Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Real Estate, Retirement and a Really Creepy Story

Real Estate -
On the real estate front we've got pots on all burners at the moment.
Villa Scorpio is on the market and we may just have a deal on the horizon. Probably not to sell, yet but a good deal nonetheless. A couple of guys from San Francisco are here and they love the place but can't come up with all the money to buy. Tomorrow we're going to see if we can come to a deal on them leasing the place for 2 or 3 years to give their business plan a shot. It would be nice for us because we'd be getting half the rent up front and then we could walk off and not have to think about this place for another 2 or 3 years at which point they'd have the option to buy at the current ask.

The Cabras lots are still unsold and we are still having trouble with the Hatfields and McCoys of Cabras coming to an agreement about giving us water (which the state has already told them they are required to do!) There is yet another meeting happening on Friday for the good people to come to an agreement. If it doesn't work out we may have to sell them as dry lots, not the end of the world, but certainly less appealing and therefore less profitable than if they have water.

The Bluff lots are also on the block as of today. We've got a realtor out of Moab who is pricing them (too) high but she sounds confident that this is the best time to try to reel in some tourist dollars and since I'm in no hurry to arrange a trip up there to sort out the black widow infested shed it's fine by me.

And on San Juan Island we're still keeping our fingers crossed that we'll get to the end of the summer with the house we want unsold at which point the bank will come to its senses (as if banks have senses) and lower the price to reflect the real value so that we can go on up and buy it! Well, it doesn't hurt to have a dream right?

Retirement -
No, not mine. My old boss Russell Monaghan is retiring. He was my favorite mentor, a father-figure when I needed one, an outstanding employer and a real friend while I was in college. He so impressed me by his reputation alone that working with him was specifically why I decided to attend that particular college and I didn't regret the decision for a second. He taught so much more than responsible stagecraft. Next week the RATS are holding a gala surprise party for him and I'm kind of sad that I won't be there. Had I not been pregnant wild horses wouldn't have kept me away. It would have been like a high school reunion but better. Alas. I'll send him a note and hope that the party is a roaring success even without me there!

Really Creepy Story -
Our house is right next to a bridge that goes over the cross street (our front door has steps outside that lead right up to the top of the bridge). Well for as long as I've lived here the way to get to the street below the bridge was kitty corner from our house on the other side of the bridge where steps lead down. Anyway, I knew that at some point in the past there had been steps going down to the other street just directly across the street from our front door. Two days ago for some reason they started opening them back up again. I have no idea what inspired the reopening, the new administration has just been all about roadwork recently. Anyway, last night dh told me that another local (dh has been coming here since '75) reminded him of why the stairs had been closed up in the first place. You know why?

Someone saw the devil on them!!! Yeesh!
So today he asked the oldsters working on the disinterment about whether they knew the story and they said they didn't. So I'm reassured that if I do use the new stairs when they're ready I won't end up having Rosemary's Baby.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Slow Cookin'

It seems that in the past week things have slowed down considerably. Oh sure, baby's still growing and kicking, The bunny is still wanting playdates, having occasional meltdowns, dh and I are still working on our life together, trying to weed out the roots of discontent and marital mismanagement and get on to a fresher stronger base, we're still trying to sell the B&B and also our lots in Utah and keeping tabs on progress with our lots in Cabras. But it all feels like slow motion this week.
I guess I need to focus on enjoying the slowdown. Inevitably life will pick up speed again any minute and if I let these quiet moments slip past without savoring them I'll regret it as soon as it is too late.
I have noticed that in this period I'm noticing the things here that I will miss when we leave Mexico. I will miss the little shops that I can find just what I need in. The butcher who will cut my meat however I like it, the fruit place that always has nice fresh produce and an interesting selection, the chicken lady (rumored to have organic chicken though I've never asked to verify).
The things I won't miss are all still out there too. The fumes, the traffic, the baby boomers starting fresh and acting stupid, the illogic, the immigrant veil over everything I do.
But today I'm going to go visit my favorite shops, walk slowly and enjoy the slow overcast morning while it lasts.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The plan approved

