Sunday, December 29, 2013

Creamy Clam Deliciousness

If you're here looking for creamy clam deliciousness in any form other than a really good recipe,  you'll need to look elsewhere.  Sorry.

So, posting recipes isn't normally a thing I do. I love having all my recipes together on Pinterest, but to pin something on Pinterest, it has to exist on the internet and this recipe doesn't. So, I'm making it exist.

This is a recipe that was given to my mother back in the eighties by an elderly lady in Connecticut that she took care of.  And it's pure, unadulterated, unhealthy deliciousness. I rarely make it, although I don't know why.  I love it, it's cheap, it's fast and easy, and it's so rich that you barely eat any, so you have plenty of leftovers.

I know.  You're thinking, "Clams? Yuck!"  But trust me.

 I am not a food blogger.

Clam Pie

Two cans chopped clams (if you REALLY hate clams that much, you can make it with small scallops.)
8 TBS (1/2 cup) butter
1 1/2-2 cups crushed milk crackers or lightly salted Ritz (Milk crackers are a thing that exist in Connecticut.  I have never found them anywhere else, so I use Ritz.  Regular Ritz are too salty, but hunt of salt Ritz are perfect.  I use two full sleeves.)
1 cup heavy cream
Garlic powder (I just sprinkle in a generous amount)
Salt an pepper to taste
Crumbled bacon (I have never made it with this, but as I was typing up the recipe just now, I had an epiphany.  Topping it with crumbled bacon is a thing I must do sometime.)

Pre-heat oven to 350 (F)

Melt butter.  Mix with cracker crumbs, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Press slightly more than half into a deep pie dish. (It doesn't have to be a deep dish pie pan, but it can't be too shallow, either.)

Drain the juice from ONE can of clams.  Mix clams (and juice from the undrained can) with cream.  Pour into pie pan.

Top the cream mixture with the remaining crumbs.

Bake for 20-30 minutes (until top is lightly golden). Let cool for 10-15 minutes, then slice and serve.  And die from ecstasy.

No, seriously.  I'm not. I know you're shocked.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Girl Who Lived

 I don't have a single memory of playing house with her.

Why pretend-play the daily drudgery of life with dolls and plastic dishes?  Instead, we pretended to be spies.  Rock stars.  Animal trainers.  Explorers.

Our Barbies lived the most fabulous lives. No, really. The most. So did our My Little Ponies.  And Strawberry Shortcake dolls. And  paper dolls.  I was so bored when I played these things with anyone else.  Only with her did paper dolls and plastic ponies get caught up in international espionage while vacationing in Paris en route to a Mediterranean cruise.

One day she decided she would like to run a radio station.  Being eight wasn't going to stop her. So, WRRT was born. At least once a week for an entire summer we would stand outside on my grandmother's porch and sing the greatest hits of 1983 at the top of our lungs. I was worried the neighbors would yell at us for being too loud.  She was worried we weren't singing loud enough for them to enjoy it.

From my earliest memories of her, she lived.

No matter what the situation, she was always having more fun than anyone else in the room.

Many of us may day dream about picking up, moving halfway around the world and starting a new life on a new continent. She actually did it.
She didn't need to be given a terminal diagnosis to finally go out and live life.  She simply always lived that way. "That sounds fun--I want to do that!" was reason enough to do it. 

And as I struggled with the events of my life last year, she sent me a message reminding me that I deserve to live, too. She said, "You're happier than I've seen you since we were kids. The whole family says it. Don't waste your time feeling guilty for choosing happiness. Life is too short for that.  Spend your time making your happiness worth the pain."

I'm going to miss her so much.

 Renae Turcotte

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I should be folding laundry.

(Photo proof that I am, in fact, still alive. 
And really, I just like my new hair cut in this picture and wanted to show you.)

I have a rare day off that doesn't include an appointment somewhere or a million errands to run.  I should be using this time to catch up on laundry and dusting, but no.  I'm here. I miss this place.  A lot.  I miss all of you.  (Is anyone even still there?) 

