Monthly Archives: August 2007

The wrong place to forget your worries

Before we head off to the outer blue (blogless) yonder, H and I decided, no, really, quite firmly decided, that we’d go to that hallowed temple of all things Family, IKEA, and refresh our stock of crockery, pillow-slips, rubber gloves (oooh, indeedy), toilet brushes, clothes-hangers, pillows (this one a dismal failure, as they did not have any feather ones, and we must have feather ones, as, to be frank, whisper it, H’s neck sweats vilely on polyester. Which means probably mine does too, but I shan’t dream of admitting any such thing) and a frying-pan.

Of course, because of The Magic of Ikea, we left with all of the above, minus the pillows and the frying-pan (no explanation for absence of frying pan. We just got home and realised we hadn’t even looked at frying-pans) and plus, err, new chair cushions, a book-case, and two office chairs.

Which was quite definitely unexpected.

Anyway, of course the place was full of families. And it being a gigantic warehouse full of strip-lighting, bewildering and endless furniture, and more and more people, the families were often as not in minor crisis, the adults trying to squabble politely about exactly how hideous everyone else’s taste in scatter cushions was while the twelve-year-old hid and the seven-year-old jumped on the beds and the three-year-old threw an epic wobbly, possibly about scatter cushions.

And so I sat in the cafe eating meatballs (for no trip to Ikea is complete without meatballs) and was introspective. As one does. And this is what I introspuck. Spected. Intr… Umm. Thought:

Today, for every parent I saw playing with their kid, or chatting with the kid, or even just not yelling at the kid, there was another parent telling off, pulling away from, shouting at, or grimly enduring their kid. One daddy had finally managed to soothe the baby and was quietly jiggling the sleepy creature when mummy came back and reached out to take him back from daddy. The baby instantly started wailing like a lost soul. The mother’s face, her poor, wounded, frightened, frustrated face. H has tremendous patience with small children. I know in my bones that I will be that mother, frantic because my baby doesn’t seem to like me, frantic because I can’t soothe him or her, and jealous of H because he can.

I don’t know if I could be a parent. I really don’t know if I’m not longing for some rosy, silly, fluffy ideal, and utterly ignoring the screamy shrieky tedious boring boring boring reality, and if I do have a kid, should I have a kid,which I probably won’t, but if I should, will I be utterly miserable and utterly screw the poor kid up? It’s not a toddler’s fault that she spends vast tracts of time being so out-of–her-skull with frustration at not being able to communicate, do anything, go anywhere, decide anything, that she screams her head off at regular intervals. If a giant was busy not speaking my language, and poking unwanted food into me, and dragging me away from anything I liked the look of, I too at the ripe old age of 32 would lie on the floor and shriek after a while. But I also know it’s one thing to think this, childless, and minding my own business the other side of the cafe, and quite another when it’s your very own toddler who is totally all your problem.

So I do not know if this is what I want. I do not know why I am enduring all this. All I have to go on, hope-wise, are a tiny handful of memories – cuddling my littlest sister when I was fifteen and she was one, taking her to see my favourite Japanese exhibition when she was thirteen and igniting a life-long love of Japanese art in her. Rocking my baby niece to sleep when her grandmother couldn’t quite soothe her. When she was a little older, washing her hands for her, feeling her slender little arms under my fingers and marvelling at how perfectly tiny she was. Playing at being a mummy cat going to the post-office with her, showing her the newts in the local pond, picking her up by the feet so she could pretend to be a bat (I have no idea why she wanted to be a bat. I don’t think it matters when you’re three).

As previously mentioned, I am now going away with H, to spend the weekend with the In-Laws, and then to spend a week on Proper Holiday with no washing up. And I had wanted to spend the time frivolling (is frivolling a word? Never mind, I like it).

And here I am fretting, and questioning myself, over and over again. Damn this all for being so uncertain, as well as so hard.


Pause for anything but thought

H and I are on holiday now. We are having lie-ins, and red wine, and visiting various galleries and exhibitions and Ikea, and of course spending the odd day spent wandering about the flat in deshabillé. And then we are visting family, and then we’re really going on holiday, and spending a week  scrambling about in the Lake District.  Last long holiday together before the MA begins.

I fully intend to spend the time not thinking about my innards, my weight, my intellect or lack thereof, my social phobia, my future career or my general uselessness at all housework except cooking.

Ah hah hah hah.

On the theme of crazy…

[TMI warning applies to entire post. So there]

… I stopped taking the pill for this week, because I suddenly had a complete, total, major, jaw-clenching panic attack about endometrial hyperplasia. Oh, I haven’t completely lost control of my mind (just mostly). I will start taking it again on Friday, probably for another two or three months in a row. But, you see, I kept spotting, and then I am very bewilderated as to what is going on in there, and of course, I was brought up to poke bewildering things with a stick, so here I am, seeing if my ‘period’ is anything like previous ones. Or not. Also, next week H and I are on holiday and I rather want things to be as lovely as possible, ie, not spotty, you see, for aesthetic reasons, as it were. So. Off the pill I came. Bring on the feminine hygiene products. Start the claret.

And what conclusions can I draw therefrom?

Well, it’s not as heavy as it has been, but it’s not exactly light neither, and it’s VERY clotty, and while the cramps aren’t constant, and nor have I yet gone green and leant against furniture, it is quite painful.

Which leads to me to wonder in what way exactly has the surgery improved my life, and if it hasn’t improved my life, you mean I did this to my tummy-button for nothing?

Roll on the end of September.

PS – the mooncup thingy is not getting markedly easier to use, and I definitely need a sink within reach of lavatory, but is this because I am a raging clutz? Or is it because I should have gone for the smaller size? Because, get this, they come in sizes, the pre- and post-natal, one could say, only the post is also recommended for women over 30 as ligaments get a little, err, well, they’re over thirty too, and you know what? I think my ligaments are kinda youthful. As it were. I feel I must add, H got it for me, and probably did his best under somewhat trying circumstances to the average hetero white guy. Nevertheless, I feel somewhat vindicated now at having felt slightly miffed by his decision then.

Not crazy

Mostly, I am not crazy about the waiting. Waiting for appointments, waiting to know what’s going on in the Womb of Doom, waiting to see if any at all of all the orthodox and alternative medications I am taking have done anything whatsoever.

Also, I am not crazy about being on the pill. An infertility patient on the pill. Ah hah hah hah, the irony, the irony. And so on.

And I am not crazy about the way medical appointments, alternative appointments and university enrolment all happen in the same week.

After that week I will be crazy.


My current tea-bag is telling me ‘A relaxed mind is a creative mind’. This is a marginal improvement on the previous tea-bag, which announced ‘To be calm is the highest achievement of the self’. That one got thrown into the bin with a resounding thwock as I calmly, and somewhat loudly, announced: ‘I was rather prouder of my MA, actually.’

Yogi tea, by the way, Sol. I won’t link to the site, as it takes approximately seventeen hours to load, thereby truly testing every single one of their mellow little axioms before you even get a chance to peruse them.

Bless the blasted flu

As an exercise in not sitting about feeling dank and desolate over my reproductive capabilities, I decided to list my blessings this morning.

This could also be fever-induced optimism – a sort of hallucination of rosiness brought on by an excess of throat sweets even – as I am still glowing like an old-fashioned electric three-bar heater. For example, I spent yesterday baking soda-bread and making ice-cream, which even H thought was odd behaviour for someone whose thermometer seems determined on 100F. Since when is can-do optimism a side-effect of a bad sore throat? I know cocaine used to be a common ingredient of throat lozenges, but really, in Britain? In 2007? I can only conclude the part of my brain I use for being gloomy with has melted in the heat.

Anyway, blessings. Lots and lots of blessings.

  • Fighting with H. We do have the odd silly row, and the odder silly rows about the fact we’ve had this silly row seventeen times this year that seems to grow out of any given silly row, which disintegrates into a messy row about communication styles just about the time I’m on my third tissue of frustrated weeping and H is starting to look shell-shocked. But we don’t really let rows fester, and do tend to work grimly through the mire until firm ground is reached. Whereapon, usually, we retreat to the bedroom (heh heh). While it can, at the time, bring on extreme feelings of hopelessness and the occasional swear-fest (uh, sorry about those), I have lately been given to thinking about other couples I know and the way THEY row, the endless refusals to explain why they are sulking, the grudges, the name-calling, the weeks of petty sniping, and I feel quite smug. Because while H may be prone to manly fits of inarticulacy and sulking, and I may be prone to ranting in an extremely articulate and wildly exaggerated manner, neither of us hold grudges, name-call (err, well, I did a couple of bad times call H an idiot in vigorous and impolite language, but I was very sorry afterwards), or refuse to discuss the issue. So.
  • H generally. I have no idea why I love him so much. I could rationally list his kindness, his patience, his sense of humour, his brains, his lovely hair, his general sexiness, his putting up with me, but even I in the depths of my adoration know that there are other kind, funny, sweet, sexy, patient men out there. But they’re not this one. This one is special because he just is. As Elizabeth Barret Browning wrote:

If thou must love me, let it be for naught
Except for love’s sake only. Do not say,
‘I love her for her smile – her look – her way
Of speaking gently,- for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day’ –
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee – and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry:
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
Thou mayst love on, through love’s eternity.

*Ahem*. Moving swiftly away from this scene of unprecedented soppiness.

  • Going back to school in September, to do my MA. There are many (idiotic, neurotic) reasons why I am absolutely terrified of this, mostly to do with fear of failure, fear of new people, and fear of not enjoying it after all. But when I can get over myself for five minutes together and think like an adult, I have already received several large lumps of validation – I was accepted onto the course (which is highly over-subscribed, and somewhat prestigious), I was given a bursary by my work-place to do said course (so some people clearly have a lot of faith in my abilities). And I like academic study. And I will be so darn busy, studying full-time and working part-time, that swooning about in the Slough of Despond simply won’t be an option. It takes time to work up a good despairing swoon. (I have no illusions that I won’t be stressed, though. I’m an idiot, but not a fool).
  • My mother can afford to send me to fancy-dan alternative doctors. The jury is still out on whether the fancy-dan medicines are doing anything at all except complicating my morning schedule, but it is nice that my mother, after years and years of money-trouble, can happily afford this, and cares enough to lavish it on me.
  • Most of my family do not suck. Or are learning not to suck. Or I don’t so much care if they suck.
  • We may not be able to buy a house at the moment, but the flat we rent is charming (if dilapidated) and the area we live in is really so very nice that it is a major reason why we can’t afford to buy a house here. But we are getting to revel in the niceness while we wait for the possibility of affordable mortgage.
  • I have very few friends. But the friends I do have are simply splendid.
  • I am very good at knitting. Knitting is kinda cool these days, so I am suddenly kinda cool. And it is good for the shredded nerves and bruised heart to have at least one thing one is happily bone-deep-sure one is very good at. Also, my winter socks fit perfectly and look very cute. Also also, so do my sister’s, my aunt’s, my mother’s, my step-mother’s, my father’s and my husband’s.
  • I love reading. God knows, I pity people who don’t.
  • I am a good cook. So many of my friends and relations simply aren’t. Some of them even try hard to be good cooks and somehow mess up a lot anyway. As they are intelligent and capable people with a better sense of planning and timing than me, I can only assume that cookability must be at least partly innate, and I am lucky and can’t possibly take it for granted.
  • My hair was pretty even when it was thinning and being oddly oily at the roots and brittle at the ends. Now that it seems to be getting over all that hormone-induced hiccoughery, it is beautiful. So bloody there.
  • I like my job. I like my colleagues. I even feel vaguely fond of Most Annoying Colleague, whose heart is in the right place – though please God don’t ever let me have to use his desk, as I might, just might, be unable to refrain from gagging at the idea of putting my bottom where his bottom goes.

