Let's talk about guilt..

I just got back from dropping Benjamin off at preschool/daycare. I like to call it preschool because it makes me feel less guilty for paying someone else to watch my child. I want nothing more than to be home with him 24/7.. even when I'm exhausted and he's throwing tantrums or trying to draw on the walls.

I feel less guilty today than other days. On my way home from TT's, an aura started. Swirling bright lights and odd blind spots that you can't really pinpoint. I got home, took my migraine meds, changed into comfortable pj pants instead of my jeans and picked up my eyemask.

With all the shades drawn and the TV on the discovery channel with the volume low, I started to lay down on the couch to inhale and exhale while counting slowly to try to take my mind off the pain and nausea. (Shiela.. I spelled nausea right because blogger has spell check.. :D

I thought to myself.. well, at least I don't have to feel guilty for dropping Benji off this morning.

Why am I blogging this? Well.. i broke the seal the other day and figured what the hell. I have my eyemask on and occasionally I peek to make sure I haven't made any major typos. Anyway.. we have daycare for this reason. We needed a place where Ben can be when I can't watch him. I can't take care of him when I take the full cocktail of migraine meds that actually helps the migraine. It's another failure. I can be logical about this.. it's not my fault and we're taking care of Benji and he is better off where he can learn and play and I'm better off taking care of myself so that I can be with him later.

It doesn't get rid of the guilt. One step at a time though, right?

It's an awesome fall/winter day.. the wind is blowing, there was snow on the ground this morning. it took Shiela 2.5 hours to get to work. (more guilt).. I'm guessing that we're going to end up buying a house and moving closer to New Haven earlier than next spring.. but we'll see.

Ok.. I'm starting to fade.. so this is it for my morning diatribe. I'll feel better later.


What to say..

I could easily write for days about why I haven't been writing lately. I used to write constantly and about 1/10 of the thoughts that I'd type out would make it to my blog after being appropriately edited for my loyal readers (my mom, my niece, three of my best friends forever that I don't talk to ever).. Two things happened.


I've been wicked sick. Yeah. What's new. When I stopped working, I thought I was barely holding on with the sick days and trying to juggle life and work and managing to keep a steady heading. Well.. I was wrong. The last time I posted was a day after I turned 36. It's been almost 5 months. I got slammed with debilitating migraines. Sounds lame. It's a dumb headache.. suck it up. I couldn't suck it up. I couldn't think. I begged doctors to help. Eventually I ended up having two more seizures on a quiet Friday morning right in front of my 3.5 year old son complete with firemen and paramedics coming to haul me away in an ambulance to a local hospital only to be transfered later that night by ambulance 1.5 hours to Boston so that my high and mighty neurologists from the big city could shed light on the situation. The food sucked. The bed was a "smart bed" that kept inflating and deflating and changing my position on it's own.. it was posessed and it was the most uncomfortable bed I've ever slept in. We learned nothing about my headaches or the seizures.. it was irritating. I could have written daily.. only I didn't have the energy.

Oh.. and my computer snapped in half at some point and the laptop monitor is hanging on by a thread.


Absolutely everything in our lives turned upside down and half of the drama wasn't our drama to talk about. Shiela's brother's kids were taken away by child protective services and spent a month here this summer. Can't really write about it because it's too personal and it's not my life. Shiela lost her job at one ivy league institution only to be hired at another ivy league institution. We bought matching cars. I'm not working but I am consulting on one project.. sort of.

Really.. the reason I haven't been blogging is because I have trouble completing a thought.. I also have trouble sharing incomplete thoughts. The combination leads to no blogging for Jen.

Why am I writing today? I'm overwhelmed with the fact that I feel like I don't have words for anything. A college friend is battling cancer and got some rough news yesterday. We weren't best buddies or anything, but I relate with him on so many levels and he helped me deal with some other health issues when we were just out of college. Now he's fighting this fucker of a disease and he and his wife and two beautiful girls are coping with something that I can't comprehend. When I think of his battle I want to say the right thing to let him know that I think of him all the time. I just can't find the words. I feel like a puss for being knocked over by migraines. Headaches are stupid compared to something like cancer. Not exactly an eloquent or even appropriate way of expressing my feelings.