So, the laundry can wait.

Usually I have something to say when I sit down and click "new post."  Today, not so much.  I mean, I have a million things to say.  But nothing that I can organize into a coherent post.  So, I'm just going to answer some questions I've gotten from you about life since June.

1. Are you working now?

Yes.  That's the main reason I'm never here any more.  I'm working at a store.  My employment contract says something about not talking about the company, so let's just call it The Big Red Bull's Eye.  Or, Wal Mart For People Who Never Wear Pajamas To Shop.  Or, That Place Where If You Come In Wearing A Red Shirt And Khaki Pants Someone Is Going To Ask You Where The Light Bulbs Are.

It's a good company to work for.  (Really, I'm not just saying that to avoid a law suit.)  But it's physically hard (I stock shelves 7 hours a day), mind numbing (See:  I stock shelves 7 hours a day), and most of my co-workers AND supervisors are twenty-somethings.  I have to work a lot of weekends and evenings--you know, the time when my kids and Marianne are home.  So, I'm constantly on the look out for something better.  (Please, someone hire me. I would make a kick ass administrative assistant.)

The one part I DO like is cashiering.  I could do that all day.  And then I could come home and write a book about human nature based solely on what people buy.  Friday night is condom and mint night. It is apparently impossible to buy tampons without also buying chocolate, salty snacks, or ice cream.  No one ever buys anything else with a pregnancy test. And I'm not sure why there was a correlation, but during the government shut down (I live in the DC area), I rang up more Nicorette gum in a week than I did in the previous three months combined. It fascinates me.

2. is it going?  (Related:  Was it worth it? and Are you happy?)

The short answers--It's going fine, yes it was worth it, and yes I'm happy.   The long answers are more complicated.  What it is is hard.  And we expected it to be.  We both have more than a decade and a half of marriage baggage. There are seven kids and their happiness and adjustment to consider. There are mistakes we made in the past that we don't want to repeat with each other. And then throw in the (thankfully very few) bonus complications of this being a same sex relationship. It's work.  It's hard work.  But yes, absolutely worth it.  And there is happiness even in the hard parts. 

3.  You always post pictures of your houses when you move. When do we get to see your new house? (Related: Where do you put all the kids?)

We lucked into a renovated and upgraded town house in a great area for a very reasonable rent (seriously, we got really lucky finding this place).  It's big--bigger than my last house.  We have four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, living room, and large family room.  So far it's working for us.  The boys all share the big basement  bedroom, and have their own full bath.  The two little girls share a room, and the 12 year old has her own (tiny) room.  The three of them have their own full bath.  There's plenty of space for everyone.  There's even a room for the cat.  The downside is that we really have no yard (although the tradeoff is a huge deck off the kitchen), and three levels gets old fast.  Also, four bathrooms are fabulous until you're the one stuck cleaning them.

I didn't go all out with pictures, but here are some poorly lit, kind of blurry phone pictures of the main living area.  (The cat really wants you to know she lives here, too. Can you spot her?  She followed me around and is in all of them.)

(This is supposed to be the eat-in part of the eat in kitchen, but we decided to make it a sitting area for us. It's my favorite spot in the house.)

O.K., internets.  I've wasted enough time.  The laundry isn't going to fold itself.  I'll try not to let so much time pass before I stop in again.  In the mean time, come say hello to me the next time you're in So Many Pretty Things To Spend My Money On Mart.  I'm sure I'll be doing something fun, like stocking hemorrhoid cream.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

This isn't a real post.

Oh, Internets.  I have missed you.  I don't actually have time for a real post right now because I had to do the unthinkable.  I had to get a  job.  I'll tell you all about it (and how I know when it's Friday by the amount of condoms I scan), but for now, here's a preview.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Gay Divorcées

It's been brought to my attention recently that a certain person I know will not tolerate my "gay lifestyle", nor will she allow us to "promote being gay" at an upcoming birthday party we'll all be attending.

Well.  There goes my plan for the thirty minute gay-recruitment Powerpoint presentation before the cake is served.