At this point, my coherency chip started to sizzle. It is definitely time for more Throat Comfort tea (incidentally, this tea belongs to a range whose manufacturers like putting little improving messages on the tea-bag tag. There’s nothing for puncturing a sunny bubble like being patronised by a tea-bag), so I will go now and watch rubbish day-time telly and see if I can find any knitting simple enough not to screw up. And drink the damn’ tea, because it does actually help for, ooh, up to twenty minutes.

Yours in an insufferably chirpy and yet decidedly unwell state,


Updates. Tedious. Only possibly necessary.

So, H had the flu, which turned into a bad cough – one of those annoying coughs with a spirit level, which starts up the second you lie down, so No Sleep Was Had. Being a gentleman, he slept (well, lay there and coughed incessantly) in the spare room for a week. Meanwhile, I slumped about the place being tired and unhappy.

While H was having flu, I went to a family barbeque. I had been dreading it – I’m not entirely close to all my extended and complicated family, and so only some of them knew I had just had surgery, and some fewer of those knew I was infertile and pissed off about it, and I could forsee some truly awkward conversations. As it was, I merely had to update my step-mum (who I adore) and one step-sister, both of whom knew all details, and then everyone else was far too polite to ask questions and instead merely forbad me from doing any helping out and made sure my glass was pretty much permanently full. Until Trouble arrived. Trouble is the special nickname I reserve for my only sister that shares both parents with me. She is a world-class shit-stirrer, and I say this with great affection. I dread to think what I’d call her if she weren’t my sister.

Anyway, Trouble’s idea of polite conversation over the salad and hamburgers is to quiz me loudly about the surgery and the state of my pathetic ovary, and then proceed to kind and loving and also loud remarks about how I don’t have kids yet and how nice it’ll be when I do have kids and how my kids will probably be total rebels, because kids are the opposite of their parents and I was always so sensible, and then, turning to her three-year-old daughter Minx (who is so very very cute she actually gets away with being a thoroughly bossy little madam) and started cooing about her wanting cousins. Minx was already playing very happily with her existing cousins. My step-sister, bless her, leapt in at this point and by main brute force steered the conversation away into more jolly channels.

Trouble has long been fond of accusing me of being ‘secretive’ about my life and not really discussing things with her.

No comment.

Anyway. Work proceeds in an exhausting fashion, as we have shut the library to do a giant stock-check re-paint shelf-move re-arrange. The entire place is full of contractors banging about, half the books are in crates, the other half are being loaded on and off trolleys and hauled to the computers so they can be checked, the stink of paint is distressing, we the undersigned slaveys are covered in dust and scratches and go home with tired and aching muscles. It’s quite fun – no students. Of course, the students are our raison d’être, and doubly of course 90% of them are charming, polite, intelligent and a joy to help out, but bloody hell that remaining 10% are bad for my equanimity.

I have been taking Homeopathic Met, as Dr Alternative referred to it, for one week. Along with everything else. I have no change in size to report. However one of the many medications he has me on (or, possibly, the contraceptive pill) is doing something, because my head-hair is getting thicker and shinier, and facial hair is getting much less noticeable. Ditto tummy hair and toe hair. I am even wearing sandals in an insouciant sort of way.

We spent this weekend visiting Kew in the glorious sunshine (and sandals!), as H was at last feeling rather better. We lent a friend the spare room for Saturday night, and spent Sunday morning reading the papers and chattering in a leisurely fashion. When said friend had gone, H and I had a row, as you do when you’ve both been hors de combat for weeks and have both been behaving a little… self-absorbedly. And then we made up, which was great fun. And then I announced that my throat was feeling rather sore.

And here I am, stuck at home with a burning raw throat, a headache, and a slight fever, and thinking perhaps I should have boiled H in Dettol last week.

Just when I was starting to feel it was time to stop moping about and actually cheer up a bit.