10.29.2014

stream of consciousness

did you know it's fall?
I'm writing this on the downward side of a Krispy Kreme buzz, so I apologize for anything I say that doesn't make sense. I've been secretly dying for donuts all week, and when James mentioned his craving this evening, I couldn't kick him out the door fast enough to go get some. Get a chocolate one! And a pumpkin one! But wait surprise me! It is both a blessing and a curse that there's a Krispy Kreme no more than half a mile down the road. But mostly a blessing. Though it is not a blessing that I could feel my hips getting wider with each bite.

Speaking of James (were we speaking of James?), I went to a doctor's appointment with him this morning. That man loves nothing more than to make me as uncomfortable as possible, which is unfortunate because it takes next to nothing to embarrass me. When the doctor walked in, James immediately pointed at me and announced "SHE'S A MOMMA NOW! Well, she will be in a few months!" I've met his doctor before so it wasn't completely weird, but after he congratulated us, James said "And I didn't even have to try that hard!" He was clearly so proud of himself. It was at that point that I nearly clawed my way through the floorboards. He saw the looks of horror on my face and made some other humiliating comments that were even worse, but I immediately blocked them out of self preservation. I'm no stranger to awkward moments these days. I drowned my Monday frustrations in a (small, I swear) bag of chocolate covered pretzels (I really do eat foods with nutritional value), and when I looked in the mirror at the end of the day, I saw a huge smear of chocolate across my chest. Not my shirt, but my actual skin. Which is so pale that a large smear of chocolate is anything but subtle. Which is great considering I had probably walked around work that way for several hours. 

Speaking of work, we've had a lot of technical issues lately resulting in a slew of emails from the IT department. I secretly want to work in the IT department, because it's full a bunch of awkward and hilarious people. There were emails including a picture of a poodle saying some strange IT thing (which made no sense, but it didn't stop me from printing it out and hanging it on my desk), and one written entirely in haikus. Nothing warms my heart more than a well-executed haiku. Which I accidentally said out loud at work after reading the email, resulting in many a concerned stare. But it inspired me. Remember when writing my posts in haikus was something I did? I'm bringing that back! Not now, obviously, but I will. I'm sorry if haiku blogs are weird for you, but I need to do it. Just like these stream of consciousness posts and Monday's post where I ramble about anything and everything. It just feels good to write again without an agenda. I feel most like myself when I write without a topic and let it get weird and freaky. I feel most like myself with a stack of books next to me. And I feel most like myself while wearing an elastic waistband. All things I've learned recently (ok, I've known the last one for awhile). Hashtag FINDING MYSELF. Now if only I could fix my blog design...

I got a wild hair the other day and clicked on my Sufjan Stevens Christmas Pandora station. I'M NOT EVEN ASHAMED. It just felt so good. It sounded so good. I fine-tuned that station at my old job, where my responsibilities included perfecting my Pandora stations and blogging about my coworkers. Remember those days? Those were terrible days, but also good ones. The job was terrible ("I know we hired you to do all these things, but actually you're going to be a glorified receptionist"), the people were worse (so much worse), but those were good blog days. I spent most of my days writing posts and emailing blog friends for hours upon hours. I miss that. I really do. All you people that don't have Gmail blocked on your work computer don't know how lucky you are. ENJOY IT FOR ME. YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE TILL IT'S GONE. Blogging was a lot different back then, even though it was only 2 years ago. But you might not want to let me go down that rabbit trail. We'll save that for a day when I'm in a bad mood. You'll be able to hear me typing that rant in Australia. 

I'm cutting this off now. The sooner I get myself to work, the sooner I get home to eat the last donut.

10.27.2014

the happenings lately

+ There hasn't been much to report around these parts lately. Morning sickness made its grand reappearance around week 18 (not nearly as bad as it once was, but enough to knock me out again), so I've been glued to the couch watching Gilmore Girls and eating all manner of carbs. It hasn't been all bad, though. I have Christmas sheets on the bed, and I'm finally reading again. I hit the library up last week like a robber in a bank, and just seeing that stack of books on my nightstand makes me feel more like myself again.

