Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Battle With Insanity

I am not battling infertility. After only a few months of “trying” I can’t make that claim. What I’m battling is insanity.

I want a baby. Now. More accurately, I wanted one a year ago, but when my husband switched to a new job (with it’s corresponding pay cut) we decided to put it off until we knew we could live on our new budget. However, I waited as long as I felt I could and once the budget was stable for a few months, I pushed the issue.

How did I know the time was right? I mean, our finances were balanced, but there isn’t exactly an excess of funds. We own a house, but it seems constantly on the verge of major calamity. We have a great family support network in our paramours, but they currently live far away and will soon be going through a massive move/job hunt/general transition as they relocate closer. So why not wait until after we found out for certain about the husband’s raise, or the foundation was repaired, or the rest of the family was settled in town? Because every time I saw a Facebook update from a friend announcing their good news I couldn’t bring myself to say congratulations; usually, the only thing I could think was “I hate you. IhateyouIhateyouaIhateyou.” and it took all the willpower I had to just not say anything. And every time a parent, cousin, or grandparent made an offhand comment about when we would be expanding the family I wanted to yell at them and burst into tears.

Like I said, I’m going a little insane. Because once we “stopped trying not to” it just got worse. I no longer had the vaguely comforting answer of “we’re tracking our budget and waiting to see if it works out.” Instead I would just stare at those well meaning family members in silence for a second and hope that they would move the conversation along before noticing my awkwardness. You see, I don’t want to tell anyone that we’re trying. Perhaps out of a superstitious fear of jinxing it. Or perhaps out of a much deeper fear of being embarrassed if they know we’re trying and it keeps not happening. Regardless of my motivations, I don’t want to talk about it. And so, I have no reply except anguish.

I remember when I used to greet my period with joy. I heard other girls my age gripe about being on their period, wishing them away, and I was confused becauseI knew these girls were also sexually active. For me, getting my period was something to celebrate. Sixteen and NOT pregnant. Unwed and NOT a mother. Of course that feeling ceased almost the moment we were married. I’m hardwired for maternity. The only thing that kept me from wanting a baby was thinking of the expressions on my Orthodox cousin’s faces. Sure, once we were married we still couldn’t afford a child, it still wasn’t a good idea. But, no longer fearing judgment and social scorn, my period post wedding was met with a mild mixture of apathy and ambivalence and nothing more.

Now, however, things have changed again. My response is perhaps even more emotional than before. My period is met with the many stages of mourning. First comes denial, “Maybe it’s not really starting. Maybe it’s just light spotting. You can get some spotting and still be pregnant.” Then there’s the anger, as things progress and become irrefutable. I want to punch the bathroom walls and kick the toilet and call all my pregnant acquaintances and easily made mothers and tell them how much I despise them. Of course the anger drains out quickly and the grief comes pouring in to fill the void. Tears spring to my eyes and and I just want to collapse onto something and sob (what a terrible idea to design female biology such that the revelation of such disappointment will always coincide with the time when we are most susceptible to emotional outbursts). Finally, of course, there is acceptance. “Obviously, this ‘not trying not to’ strategy is not good enough. Next month I’ll actually chart my cycle.” “Okay, this was the first time we tried the cycle timing. Let’s look into what else we can do, like figuring out what the temperature thing is all about.”

The acceptance phase gets me out of the tears, but it doesn’t help with the desperation. I constantly feel like I’m running out of time. I always expected to have a child by the time I was twenty five. The thought of not even being pregnant by the time I turn twenty six is heartbreaking. My mother reminds me that she was much older when she started having kids. My rebuttal is that I am well aware of that, as looking at her worrying about college funds and retirement at the same time is the very reason I wanted to make sure I started before entering my late twenties.

Of course, the major contribution to my desperate feeling is my boyfriend’s sons. There is about two and a half years between them and I watch them play together and entertain each other. I want my child to be able to play with them, too. Or at least to have a similar relationship to the younger one that he has to the older one. But if I got pregnant RIGHT NOW, he would be three by the time the baby was born. Every day I watch him grow older. Every day he speaks more clearly, masters a new skill and becomes more independent. With every clearly stated sentence I feel my window of opportunity slamming shut.

