Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Next Right Thing

The truth is I'm nervous. Nervous because life is pretty good right now. I'm still dealing with some lingering depression, but it's not situational. We've been home owners for about three months now and it really feels awesome. It feels good to invest in us, in our future. It feels good to put down roots. It feels good to do hard work because it's OURS (yeah, yeah technically it's the bank's, but you know what I mean). Buying our first home was definitely the next right thing for us. But I'll admit that there were a few days weeks in the home buying process where I was wondering if we were making a GIANT mistake.

People always tell you to trust your gut. I don't know, maybe that works for some people, but my gut is untrustworthy. Anxiety brings on a very fussy gut. Seriously guys, the fear of the fire drill sent me home sick so many times in Kindergarten I ended up at a specialist for chronic stomach pain… just ask my mom. I have never been able to trust my gut... if the situation for any reason causes me to be nervous, my gut will tell me to run the other way. For example, my gut would have never allowed me to get married. I've mentioned before that I was anxious when I got engaged. I was nervous about getting married. I was not calm. My stomach was uneasy. I was anxious... it took time for me to breathe and for the anxiety to slip away. Time for my stomach to chill out. The morning after the wedding, I woke up with so much peace. And I've gained more and more and more since then. Sam was the right man. Marriage was the right decision. It was the next right thing.

I've got another one of those BIG type of decisions looming. Some times I think about it and I feel really good. It feels like a good plan. I feel happy and optimistic about the possibilities. Other times, particularly when I think about committing to that step, announcing the decision, signing paperwork, etc; I feel nervous. When I think about what could go wrong in five, ten, twenty years because of this decision, I feel nauseous. I can't trust my gut here.

I think my greatest fear is loss and pain and heartache. Really, just more of the same. For a while the whole concept of doing nothing, of not cycling, of not trying, seemed absurd. I thought I'd send myself into a panic attack at the mere idea of leaving the embryos frozen in Florida and taking a break from all of that. But the longer I've sat in this place, the longer I've enjoyed it. My life is good. Seriously, it is. Sure, it's partly because I'm prohibiting my mind from wandering down the deep, dark, twisty roads of infertility misery. I'm not allowing myself to really even think about infertility let alone dwell on it. But the feel good feeling is also because not trying means I can't fail. I am not plagued by worry. I'm not spending countless hours researching the benefits of eletroacupuncture or the potential effects of eating a roast beef sandwich or skipping a prenatal vitamin. I'm just living, maybe for the first time in three years, and it feels really nice. I'm not a hundred percent sure I'm ready to open myself back up to the potential for more heartache, more loss, more regret, more rejection.

However, I also know that doing nothing will most likely yield more nothing. Sure, the Lord could bless my womb and we could get pregnant next month, but He hasn't promised me that. And I believe that the Lord asks us to do life: to make choices, to work hard, to try, to grow, to fail. If we want to grow our family, we are going to have to take some risks. Risks can feel really scary though, especially when past experience says that risks don't bring rewards, but ruin. When your expectations are crushed, your hope can be lost amidst the rubble.

I've written about this series before, but it's come back to my mind recently. I keep hearing this phrase in my head over and over again. Jeff Henderson shared in the series Climate Change that God is in the business of building hope in our lives, but we have to trust him... especially when life doesn’t make a lot of sense. That trust looks like simply choosing to do the next right thing and letting God take care of the big picture. At first that really seems like a dumb idea to me. I like to be in the know. I like to see how everything will work out. I do not like to react to unforeseen circumstances, I like to be proactive. I like to know how the story ends. But lately, I've been thinking more and more that maybe knowing the whole story isn't for the best. If you told me three years ago that I'd be here (still infertile, still childless) I'm not sure that I would have had the courage to go on. Because really, my worst nightmares wouldn't have included all of this. So I've been thinking maybe I don't see the whole picture, maybe I don't know the whole story because the truth would freeze my feet. All I have to do is trust and take a step... do the next right thing.