+ At the risk of sounding like one of those but-how-is-it-already-Monday-again kind of people, I'm slightly appalled that it's nearly November. Back in August, I spent 93% of my life in bed or lying beside the toilet, telling myself that once fall came everything would be better. It's my favorite season, and surely I would be feeling better by then. I would close my eyes and daydream of orange trees and chunky sweaters and eating pie by my parents' wood-burning fireplace. I am certainly feeling much better than those lazy, hazy, pukey days of summer, but I won't lie, fall has been pretty lackluster for me this year. I'm sure it's mostly due to the fact that I still don't have the energy to function at more than a survivalist level, but I'm not feeling it the way I usually do. The trees are pretty (though not as pretty as last year, I'm convinced, and so many leaves are gone already!), the rainy days are wooing me the way they always do, and I've been super jazzed to dabble in my sweater collection, but overall I feel pretty "meh" about the whole thing. I haven't bought any pumpkins this year for the front porch. In fact, I just threw out the remaining dead flowers from summer. I haven't made any chili and cornbread yet, and I haven't even made pumpkin bread! All completely unacceptable, but it's the way it has to be this year. I did, however, feel spunky enough last weekend to make a huge pot of minestrone soup with crusty garlic bread, and that certainly got me feeling flirty toward October again. And since Pumpkin Spice Lattes and other festive fall drinks are out of the question this year, James bought me some sort of sparkling pumpkin cider which pairs quite lovely with cool, rainy evenings. But Halloween will finally be over on Friday, and we all know November 1st is the official start of the Christmas season. That, I will decorate for! And bake for! Things are turning around already.

+ Work has been a true test of character lately. There have been a lot of changes and some upheaval, and I truly believe that by sitting me next to the whiny girl in her early thirties, God is teaching me how to keep my patience around truly frustrating people without screaming and/or punching them. Something that will definitely come in handy in motherhood, I'm sure. I've been trying so hard to keep a good attitude at work, but it feels like everything is working against me some days. We've had a few rainy and chilly days lately, since newsflash--it's fall--but this comes as a surprise to my coworkers each year. They complain about the weather whenever there's a cloud in the sky or it dips below 60, and I get to hear it in surround sound. They were all born and raised in this state, and I've been here only half my life, but somehow I'm more acclimated to the weather than they are. I'm on the verge of buying them all a one-way ticket to Florida so I can have some peace and quiet again.

I've been trying to spend some quality time with my headphones lately, but the girl next to me doesn't understand that headphones are the universal "don't talk to me" signal, and she will actually pound on my desk until I take them off and acknowledge her so she can whine about someone or ask me if it looks like she's gained weight. All things that happen multiple times a day. Her favorite hobby is to complain about her weight to the bloated, pregnant girl and then to spray her hair products at her desk which causes me to dry heave. All of this is after she asks me what I'm eating for lunch, if my clothes are new/where I bought them/tell me my jeans don't fit right, and then criticize my choice of food. I white-knuckle the arms of my chair in order to keep my cool, either answer or dodge her questions, and then put my headphones back in. And the process repeats all day long. Occasionally she gets rude by asking me if I conceived while on vacation or by telling me I shouldn't have been allowed to get married at 22 since it will never work out. So you can see why I occasionally come home in a bad mood. Like on Friday evening, when I had a full-fledged meltdown that started over a bad day and was exacerbated by the fact that nothing sounded good for dinner, and I cried 3-4 hours until my eyes were swollen shut, then ate onion rings at 9pm and pried my swollen eyes open long enough to finish season 5 of Gilmore Girls around midnight. Life is exhausting.

Another girl at work, as charming as the one next to me, walked up to me the other day and shoved a picture of a pregnant Blake Lively in my face and said "Don't you hate yourself right now? Don't you hate that you don't look that good pregnant?" Maybe I would feel that way had Blake not been wearing a floor-length yellow dress, because in no way do I also want to look like a pregnant banana. Somehow, that answer wasn't the one my new work bff was looking for and she walked away in a huff. I'll be making us friendship bracelets tonight.

+ I "accidentally" bought myself a camo jacket Saturday night. Not an I'm-going-to-shoot-my-own-dinner kind of jacket, but a look-how-trendy-and-edgy-I-am kind of camo jacket. I've needed a lightweight coat that wasn't a Northface fleece for awhile now, and when I saw that jacket online for 50% off, I pounced. I'm not an impulse buyer, but that jacket spoke to me in ways I wasn't prepared for. I was still recovering from The Great Meltdown of the night before and Louis Armstrong was crooning away on Pandora, so clearly I was feeling emotionally vulnerable. I didn't even know I was a camo kind of girl until I saw that jacket. I did, however, have 2 camo shirts in 7th grade. One had a glittery MUDD logo stamped across the front, and I thought I was just too cool for school. I was living it up and experimenting with edgy clothing (camo shirts, bleached jeans, you know) since I was finally free of private school and their restrictive dress code. The day I wore that shirt to school, a girl on the school bus told me that not many people could pull off camo, but that I was one of the few who could. Even at the time I distinctly remember feeling confused that she thought the gangly girl with frizzy hair and braces with rainbow-colored rubber bands could pull off camouflage, but I took it and ran with it and also used it as an excuse to order that jacket late at night while I was home alone and emotionally compromised. It's been 24 hours and I don't regret it a bit. I'm already planning all future outfits around it. I have to solidify my Cool Mom status as early as I can.

