Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Typepad Ho!


OK, campers, the decision is made. It's Typepad Ho! No, not ho like that. As in, um, Tally Ho! Westward Ho! And yes, maybe a little bit of that ho, too.

Here's the deal. I wasn't able to figure out how to scoop up all the Blogger archives and import them to Typepad. Or rather, I could, but I really wasn't sure exactly how it was going to work. I imagined myself wiping out the whole archives in one fell swoop. Or is that fool swoop? I also wasn't sure what it would do if people already had operative links on their sites to stuff with the Blogger URL.

Anyway. I have basically manually moved over almost all the old post files, with a few exceptions where I thought probably nobody would mind, including me. Yes, it was very tedious and boring, thank you for asking. God knows why I was so gabby in July, for example.

It's still in the process of being tweaked here and there. And all the furniture has not turned up yet. For example, I have not managed to get any comments shifted. I may tinker around with that just to see if I can get some of the more interesting and exciting conversations across (the one about grey pubic hairs springs to mind). In the meantime, please just comment a-go go to compensate. In fact, I expect, nay, demand that you to comment, since that was one of the overriding reasons for the big move- basically the main message I got from you was that commenting on Blogger sucks ass. And I am nothing if not obliging.

So. Everything will stay here as it is for now. But now, if I could ask those of you who link to me to take hold of your reins with one hand whilst making a big lassoo with another, and update on over to this location:


I'll see you there.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

At the crossroads on the Typepad trail

I am wrestling with the thorny dilemma of whether to up stakes from my home here at Blogger, and migrate to Typepad. I know there are a couple other people who have either done this or are considering it for various reasons.

Personally, this site suits me fine for the most part, despite certain limitations. I am used to it now, and don't get dry mouth and sweaty palms whenever I mess around with the template. But I would very much like to have things like categories, a feature which appeals to my basic need to file. I do actually spend a lot of my free time doing this blogging thing, and it would be nice to have a service that works well without some of the technical hiccups I experience here on occasion.
Also, I am very conscious that there can be problems with the comment function on this site, despite the supposed improvements recently made by Messrs Blogger & Co. I gather it can be chronically, offputtingly slow. Tell me, how bad is it? Just bad, or really, really bad?

Plus it must be fun to be able to ban trolly people. To thunder from on high (or, um, from across the keyboard)- "YOU! You and your ISP are hereby banished, mwhahahahaha!" Not that I have any great need to ban anyone. But, like the Queen's prerogative, it must be a useful thing to keep in reserve.

Oh, I don't know. I have been swithering about this for weeks now, and can't make up my mind. I am very fond of what I have here in its own simple way, but also know I could probably just pack my bags and load up the covered wagon.

I do suspect part of me is looking for what my mother calls "a geographical cure"- that is, simply moving somewhere else because I can, rather than facing up to what I need to do here. That being, to keep on working on telling this story. We're coming to the part where I want to hide behind the cushions- how much easier to go tinker around with fonts and layouts and categories.

What do you think? Should I saddle up and go on to Fort Typepad, or just hunker in my bunker here?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

A double bill of doctors

My goodness, it's turned nippy noodles here. Unbelievably filthy weather- cold, wet lashing snow/rain, wind. Just the sort of day where you want to stay in bed and pull the covers over your horns.

Unfortunately, I had a double bill of doctor's appointments today- Dr Best Friend first thing in the morning, and Dr Endocrine at the hospital late in the afternoon. Whee! I figured that all this various trudging around hither and yon warranted the whole day off from work, and I was right.

Dr Best Friend, my GP, was her usual lovely helpful self. I explained about our plan to go to the OC, and she obligingly offered to prepare me a pack of all my test papers/results/certificates. An eminently sensible solution so no matter where we end up, I will have copies of everything I need. Oh sweet baby Jesus, I love this woman. It was all I could do not to fling myself at her feet, hugging her knees, sobbing in gratitude.

With lightning efficency, she also took some blood for the HIV and Hep B&C tests, gave me a scrip for a refill of my thryoid medication, and passed me a small tube and biohazard baggie for the chlamydia test.

"You'll need to provide first stream urine," she explained.

"Oh, like the first pee of the day? Yup, can do," I said confidently.

"No, I mean, you need to collect the first drops you pass. Sometimes we ask for midstream urine instead, so you have to start, then aim for the tube halfway through. But not this time. Oh, and you need to fill the tube all the way up. Ahh, it can be a little tricky," she added, as my face fell.