I don't know if the next right thing will be THE thing that brings home Baby Greavu, but I'm hoping that it will at least bring us one step closer. And I guess that's the leap of faith… trusting that the next right thing, will lead us to the next, next right thing, and so on. We just focus on the step right in front of us and trust that He sees the whole journey.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Summer Days Drifting Away

I've been an atrocious blogger this summer. I think to myself, "Amanda, you should blog," but then I think, "ehh, nothing to say and I just blogged a few days ago." I then look on Blogger, and lo and behold, I blogged three weeks ago. Whoopsie! But then I remind myself that I have nothing to say and I move on with my day. That's been the pattern for the last few months. I'm blaming it on the following:
  1. ZERO activity in infertility treatments
  2. LOTS of time spent working on the house
  3. work has been INSANE this summer
  4. nothing worth saying
When you work full time (and you're not a teacher) and you're not a mom, summer is REALLY unglamorous. The days look like every other day of the year with even less holidays (only ONE holiday, really???)... it's just a lot hotter. Add in the boredom of zero vacations and well, believe me, you're grateful I didn't blog a lot.

But, the good news is that fall is just around the corner, or so I keep telling myself. Kids actually started back to school in Georgia today! UGA starts back up two weeks from Monday. It has even felt a bit like fall lately... I'm not necessarily hoping for a bitter winter, but I'm okay if summer ends and fall starts like, oh I don't know, tomorrow. I'm over the heat and the humidity and high power bills. I could really use a good 3-4 months of needing no AC or heat... my bank account would really appreciate it.

Plus fall brings an assortment of other good things that I'm looking forward to, such as football (we got tickets this year), our annual camping trip with the Fentons, and I'm also hoping to get a few photo sessions in the fall... it's been waaayyyyy too long. I would typically mention all the birthdays (my mom, myself and my husband are all within nine days), but I can already feel the mid-life crisis brewing. This is NOT going to be a good birthday for me, so I may just sleep through that day... it feels like the mature thing to do.

In other news, despite all of my budget woes and big ticket items like HVAC units, it appears that we're going to be okay. I mean, it's not like we've got savings or anything... I'm not even sure what that feels like. Retirement... what's that? 401K... in our dreams. We're still in debt, but it's just not as bad as I thought. Thanks to a couple of raises, and some generous family, we might be debt free (I use that term so loosely) in the next couple of months. I can't even explain what a GIANT answer to prayer this is. Once we finally pay off our credit cards, I have some big news... that's all I'm saying for now. I hope you like surprises and anticipation and all of that... if not, forget I said anything.

The only other thing I've got for you is a request to go show some love to my friends! Jessah is pregnant after SIX YEARS and an incredibly long, bumpy journey, so go send her love and hugs and warm wishes and all of that stuff. And my last request: say a prayer and think positive thoughts for my friend, Erika. She's in the process of adopting again after a heartbreaking failed adoption last fall. The baby is due on Monday and I, for one, am desperate for this to work. It's been six years for Erika as well... it's time people, it's time. That's really about all I have for you, today. And really, I'm patting myself on the back for even getting this together. Much love people, much love.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

C'mon In

So many of you have been SO incredibly sweet to ask how the house is coming. In case you missed it: WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!

Our Home (before it was our home)

And it was awesome and amazing and overwhelming. For three straight weeks all available minutes not spent working or sleeping were spent scraping popcorn ceilings and painting every surface available. After we moved in, things slowed down, but there was still SO much to do. I'm ashamed to admit that we lived for WEEKS out of boxes, I used my iPhone as a light in the bathroom to apply makeup, shave, etc... I was looking rough for far too long.

There is still a lot to do, but I hear that's the norm with home ownership... there is always a list of things needing to be fixed/updated. Regardless, I think I'm finally ready to welcome you inside.

Hello there friend, won't you please come in:

C'mon in!

