all of those possibilities will iron themselves out one by one, I know there is one thing I can actively eliminate. My medical leave is turning into an academic withdrawal, and I am okay with that. One decision made, a million more to choose from.

NYU SIlver

NYU SIlver

-Jenn

Like Mother, Like Son

Whenever I’d see those people walking around with their pets in dresses and bows, and really lame bowties and booties, I’d roll my eyes and swear those people were nothing short of bat shit crazy! I mean, a pet…is a pet. There is really no need for nail polish and sparkles, tutus and engraved collars, or super lame nicknames like Mr. Snuggle-Wuggles and Diva-Darling. How completely obnoxious!! The worst has got to be how these crazy people talk to their pets with those relentless baby voices, how painfully annoying….

…Yes, I definitely thought those people were a little douche-y, until we bought Apollo….

Today was Apollo’s doctor’s visit. I knew he had an ear infection. We’d been down this road before thrice over. I’ve been extra careful not to get water into his ears during bath-time, seeing as how my previous dumping water over his head technique caused ear infection #2. I’ve been blow-drying his ears out after baths, and occasionally I swab his ears, although I’m terrified I’ll have a sudden slip of the wrist and BOOM, we’re deaf! I’ve known he’s had an ear infection for quite some time; I’ve noticed each tell-tale sign: shaking his head, scratching (and moaning), he’s even started sliding his head across the floor! I suppose I’ve been so caught up in getting my life in order, that I’ve become quite irresponsible in regards to Apollo.

The nurse isn’t convinced by my confident diagnosis in his ear infection because, “his ears look nice and healthy so far.” Again I reassure her, it’s an ear infection. “Well, let’s get a swab and see.” I don’t know why she won’t believe me. She grabs a long ear swab and digs up some brown muk, smells it, and shouts, “Dear God that stinks!! Yep, that’s an ear infection.” I really didn’t need the theatrics or the faces.

So, we’re standing there him and I. Him on the cold, silver table, and me, heart sinking into my shoes as the vet informs me that Apollo’s got a severe yeast infection in BOTH ears. I’m certain I’m going to be whisked away for child endangerment. I mean, puppy endangerment. Not only that, I’ve apparently been feeding him the WRONG dog food. He’s got a gluten/soy/dairy/meat allergy, which in essence explains the eye leakage, sneezes, and possible ear troubles. Great. I should be shot.

Five prescriptions, an insanely expensive organic fish-based dog food, and $200 later, we’re on our way home and I feel terrible. Apollo is watching me from the passenger seat with those sad, sullen, how-could-you-let-this-happen-to-me eyes and I’m doing my best to avoid eye contact. Oh god, how am I going to explain this to Husband! (Whose response later on was a mere, “it’s just an ear infection, you’ve got meds, he’ll be fine.” He didn’t get it.) He’s the love of my life and I’ve just been so caught up in my own dietary restrictions and medical shenanigans, that I’ve been neglecting him. What a wake up call, it’s not like he can tell me that his ears bothering him, or that his food makes his stomach hurt. He can’t tell me that his eyes are itchy or that he needs a tissue. I love this dog with all of my heart and I feel like absolute shit.

So, I’ll be spending the next two weeks pampering my baby, cuddling and snuggling with my baby, using the best pre-mommyhood mommy voices I can muster up to make sure he knows how sorry I am and how much I love him. He’s my son. No doubt about it. I say this all the time to Tommy: “That’s your dog, but that’s my son. He was supposed to be my child, I swear he’s me in a pooch-body,” and I mean it! I mean how else do you explain the frequent infections (his ears & my body), the sudden gluten/soy/dairy intolerance (both him and I), the extra-loving, sleeps-with-his-head-propped-up-on-my-feet, early-morning-nose-kisses, joined-at-the-hip, follows-me-everywhere-I-go, responds-to-the-secret-language-only-he-and-I-understand, completely connected type of bond we share!! Exactly! He was meant to be my son, and I, his mama!

So coo on you strange, smothering parentals… I totally get it…

-Jenn

Apollo, my son.

Apollo, my son.

Heavy Duty Shizz.

Heavy Duty Shizz.