31 December 2010

Passing the Time

We arrived down here in August 2009 and we won't leave until May 2012, so watching a new year switch over is a lot of fun as it marks another milestone toward the end of The Swampy.

I don't feel like there is much time left. In 5 months, we'll have the baby, at which point, we'll be rocking the summer internship. We'll come back in August 2011 from wherever we end up to complete a mere 4 months of school, then Christmas and 2012. Then another 4 months of school and voila: graduation. I very much realize that all of our problems won't end with graduation, but I am ready for problems that don't involve Florida.

In the meantime, we're enjoying Christmas break. I have Thursday (to make up for Monday) through Sunday off from work. (Although I do have to check messages on Sunday). And trust me, we have been living it up. So far we have spent some of our Christmas money at a gigantic outdoor mall in a few towns north. (Matt's idea even!) It was a bit odd for me though, the first time I've ever gone to a mall and not come back with new clothes. There were no maternity stores and walking into Hollister (the clearance section, of course) 5 months pregnant alongside a size 0 13-year-old just was not appealing to me. I did however make some very agreeable non-clothing purchases. We also plan to go to the zoo and spend lots of time gaming with our new computer games this weekend. (Starcraft 2 for him and Settlers 7 for me). Oh yes, plus tonight we'll watch fireworks on the beach. (Okay, so not everything about Naples is awful).

Okay, so where am I going with all this? IT IS SO NICE TO BE MARRIED AGAIN!!! We can seriously spend the whole day together, enjoy nearly every moment, come home still in love, and repeat it again the next day. I don't know if it takes more years or more kids, but at the end of a vacation, we are not eager for time apart. I have become so close to him that my previous overly-decisive personality has softened significantly and now I have a hard time deciding if a pair of shoes is cute or not unless I can go over the details with Matt. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but what I am trying to demonstrate is that we are very deeply entwined together. I suppose that's what we should shoot for in a marriage, though, eh?

24 December 2010

Anger Management Techniques

I would just like to state for the record that I am not good at dealing with my anger or with stress. I have come a really long way since the days of high school when I just used to blow up or passively aggressively burn in frustration, but I still struggle with finding a mature, Christian way of handling anger. During my first season at work, I particularly needed help with stress/anger and I posted about it on Facebook, employing my friends for some advice. The two most helpful pieces included knowing that if I could stay patient throughout the situation, I would be letting my yelling coworkers bring me closer to sainthood. Helpfully, but doesn't really tell you how to handle the current situation. The second piece of advice was to think about how quickly time passes. Remember when you started college? Or got married? Or even childhood? How quickly did the time pass until now? In the same way, this evening you'll be looking back at this afternoon's situation and it will only be a memory. This "big picture" method is wise. It did get me through season last year, but with oncoming frustrations of the approaching 2011 season, I am finding myself in need of some more powerful ways to deal with my anger. I also need to learn how not to take things so personally.

Internet research turned up little. I don't really have the opportunity to take a time out or go for a walk at work, the most popular suggestion I could find in my online searches. It took a while, but I finally found a technique I believe will work REALLY well in improving my ability to handle difficult situations. I read about it in a book called Don't Let Jerks Get The Best of You. The book overall was not very good, but it did contain one piece of VERY useful advice.

Step 1: when you are angry, ask yourself, "which one of my rights is being violated?" I was angry about work because I don't get Monday the 27th off for Christmas falling on a Saturday. To make matters worse, I have to do a photoshoot both Monday and Tuesday after I return. I was very frustrated and angry because everyone else gets Monday off, and not only do I have to work, but I have to work back-to-back 10 hours days! So which one of my rights is being violated? My right to have lots of vacation time at Christmas?

Step 2: ask yourself, "is this a legitimate right?" I really don't have the God-given right to have a long vacation at Christmas. Just because I was given that privilege in high school and college certainly does not mean that I will get it my entire life. It is not unreasonable for my employer to ask me to be at work two days after Christmas. As much as a vacation would be nice, it is not a right.

Step 3: If your legitimate right is being violated, voice your anger lovingly. There is another right being violated with this issue. My right to keep me and my baby healthy during my pregnancy. That is a God-given right; to raise one's children in a healthy environment. Photoshoots are very physically intensive, long days are very strenuous, and doing them back-to-back gives me little recovery time. That is a legitimate right. So, instead of getting mad at work and saying, "you are so inconsiderate for making me work while pregnant!" I need to phrase my anger in a less accusatory way: "I do not have the endurance to do back-to-back photoshoots." I could also say, "I am frustrated because I expressed to you a few weeks ago that I don't have the endurance to do these photoshoots after a long day at work, but you are still continuing to schedule me for them." My coworkers are much less likely to get angry and defensive back if I open the discussion with how I feel rather than what they are doing wrong.

Step 4: Forgive. I need to realize that my coworkers are not mind-readers. They cannot tell how I feel after a photoshoot. It is also not their job to keep me healthy. It is my job to make sure that I am properly nurturing my baby. I can't expect them to treat me how I want to be treated if I never tell them how I want to be treated. I need to forgive them.

So that's the technique. I have not taken it past step three yet, as my boss has been out of town and he is usually the one who takes me past my breaking point. The rest of the time, I have realized that it was not a legitimate right or the right was so minuscule that once I voiced it, I didn't feel as angry. But I do feel very empowered now. I think this technique will really give me the ability to say out loud what I am thinking in my head. Quite often, the two have little in common.

21 December 2010

Updates in the Tuesday in the Fourth Week of Advent

I can't stand it when bloggers talk about some big deal event or decision in their lives, but then never follow up in later posts to discuss the impact and consequences. So this post is dedicated to things I talked about earlier. I try to reference the old post when possible.

Health Insurance. We bought the shady student-geared policy. So far so good, but we'll find out how good the plan really is now that we are testing the bounds on the maternity policy.

Live Like You're Dying. I think my thoughts that day were very insightful. However, I have not done much to live it. Re-reading it was good for me.

