Monthly Archives: May 2012

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Ever feel like you’re just trapped in one of those days when everything is doomed to be

broken? And not normal broken, where stuff just breaks. Oh no. We don’t get normal broken

around here. See, a couple weeks ago, we went to turn the light off on our ceiling fan and

the switch broke. With the light on. Over our bed. At bedtime.

So we unscrewed all four bulbs, went to bed, and contacted the landlord in the morning. Two

weeks later, the repair people are finally supposed to show up at noon today (the repair

company is slow, not the landlord), so I’m waiting until they get here and can fix the

switch on our ceiling fan and we can once again have light in the bedroom. It’s terrible,

but I’m sort of half-hoping they’ll have to replace the entire fan, because then maybe we

can get a nice neutral looking one instead of this FABULOUS 70s faux-wood laminate with

gold trim. I would like one of the cheap white ones that blends in to the ceiling. And has

more than one setting for fan speed. A remote would be awesome too, but I’ll settle for a

chain that’s not extended by a piece of yarn.

And if that weren’t enough for today, the internet died. And not one of those wake up to

find it off days. No, I was in the middle of stuff when suddenly pages stopped loading

without warning. The laptop doesn’t connect either, and, more importantly, the router has a

pretty orange light where the green one for internet connectivity should be. So I called

Verizon and waded through their menus. After being on hold for 20 minutes, I called back.

We’re about ten minutes into the second phone call. After this, I call again and stop

playing their pretty menu games. I will just mash buttons until a human picks up. I can

understand a long wait at lunch time or after work hours. But at 10:30 am?

So, finally got a human (and she’s very nice). She suggested an outage in Suitland due to a

car taking out a utility pole, which seems a bit far to actually be affecting us, and

according to her system won’t occur until 11:23am (they have very advanced systems at

Verizon, it seems). Then she did a little network magic on her end, and suddenly I had

internet again. But, of course, she had absolutely no idea why it went out in the first

place. Figures, right?

So now, I’ve got 45 min until the repair folk are scheduled to show, during which time I

think I need to have second breakfast, and maybe call the community management people to

figure out why we haven’t gotten our pool passes yet. See, preggers wants to swim this

summer, so they better FIX IT.

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Twenty-four hours from now, we will know which flavor of baby we’re having. Instead of “that tap dancer on my bladder”, it will be “our son” or “our daughter” or “our uncooperative little weasel”. We’ll take one step further towards Reality, away from Theoretical.

Right. Like we’re going to end up living anywhere near Reality.

I find myself actually kind of nervous about the whole thing. I mean, what if they find something wrong? What if there’s more than one in there? What if it protests the whole ultrasound thing and decides to bust on out through my belly button? (IT COULD HAPPEN.) Or even worse, what if my baby is ugly??

I just don’t know if I’m a big enough person to love an ugly baby.

As if in preparation for this monumental step we’re taking this week, someone seems to have provided it with a baseball bat. I can’t figure out how else to explain the THWUMP THWUMP that makes me lose my breath, that, more importantly, it should still be way too small to make. It must have help. Or an accomplice. I blame Nimitz.

We have undergone a shift in weather and hormones as well. Up until this week, I was never warm. Never. No matter how many layers of clothing, how warm the room was; if I was comfortable, it meant the room was *entirely* warmer than it should be and everyone else was sweating. And then this week, we hit 80 degrees outside. And it hit about 140 in my shirt. Okay, that’s really just today, and it’s probably because I spent the morning wrestling with Linus (one of Mom’s cats who needed to go see the vet because of an injured paw. Nine pounds of cat should not be able to produce that much resistance, especially because, you know, INJURED PAW WRAPPED IN BANDAGE.). After a solid 45 minutes of fighting with him and exchanging several impolite comments (he started it), I was breathing pretty hard and my heart rate was up pretty high. The Beast Within did not enjoy that and made its discomfort known, so there I sat, on the floor in Mom’s bedroom with a growling cat under the cedar chest, trying to get my heart rate down enough that I wouldn’t lose my bladder and its contents to the Rage Kicks inside. Then, back down to pull the cat out (which would be easier if I could BEND OVER ANYMORE). I’m still not entirely sure how I finally got him — part of me figured if I hurt him, I was taking him to the vet anyways so screw it, so I may have just started yanking harder. Putting his sister in the second carrier was much easier, partly because I was not Having Any Of It anymore, and within two minutes we were out the door and miraculously made our appointment.