I want to get fertility tests done now. If something is wrong I don’t want to spend a year “trying” before we do something to fix it. Because the truth is, my husband and I haven’t used tangible birth control for years, but have never had an accident or “scare.” If you combine that with not getting pregnant promptly, I feel justified in worrying there’s a problem. And if there is, I want to know and deal with it now. Actually, I want to have known 8 years ago when my husband and I first started fooling around. Because the only thing that could have almost make this craziness worth it, is if I hadn’t spent so much of my youth terrified. How much less stress would we have had if we just hadn’t had to worry about it, ya know?

And that’s my tether to sanity. That annoying frustration of “if this is the case, I wish I’d know it then, damn it.” I keep bringing it up with sardonic amusement. Because with out it, there’s nothing to mitigate the despair.

And it’s only been three months.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Our imperceptibly BDSM, very nerdy, laidback, traditional Jewish wedding (with a cookie cake)

So I admit it, I was a little disappointed that I was never featured on Offbeat Bride. But ya know what? Who needs other people for validation? I have my own blog now, and I can fill out my profile myself! So here it is, in honor of my two year wedding (9 year together) anniversary, my Offbeat Bride Profile (the slideshow is to the right - I couldn't figure out a way to put it in the post itself):

The offbeat bride: Anie
Her offbeat partner: Lorien
Location & date of wedding: The Temple in Atlanta, Ga on August 17, 2008

What made our wedding offbeat: I actually thought of our wedding as pretty traditional. And the more I researched Jewish weddings, the more traditional it seemed. Turns out, a lot of my original “offbeat” ideas, like having both my parents escort me down the aisle and having the groom come down the aisle, are actually just the way it’s done in a Jewish wedding. However, despite how traditional I thought I was being, apparently there was enough quirkiness that we got lots of comments on how unusual and unique it was.

The bouquets were all made of clay and purchased off Etsy. I built the chuppah myself (with some help decorating the poles at the picnic the day before) out of my grandmother’s old table cloth. I also made my veil. We came down the aisle to the theme music from the Legend of Zelda. At the end of the ceremony, we bolted out the back while our bridal party receded to the victory music from Final Fantasy (can you think of a more appropriate time for victory music?). Our rabbi was super light hearted and had everyone smiling and laughing. At the (vegetarian!) reception we had a giant tiered cookie cake instead of a traditional wedding cake, and after about an hour or so of traditional dancing we broke out the DDR! We managed to get young and old(er) together to dance the Time Warp and then we were Rick Rolled! Oh, and somewhere in there we roasted marshmallows over a candle centerpiece in honor of a friend of ours.

From Wedding - Reception

Our biggest challenge: Getting people to show up. I know that sounds odd, but it’s true. A few close friends who I was hoping would come didn’t make it the priority I expected and had trips planned (and one apparently just forgot the day of) and my Uncle and Aunt both had work commitments they couldn’t escape. I told my mother that if I’d known earlier I could have changed the date, but she insisted that the date I had was important to me and my hubby and that in five years we’d still be celebrating on that date - and probably not thinking about who was or wasn’t there. Two years later, I realize she’s right. I remember my Aunt’s art on the shirts we wear to our anniversary parties (which also hung over the guest book), and I remember my uncle at the rehearsal dinner, and I don’t really remember who did or didn’t make it to the reception.

Tell us about your ceremony: We had a traditional Jewish ceremony - remixed. My rabbi, bless his heart, is an incredibly liberal, feminist, equal-rights-all-the-way kinda guy. Me? I’m a submissive housewife. And that’s submissive with an intentionally lower case s. The traditional Jewish wedding ceremony has the man essentially buying the wife by giving her the ring (it’s not a ring exchange so much as a ring granting). It’s actually based on the old testament laws for acquiring a slave. I really liked the idea of me being acquired by my husband, but I didn’t really want to explain my BDSM preferences to my rabbi. Instead I explained how I had “my moment” when I circled my husband seven times creating the sacred space for the wedding (a moment the man has no equivalent for) and I wanted the ring granting to be my husband’s moment. He kept harping on how the ceremony wasn’t equal since “my moment” had me silent and technically took place before the first blessing and thus the start of the ceremony, and I couldn’t quite bring myself to tell him that I WANTED a ceremony that represents a relationship dynamic in which I am the silent homemaker and my husband is the vocal provider of things-of-monetary-value and that I didn’t care if the whole ceremony created an unbalanced power dynamic shifted in my husband’s favor.