As for not tolerating our gay lifestyle, I agree with her whole-heartedly. 

Let's take a look at a typical day of our Big Gay Lifestyle, shall we?

We wake up, brush our teeth and make the bed.  Children are then woken up and told to get dressed and brush their teeth. Coffee is made.  The gay cats are petted. The dishes are put away.  Kids are nagged to please get dressed and brush their teeth now.  Lunches are packed.  Breakfast is eaten.  Coffee is sipped.  When we remember, the deck garden is watered.

The kids are driven in one of two matching gay minivans to summer camp.  Marianne goes to her gay Shakespeare class.  I do household chores, the shopping, read, knit, and as of yesterday, go to work.

Marianne comes home, or if it's Wednesday, goes to work.  If she comes home, she does homework. Sometimes, if we're lucky, we run errands together.

In the evening, kids are picked up.  Dinner is cooked and eaten.  Kids are told to clean up dinner.  We relax for a few minutes in our gay matching arm chairs.  Sometimes we knit.  Kids are nagged to please clean up from dinner now.

After dinner we talk with the kids.  I talk to mine on the phone when they're with their dad.  Sometimes if we're feeling especially wild and crazy, we'll play some Uno or Sorry with the kids.  Or watch a movie with them. Or introduce them to Kevin, gay Paul, and Winnie from The Wonder Years on Netflix. Or go for a bike ride with them.  Or take them to help a friend move some boxes from her flooded basement.

At bed time, the kids are sent off to get ready for bed.  We sit and chat about our day, our schedules, the kids' schedules, what to have for dinner tomorrow, what's going on with our friends and family.  Kids are nagged to please get ready for bed now. Kids are tucked in and hugged and told that they're loved.

When the kids are in bed, we unwind on the couch with a little TV.  Sometimes Marianne has a glass of wine while watching TV.  Oh, and knitting.  We're usually knitting with wool sheared from free range gay sheep

[On rare occasion, there are no kids at home.  When that happens we eat dinner in the living room.  On the couch. In bathrobes and pajamas. Or maybe we'll have a friend or two over for dinner, where we will eat curry made from exclusively gay chicken, and talk about nothing but our kids all night.]

Then we go upstairs.  We brush our teeth.  We get into bed.  We say I love you. We go to sleep.

See what I mean about not tolerating that? That person is completely right about not tolerating that lifestyle. 


Our friend Sylwia came to visit last week (long time readers may remember her as my most interesting/controversial/infuriating commenter ever).  Though she is very Mormon and conservative, she is also usually very tolerant of those who choose a different path than her own.  But even she couldn't tolerate our Big Gay Lifestyle. After a few hours with us she announced in a very accusatory tone, "You guys are so noooorrrrrrmmmaaaalllllll. Ugh."

People are right to not tolerate our lifestyle.  You should cut us out of your lives, because odds are good that if you allow us into your home, we will talk about our kids.  And probably knit you something.  And then we'll likely even leave early so we can go home to sleep at a reasonable hour. 

I may be on the wrong side of history, but I'm taking a stand for what's right. My Big Gay Lifestyle cannot be tolerated any longer. 

Will you stand with me, America?  If not for me, then for the children. They can't be taught that this lifestyle is acceptable.

Please.  Think of the children.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Oh yes we did.

First we did this.

What do you do when you're told to pretend you're not 
a couple so as to not offend someone?

And then we did this.

I haven't been able to find my van in parking lots since I got Maryland plates.  
Problem solved.

We are ridiculous.
(And happy, in case you're wondering.)
  The End.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Life, Phase Two

 (No, I'm not pregnant, thanks for asking.)

It's been a month since I loaded up the kids and the cats and began this second phase of my life.

So far so good.

We unpacked the last box in the new house two days ago.  It probably would have been two weeks ago, but we hit a road block when it came to decorating.  Not because we disagree on style--we can sit down with a Pottery Barn catalog and fully decorate our dream house in less than ten minutes with nary a disagreement.  But our chotchkies and framed prints? They came with emotional baggage that neither of us expected.  For an entire day it was nothing but wooden chickens and tears. So there it all sat, all of the mementos of our former lives, piled in the dining room until we figured it out.

