Monday, December 2, 2013

It's A...

So did we or didn't we decide to find out?

The short answer: we did. But how we got to that decision wasn't quite as short.

We got to the appointment and, as expected, the ultrasound tech asked if we wanted to know the sex. I still hadn't made up my mind, so I asked if she could write it down for us. (Quickly adding that we weren't doing one of those trendy gender reveal parties, we just weren't sure what we wanted to do yet.) She said she'd do us one better: she'd print us a photo and type it on that.

She told us to close our eyes, and I intently listened for the number of keystrokes as she typed. She put the photo in an envelope, we wrapped things up, and then we left.

We decided to grab lunch, and continued to sit on the envelope, asking each other all throughout the meal, "What do you want to do?" "I'm not sure, what do you want to do?"

We both were hedging, but I think Jay was just being sensitive to my indecision, since I knew he wanted to find out from the very beginning. Finally we realized, who are we kidding? and we opened the envelope. And? It's a boy!

Of course, we would have been happy either way, but before we opened the envelope, both of us had talked about how we had a "feeling" it was a boy. (What's more, one look at the sonogram photo of the baby's face, and you could tell it took after its father.)

Now admittedly, I was a bit disappointed that I wouldn't be buying cute dresses in the near future, but at least now the two of us can focus on coming up with some names, and I can focus my worries on things like this...

...instead of things like this:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gender Bias

Admit it: Everyone has one. Even you. Which is why I need your help.

Next week, we go for the 20-week ultrasound where we can find out the baby's gender. Jay wants to know. I am unsure.

Before I got pregnant, I was adamant about not finding out my future baby's gender, thinking of the in-the-moment reveal as one of life's truly great surprises. But you can be just as surprised when the ultrasound tech tells you, Jay argues. (He's always so logical. I hate it.) But now that I'm approaching that moment, I'm not so sure where I stand. It's like when I was shopping for a wedding dress: I thought I wanted cap-sleeved lace, but wound up with strapless silk. Point being, you never really know how you're going to feel until you get there. Which might be where my new-found ambivalence on the matter comes from.

That's not to say I want to know now; I'm still intrigued by the idea of not finding out. But with no nursery to decorate, and the fact that we are having a really hard time agreeing on names, you could argue that the logical thing to do is to find out. But you could also argue that there is something really great about not being logical about it -- probably one of the last times for a looooong time that we'll be able to ignore the reasonable choice and just see what happens.

So. My question to you...

Do we find out, or do we not? Deadline for responses is 7 p.m. ET Monday. 

Photo: The Mielke Way

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Can We Kick It?

Last Friday was my birthday, and can you believe the baby knew to get me a gift? (Actually, are we really all that surprised that my kid is on top of things?)

I have been saying since the start that aside from my now-huge boobs, there have been very little outward signs that I'm pregnant. In fact, I've often said how I wish I could be like Tom Cruise allegedly was when Katie Holmes was pregnant with Suri and get my own sonogram machine, just so I could make sure the kid is still in there. (S)he has been that chill.

But on Saturday night, I felt something. Like a bubble popping. (Gas, maybe?) But then I felt it again as I lay in bed Sunday morning. Yep, that was definitely a kick. It was exciting and cute, and a very welcome sign of life. (S)he was really kicking it on Wednesday night, and Jay got a feel. (You can't beat the smile on his face every time the kid makes an appearance.)

So, it's starting to feel real -- finally. Though I'm still in a state of disbelief that this is actually happening. Even though I literally want to bury my head in the sand every time someone says, "You're halfway there!" I'm pretty confident that when the time comes, we'll be able to kick it together.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Your Burning Baby Questions, Answered

Since the baby news broke, I've been fielding a lot of questions. Herewith, are my answers:

1. How did you find out you were pregnant?
This requires a little back story. A few days before we left for a vacation with Jay’s family in Hilton Head, I had gone in for some blood work with my doctor. They called pretty quickly and said I needed to come in. After some back and forth leaving messages and whatnot, we finally connected during a drive back from the Tanger outlets, where I had just scored a $400 Coach bag for $140. (Sorry, had to brag about that.) I said I was on vacation and anxiously asked, "Why the urgency? What did the blood work show?" "You’re pregnant," the nurse said, seemingly as shocked as I was about to be. "Whaaat?!" was my reaction, and I immediately pulled into the first parking lot available. Jay was with me, and from the big grin on his face I could tell he knew what the nurse had just told me. She said it was very early, about 4-5 weeks, and that I needed to be very careful, and I needed to come in first thing when we got home. Yes, yes, yes, I replied. We hung up, I articulated to Jay what he already knew, and we got out of the car to celebrate. I then made him drive home, where I proceeded to worry about all the things I had done in the last few weeks that you’re not supposed to do when you’re pregnant, like eat cured meats, drink, and go through the x-ray scanner at the airport.

2. How did your parents react?
Because we found out so early, we were hesitant to tell anyone, but because we happened to be in Hilton Head with all of Jay’s family—who we likely wouldn’t see again until Thanksgiving—we decided to tell them. Having never done this before, we weren’t sure how to go about it, and so as we were sitting outside after dinner, Jay blurted out, "So Mom, funny story…" and reiterated the day’s events. "Jason, that’s not funny," she reprimanded him. (Even at 33, the use of your full name is never a good sign.) It took about 30 seconds to convince her that he was, in fact, telling the truth, and then all, of course, were joyous.

We got home on a Friday and decided to go to my parents’ that Saturday to tell them. Christmas is kind of a big deal in my family. We make an annual pilgrimage to Pennsylvania to cut down our Christmas tree, and my dad especially loves the holiday, so before we left Hilton Head, we visited one of those year-round Christmas shops where I picked up an ornament that had two snow people holding a sign that said "Best Grandparents." Once we arrived and settled into lunch, I gave a gift bag to my mom and said, "We picked you up something in Hilton Head." She opened it, and looked a bit puzzled. "Is this for real?" she asked. My dad, previously disinterested, asked to see what it was. "Really?" he said. For those of you who know my parents, you won’t be surprised to hear that my mom cried (happy tears, of course) and that my dad almost immediately made some reference about how he can’t wait to rough the kid up.

3. How do you feel?
Absolutely fine! I’ve had zero morning sickness, and aside from being a little more tired than usual in the first few months, there are no other obvious signs I’m pregnant. Four months in and this kid's been so chill that I'm pretty sure I could have been on an episode of I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant, or as Jay likes to call it, Oops I Crapped a Baby.

4. Do you have any cravings?
Not really. If anything, I’m eating more carbs than I normally would, but I can't tell if that's a true craving or me just easing up on my everyday low-carb diet a bit.

5. Any names?
A few. But nothing that really has us excited yet.

6. Are you moving?
Not for the time being. When we first found out I was pregnant, I still didn’t have a job, and so the idea of leaving our rent-stabilized place didn’t make sense. And now that I do have a job, it still doesn’t make much sense, mostly because every time we start looking around we realize what a good deal we really do have. Call us idealists, but we’ve done lots of research on raising a baby in a one-bedroom apartment (and have talked to people who’ve done it) and it seems the key is minimalism. And in case we have a crier, I intend to make our upstairs neighbor a lot of cookies.  Still, once the kid is more mobile, I’m sure we’ll be forced to rethink this approach.

7. Will you find out the sex?
This one has been an epic debate between Jay and I for quite some time. I’ve always maintained that it’s one of the few true times you will be surprised in life, so I don’t want to find out. His very logical rebuttal: But you could be just as surprised when the doctor tells you at the appointment. Touché. Given that we’re having difficulty agreeing on names and we won’t be moving (see questions 5 and 6) I’m beginning to come around to his idea, but I’m still reserving the right to change my mind at any moment.

8. But you just got a new job! Do they know?
They do. My current boss is actually a friend and so she was one of the first to know, and it rid me of that worry about when to tell a new employer when I actually did land a job.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I Got a Job!

It’s been 19 days since my last post, and as you can see, I finally have something nice to say. This job is one I’ve been striving for for a while now. It’s a big one, and while I’m not entirely prepared for it, I think I’ll be okay at it.  

What is this new job, you ask? 

