I Want a [Fur] Baby

Hey! It’s my 200th post!! *throws confetti* I just wish I had something more uplifting to write about, but…. c’est la vie.

I never wanted to own another dog.  At least, that’s what I believed for the past six years, ever since I had to relinquish my [son’s] dog to my parents a year or so after my divorce.  (The Ex took the son, but refused to take the dog.)  And it’s not for the reasons that many of my friends say they don’t want another dog…. Not wanting to go through the “heartache” of losing a beloved family pet again, etc.  No…..my dog was just a royal pain in my ass.  She’s stubborn, she’d bark in my face incessantly, she ran away a lot, and she’d get the runny shits all over my apartment from separation anxiety if we were gone for more than 4 hours.  Trust me, she’s in a better place with my parents and their dog and the former Wild Kingdom (R.I.P. AL the Cat and Warren the Cockatiel) because she now gets the love and attention and companionship she deserves.  So, what’s changed?

Well, let’s just say I found out that I am “reproductively challenged.”

Both my husband and I have kids of our own from previous relationships, so it was just assumed that after we got married we would be able to do on purpose what happened to us collectively three times on accident.  Seems like everyone is out here having “oops” babies these days.  However, after several unsuccessful rounds of clomid, I found out from a specialist that due to my “advanced age” (for reproductive purposes, but not, you know, for the Earth) and the apparent fact that my ovaries assumed their services were no longer needed, I have about a 5% chance of having more children the old-fashioned way.

Five. Fucking. Percent. (And yes, I am still trying to wrap my brain around all this, which is really fucking hard, like trying to wrap your naked ass with a hand towel.  I shall deal with it directly in due course….)*

So, the first thing I did after receiving this bit of news from my bedside manner challenged doctor (besides crying) was to make a list in my gratitude/affirmations journal (yes, a real paper journal!) entitled 5% Chance of Conceiving . . . So Here is What I Will Do With the Other 95%:

1. Become a bodybuilder
2. Buy a dog
3. Travel
4. Find an expensive hobby
5. Stay thin

Etc. . . you get the gist.

The thought of wanting a dog actually came to me several months ago.  I was sitting on the couch watching TV, alone because my husband was doing grad school work, my daughter was with her dad, and I was all up in my feelings thinking about the uncertainty of my reproductive future (because this process takes a LONG time…. it’s a lot of wait and see before you get any answers). My husband is a wonderfully optimistic man, and while I know he cares very much, he’s just not one to play host to my pity parties because his answer is always “Just don’t worry.” Well, at that particular moment I was worried, and really fucking sad, and I just had the thought that it would have been nice to have a small dog to snuggle up with at that moment so I wouldn’t be so lonely and despondent. Dogs don’t try to give advice, or fix, or play the “whose life sucks more” game, or get upset or defensive and yell at you because you are upset.  At that moment I needed someone/something whose sole job was to be there with snuggles and kisses (but not on the face, because I don’t play that shit) and just let me BE.  But, it was just an idea to toy around with, because my husband does NOT like dogs, and I fully expected to have a baby to deal with sooner rather than later and wouldn’t have the time or energy for a dog.

But….. 5%.  By no means impossible, just not very probable.

And before you start lecturing me about how a dog is not a replacement for a baby, I’m going to stop you right there (and NOT let you finish).  I know that dogs are in no way the same as having a child, and people who think that it is the same make me want to karate chop them in the throat. The only people who say this are people who don’t have any kids of their own, otherwise they would know just how much having a dog is NOT like having a kid. I’ve raised two kids in the past 21 years, and have owned a dog, and it’s nowhere fucking close.  No, a dog is just that….. a dog.

However, dogs are supposed to be wonderful therapy for people with depression. I’m on the board of a mental health organization, and one of the things they do is to take specially trained therapy dogs up to the local law school to help students alleviate stress. It’s science, people.  So after I got my 5% news, and after some financial setbacks, and after both my parents landed in the hospital within 3 days of each other, and after my daughter told me that if we had to move she would not be coming with us, the idea of getting a dog for myself went from just an idea to a borderline compulsion. I’ve tried everything else to feel better . . . exercise, eating better, focusing on outside goals (thus the bodybuilding), writing out what I’m grateful for, drinking, taking Vitamin D . . . and nada.  But, in my defense, I’ve essentially gone from planning on starting a family together with my new husband to the possibility of being an empty nester virtually overnight.  As one person perfectly stated it: “You’ve experienced a lot of loss lately.”

How much is that doggy in the window?
How much is that doggy in the window?

In my attempts to find more ways to deal with…. well, everything…. I had the [brilliant] idea of getting a dog and training it to be a therapy dog.  I even found a cute little Boston Terrier puppy (and Boston Terriers are supposed to make great companion/therapy dogs) who has the same birthdate as my husband!! (it’s fate!) But alas, my husband does not want a dog. (Lately I’ve felt like a 10-year-old trying to convince her parents that yes, I WILL take care of the doggy).  Part of the problem with my son’s dog is that she just wasn’t trained properly. It was a bad idea to get a puppy while I was in law school and expect two young children and a lazy husband to pick up on the slack of training.  My mistake.  Lesson learned.  But that’s the dog my husband remembers.

