Seven or eight years ago when I was with my ex, I started talking to another guy online — an American in Toronto, working on his degree in some politics & international relations field. We really hit it off. He and his girlfriend lived together, but he was having a hard time; emotionally, we were both at very low points in our lives. Our friendship pulled the both of us through some very dark hours, and since I was intentionally isolated from my family at that point, having his support and love saved my sanity. He meant the world to me. We had a close relationship but one for which time was pretty irrelevant; we could not talk for weeks when life took over, but then the moment we talked again we slipped back into our roles with ease.
A few years later, in that brief gap of months between when I broke up with my ex and hooked up with Chris, I emailed this guy as well, to see how things were going. He didn’t reply for a few weeks — and by the time he did, I had fallen in love with Chris. So when I came up to Toronto in August 2003, I ended up spending a day with him. This happened to be the day the power went out all along the East Coast, so we did a heck of a lot of walking to get around, and then concluded the day sitting on a patio at a bar with Chris, watching the stars over Toronto. It was a great day (of which I have no pictures, go figure), and we spent it just chatting about life, with no real sexual tension between us — although of course we both touched on the irony of me finally coming to Toronto, but to be with another man.
I haven’t seen him since. By the end of the year when I moved to Toronto, he had moved to Ottawa for a teaching job at a University there. When Chris & I took a trip to Ottawa & Montreal for our one year wedding anniversary, Chris made it clear that he didn’t really want an old flame of mine to be in the picture, and I understood that (although it angered me at the time, particularly when we were sitting bored in our hotel room as it rained).
Well now, for the next three or four days, the professor is down in Toronto. And I want to see him, badly. Any “passion” in our friendship has simmered down into ease, and we just get along. I’ve got a schedule for the train into Toronto sitting on my desk with his cell number scribbled across the top of it, and he’s got four hours this afternoon for me.
Of course, then there’s Chris. Despite his insistence that he doesn’t “have a problem” with me going to see the professor, he does; he’s making the argument that we don’t have the money for me to go gallavanting around. This, after he went out to dinner with another friend of ours last night — I have $25 in my wallet and that is damned more than enough for a round-trip ticket into the city plus a coffee. I haven’t been to the city just for the sake of being in the city since my sister visited over a year and a half ago (we visited friends who live downtown, and spent the entire night playing Wii and eating burritos).
So I’m experiencing a dilemma. Do I go see the professor because it’s been five years and I don’t know when the opportunity will present itself again, or do I sit this one out for the sake of my marriage? Doesn’t that set a bad precedent? But that said, the only time Chris gets possessive of me like this is when the professor is in the picture. Still, this guy’s the oldest friend I actually keep in touch with. I dunno. I have to make this decision within the next few hours…
Update: I ended up deciding against going today. One, it’s too much stress. Two, I tend not to do things that I’m unsure of or uneasy about; this seems to work well. Three, I’m going to call the professor once he’s in town and see if there’s any other day we can get together, because I’ll work out getting ahold of the car which would be infinitely easier to finagle.
So for the last few weeks, I’ve been making my way through “The Mommy Brain: How Motherhood Makes Us Smarter” by Katherine Ellison. It’s taken me this long because I read the book in little bits & pieces, while eating or before bed, and I’m one of those people who reads several books at a time so I can always turn to a new subject if I want.
This book has been absolutely fascinating. Although quite scientific in nature, everything is written simply enough for even the most science-phobic person to understand; there aren’t a whole lot of scientific terms used, but nearly every time there is, a quick explanation follows (for example, oxytocin is mentioned often, and even when you haven’t read about it for three chapters the book will remind you that this is the hormone linked with mother-child bonding). I really enjoyed reading about the experiments with rats, even if I don’t want to think about myself being just like one; still, there’s something really stunning about the primal connection that mothers share no matter what — our evolutionary urge to nurture, love, and protect. And there’s no denying the test results that show how having a litter fundamentally changes the rat mother’s brain, just like having a baby changes the human mother’s!
Have you ever felt like your “mommy brain” leaves you forgetful and dazed? Okay, but do you realize how creative you’ve gotten in your problem-solving and communication skills, how much more empathic you’re becoming when “reading” other people, and how naturally multi-tasking comes to you? Anecdotes sprinkled throughout this book reminded me of the common sense intelligence that mothers have in spades — one in particular made me laugh and laugh. A woman talks about taking a drive down a mountainside with her son, who starts yelling “MOMMY! MY VOICE IS GETTING QUIET!” She assures him that it isn’t, but he’s panicking: “MOMMY! SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH MY VOICE! IT’S TOO QUIET!” And then she realizes — the change in pressure from them coming down off the mountain means that he needs to pop his ears, which is why he thinks his voice is getting quiet; she tells him to swallow, he does, and he’s happy because his voice is “back to normal”.