Luckily, we're really good at figuring it out.

(We decided to go with this theme throughout the entire house.)

And because finalizing our divorces, moving into a new place, blending our families, and starting a new life together wasn't quite enough stress, we decided to take a 10 hour road trip to Maine last weekend.  Marianne was able to meet a lot of my family and one of my old high school friends. As far as I could tell, they liked her.

The best part for me was seeing my family at ease around her.  For 16 years I've felt like my family was always on their best behavior around  The Former Husband (who will be referred to as TFH from here on out).  In all fairness, he never asked them to be.  But I know my family.  I know the language they use and the stories they tell, and that rarely came out around him.

But last weekend visiting them with Marianne was completely different.  I knew it was different when my mother told a story in front of her that I can't even repeat here (let's just say it involved zucchini).  I knew it was different when she bought beer to share at my aunt's house. I knew it was different when religion was discussed with my old friend and no one was offended and I didn't want to vomit from anxiety. Not only can I be me with her, but so can everyone else.  I haven't enjoyed a visit with my family this much in a long time.

(Also? I knew it was different when she, a New England girl herself, pronounced Worcester correctly.) (Woostah, in case you're curious.)

Anyway, the point is that things are going well.  And I'm happy.  I'm happy in a way I didn't know was possible. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Why yes, I AM still alive.

Internets, I have been neglecting you.  But I have a good reason.  Tomorrow is my kids' last day of school, which means it's been a busy couple of weeks leading up to it.  And I'm having a Lupus flare up that makes me want to sleep for a year.  Oh, and I'm moving in nine days.

NINE DAYS.  Maybe even seven.  We'll see how that works out.

I am so unprepared for this move.  Time seemed to drag on FOREVER, and I didn't do a whole lot to get ready.  But now it's here and I still haven't done nearly as much as I should have at this point.  I'm looking at some long hours over the next week.  Wish me luck.

And while you're at it, one of you buy this for me?  Pretty please?  I really, really want it. (The chair I REALLY want is out of stock, probably forever. This is my second choice.) It would make a lovely housewarming gift.  And my birthday is in a few months. And I'm about to be living on an unemployed housewife salary.  Thank you in advance.

(If any of you decide to take me seriously, you can buy it HERE.  
I can even go pick it up at the store to save on shipping. 
And I will send you an autographed picture of me sitting in it while eating 
Nutella straight out of the jar, with a side of bacon. That's worth it right there. )

I'll be back when my house is packed.  Or maybe when the new house is unpacked.  We'll see.  I even have a non-divorce, non-moving related post half written.  No, really!  One of these days this will be a normal blog again.

Just not today.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Seven Children?!

Did you read the title in Julie Andrews' voice?

 I'm already working on whistle calls for them all.

Every time I think of life after June 1st, I hear Maria from The Sound of Music saying that line, completely incredulous at the thought of that many kids. Seven children?!  Yes, seven children.

O.K., so for all intents and purposes, there will only be six children.  The seventh is about to graduate from high school, and while I hope she visits and feels like our house is her second home, she won't be living with us.

But still. That's six children.   And two moms.  And two cats.  And a part time hamster.

We're like a modern day Brady Bunch, just with better hair, more diversity, 100%
less sexual tension between Greg and Marsha, and no live in maid.  Someone call TLC--I see the makings of a new reality show here!

It's going to be a huge adjustment for us all.

These are kids who have been raised in different households with different rules, and now we have the very daunting task of blending them into one. And as alike as Marianne and myself are in our thinking, there are things we do very differently.

Like, paper towels for example.  I use the far superior Scott.  And I keep them conveniently on a counter-top holder.  Marianne uses Bounty. And insists they be kept on a wall mounted holder.

