Saturday, December 30, 2017

He's Here!

Lucky, our donor embryo sibling, was born just after midnight on December 25th. Since his family celebrates Christmas (ours does not), he's a Christmas baby for them.

He was 7 lb 14 oz and 21 inches long.

Calliope and I were lucky enough to get to meet him when he was just 36 hours old.

He's gorgeous... unlike my newborns! 

I was very nervous to meet him -- but also glad I was going to be able to get it "over with" early.

But it ended up being very easy. I was thrilled to meet him like I would be thrilled to meet the brand new baby of any close friend. What's funny is, of course, that Leslie and I were not close friends at all before this all started. And now we are in this strangely intimate relationship where we have this amazing connection on one level and so many gaps in knowing each other on another level.

But being together was wonderful. While I didn't feel a particular connection to him, it was wonderful to cuddle a snuggle newborn... until Calliope politely made it clear that my lap was her real estate, not Lucky's. I was so happy to get to see her parents being so in love with their first grandchild, and to meet her proud brother and his wife for the first time. 

I read an article on FB today that was posted by an adoptive friend of mine. The article talked about the sense of loss that adoptive children often experience. And how using the language of adoptive parents "choosing" their children makes children aware, then, of how someone else didn't choose them. So nowadays it's apparently recommended that adoptive parents instead just say that the birth parents were unable to care for their biological children, hence the adoptive parents stepping in.

Reading this made me wonder if Lucky will feel a sense of loss as adoptive children do? I certainly hope not -- and certainly, this is different from adoption -- but I can't know for sure that he, or my girls for that matter, won't feel a sense of loss about his upbringing.
We are smitten.

Showing Lucky his Birth Day cupcake from Calliope

Monday, December 18, 2017

Is Something Missing?

I've been struggling to do the Geneen Roth style intuitive eating.

Partly it's that I just don't always want to think about every morsel going into my mouth. I don't think I drastically overeat but being hyperconscious of every bite is exhausting.

Perhaps because of this, I don't feel like I've lost any weight and in fact I feel like I've gained a little.

It feels impossible for me to lose weight but gaining is frustrating. I'm wondering if I need to cut out sugar again. And maybe wheat as well? Even though I HATE the feeling of having food rules.

But then I start thinking that something is missing from my life. And I think that thing is... FUN.

I'm not getting enough pleasure in life. Deferred pleasure from making my children is lovely but it's not enough by itself. I had been trying to go out twice a month for a Mama's night out but things fell by the wayside with all the real estate transactions and preparing for renovations. I think I've been out once in the last month.

(I got to go ice skating with Calliope yesterday and she wanted to skate together, holding hands, and it was very sweet. The sun, the cold air, the music, watching her gleefully glide across the ice.... all brought a smile to my face. Everything apart from bringing her home with her friend Eleanor and listening to them squabble the whole time.)

This sounds silly but I think reading -- you know, actually BOOKS, not the Forum or Facebook -- would help me recharge. Reading feels like practically sinful self care. But it's hard to find a book that excites me. And then my library card just stopped working for some reason. Usually I use it to download ebooks (so I never have to actually go to the library). So now I can't use my library card until I can make time to go to the library. Not easy when I commute with a six year old who is slow moving, especially when the commute involves extra walking. But I have one afternoon commute this week where I am traveling solo. I just have to plan ahead.

I hope that might help.

Anyone else suffer from a lack of mom oriented fun in her life? What have you done to help yourself recharge? (Hint: bubble baths aren't my thing and sweets clearly aren't working well for me.)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Peace... and A Reminder to Myself Of What to Think About When I Lose My Way

Relaxing over hot chocolate after skating lessons 

Well, apparently dumping all that yesterday on you guys helped. I've been feeling more peaceful now.

Telling myself over and over that everything is all right for now. I have my job. I have my girls. I have this soon-to-be beautiful apartment that I got to design to my specifications. Lucky lucky me.

IF I'm told that I will lose my job... I will not panic. Not begin posting my resume far and wide within ten minutes of getting the news. I will breathe. And wait.