Imagine with me that you, dear friend, have walked up the three well worn (read weathered and in need of repair) steps to my front porch. You, the good, dog-loving friend that you are, have knocked quietly at the door as you recognize that the doorbell is the bane of Sterling's existence. Won't you please come inside and visit our new home? Please ignore the barking: he's loud and ill-mannered, but he won't bite. He'll just sniff inappropriate places and lick any exposed skin... but we're friends, so you're okay with that sort of thing, right? We'll of course only meander through a few select rooms today as the others are not quite done (read works in progress disaster zones)

The view from the front door. One of the things I like the least about the
house is the lack of an "entry"… I hate walking directly into the living
room, but this seems to be a ranch thing, and as just about every house in
our price range was a ranch, I guess I'll learn to live with it… and like it.

The living room: I'd eventually like a sectional sofa and a tufted ottoman,
but umm, priorities are all… air conditioning units and babies first, you know?

"Dining room"- it's probably my least favorite space in the house as it
feels a bit awkward in placement, but it's functional and the table we
refinished fits just fine. I've ordered a runner for the table to bring in
some color to the space, which should brighten things up a bit!
Right side of the kitchen. The counter tops turned out great! If you look
closely you'll see some imperfections in the topcoat (which drives me
crazy!), but all in all, I'm very pleased! Total cost was about $65. The
cabinets were incredibly tedious, and again, there are imperfections, but
I love the kitchen SO much more with these than the old oak color.
(Erika- look, the moldy houseplant is still alive!!!)

The left side of the kitchen. In one of our gutsier moves, we decide to raise
one section of the cabinets in order to install a microwave over the stove.
Sam worked very hard on that part, and I'm really glad we went for it!
It clears up a lot of counter space and I like the visual interest of the
elevated cabinetry. Eventually I'd like to add some molding to the
cabinets which will really make me LOVE them!
Guest bathroom- I love how this room came together!
The only purchase was new towels, a shower curtain,
shelf supports for some old, crappy floating shelves
from college, and molding for the mirror.

This counter top is my favorite. I did slightly different
colors, and added some metallic paint… really nice! I
also love the molding around this mirror… all Sam!

Guest Bedroom- a little plain right now, but it'll perk up once we
start decorating! 

Master Bedroom- this room was a pretty bold move… dark blue accent
wall. I thought my mom was going to die when she saw it. I had faith that
it would look awesome because most of my paint colors were selected with
the help of my AMAZINGLY talented interior designer friend. I love how
it turned out. Once we get some personal touches, I think the room will
really come together. And we're saving a spot for a TV (no lectures about
TV in the bedroom)… maybe Sam's Christmas present!
Master Bathroom: I have big dreams for this room, but
in the mean time, I love the way this came together. I
think this might be my favorite paint color… very serene!

I think the colors came together really well in the master
bath… I love the creams, browns, and blues. And the
frame Sam built for the mirror really adds a nice touch!

Thank you so much for coming, and for being such a polite house guest! Thanks for not looking under the beds or in the closets! Now if you'd like, just for fun, we can take a look back and see where we started:

Kitchen on closing day

The plastic was to protect the floors/carpet from the
raining plaster that fell like globs of mud.
The aftermath of scraping popcorn ceilings
Master Bathroom before
The counter had a bad spot on it that the previous owner had tried to
patch… you'd never know it now. Plus the mirror looks a bazillion
times better now.
Guest Bathroom before… as you might guess, it was
always our intention to paint this room.

Side note: I'm super sorry that I disappeared following an "I'm depressed" announcement. Apparently saying that you battle depression and then dropping off your blog for a few weeks causes concern: lesson learned. I'm here: alive and well enough. So sorry if I scared anyone, and thanks for checking in!

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Struggle

I don't talk about it often, but I have periodically struggled with depression throughout my life. Middle school was the worst, by far. For a few years I was on various medications to assist me... most of them SSRIs. I don't know if the medications actually worked, the hours of therapy worked, growing up a bit worked, or if my brain just started regulating more normally, but I eventually left that period of depression behind. I honestly don't remember a lot about those days... I was in a sort of fog. That's how I describe it at least, a fog that kind of covers you, weighs on you, and dulls everything around you.