Then there was the 15 year old boy who was struck and killed while riding his bike home from a friends house late at night about a week ago. He was very close to a cousin of mine.. also in high school. The whole town seemed to feel the loss. I see my cousin's son posting this range of emotions on facebook and the responses of all of his friends. It feels like this ten ton heavy thing. ($10 for the first person to get where that quote is from) First thought: "oh my god.. i'd die if anything like that happened to ben" Second thought: "stacey went through this" which is followed by "i miss stacey" and then I circle back around to the cancer thing with zach because stacey's husband died of cancer and they have two kids.. and then i miss her kids for ben.. he doesn't really have any close friends now like he did in boston.

See? no train of thought.. it's random babble.. but there you go. That's where I am right now.


Misrepresentation of gay parentings in today's entertainment media... MGPTEM

Ok.. so I could never put it into works like Lesbian Dad, so I'm going to link to the posting about Glee.

I'm not sure how they will handle the storyline from here on out. It seems to me like they are tiptoeing around a very serious subject that they just don't want to get into. Sort of like how the two guys on Modern Family never kiss, but all the straight couples do. Glee isn't about the daughter of two gay men and the complicated elements and relationships and emotions that could arise regarding a biological parent or a surrogate mother. It's a show about kids singing cool songs and it's meant to be fluff entertainment. I am going to take it as I think it is meant.. as fluff. I do want to say that I agree with Lesbian Dad on all aspects of the argument in the post I linked to above and I worry about the misrepresentation of gay parenting in today's entertainment media.

Nuff heavy stuff.. being a gay parent rocks.. we're always happy..


A side note about Glee

The casting of Idina Menzel as Lea Michelle's onscreen biological mother is brilliant. There is little that could make the episode where they sang I Dreamed a Dream from Les Mis better than the fact that Doogie sang Aerosmith's Dream On with Will Schuester.

As an aside.. the show lost me about halfway through the first season. I just couldn't get hooked. They reeled me back in with the Madonna episode and now I'm hooked again. I may even buy the CDs.

Happy Birthday to Otros Mommy

That would be me.

It's been a good day. I almost lost it at one point and went into Best Buy with a credit card and purchased either something small and expensive or large and expensive. Luckily for my marriage, given my employment status and given the fact that we're moving, going to Kentucky and Shiela is losing her job and enjoying the freedom of unemployment (HAH) along side me over the next two months.. a big screen TV or an Apple iPad isn't in the budget. :)

Benji and I started the day by driving with Shiela to her work where the two of them hung out while I went to see my neurologist about these damned migraines. Turns out she's changing some of my meds and referring me to a migraine specialist in her office. Um.. yeah. This isn't something new. It's my own fault. After last spring with all the seizure/migraines/iron infusions crap.. i stopped going to the doctors and had a bit of a bout of depression. i even stopped going to my shrink. I can't blame anyone but myself for this not being further along. I was just SO tired of how invasive the medication reactions were. I was done. Now I'm back and ready to try new and strange medications that may make me twitch or my eyeballs swell or my tongue turn blue. One of these medications may help with my migraines.

After my doctor appointment, I picked up Benji and we went to the Registry of Motor Vehicles because like all good drivers, I waited until the last day to renew my license. IT. WAS. HELL. Check my facebook profile or leave a comment if you want a rundown.. I just don't have the energy to tell that story again. Let's just say that I'm lucky I'm not in jail for having dropped my son off at the RMV and bolted with my $50 license renewal fee.

The day has gotten better since then.. Shiela got me an edible arrangement that I've almost polished off with the help of my son. It's bedtime for Benji.. so in a few minutes there will be blessed silence.. the quiet in the house that only happens when the fair orange-headed boy is fast asleep and Shiela and I are able to breathe and get ready for a well deserved night of rest.

One thing that I've noticed about being home with Ben versus working at a desk job. At the end of the night.. regardless of whether it was a "good" day or a "bad" day, I feel like I accomplished something. I feel like I worked hard. I feel proud of myself and my family. It's strange and something that I wish I could have experienced with my previous job. There are a lot of things that I'm proud of.. Projects that I worked on and engineering tasks that I completed and problems I solved. Times when my work had a direct impact on people's lives.

