Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Empty. Empty. Empty.

So, the wine bottle is officially empty.

My weekend of bliss roaringly ended Tuesday morning when Cricket woke up at 5:00. Partner was already going with her day since she has to report to work at 6:30. That left me to "snuggle" with a baby who has discovered the gleeful joy of rolling all over the bed while pretending to be alseep. I'd look down at him in the hazy light of a snow covered morning and he'd be smiling, with his eyes closed. Cute, yes. Annoying also, when one considers I didn't go to sleep until 1:00 am the night before. Studying for a test. I stayed up a little later consoling myself with the thought that I'd sleep in until about 6:15. Which is wrong on so many many levels. Sleep in until 6:15? This is what my life has come to.

Alas, I was up with the babe. Eventually he had enough and fell back asleep, but in our bed, and not fully enough that I could pick him back up and place him into his own bed, the one with high sides that ensures he will not fall out. So I had no shower. I don't know about you, but a shower really does wake me up in the morning more than coffee or tea or any other caffienated elixer.

We got to school where I did my best Tenzing Norgay imitation by carrying in Cricket, my backpack complete with nursing tomes, his lunch, and the Britax carseat. Through the snow too. Went to class and got back a test in my research class with the worst grade I have gotten on a test since 1993. The day was going really well.

Then I met with my people I have to a group project with and explained why I hate lunch time meetings when yet another one was proposed. (And why do I hate these meetings? Because it's the only time I have all freaking day to sit down and not think-- until about 9:00 at night that is. And quite silly of me, I thought if I explained this slowly and surely, the others would empathize, as I expected we are wont to do as nurses. As you may have already expected from your own personal run ins with nurses, empathy is not a prerequiste. The response I got from a fellow childless student who is young young young: "We all have responsibilities." Hm.) Lunch time meeting scheduled despite my best efforts to compromise. (I have so much to say about this, but whatever, this is about the wine bottle being emptied.)

I then lost it in the stairwell of the School of Nursing, conveniently located above my child's school, so that all the teachers coming in from outside could hear me babbling away about school, stress, and kids. (Try doing 60 credits in one year-- it's not as easy as it sounds!) I don't know about you, but I like my breakdowns to be in private, like a bathroom stall, a parked car in an empty lot-- I'm just like that.

I got to peek at Cricket for two minutes. I don't let him see me on Tuesdays since he goes home with the babysitter and not a mom. This did more to further break my heart open into four seperate chambers.

Studied more for test I was woefully underprepared for. (But report 100% success on, thank God.)

Went home and emptied end of the wine bottle started on my blissful pseudo-single weekend.

All the entreaties I had to enjoy the weekend are so not lost on me now. Is it too soon to open another bottle?

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Pseudo-Single Splendor

Yesterday afternoon I dashed out of class and down the slippery front steps of the School of Nursing. We had about an hour, enough time, but with traffic one never knows. And Partner admitted she was rather peckish and would like to get something to eat. "Because, you know," she said, "I don't want to pay ten dollars for a bag of chips at the airport."

But we made it with time enough to spare. I dragged the cases out of the trunk and Partner hustled them to the curbside check in. I turned off the car, slid the stroller out, and then lifted the Cricket into my arms. He was looking especially dapper in navy blue fleece pants, a t-neck and a red fleece vest. If a one year old can look sporty or apres ski, our kid did. I kissed him ten thousand times and strapped him into the stroller. Partner came back from checking in, and we embraced the way same sex couples do at the airport-- slightly self-conscious-- and then she took off with the boy, pulling him behind her so I could wave until she reached the door. Then I called out a final farewell, tears streaming, and got back into the car. It was a grey day. I turned off the NPR and let the sounds of planes taking off above my head fill the car. The rising rumble seemed to match my mood. Alone. Alone. With a deep crescendo, the final note almost a moan.

Cricket and Partner are gone for the weekend, leaving me behind. I had/have big plans to study my brains out. So far, I haven't done that badly. But I have a small horrible admission: despite my tears at the airport, since that time I have been having a really good time. I'm liking being on my own. And feeling slightly guilty about my guilty pleasure.

For example, I'm blogging. I know I don't blog nearly enough now, and I miss it. I'm a writer, and when I don't get to write, even here at the blog, I feel it. And here I sit on the couch, a big (and I mean big) glass of red wine next to me. A carry out box from the new posh market around the corner. The house is spotless related to a late afternoon showing. (Buy my damn house already.) I am playing music quite loudly.

Last night I met a friend and her family at the pub: four kids and her husband. One would think this would engender some pretty intense longing my for own family, but instead I just loved having a pint and some fish & chips without worrying about Cricket. (Too smoky? Eating enough? Behaving well? Having fun?) I came home, got into bed and read with the light on. And the TV. Something that hasn't happened, in oh, say the 13 months that Cricket has been sleeping in our room.

I went to a movie alone. It was blissful.

Tomorrow I am going to sleep in. And then study more.

I don't think I'm a bad mother for enjoying this so much, but there's part of me that wonders if I shouldn't be missing them both more right now. I have a feeling I'll be slightly desperate by Monday when the return, but as of now, I'm still in pseudo-single Shangri-La. I'm contemplating a bath. The world, I feel, is ripe with possibility. There's a larger commentary here, I think, about mothering and how as much as you adore your kids, the prospect or in this case, reality of a vacation from them can be soul serving. Lest I forget that it is work (which is highly doubtful), this small respite has reminded me of that. As much as I loathed the thought of this weekend, I might insist on biannual weekends like this from now on.