The depression has returned a time or two over the last 16 years. Every time it has returned, I've chosen to wait it out. I feel educated enough to know the signs of serious depression; I feel versed enough in the various treatment methods that I haven't sought medication or therapy for depression again. I have however needed medications for anxiety... that's another beast all together. I was diagnosed with Somatoform Disorder at 25 years old. Anxiety disorders plus infertility make for an interesting cocktail, let me tell you. I'm sure I'm a complete joy to live with. I'm not 100% confident in the diagnosis, as the diagnosis came amidst panic attacks that I haven't had since then, but I do have to admit that I fit many of the criteria even when I am "high functioning". Anxiety is really my beast... depression just comes and goes, in and out, throughout my life.

I can feel myself entering another period of depression. I told Sam so that he can "keep an eye out"... that's step one. You never walk depression alone. Someone has to know, so that if I'm unable to say that this has gone too far, someone else can. I don't think I'll get to that point by any means, I'm not really worried, but it's just wise to let someone know. Plus, it's good for him to know it's me, not him. That we (our marriage, our life) are good... it's simply my brain's inability to process serotonin and dopamine correctly.

That's important when dealing with depression... knowing the science. I think that's part of what has kept me from going deep as an adult. I don't get down on myself. I don't think of myself as weak, or lacking the joy of the Lord, or any of the 8 million things that can make me feel more crappy and pathetic about depression. My brain doesn't process neurotransmitters correctly all the time. It's not my fault, I may not like it, but it's no more my fault than my infertility.

Which brings me around to the trigger of my bout with depression: infertility and the mess it makes. The last time I was struggling with depression was almost 2 full years ago. It was a minor, brief episode, but it centered around the failed IUIs. The more the cycles failed, the farther I sunk. There were certainly other contributing factors... I was unemployed, my husband was gone all. the. time. and I was living with my in-laws or my mom during that time... kind of a perfect storm. My RE offered medication after my third failed IUI. I'm pretty sure she thought I was about to go down in a ball of flames; I knew that I wasn't, so I stayed off meds. I had been on medication for anxiety when I miscarried and I knew that going on antidepressants was a sure fire way to trigger a massive anxiety attack... I was still feeling semi-confident (somehow) that I'd get pregnant and I didn't want to risk another miscarriage on the admittedly small risk.

Since then, I've been pretty okay. Which is kind of surprising. I mean really, when you think about what infertility puts you through... it's kind of a miracle we're walking, talking, functioning humans. I am struggling now though. And I think that centers around inactivity and an empty bank account. I'm frustrated that we've finally chosen a path forward (more on that later), that I finally have a little bit of hope again, and yet we're stuck here, waiting on money. Money that doesn't grow on trees. It's odd really, that THIS would be the time for depression to creep back in. I mean there was a LOT of down time waiting for IVF. Then IVF failed. Then the FET failed. And yet through all of that I held it together. And now this.

Our financial woes center around the house, which in and of itself frustrates me. The house is beautiful and amazing and was NOT an over-investment on our part. We were under budget. We're not struggling to make payment, we're not in over our heads... it's not that. But as anyone can attest, moving costs money, furnishing costs money, renovating costs money... that was a dent, one that I was moderately prepared for... and then the AC unit died. Heaven help me, I was not prepared for that. Not prepared to enter a large hole of debt that we now have to climb out of (again). My financial mentor is in Costa Rica with far more important things going on than reading my blog, but I know if she was here, she'd tell me to "stop the bleed"... not one more thing gets purchased that I do not have the money for in the bank. NO credit cards. I'm working on it... the bleed has been slowed, we're just oozing right now.

But essentially, I'm frustrated and sad. It's beyond annoying/frustrating/depressing that our family requires BIG MONEY to build itself. The lack of movement, the lack of focus, the inability to pull the trigger and go for it is opening up time and space for depression to slink back in. And slink in it has... again, it's a lot like fog. I didn't wake up depressed. Depression kind of oozes into your life, rolling like billows of fog. It's not like I have a permanent rain cloud hanging over my head. I'm happy at times, I laugh, I still enjoy things... the fog just kind of dampens and dulls everything a bit and it requires more time/effort to be happy, laugh, enjoy.

