Saturday, September 25, 2010

The $5 Dresser

I'd been looking at garage sales and used furniture stores for a dresser for the baby's room. I had something specific in mind -- short and wide so I can use the top as a changing table.

I was driving home from Syracuse a few weeks ago, going through Cortland when I saw it from the road. I turned around and went up for a closer look. It was shorter than I wanted it. And when I started to walk away, the woman said, "just make an offer."

I didn't think she'd take me seriously. "$5"


And so I got my $5 dresser. I took it to Virginia with me so my brother could help me with my first big handy-man project. It need lots of works, but was structurally sound.

I sanded it down and went to Home Depot to buy my paint -- Mickey's Gloves for the whole dresser. And Christopher Robin's Swing for the knobs. It's the color I plan on painting the baby's room walls. A color I've been been planning on using for three years. It's nice that I finally get to use it, even sparingly.

I painted the first knob and then held it up by the screw. "What do I do now?"

My brother, who was building an extension on his deck, laughed at me and came up with a solution.

I painted and painted. And finally put on the finishing touches of the drawers -- little stripes that frame each drawer.

It still needs a little work. My brother is going to reinforce the drawers with wood glue, and needs to drill in the bottom to add little feet which will make the dresser taller, so that it can be used as a changing table. All things that he will have finished for me when I'm back for Christmas.

But in the dresser.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Reporting in from Vacation

It's sunny and warm in Virginia, I couldn't have asked for better weather for my week of relaxing. I had a great time at the game on Friday night (pictures to come) and cannot wait to bring my baby to his/her first baseball game.

And while I live near a AAA ballpark, I think the first game will have to be Camden Yards. It only makes sense, right?

I've been thinking a lot this week about the baby, or maybe it seems that way because I'm trying not to think about work. Thinking about the first ballgame, and this morning when I took Mickey for a walk, I thought about how in a couple years, the dogs and I will be walking the stroller through my brother's neighborhood.

And my big accomplishment of the week -- my $5 garage sale dresser. It is currently sitting out on the deck, needing just one or two more coats of paint and then another thing for the nursery is crossed off the list!

Again, pictures to come once I get home :)

Friday, September 17, 2010


months down...12 to 18 months to go.

So, maybe, if luck is on my side, I've got just a year to wait. Worst-case scenario, at this point, a year and a half.

The holidays are right around the corner and before I know it, it will be January. The weather will be miserable, I'll be wanting Valentines Day and all its horrors and annoyances to be over, and then I really will be under a year.

Nothing like wishing away the next five months, right?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love

I just finished this book and saw the movie with my friend Jill. I loved the "eat" part, was a little bored with the "pray" part, put it down, saw the movie, and because I have this need to finish books, even when I know how they end, went back to finish the "love" part.

But there was a specific passage that I read over and over again. If it had been my book, I would have highlighted it. Since it wasn't, I kept a post-it flag on that page. And even after, I had put the book down and moved on to another, it stayed on my night stand, and I would read and re-read it.

And then I saw this same passage posted on another blog, from another woman who has struggled with fertility. And I realized, truly, how universal this feeling is, how completely crippling not being able to conform to the rules that society makes us as women.

I have failed not only in the sense that I didn't meet the Prince Charming and buy the house with the white picket fence, but also in the sense that my body failed me not once, not twice, but 13 times as I tried to conceive. I have felt this way countless times -- at family events and holidays. I have failed.

It’s the emotional recoil that kills you, the shock of stepping off the track of a conventional lifestyle….To create a family with a spouse is one of the most fundamental ways a person can find continuity and meaning in American (or any) society.

I rediscover this truth every time I go to a big reunion of my mother’s family and I see how everyone is held so reassuringly in their positions. First you are a child, then you are a teenager, then you are a young married person, then you are a parent, then you are retired, then you are a grandparent—AT EVERY STAGE YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, you know what your duty is and you know where to sit at the reunion.

You sit with the other children, or teenagers, or young parents, or retirees. Until at last you are sitting with the 90 year olds in the shade, watching over your progeny with satisfaction. WHO ARE YOU? No problem—you’re the person who created all this. How many people have I heard claim their children as the greatest accomplishment and comfort of their lives? It’s the thing they can always lean on during a metaphysical crisis or a moment of doubt about their relevancy—If I have done nothing else in this live, then at least I have raised my children well.

But what if, either by choice or by reluctant necessity, you end up not participating in this comforting cycle of family and continuity? What if you step out? Where do you sit at the reunion? How do you mark time’s passage without the fear that you’ve just frittered away your time on earth without being relevant? You’ll need to find another purpose, another measure by which to judge whether or not you have been a successful human being.

--Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Melkam Addis Amet

...or Happy New Year!

September 11 is the Ethiopian New Year. Ethiopians call New Years Enkutatash. And since Ethiopians still follow the Orthodox Julian calendar which is 7 years, 8 months behind the Gregorian calendar, they are celebrating the year 2003.

Enkutatash is an important festival in the lives of all Ethiopians. After three months of heavy rains, the sun comes out creating a beautiful clear fresh atmosphere, filling the beautiful and majestic Ethiopian fields with gold as the Meskel daisies burst into their age.

The end of the rainy season also means that court will re-open and adoptions, referrals and babies coming home can resume.

Melkam Addis Amet!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Buffalo Dave's Question

"If none of this works out, isn't it better to be a mom to a 10-year-old than not be a mom at all? you have a lot of love to give and you're going to be a great mom. Are you willing to give up that dream if you can't have a baby when you could give some kid an amazing life?"

My friend Dave asked me that question at some point during the fertility treatment. I wrote it down, but didn't think about it much after that. After reading Jennifer's comments on my last post, I brought that question out again.

And I think that's the question -- or some form of it -- that many of us are facing, at least my fellow single moms-to-be. Is something going to happen when court reopens next month? Is this going to be the year that Ethiopia follows almost every country in the world and won't allow a single woman to adopt an infant (or at all)? Are we losing our chances to become a mother because we want to pick siblings, or an infant, or a specific gender, rather than taking an older child who is already waiting?

Maybe I'm naive to think that when court opens, everything will be okay, that their rules, regulations, laws won't have changed. Or maybe I still have hope. After all that I've been through in the past three years. After all the disappointment, the ups and downs, I can't believe that God, the universe, fate, whatever you believe in, would allow that to happen. Would allow me -- make me -- experience another dead end. Would allow any of these women I've come to know -- even virtually -- to not get this chance.

I just need to get through the next two Octobers, with court reopening with the same rules they had when they closed.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Yesterday, I was in a meeting for a committee I serve on. I haven't seen another woman on the committee practically all summer -- either she has missed meetings or I have. When she came in, she was overly excited to see me.

"How are you? How's the baby?"

My stomach literally dropped. I couldn't even speak. Just looked back at her blankly.

"Aren't you just coming back from maternity leave?"

I shook my head. "No. That's Heather."

"Oh right," she laughed. And I tried not to cry.