Still, when I return the airport Monday afternoon, I know that when I see the faces of my Partner and the Cricket, even the grey Michigan day will seem brighter, and probably more so for my weekend alone. The planes taking off into the clouds won't seem so obliterating an image, and this time their roaring take-off note will sound fullness in my heart at my family reuinted.

But really, until that time, pass the wine...


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Oysters and the World Of: Open to Suggestions

In my previous career, the illustrious world of English doctoral studies, the living was, well, not easy, but certainly different from the new career I am seemingly embarking upon. There are a number of pros associated with a life spent engaging in research in the Humanities, and many of those things I miss dreadfully right about now. Especially as one of my classes has to do with research in Nursing, and guess what? It sucks. I'd rather do my old research over this crap any day.

However one of the best things about this new career in nursing is the job market. Unlike having a PhD in English, a mere BSN in nursing, and especially from a top tier school, offers one the option of having a job just about anywhere. Whereas a hard fought struggled to find a tenure track or even just full time job with benefits is de rigueur in my previous field, it's not even an issue for me now. I regularly get recruiting emails from all over the country and this has started us thinking. About moving. I can almost guarantee it won't happen, but still. We're thinking.

We live where we live for a number of reasons. One, and the primary one that will most likely keep us here, is that we live near both our families. Even though we're about an hour away, it's close enough for family to rally if, say, one of us were to go into preterm labor five weeks early. And I think being close to family is a good lesson for Cricket. Now, I lived less than a mile from my Gramma growing up, which was super because anytime I fought with my mom in high school, which was alarmingly often, I'd trek over to her house. It had to be nice for my mom, in a way, to know right where I went. She might not have appreciated the fact that my Gramma often took my side, but to know where I was, well, talk about one less thing to worry about. But we live too far for that to happen with Cricket and subsequent kids, unless we move over and up one county, a move I'm actually pretty loathe to make. Our little town we live in now has its share of pretensions, but I'm ready to live with those pretensions over the obsession with money that exists in the town where I grew up. I'd rather my children grew up pretentious about being liberal Democrat greeny recyclers than obsessed with what car, jeans, coat, etc they are wearing. So, that's another reason we live where we live: the political atmosphere here is good for a two-mom family. And good for a kid of a two mom family.

So when fantasizing about new places to live, here's some of the criteria I've made about that fantasy location:
  • Liberal enough that Cricket et al won't ever feel funny about having two moms and that fact of having two moms won't be looked at askance by a majority of the population in said town
  • Must be a big enough town to still have a city like feel. I must be able to buy gourmet grocery goods like good cheese, fancy mustards, and British tea, namely, Typhoo.
  • I will be able to get CBC on some sort of cable so I can keep watching Coronation Street. I'm not kidding. I love that stupid show.
  • Will have a top notch medical system where I can expand and challenge myself in my new career.
  • Ideally would not have super bad winters, but I'm willing to compromise on this for other trade offs.
  • Is not too far away from Michigan. Unless it's Europe. But a language barrier persists. I don't speak French quite that well. (Plus, I'm really too fat to live in Europe.)
  • Is not plagued by massive wildfires, avalanches, earthquakes, or mudslides. (California off the list.)
  • Is not grey for 350/364 days of the year, like Michigan.
  • Does not carry the worst economic status in all of the United States, like Michigan. It's hard when you are depressed to shake out of it when the whole damn state is depresssed and f-ed up. (See Detroit scandel number 1,045.)
  • And some other crap I can't remember right now.

So, here's our fantasy very short list with small explanations on why we pour over google to look at images, job postings, and real estate in these areas:

  1. Toronto: Added benefit-- Be Canadian! Okay, I get Toronto is cold, colder than here for sure, and would never really ramp up to the heat factor I so depend upon, but there are good hospitals. Granted, nurses don't quite get paid what they do here, but we would be recognized as a family unit. That in and of itself is pretty spectacular. And we'd get to be Canadian! I'd get my Typhoo and wouldn't have to leave Coronation Street behind. We'd be easily acsessible to family via train. We could have one car and rely on city transportation. And we'd be Canadian! Enough said.
  2. Some liberal like place in North Carolina which I previously thought was Ashville until someone told me it was pretty small town: I can't live in a smaller town than the one I am in. But I believe in some small liberal part of North Carolina around Duke or Chapel Hill we can be lesbians and our son won't be teased to death. Added benefit: great weather! Shorter drive to the ocean! Con: No Corrie.
  3. Okay, this odd, but Cleveland. I don't honestly think we'd leave Ann Arbor for Cleveland, but there is the Cleveland Clinic, which has all it's own prestige. But I'd really just be leaving behind UM, which is just as good, right? Con: No Corrie. I don't think. Do people in Cleveland get CBC still?
  4. And finally, Boston. Another place where we'd be recognized as a family, for now at least, and a number of really super hospitals where I could be challenged. And definitely I'd get my British tea. And considering that every 4th person in Boston is probably my cousin, I might feel at home soon enough. (Calling all micks, calling all micks!) Con: No Coronation Street.

I know there's other options to add to the mix. Any suggestions? It really is far too much fun to know we could, if we wanted, go anywhere we wanted. Rally for your location now! Where is your personal oyster? It doesn't have to be where you live!

Now, back to studying meta-analysis of evidence based practice nursing research. Ho-hum.

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True Blue

Here are some reasons why I'll always be maize and blue.

Even though I often assert my hatred of winter, one has to admit there is a certain beauty to it. I suppose I might it like more if someone bought this behemoth house we live in and I didn't imagine dollar bills spewing out of the heat register every time I hear it silently whoosh on. I can't wait until someone finally buys this house and I can move someplace small and cozy and turn the heat up to 82 if I want.

For now, I'll keep look at pictures like ones linked above and remind myself there really is beauty in Michigan in the winter.

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