So my thought was to make sure this dog would be trained correctly (in a group class, not someone’s garage, and with a routine, not just whenever someone felt like it), and also go through the additional training to get certified as a therapy dog not just to help myself, but to help others as well, which would also help me.  (Therapy Dog International has a program to help kids with reading by reading aloud to dogs! Isn’t that cool???)  Also, it would give me somewhat of a hobby . . . something else to focus on besides whether 5% will ever become 100% (because stress contributes to infertility, and infertility contributes to stress).  And just something to soothe my frazzled emotional state.

So, it really has nothing to do with wanting a dog instead of a baby…. I’m just tired of being really fucking sad.

*Okay, so perhaps I’m putting too much of my business out here…. but you know what?  It is what it is.  This is part of who I am and my life journey on this spaceship Earth.  And there are lots of people dealing with it, and too many people [needlessly] ashamed to share.  Well, sharing is caring, folks.  Pray for my 5%.

Beige Bras [and Oatmeal]


“Do you see this? There are two things that have been constant in my life since I was sixteen years old: beige bras and oatmeal. The day before I first fell in love with a woman, I got up, had oatmeal for breakfast, put on a beige bra, and went to school. The day after I fell in love with that woman, I got up, had oatmeal for breakfast, and put on a beige bra. I was no different the day before or after that happened, Tee.”

The Women of Brewster Place – Gloria Naylor

This past weekend, to my ultimate delight, I stumbled upon the Victoria’s Secret Semi-Annual Sale. And by the looks of the bins, it had to be the very first day. I mean, there were still bras neatly lined up in the DRAWERS. In the drawers!! By color!! And just mountains of 36DD bras. Every color, fabric, padding, lift, strap configuration, embellishment, and pattern you could think of. Green lace and pastel cheetah print and bras that would give you cleavage in a turtle neck. So I eagerly dig through the bins for my bounty. I squeeze cushioning and count hooks (because, c’mon… a 36DD bra with two hooks is just a setup for failure). Finally,  I emerge from the pile with…..

1 solid beige and 3 solid black bras.

I was almost ashamed taking my selection up to the counter. I could just feel the barely 18-year-old judging me as she scanned my selections and gently arranged them on the tissue paper. I could almost hear her thinking “Damn, I hope I’m not this boring when I get old like her.”  I avoided eye contact, swiped my card, mumbled that the receipt could go into the bag, and hurried across the hall to buy my old lady face serums (no, seriously…  I was out of Ole Henrickson Truth Serum. That stuff is magical).

But here is the reality about bras: they are functional items whose purpose is to make your clothes fit better. Yes, I do have a few bras (silently judgmental sales girl) that I can pull out and match up with a pair of colored undies. But for the most part, my concern is adequate lift and the avoidance of quadra-boob.

Here is another reality about bras, especially for us busty ladies: they are fucking expensive. Sure, if you are small breasted you can get away with the cutesy $20 bra that comes with a matching thong.  But when you are trying to holster the big guns, you’re talking $50+ each. If I were to actually try to have a coordinating bra for every pair of panties I have, I would be living in a shack, a shack full of bras, because those bad boys also take up a lot of space. I have not the money nor the drawer space for such an accomplishment.  So my compromise is to just buy black bras and (mostly) black panties, so I match by default. Thus why I exited Victoria’s Secret with 3 black bras and 1 beige bra (because, well, I’m beige, and sometimes black doesn’t work under light clothes).

See? I wasn’t lying. (And where did that extra D come from???)

I know a lot of you women are religious about your undergarments matching. And if that makes you happy, by golly, be happy.  However, another reality is that most men don’t care, especially men that love you. Besides, by the time he sees the underwear, the bra has been long gone in the couch.  So what does it really matter 1) if the bra is some wild color, or 2) if it even matches the panties? That is the reality of married life. If I have a bra on past 9 pm, my husband will remind and help me take it off and it gets tossed to the side, whether it’s red, black, purple, or paisley. Not saying don’t get sexy for your guy, but on a day-to-day basis…. It truly doesn’t matter. (But there’s never an excuse for non-period granny pannies, okay??)

And no, I have not been wearing only beige bras since I was 16 (it’s just when you say beige bra, the next thing you think of is oatmeal and lesbianism and Women of Brewsters Place… right??). Funky colored bras are fun and all, but leave those to the kids who are trying to impress guys who have seen about 3 bras in their lifetime, 2 of those belonging to their mother. Bras don’t need to be seen through your clothes. So when you grow up and grow OUT, it’s best to focus on what’s really important: security.  And not going broke over something virtually nobody sees. So, I will take my well-fitting black and beige bras, and I may just have some (quinoa) oatmeal, too.