Alrighty! I finally got in to see my OB face to face today.
The receptionist was going to offer me an appointment in July at first but when I said I was having symptoms of the disease that killed my last baby and she suddenly had an opening in 30 minutes! I've never been a high maintenance patient in my life so I don't feel bad getting a little pushy now. My doc was totally nice though, she spent 45 minutes talking with me, did an ultrasound (I cannot believe how much I have mellowed on that!). I told her that I wanted to go ahead and start the course of steroids at 29 weeks to prep baby's lungs in case of pre-term labor and then go ahead and plan to induce at 36 weeks. She agreed, compromising at 37 weeks and scheduled us for weekly non-stress tests starting Aug 1. I told her about Wendy being born at 39 weeks despite all my hopes and intention that she stay in longer and I was relieved to see that she didn't look at me like she thought I was crazy, she said I had a valid concern about preterm labor with that as background. Phew.

If the symptoms subside and my tests stay normal I figure we can always make the decision later to put off induction but I feel so much more comfortable having the plan in place to get this little girl out early. I looked at the calendar again when I got home and I see that August 28 is the full moon. The doctor wants to aim for the 29th or 30th so that all seems to be auspicious timing!

The only bummer is that Cytotec is the preferred method for inductions here. From what I've read it sounds pretty scary but I've got high hopes that if I do all the other natural induction preps first it may not even be necessary when we get to that point. But she did say she'd only use a half a tablet to get things going and keep a close eye on me. She also apologized for bringing up the lotion but said that in case I'm itchy for any other reason it might help.

Other good news today is that A has agreed to take over the bunny's therapy. It's a perfect fit I think. She knows all about the bunny having been in her life since the minute she was born and dd loves her. In fact, the main nice thing the bunny would ever say about her therapist was that she was kind of like A! So we've still got to work out a schedule but the bunnywas very excited to hear about the new plan when I told her.

Other things swirling around in the grey matter today:

Hey, why shouldn't I spell grey "grey"? That's an accepted spelling isn't it?
Made a soup from scratch that perhaps for the first time in my life tasted really flavorful and yummy.
Put the Bluff lots on the market. Our timing sucks, I know.
Had a good piano lesson, the bunny was especially attentive and upbeat for it.
Baby is breech at the moment which explains the incredibly uncomfortable poking in my side last night, a foot where her head usually is.
The bunny has another loose tooth.
Our camera broke. :( Thus the annoying lack of pictures on my very plain blog.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I still haven't talked to my OB in person yet and now it's the weekend but I do feel like I have a good plan.

I had a really nice birthday tea with my dear friend/midwife/doula/guru-of-all-things-childbirthy. She has been my guide and companion ever since I was pregnant with the bunny and she's a huge source of support and comfort now. Anyway, we both feel good about asking la doctora to go ahead with the steroids to help baby's lungs mature more quickly starting at 29 weeks. That way, should baby need to come early due to induction or even just preterm labor which is a consequence of ICP, she'll be more ready. Also, seeing as preterm labor is a typical problem with ICP we speculated that me thinking positively about her being born safely, naturally and early could really help. With Wendy my only concern was that she come late. For many reasons I didn't feel ready for her so I honestly had focused all my attention and intention towards going a week or more past her due date (The bunny had been 10 days late so it never occurred to me that there was any risk to that). Wendy was born a week early anyway. I wonder now if I somehow managed to keep her in longer than she would have stayed had I just been a non-freaked out mother.
In any case, I am completely confident that my body will work well to get baby out safely, even if it means using some otherwise scary sounding induction methods. I'll start out with all the natural tools, raspberry leaf tea, sex, evening primrose oil, calluphylum chochos, affirmations (I will deliver this baby safely and naturally without stress). Then hopefully all of that will get my cervix into shape to let baby through at 37 weeks. I need to do some more research on cytotec and pitocin and I also need to open my mind to the possibility of a cesarean, though that seems somehow far fetched in light of how efficiently my body has worked the past two times.