This book was easy to read and as I mentioned, great even in small bites. The chapters are all tightly focused and broken up into separate headers, so it’s easy to read a page or two, get through a certain section, toss in your bookmark and go on with daily life. I will definitely pick it up again in two years or so, to re-read and see which things I’ve noticed changing in my life. I’d recommend this to any mom or mom-to-be — it made me feel so proud and happy about all the uncontrollable, hormone-related things that I have coming to me, and made me realize even more what an amazing process of change my own mother went through.
I don’t know if I’ve ever loved you so much as I do now that I’m going through this whole pregnancy thing, mommy 🙂
Now listening to: Lamb, “Gabriel”
I missed it on television, but it was fortunately posted almost immediately to youtube:
In case you missed it & are interested :] I love this man.
This has to be the height of pregnancy. I feel great, I look great, I can still (sorta) bend over, all food looks & smells delicious, the baby’s movements generally don’t hurt, I can still get away with wearing a lot of pre-pregnancy shirts, and I have plenty of energy going on. I have absolutely zero sex drive, but I can live with that since my husband seems to feel the same. My dogs can still sit on my lap one at a time, though when they both try to squeeze up there it’s not very comfortable, and I can still use my oven without feeling like I’m risking my belly catching on fire.
The worst part is that I know all this comfort has to end, sooner rather than later. It’s all downhill from somewhere close to now.
Fortunately, I love rollercoasters 😉
Now listening to: Sarah Bareilles, “Fairytale“
So, as mentioned before, on October 15th we went in for our immigration interview, to prove that we’re a “genuine and valid” couple. Fun fun fun. We are. The interviewer mentioned, however, that we needed to pay a fee at the office that approved my husband’s sponsorship and that she needed to see if she could obtain a medical extension for my record (which has been expired for two months — and which, it should be noted, the immigration office itself told me I did not need to update if my doctor said I cannot get an x-ray because I am pregnant, but of course that becomes suddenly irrelevant and a burden on MY shoulders when push comes to shove). She said it would take up to ten days for her to get the permission.
Well, it’s been nearly two business weeks, which is close enough to ten days for me, and we haven’t heard anything from her. She said her office would send us a letter to let us know whether things get approved. I asked for an email or a phone call as well, and she said they can’t do that. What the fuck am I giving you people my email address and phone number for if you can’t use them to communicate information with me quickly? So every day I’ve been checking the immigration status website, and every day since early August it has said the exact same thing on my application status — “Interview scheduled for October 15, 2008.”
Despite having not heard back from her yet, we decided to go ahead and pay the fee we need to pay. Chris drove up to the sponsorship office yesterday — only to be told that they can’t accept payment, but he could try the other immigration place up the street. So he went there, which was a completely blank building inside with only a two-way mic to communicate with the people he needed to. They told him that the fee cannot be paid until the application is finalized. He told them that our interviewer said it needed to be paid before the application’s finalization; they told him she was wrong.
So, defeated, he goes back to work & gives me a call. I call the Canadian immigration hotline to talk to someone, who tells me that yes, the fee needs to be paid before my application can be finalized. I ask him if he has any information about the status of my application, he says he can’t even access my records because I applied as “living outside of Canada” and apparently, Canada Immigrations in Canada can only access records of people applying as “living in Canada”. Because that makes fucking sense. Anyhow, he tells me I can pay the fee to the sponsorship office online, and it should be $490. He says it’s great that I have to pay this fee in particular, since it usually means everything is fine with the application and I should be getting approval soon — this isn’t a surprise, since the interviewer told us the same thing, BUT this is the first time someone has given us a figure, so that’s nice.
In fact, this is even nicer than I realized, because once I’m logged into my account on the Canada Immigrations page, there is NOTHING to be found about me needing to pay a fee. But if I don’t log into my account and click on the “pay application fees” link, I can get to a page that lists something like 20 possible different fees that could need to be paid depending on what application I’m providing and what stage of the application I’m at. We pick the only one that’s $490, and have to set up a NEW account just to provide credit card & payment application that doesn’t even ask for our case file number. What the fuck ever.
So Chris faxes in a copy of the receipt along with a cover letter stating what fee it is and for which case file, and today I mailed out the same to the office. My account page still isn’t updated with any information on the medical thing, so we tried to call the Detroit office. After stumbling around trying to find the number, Chris gives it a call — and go figure, it’s a number where you can’t actually speak to anyone, it’s just an automated message.
