Taking Bets

Yesterday morning I woke up around 3am to what can only be described as the most excruciating pain I have ever experienced. I had this uncontrollable urge to pee, and after my first try, could not. I kept trying and trying, with this sharp, stabbing pain on the lower left side of my back and abdomen. Then I started chugging water to try and make myself pee, at which point I would hold the water down for about five minutes before I would throw it all up. The nice thing was, despite the projectile nature of it, the water was still cold. For a minute there, I thought I might be going in to pre-term labor, I was in so much pain.

The only reason I’m sharing this with you is because I have never felt anything this horrible in my life. And I’m sure there’s someone out there who will say, “That’s nothing!” or “It’ll get worse!” Because, yes, I understand that childbirth is probably worse than passing a kidney stone in the middle of the night whilst vomiting. However, an epidural to ease my pain was not readily accesible that night, or I would have had one.

I got about two more hours of sleep, off and on, once the pain finally subsided, then I had to be at work from noon until 8pm last night. I came straight home, took some Tylenol, and went to bed. I was back at work at 20 after five this morning.

When I got home from work today, Charlie said he was proud of me. “Why?” I asked. “Because you passed a kidney stone while you’re pregnant and then went to work for eight hours with no break.” I laughed. “That’s sweet,” I said, “but now is not the time for me to be calling in. Now is the time to pretend like I care about my job.”

Thursday is our next OB appointment, at which point we’re supposed to be able to tell the gender. I’m a little over 20 or 21 weeks pregnant (it’s hard to keep track, and every calendar I used gives me different dates). Halfway there. So, I’m taking bets if you want to guess the sex. Names may be kept secret until it’s on the birth certificate and no one can object. (Although all of you know at least one by now.) The winner will receive the self satisfaction of guessing correctly on something with a 50% chance either way. Although, statistically it’s more like 53-47/girl-boy.

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Overheard on Campus

Yesterday I was hoofing it to my car to try and avoid the inevitable clusterf*ckery that would result as the snow started to fall in chunks. As I was getting ready to pass into the parking lot where my car sat, I passed two young guys, one with a pencil-thin, pathetic attempt at a mustache, the other was slightly overweight and wore a black duster and boots.

Mustache kid: Do you think we’d have airplanes if we never invented guns?
Overweight kid: Huh?
MK: ‘Cause the airplanes were invented to put guns on so people could kill people. So if we didn’t have guns, would we have airplanes?
OK: Oh. I dunno.

Ethical Eating

Thanks to Jay, I’ve been devouring (pun intended) The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The information within isn’t anything I didn’t know, deep down, but it’s shocking to find out exactly how much corn and synthetic (if not downright toxic) materials are being put into our food all for the sake of convenience and low, low prices.

I probably have just a chapter or two to go, but I’ve felt for days that I just want to buy a farm and grow all my own food.

Charlie hasn’t read it yet, but he’s gotten more than a few earfuls. He, too, is concerned about supporting sustainable farms and eating ethically, as well as locally. This was a big part of our New Year’s resolutions from 2008. The dilemma, for me, is that I’m not a big meat-eater, but I’m concerned that the Peanut isn’t getting enough protein. I told Charlie I would try to eat more chicken, if it’s local, free-range, and raised and killed humanely.

We discovered that the Fresh Market down the street actually sells only grass-fed meat. I asked Charlie “how much” grass, as in — how much of the animal’s diet is actually real grass, and how much do they tell us that to make us think it eats only grass? But until we discover someplace or someone that does feed its animals only natural grass and other ingredients that belong in an animal’s diet besides other animals, it will have to do.

And, tonight, we still have to worry about our dinner. And Charlie is a big fan of meatloaf. I was curious to see if I could find a good substitute for regular ol’ red meat meatloaf, so I put “ground turkey meatloaf” in the Google search box. The second recipe that came up was, and I shit you not, “Ground Turkey Vegetarian Meat Loaf.” The first ingredient is one pound of ground turkey.

