Monday, April 25, 2016

#MicroblogMondays: A bit about the move

Well, take a deep breath" turned out to be good advice.  Here are a few things that happened to us before, during & after the move this past weekend.

* I didn't realize until the day was almost upon us, but it was a full moon that night. Need I say more??
* Some people can be complete & utter jerks even when you've bent over backward to accommodate them and be nice to them. :p  Hopefully, karma will eventually rule. ;)
* There was a last-minute monkey wrench tossed our way that threated to derail or at least delay the closing (see above). (And unfortunately, this was not the first monkey wrench tossed our way by these people over the past few weeks.)  I was already completely stressed out & emotional about leaving our home of 26 years, and this did NOT help matters. :p
* On top of this, because of a miscommunication between us and then a safety issue with the truck (not their fault), the movers we hired were two & a half hours late in arriving to load the truck with our belongings.
*  That said, the movers really were awesome and worked extra hard to make it up to us. We would be happy to recommend them to anyone local. (Ditto our lawyers!) 
* By the time we wrapped things up at the house, it was almost 9:30, and we didn't get to our new condo until 10. (Needless to say, we were exhausted.)
* Meanwhile, our agent picked up the condo key on our behalf and delivered it to BIL. When we arrived at the condo after 10, hungry & exhausted, they were all there -- nephews & fiancées included -- with coffee & hugs, and took us home for a very late dinner (after which we slept on their couches). They had been there for hours, cleaning on our behalf.  (Who knew there were so many dust bunnies lurking under all that lovely furniture the sellers had??) What a sight they were for sore, tired eyes!!  I still tear up thinking about it.
* We are slowly -- slowly!! -- unpacking and organizing and learning how the new appliances work and where all the light switches are, etc. ;) 
* I still can't believe this is my home and my life now. Dh said he feels like we're staying at a really nice hotel -- I had to agree, lol. 

I could keep writing -- but there are more boxes to unpack, lol.  ;)  Much more to come in the future, I am sure!

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.    

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

There comes a time...

I think many of us who are living childless/free not by choice
have felt this way.

Monday, April 18, 2016

#MicroblogMondays: Read all about it

(Not exactly a "Microblog" -- but something I wanted to get off my chest today.) 

For as long as I can remember, I've had a newspaper delivered to my doorstep, and read it (or at least browsed through it), cover to cover.

I guess it all started with my mother.  She grew up with a daily paper at home, which my grandfather would usually bring home at lunchtime, and when were there to visit, I would help him complete the daily crossword puzzle and word jumble, scan the news, read Ann Landers, pore over the listings for all the movie theatres in far-off Minneapolis, and wonder how long it would take for the same movies to come to whatever small Canadian Prairie town we were living in at the time.

And so the daily newspaper was delivered to our house when I was growing up, too. Even when I was living in a university dorm for my four years of undergrad, I had the local city newspaper delivered to my door -- lots of us did. You have to remember this was a good 15 years before the Internet became a household thing. Our dorms weren't wired for cable, so if you were lucky enough to have a TV in your room -- probably, like mine, a 12-inch black & white set -- you had to settle for a handful (like, about four) local channels for news & entertainment, pulled in with a set of rabbit ears (antenna). When John Lennon was murdered in December 1980, I watched a bit of coverage on TV, but there was no CNN or other 24-hour news channel -- I listened round the clock to the music and news and talk on the radio. And then read about it all in the paper the following day.

I think the only time in my life when I didn't get a daily paper delivered was when I was at journalism school -- and I didn't need to then, because when we arrived at school every morning, there were two large stacks of newspapers waiting for us:  the local city paper and The Globe & Mail, "Canada's national newspaper."  I read them both. :)  Our profs wanted us to get into the habit -- after all, this was the business we all wanted to get into, right? -- and would give us regular quizzes on current events to make sure we were paying attention. 

When dh & I got married, I continued my two-paper-a-day habit, subscribing to both the G&M and Toronto Star.  The papers would be on our doorstep when we came downstairs for breakfast, and I would sort the sections into my preferred reading order, scan the headlines while I ate my breakfast, then tuck them into my briefcase and read them on our daily commute to & from the office, discarding the sections I'd read into the nearest recycling bin as we exited the train. We also got the Sunday New York Times delivered, as well as a three-times-weekly free/voluntary payment local paper, stuffed fat with flyers.

Which is why the phone calls I had to make this past week were so difficult.

Dh & I went to visit our new condo building last week to meet briefly with the property manager and discuss the details of our upcoming move. While we were there, I asked him whether the building residents were able to get newspaper delivery. The guy looked at me like I had two heads, & then shook his. So unless I want to buzz in a delivery guy every morning at an ungodly predawn hour, that means no more daily paper at my doorstep. My last Globe & Mail was delivered on Saturday, and the final Toronto Star & Sunday New York Times yesterday.

No more scanning the headlines while I eat my breakfast.

No more lingering over a particularly interesting story.

No more ripping out or clipping especially interesting stories to save (although I've been trying to get out of this habit for awhile -- if I find a story of particular interest these days, I'll look it up online & bookmark it).