2L Extra Curriculars. He did the Knights of Columbus and Law Review. He was also technically a member of two other groups, but his responsibilities included nothing more strenuous than showing up for one or two lunch meetings per semester. He really wanted to do a few other things, but I convinced him to make a list of everything he currently did (including class, studying, etc) and how many hours per week he should spend on it. I then encouraged him to plot the hours out on a weekly schedule. He quickly determined that he did not technically have enough hours in the week to do everything he wanted unless he didn't want to sleep. That was the end of that.

Seizure Cat is nearly seizure free. The herbal remedies work very well and are so inexpensive that they run us less than $5/month, including the canned cat food we use to mix it in. I have only witnessed a handful of seizures since the original post in early August, which is fewer than the number of seizures she used to have in one week. The hospital break down was actually a blessing in disguise, finally giving us an official diagnosis a pushing me to find a suitable treatment.

Remember that speed reading class Matt took that I talked about in my very first blog post? Well, it is one of those things that requires a LOT of practice and that you have to continue to use in order to remain fast. Needless to say, we didn't stick with it. We currently read at the same pace as we did before we took the class. Go figure.

If you're wondering about anything else that I forgot, just let me know : )

20 December 2010

Monday in the Fourth Week of Advent

As of tonight, all of the Christmas presents have officially been purchased/made, the Christmas cards have been mailed, the menu for Christmas Day has been planned, and all but two minor supplies have been purchased. Christmas cookies will be started tomorrow evening. I am glad to be out of the present stage of pre-Christmas, but I am kind of dreading the baking stage. I am at the stage of my pregnancy where standing on my feet leads to a sore back, hips, legs, feet, etc.

Matt's tests are all complete. He is working on a paper that is due tomorrow (Tuesday) at 5pm. He was hoping to have turned it in on Friday, but then he gave himself the weekend, then he gave himself Monday, and now he is giving himself Tuesday morning. He still needs to buy Christmas presents yet, which he is hoping to do after he turns in his paper. I would be surprised if the shopping doesn't occur until Wednesday.

Anyway, all this Christmas break talk got me to thinking about another blog post topic: breaks during law school. Now, if you'll remember back to your undergrad days (if there weren't any for you, just think of the stereotyped undergrad vacations), Christmas break is all about relaxing after stressful finals, unwinding, enjoying old hobbies. Spring break is all about partying and vacationing. Summer break is also about partying, late nights, and visiting friends. Well, picture the exact opposite during law school. Any mid-semester break (Thanksgiving, spring break, Easter break, fall break), is filled with just as much work as a weekend. Sure, maybe he gets his evenings free, but a law student's days are filled with studying for this class, outlining for that class, reading for that class, starting that paper, etc. Although he has yet to create his Christmas break to-do list, I do know that it will include researching firms for which he'd like a summer internship, working on his note for law review ("note" = long paper, just as if it were for class). It will also include doing the reading for the first day of class of his second semester. It will include several more things, which I'll blog about in the near future, I'm sure. Summer breaks are all about internships. Paid or unpaid, they are usually just full-time jobs. I have heard of some students who just had 4 week long internships, or only worked part time, so apparently there is some flexibility. Also, rumor has it that before the economy tanked, the second summer internship was a big deal because it was a law student's goal to have that firm offer them a job post-graduation. Although Matt would prefer to clerk for a judge after he graduates, we wouldn't mind the additional opportunities afforded to us by a job offer.

Anyway, as much as we would like to totally cut loose, our evenings of taking walks, playing games, and watching movies (yay, Netflix), will be shared with days of working and researching. It isn't exactly the carefree life of an undergrad, but I suppose it is better than the slave-driving days of a "real job."

12 December 2010

Third Sunday of Advent

Friday and Saturday were what you call explosions. I am the type of person who bottles everything up inside now and then explodes later. I recently exploded. I have since revised yesterday's blog post so that it is not quite so intense. The topic of explosions brings me to another topic: target audiences.

It was very annoying to me when I was first beginning the law school process to find blogs that billed themselves about law school, but then spent a majority of time talking about clothes and hair and makeup. This is a blog about me, yes, but me as a law school wife. Not me as person who loves crocheting. I don't have posts on here dedicated to an afghan I recently finished because my target audience are not necessarily crocheters. It is a very fine line. On one hand, I'm pregnant, and that affects my life as a law school wife very drastically. So it makes sense to talk about how we're preparing, what we're nervous about, etc. But it does not make sense to talk about how we were THIS close to having twins or how much the BeBand is not nearly as effective as they say. Again, it is a very fine line.

Anyway, I want to spend the rest of this post explaining how yesterday's post relates to life as a law school wife.

There are several mega-stressors going on in my life right now and I'm a stress and worry kind of person. 1. I am the sole breadwinner in my family and we are trying very hard to accumulate as little debt as possible. 2. My job is very high-stress, not inherently, but because of the way everyone treats each other when we are frustrated. 3. I'm a miserable pregnant. I've got all but one or two of every single "What you may be feeling" in my What to Expect When You're Expecting each and every month. 4. I live very far away from my family and my friends. I have made new friends since I've been down here, but I don't feel close enough to call them during an explosion. Those four stressors are constants in my life, they don't come and go. When work hit me in a soft spot on Friday, the build-up exploded.

I apologize if I offended anyone with yesterday's post, particularly the unedited version; it was not my intention. Part of life as a law school wife is being stressed out.