While I was visiting her last month, I had the audacity to put Scott paper towels on her (wall mounted) holder.  She and her kids tolerated it for approximately eleven minutes before they were replaced with Bounty (The Lintier, Pricier Picker-Upper). And now I will forever be known as the evil step mother with bad taste in paper towels. And napkins, apparently.

But thank goodness we all like to wipe our butts with Charmin.  That could have been a relationship ender.


It's going to be a big change for all of us.  Some of those changes are going to be really good, some will be really hard. But I'm confident we'll make it work.  Our priorities are making sure the kids know that all the adults in their life love them,  making sure none of them feel like mere visitors in either of their homes, and helping them stay connected with the parent they're not with at the time.  I feel like if we can accomplish those things, we'll be doing alright. I hope.

Some of you have asked about what my specific plans are for the future.

At the end of May I'll load up a  moving truck with everything I own, sedate the cats (and maybe the kids), and drive to Maryland.  Marianne and I signed a lease on a house just north of Washington D.C., which we will all (six kids, two moms, two cats and part time hamster) move into on June first.  My kids will have about a week to settle into the house they'll share with me, and then they'll spend the rest of the Summer with Will, getting settled into the house they'll share with him in Georgia.

And that's as far as my plans go.  I'll be looking for a job, so hopefully that will be part of the plan, too.

Beyond that, I think the plan is to be happy.
Really, really happy.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

America's Favorite Cookie

I received the following e-mail this week:

"God has no place in His kingdom for non-believers, adulterers, gays and those who mix races. You are all of those things. You are evil personified."

Non-believer?  Sure, at least for much of the religion this person belongs to.  Adulterer?  Yes, unfortunately.  Gay?  I guess, technically, although I don't really think of myself as gay. I just happen to love a woman.  But race mixer? What?

SHE'S BLACK????  Why didn't anyone tell me this before?  I had no idea! 

This changes everything.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Still the Best Week Ever

Every year I find myself wanting to write pages and pages about my week in the Outer Banks with some of the best people on the planet, but every year I end up writing the same thing.  We talked a lot.  We laughed a lot.  We ate a lot.  There was knitting and copious amounts of wine consumption.  There was the daily frolicking of the dolphins as we watched them from the upper deck of the house.  Just like every year, it was paradise.

And really?  I can't tell most of the stories that are worth telling.  Some of them wouldn't make sense unless you were there.  And some of them...well, what happens at BGW stays at BGW.  So, I'm just gong to throw a million pictures at you instead.  I promise you'll be rewarded for your patience at the end.

My sister Hailie, my cousin Renae, my friend Lindsey, my (insert appropriate label here) Marianne, and I left Maryland early Saturday morning.  We made a pit stop in Virginia to visit our friend Brie, who wasn't able to make it this year.  

 After six hours, we made it to the beach.

 Lindsey, who owned a cupcakery that just so happened to be featured on The Bachelor this season, made the official cupcake of Bad Girls' Week. Coconut lime. And they are divine. (I'm a poet and didn't know it.)

Chris, who is a cosmetologist AND a masseuse, stayed busy all week.
I got a hair cut AND a massage.  My favorite part was when she she beat me up at the end. I think if I get a massage again in the future, I'll ask them to skip all the rubbing and just spend the whole thirty minutes punching and karate chopping me. No, seriously.

The famous giant boobs made an appearance. Of course.

At least she doesn't sparkle.

 There was a baby this year.  Technically, he was there last year, too.  
But he was a fetus, and we couldn't eat his chubby thighs. 

 Best lunch ever.  Five of us ordered every single appetizer at a little wine and cheese place.  
And ate all of it.

One of the nights we all got dolled up and went to dinner at Dirty Dick's Crab House.  It's not really a wear your formal wear sort of place--I mean, there are rolls of paper towels on the tables-- but seventeen of us showed up in our finery anyway.   It was so much fun, and the food was great.  And really, we were doing them a favor.  It's the off season.  We were pretty much the only people in the whole place.  Seventeen women in ball gowns and cocktail dresses showing up was probably the most exciting to happen to them all winter.