The other happening this weekend is that dh and I have agreed that the Bunny's therapist isn't cutting it. She told me that her approach is to sit quietly while the child plays with art materials and now and then she'll toss out a suggestion or a question. However, in practice it seems unbearably silent. She doesn't even seem engaged. Dh went yesterday and reported that when bunny brought up having a nightmare the night before the therapist didn't even follow up on it with any questions!!! That sounds like a wide open door to me, and if she couldn't be bothered to walk though, well, time to move on.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The saga begins


So I got my test results back and everything is within the normal range. I'm not really surprised but I suspected that without a smoking gun my OB would suggest something lame like lotion. And what do you know? She did.
She did agree to do an ultrasound and request more blood tests so that's something. This is where the whole speaking spanish thing gets irritating for me. I mean, I don't have the translation for Cholic, Deoxycholic , and
Chenodeoxycholic acids, or even Bile Salts for that matter in my head. It's just a bummer that there is no consensus among the women I've been in touch with or their doctors for what all the different blood tests really even mean. It seems like some women have numbers off the charts and no itching and manage to get their babies out safely, then there are others who itch a little, have moderately weird numbers and whose babies die. It is very confusing and scary when I know so well how badly things can turn out. But I'll try to stop jumping to conclusions and go talk to my doctor in person. That has to be better than on the phone right?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The morning funnies

So this morning the three of us were in the bathroom getting ready as usual. Dh got up from the toilet and walked out.

Dd said sharply, "you didn't wipe!"
He replied, "I didn't poop."
She retorted, "Well if you didn't poop and you didn't pee then what were you doing on the damn potty?"

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Preparing for the worst

Okay, so I'm itchy again today.

Dh had suggested that maybe I was itching because of the new soap I put in our shower. So I took a bath last night and made sure to rinse well but I'm itching again today.

So okay. If this is it then I've done my homework, I know what I need to do. It's time to go to a low-fat diet, make sure I keep up drinking at least 2 gallons of water a day. I'm taking Benefiber and I'm reinstating my tinctures (which taste horrible). Tomorrow when I get my results back from the lab I'll call my OB and tell her I have to see her asap and we can talk about starting the steroids at 29 weeks to help baby's lung mature more quickly so that we can plan on inducing no later than 37 weeks. That's August 29. I actually will feel a lot safer if we can agree on 36 weeks, August 22.

Today I feel really calm and confident that I can take every precaution and get baby out of here alive.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Is this it?

I'm itchy today.

I really really hope that this is some weird fluke thing and not cholestasis coming back. I'm itching under my hair, on my legs, back, sides, arms, chest, face. I feel like I've walked though a cloud of mosquitoes.
It just started today.

I am on my third liter of water, the second today dosed with Benefiber. I've taken two doses of the liver support stuff. After dinner I'll take some tinctures.

Does praying help? Does obsessing make it worse? Is there any chance I can distract myself enough to make it stop?


Monday, June 11, 2007

The end of the world as I know it

Last night after the cat woke me up at 3:00 I found myself in that stream of consciousness that keeps me awake. After months of thinking only about how dd is handling this pregnancy, of all of our worst fears and high hopes that this baby is delivered safely into our arms, I finally wound my way back to the thoughts that had kept me awake during Wendy's pregnancy. How will it be for dd to suddenly be sharing me and dh? How will it be for her? I expect it will be a bit like the end of the world.

For nearly 6 years she has been our constant focal point. She has been the source and destination of most of our energy. Her interests have been paramount, her thoughts the only ones like them in the house. And now, we are closing in on the day when she is no longer the only one.

I know that we will each fall in love with the little girl that is growing inside me. It is impossible to imagine that we won't. But I expect that some days the love will feel less prominent than sadness, that she is not her dead sister, revulsion at that sadness, jealousy for the days when we were three, wistfulness for the days of reliable schedules.

