week 1, spring quarter

oh man, i KILLED IT this week. like, chugged it.

i now have a complete qualifying exam committee and will begin the process of scheduling my exams on monday. *hopefully* i will also have a completed (or workable) draft of my prospectus done by monday, so as to continue conquering the quarter.

NOT BAD, first week of the quarter!

tomorrow, going to pick up a craigs.list ergo carrier (i know, it’s early, but there are tons of cheap ones on the west coast, where everyone wears their babies! not so many in the midwest). will also pick up boxes so as to fulfill weekly box-sending quota.

as for the zunzun…today is 6w3d. i realized today that the zunzun grows *even when i’m not thinking about it*. a strange realization. i mean, i knew that, intellectually. but this week included the first chunks of time where i couldn’t devote half my brain to meandering fantasies about embryonic development and the year ahead. but it’s in there anyway, growing along!

it does not hurt, by the way, that it was 80 degrees and sunny today. does not hurt at all. everything seems more do-able when it’s beautiful outside.


hitting the ground running

yesterday flew in, picked up car, realized “slow leak” in the back tire had sped up. went to tire place, got rotation and patch. got groceries (only hungry for cottage cheese with berries, lettuce salads, toast). came home, made it look (and smell) like not just cats live here. sorted mail, dealt with my insane email inbox (first day of the quarter and everyone went apeshit). as things progressed, i moved further into the malaise that accompanies going back into the long-distance portion of our relationship. i heated up some food, watched 3 episodes on the internet, then crashed out early. i don’t sleep as well by myself.

today i go to campus, and hit the ground running. i’m dreading everything.

the anchor leg a.k.a. why the next 11 weeks will be hell

This is going to be a long one — the post, I mean…but also the quarter.

Tomorrow morning I fly back to school.

I’m a PhD student in the humanities at a west coast university. My wife is a writer based out of a midwestern university. We met in the midwest, and then I moved out west for school. We’ve been doing part-time long distance for the last 3 academic years, which means that I’m in the midwest for the summers, she’s on the west coast for the winters, and fall and spring quarters we fly a lot, typically seeing each other about every 3 weeks.

This is my last quarter of coursework before I take my qualifying exams and return to the midwest to write my dissertation. Which is great. I’m really excited to get back home, to live full-time with A, to stop flying so much, to hunker down, to have our family, to have all my stuff in one place again. (I’m much more ambivalent about career stuff, but I’m good on life stuff. More on that in a later post.)

BUT, before that happens comes this quarter from hell. Lots of things are going on which make it so.

First of all, I’m not *quite* ready for my exams. The core of my committee is together, but I still need one more person, maybe two (I’ve got meetings lined up for the first week back, so hopefully this is resolved soon). Once the committee is complete, the exams can be scheduled and then at least I’ll know what my doomsday is. Unfortunately, the people that make the most sense for me to work with are on leave this year, so it’s a little bit of scraping the pan going on.

Second, that means I have a fair amount of prep to do before I can take the exams. Lots of reading, lots of writing, lots of anxiety, which I’ll be managing sober.

Third, I’m still writing and revising my dissertation prospectus. This is not unusual, and I’m not behind schedule with that, but it’s still a lot of work, and totally overwhelming. Hopefully this is done before the quarter gets into full swing. I had a major breakthrough this weekend, so it should be smoother sailing on this front.

Third, I’m TA-ing this quarter. Also not unusual, but it’s for a prof I’ve never worked with before (but I class I have done before, so maybe it evens out?).

Fourth,…but I panicked about how we just got knocked up and next year I don’t have income lined up, so I took on a readership, as well, grading for a second class. Perhaps stupid, but it’s a significant chunk of money just to grade.

Fifth, OH YEAH I’M GROWING A PERSON INSIDE ME. So far that means I’m hungry all the time, my boobs are huge and sore, and I’m sleeping like a newborn. It might soon mean barfing and mood swings. And it definitely means — I’ll say it again — coping sober. This, many of you know, is not the grad school way. This is one reason we’re a little bit glad that A won’t be around for all of this. I suspect I’m going to be in the kind of shape that nobody should see.

Sixth, I can’t tell folks at school about #5, lest I get mommytracked before I even take my exams.

Seventh, we’ve got to move out of our west coast apartment. Moving is always such a special treat, and I suspect this will be even specialer by virtue of #5 and #2. Also, it involves integrating cats.

Eighth, even though I just said it’s probably for the best that A doesn’t have to bear witness to the mess, distance is hard and sad, and I tend to be lower energy at least for the first while. I miss her when she’s not around, and I miss our life together, especially when I find myself watching the 12th episode of “Damages” in a row on my laptop in bed…err…

My hope is basically that planning for this to be stressful and awful and the worst worst ever will make it just a little bit less so. A thinks that the pressure — the fact that it absolutely has to be done and we’ve got a nugget on the way — will kick everything into high gear. I suspect she’s right, it just sounds miserable.

So, to help out with that: MY COPING PLANS.

1. To ship a box or two each week, in order to minimize the crazy of moving, to reduce the appearance of impact on the ol’ pocketbook, and to succumb in little waves to my impulse to compulsively clean and also to throw everything away when I’m stressed.

2. To continue acupuncture, and to resume a (toned down for baby-growing) exercise regimen.

3. To continue to cook and eat well, which is never actually a problem since I realized that cooking is both productive and soothing to me, except that just in the last couple of days, some foods have become quite unappealing. Not nauseating, but unappealing.

4. To say it outright when I can’t handle something. Bend, don’t break or something, right?

Good lord. Wish me luck.


Linus needs more…

thoughts, prayers, love, good wishes sent into the ether, or whatever else you do. The facebook page for his surgery isn’t giving very good news; the surgery went well, but he’s not recovering like they’d hoped so far.

My heart just aches for all of them. Linus is a fighter, though, and he’s hanging in there. Hoping with all I’ve got for good news…


If these boobs could talk…

they’d tell you that i woke up to pee in the middle of the night, then freaked out because suddenly my very-tender-don’t-even-think-about-touching-me boobs were suddenly pretty alright. Giant, but not painful. I then proceeded to turn on the light when I peed (middle of the night no-no) to check for blood (there was none) and then to pinch, poke, and squeeze them to see if there’s a little tenderness left (there is, it just moved from the middle cleavage area to the underside area).

By then, I was fully awake, so checked my email and my Google reader, tossed and turned, and turned down the thermostat. (I know: you’re thinking, “if you got up to pee in the night, then were so hot you had to kick off all your covers and turn down the heat, why were you even concerned that your hormone levels had dropped?!” I’m not claiming rationality here.)

In other boob news, I’m now at a place, sizewise, where I’m going to have to buy a new bra. This seems both annoying and potentially expensive. I’m horrified at what the next size up will offer me, as my normal day to day rack is already a pain in the ass for bra-shopping. I’m not ashamed of bra shopping for comfort, but it’s too early in this ride to go full-on granny bra…right?

P.S. something to look forward to (har har): I’m cooking up a good long post about my upcoming quarter, the trials and tribulations of first trimester coinciding with qualifying exam prep (I swear, the rest of the timing on this baby-making thing is ideal…there was just this one off part…), etc. etc. In light of higher ed blogging questions raised here and here, it seems like it’s time to talk a little about Our Situation. STAY TUNED.

A good day

Firstly, three cheers for little Linus, who got through his surgery and is on the road to recovery. Thought about him a lot today, thank goodness for facebook.

Tomorrow is our anniversary, and we plan to spend the day lounging. Today we both worked a lot, and we got groceries so we don’t have to leave home tomorrow. Tomorrow evening we’re having dinner with some friends of A’s, and then I’ll eat chips while A and my friends drink margaritas. We already swapped gifts: A got me a book and a film that will be useful for my dissertation, and which we saw and didn’t get when we were in Philadelphia last year. I got her a kindle, forbidden territory for a lot of writerly folks (I’m not keen on e-readers, either), but A has been leaning that way. I’m looking forward to relaxing and being together tomorrow.

OB: scheduled!

Just called to schedule our first OB appointment, which will be Friday, April 22 (so, at *almost* 10 weeks). No word on whether that will include an ultrasound, doppler, or any such confirmation of continued existence and growth of young Gnocchi.

Getting real-er!

still shocked

going in for a “confirmation” test today and for a referral from student health for prenatal care. tomorrow we leave town, so everything is a little chaotic and stressful.

we’re still totally shocked and keep just looking at each other. the “what to expect” app says the zunzuncito is the size of an orange seed this week. is that even possible??? it was decided by A that the little drawing of the orange seed, though, more resembled a gnocchi, and so it has been more often referred to as “the gnocchi” than as “the zunzun” these last few days.

line #2 is still there

That’s all three from yesterday a.m. I wouldn’t be convinced!

Thanks for all your good wishes — we’re feeling very lucky, very grateful, very surprised, and very relieved to shift the financial burden from sperm-buying to omg-there-might-be-a-baby.

Also, we accidentally told like a million people… we got so excited! Plus, people ask constantly (bc we told everyone we were trying!). A told almost all her cousins, but not her immediate family (we only told a million people *who we knew would be happy for us*) and we told my immediate but not my extended family (we were still pretending we weren’t shouting from the rooftops).

The line this morning was stronger, so that seems good. I scheduled a test at the doc’s for Wednesday. I honestly have no idea what to do next! Since we haven’t been working with a RE, we don’t have all the next steps lined up! What do we do??