We took up four tables.

The cutest kangaroos you ever did see.

One of these women travels with a machete.
Not even kidding. 
 After we left Dirty Dick's, we stopped by the fire department for a bonfire permit.  
Lindsey made a friend. He gave her a hat.

 Late night beach bonfires are the best.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

First, I want to thank all of you for the lovely comments and messages.  The response was overwhelmingly positive.  I honestly didn't expect that, so THANK YOU.

So, what's a girl to do after she makes a life-altering announcement for all the world to see?  She escapes to the (freezing cold, deserted) beach, of course.

This is the fourth year running that I have met up with a dozen or so friends for a week away in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  This is the week I look forward to more than any other the entire year, and this year I need it more than I ever have.

I'll try to post throughout the week like I usually do, but no promises.

I may just decide to not leave the couch at all.  

You can read about the previous years' meet ups HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Friday, March 8, 2013

You might want to sit down for this one.

[So, I hope you all enjoyed the brief foray into my reproductive organs, because we're going to talk about the divorce again. But you should stay for this one, I promise.  It's long, but stick with it.  Maybe make yourself a sandwich first.]

I'm not going to go into the details of why my marriage ended on this blog.  Ever.  I know some of you are curious--I know that I would be--but it's not going to happen.  Marriage is complicated, and there is no way I could adequately or fairly describe all the issues that contributed to its demise.  I will say that we both share the blame.  We both could and should have done things differently.  We both hurt each other.  And we both acknowledge that we should have ended this marriage more than a year ago, if not earlier.

But we didn't.  We didn't because there can be comfort in hurt, if that hurt is familiar. .

For me, the drawn out misery of staying seemed easier than the intense, short term pain of leaving. I'd gotten used to being miserable. And it wasn't all bad.  Of course there were happy times. When I've posted good things about my husband, and happy times in our family, I wasn't making them up.  They were enough to make me hope that somehow we could break free from the misery part.  But we couldn't, and not for lack of trying.  Some chasms are so wide and so deep, there is no way to build a bridge across them.  So there we were, stuck, and complacent in our misery.

It took a catalyst to start the fire that forced us out of complacency.

That catalyst is named Marianne. And I love her.

We have known each other for a very long time, and for we've been very close friends for several years.  Our friendship has grown and changed over the years, but it has never been like other friendships.  There has always been something different about it.  There has always been a complete acceptance of each other that we've never had from anyone else.  An unspoken knowledge that there was nothing--nothing--that we ever had to hide from the other.

I want to write volumes about our connection and our friendship and our love.  But that will have to wait for another time.  The point that I want to make is that it's not a new relationship in the emotional sense.  It's not a fling as some have called it.  It's not white hot and intense like a brand new romance.  It's more like the hot coals buried under the ash that have been smoldering forever--it took a long time for them to get that way.

She has spent the past few years trying to teach me that I have worth.  That I am loveable.  Because somehow along the way, I convinced myself that I wasn't.  I lost my ability to feel.  No, actually, I didn't lose it.  I deliberately threw it away.  I didn't want that ability.  And she dug it out of the trash, cleaned it off, and taught me how to use it again.

A few months ago, that friendship changed from just friendship to something more.  We both recognized the change, but we didn't know what to do about it.

And then we did know.  And I made a choice to begin a relationship outside of my marriage. 

Make no mistake--my marriage did not end because of Marianne.  As I said, my marriage should have ended a long time ago.  But I was too complacent in my misery to do something about it. And then I made choices--not all of them good-- that forced an end to that complacency. There are many things I wish I had done differently.  Many things I regret.  But I don't regret the end result.  I only wish there could have been less hurt to get here--the hurt caused by my recent choices, and the hurt my husband and I have caused each other over the past sixteen years.

Now Marianne and I are preparing for a new life.  A life together.  And as hard as this post may have been to write, I knew it had to be written.  I couldn't continue to write about my life here and leave out the part that I'm sharing that life with Marianne. She is an enormous part of it.