From Wedding - Ceremony and Formals

After a couple of sessions of arguing, we came to a compromise. We did the first part of the ceremony (the betrothal blessing/kiddushin) before going up to the chuppah. My rabbi said this is halachalically sound since originally these were two separate ceremonies, but we (as a people) haven’t done it this way since the 12th Century or so. Then, after the kiddushin, I circled Lorien and, when I was done, I gave him his ring while saying Ani L'Dodi V'Dodi Li
(I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine). Because I gave him his ring then, and not during the kinyan portion, I believe that it did not counter his claim of ownership over me (though my rabbi is still free to believe it did). The rest of the ceremony proceeded in the traditional manner. Our rabbi chanted the 12 Wedding Blessings (with his beautiful voice) and our family members came up to read the translations. To add an “I do” moment for all the gentiles in the crowd (almost all of Lorien’s family, my paternal family, and almost all of our friends) our rabbi read us the text of our ketubah which we had signed in a private family and attendants only ceremony earlier and asked if we still agreed to it. (The traditional Jewish ceremony has no vows or “I do” moment - there is nothing binding in the main ceremony other than the ring exchange because the wedding contract/ketubah was already signed before the ceremony started).

My favorite moment: Wow, this question would probably have been a lot easier to answer two years ago! But I think it would have to be when the DDR screen came down. My husband and I had joked (or so he thought) about having DDR at the wedding as the only way to get him to dance. Little did he know that I had made arrangements with the building supervisor and one of our posse members to use the giant drop down screen that they used when broadcasting services into the reception room when there’s overflow on High Holidays. Groomsmen wrangled him until it was all set up, so he came in to the giant screen coming down with the dance pads out. His face lit up and he burst out laughing.

From Wedding - Reception

Of course, there was also when we were going to leave and someone said “Oh no, it's raining!” I looked at Lorien and he just smiled and shook his head with resignation. Months before I had made him promise that, if it were possible, he would dance with me in the rain on our wedding day. The weather was perfect in every possible way. It was bright and sunny during and after the ceremony so we could take all our formal pictures outside. And then, just as we were leaving, that brief downpour so I could have my moment with my husband.

From Wedding - Reception

My funniest moment: The funniest moment during the ceremony would have to be when Lorien’s little sister messed up during the blessings. For the Seven Wedding Blessings we had seven family members stand on the stairs leading up to the bima to read the translations. The rabbi hadn’t been at the rehearsal so we hadn’t practiced with the chanting. The rabbi chanted the first blessing and Lorien’s Grandmother read the translation. Then, as soon as she was done, Lorien’s sister started reading her translation to the next blessing. She only got a few words out, however, before her father (standing behind her to read the next blessing) clapped his hand over her mouth. That was really the ice breaker moment when everyone realized it was okay to laugh and have fun.

From Wedding - Ceremony and Formals

My advice for offbeat brides: Don’t be afraid to stand your ground, but don’t waste time mourning ideas you can’t follow through on. I really wanted my bridesmaids in polka dot dresses, but I just couldn’t find ones that would work in time - so I made up for it with accessories and let it go. Also, if people challenging your crazy ideas and second guessing you is hampering your ability to enjoy your day - tell them! They are (probably) genuinely trying to make sure everything is perfect for you and if you tell them that they’re actually being the problem, chances are good they’ll stop. My mom is super amazing, but we did have a moment. When my sister dyed her hair purple before the wedding I was SO happy! She was going to look awesome! But then my mom started questioning if it was a good idea, if we should let it stay that way, how we’d feel about the pictures - and I just cut her off and told her that I had been super excited when I heard and now she was raining on my parade and I needed her to stop. After that, no more second guessing unless I specifically asked for feedback. She even helped talk the rabbi into letting me go down the aisle barefoot!

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
* Venue: The Temple http://the-temple.org/
* Bouquets and flowers for chuppah base: Midori Designs http://www.etsy.com/shop/midoridesigns
* Crown: Thyme 2 Dream http://www.etsy.com/shop/Thyme2dream
* Necklace: Archeress Arts http://www.etsy.com/shop/archeress
* Dress: Bettina Foster (local Atlanta seamstress)
* Photographer: Jody Burnett http://burnettphoto.com/
* Centerpieces: Faerie Dust Dreams http://www.etsy.com/shop/FaerieDustDreams (for the crowns, my mom made the pillows)

* The Cookie Cake:Ali's Cookies http://www.shipacookie.com/
* Caterer: Chef Cary’s Cuisine http://www.chefcaryscuisine.com/

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Letter to the Extended Family

My family, on my mother's side, consists of all the descendants of my great grandmother. Shortly after she passed away my mother and aunt put together a family cookbook. While the primary goal was to preserve my great grandmother's recipes, they also accepted submissions from other family members. Many of the recipes from that cookbook have become staples and my parties and social functions. This book, and other projects like it, are a big part of what holds my (very) extended family together. So now the time has come to try to put together a second edition, and I've decided to head up the project. This is the letter that I sent out to my family to explain the project, which I hope to also use as the introduction to the second edition.

Names have been removed. For the most part they've simply been replaced with the relative's relationship descriptor.

To the Members of the Family _________,

The scions of our branch of the family met at the beach house last summer for a weekend. While there we discussed the need to create a second edition of our beloved family cookbook. "Why?" you may be wondering. "What is wrong with the cookbook we have?" Nothing is wrong with it! Well, except for the typos, outdated graphics and the occasional recipe that is simply wrong (as an example, my great Aunt's pickled mushrooms do not use pepper). But overall there is nothing wrong with it! It is certainly a better record of family culinary history than most extended families have. My personal copy has been a constant kitchen companion for as long as I've had a kitchen to use it in. Recipes from that book have fed friends and parties and have always met with raving success.

And yet, it is still woefully incomplete. Many of the recipes I grew up most directly associating with family trips and holidays weren't included in the original cookbook. Where is our Great Aunt's delicious carrot soufflé? Or our cousin's totally amazing challah? Or my Aunt's "famous" cheese tarts? These are the family recipes I long for and cherish and I would like to see them all in one place rather than scattered on recipe cards or still lacking from my recipe collection.

Of course, there would be more to a second addition than simply adding recipes that I personally feel are lacking from the first. I'm not sure when the original book was published, but I think I'm safe in saying that it was over 20 years ago. In those 20 years children have grown up, gotten married and had children of their own. They have developed and discovered their own recipes as well as married into families with their own culinary traditions. They have lived in foreign lands, and settled in distant states. And they have no doubt acquired prized dishes, college culinary experiments, and the occasional in law oddity that all deserve to be represented. When I look through my family cookbook I see very little representing my own small family, or the families of the cousins I grew up with. As our extended family extends ever farther, I feel that we need the binding element that this book provides more than ever.

When talking about community building, so much of it always comes back to food. When we talk about having friends in our neighborhood we mention about how we'll be able to "borrow a cup of sugar" from them. When planning weddings and bar mitzvahs so much of the party planning is focussed on what will be served. We understand that when we are melancholy there are certain "comfort foods" we can turn to. And almost every major Jewish holiday revolves around a festive meal (except when they specifically have us NOT eating). What we eat, and who we eat it with, are a large part of what help us create a sense of commonality. At this point, our family has spread so far and grown so large that it's unlikely we're ever going to get everyone together at one big passover seder, but just because we aren't sitting down at the same table doesn't mean that we can't be sitting down to the same foods.

And that's the goal. To create a cookbook that represents the family in it's current incarnation and allows us to all have something in common, no matter how far apart we might be or how long it's been since we last saw each other. So send us your new recipes developed or discovered as you've grown up and moved out on your own. Send us your variations on recipes from the original cookbook. Send us the staples from your in-laws' family or that crazy innovation by your spouse. And send us your old classics that some how escaped publication and all the minor corrections that have been lingering unfixed for over 20 years.

I can't wait to see them all!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


So to acknowledge all the people who are now following my blog ("Hi followers!") I figured I should post something. Unfortunately, I don't really have anything new to say at the moment. There are a couple entries in draft form, but they're really not ready for publication. Luckily, however, I have at least one more old entry that hasn't been transitioned over yet. So I figure I'll go ahead and post it here so you all have "new" material to read and then relocate it to it's appropriate, backdated location at a later time.


13 May 2009

He always comments on the normal people moments. Sitting in a coffee shop laughing at the pretentious conversations. Driving around town listening to a newly purchased cd. Lying in bed watching me get ready for work in the morning. But these aren't the moments that stand out for me. The moments I love, the ones that sear themselves into my memory and bring tears to my eyes, are those sweet, passionate, and intimate moments that normal people not only will never have, but will never even understand.

I made him a collar. I bought a silver colored pendant tray into which I placed a picture of the name I have given him and I glued the glass down over it. I strung the pendant on a braided leather cord which I capped with silver crimp beads. To those I attached a bar and loop closure. My thought was that this closure style, as opposed to a clasp of some sort, would allow me to pull the necklace tight and be able to choke him with it at times. While this effect worked as planned, there were some drawbacks to the style that I hadn't considered.

"I made you a present," I told him as he kneeled before me, "and it will belong to you like you belong to me. But just like how you belong to me, there are some rules. Only I can put it on you. And no one but me can take it off you. It is
yoursbut you can't put it on or take it off yourself. Do you accept?"

He did, and I placed it around his neck. He wore it the rest of the evening, even as we went to dinner with my husbands family. It was such a bizarre and pleasant sensation to look over and see it hanging around his neck and to know what that meant. He was mine. This strong, forceful man not only belonged to me, but wanted it acknowledged.

Later in the evening we discovered the flaw in its design. At some point while rolling around in bed the bar slipped the ring and it fell off. I noticed almost immediately and resolved to put it back on at the first opportune moment. However, when that moment came I rolled over to pick it up and found it no longer sitting on the pillow next to me. I looked up to see it back around his neck and I grew cold with anger.

"I only gave you two rules. You can't even get through a night with out breaking them?"

His eyes widened and his speech was rapid and scared. "I didn't take it off. It fell off. No one else took it off." He sounded like a child who has just realized he's in trouble but isn't quite sure why.

"You aren't supposed to put it on yourself, either." I have stopped moving and am simply stradling him, staring down at him reproachfully. "I only gave you two rules."

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." In the face of his fear and contrition my anger has faded to a sort of menacing joy. It's not an emotion I have felt before and I allow myself to slip further into it before giving in to my need to comfort him. As angry as I was at him for breaking such simple rules, the truth is that these rules are new to him. They are not something he has ever had to deal with before and . . .

"Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. It's alright." But I know my words of comfort are not enough. They do not satisfy my earlier anger, nor my current menace. More importantly, they do not satisfy his sense of guilt. With an open palm I hit him hard enough to turn his head sharply to the side. "But don't do it again."

The evening continues. Eventually we grow tired and things wind down. We're lying in bed with him curled up in my arms. As even the conversation begins to die down into tired murmurs, I decide that, given the item's apparent tendency to fall off, I should probably remove it before we fall asleep. I reach up and undo the clasp and begin pulling it off when I hear the whimper from the body in front of me.

"I don't want you to lose it while you're sleeping," I said by way of explanation, hoping to calm the despair from his body.

"I don't want to lose it," he said. His voice sounded so young. Is it odd that, in these moments, I continually compare him to a child? And yet there is no other explanation for his tone other than that used by a child who is trying to be convinced to leave behind a prized possession against his better, emotional judgment. I held it for a moment, draped over his shoulder before coming to a decision. Afterall, even if it fell off during the night, it would only fall into the bed. We'd be able to find it in the morning. Coming to that realization I quietly placed it back around his neck. All his tension escaped out of him in a rasping sigh and I felt his body relax, content, against mine.

Can I possibly describe how that moment pulled at my heart? He'd told me he loved me before, but I don't think I ever felt it as powerfully as just then. When he whimpered at its removal I think it was the first moment I believed he liked it as much as he said he did. On the one hand there was the simple gratitude of having a gift that I had put so much time and effort into designing and crafted being liked and appreciated. It was a normal person's motivation. But there was also all the meaning and symbolism invested in the object; to know that it all was important enough that, even sleeping, he wished to remain in my possession was - powerful. And perhaps inexplicable. I don't think "normal people" would ever understand why that small whimper could move me to tears. And those who
can understand - well, they don't need the explanation.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nitty Gritty

Real Housewife of Atlanta is, as you can probably tell from reading it, my introduction entry. However, as you poke around you'll notice that there are a lot of entries that are dated before it. I wanted to give this blog some content right off the bat, so I imported entries from other sources that I felt fit my themes. These entries are either from my Livejournal, my wedding blog, or were something I wrote as a submission somewhere. While these entries weren't written for this blog, they were what inspired me to start it. I wanted a place to showcase some of my better written work that wasn't targeted specifically to people who already knew me.

Live Journal is great for keeping in touch and sharing ideas, but for me it's a journal and a messaging board, not a place for columns and articles. Posting an entry on LJ about how and why I designed a kids room in my house seems kind of silly. Because most of the people reading either a) were here when I put it together, or b) don't see that as a part of my life that's relevant to them. I'm hoping that, by having a separate blog that's dedicated to writing as much as it is to informing, I will be more motivated to craft entries rather than simply post brief (or boring) updates.

Plus there's the issue of recognition. My mother reads my livejournal and who knows what other family members. Now, she can only see a very few entries, because of LJ's great filtering features, but that means that most of my "best work" can't be shared beyond Friend's Only. I'm pretty open about my life and my lifestyle, but I still believe it would be best for everyone involved if my Orthodox cousins never quite figured out some of the details. As a result, you'll notice some odd choices about anonymity. I only use my nickname here and use pseudonyms for my significant others, but I do post pictures of myself. The thing is, I don't mind if you recognize me on the street and say "Hey Anie! I love your blog! Can I come play in your vampire game?" In fact, that would be awesome, because we need new players. But I don't want the aforementioned cousins to do a google search trying to find our old wedding website and stumble across this instead.

So my husband is Lorien. My boyfriend is Karma. My husband's girlfriend/boyfriend's wife will probably appear as the GFIL (girlfriend in law). Of course, depending on the entry, the [gender]friends may just appear as Mommy and Daddy, because if we're talking about their kids, that's who they are. Due to income restraints, it will probably be a while before that one will become confusing.

Anyway, check out the old entries. If you like what you see, I look forward to having you around!


Real Housewife of Atlanta

Hi, I'm Anie. I've decided to start a blog about my life. I'm not sure if anyone will want to read it, though. I mean, my life is pretty normal and straight forward. I got married at 23 to my highschool sweetheart. We bought a house in the city three months later. He has a salaried job and I work super part time (about 15 hours a week) just to give us a little extra grocery money. He pays the bills, I wash the underwear.

On Friday night we light Shabbat candles and have a nice dinner. About every other weekend we're joined by our boyfriend and girlfriend and their boys. We spend dinner trying to keep the kids from blowing out the candles and then we head out to our local vampire LARP (Live Action Role Playing game). Usually mom and the boys will hang out for half an hour to an hour. Then they go home and go to bed while the rest of us play until two in the morning. After game, a handful of friends (somewhere between two and five) come back to our place to spend the weekend.