I say all of this not to garner sympathy. Our financial situation is our own, and I'm well aware that we aren't the only ones struggling financially. And I'm not trying to win the Sad Olympics or anything... infertility and depression can go hand in hand. I'm not the first and I won't be the last to struggle with depression along this winding, bumpy, dusty road of infertility. And that's really my point entirely... If you have struggled or are struggling with depression, you're not alone.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

THAT Person

I've often wondered why infertility is a part of my life. When you've tried for three plus years to get pregnant, you have a lot of time to muse. At various times I've wondered about EVERY possibility: population control, a test of faith, a lesson in patience, to prevent some future catastrophe... the brain can go WILD with the options and all that time to wonder. Lately, I've wondered if I'm slated to be that friend... you know the one you go to when X happens. For me, the X, is pregnancy loss or infertility diagnosis.

Hannah's story in the Bible has often been a place of refuge for me in the past few years. I feel like I can really understand her story in ways that I can't really grasp Ruth's or Mary's, you know? First of all, she was so distraught over her situation she wept... I definitely get that. There has been much weeping in the last few years. Secondly, people thought she was crazy (like drunk crazy) and didn't understand her sorrow. I've certainly had conversations and questions over the years which have further proven to me that until you've walked this road, you'll never understand. I get what it feels like to be misunderstood. I get what it feels like when people point out all the other blessings in your life and tell you to be happy (while holding their third child). I understand Hannh's sorrow and her pain. I haven't felt her joy yet, but I imagine my prayer of thanksgiving would be similar.

There's one part of Hannah's story that always gets me... "the Lord had closed her womb." I've often wondered if that's simply Old Testament code for infertile or if it's more literal. Did the Lord literally, intentionally, and specifically close Hannah's womb? Was she a lovely, happy, fertile woman, able to pop out 6-10 babies in her lifetime except for the small detail that the Lord said "no". You can see why this would bug me, I'm sure. I've often wondered why in the world the Lord would prevent Hannah from having a child for so long. Obviously there was a plan, but the details and rationale aren't really spelled out in the text. I find myself pretty peeved about the situation on Hannah's behalf. Now sure, the argument could be made that Samuel had to come along at that exact moment for the plan to come to fruition, but arguments like that just rub me the wrong way sometimes. God is God, and He's all powerful... it could have been both. Hannah could have been fertile, happy, AND have had Samuel at that exact moment in time. 

So why give Hannah a small, but powerful role in the story? Why give a minor character, a woman no less, a voice in the Old Testament? I like to think that the Lord knew that thousands of years later, other women with crappy wombs and broken eggs would take comfort in her story. I wonder if Hannah, even within her lifetime, became that go to person. When women from neighboring areas struggled to conceive, did they turn to Hannah for hope, for empathy, for a friend?

I certainly don't think this is the only reason for my infertility or my miscarraiges, and I'm not equating myself with Hannah, but I'm starting to wonder if infertility is a part of my life so that I can be that person for others. You see, when miscarriages occur, people think of me. It doesn't matter if we're related, best friends, old friends, or haven't spoken in 10 years, people reach out looking for advice, for hope, for a shoulder to cry on, for someone who understands. When people get the dreaded "infertile" diagnosis, they come to me. They want help, they want the secret to not murdering their peppy, optimistic husbands, they want advice on dealing with the annoying questions. I'm that person when this type of thing happens.