Good Lord, I thought as I trundled off to the loo, peeing into a tube has suddenly become very complicated. How do I know when first stream ends and midstream begins? What if I miss the tube altogether when I start? What I can't fill the tube all the way? Is my bladder actually full enough? Fuck, I knew I should have a second cup of coffee this morning. Surely there must be a more girl friendly method for this sort of thing, like a funnel device? Maybe I should invent one. And anyway, why the fuck didn't E. have to do this test, never mind that this whole 'first stream pee thing' is probably ten times easier for boys.

I sat there for a minute or two, thinking all these things and wondering if I should go home and do it later. But then I pulled myself together, thinking IT'S JUST PEE, WOMAN! Just do it!

So I did. It was, as she said, a little tricky.

Then, for maximum entertainment, as I went back to the reception desk to hand in the pee tube in the baggie emblazoned with CHLAMYDIA TEST: BIOHAZARD in bright red letters, I bumped squarely into one of my work colleagues.

"Oh, HIIIIIII," I said way too loudly.

"Hi," he said. There was an awkward pause as his eyes flicked to the package in my hand.

"Just....just...passing through," I yelped, before practically throwing the bag over the counter at the poor receptionist, and sprinting for the door.

Only to realise as I reached the corner that I had forgotten my favourite hat in the waiting room. Yes, of course he was still there when I came back for it.

Later in the afternoon, up to the hospital to see yet another endocrinoloist. Turns out I flunked my last blood test, and my TSH levels have risen again slightly despite the medication. For the purposes of conception, it should be lower, and so my dosage is to be increased.

"Look," said Dr Third, getting out a scrap of paper and a pen, "this is your thyroid. And this is your pituitary gland. And these lines here are the hormones from one to the other, that's called your TSH. What this means is..."

I let him ramble on, despite the fact that I have seem the same crappy diagram drawn at least six or seven times by four different doctors in the last year. They sure seem to like drawing it though, so who am I to spoil their fun?

Supplementary prescription...take back to GP...test it again in three months...another appointment in six months...blah, blah, blah, blah. I left in a bad mood. I am a thyroid failure. Why the fuck can't I get this TSH level down?

Blasting cold wind. Wet snow in my face. Drunken yobs in the back of the bus. Having come to the conclusion that spontaneously combusting was not a viable option at that particular moment, I decided instead that the only thing to be done was to head immediately to buy that pair of chocolate brown suede knee high boots I had seen earlier.

They were on sale, I promise. A most delicious bargain.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Mouth versus head

Some time ago, I realized that if the world could see into my head and read my thoughts, I would be:

a. unemployed
b. institutionalised
c. burnt at the stake.

But today I became even more aware of the yawning chasm between what I am thinking and what comes out of my mouth. I'll give you a few examples:

Team Leader: Don't forget we have a group lunch today, to say farewell to Jane who is going off on maternity leave for the second time in eighteen months!

Mouth: Yes, of course, I marked it in my calendar! I'll definitely be there!
Head: Oh blech. I'd rather gut a pig and eat its raw liver with my bare hands than go to that lunch.

At group lunch, whispered gossip at the other end of the table.

Mouth: What's everybody talking about?
Head: Don't ask! Don't ask! I know why they are whispering. Whispering means the bad thing! The baaaaad thing!

Colleague: Oh, Whatshername is also pregnant again.
Mouth: How nice for her.
Head: I knew I shouldn't have asked. I now wish to stick a fork in my eye.

Later that day, the phone rings. It's my friendly former boss, now on maternity leave.

FB: Hi, I am at the front of the building. I had to stop by to pick up some stuff. And I have the baby with me! Do you want to see him?
Mouth: How lovely, I'll be right there.
Head: AIEEEEE! Drop the phone, move quietly toward the fire exit, and run, run, run for your life! Or do you think she would notice if I just went and hid in the bathroom until she goes away?

At front, FB is gently rolling the baby carriage back and forthwith the bundle of joy inside.

Mouth: Hi, how are you, you look great!

FB: I feel OK. Look, here he is.
Mouth: Oh, how sweet.

FB reaches in to the carriage to adjust his tiny little furry hat. She says: Do you want to hold him?
Mouth: Ooh, yes, please.
Head: Right. As soon as she hands you the kid, break for the revolving door. She's probably too milk-logged to keep up with you.

FB: He might be a little grumpy. I couldn't find a quiet place to feed him.
Mouth: Yes, that must be tricky around this office.
Head: AIEEEE. I am holding a small squishy baby boy. Baby flesh! I smell baby flesh! I see baby flesh!

Baby starts to cry. I joggle him up and down, trying not cry myself and/or gobble him whole.

FB: We'd better go, I think he's going to start to scream the place down in a minute. Guess he needs his nap.
Mouth: OK. Here, you can take him back now.
Head: Yes, take him, along with my left ventricle.