I would tell you about my other impulse buys (I blame the hormones!), but James is going to be home with Chipotle any minute. Another sign I'm feeling more like myself: the very thought of Chipotle doesn't make me hurl anymore. Except, I can only eat a burrito. A burrito bowl, though having the same ingredients, makes me want to heave. But wrap it all up in an oversized flour tortilla, and we're good to go.

Once again, blame the hormones.

10.22.2014

in defense of only children

a one-woman band, 1989-present 

I'm an only child. And you know what? I love it. However, society doesn't seem to love it, and I think that's weird.

I'm a fourth-generation only child. Not because that side of the family believes in only having one child, but because that's just the way things have played out for different reasons. To be perfectly honest, I don't understand the stigma behind only children. At all. What is it about us that makes us super-freaks to everyone sharing a bedroom? If I had a dime for every time I got the "oh, so you're a spoiled brat!" comment, I could pay off of the national debt. It's as though people expect me to also be isolated and weird, like the proverbial homeschooled kid. My mom told me the other day that someone introduced their daughter as "a good kid, even though she's an only child." What is that even supposed to mean?! And the thing is, I hear those sorts of things ALL the time. The snide comments and stereotypes abound. It's irked me for years, but the older I get, the more it confuses me, too.

In the interest of full disclosure, I did not like being an only child when I was younger. I didn't understand why I was the only one without siblings, not to mention the remarks and nasty things other kids said to me about it. My mom experienced the same thing as an only child, and she experienced it again from other moms when she became the mother of an only child. Every time I told someone I didn't have brothers or sisters, their reaction led me to believe that I had some great disadvantage in life. I can't tell you how many times I've been told I must have a very sad and lonely life. I've been teased, I've been pitied, and the older I get, the more ridiculous it seems.

A few weeks ago, I met a girl at church who asked me about my family. When I told her I'm an only child, she had a slew of questions for me. She has a baby girl and is afraid her daughter will be an only child because she doesn't think she can handle another difficult pregnancy (OH HOW I UNDERSTAND!). She was sweet and polite and asked really good questions about my childhood and how I coped with things. I've been chewing on that conversation ever since, and then when a girl I work with told me last week that I couldn't possibly understand true companionship since I don't have a sister, I figured it was time to set the record straight.

As I mentioned earlier, I didn't like my situation when I was younger. But I also didn't know any better. The older I got and once I more fully understood why my parents couldn't give me a sibling, I learned to accept it. As I grew and matured, I realized the kids who teased me had no idea what they were talking about. And once I became an adult, I realized how good it was for me to grow up without siblings.

At this point in my life, I can honestly say I am so thankful for the way I grew up. It made aspects of my childhood more difficult, but it shaped me into the person I am today. My favorite qualities about myself are all a direct result of not having siblings. My family moved several times when I was a kid. Each move meant starting a new school and making new friends. I am painfully shy, and I didn't have a sibling to lean on for support. I had my parents, of course, but I didn't have anyone to walk into a new school with. I did it all on my own, and I learned to thrive in each environment. I learned that when necessary, I can overcome my shyness and put myself out there. It toughened me up! Going through those experiences alone made so much more strong and resilient and able to take on other challenges in life. Alone, if need be. Learning that I could depend on myself gave me the courage to do things like transferring to a college in North Carolina on a whim. If I hadn't done that, I never would've met James! Who, by the way, is also an only child. I love that about him. It of course wouldn't have been a deal breaker if he had siblings, but there are certain things we inherently understand about each other, and that's such a comfort to me.