Fear of the [Un]Known

I’ve been nauseated for the past 2 or 3 days . . . no puking, just kinda queasy.  And things have been smelling weird.  And I’ve had a hellacious baditude (sorry, Husband).  I also (obviously) have not had a period in several weeks, thanks to my lazy-ass ovaries.  These things could mean absolutely nothing (other than me having a bad reaction to all the holiday junk I’ve been eating), or it could mean everything. 

I used to wonder why when women suspected they might be pregnant, they didn’t just go drop $7 $13 on a test to be sure. If it’s negative, keep it moving, and if it’s positive . . . well, figure out your next move. No big deal, right?  Actually, I’m finding it is a very big deal. 

As I sit here contemplating whether to run across the street to the drugstore on my lunch hour, I weigh whether uncertainty or disappointment would be the more difficult emotion to deal with.  I keep telling myself “Okay, just wait a few more days and see if you actually puke,” while another part is saying “Maybe this is all just psychosomatic and it will go away if you just take a test and confirm that its all in your head.”  Still, a teeny hopeful part says “Maybe it’s a miracle, and an ovary decided to wake up to do its job when it damn well felt like it.”  And no matter how tiny Hope is, it still lets off a God-awful cry when you crush it. 

I’m afraid of both the unknown and the known.  I’m just not sure which fear is greater.

The [Un]Unified Front

Here is an unfortunate truth: Parenting is war.  It is you versus the young human beings who are hell-bent on doing only what makes them happy, by any means necessary, while you are battling to keep them in line and on the path to become responsible, decent human beings.  And like any war, you must have allies who are willing to put up a united front against the Enemy.  In your “traditional” two-parent household, the allied forces are the two parents of the child, and the child’s allies are her siblings.

(And I’m trying to be inclusive and politically correct here, so please adjust these nouns and pronouns and titles to fit your particular familial situation.  But basically I’m talking two parents in one household that are the child’s original parents, as far as the kid is concerned.  Thanks for stretching your mind with me a bit.)

Here is another unfortunate truth: kids are assholes.  Yes, we love them and will kill for them, but that doesn’t keep us from wanting to kill them (from time to time).  And also from time to time, they will think you are an asshole, usually for not allowing them to do something they want to do.  That is the nature of the parent/child war.

So how it usually goes in your “traditional” two-parent family (or single household family??  Whatever . . .) is that one parent will do something to make the child mad, and the child will go complain to his siblings or friends, or maybe even grandma . . . but NEVER the other parent.  That will get you smacked in the mouth in big trouble.  Even when we are dead wrong (and yes, sometimes we are), the response should be “Listen to your mom/dad,” and then the issue is discussed between the parents away from the kids.  The parents are unified in a single goal: Do not challenge, disrespect, or otherwise disparage your parents.  It’s a unified front.

Not so much when you are divorced.  Your kids’ inevitable beefs with you become ammunition that they shuttle across enemy lines to their other parent, usually with a much more exaggerated and dramatic story that makes them seem like the ultimate victim.  This gets positively re-enforced in two ways:

  1. Their other parent feels sorry for them and attempts to make up for the horrible injustices that Big Bad Meanie Mommy/Daddy has imposed upon them with sympathy, money, gifts, and overall, validation; and
  2. The kid is happy because their parent is happy from now having some new dirt to dish and/or ammunition for the next disagreement between the parents.

Even for those of us who are mature enough not to talk shit about our children’s other parent in front of them, it is very hard to resist lending a “supportive ear” to your poor child to get the latest scoop on your ex, or just something you can use as a weapon in the next battle.

However, this is a very, very bad thing.  Kids are smart . . . much smarter than we give them credit for.  So if pitting mom against dad works to their advantage in the end, THEY WILL DO IT.  Kids in single household families (yes, that is what I will call it) have to be a little more strategic and manipulative about it.  But when you have two parents in two different households who aren’t on the best of terms anyway, you end up with a bunch of double agents who only work for themselves.

As co-parents, we really have to resist the urge to encourage the mud-slinging, and stop to really think:  Is there truly a problem here, or is my kid just being a typical drama-queen child with asshole tendencies who is just mad at mom at that moment in time?  Because they truly are passing moments.  One day your daughter will be pissed off at you for something (probably that she caused), and the next you are BFFs watching Girl Code together.  We must realize that kids see the world in a very skewed way . . . their way.  So if we unquestioningly accept their skewed version of events, we may not be getting the entire picture.  And if we are quick to run back and attempt to use what they have told us against the other parent, two things happen:

  1. You may be using faulty ammunition, which will inevitably blow up in your face; and/or
  2. You have just taught your child that it is okay to disrespect their parents.

I can insist on respect from my kids until I am blue in the face.  But if their dad is engaging in a mom shit-talking session with them, I have no control over that, or the resulting ramifications.  Children should respect BOTH of their parents, and it is BOTH parents’ job to make that happen.  It is very, very tempting to fall into the “She likes me better than him” mentality, but that is a selfish and childish way to think.  Not to mention, it is counterproductive to raising kids who respect their parents.

Parents need to remember who the enemy is the bigger picture, and try, no matter how difficult it may be, to present a unified front.