In a lot of ways, it's an honor. An honor that people would turn to me, an honor that they think of me, and honor that they trust me. It's also a burden, one that I gladly bear, but a burden none the less. As you might imagine, the circles that I'm a member of deal with pregnancy loss more than "normal". But I often feel like a bad luck charm, like women around me are destined to lose their children. On any given day, someone is blogging about the loss of a pregnancy. That's tough. Some days it feels like we're all destined to stay here, in this pit forever. Some days it feels like all of our babies will die. Add in the real life friends who turn to me in these moments and some days, it's overwhelming... some days I feel like I eat, breathe, and sleep pregnancy loss. It's my whole world. Some days, my only thought upon waking up is that I hope no one's baby dies today... literally. Last week I had four different friends in the process of losing a pregnancy. Between real life and the blog world, some days it feels like a miracle if I make it through a week without terrible news. Some days I'm just walking in a perpetual state of sadness, of mourning, of sorrow so far down deep in my soul for the loss that surrounds me.

Last week started off with the news from Suzanne that her FET transfer had failed. I can't explain the sadness I felt with this one. I was prepared for the news. Suzanne had faithfully updated me throughout her two week wait. I knew the chances were slim as she was testing daily, but sometimes, it's the friend's job to hold on to hope because you can't hope for yourself any longer. I've been there. I get that, so I was holding onto hope. My heart broke when she confirmed the negative beta. Anger and frustration at the Lord rose up while tears fell down my face as I stood in my kitchen questioning The Plan and His ways. The week before had been filled with similarly terrible news. Twenty five year-old women shouldn't lose their first pregnancy. I know because it happened to me. It feels wrong every time it happens, and this one was particularly hard. When my precious friend shared her news with me, the memories came rushing back... the joy at that (deceitful) little stick of good news, the confusion over the beta numbers, the fear, the sadness, the mourning. 

Sometimes the sadness is deep. There's my own sadness, which in and of itself is enough to swallow me up some days. And then there's the burden of mutual sorrow, of bearing up alongside of a friend, or carrying a little piece of their pain... the burden of abiding with that person through the valley. When your world is filled with infertility and pregnancy loss, it can feel like you simply live in the valley awaiting the next person to need you. But maybe this is the reason, or at least a part of it. Maybe I'm where I am, maybe I've experienced what I have so that I can have empathy rather than sympathy. Maybe infertility and pregnancy loss are a part of my story so that I can say, "I've been there".

Unfortunately, I'm not great at offering support, particularly for first time pregnancy loss. Not because I don't care, but because it's hard to put myself in her shoes... my own shoes have traveled a lot farther and it's nearly impossible to unwalk those miles. My first loss was almost three years ago... time and infertility have changed me. And while the emotions are still there, it's hard for me to put myself back there in Augusta, Ga at the age of 25 when that precious digital test read "pregnant" and I believed everything was right with the world. It's hard to remember a time when I didn't know what I know now. It's hard to remember that I was hysterical over the loss. It's hard to remember that my falling hCG numbers still didn't indicate a miscarriage to me. I was waiting on a miracle. It's hard to remember that thoughts like "just stitch my cervix closed so it can't come out" circled through my head even while the blood spilled out. It's hard to remove the knowledge that I now have, the experience that I now have, the protective shell that I've developed since then. The world I live in is FULL of pregnancy loss. Filled to the absolute brim and spilling over. It's hard to remember a time when I felt like the only person in the world who had suffered like this. I'm sure my friends occasionally need less head knowledge and more heart. Less statistics and more stories. I'm sure they often just want someone to cry with them. I could do that; I really could. But here's the thing, if I start, I may never stop. Because the tears I cry aren't just for her baby, but for my babies, and for all of my friends' babies... and that's a lot of tears. 

But like I said, maybe this is my role, maybe this is my purpose. If so, I'm thankful to at least have a purpose. If I could wave a magic wand and end pregnancy loss all together, believe me I would. If I could end all of that pain for you and for me, I would do it in a heartbeat. But since I can't, since my magic wand is broken, all I can say is that I'm here. If you've never lost a pregnancy, I pray your day never comes. I pray you're one of the lucky ones, but if it does, I'll be here. If the horrendous diagnosis of infertility is ever whispered your direction, I'm here. I've been through both. It's an honor and a privilege to stand alongside of you in your darkest moment. This is part of the reason I'm thankful that I'm public with my story, so that other women never think they are alone in their pain. I think many of my infertility and repeat pregnancy loss sisters would agree: the pain is unfathomable, the fear is overwhelming, the sadness is all encompassing, but a friend, someone to understand and say "I've been there" can make all the difference. So if it ever happens, don't suffer alone. Find that person in your life.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Room

