Pregnancy Brain.

Oh, my god. I am so boring right now. I’m bored. I’m tired. I’m tired of being bored, and bored of being tired. I feel like my brain has shrunk, like all the synapses aren’t firing. I’m operating, cognitively, at what appears to be about 70%. Sometimes, not even that much.

I can’t remember the last time I had an interesting conversation with another person. My attention span has all but disappeared. Maybe this is why Facebook is so appealing to me right now; I only have to read tiny snippets of information about my friends, which is great, because even that is often too much for me to digest at one time.

I’m now in my last trimester. Somewhere around 29 weeks. 28? I can’t keep the weeks straight. But I do have an appointment with my OB on Thursday, and they always know. I also know they want to give me that nasty sweet drink for a gestational diabetes test and I don’t want to take it. I don’t know how long I’ll be in the office, but I have to close Thursday night, so I don’t want to spend my entire morning drinking this gross stuff and feeling naseated before spending the rest of my day at work.

My back hurts. My ribs hurt. It hurts to eat, to lie down, to stand up, and to sit. I can’t believe I have another three months of this. 10 weeks. 11 weeks. Whatever.

Finally, Some Good News

I got three bits of positive news in the past few days, which is a pleasant change from my usual freaking out over stupid stuff. One, the appeal I gave to IUPUI for my charged fees after dropping classes this semester was granted! That means I can register for fall. How I’m going to feel about taking classes with a two-month-old at home, I do not know.

Second, I might have found someone to buy my scooter. I’ve been trying to get rid of it since October, when I found out I was pregnant and realized I was too freaked out and paranoid to ride it. I know it’ll be a while before I feel comfortable riding on something like that after I have this kid, and I certainly don’t want to put the kid on it . . then it’ll be cold out and I’ll just still be making payments on something I’m not using. I put up an ad on CraigsList and had someone contact me about coming out to look at it next weekend. We’ll see if it happens. If it doesn’t, do you know someone who might want it? It’s brand new and has only 133 miles on it.

Thirdly, I finally have an advisor in the English department. I have been going around in circles about getting one for a couple of years now, and they sent out an email with a list of students and their assigned advisors. I was hoping I might get one of two or three instructors who I really like. Instead, I was placed with the head of the department. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but at least I have someone to speak with, and he doesn’t have a lot of other students assigned to him, so at least he won’t be spread too thin.

Spring Dream

I think I love spring a little bit more every year. Fall used to be my favorite season, with spring running in a close second. I enjoy autumn because of the respite it brings from the hot, humid Indiana summers. That would be my absolute least favorite of all four seasons. If I could, I would trade in those disgusting, sweaty Junes, Julys, and Augusts for a longer spring and fall. I won’t be popular for saying this, but I would even take a longer, colder winter if it meant I could have a more temperate summer.

But now I think I’m just loving spring. Maybe it’s because it’s finally here (for the most part — although this is Indiana and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a snow shower in the next week or two), maybe it’s because the sun is finally shining and it’s lighter out longer, or because I can finally put on flip flops and skirts. Maybe it’s the vitamin D that’s keeping me from feeling depressed the way most people do in the winter. Whatever the reason, I’m happy it’s here.

Last night I had yet another crazy dream. I think, if I was properly motivated, I could make an entry in here almost every day about the weird dreams I’ve had since getting pregnant. They’re very vivid, very real, and occasionally very sexual. In fact, I’ve had a lot of sex dreams lately, but they’re not anything I care to repeat. Most of my dreams are weird and don’t make much sense to me, or they’re incredibly boring. I think I’m remembering more now because I’ve been waking up 2 and 3 times every night to go to the bathroom, and twice as often to get comfortable.

What I remember from last night is attending a counseling session with Sarah, my manager who just had a baby. I think she was in the dream because yesterday morning was her first day back at work (what a relief!). Her counselor was this older woman who wore entirely too much jewelry and makeup. I think she was also wearing a ton of perfume that was stifling in her tiny office. Sarah wanted me to start seeing her and talked me into coming along. Sarah was laying on a couch and I was crouched next to her on the floor in this small office. Things started to get sort of personal in her session and I felt uncomfortable, so I asked if she wanted me to wait outside. She said no, please stay, so I tentatively placed my hand on her forearm in what was clearly a sad attempt to comfort her.

Although I can’t remember exactly what was said, the counselor tried to get me to talk about some things that I did not agree with and she really upset me. She also kept allowing people to interrupt the session. It seemed like every few minutes, someone was knocking on her office door and she’d say “Come in!” I thought that was incredibly rude, so I left and went across the hall to another therapist’s office, a much older man with a scraggly grey beard who was rearranging his office as I attempted to talk to him.