Well, I’m going to be a mom

The salary is quite crappy—non-existent, actually—but I hear the benefits are amazing

Currently, I’m 15 weeks along and we’re due April 5, 2014. I’ve actually known about the little bean since August, and so hopefully all my faithful readers now understand my random bouts of bitchiness and anxiety-induced whining about still not having a “real” job. Thank you for bearing with me. 

One thing’s for certain, though: this wasn’t unplanned. It’s something Jay and I had discussed, and part of what I hoped would make 2013 my year. When I lost my job in February, we talked about putting our plans on hold, but we ultimately decided there’s no time like the present. Like the chorus in the prolific Jimmy Eat World song “23” goes, you’ll sit alone forever if you wait for the right time. And if I’ve learned anything in the last year, it’s that trying to control Life and make it perfect is no way to live. Mostly because Life won’t let you live that way. 

That much is evident based on how Life bestowed me with this great gift but at the same time didn’t give my stress levels much of a break. (Welcome to the rest of my life, right?) I will elaborate on all of it in a later post answering some FAQs I’m quite certain a lot of you may have, but for now I’m intent on keeping things positive. (And if you’ve got a Q you'd like answered, feel free to throw it at me in the comments.) 

Now the pragmatic among you may be wondering what, in fact, I plan to do to earn money now that we'll have another mouth to feed. Until very recently, I had these horrifying visions of myself being a pregnant woman on unemployment, but Life finally decided it was time to cut me some slack and I’ve been offered a full-time job at the place I’ve been freelancing at for the last eight months, which I’ve gleefully accepted. Hooray! So I guess, technically, I now have two jobs. (When it rains it pours, the squeaky wheel gets the oil, and whatever other apropos clichés I can throw at this bit of news applies here.) 

Thank you all again for your patience with my whining as of late, and for your emails and notes of support. I promise that for the time being, the tone of this blog will change for the better—mostly because Life finally seems to be headed in the same direction. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Yes, I’ve Been Avoiding You

Frankly, because I have nothing nice to say, and even I’m tiring of my incessant whining. Things are, sadly, pretty status quo. I did go to the physical therapy school open house, and I could get excited about the chance, if it weren’t for figuring out how to go to school full-time and be able to earn a living. Suggestions are welcome.

So you know that cliché advice, if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all?

Well, I’ve decided that I won’t be blogging until I have something nice to say.

We’ll see how long this silence lasts.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Almost (But Not Quite)

So I got my first job offer in seven months. And then I didn’t.

Feeling low-balled by the salary offer—which came in about $9,000 below what I said I was looking for—I tried negotiating, which the hiring manager wasn’t interested in doing. And so that was it.

Now this job was far from my dream job, but still it was something—but someone gave me a great piece of advice about not wanting to start a job already feeling undervalued, so I’m trying to take comfort in that. But while I keep telling myself, something is coming that will be the right fit for you, it’s getting harder and harder to believe.

In the meantime, I have my open house for the physical therapy program to look forward to next Monday, and there were brownies in the kitchen at work, so at least I don’t have to spend money to soothe my damaged ego with some sweets.

There’s always a bright side, I guess.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How to Get Out of a Bad Mood

Yeah, I'll own it: the past few weeks I've been a bit of a bitch -- to my husband, my family, to strangers on the street -- and often for no apparent reason other than I feel like it.

It's not cool, I know, and I try my hardest to stifle it, but sometimes it gets the better of me. I'm not dumb enough to think that purposefully hurting others will make myself feel better, so I'm not sure why I let myself get away with such antics. Just because parts of my life suck right now doesn't give me license to act this way. Plus, it makes this blog -- purported to be about beauty and comfort -- a total trick. There's nothing beautiful or comforting about the way I've been acting.

So I set out to change it. How? By turning to the Internet. (Much like that kid in the most recent Google commercial.) Here are a few gems I found. (Sorry, did that sound bitchy?)
  • Do yoga
  • Listen to relaxing music 
  • Start a blog 
  • Spend time with people who make you laugh
Well, I've done all those things... I go to yoga at least once a week; I'm currently listening to some David Darling, and all it's doing is making me wish I was at a spa; um, hello! -- blogging right now! -- and finally, my husband, who I see on a daily basis, can be quite funny (most of the time).