The "spoiled brat" stereotype annoys me the most. Anyone with brothers and sisters can be a spoiled brat! Did I get more attention from my parents since I was their only child? Of course. Were they able to provide more opportunities to me? Probably? But honestly, I have no idea. I have no idea how different things would've been with a sibling or two. But I do know that I grew up in an extremely loving and tight-knit household. I had my parents' full attention at all times. I was never able to get away with anything. And that's not a bad thing! It taught me accountability and responsibility. I spent a lot of time around adults and learned how to interact with them. To this day I have a stronger relationship with my parents than any of my friends do with theirs. I had more time and fewer distractions which allowed me to pursue my hobbies and interests, and yes, it was probably easier for my parents to encourage those things since I was the only one taking piano lessons. But I was also heavily involved in church and school activities and never lacking for social contact.

And as for being lonely? PLEASE. Not even close. I've never been one to have a lot of friends, but I very carefully chose my friends and always seemed to have a few that were so close I would never know we weren't related. Both guys and girls came over and blended right into my family, and at the end of the day, I didn't have to share my room or my clothes. Best of both worlds, I'm telling you! And as a kid, I played outside with the neighbor kids every day. But most importantly, I learned the importance of being able to be alone. My parents raised me to entertain myself and to not rely on things and other people for happiness and a source of entertainment. I know a lot of this is my also due to my personality, but I love being alone. I am never bored. I learned to value solitude from a young age. I learned to deal with my issues without distractions. I didn't have siblings to go to for advice, but my older and wiser parents instead. If I needed someone my own age, I called a friend. It made me fiercely independent, and that's a trait I wouldn't trade for anything. I don't need a gaggle of girls to accompany me everywhere I go. I've traveled overseas alone to stay with people I've never met. Obviously anyone with siblings can do these things, but I believe growing up without them really pronounced those characteristics in me. I grew up to be a grounded, independent, well-rounded person, so it baffles me when someone thinks I should be pitied for my lack of siblings. I never felt like I needed to go "find myself." I've always known who I am and what makes me tick. That's something I see in my mom and my husband, as well as other only children I've known. We march to the beat of our own drums. Not in a weird way, but we're not afraid of being who we are. Of course people with siblings can be the same way. I just know that for me, personally, and for those around me, growing up as only child enhanced those characteristics.

Sure, sometimes someone will write some sappy little ditty about how much they love their brother or sister, and I'll think that would be nice to have, but I also feel that way when I see a pair of boots I like. It would be nice to have, but it certainly doesn't mean I have a void in my life without it or that I should be pitied. Call me ignorant, call me whatever you want, but I in no way think my life is lacking because I'm an only child. I feel no void whatsoever. I've lived a happy and full life so far. My childhood was awesome. James would tell you the exact same thing about himself. The weird stigma behind only children is a complete mystery to us. I have never met a fellow only child who isn't completely normal and well-adjusted.

A lot of people like to remind me that the problem with being married to another only child is that our kids won't have cousins or aunts and uncles, and we won't have nieces and nephews. I understand that, I really do. Of course I wish I could give those things to my kids, but aside from a couple short years as a kid, I've never lived anywhere near my extended family. I've spent most of my life on the opposite side of the country from them. I love them and I love seeing them the rare occasions I do, but living so far away has allowed me to recognize that my kids will be just fine without a large extended family. They'll have their parents and their grandparents nearby, and that's what's important to me. And who's to say I won't have an only child? I would love to give this baby a sibling one day, but I can't predict the future. James and I both have no qualms about raising an only child. Society may have something to say about it, but I would never apologize for not giving my child a sibling, because there's nothing to apologize for.

I think it's awesome that some people have big families, and I think it's awesome that some people have small families. I believe God gives us the grace and the personalities to handle whichever situation He places us in. Some people are meant to go through life with their siblings by their side, and some people are meant to be a little more independent. Neither one is wrong and neither one is weird. It's just the way it is. And I happen to love the way things turned out for me.

10.07.2014

currently

Anticipating: Thanksgiving. I ate some of my coworker's pumpkin spice cookie, and it made me think of Thanksgiving and how ready I am to lay in front of the fireplace in my stretchy pants with pumpkin pie. And maybe watch Elf. I don't know. Don't wanna get too carried away.

Listening to: I will neither confirm nor deny that Christmas music is playing right now. In the words of Harry Connick Jr., I'm doing my Christmas dreaming a little early this year.

Wanting: To learn how to crochet. And to quilt. I'm thinking those will be good winter projects.

Reading that makes me sound elderly. It doesn't help that my hips are aching again.

At least I didn't mention wanting to learn embroidery too.

Just kidding!

No I'm not.