Know what the message says? SEND THE OFFICE AN EMAIL TO COMMUNICATE WITH THEM.
Sooooo, I sent them an email asking for an update on my application status as well as trying to confirm that I paid the correct fee to the correct office. I tried really hard to be polite in this email, but as you can imagine, after five years of this constant back and forth with no one person assigned as a case worker that can help us out, it’s getting fucking exasperating. Even more frustrating is the fact that I’m due in 103 days, but it takes 90 days from the date of the application’s approval for me to get Ontario health insurance. I am praying that by some miracle, the approval process gets finished within the next 10-13 days, and then that Maia decides to take her time and arrives into our lives a few days late (due date: February 15th). I mean, can you just imagine if I had the baby like two days before my health coverage kicked in? That would be the world of Canada Immigrations taking one last, satisfying, peanut-laden shit on our faces.
Frustration levels: high. Anxiety levels: getting there.
So, appropriately I think, after I make the post mentioning how my baby’s quiet today and how I had a house burn down once, the fire alarm in my building goes off at 11:10pm. I’m talking like a SERIOUS alarm, the loudest sound I have probably ever been exposed to — and definitely the loudest Maia’s heard. She starts kicking up a storm, the chihuahuas start running around in panic whimpering, and a naked Chris comes stumbling out of the bedroom. Together (once we’re all bundled up) we head outside to watch the fire trucks & policemen arrive. Nothing serious was wrong; turns out some dummy left a pot on the oven and fell asleep. Everything’s okay and no one was hurt, thankfully. But it smells, badly, in the apartment building now… yuck!
– My belly is so big that it makes my ass look small. And like, I have serious badonkadonk going on — here’s a pre-pregnancy pic:
– My dogs are supposed to be on a diet of 1/3 cup of kibble per day. They have thus far otuwitted me by gnawing a hole in the side of their bag of food, which I put out of their reach at 9am, yet have not been interested in food that I try to give them all day long, which leads me to believe that they have more squirreled away somewhere.
– I really wanted roasted chicken tonight, but since I won’t leave my oven on while I’m not home (blame the whole “house burning down when I was younger” thing) and we’re going to the gym tonight, frozen pizza it is. I’ll put extra spinach on mine.
– I can’t wait for this election to be done and over with. I haven’t watched Wolf Blitzer in weeks and I don’t miss him at all anymore — my addiction to THE SITUATION ROOM has been broken successfully.
– Maia is not moving much today. So I was lying on the couch with Buffy and poking at my belly, when I hit a spot that felt … funny. Like resistant. I think I found her head. Sorry for poking your eyeball, honey.
– I typed this post totally in the nude, cause I just got out of the shower. Shaving my legs was … fun. It feels really nice to have a breeze coming in through the window. Sorry if this makes you feel a little funny, I’m going to get dressed now.
Now that I am suddenly, blatantly pregnant, I worry about what’s in my cart when I go grocery shopping. Do people look at those packets of Ramen and think “SHE SHOULD BE EATING BETTER”? I can’t help that I have an unabashed love for spicy chicken noodles, okay? I wonder if they see the beautiful leaves of swiss chard covering the two pomegranates, nestled beside the mushrooms and apples.
But really, this all comes in second to what I didn’t buy at the grocery store today: a coffee cake cheese danish. I don’t know what brilliant mind decided to combine those two desserts, but it was a genius idea. Chris likes neither coffee cake nor danishes (wtf?) so I could not convince him that this item NEEDED to find its way into our cart, but I got my revenge by refusing to let him pick up the pumpkin pie sitting right beside it. WE COULD HAVE COMPROMISED AND GOTTEN BOTH, CHRIS!
Today was the first time I noticed the price of groceries having gone up. When it comes to meat, I only eat poultry and seafood; I’ve been this way for a long while now. We’re out of chicken, so we were checking it out… and for the generic stuff, it’s $9 for two measly little breasts with tender removed that I might be able to make a meal out of if I mixed it with lots of other stuff. I mean, seriously. That’s just stupid. We bought an entire roasting chicken for $9 that I’ll be cooking up tomorrow, and then I’ll use the remains for soup — that’s reasonable, at least.
Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure that if a pregnant woman were walking around with a coffee cake cheese danish in her hands, people would be really understanding. And women would stop me to ask where I got that delicious thing!
I’m saying it’s week 24, even though my midwife would say it’s 23 weeks and 5 days, and the hospital’s calendar would say 24 weeks and 2 days. 24 weeks exactly is the average!
AND HOLY FUCK, LOOK AT MY BABY:
For comparison, week 21: