My dad is in town today. He arrived yesterday, in time to spend most of the afternoon pushing on the girls on the swings in the backyard. It's only 8:30 a.m. and already he's explaining the concept of cells to Hannah. :)
He can only stay until tomorrow, but I'm hoping he'll answer some of her other hot-topic questions, like "How does electricity work?" and "Is magic real?" before he leaves.
Did you know that once one falls out of the habit of openly discussing one's vagina and uterus in a public forum, it can be difficult to get back into the swing of it? Did you know that it becomes exponentially more challenging when one realizes that one's FATHER has commented on her blog, which, by extrapolation implies he is READING at least some of her blog. As if it weren't hard enough knowing one's mother is reading all...
But talking about my girl bits is really what this whole thing used to be about, at least in part. So I would feel weird not mentioning recent events. Disingenuous somehow.
Here we go... (Mom, feel free to skip this one, and Dad, dear god... step away and avert your eyes!)
Some relevant prefacing information:
I haven't been on the "mini-pill" for roughly two months. There are two causes: 1) There was a time when the $15 copay was literally too much. Condoms were free (because we already had them) and every dollar counted. Then, it came 'round to time for my annual physical, and I had no money for the office visit, so I didn't schedule it. Which meant my prescription ran out.
This was fine because we were both so emotionally and physically exhausted that sex was more of a rarity than ever. I even got another period - my first since Easter, which was my first post-Caroline. Once I got my new gig, I planned to set my annual physical, get on a for-reals, full-strength birth control pill, and move on down the road.
Everything was fine and dandy until Friday night, when we experienced a massive FAIL. MASSIVE, MASSIVE FAIL. I blame Todd entirely. It was a case of user error and product malfunction. Oh, screw it, the condom broke. "Shredded" was the word Todd used.
Given the relative distance from my period and my "mood" that evening and proceeding days ("randy", one might say - were one British), I surmised that there was a VERY REAL RISK that I might be OVULATING. Making this MASSIVE FAILURE an even more horrifying event.
Todd and I spent the rest of the night and all of the next day in a panic-stricken, pale-faced stupor.
Even if it weren't for the fact that we've only just begun to be able to afford groceries, and only just narrowly avoided bankruptcy, and only just scheduled doctors and dentists visits, EVEN IF...
INDEPENDENT HEALTH INSURANCE DOESN'T COVER PREGNANCY!
We cannot - repeat, CANNOT - get pregnant now. And none of it has a speck to do with whether or not we want another child. As long as Todd and I are independent contractors, as long as we stick it out as entrepreneurs, we cannot have a baby.
The sort of high-risk, massively tested, watched, measured, and generally freaked-out variety of pregnancies I produce are bank-breaking even WITH health insurance (to the tune of $17K and $4K, respectively). Without it, it's simply not feasible.
That left me with one option: Plan B.
And lemme just say, thank God for recent commercials advocating the availability of emergency contraception. Had I not just seen an ad a week before, it might have escaped my rather-dubious thoughts through this whole event.
Because of that commercial, I went on-line, did some quick research, then hauled myself to Target and bellied up to the pharmacy counter with my two kids in the cart to purchase Plan B. Based on previous reactions to hormones, I was expecting some pretty rough hours of vomiting and headache - which was a fun prospect given I had a party to go to and was in the early stages of a cold.
But to my great relief, I got neither, and felt just fine. I took the pill early, and it should be about 75-80% effective. Which is helpful, but by no means allays my fears in total.
In about two weeks I'll take a pregnancy test, and then, assuming it's negative, I'll take another a week later, just to be sure.
After years of praying and doing everything in my power to get pregnant and carry to term, it felt highly, highly unusual to do something in the complete opposite direction. It also felt weird to stand at the pharmacy counter hollering "PLAN B? DO YOU HAVE IT?" to the tech who insisted on asking me how she could help from the back of their little room. It felt weird to be in my 30s with two kids and feelings so very teenaged and freaked-out.
I wish this weren't the situation. I wish Todd and I could have approached this situation from the vantage point of "What would life be like with three kids?" rather than, "This will be the end of us." - all because of health insurance.
I'm not saying the decision would have been different. I'm just saying we'll never know. And it's because we cannot buy health insurance that will cover pregnancy on our own - it doesn't exist*.
So for the next weeks, we'll be on pins and needles, praying that we've dodged a huge, huge bullet. And its such a contrary prayer to the ones I've uttered in the past. As always, I'll keep you posted.
*on the independent market, you can only find maternity "riders" which limit total coverage to a number that is equal to the cost of the monthly fee (if you do the math - which we did).
I don't think I can overestimate the level of relief around these parts. This weekend we went to a friend's house for some football and general hanging-out, and I bubbled along striking up conversations, asking how other people were, going on about my new job, and... wait for it... SMILING.
Over the past year, I generally dreaded social functions. Even just going to the bookstore for mom's night inspired negative thoughts of what I couldn't have (over-priced coffee and pastries) and conversations I didn't want to have (vacations, ballet lessons, or anything else that seemed to highlight our lack of money). The result was a watered-down, under-engaged, unsmiling me.
I hated being that way. I knew I was doing it, and struggled to be less selfish - to find joy in other people's successes and normalcy - but I'm afraid it failed more often than not.
Now that I'm not horrified about losing our home, being unable to feed our kids, or pay for any doctor visits, life is tangibly better. And I imagine others are noticing.
Yes, I'm aware that sounds self-centered, but my friends are generally perceptive and I'm sure they've picked up on my general malaise. So it's got to be some small measure of relief to see me being anything other than drab and Debbie Downer.
I'm loving my job. In a bit of irony, I spend all day thinking about social media strategy, but now find myself with infinitely less time to actually blog. Hopefully I'll find a level of stasis soon and get back to posting more often... about happier times.
Things are great! Busy - and I continue to stay up to late reading - but great nonetheless. My schedule this week is borderline ridiculous as I've started the new job and have a couple of big deadlines for existing clients. So these are just to say... well, technically, there just not to say.
Some of you asked (rightfully so) if I might fill you in on a few more details about my new gig. Having a few days to process has helped. I had purposefully distanced myself from this job during the hiring process because I've had too many near misses this year to allow myself to get wound up when nothing is definite.
But now that I know the job is mine, I can't help but feel astoundingly lucky to have found this particular position.
Because this is still my private blog - and most certainly the place I come to talk when I can't even bring myself to reach out in person - I won't be mentioning the company name here. In fact, maybe we'll just call it The Company. Good? Okay then.
The Company works in education. And my role is as a director level position. Most of my duties revolve around marketing, specifically social media. Everything I've done in my career dovetails with this role. And my new colleagues recognize this.
But what's better, they operate from a virtual office and apparently follow the same approach I do. Which is: Get the job done right, on deadline, and to the best of your capabilities. Clocking in, ticking off vacation days - none of that ranks high on anyone's list. It's a company staffed by entrepreneurs.
My work with them is on a contract basis (monthly retainer) through the end of the year, when it will (assuming all goes well) become a full-time job. The sort where someone provides benefits and takes taxes out for me, and the word "refund" isn't laced with irony.
It's still taking some effort to let the goodness of this set in. I'm looking forward to returning to my more polyanna-ish roots.
Don't get me wrong, we will still be living lean (very, very lean) for the next few years. But this job means we won't have to move forward with the bankruptcy. And it means the girls can go back to part-time daycare (we found one we loved on Friday!), and it means I won't have to cry after every grocery shopping trip or put off family check-ups.
And for that, I am so completely grateful. Here's to putting the "labor" back in Labor Day!
They love me, they really, really love me!!
No negotiations, just a straight up "YES!" In fact, the email was aptly titled "We want YOU!!!"
I've practically hyperventilated for the sighs of relief. I cried a bit, danced and jumped around, and then Todd led the girls in a collective cheer of "YAY MOMMY!!"
I cannot tell you what this means for us. Or maybe I could. Maybe you already know. Maybe you get it. But there's no way I can mentally process this enough to provide a cogent post.
Just allow me to tell you that I am certain your collective support played a large role.
Holy crap, am I relieved.
I knocked the test project out of the park. They showed the end result to their client who raved so much that the company is going to use their comments as testimonials for their own promotions!
Yesterday I submitted my proposal for a monthly retainer. I should know their decision today. Thank goodness I still have piles of work to keep me distracted. Mostly.
Here's my question to you, though: Do you think women still undervalue themselves in the workforce in terms of pay? Do you think you're worth more than you make? Do you have trouble convincing yourself to ask for what you truly deserve? If not - gimme some tips on how you've demanded good pay, or stories about how wildly successful you were when you finally threw out that big number.
I'll keep you posted!
Today I'm finishing out a test project for the "open window" I mentioned. I still feel great about this opportunity and I hope that I'll have great news to report by the end of the week. There's a lot of information to assimilate and I've been a bit cross-eyed from it all the past two days. But finally, as of last night, I got that confident mojo back and feel like I'll be handing in a top-notch product.
It is hard, though, to get over that walking-on-eggshells feeling after so long. I can't wait until I've got some solidity somewhere.
All of your good wishes and prayers have paid off so far, though. Todd has two contracts on the books, and (knock on wood) it looks like they'll actually make it all the way to closing.
I'm also producing a new digital magazine for a client this week and next, launching an Olympic hopeful's brand, and generally working myself into an early grave. Okay, maybe that's dramatic. Surely I'm earning some crowsfeet, though.
Oh, and did I mention my mother-in-law was here? She left yesterday, though.
What sort of crazy is happening in your world?