The next week or so will mostly be consumed by con prep. Today’s goal: go to Target and find me a maternity swim suit. We will be staying in the hotel, which has an awesome indoor/outdoor pool, and I plan to get into it at least once.

I’m ending this post here on this nice abrupt note because I think I need to pee again, and I have a One Pee Break Per Post rule.

Whoaaaaaa, We’re Halfway Theeeere….

So, I am super excited to have finally transitioned from “Hey, lady, back away from the cookies!” into “Holy crap, are you having a baby?” (Answer: Actually, we’re about five months away from that stage, and the little bugger better stay in there till it’s good and fully cooked!). But with this new-found waistline expansion comes with it a more difficult prospect: feeding the ever-growing beast inside me. Who craves protein. But is nauseated by animal flesh. (Seriously, kid?! Make up your mind. I cannot continue to eat this much peanut butter. It cannot be healthy.)

I am also now living in terror of Pregnancy Brain. This is where the higher orders of thought just cease to exist and are instead replaced by “Oooh, fruit snacks…”. (Also, we are out of granola bars. Wait, I had a point I wanted to make.) Case in point: last night, I decided to turn our three aging bananas into banana bread. (Seriously, if you need a good recipe, we have found The One.) I made it a few weeks back because in addition to the other symptoms, I’ve been having the sort of digestive problems that are best alleviated with rice and bananas (I promise I won’t get more graphic than that. Maybe.), so we tend to keep a lot of bananas on hand (Yay fiber!)*. The first go-round, it turned out amazingly well. I mean, Ben has never praised a banana bread so highly. So when we had three spotty brown bananas sitting on the counter (that I could SMELL as soon as I walked in the ROOM, thank you Super Sniffer), I decided it was time once more for Banana Bread. Ben was home, so I put him in charge of Banana Mashing and Bowl Stirring. No problem.

This is where the Pregger’s Brain comes in. Everything went fine with adding ingredients (well, ok, except I grabbed 1/4 tsp instead of the 1/2 tsp I meant to, so there was less cinnamon, but I don’t actually measure bourbon or vanilla, so it all evens out) until we get to the very last one: flour. I pull out the container, measure out 1 ½ cups, and stir it in. Ben goes to put the container away, and then says, “Did you use the smaller container here for the flour?”

“Yes,” I say with mild annoyance, as that is indeed the one I used, which he should very well know since he picked it up off the counter.

“That’s the pancake mix.”

Oh. Right. Oops.

So our banana bread turned out a little more delicate than planned, although it rose a whole lot more thanks to double leavening. It is instead more of a delicate banana cake than a bread, so I made a peanut butter glaze (because The Beast Within demands protein) and am eating it with a fork, waiting for my brain cells to once again resume functioning.

And we’ve got another four and a half MONTHS of this????

 

* Have you noticed even more parentheses than I usually add? Me too. I think it’s a symptom of Pregger’s Brain. Mostly in that I have these little side notes to make ALL THE FREAKING TIME.

How long does it take to establish residency in a Socialist country?

I am so, so tired of getting screwed around by big companies.

I have spent at least five hours on the phone with Carefirst arguing over who has my health insurance and why can’t I have it. At first, I discovered it had been completely and illegally cancelled without any sort of COBRA notification, only to find out three days later that that’s actually legal as long as they mail me the paperwork and promise to turn it back on with no lapse if I just give them 50% of our current income because really, it’s no problem to increase the premiums by more than 50% while at the same time losing half our income, right?

So I asked about individual plans and got the run around for quite a while until I finally managed to track someone down who could transfer me to Sales and Marketing (because, you see, if I am applying for a new plan, I am no longer an existing customer, but am now once again a NEW customer; nevermind that I have been with Carefirst for five years on four different plans). And so they transfer me yet again, only to discover it is now 5:02 on Friday and Sales goes home at 5.

That must be nice.

After a whole entire weekend of waiting and nail-biting (and seriously, these nails are fabulous, so it’s really not fair to chew them), I finally get to talk to Sales on Monday, at which point the first of the seven people who I have spoken to mentions that, yeah, I could get you on that plan but not until you’re uninsured for at least a month, but oh by the way it won’t cover pregnancy anyways. None of them will. Didn’t you know that? Also, she hung up on me.

During all of this time on the phone, I have probably cried about fifteen times. See, here’s the thing about pregnancy hormones: it’s not that I’m emotional, it’s that I just feel everything REALLY STRONGLY. And when I feel things REALLY STRONGLY, said emotions have a tendency to come out of my eyes because they have nowhere else to go. I’m actually rather proud of how well I’ve held it together, finding out I am not only unemployed and pregnant, but unemployed, uninsured, and pregnant. Oh, right. And not just uninsured, but uninsurable.