11 December 2010

Saturday of the Second Week of Advent

The first thing I ever remember wanting to be when I grew up was a writer. It also just so happens that there has always been someone telling me I wasn't good enough to write. It started in the 5th grade when my teacher told me I was stupid and could never be a writer. Most recently, it happened yesterday when my boss had my coworker give me one of those underhanded insults couched as "help," that shouted again in my face: YOU CAN'T BE A WRITER. Yesterday, I was devastated. I spent the next few minutes in the bathroom trying not to cry and spent the rest of the day pretending I was absorbed in my work. The evening I spent in tears. That office has a way of tearing a person down and making them feel worthless. The comment followed on the heels of another battle we'd had and I'd lost the previous week where I was told I didn't know what good design was. Yesterday, I felt ready to give up. I was ready to believe him. But after a night's worth of sleep, I woke up with my fighting spirit back in working order. I feel sharper and clearer than I have since I found out I was pregnant.

If there is one thing that I have learned working in that office, it's that even if everyone around you is telling you that you're wrong, you have to keep speaking the truth.

05 December 2010

The Second Sunday of Advent

Begins the first of two weeks of finals. We're a bit lucky though, as Matt only has one this week and it isn't until Thursday. It's pretty nice because he is studying everyday, but he isn't in panic mode yet, so he'll still go grocery shopping with me.

My coworkers are all at least 10 years older than me (most are 20 years older) and they are all at much different stages in their lives than I am. Sometimes when they get to reminiscing about their youthful days, because the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, they'll look at me and make some sort of comment about perfect life is when we're young. I usually just stare blankly at them, maybe give a bland smile and go back to work. For the most part, I am okay with them thinking my life is perfect because I really prefer to keep my personal life out of the work place. I want to give some sort of sassy comeback, "try putting your spouse through law school, and then tell me how easy my life is," but I've always refrained. When the reminiscing and comments reappeared last Thursday, I had my usual reactions, both public and private. But I kept thinking about it afterward. Of course my life has its difficulties and a heck of a lot of uncertainties, but I can't honestly say I'm not happy. We have a place to live and are in no danger of loosing it. I have a job. Our car still runs. We have a savings account. We have the opportunity to go to law school. Matt has his health. My health issues are under control. We're pregnant. Maybe things aren't perfect solely because we're young, but life could be a lot worse.

29 November 2010

Monday of the first week of Advent

I am desperately looking forward to Christmas, just so you know. I love the holidays. I love themes, I love cooking tons of delicious food, I even love getting together with family and friends on holidays, despite my rather anti-people personality. (I always thought I wanted to spend the holidays with just Matt and I, but after spending a year and a half missing tons of major milestones, I realize how incredibly important family and friends are). I think there should be a holiday celebration every month and I have decided that I will find one once we have kids. I want to keep holidays traditional; on Veteran's Day, I'll tell my kids stories about their Great-Grandfathers and we'll color paper flags and visit Veteran-related Memorials, and it will all be quite delightful.

Anyway, I am super-excited about Christmas Eve, which, for us, begins Christmas. My husband would prefer to wait until the 23rd to decorate for Christmas, whereas I'm ready to start decking the halls by the first of December. We usually find a compromise somewhere in the middle. This year, we compromised by agreeing to decorate the Saturday after his finals end (the 12th). I have since turned it into a Christmas Decorating Fiesta, for which I will make a variety of delicious cookies, for most of which I found the recipes in this magazine, which retails for $10, despite what Amazon thinks. We will put up our 7ft Christmas Tree, which we got for 70% off during this year's Black Friday shopping. (I also now promise to stop including nonrestrictive clauses introduced by which, which I somehow managed to use either as a pronoun or an adjective five times in a row).

I am so looking forward to Christmas especially because I need a distraction. I hate my job, I always feel so sick, and I am Florida-ed out. I want to go home. I want to feel my nostrils freeze together. I want to sit in a snow suit in the middle of 3 feet of snow and stare at the white sky. I am also trying to be incredibly positive and happy because I am hoping that it will make up for the fact that we usually hit 4 family-based Christmas parties in Michigan, not to mention company parties and friend parties. Instead it will be just the two of us trying to stretch the excitement from Christmas Eve to Christmas, which all of our Christmas decorations fitting into one medium-sized Rubbermaid tote.

PS, at least I get to listen to "O come, O come Emmanuel" early. It is my favorite Christmas song, but Matt continually reminds me that it is an Advent song, so he doesn't mind me breaking it out the day after Thanksgiving.

28 November 2010

The first Sunday of Advent

Well, I wrestled my way through Thanksgiving, managing to both cook something edible and not throw it back up, so I'm counting the day as a victory. The apartment is clean (thanks more to the hubby's generous mercy than to my will power) and each day that I've had off, I've taken an afternoon nap, which made me feel INFINITELY better and made me bitter against my employer that I can't nap everyday. I am officially half way through my 13th week, which, according to What to Expect When You're Expecting, is the final week of the first trimester. I have my heart so set on the nausea disappearing by Christmas that if I doesn't happen, I'll be so completely crushed.

We are about to embark on the final week before exams and, I have to admit, I'm impressed at Matt's quiet determination in completing his homework. He of course has his weak moments when ESPN's basketball update sounds significantly more appealing than his 40 page paper, but for the most part, he just sits in the dining room/study working away. Last year, I remember significantly more panic.

In other news, there are scary, giant, purple storm clouds off to the east and, according to the Weather Channel, headed in our direction. Hurricane season technically ends Tuesday; is this the weather's final hurrah?

23 November 2010

Visitors

I don't think I've really ever talked about having visitors on my blog before. Everything I could think to say was very obvious and I didn't feel like I had any new insights. Visiting family and friends is enjoyable, obviously; it's also a sacrifice because we have to take time off from work and school/studying, it disrupts our schedule, and depending on where our guests stay, also costs us space and food. Those are all things that people who have visitors deal with, whether or not they are in law school. Anyway, it is something that I do want to address, so I thought I'd give a brief history then bullet point a list of the ways in which visitors most impact us.

    History:

So far we've had my parents visit twice (once right after we moved down last August and again last weekend), and Matt's sister (this most recent August). My parents had a car and stayed in a hotel. Matt's sister had no car and she stayed with us. Recent prospects include my sister and Matt's parents, both of which are thinking late December, but neither of which have made any commitments.

