Friday, June 20, 2008

Brief hiatus

I've decided to take a few days, maybe a few weeks, away from here. Partly because I'm tired of writing mini-updates confirming that nothing is happening, or that lots of things are happening too slowly to observe-- I'll come back when I can report real news. Partly also because everything else is hectic right now; at work we're moving into the busiest time of year, plus the home-buying stuff, the fertility stuff, the my-parents-are-coming-in-a-week-CLEAN-THE-HOUSE stuff. Much to do, little to write. Be back soon.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Dinner: 30 minutes, MY ASS

Here's the problem with "30 minute meals": it's easy to whip up dinner in half an hour if you're starting with a perfectly clean kitchen and a fully stocked pantry-- including lots of fresh goodies in the fridge. Ever notice that Rachel is always pulling fresh herbs and salad greens out of that cool retro refrigerator? That stuff only lasts a day or two. How do daily runs to the supermarket figure into the half-hour meal plan? It generally takes me 45 minutes to get to the store, get what I need, and get home, if I go there straight from work. (It takes that long because I work the typical 9-5, so I'm hitting both the roads and the grocery exactly at their busiest time if I do that.) I suppose dinner is the only daily meal created in that studio kitchen, but in real life, who doesn't come home to breakfast dishes, the remains of a smoothie, or a dishwasher still waiting to be run and unloaded? Nobody's perfect and we all have to get to work on time in the morning. Not to mention that I've rarely seen a kitchen in real life that is as large and well-laid-out as that one. Every time I see that show, I think-- yeah, dinner's easy when everything's ready to go. Try rushing to the store after work, then coming home to a kitchen that needs some TLC... and by the time it's time to cook, you're already exhausted and considering takeout. Actually cooking dinner-- not from a box, a bag, or the freezer-- is admirable, but doing it regularly requires a lot of behind-the-scenes labor: meal planning, shopping, cleaning, organizing. Rachel rarely admits to the rigorous planning-ahead that these apparently spontaneous meals require.

Recently, we've (I've) been trying to make more dinners at home, from scratch. Mostly to save money, but also because they're healthier--I tend to cook much healthier food than I order, plus portions are saner. I had a three-pronged plan last week that I'm carrying over to this week: eat dinner at home (scratch) every night but one, bring my lunch to work every day, and only go to the grocery store once in that time. We did pretty well, only derailed one night when we had to eat out with friends. Going grocery shopping just once per week should save me a lot of money, time, gas, and sanity. Impulse buys are a per-trip expense, so going just once means that whatever the impulse-- fresh berries, a magazine, a Heath bar-- it won't happen again until next time. The time and trouble of driving out to the store is a major discouragement to cooking at home, so it's great to have a week's worth of food already there. Gas is obvious... I spent $50 on Friday filling up my tank; I know that's nothing compared to some folks, but I want it to last as long as possible. One thing that's helping me immensely towards driving less is the fact that the AC in my car is broken-- amazing how little you'll drive when it's miserably hot and you have no air conditioning. Hence the sanity-savings.

Last week I saved about $30 in lunch money, and lost two pounds without any other effort. Not too bad for one week. I hit up Whole Foods and our farmers' market over the weekend, so... here's to Week 2!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Poultry at Large

Want to update, but nothing to report...AKA, the story of my life. The buying-a-house process seems to be moving agonizingly slowly, even though I know that everything is actually happening on or ahead of schedule. Termite inspection, house inspection, house appraisal. It's just that our landlord is pretty desperate for the sale, and as first-timers, Don and I are wee helpless babes calling our loan officer every day. Speaking of appraisal, does anyone know what we want the result to be? Seems to me that anything higher than what we're paying for the house is a bad thing, since property taxes are based on it, but my coworker is convinced otherwise; something about resale value. But I am pretty sure that resale value is completely market-based; nobody is going to pay more for a house than it's market value just because the bank says it's worth x. Yes? No? We seem to have a closing date, however, so unless something goes wrong we'll be in our house* by the 3rd. Which, incidentally, is the day my parents and brother are coming to visit us for the weekend. I really, really want to be able to say "Guess what WE just did!" I'd also like to be able to say,"... AND we're pregnant." But that won't happen for a couple of reasons, not the least of which being that if I get a positive pregnancy test, I tend to call my mom within hours or days, not weeks.