That's one major bonus of working in the architectural/construction world. Your recommendations become something concrete. Heck.. sometimes my recommendations were to add concrete. BWa-ha-ha-ha.. Ok.. dumb joke. I drive by buildings that I helped build -- however far down on the priority list acoustics is for most projects. I can count on one hand the number of times I got into bed after work with the feeling of accomplishment that I feel every day now. Now that I've experienced it.. it's not something I'm willing to let go of.

I don't think I've mentioned my new title. Otros Mommy (i may have that spelled wrong). It's spanish for "other". Benji calls both of us "Mommy" but when he's trying to differentiate between the two of us, he calls me otros mommy and calls shiela "other one mommy".. i'm not sure how she got english and i got spanish. We're just rolling with it. Adam says that when Ben says otros mommy it sounds like "ultra mommy".. i'd take that too.



Ok... so it's been a while..

I'd write all about what I've been up to since I stopped working in April.. but it's a long story, so I'll just sum up. (cryptic quote from The Princess Bride)

We've been busy. We're moving to Springfield (of the Massachusetts variety). It's not the prettiest city in the world, but our neighborhood seems decent and our neighbors are nice.. hell.. we've talked to our neighbors.. we've been in our current place for 5 years and only know the cute girl down the block. We have to pack up the old place, paint and clean up the new place, and move. The official move is the first week of June. Benji and I will be heading to Kentucky the following weekend.

Shiela is finishing up her life at Harvard Medical School. This would be a bit more straightforward if my number one assumption had come true. Me not sitting and stewing in my office each day was supposed to result in an improvement to my health. Given that I've been into the emergency room twice in the past two weeks and Ben has spent a good 4-5 days in daycare and Shiela has had to stay home a number of times... my plan has been foiled.

Good news.. we have great help. Beck has watched Ben almost every weekend for several weeks now so we can get things done. Morphine is also a wonderful medication that takes away the feeling that 4" rough cut nails have been driven into my skull.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I'll be 36. Birthdays are big things for me. I look back at the past, think about the present, and dream about what the future holds. I remember 25 being a tough one. I thought I should be married with at least one child, a house and a cat. 26 was even worse.. not only did I still not have the things I was supposed to have when I was 25.. but I was moving away from home, I was effectively ending a relationship that I had believed was "it" and I was starting a new job in a new city and I was all alone. It was the best thing I ever did. (only now, ten years later, can I say that).

Now.. here I am. In a few hours, I'll be 36. I am moving back home from the city where I grew up in so many ways. I have left a career that had run its course in the form that I was taking it in. Now, two months into being unemployed, I've realized that I love my son more than air and every second I get to spend with him is a gift and I thank my wife for giving me the opportunity to stay home with him even though I was making a shitload of money at my old job.

I've found myself surprised. I've spent more and more time thinking and planning and taking concrete steps toward independent consulting in acoustics. I have 15 years of experience and am great at what I do. The problem I was having with work was the form it was packaged in. What was in the package, I still enjoy and still see a future there (in the field.. on my own). Will I go through with it? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe next month I'll have another epiphany and will decide to be a trucker. Less surprising things have happened in my life.

The thing that is different at this point in my life? I'm not worried about where I'll be in five years or what I'll be doing. .. and this time it's not because I'm suicidal.. *cross my heart*.. it's because I've come to the conclusion that we are making changes based on what it will take to make us happy. Will we be five years closer to "our goals"? I don't know.. because instead of waiting for the end.. spending my time waiting for that goal.. working for it.. but hating life while putting every ounce of energy into striving for that goal.... that goal isn't my goal. Living my life and enjoying every day is my goal. In five years.. we will be somewhere.. hopefully we'll be healthy.. it will all be ok.

And. I. Believe. That.

While it's not related.. I just watched last weeks episode of Glee on hulu and have attached a link to the song I dreamed a dream from Les Mis. There is a line that has always hit me pretty hard. "I had a dream my life would be.. so different from this hell i'm living.." It still chokes me up to listen to it. I can honestly say that a year or so ago when Susan Boyle sang it and it became this huge sensation.. I heard those words.. words I had memorized in high school because it doesn't get much better than Les Mis.. A year ago.. I heard those words and thought "yeah.. tell me about it.. that's exactly how i feel".