    Impacts:

One really tricky thing about having visitors is finding enough fun things for them to do. Naples really only has a lot to offer if you want to drop a few hundred dollars a night. Our family and friends don't. We take them to various parks, beaches, and the zoo, but depending on the time of the year and the interests of the visitors, such activities don't last the 5-7 days that guests usually stay. I created a Florida Visitor's Guide which outlines 17 things for visitors to see/do. Not everyone wants to do everything, but they usually find enough to give us at least one thing each day.

Being pregnant really changes things. I get too tired and nauseous to spend all day with our guests. I also have no energy or stamina to make them dinner.

Because we only see family and friends VERY infrequently, it is EXTREMELY nice to see a familiar face. We didn't realize until we moved down here and didn't have the opportunity to see family for the holidays, how important it is to go to all those family parties that we used to roll our eyes at.

On a more humorous note, it is a lot of fun for us to see how our guests react to the weather down here. Watching my parents in shorts and t shirts when it was in the 70s or watching Matt's sister melt in the 90s made us realize how adapted we've become. From there on out, it was just fun to tease our guests about the sunny heat.

20 November 2010

The 2L Summer Situation

A lack of nausea and open windows with a nice 83* and only 38% humidity gave me a burst of energy to clean the unbelievable mess that has become my apartment. Between the two of us, we did the dishes, straightened the apartment, did the finances, did the great summer to winter clothes switch-out (I also pulled out some clothes that are already beginning to feel tight), cleaned the bathroom and started the laundry. That is the day thus far, although the laundry won't fold itself and if I don't go grocery shopping soon, we're going to be eating tomato soup and rice for dinner. It feels soooo good to feel normal, if only for an afternoon.

We also took a short walk this morning and discussed the whole pregnant in one state, birth in another issue. The gynecologist's office wants us to pre-pay a portion of their services for the delivery, but if we aren't going to give birth in Naples, then we don't want to pay, so it got me realizing that we can't just wait until we hear back from an internship before we begin planning. We're open to going anywhere in the country, but we would prefer to return to our home state of Michigan or stay somewhere in Florida. Talking and thinking about it started getting me anxious about the situation again. I started remembering all the complications we have to deal with. But I/we realized something very simple that made me feel a lot better during this discussion: we can get a storage unit and pre-pack slowly. I was seriously concerned that 2-3 weeks before my due date that I would be packing up our apartment. But then it dawned on us that more than likely, we'll end up either 3-4 hours away or 2-3 days away. Either way, we'll probably put most of our stuff in storage in Naples. (There is a very slim chance that we'd end up within an hour of our apartment, but it is not very likely). Anyway, this means that come spring, I will be able to slowly pack up our belongings and place them in storage at my own convenience. We also discovered we're both totally okay with leaving most of our stuff here and buying cheap stuff from Target to get us through (stuff like dinner plates). Since, at most, we'll only be gone for 12 weeks, it seems very foolish to uHaul everything we own to a new location, only to bring it right back. I know this is a really small, simple thing to realize, but it really calmed me down once I thought of it.

17 November 2010

Pregnant in law school, pregnant at work

We're winding down to the end of the semester, but it hasn't really sunk in yet. We've got Thanksgiving next week, then the following week is the last week of class. Two week of exams will bring us to the half way point in law school. I'm looking forward to that point. Matt has yet to go into panic mode, but I think that will come with Thanksgiving.

We don't have any big holiday plans. I have to work Wednesday, Friday and check messages on Sunday. (With a schedule like that, I can't believe I work in a real estate office). Plus we won't have any family in town. I guess it's all for the better, though, because I am too nauseous and fatigued to cook and clean.

Being pregnant and dealing with law school is a breeze. We can schedule doctor's appointments during days/times when he doesn't have class, so he can be there. It does kinda stink that we can't spend more time together in the evenings since he's studying, but that's about the gist of the negative.

On the flip side, being pregnant and dealing with work is a nightmare. I am so exhausted by the end of the day that I hardly have enough energy to cook dinner. On photoshoot days (which are 11 hours long instead of 13 thanks to daylight savings time), I feel just about dead. I am going to talk to work about taking 1/2 days when there are photoshoots scheduled; I simply don't have enough endurance to last that long. I haven't done the dishes in a long time (which is kind of okay because I haven't really cooked in a long time either), I haven't vacuumed in forever, and I can thank Matt for getting the laundry done. I help him fold it, but even the thought of leaning over the washer and drying makes me queasy. The other day at work I was doing something monotonous, so I busied my mind planning the perfect day out if I could stay home instead of going to work. Let me tell you, it involved a couple of naps : )

In the non-relevant world, we had our second doctor's appointment today and we got to hear the baby's heart beat. I also found out that I am 12 weeks along tomorrow.

07 November 2010

Early November

Sorry I have been MIA, I have been too tired and nauseous to do much of anything other than sleep. The dishes, laundry, and vacuuming is all piling up, and although Matt does pitch in when he can, school does come first and he's got a couple of rough drafts due. This year's exams will be more papers than tests, which should make the weeks leading up to exam time more stressful, but the actual week of exams will be a little bit easier, I hope.

I think we're finally adjusting to the Florida weather, now that we've been here for one year. A cold front came through and pushed the highs down into the lower 70s and the lows even into the mid 50s. Matt and I are cold. I was cold in my t-shirt yesterday afternoon. We've been walking around in hoodies and sweatshirts. I think what makes us different, however, is the fact that we are enjoying the cold. Most Floridians are grumbling and complaining, but not us! We gladly sit outside in our sweatshirts and enjoy the weather. The draft is expected to push through early next week and we'll see highs returning to the low to mid 80s. A lot of people out there will probably read this and be filled with jealousy, but I think the situation would be different if they lived down here 24/7. We like the cold, the fall, the changing leaves. We love our winter coats, winter boots, cute winter scarves. We didn't even notice Halloween because it still feels like summer down here.