I got incredibly frustrated with both of them and stood in the hall screaming “In session! In session!” and scribbling these two words over and over again on Post-It notes that I slapped up all over the walls and doors.

I wonder what that means.

The New Local Flavor

The past few evenings I’ve closed, I have noticed the same tall, young, jittery white guy come in. Every time he comes in, he scans the menu board for a long time, then asks how much a large coffee would be if you add chocolate and steamed milk. We tell him, then he asks how much it would be for a medium of the same, then a small. He stands there for a little while, shifting from foot to foot, grinning into space, then says, “Okay, medium coffee.” And he giggles. He usually giggles several times during the exchange. He wears a large, tan, ill-fitting trench coat that would make me nervous if I couldn’t see that he was wearing pants and a shirt underneath.

Yesterday afternoon he got his coffee (as usual, without the extra stuff, but still asking about all of it), then a couple of hours later, he came back. It was right when I was scheduled to leave and I could tell Audrey didn’t want to be alone with him, so I hung around for a few minutes. He didn’t go through the same coffee-chocolate-milk rigmarole; he just ordered a medium. He then dug a handful of change out of his pocket and dumped it in Audrey’s outstretched hand, half of the change falling on to the counter.

After doctoring up the coffee, he sat down with a laptop. I knew Audrey was getting irritated because we’d be closing soon and hadn’t had anyone in the store for at least a quarter of an hour. As the weird guy opened his laptop, he asked us if we would be closing in a few minutes. We both barked, “Yes!” and he went back to what he was doing. I clocked out and started to inch myself towards the door when, once again, the young man looked up at us.

“Did you girls go to college?” He asked.
I heard him clearly, but Audrey said, “What?”
“Did you guys go to college?”
We both responded with an affirmative, “Uh huh.”
At this point, and I shit you not, he smiled, clucked his tongue in a “tsk-tsk-tsk” manner, and shook his head, looking very disappointed in us. I looked over at Audrey, who appeared as if she was going to explode. Her face was all red and she looked furious.

Of course, I led her into the back and told her the guy was obviously a few fries short of a Happy Meal and not to let it bother her. Most of the time he’s been in there, he’s mumbling to himself under his breath, smiling at no one for several minutes at a time, and doesn’t make any direct eye contact. He sort of looks towards you and off to the side. If he were someone whose opinion she should care about, I imagine he wouldn’t be the type who comes in and asks the very same questions every single time.

But it really got under her skin. I think it was the first time someone really questioned what she was doing with her life (besides herself) and it made that much worse the same concerns she has over her chosen path. “If he says anything else about it,” I advised her, “or anyone else says the same thing, I would just tell them I feel lucky to have employment right now, regardless of what I’m doing.”

It didn’t bother me because the kid is a nutjob. His opinion isn’t important to me, neither is the opinion of many other people who come in to get coffee. The choices I’ve made are mine and I think I’m probably more okay with them than I let on. I do have my insecurities (what if I’d done this, maybe I should have done that), but for the most part, people can suck it. I realize I’m at an odd place in my life. Being employed at a coffeeshop is one thing when you’re 23, single, and living with housemates while you finish school. Being ten years older, married, and expecting a child . . . well, I guess things seem to be happening out of the order with which most people feel comfortable.

I just wish the school would give me a degree already. Not an honorary one — a real one. Just say, “Courtney, you’ve done such a good job while you’ve been here, and you only have a few credits left. We know you’re busy, so please accept this diploma on behalf of Indiana University and come back any time.”

Moving Stories

Occasionally I like to pick up a magazine for fun reading, you know, like brain candy. Nothing terrible, and all of them are recycled. I like Psychology Today and Popular Science for the same reasons: a little science, some current research and technology, but not too much to make my head hurt. But the last few times I’ve read PT, I’ve noticed there’s a distinct slant towards what you might consider more of a Cosmo or Glamour reader. Lots of stuff about relationships, sex, and work. Lots of glossy, hairless women who have legs for days standing in front of confused-looking, hot men.

But on page 13 of the April issue, there’s a little blurb called “Insights” that’s about how your personality affects your migration patterns. The second type is the “Worrywart,” and the research shows that people who have more neurotic tendencies move more frequently, but usually “shorter distances … because long-distance moves are so stressful.” I thought this was incredibly fitting.I used to move once a year, every year. As soon as one lease was up, I’d sign another someplace else. I’m surprised we’ve been in the same place for almost 3 years now. But I always attributed that to my military brat upbringing.