Over the last few years, I've read as fellow bloggers lamented the pain of the unused bedroom. I thought I understood... I mean it's not like I had a nursery or kid room to decorate either, I thought I understood the pain... I was wrong. The unused bedroom is haunting.*

We went house hunting for the second time with our realtor (and friend) the day after the negative beta from the FET. It was pretty fortunate timing really. For one, I was forced to get up and get out of bed on a day I would have chosen to eat my weight in Ben & Jerry's. Secondly, the recent failure of the FET reminded me that our family will most likely cost thousands upon thousands of dollars; we need margin in our budget. If that first beta had been a good strong number, I can see how I might have argued for stretching breaking the "do not cross line". But as the reminder of our infertility was fresh in my mind, I was looking for under budget... top priority

I write all of that to say, I didn't go into this house with images of a nursery in my head. Sure, I'm always hoping we'll bring a baby home, but I wasn't imagining kids playing in the front yard the day we picked our house. Rather, I was looking for a home that we liked, that fulfilled at least half of our wish list (we are big dreamers), and that a social worker wouldn't run away screaming from a home study in the future. But there's something about the permanence of owning your own home that makes the room call to you. Maybe it has nothing to do with who owns the property... I think it's probably all about knowing that we will live in that house for years. We've never really had that before. We've been married for four years and this is our fifth move, things were never permanent enough to imagine a nursery. I mean, obviously if we had had a baby at any of the previous places, we would have created a room for the baby, but none of those places had a room for the baby. There's a difference. Now, there's the master, the guest bedroom, and THE room. 

I jokingly asked Sam which room would be the nursery... You know, we wouldn't want to set up a guest room only to get pregnant and be forced to move it all around (the horror). He gave a rational explanation that had nothing to do with a nursery and everything to do with the guest bedroom... again, not thinking about nurseries at all. But now that we've said it, now that the rooms have names, the room haunts me. I can't walk in without thinking about it: this would be his/her room. My child has laid claim to a room in a house I've only slept in for five nights, and he/she hasn't even been conceived.

I did something I haven't done in years... I logged on to Pinterest and looked at my Board O' Nursery Dreams. Ughhhh... the pain, the horror. I have absolutely no idea where this need came from, but I just had to check... I think it was the picking of paint colors. If I learned anything from my mom growing up, it's that paint colors have to blend from one room to the next (she was a bit ridiculous in her zealousness).... I think I just wanted to imagine the blend. The sad news is that nursery bedding changes on the fly... I don't think one single piece of carefully chosen bedding is still available today. Pottery Barn's designers do not await the infertile woman, no, no, they have to change it so that each. and. every. kid. in the house of six under the age of seven can have a different crib/quilt/sheet/blankie/shower-towel-wrap-thing. By the time a child fills that room, today's trends will be old news, and everything I pinned circa 2011 will be history. And that's okay... Lord knows the designers do a fabulous job of making me need ALL. THE. THINGS. If I feel this way when I don't even have a baby, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to find something I like enough to create a nursery, I mean, if I'm forced to.

I don't really know what to do with the room. My heart wants to keep it 100% empty... a way of saying this is yours, we're waiting for you, come fill this space. My head says that's too sad and miserable. And dumb... why not use the space for now? If and when there actually is a small human to fill that room, we can move things around again, right? No shame in saying while we're waiting we're going to use what is ours. I can't decide.

Meanwhile, if you come by our happy home, I'll be more that excited to show off the master bedroom, and hopefully I'll get that guest bedroom put together soon, but that other one, the one with the door closed... don't ask. It's either filled with storage (boring) or it's empty. Either way, it's a time capsule of sorts... the Lord willing, we'll unseal it some day.