FB: Don't worry, I'll visit again soon.
Mouth: Oh yes, please do. It's nice to see you. Give me a call so I know when you are coming.
Head: Even though I will not be here. For the foreseeable future, I will be at home, in my pyjamas, cramming large slices of cake into my mouth.

FB: Bye now!
Mouth: Bye! Bye baby boy!

The head goes dangerously quiet. The only sound is a wet splash as my body suddenly disintegrates into a puddle on the floor.

Monday, February 21, 2005

For whom the bell tolls

I feel...how shall I put it? Sullen. Sullen intermixed with a pinch of numb and sad. Sometimes, for a bit of variation, I add a bit of pissy/bitchy/cranky into the equation. The mood combinations usually go something like this: Sullen/sad. Sullen/numb/sad. Sad/bitchy/cranky.

Sometimes I am deep into a good sullen groove, and then suddenly somebody will say or do something to catapult me abruptly into full-on cranky mode. I'll be staring out the window, thinking vague depressing thoughts. The gray skies, the trees bending awkwardly in bleak wind, the smallest flakes of snow melting on the salted sidewalk. And then..that guy with the extremely wet hacking irritating cough? COUGH COUGH COUGH. Yeah you, asshole. Go get a bottle of cough syrup, or go home or something, you are bugging the LIVING SHIT out of me with your constant phlegm-globbers over there. OK. Where was I? Oh, yes, the bleak February skies, the cold ducks shivering on the frozen pond.

And so forth.

Actually, I am three quarters through reading a most enjoyable book which has a recurring theme that sums up the feeling rather nicely. The book attracts comparisions to a certain series about a Mr H. Potter, a lazy and not entirely accurate sort of conjoining of genres, indicative of careless critical pigeonholing. I mean, really, is every novel with the word "magic" in the text ever published for the rest of time going to be compared in this way? Let us hope not.

Anyway, the book, which has a leisurely pace, is about eight babillion pages long, with incredibly detailed footnotes. (The footnotes alone could actually be an entire book- I happen to like that kind of thing very much). I won't try to explain the plot, which is both straightforward and convoluted at the same time, except to say that it is set in England, in the early nineteenth century. And certain characters keep getting drawn/kidnapped/lost in a very eerie and otherworldly faerie land.

This is not a pretty faerie land of daisies, tinkerbells and small talking toadstools. No, this is something else entirely- bleak, ancient, discordant, spectacularly grand but at the same time dark, dark, dark. The transfer into this world is usually accompanied by the mournful tolling of a peculiar, far-away bell. Throughout the book, the sound of this bell signals that a shift is taking place, and with it a sense of uneasy dislocation.

I hear a bell of my own lately. One moment I'll be trundling along, engaged in some task, or conversation. And then, usually without warning, a distant melancholy ringing. When I look up, I realise I have lost my place. Instead I find myself trapped in some strange gray landscape, with the faint taste of salt and tears in my mouth. Some days, it's so very hard to bring myself back again.

It can be difficult to properly explain this fugue state, particularly people who have never been there. Sometimes lately, when I speak of it to people outside of blog land- I see a certain look in their eyes. A look which says, "Oh dear, is she still going on about that? I thought they had decided to fix it, so why don't they just get on with it already? How long has it been now? Really, one of these days she is simply going to have to accept that this is the way things are. Pull herself together and stop talking about all this emotional stuff. Like strange bells. There is no bell. I don't hear a bell."

Of course by that point, the sad ringing is usually overwhelmingly loud. It drowns out their voices, and their quizzical eyes.
By that point, I am already far, far away. Wishing someone would cough, or slurp their coffee, or chew their potato chips with their mouth open- if only to jerk me back to this world, and anchor me with anger.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Testing, testing one two three

Right, where were we? Oh, yes- next!

When I said in an earlier post that we would be able to move on to doing our first IUI as of my "next cycle", I should clarify that what I meant was the next cycle after we both get all these other tests done. Specifically, HIV, Hep B & C and for me, chlamydia. And then see the consultant. And then see the nurse. And do the hokey-pokey, turn ourselves around, that's what it's all about!

E. went to his GP yesterday to have his tests done, and to quiz the doctor about treatment in the Other City hospital. Or, in the OC, as it shall henceforth be known. (Editor's note Thanks to Amy for that suggestion.) E.'s GP has apparently been through some of the infertility funfair himself, so we'll call him Dr BeenThereDoneThat.

Dr BeenThereDoneThat had initially been less than complimentary about the OC when E. asked him many months ago. I'd read a bad review on a message board as well, which worried us a little. But for some reason the doctor's tune has now changed. Or maybe he is just telling E. what he wants to hear.