Saturdays are spent with the kids going to the park, friends hanging out on the porch, and lots of computer games. Until nightfall, when it's time for another LARP. Sundays are for walking around the neighborhood and sad goodbyes. Then it's back to the grind of another work week in which my darling husband will leave me with a To Do list that I will never quite finish.

Weekends with out games are usually more low key. Most of the time there's some party or club event scheduled, which will give my boyfriend a reason to come to town. I'll put on my party clothes and he'll put on his nice collar and we'll go out to have some fun. Often the husband comes along as well. Living in the city, we can usually come up with a few different options for entertainment, though Sunday nights still usually find us at home watching television shows on Netflix.

Passover is spent with my mother's extended family here in Atlanta. Easter is the big holiday for my husbands family, but it's pretty open invite so this year we brought our boyfriend and girlfriend along, too. Thanksgiving we usually travel to South Carolina to stay with my parents and go see my Dad's family. We don't tend to stay long, however, because a friend here in Atlanta hosts a big Friends and Family feast the Saturday following that we like to be back for (if only to recreate the holiday with the [gender]friends and their kids). Christmas is complicated, but seems to have settled into a compromise with my family coming to Atlanta and us doing Christmas Eve for my dad. Then we all head out for the in-law's big todo on Christmas Day. Unfortunately, it happens at the same time as the girlfriend's family's todo, but we all managed to get together afterward for some quality family time. Maybe this year we'll see if people can shuffle their schedules around a little, but probably not.

Of course there are other key events in the year. Our LARP is part of an international organization, and we host an event every March. Then there's always Dragon*Con in September (which served as our honeymoon one year). Somewhere around January or February we tend to travel to Milwaukee for their event game. And this year we're talking about both New Orleans and Israel. It seems like there's always something coming up that we need to save our pennies for. Luckily, we all seem to get along well on long car trips and in cramped hotel rooms.

Really, I guess that's my life. I admit, the house isn't nearly as clean as it should be for someone with nothing else to do with her time. And the laundry always tends to get done minutes before we run out of clothes. And juggling all the various families and faiths can get complicated, not to mention budgeting in the trips and cons. But my home is full of love and happiness and parties and people and even a few whips and chains just to keep everything in line. All in all, it's just a normal, boring life. But maybe you'll enjoy reading about it anyway. I hope you do!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Opening the Door

I'm thinking that it's time I came out to my mother. She lives in Charleston. I live in Atlanta. My father also lives in Atlanta for work, but commutes out to Charleston every weekend. And mother often drops rather pointed reminders that catching a ride with him would let me visit and not cost our strained budget a time. It's been well established that my husband won't travel with out a car of his own, but then she's not really asking to see my husband, though of course that would be nice. She's asking to see me.

The thing is, I have my own long distance love who drives many hours to see me every weekend, often with his wife and kids. You see, we're monogamous polyamorists. Only one man will ever be my husband (G-d forbid something happen to him), but this doesn't mean he's the only love of my love. I love Karma, I like his wife, and I adore his kids. My husband loves his wife, likes him, and seems to be growing fonder of the kids by the day. However, they live in the middle of nowhere Georgia, so until Karma graduates from nursing school, we only get to see them on the weekends.

Which brings us to the conflict with my mother. My mother knows that there are things about my life I don't tell her about. The conversation went something along the lines of "There are things in my life I don't tell you about. I assume you don't want to know. But if you ask, I will tell you." She hasn't asked, so I haven't told her. This whole visiting thing has made things complicated though. She'll invite me and I'll talk about how we have friends in town that weekend, or some established social engagment. And it's clear that she's hurt to be constantly blown off for friends. After all, she's my mother. Shouldn't that mean that I can find at least one weekend where seeing her is a higher priority than seeing my friends?

And I feel bad for making her feel bad, but they aren't just friends, ya know? I wish I could just explain to her that me taking a weekend to go to Charleston would be like my dad NOT taking a week to go to Charleston. Sure, I see these people every weekend, but when you're in love you don't phrase it that way. To me, I only see them on the weekend, and I'm not willing to give one up.