No more stumbling onto a familiar name in the obituaries.

No more unexpected bargains found in the ads.

No more notices for interesting exhibits and events at local venues. 

No more flyers to plan my shopping around.

Yes, yes, I know, all of this information is available online. And we do watch the suppertime newscasts most evenings, so we will get the main news of the day that way.  But scrolling through headlines on your laptop is not the same as scanning full stories in a physical paper. You have to deliberately seek things out on the Internet. It's the difference between searching for a book on Amazon vs strolling through the aisles of a bricks-and-mortar bookstore, having an interesting title or cover catch your eye, picking up the book, reading the flyleaf and scanning the first chapter -- perhaps a book you never might have heard of or thought to pick up until you spotted it.

Yes, I know newspapers are going the way of the dinosaur (or so people say). I know only "old people" like me still read the paper in its physical form.

Yes, I will save trees (and money -- even if I get a digital paper subscription, it costs a lot less than subscribing to the physical paper). Eventually, I will get used to looking for information online instead of on paper. (I guess this means I won't be reducing my time online anytime soon...!) And dh is happy he won't have to haul stacks of newspapers out to the curb (well, to the building's garbage room now) for recycling every week.

Regardless of the benefits of giving up the paper, and of this move generally -- and I know this will sound silly to some people -- I felt a very real sense of grief and loss when I made the phone calls to cancel my long-time subscriptions, and when there was no paper on my doorstep or at the breakfast table for me to read this morning as I ate my oatmeal and sipped my orange juice and tea. There's been a lot of positives and benefits to this move, of course --  but there have also been losses and things I've had to give up, and this is one of them. The newspaper has been a big part of my daily routine, my life and my identity, for almost all of my life. It's a very strange feeling to have to give that up and let it go.

Are you a news junkie like me?? Do you read the daily newspaper? Do you have it delivered to your home?

(Postscript: I had this post pre-written & ready to go... and of course, when we opened our door this morning, there was the G&M. Make a liar out of me, won't you?? lol   So things didn't unfold exactly the way I described. But they will, soon.) 

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Right now

Right now... (an occasional meme): 

Reading:  "All the Single Ladies" by Rebecca Traister, a fascinating look at the history and impact of single women in America -- a growing and significant segment of the population which, of course, includes large numbers of women without children. Review to come, eventually.  ;)

Trying (desperately, lol): To resist the temptation to buy any more new books until after we move. :p  ;) 

Watching:  The nightly suppertime local newscast on TV.

Listening:  To the neighbourhood dogs, barking up a storm at each other. :p  The neighbour on one side of us has two (a hound and a lab), and there are three dogs in four of the backyards that back directly onto ours (including a huge, vicious Rottweiler) and more in the surrounding yards. They bark at each other, at the squirrels and heaven knows what else -- it doesn't seem to take much to set them off. They start at about 5:30-6:30 a.m., often waking us up; peak around suppertime, when their owners arrive home and let them outside;  and are often still barking at 11 p.m., when we're trying to go to sleep. :p  Something I will definitely NOT miss when we move!!!

Following:  News from my former company's annual meeting earlier today.

Drinking:  Water.

Eating:  Just finished dinner -- dh's favourite pasta & beans.

Wearing:  A new logo T-shirt from Old Navy. I bought one for dh at the same time that reads "Out of Office,"  lol.  ;) 

Anticipating:  Our upcoming move to our new condo.

Worrying: About all the little details & things that could go wrong over the next 10 days. :p

Wishing:  The move was over with & we were in the condo already (even with boxes to unpack!!). :p

Loving:  The new mattress set, sheets & comforter set I bought. Very comfortable & cozy.

Monday, April 11, 2016

#MicroblogMondays: Updates

A quick update on my last post: I called Dr. Ob-gyn's office this morning to see if they had any results from last week's ultrasound. Dr. reviewed the results & saw nothing that warranted moving up my mid-May appointment. So I will see him then, as scheduled, for my regular Pap & checkup. That's a relief!! 

*** *** ***

Also related to my last post: I was in a fancy dress shop at the mall on the weekend, just browsing with a June wedding in mind. (I have an old dress I will probably wear, but it's always fun to look, isn't it?)

Overheard:  Salesperson to woman with teenaged girl: "And what's the occasion?"

Mom: "It's for graduation."

(Exit the bereaved childless mother whose daughter will not be attending graduation, this or any other year.) :( 

You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Odds & ends: About TV, movies, dildocams & graduation

Does anyone else watch "The Big Bang Theory"?  And did you temporarily freeze up last night, when Howard tried -- and initially failed -- to find the baby's heartbeat with the portable Doppler on Bernadette's stomach??  I drew in my breath & moaned aloud, "Oh no!!"  Dh paused too -- and then sharply reminded me, "It's a COMEDY -- nothing's going to happen!" 

And it didn't, of course. 

Bernadette's pregnancy has been the source of some grumbling in the childfree by choice community. There have been several past episodes where Bernadette and Howard expressed differing viewpoints on having children -- with Bernadette -- who isn't exactly the nurturing type -- expressing clear reservations about motherhood. So her surprise pregnancy this season seemed somewhat out of character.  I couldn't help but wonder whether she might be "punished" for her previous ambivalence over pregnancy with a miscarriage.