I know there will be some of you who will be hurt or disappointed in me for this.  I know there will be some who will choose to no longer maintain any sort of relationship with me.  I understand that. I expect that. I know that there are many who read this blog who can never condone this relationship because it goes against their religious teachings.  I'm not asking for you to condone it.  Because you can still love someone even while not condoning their actions.

I know that because I have talked a lot about my religion on here that I need to address that as well.  I have had doctrinal issues and patriarchy issues for years and years.  I tried very hard to get past them, but I couldn't.  I had settled into a somewhat tenuous and often resentful relationship with church for the sake of my marriage and family.  There are many things I still love about the church, however I am no longer remaining a member.  Because I am choosing a life with Marianne, there would be no choice but to excommunicate me.  Upon advisement, I voluntarily requested my name be removed from the records to avoid the excommunication process. However, unlike many who leave the church, I am not leaving in anger.  There is a lot of good in my life as a result of the church.  I have left because it's right for me at this time.  And leaving the church does not mean I leave my faith behind.  I still believe in God and Christ, and will continue to do so. 

If you've read through all of this, you deserve an award.  Thank you for being here.  Thank you for sticking by me through this crazy time of upheaval in my life.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Menstruation Station

So, enough divorce talk.  I'll get back to that soon enough.  You know what we haven't talked about for awhile?  My period.

Remember when I wrote THIS post? Well, I finally decided to do something about my crotch massacres.  [Side note:  Apparently someone at OB read that post, and a couple of months ago they contacted me to personally tell me that the Ultras were back on the market and that they'd like my mailing address to send me several free boxes. I mean, that's how you know you've made it, right?  When your blog post gets you free tampons and an apology from the company.]  [Side note about the side note: That is also the only post that caused a journalist from ABC News to contact me for an interview. So really, I think this is my niche. Hi, I'm Brandi. I'm a menstruation blogger.  My period is internet famous.  Are you following my uterus on Twitter?]

ANYWAY.  I wrote about The Great Uterine Barbecue HERE.  But in case you don't want to read about it, the short version is that I had a uterine ablation.  They used microwaves to burn out my uterine lining.

So that was eight months ago. It mostly worked.  My periods didn't go away, but they were much lighter and shorter.  I could get away with a small pad, sometimes even just a panty liner.  So I was pretty happy with the results.

But starting last month it got even lighter. Yay, right?  I thought that it was going away all together, which can sometimes happen.  But it was also kind of a weird color and texture. (Yeah, that's right. I just described my menstrual blood on my blog. Just be glad I didn't include a picture.  YOU'RE WELCOME.)  But The Google told me that was normal.

This month it was that way again.  And after a few days the period stopped as usual, but the cramps kept on coming.  Bad ones.  Doubled over, popping leftover Percoset, contemplating a trip to the ER bad.  I called my gynecologist's office (Captain Dickman.  I Swear.  I can't make this stuff up) and was told that my referral had expired.

Can I just say that I don't think insurance should require a woman to get a referral to a gynecologist?  Because I will always have a vagina.  It's not going anywhere.  It's not a medical condition. 

So anyway, I toughed it out with Tylenol and Advil for a few days and it finally stopped.  But I've been extremely bloated for two weeks.  I kind of look like I'm several months pregnant.  And then today the cramps started up again and only two weeks after the last one I'm having another period.  A pre-uterine ablation period.  Like, I'm wishing I had those free Ultra tampons from OB right now. 

The Google and WebMD tell me that I probably have Post-Ablation Syndrome.  Or cancer.  Because cancer is ALWAYS a possible diagnosis from WebMD.  Runny nose and fever?  I'm sorry, you're dying of sinus cancer.

So, once my referral goes through I will be insisting they rip that out-of-service baby oven right out of me, ovaries and all. 

And then you can read blog posts about hot flashes and menopause!  It's win-win, really.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Housewives

 (Post updated at the end)

I have been a stay at home mother for fourteen years.  I thought it was the best choice for my kids.  I still think it was the best choice for my kids.  But in 103 days (not that I'm counting) I'll be financially on my own with three children.