In the last personality profile, it says friendly and agreeable people tend to stay more rooted because they make deeper connections. It made me think of my last post and this pointless argument going on in my head with the girl from Facebook. I was like, great, now I’m the neurotic who doesn’t like the suburbs and she’s the “friend for life” who has deep connections with other people?

Then I realized the article was missing a section or two. The “Free Bird” moves lots of places all the time. The “Explorer” is open to new experiences. The “Butterfly” likes to be in hot, new places all the time. Why is it that people who don’t move frequently can only be explained by lasting commitments to others in their life? What about the people who are fearful, xenophobic, and bigots? The ones who don’t leave their home town because they’re afraid of what might be out there in the big, scary world?

Small Town Minds

Some people bore the holy hell out of me. It’s the same stupid arguments over and over again. Especially from good ol’ Redneck County, Indiana, where I ended up when my dad retired from active duty in the Navy.

A friend from high school is moving back to the cultural void most people call a ‘burb where we went to high school. Probably mostly because his daughter isn’t having a very good time in the IPS school system, and maybe a little because his family lives there and it’ll be easier on him and his wife to have free babysitters nearby.

So he posted a comment on Facebook about how he’s not looking forward to moving back there this summer (he currently lives a couple of miles from where I am right now). I posted a comment in response; a bunch of sarcastic stuff about how great it will be to live within driving distance of five different WalMart stores and a Chili’s and Applebee’s and TGI Friday’s and any other apostrophe’d chain restaurant one could think of. And the schools that thrive exclusively on sports, but never on art or music, and the racism that’s right there, in your face all the time, where nary a tan face can be seen unless Amber and Ashley and Ashton have been allowed to go to the tanning bed.

Apparently, some other friend of this guy’s had remarked prior to my comment (and, on Facebook, you usually get an email follow-up when someone responds to a comment to which you’ve commented), and she didn’t take kindly to it. She made a snide remark about how pointless it is to “walk to a hip organic market or coffee house when your kids don’t have any educational opportunities.”

Of course, I had about a hundred things I wanted to say in response — you know, like why can’t we have both? Why do we have to choose between having only healthy food and local, independent retailers or only WalMart and Sam’s Club? Or, how I actually went to that school and I know how shitty it is and how there are NO “educational opportunities” for kids who are interested in something other than football, basketball, and baseball. I think they have a bigger soccer team now, though. And how it’s the responsibility of a parent to ensure his or her child is getting the education they need — that parents are, in my mind, supposed to supplement their child’s book-learnin’. I mean, why else do people drag their kids to church, except to force-feed them their religious beliefs? And I think this young lady taking the time out of her day to snap at me is just another reason why I don’t want to live out there again.

And then I was saying to Charlie, this chick needs to get a blog to vent because it seems rude to me that she (someone I don’t know) made an argument out of an innocent joke between two other people. And then I thought, why don’t I just vent on my own? And so I have.

A Bit Too Much Repetition

It’s quickly becoming apparent that the owner of our coffeeshop thinks Audrey and I — the female shift supervisors — are the only people capable of being on time in the morning, and our two guy supervisors, Matt and Joe, are only capable of closing. The two weeks worth of schedules she made out for us in Sarah’s absence have me and Audrey opening just about every day we’re there, and the dudes on evening shifts.

In a way, I kind of understand why. Neither Audrey nor myself have ever neglected to open on time (KNOCK ON WOOD), but accidents happen. The law of averages demands that it happens to both of us at some point in the future. Electricity goes out, alarm clocks are mis-set or just don’t go off, people oversleep. It’s something that used to keep me up at night when I first became a supervisor because I’ve spent the better part of my teenage and adult years as a night owl. For a while, Tylenol PM was my best friend, as it was the only thing that got me to sleep at a decent hour, regardless of how early I’d gotten up that morning. I used to have a hard time getting to work at 9am — when I WORKED AT HOME — let alone figuring out how I could be somewhere at 7, 6, or, now, 5:30 in the morning.

I think little jabs like this, which equates to taking money out of the boys’ pockets because you make your biggest tips in the mornings, hurts morale and keeps the guys from feeling valued. Some would argue that they don’t really do enough to deserve to feel valued, but Matt has definitely been pulling his weight during Sarah’s maternity leave.