And although it definitely doesn't feel like Thanksgiving is a mere 2.5 weeks away, I need to start thinking about how I'm going to pull it off. It'll just be the two of us, like it was last year, and although I love cooking and baking and made almost everything from scratch last year, I have concerns about whether or not this nausea will prevent me from doing much preparing. I think this year, we may end up eating more stuff made from a box than we did last year.

In terms of baby news, I'm entering week 12 here, still super nauseous and fatigued. I also have about a million more issues, but I'll refrain in case someone else out there is considering having a baby. I bought my first pair of maternity jeans yesterday. They are SOOO much more comfortable that my other clothes. I am getting to a point where clothes are starting to get uncomfortable in the waist area. I bought a BeBand, but it doesn't work as well as I'd hoped. I think I'm still a little too small for it. There is not really much maternity stuff in this town (where the median age is 61), so I also bought some clothes online from Old Navy (which has a GREAT maternity selection, if you ask me).
I recently hit my one-year mark at work, although it feels like much longer, especially since getting pregnant. Aside from cracking jokes, telling stories, and giving advice, nothing has changed. I am starting to assert myself ("Can someone grab that box of magazines when they're over at the front desk") and trying to alleviate stress ("I am too swamped today and I won't be able to get to this project, do you think you will have sometime later today?"). Matt and I also talked about ways to handle my very stress-inducing boss. There is one other coworker who has been particularly sympathetic and I'm hoping she'll stay in my corner once I get a little more pregnant.
There's a lot more, but then again, I could write another blog about being pregnant. Anyway, the time change has bought me a bit of time, but now I need to get ready for church.

01 November 2010

Florida v. Michigan

I promised juice soon and today's the day I deliver.

Hokay, so,
background point 1: Matt talked to a career counselor at school who advised him that it is significantly easier to get a job in Michigan after he graduates if he gets his second summer internship in Michigan. Which means, we'll be working our behinds off to get him an internship in Michigan this summer.
Background point 2: My due date is somewhere between May 22-June 2. We explained the situation to our doctor who advised us not to travel one month prior to or one month after my due date. So, from approximately May 1 to June 30, I should stay in one place. Friends of ours who traveled within the Forbidden Time confirm this advice.
Background point 3: Matt's finals are two weeks long in early May.

Possible Solutions:
1. I go to Michigan before May 1. By myself. And hope I don't go into labor early. Matt arrives after his finals.
2. I stay in Florida for the birth. Matt goes to Michigan after finals. He flies down for the birth (hopefully making it on time). He goes back up and I join him in July.

Complications:
-How will we prepare a nursery? Buy everything and drive it up to Michigan? Buy everything and ship it up to Michigan?
-Is that even physically and emotionally possible, to wait until 3 weeks before I am due to give birth to start setting up a nursery?
-Do we rent a furnished apartment in Michigan? I don't want to be sleeping on someone else's mattress for an entire summer.
-We have one car. If I take it to Michigan, how does Matt get around in Florida? If I leave it here, how do I get around in Michigan? Do we rent a car for a few weeks?
-Should I fly at the 8th month of my pregnancy?
-If I do drive up (either in my car or a rental), do I really go alone? Driving 2-3 days alone, 8 months pregnant, staying in hotels alone?
-Can Matt take off a weekend to drive with me to Michigan a week before his final exams?
-Michigan is a big state and there is no guarantee that we'll end up near family.

You get the picture. That times about 100 more things keep running through my head. If you've been with me for any length of time, you've probably realized that I'm a planner. I can't stand not having every minute detail planned out to the nth degree for Plans A-F. I have been learning throughout this process of law school and growing up that there are about a million things you can't plan however, and instead need to depend on God. Right now I am depending on God by not thinking too hard about it. (Who knows, maybe there aren't any internships to be had in Michigan?). Later I will depend on God by praying my brains out for guidance and direction.

28 October 2010

Nausea and Homework

So now that ya'll know, I can finally start to blog again! I have been dying to tell you, but I needed to wait until I told enough people in person before I could break the news to the world wide web. Don't worry if you're a bit squeamish about babies and pregnancy, I will try to keep posts on topic with relation to law school, but you will have excuse the occasional excitements of a first-time pregnancy.

So my main symptom is constant nausea. I haven't done much vomiting, but from morning until night, I feel like I'm about to lose it. Struggling through work has been just that--a struggle. Some of my coworkers are very understanding, others...not so much. By the time I get home, I don't feel like doing anything but laying down. I haven't been cooking, cleaning, even playing with the kitties. Sometimes we cheat (we've eaten take out a little too much these last two weeks - I'm a little scared to do the finances tomorrow), but Matt has willingly put aside some study time to cook dinner and help with the chores. It's been a huge relief, although I do feel ample guilt at how quickly my stubborn, independent nature crumbled into bed with a box of crackers and glass of juice.

Matt has also been incredibly understanding regarding my tiredness, food aversions, and newly appearing mood swings. I'm impressed with his ability to juggle school and a pregnant wife thus far. A friend pointed out that all of the time I spend sleeping, Matt can spend studying and we won't have to feel guilty, which I thought was very cute and insightful.

I'm nearing the end of week 10, which means I'm nearing the end of the first trimester. I am excited to get into the second trimester and get back to some semblance of normal.

27 October 2010

Jacqueline is rather pregnant

Or so says my facebook status. But I would tend to believe it as I have it from good authority that the author is starting to show, just the tiniest bit.

Yup, we're pregnant! About 10 weeks or so, due sometime around May 22 or June 2, depending on which way of calculating the due date you subscribe.

So far it has been a less-than-exciting journey of cramping (early on), fatigue, and TONS of nausea. Morning, noon, night, all day long I feel soooooo nauseous. Combined with a 4 week long headache, I feel like I've had the flu for 10 weeks now. My stressful job is ever so beneficial to my feeling awful, but I did tell them earlier this week, so hopefully they'll start to have some compassion for me now and stop being so frustrating.