I will give myself time to figure out what << I >> really want. Without inserting the needs and desires of potential future employers. Most likely,  I will decide to take the girls to Mexico for the rest of the school year. I will try to find a renter for that time without committing to a full year, as my real estate broker insists I need to. I can at least TRY to find someone before sacrificing what feels safest for me, which is just the school year. And not get rid of or sell all my belongings, either.

I should be able to rent out the new place for a good sum so that would cover our living expenses, hooray!

And IF we go to Mexico, I can not work at first and just BE. Be with my girls, figure out schooling for them without urgency. Maybe volunteer part time at first -- but not right away -- at the amazing non profit down there. Take some Spanish classes. Breathe. And only once I feel centered, make decisions.

The only thing I need to do right now is figure out when and how long I want to visit Mexico this summer. This seems like a good idea, to spend more time there and find out more about what it might be like to live there. Spend some time at the non profit that would give me a job should I need one. Lucky me, I know!

"Visiting Christmas" at a friend's since we don't celebrate -- trimming the tree and
dressing up as angels.

Help walking ont the wall with beloved SMC friend Annabelle -- she lives downstairs
and she and her mom are family to us. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Renovations Starting Soon, and Job Stress

Isn't that an enticing title? Ugh.

Things are about to start happening quickly with the new apartment. The contractor came by last night to pick up keys and a check. Tomorrow, Wednesday, he and the demolition guy will start removing the kitchen cabinets and floor. The closet and bathroom doors will go as well. And Friday the kitchen cabinets, new refrigerator, and all the tiles (for both bathrooms and kitchen) will be delivered. As soon as the base cabinets are assembled (we are doing Ikea cabinets so everything has to be put together), the floor will be installed and the base cabinets so the counter template can be made next week. It takes at least two weeks for the counter to be cut to order, possibly longer since it will be done over the holidays, so that has to happen right away.

Things are moving more slowly upstairs with my current apartment. I live in a big co-op building and unfortunately our slow moving management company still hasn't finished the building's financial statements for 2016... as we near the end of 2017. Unbelievable. Understandably, the buyer's attorney wants to see those statements before his clients sign a contract. But it's now been close to three weeks since I verbally accepted their offer (on Thanksgiving Day) and I'm starting to get a little anxious. Luckily they agreed yesterday to put their deposit into escrow even before seeing the financials. And our building manager thinks the financial documents will be ready in a week or less. As soon as they review those documents, they will sign the contract and send it over to me. Once I sign it, they still have to get their financing in place and also do an application for the co-op board. Reviewing that application by the board can easily take a month and I assume they won't start until the financing is in place, though I'm not sure about that part. So the three month clock for all this hasn't even started yet. It's amazing that we can stay in my current apartment while the new one is being renovated but I'd rather not own two apartments for too long. Still, I'm mostly reassured that things are very likely to work out just fine.

Work is less promising. Supposedly "people" are pursuing funding to make up for our massive budget cuts from the state. That has to be figured out by the end of the year. I am still getting my paycheck -- I guess I should be grateful for that! -- but they haven't paid into our union pension fund in many years. Our funding right now is only for the year -- typically we get funding from the state in five year cycles. For some reason this cycle the state decided to take two thirds of our funding and give it to upstate New York to start new clinics there. While I applaud the expansion of school based clinics everywhere, stealing from Peter to pay Paul seems asinine. And so we limp along. Without any supplies so far, though supposedly they are coming... soon.

What is especially frustrating to me that some of our clinics -- mine and my colleague Anna's -- are very productive. We see a lot of patients. We diligently collect insurance information -- my assistant is constantly sending requests home for updated insurance informaton. We work HARD. And then our other two sites... One sees about 25% as many patients as I do. The other sees more patients... but only as first aid visits, none as billable visits. I think her feeling is that her patient families won't agree to share insurance information. I think this is bullshit. I think some of her families don't want to and so she shrugs and gives up without explaining that this is not a free program -- we rely on reimbursement from insurance companies in order to fund a program that provides health care, free of charge (to patients) for all children, regardless of insurance and immigration status.

