Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Aaaaah, Now That's More Like It

Nothing like a couple of glasses of Rioja to settle the nerves, I tell ya.

My dad's here visiting. It's always so much EASIER having my dad visit than my mom visit (duh). He just -- comes. And is. It's never a chore.

Javier is recovering pretty nicely from his surgery. For a kid who went under general anesthesia yesterday morning to have tubes inserted in his ears and a massive amount of tissue removed from behind his nose, I'm pretty well amazed at how cheerful he is. I can't say the same for the rest of us, I'm afraid. Brian and I snapped at each other -- a rare occurence -- over whether or not he should have put the baby down for a nap. Eli is feverish and a little bit off balance. And Jack takes every road block as an excuse to get angry and indignant and call me "rude." But the baby's doing great, and so is my dad.

We made it to the store to buy the turkey today. Tomorrow I'll roast the turkey, cook up some candied ginger carrots and bake a couple pans of cracklin' cornbread (with and without bacon) as my contribution to the feast (carrots and cornbread courtesy of The Silver Palate). Dad bought a bunch of wine to take with us as well. We're going to Brian's aunt's house out on the ranch which is why we have to provide the turkey -- she's a vegetarian, but luckily not a sanctimonious one, so we're allowed to bring meat into the house.

Happy Thanksgiving y'all!

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Two Myringotomies and One Adenoidectomy Later...

Whew. Glad that's over. Javi's all hopped up on morphine and I'm going to go take a nap now.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

I'm really, really sorry

Honestly, I realize that everything I write is incredibly, mind-numbingly boring. I'm not sure why, or how to fix it. Please bear with me.

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Quiet weekend. I've got a cold and the baby is recovering from the nastiest case of conjunctivitis I've ever had the pleasure to deal with. You cannot begin to imagine the sheer volume of crap that was coming out of this kid's eyes. Seems to be mostly cleared up today, thank GOD. Because I was about ready to give him away. We rented Sweet and Lowdown and Rabbit-Proof Fence two nights ago. Brian's rental place has a 2-for-1 deal so we are always compelled to get 2 dvd's, which of course then forces us to watch two movies. Shouldn't be that hard to do, but when you're sick and busy with work and have a baby to take care of it can be tough. But anyway, we managed. Both movies are winners. Rabbit-Proof Fence made me cry. And has another awesome soundtrack by Peter Gabriel, whose soundtrack for The Last Temptation of Christ just blows me away.

I've been sucking down the zinc lozenges trying to nip this thing in the bud, and working in the odd intervals when the baby is taking a nap. Feeling pretty ragged. Looking forward to next week being over. The combination of surgery, visiting parent and major holiday is just a bit more than I feel like taking on. No choice, though.

This morning we were watching the second movie and had all the windows open in the house. I was ROASTING upstairs, positively burning up. Finished the movie, came down to the study to work, and suddenly a cold front came through. The shift was instantaneous and shocking. Temperature must have dropped 20 degrees in about 5 minutes. Ran around closing all the windows. They're talking about temperatures dropping below freezing tomorrow morning. We'll see. Time to dig out the winter stuff, I guess!

Monday, November 17, 2003


Spent the weekend at the ranch -- our longest stay there, Friday evening through Sunday evening. Brian got the lovely blue lights hung up in the kitchen and wired the telephone lines into the back room for a study, fixed the toilet in our bathroom and I'm sure did countless other things I'm leaving out. I now have a business and fax line up there, which is good. Close quarters in that house -- Eli especially was getting on everyone's nerves, and the kids just seemed to be more on top of each other and cranky. Every time Brian took them outside he said they became instantly better behaved. I was too tired to do much of anything, I'm afraid, taking 2 big naps while he rescued me by taking the children away. I hardly even stepped out of the house the whole time we were there. Did manage to get food on the table, clean up, change diapers and other housewife-y things, though, so I wasn't completely useless.