So I'm thinking it's time to come out of the closet. I imagine the conversation going something like this:
"You know Karma, right?"
"You know how I brought him to Passover even though he's Catholic?"
"You know how Lorien and I went to Ren Fest with him, and his wife and his boys?"
"You know how we turned our guest room into a children's room for his boys?"
"You know we're not just friends ... right?"

After that, I have no idea, but I'm hoping for the best. Because when I'm overflowing with happiness about one boy's t-ball game, or the other saying my name for the first time, or my boyfriend doing something super sweet, or him and my husband doing something ridiculous, I want to be able to call up my mother and gush like any other proud parent and happy partner. Ya know?

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Boys' Room

When my roommate finally moved his stuff out, I was eager to begin moving new stuff in. From the much ignored room in the basement I grabbed my colorful scrap rug, my matching papasan chair and the big, bold, popart-esque motorcycle painting that had been sitting down there, un-hung, since we moved in. I left the TV and the Playstation (to serve as a DVD player), but moved out his queen sized bed to the newly vacated downstairs. I replaced it with the twin bed from Ikea that had been floating around various rooms in our house. A toddler bed was pulled out of someone’s storage closet and a little rug with roads and cars went down on top of the big rug. To top it all off I bought an $18 rocket ship tent - because every kids’ room needs something awesome! Considering that, for the most part, I was just throwing together already owned odds and ends, I think I made a pretty good room for two young boys.

So why did I suddenly find myself building a nursery for a 4 year old and a 2 year old? I mean, children normally come into your life in predictable stages. You have 9ish months to build a baby nursery and then age it gradually as the child grows. But I never saw these kids as infants. They sprang fully formed into my life. And, after knowing them for a little less than a year, I figured it was time they had their own room in my house.

I am not their stepmother. And even though I am Daddy’s girlfriend, I am not even a potential stepmother. Daddy doesn’t live with me. He lives in a small town in rural Georgia with his loving wife and beautiful young boys. I live three hours away in Atlanta with my amazing husband and a strict budget that does not (yet!) allow for children. My boyfriend originally was coming to Atlanta every other weekend to play in our local LARP, but after we started dating he tended to find excuses to come up every weekend. It wasn’t just for me, though. Small town Georgia can easily drive a social person like my boy to psychotic levels of cabin fever. He wanted to get out, see his friends, be social and, of course, see me.

And that’s all totally understandable, but what about mom? Doesn’t she also deserve a social life? Friends and chatting and a chance to date? So she came out a few times, too. But if Mommy and Daddy are both coming to Atlanta, that means the kids are probably coming, as well. Now these are notably good looking, well behaved, intelligent children. Pretty much everyone in the social group took to them immediately. But as much as we may have liked having them around (me especially), it was clear that they didn’t quite fit. They crashed in whatever room was available (sharing the air mattress in the library, or bumping us from the master bedroom because it had a door that could be closed) and were constantly bombarded with “don’t play with that,” “don’t go in there,”and “what are you doing?” As much as they liked us, the fact that they didn’t have their own space clearly kept them from being fully comfortable - especially around bedtime.

As a result, Mommy tended to limit her trips to when she could find a relative to babysit, which wasn’t nearly as often as we might like. At this point, in addition to liking her as a person, I was also beginning to suspect that she and my husband were falling for each other and I really wanted to give that situation the time and space it needed to develop. Plus, I really liked those kids, and wanted to hang out with them almost as much as their parents. So when my roommate said he was moving out, I told him we’d miss him and all, but then immediately started planning how to redecorate his room. The results were everything I could have hoped for! The boys were super enthusiastic about the bed they could bounce on, the rocket ship they could play in (and dismantle) and the box of toys which were brought to permanently live at our house (which means that they now only get to be played with when they’re here). They now have their own beds to sleep in, a room to watch movies in, and a variety of options for entertainment.

All in all, I’d say it was a win-win for everyone. Daddy doesn’t have to feel bad about leaving his wife in rural Georgia while he goes to the city to play. Mommy has a place to come have a social life of her own. My husband has an awesome new girlfriend. The boys have yet another place to feel like they are included and loved. And me? I get a kids’ room in my house - screw what the budget says.