Today.. those words still choke me up. I'm not in that position anymore though. My heart goes out to those who are. There are too many people who feel hopeless, helpless and trapped in lives that they can't "fix". No change is easy.. but we only get so much time in this life and there is nothing more terrifying and sad than just watching those days pass you by while you're waiting to finally find the elusive "goal".

Ok.. Glee clip.. i'm getting too deep, even for me. For those of you who read my blog posts.. know that I'm happy. I'd be happier if the migraines would get the heck out of my life.. but I am happy. I am relaxed. I am enjoying every day (even the painful ones) and am dancing on days when it's beautiful outside and I feel well.

Some would say that I'm on the slipperly slope to 40.. I've passed the "hump" of 35.. now it's all over. I'm actually looking forward to 40. I wonder what life will be like then.

Ok.. Glee clip.. the dumb widget is supposed to just include one scene.. but for some it's showing the scene, for others it's showing the whole show. The whole show is awesome, but the song I was talking about is toward the end.


Jock itch.. so much to learn..

This is one product that I never saw myself purchasing. I absolutely crack up at the diagram on the front of the package with the highlighted area in yellow.

This started as the "diaper rash" from hell.. and when one prescription cream didn't help.. there we were.. after a trip to the pediatrician.. standing in the athlete's foot/jock itch section of CVS. They should make a version of Lotrimin for children so that you don't have to stand in that section. It's sort of like standing in front of the wall of condoms that are always in plain sight of the pharmacy and all of the elderly grandparents sitting waiting for their prescriptions and frowning on the teenagers trying to figure out the difference between the 70 brands that are available.

Come to think of it.. that's another subject that i know nothing about. I'm worried enough about buying ben his first cup when he starts sports. I learn something new every day...


How we spend our weekends...

Since I moved to Boston back in May of 2000, I have spent at least one weekend if not two or three down in Connecticut. I love Boston and I do consider this area that we live in now to be home.. and I'm a bit sad to be leaving Arlington. There are parts of it that I really love.. the ability to be in downtown Boston in fifteen minutes is one of those things. The ability to stumble on a "Spring Festival" put on by a Chinese cultural group on a random Saturday and take part (on his own accord) in a small demonstration of martial arts for kids.. that is part of the diversity that is hard to find outside of a city like Boston.

That said.. I miss Windsor Locks, CT because it is my hometown.
I miss Ellington, CT because that was my first journey away from home and I liked living down the street from a farm (and kept Yankee Candle in business while I lived there.
I miss Manchester, CT.. wait.. no I don't.
I miss Malden, MA because it was my first REAL journey away from home, I made some great friends, learned to love Chinese food from an awesome place who never understood that we lived on Tufts Street and not at Tufts University and the town always smelled like toast.
I will miss Arlington because it is where we started our family. All of Benjamin's firsts have happened here.. well.. except when he said his first work (bye) at my dad's and when he took his first steps at my dad's... but you know.. other than that.

With the exception that my mother is hanging out in her mansion in Kentucky with the horses in the back pasture, moving back to within 30 minutes of the rest of my family is very exciting. The weekends probably won't change much though.. we spend all of our time at my sister's in CT already..

Ben can talk now... and this is his "haHA! I know something and I know how to say it!" We have to be careful about him now..

A few weekends ago, we finally got to play outside at Aunti Beck's.. Spring rocks. We also had a special visit from one of my long time reader and blog commenters... "S". Sean Bravakis went to high school with Beck.. which means that I was in the same school with him for one year in high school and since we went to the same college, we technically were in the same school again for one year in college.. although the baseball players didn't hang out often with the music majors and definitely not with the engineers. He now checks my blog daily.. smart boy.

Shiela and I were actually able to sit on Becky's back deck and relax for a while because Ben was way more impressed with playing with them than playing with his boring old moms.

Super Happy Boy.

Another Super Happy Boy.

I have to throw a pic in of Beck too.. this is where Benji gets his curly hair..

This picture cracks me up.. all three of them thinking "hmmm.. how the heck does this thing work?"

Sean.. let me know if you want a real copy of any of these -- I can email you the actual file without being resized with the Copyright note on it.