Friday, May 30, 2008

My Husband, My Hero

Following some of the advice I got yesterday, I told Hubby about his mother's e-mail and her big idea for a December visit while I'm at MLA. He saved my life!...Or, he at least saved my mind! I didn't even have to say a word. He simply said, "They just won't come. I'll have to talk to her."

Can you say "What a man? What a good husband?"

I was almost in tears as I started to explain the long list of reasons why such a visit would be worse than rolling in broken glass, but I didn't even get a full sentence out before he calmed me with his resolution. I told him how much I appreciated him having my back (especially considering what happened last time they visited**) and understanding why a visit at that time was a really, really bad idea. He also didn't appreciate the fact that she seemed completely inflexible, without giving any reason, about visiting at any other time, despite having the entire summer free from work.

Anyway, since he'll be flying back home next Thursday for his brother's wedding, he's going to take that opportunity to explain why any visit in December is simply not going to happen, as well as get a feel for why the hell they can't come any other time. He absolutely made my day yesterday, and I'm so thankful to have him as my husband!

**Note: I deleted the post for fear that one of his family members might find the link to this blog through my MySpace page and read it. Basically, Hubby and I had agreed on one thing before his parents visited, then, when they got here, he totally threw me under the bus and did *precisely* the thing we said we weren't going to do: cater to their every whim.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

May Day, May Day

What the hell have I done?

In an attempt to give my in-laws a heads up on what will be a chaotic December for us (it's our year to spend Xmas with my family in Home State, then I'll be at MLA the 27th-30th, and we still haven't even ironed out the details of the girls spending several with grandparents in Home State), I extended an open invitation to them to visit anytime over the summer. This would work especially well since Hubby and I aren't teaching and his mother, who also works with a school system, is out for the summer. Well, she's technically out, but then her full time job becomes spending the entire summer at the Jersey shore...literally...the entire summer. She's not even there with my father-in-law; he's only able to join her on weekends b/c of his schedule as a teamster. So, I send her an e-mail last night, complete with open invitation and a thorough explanation of how crazy things will be in December. Her reply??

Basically, "Thanks for the invite, but we can't come in the summer. Oooh, I've got a great idea. Why don't we come while you're gone and help Hubby out with your children?"

Um, how about fuck no?! Are you kidding me!? This is THE LAST THING I want to imagine. My house and my children's schedules completely trampled on by the people who a)don't know how to cook a healthy meal to save their lives and b)have no respect for following the schedule of a toddler (among other things). I won't even mention the obvious fact that she's simply relishing the idea of getting the joy of visiting her son without the accompanying Evil Witch he married.

I don't know how I'm gonna do it, but I have got to figure out a way to put the kabosh on this idea before anyone even thinks about implementing it! HELP! What can I say? What can I do? I can't even stomach the thought of my in-laws visiting my home and caring for my girls without me there. Surely somebody can help me come up with a Grand Plan of Derailment!!?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Getting Anxious

Every other day or so I find myself increasingly anxious about two main things that are or will be coming up soon:

1) trying for our third (and last) baby in just 2 months!! (with my July cycle)
2) going on the job market this fall

With the first one, I'm just scared about the idea of 3 children. My brain knows that everything will be okay. Things get done. Children are provided for, loved, and nobody goes without attention and affection. But, I've only done this for 2 kids so far. I can do 2 kids. We have our routine and everything. I'm already trying to design a daily schedule in an Excel spreadsheet for how the morning routine should work with a third child in the mix (yes, I'm a bit anal/crazy). I'm really starting to get excited about trying to get pregnant again, as I truly enjoy being pregnant (no matter the fatigue, back pain, etc.). But I'm also scared of what may follow: the baby blues again (like I had after E was born), the problems nursing, the feeling of being overwhelmed and out of control. Ultimately, though, we have a plan, one we're comfortable with and believe is optimal for our lives, careers, and family situation.

The job market? Ugh...! I'm just scared, feeling inadequate, unprepared, like a freshman going through some hazing ritual. There's too much on this one for needs a post of its own, which will come soon, right after I turn in this chapter at the end of next week.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What's on Your Plate?

It's official. The Aussie Fries at The Outback Steakhouse and any form of a Giant Fried Onion are officially banned from my family's dinner table (at home or at a restaurant)! I always knew these items were pretty bad in terms of Nutritional Disasters, but because The Outback doesn't publish their nutrition information (sneaky bastards), I never really knew just how bad this stuff is. Well, thanks to a recent Men's Health article, I now have a pretty good idea. The Aussie Fries? They're the equivalent of 14 Krispy Kreme doughnuts!! And that's before your actual meal arrives!

Really, truly, if you care about eating healthy at some of the more common chain restaurants (everything from The Olive Garden to Chick-Fil-A), you should check out the list of The 20 Worst Foods in America. Not only does the list expose some of the worst - yet most common - Heart Attacks on a Plate, but it also offers an estimation of the nutrition information for the alternatives at many of the chains that don't publish their information. Or, if they do, they do so only for their "healthy" menu items. Even more, some of the things you might have thought were "healthy" turn out to be disastrously full of fat, calories, and sodium (i.e. the fish tacos at On The Border??). I also like the attention they gave to items on kids menus. For example, the macaroni and cheese at Macaroni Grill? It's equal to giving your kid 1 1/2 boxes of Kraft mac'n'cheese! Luckily, my oldest daughter usually picks healthy items on her own (she's really into salmon for some reason), but I think she's an anomaly. In any case, I pored over this list for more than half an hour last minute, repeatedly being surprised by the findings. While I'll miss the Orange Chicken from Panda Express, giving it up is the compromise I must make in order to keep my Chow Mein --yum!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Writing a Dissertation; or, Why It's a "Process"

Process Example #1:
Because I'm revising the third of my three chapters that deal with my texts, and I've just decided that one of the plays I was going to use is getting thrown out. In its place are two different plays by the same playwright. It turns out, they will be a thousand times more helpful. I could not have known this when writing my proposal. I could have known before drafting the chapter only if I'd read every word of all the secondary sources that deal with this playwright, or if I'd sat down and read each of her 16 plays. Instead, I wrote. I put something on paper, and I got some feedback from my advisor. Now, I've returned to the chapter with some big changes, but the most important thing is I know *why* the changes are important and necessary. No, scratch that, the most important thing is that my chapter will be better than it was. Longer, but better.

Process Example #3:
I think I'm going to cut an entire "set-up" chapter. I don't think I need it, and I don't think it fits within the scope of the dissertation. In order to talk about Thing X in women's comedies between 1685-1722, I had previously planned to mention how Thing X existed in women's writing before 1685. But now, I will not. I hope my advisor agrees with this decision. If she does, that will mean Very Good Things for my timeline and for the (as of yet shaky) confidence in my ability to know How to Write a Dissertation. Because really, sometimes I just don't believe I can/will do this. Does this make me intellectually needy?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hubby Came Through; or, The Best Mother's Day Ever

Hubby came through on Mother's Day, making it the best I've ever had!

As I mentioned in my last post, he's sold quite a few books in the past few weeks, and as it turns out, he's been squirreling away some money. So, imagine my shock on Sunday morning, when he presents me with a gift bag, and I open it to find the new Burberry Summer fragrance!! I had only recently mentioned to him that I'd sniffed it at Macy's and loved it, but I had no expectations for getting it anytime soon because I know what the price tag is: out of our league. He got me a wonderful card, E gave me a cute little card with a kitty cat on it (which means she really wanted to keep it), and H designed several cards over the days preceding Sunday. On top of a fabulously unexpected and much appreciated gift, I didn't have to cook a single thing ALL DAY! We went to church with some friends to see their baby be dedicated, then we all went out to eat. Once we got home, I got another unusual gift: a NAP! As soon as E went down for her nap at 1:30, so did Mommy, and we both slept for two hours -- yay! I never get to take naps, so this is a highly extraordinary thing. Even better? When I woke up, the children were happy to sort of play together for a couple hours in the living room, while I watched some quality t.v.: The Deadliest Catch (yes, I'm a dork). Being allowed to veg in front of the t.v. is also something I rarely get to do with the kiddos around. I read lots of books to E, snuggled with H, and ended up on the couch with Hubby at night's end. It was a perfect Mother's Day, however, with any luck, next year's Mother's Day will have us welcoming home a new addition to the family, so this year may just get trumped :)

I hope all the lovely moms I know had an equally wonderful day! Now it's time to start planning for Dad!

Thursday, May 08, 2008


  • At the suggestion of Supadiscomama over at The Rhetorical Situation, I made reservations for high tea here, where one can sip divine teas of all sorts and relish every morsel of aesthetic and culinary goodness that comes with cake, mousse, cremeux, and biscuits that are inspired by the haute couture fashions of the Spring/Summer 08 runways. This is my birthday present to myself, and my husband can never know how much this cost.
  • So, the branch block procedure didn't exactly work. I don't really understand why, and I have some specific questions to ask my neurologist. I'm still having pain, which ranges from basic soreness to the feeling that someone has attached a jumper cable to the nerves in my neck. They've scheduled the next step up in the line of procedures for next week. I'll have a Radio Frequency Neurotomy, which isn't as bad as it sounds. They basically burn the nerve endings (denervation), which prevents the pain signals from being transmitted to the brain. Fortunately, if this works, it should stop the pain for 9-12 months! Unfortunately, 50% of people of who have this done on the neck report increased pain in the area for up to 2 weeks.
  • The semester is over!! Thank God! Since I have a non-teaching fellowship for the summer, I can get down to some serious dissertating. I'll be turning in the 3rd of 5 chapters at the end of the month, which puts me in a good position for finishing the two remaining "set up" chapters over June and July, revising my writing sample in August, and hitting the market in the fall.
  • I ditched the Technical Communication class I'd been assigned to teach in the fall. It's a long story, but the short version is that there is absolutely no damn reason I should've ever offered to take that course.
  • Hubby sold over $400 of books in the past 2 weeks! It's a good thing too, because I just found out that MRIs aren't so cheap. After insurance, our portion is a little more than $600.
  • I'm really tired of pills. I've only been taking the vicodin and Soma when I absolutely have to, as I want them to actually work when I take them and, obviously I don't want to become dependent on them. But, I've still ended up with enough pain that I have to take a dose around midday and then again in the evening.
  • I really don't think my husband has anything at all planned for Mother's Day....really, nothing. I hope I'm wrong.
  • I'm super excited about this weekend, because I'm getting together with friends for a girl's night out, and part of the plans include going to see Baby Mama with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Things to Look Forward To

Guess what I just did???

I'm officially booked on the Eurostar train out of London to Paris on Monday, June 30th! The round-trip only cost about $180, which is a great price on its own, but even better considering my London research/conference trip is now completely covered by research and travel funds!

As if that weren't enough to put a smile on my face...

I'm also booked for a matinee showing of Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre in the West End! The operator I just spoke with had the cutest British accent I've ever heard (not that I've heard many), and she was great about letting me know I could get better seats at the matinee rather than the evening show. I prefer the evening show, but the available seats were only going to be average. I figure if I'm going to the theatah in London - to see Phantom nonetheless - I want great seats! My plan is to watch the show then take in a really nice dinner somewhere and finish the evening by shopping for family and friends.

Now to plan the rest of my time and travel in England...Cheerio!