In any event, there was nothing said to convince us that we should forego that plan and instead stick with the local Ass Con centre. I don't particularly care if the nurses are a bit brusque, or if the price is a bit higher at the OC. What I care about is getting some fertility assistance sometime this century. And so far, the OC ticks that box.

E. should get his test results by post in 7 days. Dr BeenThereDoneThat cautioned E. that if the HIV test came back positive, it was going to possibly affect his life insurance. E. replied that if he is HIV positive, it would seem we have bigger problems than just insurance. I know that doctors have to tell you this stuff before they test, but damn, it sounds stupid when it comes out of their mouths.

E. e-mailed me to tell me he'd had the test. "Ouch," he wrote. "Needles are ouchy in my arm!"

I sat there doodling, trying to work out how many times I have been stuck in the last year. Then I e-mailed him back.

"Tell it to someone else. Love, Pincushion."

Next up- my (*yawn*) visit to my (*yawn*) GP for more of the (*yawn) same.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Can I make an observation?

In this house, it is an ill-wind that brings the words "Can I make an observation?"

I don't know why the observer never learns that in uttering that phrase, he or she might as well grab a sharp fiery stick and prod the soft underbelly of the observee.

"Can I make an observation" usually means: " I am about to say something I don't think you really want to hear, but I am going to say it anyway, although I will try to frame it in neutral tones so I sound more like an interested passer-by than an accusatory asshole, even though in this context I really am an accusatory asshole."

It doesn't help when the observer picks a particularly bad moment to start making such "observations". Take this morning, for example. There I was, standing in front of the closet doing that work-wear crisis thing, feeling especially bloated and cranky.

Actually, bloated doesn't begin to cover it. I feel like every ounce of moisture in my body has suddenly migrated to my lower belly region where it has congealed in one gigantic pooch of misery. On days like this, where comfy boy-jeans or oversized combats are out of the question, all I can do is scrabble around the wardrobe for one of my pairs of drawstring fat pants.

I have two pairs of these trousers, both of which are vile and heinous. The hems are too too long and drag on the ground. Also, I was finding that the drawstring tended to make my shirt bunch up in the front in a weird position over the pooch. So I cut the string off altogether, and now the pants just sort of hang in a limp manner below around my waist region. I say "waist region" because I am short waisted to the point that for all intents and purposes that part of my body barely exists.

Anyway, there I am, late, blemished, waterlogged and crabbit. I ask you, is this a good moment for E. to come up to me and say, "Can I make an observation?" No. No, it really is the worst possible choice of timing.

"What?" I snapped.

"This is a really messy house. I mean, there is stuff everywhere all the time. It's dusty. The counter tops are covered with stuff. It's messy."

"Well, I guess the fucking CLEANING FAIRY hasn't shown up this week then," I roared as E. beat a hasty retreat into the shower. I flipped him the bird, threw on my fat pants and stormed out of the house, wearing too much lipstick to compensate for the appalling state of my skin.

I've been stewing and mulling over about this all day. I know that there was probably nothing personal in the comment- E. was not intending to cast aspersions on my housekeeping skills, but GGGRRRRR AARRRGH, it irritated me. Especially since I can't remember the last time I saw him with a feather duster in his hand. Especially since I went into the kitchen straight after and it was all his crap all over the counter! Especially since, in all honesty, not a messy house. It's really not.

What this makes me think about is "The Deal". You know, the way couples negotiate the division of household labor, or even labour as we call it here, adorning it with an extra "u" for good measure. Everybody has to adapt to their particular circumstances, and almost everyone I know does their best to figure out what works best for them as a team, as a pair.

Our deal is fairly well set. We never sat down and agreed it- it just happened, due to our strange living situation. We both work demanding, full time jobs. E. does most of the grocery shopping (because he usually has the car) and most of the cooking because he likes it (and because despite my best intentions, I am really crap at it). He does all the chores involving the other flat. At the moment he also does almost all the commuting back and forth. And I do pretty much everything else here. The laundry. The bills. The ironing. The dishes. All the cleaning.

But sometimes, when I am having a very busy week at work, stuff slips. Only human, I tell myself. Despite best superhuman efforts, still only human.

I really would like to figure out a way to balance the juggling act a little better- to take better care of myself, of E., of us, and of our home. I can't see how I can do that unless we try a radical shift, like me working part-time. I'm just not ready to do that yet, for all sorts of reasons.

I suspect a more immediate solution might involve E. picking up his own goddamn socks for a change, but in all fairness to him, I think he has a lot on his plate as well. Which means something else might have to give. But what? There is not much give left, for either of us. At the end of the day, most of my remaining energy is sucked dry by the spectre of infertility. Leaving me exhausted and indifferent to the invading hoards of dust bunnies, those wispy barbarians now laying siege to my home.