Friday was Brian's birthday so we had the celebration at the ranch -- our first time entertaining in the new house, which is of course not nearly ready for such a thing, but whatever. Unfortunately we were late (!), so I had to scramble madly to prepare food and wrap presents when we arrived, but it all turned out OK. I got a bunch of takeout food and of course cake from Central Market, and bought a bottle of cognac which went over quite well. It would have been nice to change into something more decent as I was walking around in jeans and a dirty sweatshirt...Happy Birthday, Brian.

The scorpions seem to have retreated quite dramatically, my theory is that our active presence in the house scares them away. At least I hope so. I took my first shower in the house. It's still a buggy place, but not nearly as bad as it was when we first started going up there and cleaning the place up.

This week we start work on the new account, probably on Wednesday. Next week Javier is getting surgery (ear tubes) AND my dad is coming AND it's Thanksgiving. The fun never stops around here. I guess I'd have to say I'm less weary/less depressed today. But still tired in a physical sense.

I'm reading Fragrant Harbor by John Lanchester and loving it. It's about Hong Kong.

Thursday, November 13, 2003


Low level anxiety and depression hovering in me, around me. My own personal rain cloud. The pregnancy overwhelms me with fatigue, sending me down for naps every day. The unrelenting pressure of these babies pressing down mirrors the unrelenting pressure of Things I Need To Do Before The Babies Arrive. The Ranch House is equal parts charming and horrifying -- a sweet house with wood floors and pretty views, out in the country, surrounded by goats and chickens, cozy, ours, but also full of mold and termites and scorpions, not nearly big enough for us and all our stuff, a monumental task to make it liveable and workable. No cable, so T1 will be installed, which is great but pricey. No dishwasher. No oven. Inadequate lighting. Peeling paint. Plumbing that isn't quite sound. Propane rather than gas so all appliances must be converted. Furniture that needs to be removed. Furniture that needs to be moved in. The house is far enough from town to make my necessary daily commute to pick up work and bring kids to and from school a cumbersome chore.

And here I sit in a house that is closer to town, big enough, wired, relatively bug-free, and impossible to sell. Not that I really WANT to live here. We're right in the middle of a subdivision that sets my teeth on edge with my neighbors and their obsessively manicured lawns, their colorful seasonal flags, their candle parties. The house is cheaply made, the mortgage payments outrageous. But it's mine, and it's functional, and I'm already in it, and my feeling of inertia gets stronger with each passing day of pregnancy. I feel weary. And it all seems very unfair, although I can't figure out exactly why.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Like I Was Saying

>>Wednesday, November 5

Hooray for you. In fact, your faith in yourself as an active, viable, contributing member of the team should be higher than usual thanks to the Sun's happy alliance with Saturn. Moreover, your faith in your ability to achieve a professional, social or economic goal should be right up there as well, and deservedly so.
Today's star rating: *** 1/2

(from Swoon)

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Pinch Me

All my life, I've worked this job and that. Lots of "administrative assistant" positions, which is office-speak for "girl-who-does-everything-and-gets-paid-crap-and-called-'girl'", sales positions, front office positions, that sort of thing. The truth is, I've been lucky (and choosy) about where I've worked -- lots of non-profits, medical clinics, friendly, smallish staffed places. A couple of times I've found myself in Corporate America with a Big C (I did a fairly long stint at the headquarters of a national women's clothing chain), and in the "IT" sector (I spent a VERY brief time working for a company that sold medical software), but mostly it's been economic development, outpatient alcohol treatment, that sort of thing. Still, as wonderful as the people were where I worked, and as progressive the workplace, I still was doing work that was less than challenging for pay that was less than rewarding. I wanted so desperately to be able to call the shots -- to run my own business, not punch a clock, not have to worry about showing up at 8 on the dot somewhere, not have to deal with office parties and gossip and waiting in line for the xerox machine and all the other banalities that awaited me out there in office land. And I wanted to do something interesting and fun, and get paid well for it. I had a college degree, I was smart and capable, I just never had been able to figure out what it was I wanted to be when I grew up. And I was all grown up already.