It’s a sad world we live in when substituting red meat for any other kind of meat makes a food “vegetarian.”

Company-Wide Freak Out

We had a harrowing few hours this morning when the possibility that Sarah might be going in to labor became very real. She was having some contractions that felt painful, and a little release of fluid that she thought might be her water breaking (she has not actually gone in to labor as of this post, though). Which is funny because last night was our final meeting before Sarah goes on maternity leave. The owner asked if we had a pool going to see when Sarah would have her baby. Obviously, no one picked today.

After lots of phone calls and trying to get someone to cover her shift, it became apparent that I was going to have to go back in. The only people who had worked during the morning were me, Matt, and Joe; three of our four shift supervisors. The fourth had “other plans.” I contacted all my professors to let them know my manager was (probably) going to have a baby and no one else was available to work. Of course, I completely forgot I was supposed to take a quiz in psychology today (d’oh!), but I have 9 other quizzes the rest of the semester, so the lowest score will be dropped anyway. Still. Shit. I hate this!

Everyone’s attitude about the whole thing was beyond irritating. When one person was saying, “No, I’ve got other stuff to do,” another was sighing and pissy and short with me because they didn’t want to have to work on their day off, or someone who didn’t understand why Sarah didn’t already have this covered. Yet another didn’t return anyone’s phone calls until well after the situation was resolved.

I can’t help but think that, at a time like this, people should really be careful about their unwillingness to help out. When hours are being cut and people are being left off the schedule for weeks at a time, one might think it would behoove one’s self to step up during a minor crisis.

I also just read a scathing email from one of my professors, who apparently did not get my message from earlier, and scolded me for not paying more attention to deadlines. I want to throttle these kids.

In other news, Crazy Pink-Haired Lady and I are “friends” again. Apparently she was reprimanded and told that she can’t come back in the store. I guess she stopped for a few days (the days I was off this week), but saw me going in to work yesterday afternoon. I asked her to explain herself — why was she there? She said she wanted a time out, and went to shook my hand. I’d looked up some ASL online a few nights before and signed that if she ever hits me or is physical in any way, I’ll call the police. She knew exactly what that meant and suddenly threw herself at me, trying to get me to hug her and apologizing all over herself. She’s also angry with her boyfriend now, so I’m off the hook temporarily.

I just don’t have the energy to fight with her right now.

Have a Kid or Buy a House?

UPDATE: I actually posted this and then pulled out my insurance card to call my provider. I don’t normally do things like this, because I’m a big weenie and I feel stupid asking questions, but in this case I was starting to really stress out about it. It turns out I have a $2000 deductible for ANY lab services. The bad news is, I have to come up with a total of two grand before they start covering anything lab-related. The good news is, I’ve almost met that goal.

I stopped by the hospital to visit Mel and Simone yesterday before class. She’s the tiniest baby I have ever seen, but the good news is, she gets to go home today. Simone ended up being about 3 weeks early, and a little under 5 pounds, but she seems perfectly healthy and was very happy to be held. She kept smacking her lips and smiling at me. Or maybe she was just pooping. She’s only two days old, so it’s hard to tell.

The first time I held a baby was two months ago when my co-worker Maureen brought her two-month-old to my manager Sarah’s baby shower. I was convinced Kaya would throw up on me, since I seem to think this is all infants do (well, that and cry, sleep, and poop), as the first time someone tried to get me to hold their baby when I was a teenager, the baby vomited all over my shirt before I had a chance to pick her up. Kaya never did barf, and neither did Simone.

I wanted to hear the entire story from Mel while it was still fresh in her memory, but I didn’t really want to see photos or videos if she had any. I’ve been willfully ignorant of any childbirth stories since I found out I was pregnant, but now, suddenly, I want to hear personal accounts. I won’t watch television shows about it, though. For some reason, the visual part of all of it is just too much for me.