I am thoroughly unprepared for this.

My parents divorced when I was little.  My mother has always been the breadwinner.  I didn't grow up in a home where it was expected that I'd marry a nice man and stay home and raise children and be completely financially dependent on someone else.  I was raised with the expectation that I'd get an education and have a career and if a nice man and children were part of the picture, that would be lovely, too.

But the nice-man-and-children came along during the get-an-education  portion of my life plan, and I opted to forgo the have-a-career part.

And now here I am at nearly 38 years old looking at entering the workforce for the first time in fourteen years. With no skills.  Did I mention that part?  I mean, I have skills.  But I have no official training that would make me an appealing job candidate to an HR department.

Despite what the title may suggest, this isn't a post about working moms vs. stay at home moms.  This is a post about being prepared for the possibility that your choice to stay home might be taken away.

There are some of you reading this who are smugly sitting there thinking that your marriage is too good to ever end.  Your husband is too good a man and you're much too happy together.  Odds are, you're right.  But guess what?  I thought that too.

I have a dear friend whose only preparation is having a substantial amount of life insurance so that she doesn't have to worry about money if her husband dies.  I think that's a wise thing to do.  Except sometimes they don't die.  Sometimes they just turn out to be a really poor choice in a mate, and you don't discover that fact for a couple of decades.

I'm not suggesting that all women go out and join the workforce immediately.  But I am suggesting that all women who choose to stay at home also choose to prepare themselves for the possibility--no matter how impossible or remote they think the possibility is--of having to support themselves and their children.

Get an education. Learn a trade.  Do something.  My immediate future is limited.  There are only so many jobs I can do, and jobs in general are scarce.  I am facing the reality of free school lunch and food stamps, even with a job, because the type of job I can get will likely be minimum wage. It's a hit to the self esteem to know that I will have to rely on those programs for awhile. (Let me be clear--there is nothing shameful in needing to use those programs.  But when you have a Facebook feed full of friends posting self righteous posts about the person in line in front of them who is using food stamps but also has a nice smartphone and nice clothing, it can cause you to feel ashamed if you find yourself in that situation.  I have a nice smartphone.  It's far, far cheaper to keep it than to pay the fees for canceling my contract early.  I have nice clothing.  It was bought before I faced life on my own.)  (Side note: I really need to clean up my Facebook friend list.)

You wouldn't sail a boat out into the depths of the ocean without a life vest, even if you were positive the boat was too strong to sink.  I did, and now I'm treading water a very long way from shore, with three children holding onto me. When it takes all that you have to just keep your head above water, it's practically impossible to make any progress toward the shore.

Let me serve as your warning.

(Umm, also? If you happen to be someone hiring in the Baltimore/Annapolis/DC area, I can start June 3rd.)

****I am updating to clarify a few things in the post, as some concern about them was mentioned to me.  First, my husband will be paying child support.  He will also be paying alimony for two years, and will help out with other things when possible.  Second, it was my choice to have the kids most of the year.  I insisted on it, in fact. He did not run out on us.  It was a mutually agreed upon decision to divorce, and I am insisting the kids be with me for the school year. Third, when I said, "There are some of you reading this who are smugly sitting there thinking that your marriage is too good to ever end.  Your husband is too good a man and you're much too happy together.  Odds are, you're right.  But guess what?  I thought that too," I was not implying that he is not a good man. He is.  We had our problems, but he is a good man.  Fourth, he has asked us to follow him to his next assignment in Georgia and live there near him, which he feels will alleviate most of the financial problems I am facing. (For the record, I disagree, but that's for another discussion.). Fifth, I had a couple of ideas about work over the past few years (personal trainer and real estate) and he was supportive of those.
I wrote this post to talk about the necessity of women to be self sufficient.  I thought I had made it clear that *I* made choices that have made me not self sufficient and have limited my own prospects. Others saw this post differently, and I wanted to clarify.****