Eating: Bagel bites and white cheddar cheez-its lately. Don't even start with me. I'm doing the best I can.

come to me my darlings
I'm currently trying to talk myself out of a McDonald's breakfast, but the more I try to say no, the more I want to say yes. Remember when I used to eat fruit and vegetables? I'm trying.

Watching: Season 4 of Gilmore Girls. And Call the Midwife against my better judgment. I cry buckets every episode. I don't know who I am anymore. Oh, and New Girl <3

Needing: More sleep. Strawberries wouldn't hurt, either. And to go dry my hair. Today will be the first day I've done my hair since early July.

Smelling: Nothing, thankfully. Smells are bad.

Wearing: Do you really want to ask? I threw on a hoodie Sunday afternoon to go get my hair cut. I then came back home, kept it on, and fell asleep in it. I woke up 5 minutes before I needed to leave for my doctor's appointment this morning (Monday morning. You're confused. So am I.), so I left it on and threw on jeans. I was going to change into a sweater before work, but then I didn't feel like it (fist bump casual dress code!!). And I'm still wearing it. I'll change tomorrow, I promise. I'll also shower.

At least I left out the part about my hoodie being covered in cat hair.

Oops.

Drinking: So much English Breakfast tea lately. It tastes so good to me and usually settles my stomach. Coffee is still horrifying.

Reading: Nothing. NOTHING. I've never not been reading something. I need a lighthearted, easy read to get back into the swing of it.

Feeling: Exhausted and still elated over hearing the baby's heartbeat this morning. It took the doctor a minute to find it which terrified me. I almost started crying out of fear, and then we suddenly heard it and I cried from relief. Maybe I also shrieked.

Loving: THE WEATHER. It has been so dramatic lately, like a girl after my own heart. In the last 3 days it has flurried, sleeted, rained, and thunderstormed. I was the only person in Ohio reveling in the cold and sleet. It helps when you're bed-ridden and wearing Christmas pajama pants. Bring it on, fall and winter. I am forever ready for you. You got a lot of haters, but I got your back.

Hating: Insomnia.

Planning: Nursery things. Baby blankets to knit. Projects to work on. I walked into Hobby Lobby last night to buy some supplies for nursery things. I fondled the Christmas section for awhile, and then got overwhelmed by all the decisions and walked out empty-handed.

Missing: Being able to do normal human things like run errands and make dinner and sit up for longer than 20 minutes at a time.

Thankful: for James, who does my laundry and makes sure I eat and refills my water 27 times a day. He's essentially the reason I'm alive right now. And for Sarah, who puts up with my whiny, nausea-related texts and who lets me have meltdowns when I get overwhelmed researching baby things. Which is every single day. And for flannel pajama pants.

(Especially when they have Christmas trees on them.)

(Too soon?)

(Never too soon.)

10.03.2014

thursday

Yesterday was a day.

I am currently in the throes of pregnancy-induced insomnia and have been a walking zombie all week. Wednesday night was particularly bad, and I only got a couple hours of sleep. I woke up angry and nauseous and bone-tired. I stumbled into work, half awake and on edge, and opened my email where I was informed I had to train a new employee for several hours, which is exactly what I want to do while I'm fighting to keep my eyes open and my breakfast down. 

I walked downstairs to treat myself to a cup of English Breakfast tea, where I was accosted by a coworker interrogating me about my pregnancy. She finished the conversation saying "I feel really bad for you. Having a baby is the worst. I hated everything about it. I won't lie to you, it's awful." 

Thank you. 

I turned around to make my tea and to calm myself down when I was smacked on the back by a girl walking by. 

"Ouch!" I mumbled in surprise. 
"Oh, c'mon, that didn't hurt."
"It did, actually." I said with a smile despite the fire in my eyes.
"Well you're too sensitive." 

It was a great start to the day. 

I started training the new guy and it wasn't too bad. He was goofy and I love anyone I can laugh with. He asked me about college and what I studied, yadda yadda yadda, I studied English and now I'm here. Your typical humanities degree success story. "English, huh? I bet you love to write. Let me guess, you have a secret blog and everything." Before I could catch myself, my eyes widened and I laughed, completely giving myself away. I scrambled and went back to explaining the file cabinet system before he could ask more questions. Keeping my facial expressions in check has never been a strength of mine.