Anyway, that is why I have been so silent lately. Every spare moment is filled with sleeping, feeling sick, and reading articles about pregnancy online (I need to swing by the library). There are a whole host of other things, for lack of a better word, this brings up, but for now, I'll leave you with just a headline as I've got to leave for work soon:

Pregnant in Florida, birth in Michigan?

17 October 2010

Mid-semester

Life has been the weirdest mix of crazy busy and crazy slow. Earlier last week, I had nothing to do all evening, and spent the time reading an addicting book. Towards the end of the week, however, I had so much to do, I could barely keep it all straight. Matt has been busy doing homework--he's back to staying up later at night to work, meaning that I'm spending more time alone. Although lately he's been working on his note (an essay) for the law review. He's writing about homosexual marriage and has spent all weekend blowing up at the more ridiculous pro-gay marriage arguments, which is rather entertaining to watch.

We had another Ladies' Night on Friday, which was actually pretty fun. It is a lot different than it was last year since all the 3Ls graduated and we are now inundated with new 1Ls. It really changes the dynamic of the group.

The weather finally broke, which is allowing us to open our windows. Highs in the mid 80s, lows in the upper 60s. Humidity between 40-60%. We can actually get away with a light jacket on the way to work/school. Anyway, since we can now open our windows (although we do keep a fan on in the afternoon hours), it has been stirring up a lot of dust and paper, so I did tons of spring cleaning today.

I promise more exciting posts in the future. I do have something I want to discuss, but I need to wait for things to clear in my personal life before I can blog about it to the world.

10 October 2010

Alligators

Matt and I have been on a mission to spot a wild alligator. We've seen them in the movies, on tv, and at the zoo, but never in person in the wild. Until Saturday, that is. On Saturday, we went to a park that built a 2.5 mile boardwalk through the swamp. It is common to see alligators year round, but our previous trip to the park was fruitless. Yesterday, that all changed.

We had made it about 1.25 miles through the park when something caught the corner of my eye. I froze, mid step, my head snapped back, and I hunched down, staring at him. He was almost impossible to see, he matched the murky surroundings so well.


I'd already seen several logs imitating gators, so I gave him a good long stare before I was convinced enough to utter the magic words, "alligator," and ask Matt to pass over his binoculars. There he was, up close and personal! His narrow set eyes were the only thing above the water, and they were staring directly at us. I slowly set my water bottle on the boardwalk, pulled out my camera, and snapped a few pictures. "He's moving!" Matt gasped. Sure enough, the spines of his back and tail permeated the surface of the water, he silently moved closer to us, seemingly without disturbing the water.
He got closer and paused again, staring straight at us the entire time. We moved swiftly and silently around the boardwalk, trying to get the best view of him around trees. His wet rubbery skin matched his environment so well that at times, I just snapped pictures in his general direction, hoping that once I could blow up the photo on my computer, I'd be able to find him among all the swamp. He then slipped under the water and began moving closer towards us. He was gone for a few minutes. "Should we keep going?" Matt asked. Not a chance. Sure enough, our patience was rewarded.

He made an appearance on the other side of the lush growth, a few feet from the boardwalk. He looked eerie in the tea-colored water, coming closer without rippling the water. He finally stopped, directly below the edge of the boardwalk. Matt stood to the side, poised with our water bottles in hand, ready to defend at the first sign of attack. "Jacqueline, seriously, step back." But I couldn't. My legs were locked. Just like a dumb tourist, I crouched down, slipped my hand, clutching my camera, between the slats of the railing of the boardwalk and snapped a picture.


He just sat there for a minute. A long minute. I just stared at him, finding it really hard to believe that I was even looking at an alligator in the wild. I couldn't move, I just stared. After a few minutes, he dropped below the water and swam underneath the boardwalk. I watched as he tucked his feet alongside his body and propelled forward with his massive tail. We darted to the other side of the boardwalk, but he did not reappear. We ran back to where we had last seen him. A few seconds later, there was an abundance of leaves rustling, giving us the impression that our gator was hiding below the murky surface. After a few minutes of silence, convinced that he was gone for good, we walked away.

09 October 2010

The Case of the Missing Homework

The first clue: somehow or another, Matt and I got away with playing total hooky last Sunday. He did no homework whatsoever. We spent the entire day hanging out together and not worrying about the consequences. That night we made a pact to refuse to regret our decision to spend the day unproductively (in the work sense of the word). It made me feel really good because prior to that day, I had been feeling particularly distant from Matt.

The second clue: all this week, he has gotten away with going to bed with me at 10pm. Usually he stays up for an hour or two later to do homework, but for some reason this week, he went to bed with me.

The third clue: this year my birthday fell on a Wednesday, so we regulated some bday activities to today. We were going to go to a park to stroll along their 2.5 mile trail. I wanted to get there at about 8:30. We would have been back before lunch. But we got up late and spent more time than anticipated at the park. This, of course, meant that we were out-and-about at lunch time, so we stopped for lunch (we had a gift card), then, completely stuffed, we got home and fell asleep together on the couch. When we woke up, it was almost time for the Michigan-Michigan State game (go green, anyone?) So of course, that meant we had to watch it. So, yeah, it was about 6:30 or so before he got around to doing any homework.

These accounts make no mention of the evenings spent at Knights of Columbus meetings, or the days spent doing law review. I have no idea how he is managing to stay on top of his homework, but a very large part of me does not want to investigate this matter. If he were falling behind, he would surely spend his days frustrated and depressed, yet he is neither. I am enjoying spending time with my (relatively cheerful) husband. You certainly don't expect a weekend like this during the 1L year.

02 October 2010

Lonely and bored

Matt is at the law library and has been since noon. He met up with his partner to work on law review stuff, due tonight at midnight. I have a feeling he'll be gone until then.

