Friday, August 29, 2008

The Sound of Silence

Cats meowing for their dinner. Minotaur tapping away at the computer, telling me about the cool things he did at work that day (none of which I really understand, of course). The Kraken, calling for attention, dinner, assistance, a bath, a bandaid. Colleagues, asking questions, needing information. Friends and family, calling for news, or to convey it.

Human sounds. They're not bad things (except for the stupid cats). I enjoy my communications with the rest of the world, being a social and interactive creature at my core. But they are pervasive in my adult life, and the moments when they are absent are few and far between. At work, either a phone call or a visit every 15 minutes or so. Almost every evening a phone call or two, plus the complete cacophony that is a household with a child in it. The only time there is quiet is when I am asleep, and cannot actually enjoy it. Even then, the silence is broken; by the Kraken's occasional nightmares, by my geriatric girl cat jumping onto the bed, missing, and howling her rage at being thwarted (always fun at 2 AM), by the neighbors, choosing to be out on their back porch talking loudly at midnight. By the Minotaur's snoring. I crave silence like other people crave ice cream.

I always did, come to think of it. In the town I lived in before returning to the South for college, we lived in the desert, halfway up a mountain. Air that smelled like toasting sage and the passage of time. Back door views into untouched, unsullied land, parts of which may have never even been traveled by man. And of course, a 7 year old brother who traveled with a pack of 10-12 boys at all times, running through the neighorhood like a bad case of the plague - destructive, chaotic, and more than a little smelly. Whenever the noises would become too much for me to manage, I would pack up a notebook and a pen, and start the hike up the mountain behind us. In only a few short minutes, I could reach an outcropping of rock from which the town looked like a miniature train set, nestled in the valley below me. And even my own house looked small and remote. And then there was silence.

Oh sure, there were birds. The sound of the river below, sometimes, if the water was high. The occasional snuffling noise that meant a coyote was none too far away. Shifting, rustling sounds (rattlesnake? Scorpion? Or squirrel?) that for some reason never bothered me. The obliviousness of youth. Every now and again one of the neighborhood dogs would make an appearance, lolloping madly around my ankles, hoping for a little attention before returning home. But no HUMAN sounds. No voices. No music. No clompity clomp of little feet approaching.

So I would sit, for hours sometimes. Writing in my notebook; what, I shudder to remember. Bad poetry to be sure. The thoughts and hopes and dreams of a 15 year old girl. But it was quiet, and I was in another place. One where my brain was allowed to go where it would go, whether that led me somewhere revelatory, or simply somewhere sad.

I miss that little outcropping of rock. I have no equivalent here. There is no place I can go within the confines of my universe to escape the human noises. Except for days like today. I am not working. I am home. I am painting my kitchen cabinets. In complete silence, but for the quiet hum of the dryer in the background. And to me that just sounds like the river.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday night again

And here I am at 12:30 something, after my Friday night dose of TV and general lethargy. It's the one night a week, after all, that is truly mine. No laundry, no dishes, no nothing.

Of course, this doesn't exactly "prime the pump" that is my brain, so I find myself on the night that I actually have time to blog....with very little to say. Say, how about a bullet point update on the state of the Gorgon household? It's like a clip show - kind of cheating, but not really.

  • The Kraken is now 41 inches tall. Meaning she's grown out of her car seat and her size 4 clothes. At age 3 3/4. Sigh. She's either going to be a supermodel or a linebacker.
  • The last of the tests are back, and I am apparently normal. Whatever that means. Green light - go thee forth and procreate. It's only a matter of time until I'm peeing on sticks again.
  • I managed to get on my treadmill four times already this week. Booyah.
  • I am slowly getting my f*c3book addiction under control, with the help of a life coach and some self help books.
  • I am almost 10 pounds lighter than I was a month and a half ago. Dieting blows chunks.
  • The Minotaur FINALLY went to the doctor for his first annual exam in about 4 years.
  • My annual beach trip is only 2 months away!
  • My oddly excessive nostalgia of late seems to somehow be making me more comfortable in my current skin. Makes no intuitive sense, but talking to people who remember *that girl* reminds me that I didn't make her up.
I'm marinating a post about said nostalgia, but it's not quite ready to cook yet. Until then (or until I get another free minute), it's off to bed for me.