Needless to say, this is infuriating. And we aren't, it seems, allowed to talk about it. And my colleagues are just accepted as is. They won't lay them off because they feel, it seems, it's not their faults. Again, bullshit. I work hard because I choose to. They could make the same choice. They could petition the school and the PTA to help educate parents about why they need insurance cards from families. But it's work. And it's easier not to do work.

Oh, and my vaccine refrigerator keeps malfunctioning. Despite being brand new. And each time I lose thousands of dollars in vaccines. That our program will be billed for. (My colleague who only does first aid visits hasn't given a single vaccine in YEARS. I give hundreds each year. But zero at the moment... despite a list of children who don't receive mandatory vaccines immediately.)

So I'm walking around with low level anxiety all the time. It never leaves me lately. I thought explaining all that might make me feel better. Unloading it.

And then there's our current political climate which just feels unbearable.

It's enough to make a person wonder if she has an anxiety disorder.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Real Estate Update

Things continue to go amazingly, surprisingly well.

I had my first open house the Sunday before Thanksgiving and the sign in sheet was completely full. I was (am) very lucky because since my broker was also the seller of an apartment in our building, she sent all interested folks from her apartment (there were quite a few disappointed buyers when she accepted my offer) over to see mine.

I was also very lucky that my seller, Alex, also my broker for selling my place let me store things in her, soon to be my, apartment two floors down. That helped enormously with staging. I moved as many things as I could and my apartment now looks very spartan and neat. I also had my super paint the entrance hallways and the kitchen and dining area and the fresh coat of white paint made everything feel shiny and clean.

I actually had several offers within the first few days, despite it being the week of Thanksgiving. Again, amazing luck, and again, almost certainly due to the fact that they had been circling around Alex's apartment for several weeks (she didn't get her first offers nearly as quickly). I accepted an offer on Thanksgiving Day and we are all working on the contract now. Hopefully that will be finished in the next few days and then we will close 2-3 months after that.

Meanwhile the closing for my new apartment is scheduled for next Wednesday. Very exciting, very quick. Luckily I already live in the building so I don't have to go in front of the co-op board; the preparations for that can be quite time consuming.

I've been busily interviewing contractors and researching kitchen designs online and have made lots and lots of decisions. I have hired an amazing architect/builder team (well, the architect is amazing... I haven't met the builder yet) and they start a week after I close on my new place.

After multiple rave reviews about the Ikea kitchens from contractors and architects, I decided to commit to Ikea. I used their kitchen planning service and got refunded the cost of the service when I bought the kitchen. It was so exciting to design and plan my own kitchen! A fantasy I never let myself entertain before. Since the cabinets were inexpensive, I splurged a bit on a gorgeous quartz countertop that looks a lot like marble but will hopefully be more durable.

Counter top (white quartz composite with few faint threads of grey)
backsplash (a sort of mother of pearl blue) 

Last night I went back to this amazing tile store a contractor recommended and finalized my selections for the kitchen and master bath floors (faux wood porcelain tile with cork underneath to warm and soften it) and the kids bath (a pretty blue square tile) and the master bath shower floor -- a gorgeous multicolor pebble floor. The master bath will have a faux marble quartz tile on the walls and the kids have white brick tiles with a fun blue grey "pennies" accent.

Faux wood tiles for kitchen and master bath. 

white tile walls with accent "pennies" border. There will be white grout around them
so it will look much brighter when it's installed.

The blue square is the kids' bathroom floor next to the accent pennies.
(The faux wood behind them was the other option for the kids' floor but I decided the blue
was a bit more "playful" for kids.)

Master bath shower floor. How fun is this?

I had so much fun picking it out, though the freedom was a bit terrifying at times. These are choices that I and possibly future tenants will live with for years to come! What if I make a mistake?

Meeting with all these contractors and running all these errands and cost me quite a bit in babysitting funds but things are mostly done and should quiet down for a while... although of course paying the contractors will be a big event. But I'm trying to remember that this is a smart financial investment as well as an investment in our happiness.

Hopefully we will move downstairs in two months or less!