In the meantime, I am bored out of my mind. I watched some documentaries online while crocheting, did some reading, took a brief nap, went for a leisurely 6.5 mile bike ride and brisk 1.3 mile walk. Now the sun has set and I am bored again. I guess I will do some reading. If I had the car I might do some grocery shopping. Or even hit the mall. I have $15 of free spending money and have been itching to do some shopping. But I don't, so I'm here, feeling the lonely part of being a law school wife.

29 September 2010

Law Review and Keeping Busy

Life has been a strange mix of busy and slow for me lately. I guess that's to be expected as we're in the middle of the semester. I have been keeping busy a few nights a week with ladies nights, book club meetings, and working on the pro-life magazine. It's crazy how busy weeknights can be, but then over the weekend, I'll have nothing to do! I have started making some Christmas presents, plus I try to squeeze in a book of my choosing between book club books, but a few hours of reading followed by few hours of crocheting leaves me stir crazy. It's still too hot and humid outside to do much outdoors and a recent tropical storm is leaving us in a state of pretty much constant rain.

In other news, can firmly say that I hate law review. It sucks up ALL of Matt's time. Although law review is for a grade, it is a lot different than a class because all the work is done on Matt's own time and he has very short, strict deadlines, which means he is quite often spending the day before things are due trying to finish up. Since assignments are usually due on Saturday at midnight, he is always busy that day trying to finish things. We use to enjoy Saturday mornings together, spending a few hours at the zoo, going to a new park. If we got up at a decent time, we could spend a few hours together and still get home by lunch. 12pm to 10pm is ample time to do homework. But now with law review, our time together on the weekends has been eliminated. Pretty much the only quality time we spend together occurs when we eat dinner.

On a different note, remember the mock class that I attended last year? In sum, the law partners group (a student org for spouses of students) puts on an evening for the 1L spouses. They have wine and cheese, a mock torts class, a panel of 2L, 3L and recently graduated couples, and the parish priest gives a talk. Anyway, this Friday is the mock class and Matt and I will be on the panel! We volunteered, but I don't really think we are good candidates. We don't have kids, which is very unusual at this pro-life school, so I don't know how many questions on which we'll have any real insight. Also, some married friends of ours who are also 2Ls, but have a baby, are on the panel and I don't think 2 2L couples is enough diversity. I don't know, I guess we'll see how it goes.

21 September 2010

Geckos

My cat is obsessed with geckos. For a few days last week, there was a gecko on the screen of our window (said window was shut). Emma stood completely still and just stared at his white belly until he got bored and crawled away. She stood in that windowsill every evening for the next few days waiting for him to reappear. Yesterday I felt so bad for her that I took her out onto our front porch where one can always find a couple of geckos hunting around the porch light for bugs. She was so excited to see more geckos. Well, the skiddish creatures quickly darted away as soon as I stepped outside, so I brought her back in and locked the door. Bad idea, the whole thing. She sat in front of that door for the rest of the evening, meowling at the top of her lungs in her funny, deaf-cat way. As soon as darkness fell this evening, she was right back in front of that door, meowling. I want to take her back outside so she can see her beloved geckos, but I just know that it will end in more meowling. Oi.

On a similar note, I found a baby gecko under my desk at work today. I captured him and set him free outside. In Emma's defense, they are pretty cute.

A gecko that we found shortly after we first moved into our apartment last summer. Geckos that come out at night are usually white.

I found this guy earlier this summer. Sorry he is blurry.

The same little guy as above. Sorry he is blurry.

16 September 2010

Live Like No One Else

There I was, 9:00 at night, squatting down in the aisle way, cell phone in one hand and box of generic crackers in the other. Yesterday, I went grocery shopping and priced out the cost per serving of crackers. Generic brand Cheese-its and Wheat Thins are $.30/serving. I went with the generic brand Ritz and animal crackers, which are only $.14. I managed to score some cereal on sale (which never happens in Naples) and combine it with a coupon for $1.79/box for General Mills. Yup, that’s how we live. We are trying desperately hard to live within my paycheck for everything non-school related. We do not use credit cards, we pay for everything with cash. The only time we use student loan money is to buy schoolbooks or pre-enroll for the bar review course. Living inside my paycheck is hard because this city is one of the most expensive in the country, and I also have to pay for my own health insurance. Our monthly premium is equal to half of our rent. And it doesn’t cover dental, vision (and I wear contacts), or foot-related issues (I know, weird). Anyway, covering all of our budgets without going over is super difficult. Want an example? Our food budget is $130/month. I can stretch one chicken breast into two meals of two servings each. I buy large bags of dried beans and dried rice. I’ve gotten pretty used to pb&j sandwiches.

People around me talk all the time about “watching what they spend,” and “tightening their belts,” but then I hear them talk about going out to eat all the time or getting their nails done again or going out to another movie. Matt and I have an entertainment budget of $20/month, but we are currently deterring it to build some birthday money (for his that just passed and mine that is coming up). But if we want to “splurge” on something, we have to pull cash out of something else’s envelope. Want to go to a movie? Will it come from the household budget? The clothing budget? The car budget? What envelope is going to be short that week so that we can see a movie? It is a big deterrent for splurging.

It is hard, really, really hard. It is difficult when co-workers go out to Panera Bread (one of my favorite restaurants) for lunch and I have to pass. It is difficult when the book club meets at a pub instead of at someone’s house and I have to drink water while everyone gets a beer and an appetizer. It’s embarrassing. We get free-spending money (like an allowance), but I'd rather spend it on Netflix, a subscription to National Geographic, or make-up. Not french fries and a margarita.

Dave Ramsey says you have to “live like no one else so that you can live like no one else.” That’s what we’re doing. We’re trying as hard as we can to eat pb&j instead of turkey artichoke paninis so that one day we can buy kayaks and computers and not worry about the credit card bill. The other day Matt asked me, "Can you imagine finishing law school, getting a job, being 30, and not having any debt other than a mortgage?" Hell yeah.