I’m more than a little upset about the cost I’ve incurred thus far. After all my concerns about the importance of health insurance and going full time at work at a time when I was least prepared to deal with all my responsibilities, my insurance seems to be covering only a very small portion of my medical bills. I have been to the OB’s office a total of four times and have received paperwork showing over $1700 in costs I may or may not have to pay. My insurance has paid $221 so far. That’s it.

The latest bill was for $900. Thus far, I have had my blood taken three times, my blood pressure four times, my weight four times. I’ve also had my OB’s hand and forearm so far up in places I didn’t think it could possibly go as she checked the position of my cervix. If anything, I think I should be paid for that. At the last visit, Charlie got on the scale to “make me feel better” about how much I weigh right now. I hope they’re not charging me for that, too.

It makes me worried about the overall cost of just having this kid. Prior to opening the mail yesterday and seeing all these charges (which isn’t actually even a series of charges, but just two big numbers with no explanation of why they’re so much), my concern was about the cost of raising a kid. I told Charlie – jokingly, of course – that if the bills got any higher he’d have to push me down the stairs. I thought the majority of charges came when you actually went to the hospital, not when you were barely halfway through the pregnancy. The biggest thing we’ve done is have some genetic testing done to determine if the fetus is at risk of Down’s and spina bifida. I can’t imagine that would cost almost a thousand dollars. Give me the samples and a biology book and I’ll do it myself. I understand now why many women choose to go to birthing centers with midwives or have their kids at home. But I just don’t think I could do that.

It stressed me out yesterday and Charlie and I discussed whether not this is going to be the right time to buy a home, after all. I definitely don’t want these bills hanging over my head and affecting my credit, but paying them on time will mean having no money for closing costs and a possible down payment. It left me feeling somewhat depressed about the whole situation.

After I left the hospital yesterday I went straight to class to watch the inauguration. I thought I might get a little weepy, but I kept it cool. I forgot about all the other stuff for a minute. My favorite part was when Bush got in the helicopter and left. I’ve been waiting for that moment for eight long years.

That Chick Who Beats Up Deaf People

After that last entry I made, you’d think I want my job. I don’t anymore. Today I’d finally had it. Crazy Pink Haired Lady came in and started with her usual irritating faces and hand gestures at me. I turned around to ignore her and she came around, stood right in front of me, and gave me the finger. I laughed and acted like it was a joke, trying to get her to just let it go. I turned again, at which point she physically shoved me.

It gets worse. I put my hand up to tell her to stop and she started waving her hands in my face and went to hit me. She missed her target and landed a few blows on my arms and near my neck, but not my face or head.  I was absolutely furious. I tried to gesture her away from me, rather than actually physically pushing her, and she went ballistic.

It was incredibly frustrating and embarrassing. We had a store full of people and she’s wailing and yelling and hitting me.

I had to beg both my co-workers to please ask her to leave because she was doing this nanny-nanny-boo-boo/you-can’t-tell-me-what-to-do thing. She was clearly proud of herself.

Regardless of whatever disability she may have besides being deaf, she knows better than to hit people. She also knows I can’t do anything to reciprocate. She knew she could slap me and hit me in the middle of the store and I wouldn’t be able to fight back. I mean, Christ, do I want to be known as the girl at the coffeeshop who beat up the old deaf lady? No.

I honestly wanted to walk out and never go back. I wanted to be one of the people to get laid off and collect unemployment. But to be honest, I didn’t want her to think she’d gotten me to leave.

I called my friend who works for Adult Protective Services to ask what I’m supposed to do in a situation like this. I cannot work someplace where disabled people are coming in and attacking me. If she were higher functioning, I might have called the police and reported an assault. In this situation, I’m totally lost. All I know is, I have to work there five days a week, she lives fifty yards away from our front door, and I cannot deal with this crazy woman coming in and pummeling me whenever she’s bored.

I’m looking up ASL signs for how to say “Please leave or I’ll have to call the police.”

The Paranoia Creeps In . . .