When we moved to Texas in September of 2001, the bottom was rapidly dropping out of the economy. There were no jobs here in office land, IT land, Corporate land, anywhere. I did my share of substitute teaching, but hated it. I tried to get into the State program to become a public school teacher but the bureaucracy kept rearing its ugly head. In spite of my stellar, well-rounded college degree, I went to the kind of school where I didn't have to declare a major and wasn't required to take physics, and trying to explain all of that to the Texas State Education Department proved to be too much of a hassle. Plus, I was increasingly afraid, after months of substitute teaching in the schools of Texas, that I would be one of those teacher burnouts. The whole atmosphere of the public schools here scared me. So, I kept looking, and waiting, and hoping, and not working. I tried VERY hard to get a job as a systems analyst trainee at the University of Texas -- passed their entrance exam with flying colors. But the program is highly competitive. Pair that with a hiring freeze, and you have a series of interviews that led nowhere.

Finally, in March, a break came in the form of a job doing medical transcription. I love typing, I love words, I love medical information, and I had experience. I got the job. I pretty quickly realized I was working for a less than stable woman in a less than stable environment, but I kept showing up and doing the work and getting paid and trying to keep my head down. Then, in August, the shit hit the fan. Unstable lady finally got around to screwing me over and I had to quit. There are a lot of details here that I'm leaving out, but trust me, it was ugly. And she still owes me money, but I have no way of getting it except to take her to court, which I am entirely unwilling to do.

So there I was again, no work, no prospects for work, 3 months pregnant, on my ass. I spent about 2 weeks licking my wounds and freaking out. Taking a deep breath, and with lots of outside encouragement, I decided to just go for it and market myself. I went after every doctor in town, including the accounts I'd been working on since March. I made 700 postcards, printed labels, affixed stamps, mailed and prayed. I also took a day to go door to door to all the doctors whose accounts I had already worked on. On my very first day of meeting and greeting I heard back within 15 minutes from a doctor. Did a trial week that week, and he signed me up 2 weeks later. I was on my way. A couple of weeks after that I got a call from an OB/Gyn looking to outsource their transcription. It was a small account, but I picked it up gladly. I now had two clients, a fax machine, some work to do...but I was getting increasingly nervous. These two clients were not going to sustain me, I needed to triple my business in order to stay afloat. I was just a few months away from delivering twins and watching my bank account dwindle away. I cringed every time I swiped the debit card at the gas pump or the grocery store, every time I wrote a check for the baby to see the doctor or fill a prescription. I was, in short, terrified.

Two weeks ago I heard that the previous boss was messing up her work for one of her biggest accounts. I knew she was behind on her work, and guessed that things were far worse than just a bad turn-around time. I headed back to that clinic with a bag of candy and a note, and was greeted warmly by the office manager. Another transcriptionist, who had also worked on this account (and also been burned by the crazy lady), had agreed to join forces with me and we were presenting ourselves as a team. Last week we got a call asking to do a trial run, which we did.

And today, I got the following email:


I just wanted to touch base with & let you know that (Doctor N) was very pleased with your work. I will be giving a two week notice to (Your Crazy Former Employer) tomorrow & depending on her response we will go from there. I will keep you posted & look forward to working with both you & (Transcriptionist K)."

So, like I said, pinch me.

I'm about to be earning more than I have EVER earned in my life, doing what I like to do, from home, on my own schedule and on my own terms. I'm not saying all of this to brag. I guess I just can hardly believe that it's finally happening, that I managed to make it happen, that I've actually reached this goal. Because, believe me, I've spent YEARS with this goal in sight and have never, ever come remotely close. And now, in a matter of just a couple of months, it's all here.

I'm also not saying that all I ever want to do for the rest of my life is type medical transcription from home in my bathrobe. Because it's probably not true. I want to write, I want to do more photography, I'd like to be more involved in community service, and who knows what all else. But for now, it's more than enough to keep me happy.

So go on, pinch me.