Put $40 in pocket. Ugh, these pants look terrible. Change stupid pants. Go to work. Put $5 dinner on credit card. Never find $40 again.
I used to have the urge to write all the time, just to indulge those itchy fingers and get those mundane thoughts out into the ether, get them out of me. Now I spend a lot of time thinking about sitting down to write something and then thinking about what I would write and getting SO FUCKING BORED with myself. I have nothing to add to the conversation at large. I never did, probably, but I used to do it anyway because that’s what you did on the internet seven years ago.
It’s annoying. I’m mad at my muse; she is off somewhere without me and I always get this way when I feel abandoned.
I joked week before last about us having to adopt a new system at work because at the time I thought it would be a few curse words and a few chuckles and then we’d get on with our lives and just make do, but every day at work since last Monday has been the worst day of my life, and I wish I was exaggerating but I’m actually being entirely serious and, yes, I know how pathetic that sounds and, no, I don’t particularly care how pathetic you might think I am. Because I know I am not the only one who feels this way and I know I am doing everything to try and make the system work for me, but I am being stymied at every turn. I would venture to guess that the vast majority of folks working the production side of the day (ahem, night) fantasize about snuffing out their own lights and escaping the bubbling Hell that putting out the paper has become in one short week because it’s not like this is some temporary setback we are going through. THIS IS NOW HOW EVERY SINGLE NIGHT AT WORK IS GOING TO BE FROM NOW UNTIL THE PAPER FOLDS ENTIRELY. It’s going to be this endless cycle of slow load times, slow save times, fixing other people’s shit that I was told I wouldn’t be expected to fix, fruitless searches for where someone else put something, fruitless searches for where I MYSELF put something, crashes, network downtimes, proofs taking two minutes to print if they even print at all, stories disappearing, photos not scaling, crashes, corrupted files, inconsistent edits, boxes that won’t update, crashes, jumps that won’t move, advance pages that were never created, ad makeup putting things in the wrong spot, un-re-named factboxes, crashes, incorrect stylesheets, missing library elements, did I mention crashes?, confusion between what’s a snippet and what’s a library element, extra spaces, corrupt notes mode, forgotten folios, crashes, untoned photos, and JESUS PLEASE TAKE THE WHEEL.
Does the average newspaper-basher have any idea what it’s like to go from being able to do your job with speed and efficiency and a semblance of competency to, one day, being completely hobbled in all those areas and then some, and to have to spend an ENTIRE SHIFT on what used to take you three hours at most. Say you are a doctor and suddenly you can only speak and be spoken to in Spanish, except the only Spanish you have ever been exposed to is the Spanish that you heard on a tape about whale songs for three hours one day and also, guess what! That tape was formal Spanish, not CONVERSATIONAL Spanish, so you are really fucking lost.
And the real bitch of it is that our fantastic system that they chucked to the curb is what made it possible for the company to lay off ALL THOSE PEOPLE way back when — remember all those layoffs? — because that system was zippy and fast and easy and made us much more efficient than we had any right to be, all things considered.
But now here we are with the same amount of people — a skeleton crew on a good day, a veritable ghost ship on a bad one — and the same amount of pages to get out, but we are using a system that requires six clicks for every action and three minutes of waiting on it to talk to the cloud and think about What It All Means before it actually does anything, and then sometimes for no fucking reason it decides to time out or crash anyway. Those minutes add up and suddenly it becomes difficult to do your usual workload of 1.5+ sections every night plus advance design plus copy editing plus web posting. And let’s not even talk about trying to sit and think about how to make anything look good.
I’m eaten up with impotent rage and frustration over how all of this has gone down. We got screwed over. We weren’t ready to launch and they made us. The backend wasn’t ready to go and they made us go anyway, totally unprepared. And everything has been completely fucked for a week and counting and we have to raise holy hell to get any guidance and help on anything. We’re scrambling, trying to stay ahead. Putting out fires on deadline every night. This system. This fucking system. I feel sorry for any paper who felt like moving to Saxotech was an upgrade for them. What were they using before? A chisel and stone? Smoke signals?