According to the Family Medical Leave Act, in the state of Indiana, a pregnant woman can take up to 12 weeks unpaid time off to care for her child, a family adopting or fostering a child or baby can also do the same. Unfortunately, the law also states that if the company experiences any sort of financial trouble that leads to layoffs or downsizing, your job is not guaranteed.

Which has me wondering. Will Sarah’s job be there when she returns after only 6 weeks? Will mine be there if I leave in June? They’ve already cut us back to two people every morning and the second shift can leave an hour or more before we close, leaving the shift supervisor (in my case, a pregnant, 5’1″ tall female) alone to close the store. And count all the money. Did I mention I’d be alone?

They also cut our discounts on food and drinks from 40% to 15%. Customers who bring in their own mug no longer get 15% off, but ten cents. People are not going to be happy about this. I hate that it becomes my responsibility to excuse the decision, or apologize for it, or explain why we need to do it. Regardless of the fact that Sarah put up notices on both registers about it. People are going to bitch.

I also discovered that I absolutely have to work 30 hours or more per week to keep my health insurance. It looks like it’s coming down to just me and Matt to run things. Sarah says since he and I are the only two full-timers with insurance, we have to get and keep it together or we may find ourselves, as the highest paid employees with the most amount of seniority, out the door. I thought it would be the other way around, but it might only extend as far as the couple of people who work the least amount of hours getting dropped off the schedule, then they’ll move to the top and work their way down to save on labor costs. Matt was saying today that cutbacks usually get made from the top of the lowest part of the food chain. As in, our owners aren’t going to be lowering the amount they pay themselves, or the friends and family who work with them, or their vacations to exotic locations around the world to “check out coffee;” those of us at the stores who get paid the most are at the highest risk.

Some cutbacks are already starting, with three people not on the schedule at all next week. I’m trying to not freak out, or at least do it quietly.

The Fat Kid in Gym Class

I’m taking an I/O psychology course, mostly because it fit into my Tuesday/Thursday schedule, and only a little bit because I have interest in the subject (I don’t, really). When I registered for it, I knew it would fulfill the fifth of my six upper-level requirements for my psychology minor, and I thought, “What the hell. Maybe I’ll find a way to stay motivated at work.”

As soon as I walked in on Tuesday I could tell it was mostly business majors interested in getting hired by a human resources department and making a ton of money. I know this also because it’s what everyone was talking about on the first day. And by “talking about,” I mean whooping and hollering and clapping when the professor listed the median annual income of I/O professionals. The other part of the class is Psychology majors who are fulfilling some requirement or another and didn’t know what else to take.

I don’t know anyone in the class. Two people look vaguely familiar, but I haven’t taken a psych course on campus in so long, I couldn’t tell you if they were former classmates. Everyone else, it appears, knows one another, and loves to sit and chat before, during, and after the class. I don’t want to cast any aspersions on or judge the importance of the study of “business” in college, but there’s a particular attitude I’ve noticed in the young men who choose this track.

Most of the guys in my class who could be classified as such exhibit a lot of obnoxious, attention-seeking behavior, like interjecting comments, asking stupid questions, laughing loudly, and dropping f-bombs like it’s no big deal. The saddest part is that they’ve done this enough in just two days to make it clear the rest of the semester will just be more of the same. And the professor may or may not be one of those younger women who wants to be liked by her students more than she wants to be respected.

Today we had to choose groups that we would work with for the rest of the semester, and on one main project. As everyone started numbering themselves off (“We’ve got five right here!” “There’s six with us, is that okay?”), I tried to get up the balls to approach someone and see if they needed another person in their group. It became apparent rather quickly that I was going to have to be assigned to the last group with four people, so I hung back and briefly considered dropping the course to avoid the embarrassment of telling the professor I wasn’t in a group, then having everyone stare at me as she announced it.