And what if dd reacts to her new sister the way my brother reacted to me? Disbelief, resentment that never disappeared completely. Of course I don't really believe that she would fall prey to such a low condition, she is the light of my life after all, but what if? What if she blames her new sister for all the changes happening in her life at the same time? What if she thinks that had her sister not been born we would have stayed on in the life she knows, endlessly repeating our patterns, predictably treading water? I will try to discuss this with her despite her age. Will it help? Will it put ideas into her head she would not have had anyway? I'm thinking about writing her a letter, one to be opened when she is older, something to commemorate the first 6 years in which she was all that mattered, something to let her know that I noticed that the world ended too.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Maid madness and mommying my monkey

Ack. Back to feeling cranky at the maids for existing in my space. It was just one of those mornings when I needed to fit in a ahem, loud, trip to the bathroom between serving the guests coffees and fruit course and of course the maid was dusting books in the room right off the nearest bathroom. Yeah yeah, I'm sure if she hadn't dusted them I would have totally flipped right? That, and the word from our hiring friend is that the first two that she talked to both claimed to want only part time work. One of them said she had another job in the afternoons and could fit another one in. Well, maybe she does but it sounds a little fishy to me since every other week her hours here are in the afternoons already. I should be relieved that they aren't in a panic about the prospect of losing their full-time jobs here, I wish I was so cavalier! And, if none of them can be bothered to get flexible for a new position then I guess I can get my panties out of a twist worrying about having to downsize them. But honestly, it just makes me cranky.

In some good news, and as part of my new conscious quest for all-honesty-all-the-time, I sat down with dd to explain more fully that her art teacher is also a therapist and that it isn't really just for fun and artsyness that dd is seeing her every week. I explained that when we experience sad and bad things most of us don't really know how to deal with those feelings. We're not generally encouraged to act on them and we want people to think we are happy and nice and chirpy, so the bad stuff gets bottled up inside where eventually it starts to make us feel sick (her tummy aches and headaches for example). I told her that her therapist is trained to know how to pull out those nasty bad feelings so that our bodies and minds can feel good and get on with life without them. I said it was like a splinter making us hurt. I also told her that dh and I have been talking to a therapist too and that we both feel a lot better than we have in a long long time. She listened carefully and said that when we talk about the new baby she does feel sad and scared because she's afraid something bad is going to happen again. But she seemed to feel a lot calmer than usual when she mentioned it. I told her that since she is just a little kid it isn't her responsibility to make big decisions or to worry about the future. I told her that she was not responsible for anything that happens to other people and that all she is supposed to do is let me and Daddy take care of her and promised her we'd always do what is best for our family. I guess I either talked too much or told her what she wanted to hear because after that she fell right to sleep without another peep.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Truth and consequences

So truth and vulnerability are on my mind today.

I am instinctively extremely honest. It pains me to be evasive and especially to lie to people. I am not good at it and don't want to be. However, I'm noticing recently that though lying to others yanks my internal chain and I can't help noticing, I've been very accomplished at lying to myself. This must stop. Now that I've noticed A)that I do it and B)that it sucks my life force straight out of me, I'm expectant that it will cease to be an insidious little habit.

The irony is that I started out lying to myself to protect myself- okay, who knows where I started really, but from where I can pick up the trail so far I can see that these little self delusions were pretty little and designed to keep me where I wanted to be. Seemingly inconsequential details about what I was or wasn't okay with in my life. Except that I didn't notice until now that each little bitty lie laid the groundwork for another little bitty lie. And they started to knit together into a picture of someone I wasn't and didn't want to be but had carelessly let on to others that I was. And I won't even get started on how to start to go back and unravel the mess! Yeesh! So many assumptions get built on false foundations this way that when the truth comes out it astonishes.

All those moments when I held my tongue for fear of looking overly critical or overly sensitive, all those times when I laughed along with others at jokes that didn't hold the remotest amount of humor for me, each time I listened to someone go on and on and told myself they cared that it was me listening, that they would have clammed up around someone else, that when they were done I'd get a turn, every time I pretended not to feel all those things we hate to feel. So much wasted time!
For all the clich├ęs about "to thine own self be true" I think this time I'm getting it.

From here on out, Honest Penelope is the new sheriff in town.

Help keep me honest, okay?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

San Juan Island Pictures

Here are our pictures from our trip to the San Juan Islands.