Friday, August 15, 2008

New addiction

Okay, now I know why I resisted the lure of F@c3book for as long as I did. It's like crack, without the social stigma.

It's also the opposite of high school, wildly delightful in and of itself. I joined after repeated harassments from multiple sources. That was 3 days ago. I now have 53 friends, most of whom appeared on their own, out of the woodwork. Ghosts from my past. Friends I haven't spoken with in years. It's enough to make a girl giddy!

And also, apparently, enough to make her forget she had a blog for several days. Whoops.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A new friend

Some of you know that when we went to visit my family this summer we had a playdate with my high school boyfriend, his wife, and their daughter. I had stayed friends with said ex/BF for many years, losing touch as our lives became divergent (as they do). He got married and had a little one. I was still running around like a wild woman, wearing slips instead of dresses to the bar, and other such shenanigans.

Anyhow, short story long - after a number of years with no contact, I found him via our high school alumni site. I had long worried about his health, which was failing when last we got together in person. I was afraid the news I would find would not be good.

Instead, I found him, living in our old hometown, still married, with that little one already 8 years old. Yeesh. That made me feel old. We arranged to meet with families in tow when the Minotaur and I arrived home. And what do you think happened??

That's right. Every guy's worst nightmare. I really, really liked his wife. I talked to her instead of him. As he watched, looking vaguely uneasy. She's sassy, and in charge, not to mention a fellow vampire fan and occasional (ahem) user of the hair color altering products.

And now? She's a blogger, too. I gave her the URL for this blog so we could get to know each other, and now she's started one of her own. Will y'all please run over and say hi when you get a sec? Welcome her to the fold.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Inconclusive is really frakking annoying.

Uterus is not scarred. Good news. Uterus is oddly potato shaped. Relevant? Unknown.

Fallopian tubes did not fill with dye. Blocked? How could that be the problem, when getting pregnant was not what I was having trouble with? Sometimes, apparently, the tubes get cranky about the dye and close right up. Again, a problem? Unknown.

And no clear resolution in sight, either. I must return in a week's time to have a follow up appointment, and schedule an ultrasound. What that's supposed to tell us, I have no clue.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Here we go

Tomorrow morning I head out to the R*E*I clinic (don't wanna get googled by a bunch of outdoor sports enthusiasts. SO not the target audience for this blog). It's the last test to try to determine if there's a physical cause for the multiple miscarriages, then it's back in the saddle again (assuming there's nothing wrong, or at least nothing they can't treat).

I have really mixed feelings about these tests. On the one hand, I am the child of a doctor and a nurse, and therefore have greater faith in the medical establishment than, I think, do most people. I believe that the tests provided have a good shot at identifying a problem with my body, if there truly is one. And that the results of these tests will make it easier for me to have a baby.

On the other hand, I find it almost impossible to believe that a body that almost effortlessly produced the Kraken almost 4 years ago could suddenly be a hostile environment for an embryo. Come on. I did this before, and it was easy. What could suddenly be wrong? Yes, I realize I am now 37, almost 38, but I don't feel that much older, and it's hard for me to believe my eggs are suddenly all past the expiration date. I know from many late night hideous google searches that this is possible, but I can't get my brain to translate that possibility to my current situation.

Of course, there is always "anomaly". One of the doctors who examined me after the twins showed no heartbeats told me sadly that I had probably just "been hit by lightning twice". I want that to be the truth, so badly. But then again, a part of me would welcome the news that some physical ailment has introduced itself between 2004 and now.

Because then it can't be my fault. For the gin and tonic I had before I knew I was pregnant. For the 25 pounds I have on me that I didn't have when I got pregnant with the Kraken. For the stress that I feel daily that eats away at my nightly rest, for a variety of reasons. For the soft serve ice cream cone I ate at the zoo, only to discover later to my horror that soft serve machines are a candidate for harboring listeria. For the morning, sleep deprived and dopey (with the child I lost in January) that I took my allergy medicine before I remembered that I was pregnant. For all the little mistakes that I made that I don't remember making with the Kraken.