No one really seems to want to talk publicly about how horrible Saxotech is. I don’t understand why. We need to talk about how fucking horrible Saxotech is so they will fix the horribleness and I can do my job without having to scream-cry on the way home from work every night three hours after I was supposed to get off because something went horribly wrong and no one knows why. If the company thinks they are saving money, I would like to see those receipts because we are all having to log a ton of overtime just to get the paper out every day.
I realize writing about work is reckless and stupid but honestly if they fired me for running my mouth and insulting corporate’s honor, they would be doing me a favor. Because — I don’t know if I have mentioned this — MY JOB MAKES ME WANT TO HURL MYSELF INTO ONCOMING HERPES-INFESTED SHARK TRAFFIC.
When I was a kid I thought Labor Day was the day all the babies were born. Except me. Because, you know, I was born on Jesus’ birthday instead.
Let’s all join hands and send these positive directives into the universe: Do not use the word “hate” when you mean “hatred.” Do not use the word “impact” when you mean “affect.” Do not say “regime” when you mean “regimen.”
I just wrote a long diatribe against the new Facebook picture viewer’s lack of a clickable X because I effing hate having to just click off to the side in negative space to get something to go away. Aaaaaand then I realized there is an X and I just didn’t see it because it’s way up in the right-hand corner. Internetting is so hard sometimes.
The Kids are in Portland this weekend to see Alana and Cox get hitched. I was originally going to be there but then I procreated and now my body exists in a permanent no-fly zone. Okay, not permanent, but for now I’m grounded. I’m sad to miss the festivities and the reunion. Sounds like I’ve already missed Patrick giving Cox a piggyback ride and falling and breaking his shoulder. I miss all the good stuff. Mazel tov, you crazy kids.
Does everyone do their best Words for Friends-ing and Instagram-ing on the toilet, or is that just me?
Speaking of toilets, we ran out of toilet paper but guess who had two complimentary thanks-for-setting-up-a-baby-registry packs of baby wipes in her pile of baby stuff?
I realize that sentence is not a question but it feels so weird ending it with a period.
Ray introduced me to this song last night and I cannot stop laughing at Elvis’ boats.
I can do this thing when I lie on my side where I can squeeze my knees together and make something in my hip region pop. It feels amazing.
Happiness is a Dunkin Donuts blueberry dougnnut.
Did you know that the creator of Caslon was a type designer and a gunsmith? Doesn’t that make Caslon all that much more beautiful, to know that its creator got his start engraving gun locks and barrels?
I broke my chair at work and totally tried to play it off like I meant to. Because people intentionally break chairs.
My body is looking so busted these days. The stretchmarks have woven their way across my belly, spreading from their initial parentheses shape and taking on the characteristics of a wall-crawling vine. The other day, I ran into this harsh metal piece that juts out of the side of the desk and gave myself one hell of a gnarly-looking bruise on my upper thigh. I feel like I am being smothered by cellulite. I’ve got bug bites and cuts that have carved dark scars into my skin that won’t go away. I can’t see below my waist. Scratch that — I don’t have a waist. I love that my body knows how to make another person but I am ready to get my old body back, the one where I could lounge on my tummy sometimes. Of course, I know it will never be quite the same. That’s OK. It wouldn’t have been anyway, baby or no. Because that’s just how bodies work. They start out so smooth, though …
Someone in the elevator at work asked me the other day when I’m due. No strangers had said anything about my belly up until that point. I haven’t been offered help pumping gas or carrying groceries or hauling things to my car. No one has given me an unsolicited belly rub yet, either, a fact I contribute to my chronic bitchface more than anything else.
I gushed about the Neutral Milk Hotel box set news when I heard about it but I am going to gush again. GUSH.
I want him to know that I tried really, really hard.
Night before last I dreamed that I was with a group of people at the Harry Potter world at Universal Studios in Orlando. It was hot and I was clearly, burdensomly pregnant, my shoulders slung low with bags that I realized belonged to the other people. I kept trying to stop and examine the incredibly detailed set pieces of the village, all of which seemed to be handmade and placed meticulously throughout the sets to give them an intensely realistic feel. I’d be turning a piece over and over in my hand, feeling the contours of its artisan paper, when I’d look up and see the people in my group moving on to the next attraction, leaving their stuff behind for me to pick up and add to my already heavy load.
I was trying to stall long enough to set up a photograph of some of the set pieces, when Bill Gates and his entourage came into the area and clearly wanted everyone else to vamoose. He gave me a withering look as I gathered up everyone else’s things and tried to make it out of his way without dropping anything. I could barely walk under the weight of what I was carrying. Maybe he was pissed that I was carrying an iPad along with everything else, I don’t know.
I woke up and instantly knew what that dream was about. Here we are on this magical journey — wonder! whimsy! etc.! — and I am trying to stop and marvel at what is happening around me, to truly appreciate the intricacies of what is going on, and I am struggling under the weight of so much other stuff.
I wrote a long post about this last night, and saved and re-saved the draft, scared to hit publish. I miss the feeling of being able to write freely without fear but that is where I am and that is where I will be, I suppose, as long as I know certain eyes are always on me.
The gist is that I feel like a mess. Work is difficult, money is tight, the clock is ticking — the predictable whine. I’m at that point where all life’s little papercuts and lemon squirts are wearing me down, and I’m getting out of bed in the middle of the night to have heaving sobfests on the couch until I feel calm enough to fall asleep to the quiet flickr of America’s finest infomercials. None of this makes much sense without specifics, I suppose (or it just sounds like hormonal bullshit), but I can’t get in to specifics here because there is too much at stake.
I know all of the anguish will be worth it when baby boy makes his entrance into this world and clings to me and I to him. But it doesn’t make the mountains of bullshit any less difficult to plow through.
Mere minutes from noon. I’ve finished my breakfast — scrambled eggs (with gouda!) and biscuits and coffee. I only get a few cups a week so I’ve decided to have them at home, where we use a grinder and a French press. I don’t care if it’s pretentious; it tastes infinitely better than the reheated Maxwell House sludge I end up with at work.
Been feeling pretty crummy lately in the head region. Of course the ultrasound business has me skating on a quiet baseline of dread, but other things seem to be nipping at my heels a little more than usual, and I’ve found myself sinking to the floor here and again, having little gulping breakdowns no one ever notices. My family is drama-laden lately: My sister is barely speaking to my parents and there seems to be inexplicable animosity growing for reasons I can only guess at. Seems like this happens every few years and I don’t know why, but it breaks my heart all the same. It made for a tense visit a couple of weeks ago when I had to beg my sister and nephews to come participate in the big news about the baby boy. It was still kind of awkward but we made it. Mom has plenty of bad days and Dad is working all the time, in 12-hour shifts on the night side. Their house is overrun with pissing dogs. Age is taking its toll on everyone and I find myself wishing I’d had a baby years ago before everyone got so worn out.
At home, I’m living on what feels like an emotional island.
So many things just seem broken lately.
I lovehate the internet. On the one hand, in ye golden olden days, my midwife would have uttered the words “echogenic bowel” to me and I would have had to carve out some time between milking the cows and hanging the pig guts to walk uphill both ways toward a library, inside which I’d pore over medical books carefully in dusty, neglected library aisles, wondering what the densely packed terms actually meant. And worrying.
On the other hand, now I can sit in the comfort of my desk chair, sneezing every five seconds because I work in an apparently completely unventilated, never-cleaned newsroom staffed by walking strains of influenza, and click every Google return on the term, reading every weepy message-board thread and looking carefully at every sample ultrasound photo, comparing it with the ultrasound video I took with my phone of my baby boy, all the while trying to discern with my untrained eye exactly what the hell I am looking at. And worrying.