The maids Mex'n out

Well an opportunity for our maids has just fallen in our laps! A friend of ours who is a single mother is looking for a full-time maid/nanny for her daughter. We know it is a long term position and we know the house and the kid. The wage is the same, the hours are the same and she is looking to start someone almost immediately. She also would like to hire someone with a reference since she has had many many people in this position over the past 6 years that we've known her. So, we told the maids about it and let them know that regardless of this one of them will have to be let go in August no matter what.

Now, call me crazy but if I just heard I had a one and three chance of losing my job in two months but that there was a good job opening available if I wanted to take it now, I'd be on that phone to get an interview. But so far, no one has called our friend. Are they paralyzed by denial that this gig is ending? Or what? They can't have been too surprised, we're obviously slowing things down dramatically and there's barely enough to keep the three of them busy for half of their hours. anyway, I told them all again today that they'd better hup to and have an interview. I even told them they could take any time away from here to do it. Now I guess I'll just cross my fingers that they don't mex out on this and miss it.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Midnight musings


Not sleeping well the past couple nights. I think it's mostly because I've stayed up too late and gotten myself worked up over it. I hope that's all it is. I remember that I started sleeping pretty badly when I was pregnant with Wendy and it was all downhill from there.
I wonder when some whiz kid engineer at Microsoft is going to come up with a memory card for your brain. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to load all the stupid and brilliant things you think of at 3 am onto a flash card and then load it to your computer in the morning so you could sort through it all? The thoughts I have in the middle of the night are like dreams, half the time I don't remember any of it except that it was brilliant and it was there.
I also thought about this blogging business. The first time a friend of mine said they had a blog and would I like the password I felt flattered and appalled in equal measure. On one hand I relish the thought of getting someone's inside view of their own life and times. On the other it seemed a little creepy that anyone would make their diary public. But last night I recalled that as a teen I kept a journal and one friend of mine in particular always wanted to read it. She lived in another state so we didn't see each other often but when we did the first thing she always wanted to do was to pore through my journal. I let her read it even though I was of two minds. Part of me resented the intrusion on my privacy but part of me yearned for someone else to know my real thoughts. I did end up censoring myself to a certain extent, for better or worse I don't know. Looking back on my journals I can still tell where I've drawn the line.
In any case I'm here again, writing a journal, making it sort of public.

Another train of thought that went through last night was about the difference between the families we choose and the families we are born into. I've already opened this blog up to certain people, mainly women with whom I feel a bond though I know them only online but not in real life. My husband also has the link.

But I don't expect that I will ever choose to share this with my biological family. My mother stresses me out with her drama and her back and forth between mother-protector and needy dreamer child. My father doesn't irk me but I also think he would be bemused by a blog and not know how to receive it. My brother and I appear to be estranged. After a lifetime of making choices the other would not, it seems that he has built up years of resentment toward me and I, in equal measure, have built up years worth of disregard for him. I don't know if we will ever find our way back to some sense of respect for each other. I don't even know how much I care one way or the other. He has a busy life, I have a busy life. The choices we are making seem to have little common ground, our backgrounds are nominally the same and yet we might as well come from different families altogether. I was shocked to finally understand that the father my brother perceived growing up was not at all the same man that was my father. And to a great extent the same is true for our mother. So even though each parent loves us equally, it is like we're talking about a different set of people, and that diminishes our common ground that much more.

Anyway, I'm sure that most people at some point in time have thought about this kind of thing. It concerns me now because I want to know how best to make room in my chosen family for my baby daughter. She will never have exactly the same family as my first. My first has had a dog that she adored and who is gone. She has lost a sister already. She has lived a life as a privileged foreigner and speaks a second language as her own. Her parents have always been home, always have had the luxury of making their own schedule. This baby will not experience those things. She will have an altogether new life. Her family will not be constantly hosting strangers, her mother will do housework, her father may have to work away from home, she will not be the first child to stand, to crawl, to smile, to make her parents weep with love and thankfulness. She will not be expected, regardless of intentions to the contrary, to be a role model for her sister. And yet these two girls will be loved equally by these different parents. I guess that that is all I know for sure.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Halfway to 70 baby! Woohoo!