Of course, with the Kraken I never stopped drinking my usual go cup of coffee, and I did have a glass of wine or two during the pregnancy. I ate cold cuts all the time for 4 months before coming across a warning about listeriosis, something my doctor never mentioned to me. I made all kinds of different mistakes with the Kraken, like you do, because no one can do this completely by the book or they would eat nothing but broccoli and cheese (and make sure that's not soft cheese, dammit. It might not be pasteurized). And she is FINE. I carried her in my body for almost exactly forty weeks, and she is smart, and strong, and healthy, and happy, and FINE.

One way or the other, I need to move forward. I need to try again. Because the big fat pregnant women in Target are killing me. With their puffy faces, swollen ankles, miserable sweaty necks in the heat of summer.

Please. I want that. Please.

Friday, August 8, 2008


By the time I get done paying for the medical costs associated with the miscarriages, I will be unable to afford another child.

From the NY misadventure in January - $1500 out of pocket. Fortunately, a substantial flex plan was in place still from the years when the Kraken had ear infections, so that was all covered. I may have been paying for it, but I was at least paying for it tax free, out of money that came out of my paycheck, and therefore was never missed.

Up until today, the bills from the twins have been frustrating, but not insurmountable. About $400 in total. I began to think that the NY bill had been excessive because I was out of network. And then the $650 invoice arrived today.

I haven't gotten bill one for the fertility testing yet. By the time we're done, it will be a moot point - the money we had been saving for me to be out of work with a newborn will be gone.

This sucks. I cannot imagine having to go through this without really good insurance, which I actually have.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Are you my (great-great grand) mother?

I miss that book. Lately it's been all Cinderella, all the time, around here. Although I have at least convinced the Kraken that Cinderella Skeleton is worth a read or two.

Long time readers will remember the death of my grandmother last January and a mystery that I alluded to at that time. The leaving of said grandmother from home at age 13, and the subsequent refusal of that same grandmother to tell those of us who descended from her anything about that decision, or about her family. We have recently discovered that even the name she gave us as her own may have been a lie.

Why does a 13 year old girl leave home and never look back? We still don't know, but my aunt's desperate desire to know the truth now that Grandma is gone has led to some new pieces of information. I have to hand it to her - she's tenacious, and she knows how to work the geneology websites. After over a year of looking, and consulting with state offices, Social Security, and everyone else besides, we have arrived at this photograph:


She is (we think) my grandmother's paternal grandmother, and Grandma went with her father to live with her after the death of her own mother at age 3, in a collision with a train. Grandma was almost certainly in the car when this happened, so it's possible that she watched her own mother die, at almost the age the Kraken is now. Horrible to contemplate. Almost impossible to believe this woman is not related to Grandma. When I opened the image on my computer, my mother and I did the same thing 3000 miles apart; frame that face with our fingers to make the shape that Grandma's face had in later years. And gasp with shock. They are her eyes. It's unmistakeably her nose, her mouth. I will be stunned if she is not ours.

This is all we know thus far, but it's the closest thing to a real lead we've had. One more piece of paperwork through the mail and we will know for sure. What then? Will anyone be left alive that knows the story?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I totally rock

Despite an 11 :30 PM rush to the computer to g**gle "polyurethane in the eyes", I would have to call the afternoon's home improvement projects a big success. I wish they were done, but due to the Kraken's insistence on helping me with anything I have to do, they have to be undertaken in sections, while she is sleeping. But, I do have enough done now to see how fabulous they are going to look.

First - the foyer floor - the only hardwoods in the house. Left for 15 years by the previous owners under a giant oriental rug, without ever refinishing, or cleaning, best I can tell. By the time we got them, the refinishing was easy because there wasn't any old finish left to strip off.

Foyer floor before

And after:
Foyer floor after

Ooooh. Shiny.