And as I'm sure you can gather, none of these "tips and tricks" have worked. So short of asking my doctor for some Lexapro, I'm at a loss of how to get out of this what-feels-like-a-month-long funk.

I wonder: How do you get out of a bad mood? 

And it doesn't need to be beautiful or comforting advice. Who knows, maybe what I really need is to punch someone in the face.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I Feel Like I Owe You an Explanation

So I know I’ve been kind of vague lately about my life plans and “rearranging my blocks” and whatnot. I’ve been hedging on revealing exactly what I’m thinking about doing because, well, you know how once you say something out loud that means you actually have to follow through on it? I’m a little scared (and sad) to have to follow through.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about making a complete 180 on my career, and going back to school to become a physical therapist’s assistant. It’s a two-year, associate degree program that I could complete at a community college. It’s obviously a complete change from what I’ve been doing for the last 10 or so years, but given how dire the job search has been I’m feeling the need to pursue a profession that’s more sustainable. I could go into a long tirade about how journalism today isn’t the journalism I signed up for in college, but I won’t because the only people who really care about that are my fellow writer friends who are feeling the same sting of the changing—and more often than not—declining landscape.

So why become a PTA? Three reasons: I could complete my degree in a year or two, make a decent living, and it’s a much more transferable skill to a city other than New York. Physical therapy is something I’ve been doing personally, and to great success, and I like the idea of a day-to-day that’s more active than just sitting at a desk all day. But I’m only mildly interested it. It’s certainly not my passion in life, and definitely not in the way that writing is (was?).

And since I’m being honest here, another reason I’ve been hedging on making this transition is because I feel like I’m giving up on something I love. I liken it to the feeling I got when my high school boyfriend broke up with me before he went away to college. I knew it was the logical thing for him to do, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t sad about it. (For the record, this is a metaphor. I love my husband, not my ex-boyfriend from 15 years ago.) The thought of leaving writing and editing behind truly makes me sad, to the point where if I thought about it long enough I could probably shed a tear over it. Maybe.

Some folks have been quick to point out that even if I do pursue PTA school, I don’t have to completely give up writing—I could still freelance, after all. And blog. But it’s more than that. It’s this notion I have that I’m “giving up,” and I’ve mentioned before how I don’t like it when Life beats me.

And so...

I wonder: Any advice for me? Do I pursue PTA school or continue in the manner I’ve been in?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday

Starting in September, I begin working a full work week. That's right, Monday through Friday, five days a week, just like the rest of you working stiffs.

Which means today was my last Tuesday to myself. (Due to an upcoming Labor Day vacay, I'm choosing to work next Tuesday.) And I'm really bummed about it. Tuesdays have been my day to either act like a housewife doing laundry and cooking dinner or to act like an Upper East Side socialite meeting friends for lunch and getting pedicures (as I did today). On Tuesdays, I actually could be the free-spirited woman Mick Jagger sings about in "Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday" and do whatever I wanted.

And that has been beyond helpful to my sanity over these last few months, where my life and career seem to have been stuck in limbo. Not having to run errands after work or on Saturday meant no frustratingly long lines at the post office, always having the big washer available at the laundromat, and my pick of the freshest produce at the grocery store. It also meant plenty of time for job hunting, freelance pitching, and blogging with no interruption (or guilt, as is the case on the days when I am on the job, getting paid by the hour). Plus, it's been incredibly rejuvenating for my weekends, which could now be completely dedicated to more time with my husband, family, and friends due to the lack of aforementioned errand-running.

But just to be clear, I am by no means bemoaning the fact that I will actually be making more money, at least for the month of September anyway, when the gig is up. And hopefully, should I actually land a job in the meantime, it will be a nice segue, rather than an abrupt thrust back into reality.

Still, my experience really makes the case for a four-day work week, which multiple studies have found increase productivity and worker satisfaction. If I'm ever a boss, I'm sooooo implementing this.

Photo: Print Company

I wonder: What would you make of a four-day work week?