But it also makes Audrey and me feel frustrated because we don’t get a morning off and there’s no variety in our schedules. It’s the same thing, over and over again; the same customers making the same small talk and the same stupid jokes every day, the same comments about the weather for hours straight, the same activities, the same shifts. I’m opening every Saturday and Sunday, beginning last weekend, for almost a month. And on the Fridays where I’m not opening, I’m working the whole day. Like, 10 or 11 in the morning to 7 or 8 in the evening. Do I get to go home for a half an hour, or leave for lunch, or sit down for fifteen minutes here and there? Nope. Only if I can do it and no one who knows the owners is there, someone who might rat me out or make a snide remark about how easy we have it, sitting at the coffeeshop and reading a book.

Despite my “condition,” there is no sympathy from our owners. I did it to myself, is the general feeling I get, and it’s my responsibility to stand on my feet for five or seven or more hours every day. If I want to take a break, I can sit down when I pee, which is the extent of my “breaks” every day, assuming I have a chance to get away from the bar long enough to run to the potty without some spoiled customer asking why I’m not sticking around to make their drink.

I guess, in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t that bad. It’s not as awful as some people’s jobs right now, the stress isn’t terrible, and it’s not like I’m in some sort of physical danger. I say this all the time, but I need to be glad I have a paycheck and health insurance (despite how miniscule both of those benefits may be). It’s just the whole feeling of being stuck in a rut that’s getting to me right now.

Suspicious Activities

I’ve had two people add me to their “friends list” on either MySpace or Facebook in the past couple of weeks, both of whom I know from high school and the evil former housemate (not Cavan, of course!). Since I know for a fact that both of these people are still friends with said evil former housemate, I have to question why they’re adding me. One of the girls I know —  kind of, a little bit — but haven’t seen her in years. The other I have only met twice and is most assuredly a good friend of the evil former housemate.

I have not approved either of these people. In fact, one of them I hit “ignore request,” and the other I just haven’t even bothered to sign in and check. I just received an email about it and chose to do nothing. It makes me feel weird, like what are their motives, and why are they trying to connect with me? Are they arbitrarily adding me because we went to high school together, or are they trying to “get information” about me to give to the enemy?

Today I went to the library to check out some books and an older gentleman approached me at the elevator. It would have been really odd if we’d been alone, but there were several other people standing around. “If you know anyone who’s having a baby soon,” he joked, eyeing my obvious condition, “this is for the piggy bank.” And he just handed me a silver dollar. It was a cute gesture, if a little weird. I laughed and said thank you, if I came across someone, I’d pass it on.

By the way, this last bit wasn’t suspicious to me, despite the title of the post; I just wanted to tell you about it.

Working Hard

photo So, while we get to trudge around in 20-degree weather, waiting for it to warm up and then just rain all weekend, Charlie is in Las Vegas where it’s 72 degrees with 18% humidity. He’s there for a quote — conference — end quote.  How they managed to con the owner into believing this was somehow beneficial to running the club (to send his manager and three department heads to Las Vegas for four days) is beyond me. But they did it. So far, he’s emailed me photos from his iPhone of the MGM Grand’s buffet, the front of The Palms (where they’re staying), a plate of his food, and the one at left. I noted how odd it was to see Zorro and Elvis at a business conference.

Of course, I’m envious. I am in no shape to travel; financially or physically. I probably wouldn’t have any fun at all, and would have to take a nap every two hours. What can a woman do in Las Vegas who’s six months pregnant that’s any fun? Can’t drink, can’t smoke, don’t gamble . . .
I’ve also started having Braxton Hicks contractions. I didn’t know what it was at first, until looking it up. There’s just this tightening of all the muscles in my abdomen, but without any real pain, and for a few seconds at a time, I can’t seem to do anything at all. Just stand there and try to breathe.

I’ve worked all day, every day, since Thursday, and I’m beat. I keep thinking that I’ll do something spectacular when I have another day off, but I know I’ll probably just sleep and spend time with the dogs.

The day after we mailed the lease agreement to our landlord, the house across the street had a for For Sale By Owner sign up in the front yard. D’oh! This was the one that was for sale when we first moved in here with Cavan. It took the former owner almost a year to sell it. She started out asking almost $200k, and, by the time everything was said and done, she took somewhere around $150k. The Wasteful People (as I call the current owners) are starting out asking $179,999. Considering how long it sat there last time, and how little they paid for it, plus the current state of home sales and the economy, I think they’re just being downright greedy. They didn’t upgrade the furnace or kitchen appliances; all of which appeared to be about as old as I am.

I only know this because we went to an open house when this place was for sale a couple of years ago. I really liked the yard and screened-in patio in the backyard. But it was tiny and needed a lot of updating. If the basement was actually dry, one could finish it and add a living area, bathroom, or extra bedroom. But why am I worrying about all of that? It’s my specialty.