I called the Maryland Health Insurance Plan, whose phone line is staffed with people who are really lovely but hampered by quite a lot of red tape. The upshot is that I could qualify for a plan because I was disqualified due to pregnancy, but only after the COBRA election period has expired, because having to pay 50% of your income qualifies as having access to a health insurance option (in the interest of saving rant space, we’ll just let that one go). In other words, I have to wait seven weeks to apply and then another five to actually get insurance, which is a total of twelve weeks AKA three months to get insurance that will cover pregnancy, a condition which only lasts for a total of forty weeks, AKA nine months. So I need to wait A WHOLE TRIMESTER. They do understand that pregnancy is a *temporary* condition, right? Because really, if I were very much further along in the process, I would nearly have to wait until I was no longer pregnant to be covered for being pregnant. At which point I could just apply for the insurance I’m being denied.

So my best option to get covered for health insurance is to get a new employer-sponsored health plan. Except I am now visibly pregnant, enough so that I got asked by the lovely lady at the farm stand when the blessed event was. And I said, September, which is why I would like some of your local honey because I am denied my anti-histamines and it appears to be one of the nastier allergy seasons out there. And she said here you go at a fabulous price, and also would you like some local asparagus?

Ahem. I digress.

So I am now quite visibly pregnant, having been asked three times in the past three days by different people who do not know me well enough to notice a change in silhouette. Which means as soon as I walk into an interviewer’s office, the first thing that will leap out to them is not my witty banter, nor my competent air of organization. Oh no, his or her first thought will be, “MATERNITY LEAVE. OH HELL NO.” And then out I will be, still unemployed.

Never mind that I’m unemployed because of an employer who oh-so-illegally created an extremely hostile work environment enough so that not one but *two* long time employees pointed out they were trying to force me out. And yet, I live in a state where corporations are being courted for their headquarters locations (and associated taxes, or really lack thereof, because who taxes corporations anymore anyways?), so even if I had a MOUNTAIN of evidence (of which I only have a small, well-documented mole-hill), I could not actually take them to court and succeed in getting anything other than a pat on the head and a “Hurrah, nice try.”

Right. That.

So today, we took my unemployed, uninsured pregnant self down to look at car seats because what I should have spent the afternoon doing was looking at grainy black and white pictures of my insides and finding out whether it’s a little boy or a little girl who is currently screwing up my life but will someday make me oh so very happy but instead I have been jerked around by insurance companies and had to reschedule for a week and a half later (which doesn’t sound very long, but seriously, it hurts, ok?). And by pure sheer happenstance luck, we ran into an amazing lady who does not actually work for the company but used to in the SAFETY department and currently is a CAR SEAT SAFETY TECH. And while she is not allowed to make any particular recommendations on a particular brand and/or model, she could very firmly point us in the direction of the appropriate safety studies (or lack thereof) and not-suggest-but-you-know-what-I-mean a couple things to research. And most importantly, she could answer my ever-burning question of why can I not find any blasted SAFETY data on a car seat (I do not care how well it fits in a shopping cart; how well does it prevent INJURY and DEATH while inside a CAR? I want a CAR seat, not a SHOPPING CART seat. But while we’re at it, does anyone happen to know if the shopping carts are actually tested for their baby safeness?)

If you’ve read through the rest of this rant, I’m sure you can probably guess the reason. Because, in this country, (say it with me now) corporations have more rights than individuals. So when data came out that six child seats went flying off their bases, NHTSA was not allowed to publicize which models. Oh, also, NHTSA is not actually responsible for most of the testing. I think. I’m a little fuzzy on that, because in my research, I have actually yet to figure out who IS responsible for safety testing of car seats. I think it might be the manufacturers, and we all know how well that works within the food industry.

And so now I’m awake after having been asleep for only about three hours because I’m having dreams comparing the relative safety of a convertible carseat versus a food processor, since really, that’s about the level of safety data we have out there, and honestly, I could put my child in a crock pot strapped to the back seat as long as it’s rear-facing, because WHO HAS ANY DATA TO PROVE ME WRONG?

Oh, did I mention our power got cut off today? It turned out it was for routine maintenance, but we were concerned it was for nonpayment since, well, we haven’t gotten a bill since November and they can’t tell us where our bill is or who’s been paying it. They’ll get back to us on that one.