*I completely recognize that my haunting is much less severe than others... my room is empty, which is far less painful than an actual nursery, created for a particular someone, but remains empty. That is a pain  I still can't imagine. My heart breaks for you if you have one of those rooms.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Have Mercy

I'm still here, in body at least. I lost my mind somewhere along the line with this house renovation. I use the term "renovation" lightly as we're not actually removing or installing anything.... same floors, same walls, same cabinets. It's really more accurate to describe it as a facelift, buy boy oh boy, do I have new appreciation for people who actually renovate. This is A LOT of work!

When we purchased the house, we had very limited things we thought needed to be changed. Most notable were a bubble gum pink bathroom and a very violet spare bedroom. Other than that, we thought the house was pretty cute. The one major project that we knew right off the bat that we simply had to tackle was the popcorn ceiling. I abhor the stuff. Sam watched YouTube videos for days about removing the vile mess, and once he felt like he was a professional, we tackled it. It was 20 times worse than I imagined. It was disgusting, back-breaking, tedious work and I've literally been thinking evil thoughts towards whomever invented that mess. Ughhh. I could kill him.

We thought that the ceilings would be the worst project of all by far, and really the only "project" so to speak because painting two small rooms doesn't seem like much of a project. But projects seem to have a way of multiplying. When we arrived at the home after closing, we discovered that the previous home owner was very fond of hanging things via anchors. You don't really notice how many things people hang on the walls until there are GIANT holes all over the walls. And obviously, when you don't know the paint color, and you have FOURTEEN holes to patch in one corner of a bedroom, it becomes apparent that you will be repainting that room. Slowly but surely, we have come to one reason or another why Every. Single. Room. need to be repainted. I kid you not, we are done with seven of the eight rooms… soooo close, yet so, so far.

In addition, I didn't really like the cabinets… I decided to paint them, which led to buying new nobs, spray painting the hinges, and painting the countertops. Yep, you read that right. Yesterday I had big plans for relaxing by the pool for at least an hour, instead we spent multiple hours fixing a project that went disastrously wrong.

What the finished product should have looked like.

And what it actually looked like.
The first photo there is the finished product after painting and sealing. The second one, however, is the remnants of the paint, primer, and sealant when things go horribly, horribly wrong. We used this miracle product that was supposed to be the equivalent to 50 coats of polyurethane in one application. Apparently, it's a testy chemistry concoction, and I was never all that good at chemistry.  When the science experiment goes wrong, it goes very, very wrong. We woke up Monday morning to two sections of counter that were beautiful: nice and hard, but one section was a sticky, goopy mess. We immediately tuned to Google and discovered that if it's not dry is 6-8 hours, it never, ever, will be. We tried removing just the top layer of goop, but alas, no success. Eventually we scraped the whole thing down to the laminate so that I could start all over. Lucky for both my husband and mom (who graciously spent 5 days working with me), I handled it like a champ. I did not cry, which was really saying something as we've been working 14-16 hour days for weeks now. Sleep deprivation and catastrophic delays do not typically result in my best side.

Speaking of catastrophes: our AC unit died. Mmm, hm. Dead, like dead, dead. Two weeks after purchasing the house, the repair man pronounced it dead, may it rest in peace. Truthfully, we knew that the unit was old, as in, original to the house. We were warned that it didn't have much life left. We were hoping to get through Summer, inefficient or not, and maybe through Winter too. No such luck. Winter I could maybe handle, but not Summer, have mercy, but no. I was simply not made to sweat. You'll be impressed to know that I did not cry upon hearing this news either. It is what it is. The saddest part isn't the cost, but rather the delay to Project Bring Home Baby. But what can you do? My big girl panties are firmly in place... on we march.

We've got 74 hours until we have to be out of the rental. At this point, I'll be happy when we have a working bathroom with a light, toilet, and sink all in one place. Hopefully that will come sooner rather than later and I can post some photos of our work. In the mean time, think of me, and when you do, imagine me with unwashed hair (thank you, dry shampoo), paint in my hair, on my legs, under my nails, and a nice sweaty sheen as I scrub, sand, and paint in a house without air conditioning.