Happy birthday to me!

I'm a little at a loss for profound thoughts even though I should be old enough by now. Many of my past birthdays have been fraught with high and unmet expectations of great gifts and romantic surprises. This year I've either been more realistic or less insane. I guess that boils down to the same thing but I'm sitting here with nothing to unwrap except for a sweet card from dh and I don't feel neglected, forgotten. dismissed or angry. I am just happy to have a day off with dd and dh and little baby kicking around in my belly to remind me that she's doing fine. Prompted by my mother who always wants to make a big deal of birthdays I gave quite a lot of thought to what I wanted for my birthday but I can honestly say that this year I just want a happy peaceful family. There is no thing that I want or need, I just want this baby to stay healthy, I want dd to heal her emotional wounds brought on by the tragedies she's seen and any mis-parenting dh and I may have done and I want dh and I to continue to learn how to be gentle with each other and help each other to be comfortable in our world even though we each need different things.
So, I guess I do have some high hopes but this year I'm pretty sure they are not unrealistic and it feels really good to be 35.

Friday, June 1, 2007

A chink in the armor

Today was daughter's third visit with an art therapist and I was beginning to wonder if it was worth the time. She was being her usual good-natured happy self for the first 50 minutes. She loves trying all the different materials, sparkles, paints, pencils. But then the therapist asked me about the upcoming birth, our plans for inducing, whether I was feeling any symptoms of cholestasis. Almost as soon as we started to talk dd's demeanor changed dramatically. Suddenly she was frustrated, angry, whiny, needy. As sad as it makes me to see her feeling so upset I am thankful that the chink in her armor appeared at her therapist's, you know? I am not sure about the therapist's approach, she doesn't talk so much and I am definitely more into more back and forth. But art therapy is something I don't know much about and I don't know much about how to reach hurting kids either so here's to hoping that a little more time and this little opening will be the start of dd's road to healing.

Movin' on up

Since finding the words to describe my own discontent to myself I actually have felt less anxious about it. However, this morning when I walked into the kitchen to make myself a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast I was hit with the usual sense of guilt and furtiveness as I saw that Lupe had already washed the knife I'd used to make daughter's lunch a half hour earlier. ~deep sigh~ I fled back to the office as quick as I could.

The big news of the day though is that dh and I have finally moved into a room that can truly be called our own. We have enough storage space in the closet for our things that hang to hang, enough drawers for things that fold to fold. There is room in the bathroom for our toiletries to be shelved without fear of falling into the unflushed toilet. The only drawback is that it is bright in the morning. The coziest place for our bed faces the clerestory windows (a type of window which I happen to hate) so this morning I was awake earlier than usual, not that there is anything wrong with that. And, though it is too soon to call it, dd slept in her own room across the patio all night long. And she was happy when she woke up.

Of course, if we follow the current plan we'll only be living in this room, in this house for about another 4-5 months. Although I am ready to move on, I am worried that dd will be traumatized by the arrival of her new sister and the departure from her childhood home in quick succession. We're not going very far but the change will feel drastic to her nonetheless. She'll be changing schools, saying goodbye to her maids (with whom she has no issues), she will no longer be the cute owners' daughter cooed over by a stream of friendly strangers. She won't realize it for a long time but her life is about to get normal.

So I'm reading books on parenting, taking her to an art therapist to try to clear away all her lingering sadness from 2006 Year of the Family Tragedy, talking to her as much as she'll allow about the upcoming changes and how she feels. I really wish I knew whether these things are going to help. I wish I had more confidence in the resilience of children. I wish I was more sure that I can shield her from any more tragedy. I wish it really felt like loving her was enough. Maybe that's how parental love is though, it never feels like enough, no matter what.

And finally that leaves me with what should I do with my birthday? I know it is up to me to make a plan and follow-through. I know that eventually I want to get some sort of necklace or maybe a ring with my three daughters' birthstones. I'm sure some would consider it hokey but I don't care. It just remains to be seen if this baby is born in August or September. But that line of thought will bring on another long post so I'll pause and get out of the office for a while.