I don’t know which is better but I suppose they both suck in their own special ways.
They tell you, when they hand you those harsh clinical words, not to worry. Worry doesn’t accomplish anything and there’s probably nothing really wrong. It’s just a blip on the radar screen and we need to get it checked out to be sure, that’s all. I play along enthusiastically, thinking somewhere in my lizard brain that if I pretend to feel calm and rational, the calmness and rationality will substitute itself for the confusion and fear I can feel bubbling up beneath my increasingly upbeat-sounding voice.
These are the rare moments in life when you try to fit in with the majority, to not be the exception to the rule. Most cases where echogenic bowel variations are detected turn out to be just fine, the Google search results tell me. It’s rare for the variation to show up at all, of course, which is scary in and of itself. But once it has shown up, it’s more than likely that all is well and you just have to wait it out. It will resolve itself and you will have a bouncing, perfectly healthy baby in your arms soon enough. Except sometimes all isn’t well and you’re actually getting a peek at something going very wrong in your baby. And then what?
People will try to comfort you with anecdotes of their own misleading findings and you will want to be comforted by them, but you’ll also secretly want them to hush up because their success stories make the slight statistical probability of a bad outcome feel heavier and heavier on you.
The waiting sucks.
It leaves you alone with your thoughts, which can’t stop turning dark. No matter the probabilities.
It would be super awesome if Women’s Physician Group — home of my (former?) OB — would turn loose of my bloodwork records taken two months ago. My midwife has requested the information twice now, and still nothing. I don’t know if they’re being jerks or just being incompetent and slow, but this is not the time to be fucking with me.
There is this often unspoken aspect of pregnancy that is very superstitious. We don’t spend a lot of time talking about the what-ifs because it’s as if speaking them aloud makes them more likely to occur. No, it’s best to have faith that everything will just work itself out. Science or predestination be damned!
But what if something is wrong? I feel conflicted even writing about it because for some reason I feel like the possibility of something going wrong is a secret I should keep close to my vest. Bringing up potential complications sure does bum people out, you know, and besides, whose business is it? Except … to me, it is the only business there is right now. It consumes me, even though I promised it wouldn’t. I have one role in this baby’s life right now and that is to get him here safely and in the best health possible. It’s impossible not to feel responsible if something is going wrong in there. And my not attempting to think through it and process the possibility doesn’t make it any less likely to happen than my thinking about it makes it more likely to happen.
We have to go get another ultrasound to see if it cleared up on its own. If it hasn’t, I’m sure I’ll be sent down the genetic testing/amnio path, which is a path I had very much hoped to avoid for obvious reasons.
Where that path leads eventually is sort of a mystery to me. I hope the heirloom tomato formerly known as sweet potato knows that I love him very much already and want him here, no matter what, should he decide to stick it out with me.
I look at my life in slow motion sometimes, all the choices I’ve made and weird things that people have said or done to me that have fucked me up in some small way or large, a cascade of random sentences and moments and interactions and looks, an abstract timeline soaring through victory and then skidding through muddy humiliation, going nowhere in particular, nowhere predictable, nowhere comfortable, nowhere guaranteed. I just see an unwieldy, overloaded flatbed trailer of memories and hangups and hopes and dreams and fears, god, the fears, and that trailer is always rounding a sharp curve in slow motion, always just on the verge of toppling over and spilling that stuff everywhere, traffic whizzing by, horns honking, and all I can do is to hang on and keep throwing bailing wire over it, again and again, pulling it taut, throwing it over again, pulling it taut, in slow motion, wincing, my hands bleeding, hot tears of anger streaming down my face, but that shit will not be contained and it has nothing to do with my desire to contain it, to keep the road clear for everyone else. Gravity, and nature, and momentum, and an intermittently cruel Universe — all these things will conspire to bring it all down so why the tight grip, why the bleeding hands?
Who are the bleeding hands for?