And, the kitchen cabinets. Never refinished, never wiped down, and much too dark a wood for the new floors and pretty red walls.
Kitchen cabinet before

So, a little paint, some pretty hardware, and voila!
Kitchen cabinet after

Alas, the section of refinished floor and the upgraded cabinet are the only ones I have done. The kitchen cabinets suck paint and require 3 coats for full coverage. And the foyer is the only way to get to the upstairs, where the bedrooms are, so it has to be done in sections (and then barricaded with board games and photo albums to keep the stinking cats from stepping in the finish). I am thinking I'll be done sometime around January 2010.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Saturday afternoon

The Kraken is upstairs having quiet time, which apparently consists of hurling furniture at the walls every few minutes. It's unclear what else she could be doing up there to make that level of racket. However, since she is not screaming she is probably not injuring herself. And since the noises continue, she is probably not dead or unconscious. So, I choose to ignore it in favor of catching up on everybody's blogs.

It's been a long time since I have had this level of focus with this blog, if I ever have. Posting every few days, checking for new posts on the blogs I read on a regular basis. I'm not sure why the sudden shift. It certainly isn't an abundance of spare time. Work is as busy as it has ever been for me right now - unusual, because we usually slow down this time of year. No dearth of home improvement projects either - currently in the process of refinishing the foyer hardwoods, attaching hardware to all the cabinets in all the bathrooms, and repainting the cabinets in the kitchen (pictures to come soon). Nevertheless, I seem to be making this a priority.

Some of it, I think, is that I'm in a holding pattern with the issue of pregnancy. I am currently taking some medications given to me by the reproductive endocrinologist, and waiting for my period to start after the D&C so they can begin all the fabulously invasive tests. So, there is no snake-eating-its-tail cycle of spitting on strips of paper, followed by insanely frequent fornication, followed by the obsessive peeing upon of sticks. Without my head so full of "why can't I, am I, will I get to keep it this time", I am actually able to focus on other things. Imagine that.

Another factor is the recent re-emergence into my universe of a couple of old friends from college. A pleasure in and of itself, but it has also wrought in me a truly lovely sense of nostalgia. Not for youth, per se. There are whole chunks of that I wouldn't relive even if you paid me. But for the sheer pleasure of those days.

I fear I waxed poetic in the car on the way to Lowes today, and without having met the friends in question these stories mean little to my husband. He has no idea why "Bauhaus. Isn't that something you have to duck to get under?" makes me bang my head on the car window because I can't stop laughing. Almost 20 years after it was said, and with the context all but forgotten. And the fact that I am still trying to compose the perfect spelling for "Mrah", a noise I believe to this day only Julia can make properly. So many stories. Days that seemed endless at the time. A day went by then the way a week does now.

Much of what I am remembering so powerfully at the moment is the laughter. I can remember viscerally what it felt like to roll on the floor in somebody's dorm room, because something was so. damned. funny. that even as it happened we knew that the experience would spawn a catch phrase for months or years to come (see above reference to Bauhaus). I never laughed like that before college. I never had real girlfriends before college. I had very good friends in high school, but they were almost invariably male. The incredible comfort and ease that can come from a great friendship with another girl was all new, and I wallowed in it.

And that's the other part I am remembering fondly. The forging of those friendships and the effect they have had on my life.

Example. Julia and I once journeyed across town to her mother's house to receive our very first cooking lesson. We were rank amateurs. We were useless. Her mother bought us our first cookbooks, and walked us through each step of a recipe. She was decent enough not to laugh at us. Then we sat down and ate it together, in the house where the cat slept on the VCR, only occasionally falling off.

Example. Telling Steel Magnolia (who really needs to get a blog) once in casual conversation that my mother used to make me beef stew when I was sick or sad, and that it was the ultimate comfort food for me. And having her hold that memory in her head until I found myself in a state where I thought my world was ending, and what do you think she made for me?

This weekend, I spent a lovely afternoon in the company of a group of those wonderful girls I acquired in college, at SugarMama's house. We talked about the hard stuff, and the easy stuff, and everything in between. And we laughed, because that is what we do. But we are there for each other too. When one of us is hurt, we rally. When one of us needs help, we come. When one of us is trying to nurse a baby with breasts the size of bowling balls, one of us will spoon barbecue into our mouths while we do it so we don't starve to death.

Because that's how we roll.