There are so very few positive childless women role models on television these days -- let alone those who have clearly expressed a childfree by choice point of view. So many of them somehow still wind up with a child.

Not every woman who wants a child winds up with one. Not every woman who says she doesn't want a child eventually changes her mind. It's time that television and movies start to reflect that.

*** *** ***

On a somewhat related note (how childless/infertile/grieving women are portrayed in the media): Gateway Women flagged this article on Facebook today -- & I can't stop thinking about it: The hand that robs the cradle: why does cinema still demonise grieving mothers? 

Any woman who has been infertile or lost a child is familiar with the stereotype of the deranged childless/grieving woman who threatens the happiness of others' families. I don't think I've ever seen an article about it in the media, though -- and certainly not one as thorough and well-analyzed as this one -- particularly the comparison of how bereaved mothers are treated cinematically versus grieving fathers. What a great point;  I hadn't thought about that angle before. I literally had my jaw hanging open & dh may have overheard a "Yes!!" or two as I read excellent points such as these:
  • “There is still a romanticised notion of motherhood in our culture,” says Denise Turner, a lecturer in social work at the University of Sussex whose research focuses on bereaved parents. “To be an archetypal ‘mother’ is to be selfless: endlessly loving and without negative emotion. To be a ‘good’ mother is also to nurture your children – certainly not to ‘let’ your child die. There are ever-increasing expectations on mothers to entertain and nurture children, often to impossible standards. Therefore, death is the ultimate failure of motherhood.” [emphasis mine]
  • “I think that culturally we need mothers to go mad because it is unthinkable to us that children die – mothers cannot ‘survive’ this event because we can’t survive this event,” says Turner. “It’s also possible that there is a cultural penitence in mothers going mad it’s their punishment for letting the child die.”
  • Turner lost her own son, Joe, when he was 19 months old. In the past, she has suggested that mothers may not be broken by the death of a child and that with time, they can find strength. Yet this, she believes, is an “unacceptable thing to say, culturally”.
  • Male characters, too, are frequently seen as transformed by grief – many of them spurred by the death of a child down equally bloody paths. But there is a key difference. The reaction of men is generally presented as rational – if over-energetic – driven by an honourable and even aspirational thirst for justice... But when the same thing happens to a woman, her journey is shown as lunacy. Rather than seeking the restoration of some balance, she is an agent of chaos.
There's more. Go and read the whole thing, and tell me what you think.

(For the record, I saw "Halloween" back in the day, and I did not remember the spoiler referred to at the beginning of the article.) 

*** *** ***

For the first time in about 14 years, I had a date with the dildocam yesterday. :p  Long time no see, old frenemy. The technician asked if I'd had a transvaginal ultrasound before;  "OH YES," I was able to advise her wryly.  

At age 55, my cycles have continued chugging along more or less regularly & normally -- until just recently. I had a 19-day cycle last year, which was out of the normal range for me -- and then I kicked off the New Year with my longest cycle ever, starting Jan. 2 -- 63 days, from day one of my period through to the beginning of my next period on March 4th. Aunt Flo usually comes & goes within a week -- but I continued spotting & cramping for a week after that too, winding up with a flourish of the most debilitating cramps I've had in quite a long time. Dh brought me a couple of ibuprofen, and they finally subsided enough for me to drag myself off the couch and call my ob-gyn's office.

Naturally, he was away on vacation. :p  I have an appointment for my regular Pap & checkup scheduled for mid-May, but wondered if that should be moved up.  His assistant advised me to call when he got back, in two weeks. Of course, after that last hurrah of cramping, AF disappeared and I felt fine -- but I called earlier this week, and we decided I should go for a look-see. Based on the results, he may move up my appointment, or I may just go in May as scheduled.

I know that when you get to be 55, strange & unusual things can start happening (if they haven't already) -- and no doubt the stress I've been under lately (selling a house, buying a condo and making moving arrangements) might also have had an impact -- but I prefer to know, for sure and sooner vs later, if it's just wonky (peri)menopausal hormones or something else going on. I am not (overly) worried, but would appreciate any positive vibes, thoughts, prayers, etc.

*** *** ***

My appointment was at an ultrasound clinic in the city, and after I was done, I walked over to the Toronto Eaton Centre to shop (something I won't be able to do as easily or as often after our move), and walked into the Hallmark store. And I almost walked out again when I came face to face with a prominent display of graduation/Class of 2016 items near the front of the store. (I made a fast about-face and walked down a different aisle.)  It's something I know is coming, in the back of my head, and something I've blogged about -- but it was one of those reminders that absolutely smacked me right in the face:  "Oh. Yeah. This should be us and Katie right now." 

It's mid-April -- prom season will be starting soon, and then in June comes graduation. The one saving grace: in a couple of weeks' time, we will be in our new condo, away from here, and won't have to drive by the two local high schools where Katie would have been a student, and the signboards out front with the helpful reminders of events and dates.