I tested this morning and got a negative, but it was too soon. Essentially I wasted a test knowing that even if I am, it's too soon to tell. At least it was the free test that came with the ovulation kit. I shall test my inner strength by not testing again for awhile; after all, I'm already doing everything I'd do if I knew I were pregnant, e.g. the progesterone, vitamins, aspirin, etc. It's not like last time when I had to find out as soon as possible... Unfortunately, I've always disappointed myself when it came to the inner-strength resolve of not testing early.

I have looked up the city regulations, and there is nothing keeping us from having a small flock of chickens in our yard, or beehives. We may not keep pigs or sheep, however, unless intended for immediate slaughter, and goats are never allowed. Additionally, no poultry can roam the city "at large", unless it is a trained carrier pigeon. I love The Law. (Alert, we have Poultry at Large at 14th and Main... that's right, a chicken right in the street. Ack, it can fly! I'm going to need backup!) Do people still keep homing pigeons? THAT would be a fun hobby, it's almost like owls and you could pretend Harry Potter.

*In our house is a funny way to look at it, since we're buying the place we currently live in. No moving into a new home, no shiny new keys. I wonder if we should have some sort of ceremonial re-entry, as in 'we leave for the last time as renters, and reenter now as owners'? With sage?

Friday, June 06, 2008

...Part Two

I'm in that lovely period of anticipation known as the Two Week Wait, those days between when one might have gotten pregnant and the earliest one could find out if this is so. Doubtful that this is our month, due to an unscheduled reappearance of Don's Terrible Neck & Back Pain (those pesky discs). This leads to dialogue like this: "What do you mean, you're in incredible pain? Do I care? FERTILIZE ME NOW!"-- that is thankfully internal. My mouth actually said things like, "poor baby", and "I'll go get the Advil." Still, we have a chance. And every time that we've gotten pregnant, I was previously convinced that it wasn't going to be our month, so I don't put too much stock in that feeling now. I am popping the prenatals, the aspirin, and the progesterone-- or I would be were it an oral medication. I guess "gingerly placing the progesterone" would be more accurate. What's bad is that I've had constant headaches lately, possibly due to this insane heat/ humidity, or to the stress of applying for a home loan. No Advil allowed in the two week wait...

We are officially preapproved for the loan, and nothing on their list of requirements is out of our reach, so things are looking good on that end. The termite inspection went well. But there are a lot of things that could go wrong, so I'm not overly excited (with a 'c'!) so far. My brain hurts, so must go now.

Monday, June 02, 2008

If you want coherence, go read a novel

Project House: still waiting for loan application to be approved. Because THAT'S not a nerve-wracking few days, is it? Signed a bunch of paperwork with our landlord (aka the Seller, aka the Agent. He wears many hats.) that would usually not be signed until after he sees our pre-approval letter. Huh.

Project Baby: AM OVULATING TODAY. Got the simpering digital smiley face on Clear Blue Easy's ovulation kit this morning, backed it up with the more prosaic two-matching-lines kit from Accu-someting. They agree with each other. I've been so wrapped up with peeing in a cup every morning (I've gotten REALLY GOOD at that-- no splashing, no overflow!), testing with two different tests (what if one of them DOESN'T WORK?), taking my vitamins & etc, that I almost forgot that in order to get pregnant, we'd still have to have sex at some point. Thank goodness Don had the presence of mind (or something) to remember that bit.

Project Sister Coming to Virginia to Take Back the Dog We've Been Caring For for 9 Months: complete, amid much heartbreak and sadness. Our place is too quiet now. Alice seems a bit lost. Don may or may not have cried. We miss you, Cocomo! Come back any time!

Thoughts: that smiley face is pretty damn condescending. I mean, we are presumably intelligent, well-educated women. We do not require a flippin' smiley face to say, "yay! you're ovulating!". Seriously? Stop infantilizing the fertility-challenged.

It really sucks to realize that your zipper is down at the grocery store, where you've gone straight from work. And subsequently realize that you haven't used the bathroom in hours. How many people noticed that zipper? HOW MANY?

It is surreal to hand the rent check to the landlord and have him say, "If this works out, I'll be giving half of this back! Not to mention your damage deposit, the downstairs tenant's damage deposit, and half of her June rent!"

The bank has a website where you can check the process of your application any time. I hope they don't track how many times an applicant checks the site, or read too much into that. Every 2o minutes is normal, right?

It seems that Don doesn't really enjoy being woken up by having pee-soaked tests thrust towards his face. I can't see why-- I mean, smiley face! Right there! Exiting news.