I felt like the fat kid who gets picked last in gym class. I spoke with a handful of people on Tuesday when we formed little groups to take a quiz, but they had already written their names on the board as being in one group or another. I saw the four dweebs I would get stuck with after a few minutes, though. I’m judging again, but it was the dorky guy, the geeky-but-not-in-a-cute-way girl, the slacker dude, and the weird guy who always comes to class dressed up. I sighed and walked over to them. “Do you guys need one more person in your group?” They all eyed me warily, then said yes. And it was settled.

Busy Little Beaver

After my few days off, spent mostly sleeping in until 8am, lounging on the couch, watching movies, and an occasional eye or OB appointment, I stepped right back into everything without any real transition.

Monday night I went to my first prenatal yoga class and I didn’t get home until almost 8:30. I immediately ate something, had some apple juice, got my work clothes together, and got in bed. I read for a while, willing myself to fall asleep. Of course, I shouldn’t have eaten so close to bed time, but I was starving.

I was up at 5am to open the store and, my first morning back in almost a week, everything that could have gone wrong, did. If it wasn’t the leaking dishwasher and the people from next door bitching and intimidating me about it (“Did you know there’s a leak?” “Have you done anything about it?” “Are you going to do anything about it?”), it was the cash register not printing receipts, the coffee brewers pouring too little water and brewing super-strong coffee, and my morning person being late, useless, and bitchy.

I left work with enough time to run home, change my clothes, and head to campus. I was almost in two car accidents — one was actually my fault, one wasn’t. I tried to get to class on time, but had an almost impossible time finding a parking space. I also had a throbbing headache the whole day. In fact, I still had it as of bed time last night.

I rushed home at 4:30 to let out the dogs and feed them, start dinner, and take a shower. Then I got to open the store again today, work an eight hour shift, and come home to eat and do homework. I have homework in all my classes, only one of the textbooks, and very little motivation to get anything done. It doesn’t help that the snow hasn’t stopped falling since six this morning and now I’m like, “Well, what if we have a snow day tomorrow?”

Which we won’t. So I should get to work.

Future Homeowners?

Well, we were “officially” pre-approved for a mortgage. Conditionally. Charlie has to change the way his student loans are kept and consolidated, which he’ll do within the next two months. Otherwise we’d get stuck paying rent and a mortgage and we kind of want to avoid that, if at all possible, since we’d have 90 days at the most to use the loan information. So we’ll probably wait until March.

There are a couple of homes we’ve found online that we like, which may or may not still be around when (if) this really happens. And I know lots of people want to sell me their side of town. But the fact of the matter is, we like where we live a lot and I can’t imagine moving somewhere else in Indy. I know the Lawrence schools are really good, and I looked up homes both there and in the Garfield Park area (one of which is just a few doors down from Mel and Katie), which are incredibly affordable. You get a lot more house for your money in both areas, but I like the idea of a cozy, older bungalow (somewhat updated, of course) in Broad Ripple. We’ve already decided to look for places without basements, in the hopes of avoiding a nasty mold situation.

Housing prices have plummeted recently and, right now, we’ll be able to afford a lot more home than we could have three or four, or even a couple of, years ago. So I hope no one’s offended if we don’t move to their side of town. Sorry, everyone.

I guess it works out better in terms of my due date, though. I’ve been operating under the assumption that I could be popping as early as May (right after Spring finals), but it appears as though the first OB’s idea was probably correct; the middle of June is more likely. Charlie and I joked that we might ask people to help us move in lieu of baby gifts — but who the hell wants to do that? I’d rather pick out a stuffed animal from someone’s baby registry than to go help them move. Yuck. But if we get out of here the end of May, I’ll at least be able to help a little bit. I think. If not, we’re already planning to save some of the refund we get from our taxes for a moving company.

We still have to wait to find out the gender, though. We were going to make an appointment for two weeks from now, but rather than pay the extra co-pay and other fees, we’ll just combine it with the next check-up, which will be in a month. The nurse I saw today asked me if I “knew” what I was having. I didn’t understand her, and said, “No. We haven’t had the ultrasound yet.” She apparently meant some parents “just know” the gender, like they have a feeling what it will be. I definitely do not have that feeling.