All was going well enough until my mom texted me a picture of some Amish guys in a restaurant. I got the giggles, and due to his strange stare, I showed him the picture and briefly confessed my love of stalking the Amish. NOT THE WAY TO MAKE FRIENDS, MICHELLE. And instead of stopping while I was ahead, I kept going. It was like word vomit I couldn't control. I told him story after story of my Amish stalking. He laughed, but I'm sure now thinks I'm a freak with a fetish for straw hats and suspenders. I didn't help myself when I made an accidental innuendo and made myself laugh so hard I couldn't breathe. It's the minimal sleep, I swear. Keep me isolated when I'm tired, or I become a danger to myself and others. 

After two and half hours of training and small talk, I needed the nap to end all naps. But instead, I gathered up my remaining strength and called my eye doctor to make an appointment since I'm quickly running out of contacts. The receptionist informed me that my doctor, my favorite eye doctor of all time who was the only one to cure my 3 month eye infection, was no longer there. I nearly sobbed into the phone as she scheduled me with someone else. Finding a doctor I love and trust is hard. Losing one makes me feel like someone ate the last piece of cake. 

At that point, I had to leave work for a dentist appointment. In my hometown. An hour away. I know I need to find a dentist in town, but finding a new doctor of any kind is mildly traumatizing. I left work with plenty of time to spare but still had to call the dentist's office and say "Hi, I know I'm ten minutes late, but I'm currently stuck behind a tractor. I'll be there soon." And I quickly remembered why I live in the city now, because if it's not a coal train making you late in the country, it's a large piece of farm equipment on the main road leading into town.

It didn't matter that I showed up 15 minutes late, because the hygienist was running an hour late. When I was called back, I realized that my favorite hygenist, the person who made me feel like going to the dentist wasn't actually a biannaul punishment for something I had done wrong in a former life, had left. I nearly sank to the floor. She was the reason I continued to drive an hour to get my gums stabbed. And now she's gone. First my eye doctor, and now my hygenist? It was far too much upheaval on such short notice.

I gave a disclaimer to the new hygenist that due to morning sickness, brushing and flossing wasn't a high priority for the last few months. I mean, I was doing it, but I wasn't doing it well. Putting anything in my mouth wasn't a high priority unless I was prepared to throw up 30 seconds later. 

"You need to make sure you do better, because otherwise bacteria builds up in your gums and then you swallow it, and that's basically poison." 

Well. 

She poked and prodded and stabbed and within minutes my mouth was full of blood. No really, I had A MOUTHFUL OF BLOOD. The hormones have made my already sensitive gums so much worse that if you look at them sidewise they start to bleed. I finally had to point to my mouth and gurgle because I was about to drown in my own blood. 

"Oh! You could use some suction."

Yes, I could use some suction. 

She asked me about my job, which was great, because the intensive small talk and training at work hadn't exhausted me enough. I explained the gist of what I do, and she asked, "So did you even go to college then?" 

Sigh. 

She rinsed my bloody mouth out and got ready to suction it again. The taste of blood had been making my stomach churn, and then I got a whiff of it on her gloves. My hormones went into overdrive, and I couldn't force myself to close my mouth over the suction hose fast enough before I involuntarily sat up, gagged, and spewed bloody water through the room. 

I then calmly laid back down, smiled, and let my eyes dare her to ask me another question with her fist in my mouth. 

The dentist came in after and immediately told me what wonderful teeth I have. Excuse me? I've been coming here for 13 years, and you more than anyone know my mouth is a trainwreck. But he praised my teeth as though they had assaninated bin Laden. I knew he must've had me confused with someone else despite my x-rays right in front of him, but I soaked in the praise because I know I'll never hear something like that again from a dentist.

Once the dentist walked out, the hygenist tried to schedule my next appointment, but I told her I'll call in the spring since I will have just had a baby.

"But you'll be on maternity leave! I'm sure you have lots of friends who will watch the baby (cue a discreet eye roll from me). Now what about this day?"

"No, really. I'll call. That's only a few days after my due date."

"Just bring the baby!"

No. I would like to let other parts of me heal before I voluntarily inflict more pain on myself. I'll just call. In fact, I think I finally have the courage to call another dentist's office. 

I walked out of the office, cranked up some sweet jamz in my car, and took the back roads home, past cornfields and groves of orange trees and old white farmhouses with porches full of pumpkins and firewood. And all was well, despite the fact that my gums were still bleeding and my teeth ached as though they had run a marathon.

And then I woke up this morning and realized I forgot to take my nausea medicine last night. So if you need me, I'll have my head in the nearest toilet.