14 September 2010

1L v 2L Year

Matt insists that he feels way different now that he's a 2L. Personally, I feel way different being a 2L wife too.

Grouchiness
I can attest to the fact that he is just as grouchy now as he was last year, but this time, the source of anger is much different. Last year he was frustrated because he didn't know how to read all those cases. This year, he is angry because he has too much to do in too little amount of time. Being on law review is hard; wicked hard. It takes a ton of time management skills, which Matt admits is not his strong suit. It is extremely frustrating for me to watch him spend 8 hours reading, only to not finish everything. He is depressed, unmotivated, and doesn't have passion for anything and it kills me. Lately, I feel like everytime I ask him, today was as productive as it should have been, his reading is going slowly, and he hasn't started the week's law review assignment yet. I really don't  know what to do. I want to see him thrive and succeed, but I don't know how to encourage him. I'm going to just continue to cook him dinner, keep the apartment clean, tell him he's smart, and pray for him. Hopefully this modest consistency will keep him stabilized and help him to grow--even if he is grouchy throughout the process.

Busyness
I think we are way busier this year than we were last year. Matt is more involved than he was last year, both in terms of quantity of groups and also in terms of responsibilities in groups he was apart of last year. I have the book club, the Law Partners (responsible for ladies' nights), and Maria News (the magazine for which I volunteer). We still have enough time for the occasional date night, and we almost always eat dinner together, but I still have serious concerns over the number of evenings we spend out-and-about instead of at home studying.

Climate Adjusting
We are adjusting to the climate, I can honestly say. Last year was pretty difficult, but this year is going much better. It is still wicked hot and humid, but it is much more bearable. We can stand to walk outside, it takes a few more minutes before we end up drenched in sweat. I've even learned how to control my hair (for the most part) when Florida is at it's most humid.

I think overall we've switched mind-sets too. We went from, "how on earth are we going to survive?" to "how much longer until this thing is over?" I read in Law School Confidential, a summary of the years:
The first year, they scare you to death
The second year, they work you to death
The third year, they bore you to death.

I don't know about the third year, but the descriptions for years one and two are very accurate.

12 September 2010

Being a Catholic Law School Wife

I realize that I don't talk very much about my religion on here. I'm not exactly sure why, since we attend a Catholic law school and everything. I think it is impart because I have fought long and hard for my religion, so I'm rather tired from all the fighting. Two reasons: one being that I converted from protestantism to Catholicism at a very unusual time: in college. I went to a liberal, public college and most students, partying, secular, experimental 20-somethings acted like choosing Catholicism was about as smart as jumping naked into Lake Huron in the winter. The second is that my family just about disowned me for converting. I was raised loosely Presbyterian, but we rarely went to church. I started attending an Evangelical church on my own late in high school and converted to Catholicism in my freshman year of college. I endured a TON of shit during the conversion process and dealt with a TON of fallout after I was formally confirmed. Although most of the dust has settled now, I am still walking a fine line between re-offending everyone to whom I am blood-related and being Catholic.

Anyway, despite my fear of pissing off the few survivors of the conversion, Matt and I are rather devout. We go to Mass weekly, say Rosaries, read encyclicals, have religious art around our apartment, use NFP, all that jazz. We used to go to Adoration, but there are no 24-hour Adoration chapels down here and the few churches that offer a monthly Adoration hour schedule it for the retired seniors in the community instead of the working class.

Anyway, we also go to a Catholic law school. The mentality and culture of the school is VERY family-friendly. Kids are invited to just about every school event. Wives are often seen in the school's chapel for morning Mass. Professors don't mind students taking a few days off when their wives give birth. There are prayer groups during finals week and bar exam time when families can get together to pray for their law student. Rather pleasant.

Religion plays a large role in our life. When I think about how far we've come, how many decisions we've made, how precariously we're perched right now, I tend to freak out. When I think about the future, wonder where we are going to go, wondering what would happen if I lost my job (real estate is suffering hard core with this most recent down-turn), wondering how we will survive if Matt doesn't find immediate work, it's pretty terrifying. I have to remind myself that we are NOT doing this alone.

Being down here has shown me how strong of a person I am and how utterly dependent we are on God. It sounds weird, but it's true. In a very strange way, you have to be strong to depend on God. By that I mean, it takes strength (discipline) to be humble and vulnerable and look to a being you can't touch or see; it takes strength to have faith. We have a lot of faith; without it, I would be a sobbing mess on the floor. We pray a lot that God might reveal His will for us so that we can follow it. We want to be sure we're laying our foundation out correctly so that we can build a holy family upon it.

Anyway, that's how my religion plays into my life, the law school part anyway.

05 September 2010

Birthdays

Today is Matt's birthday. We bought some donuts after church, read through the newspaper together, opened presents, went to the bookstore with our 40% off coupons to spend some of our freespending money (our allowance to ourselves), then we picnic-ed on the beach, went for a swim in the Gulf, came home, read our books, ate a DELICIOUS dinner and cake (homemade of course : ), and now Matt is playing Rome Total War (a Christmas present from a few years back). I was knitting while I watched, but I wanted to check something online real quick and one thing led to another...

Matt doesn't typically get excited by holidays/events, so, being the countdown queen that I am, I've had a countdown going on the white board since we were 2 weeks out. The countdown, combined with lots of discussion about the menu and the activities for the day upped his excitement level significantly. He was quite ready to tear into those presents today : ) I try to put a little extra into holidays down here since we have no family with whom to celebrate.

Anyway, I have more insightful blog ideas, which I will post shortly. Here is a teaser (plus this way I won't forget!)

2L vs 1L yr and the benefits of the summer internship
How religion impacts our life with relation to law school

Is it really only 10:07pm??? I thought it was already a little after 11pm and was contemplating powering down and heading to bed. Oi, I am such a light-weight.

27 August 2010

The Things We Do for Love

It is 10:00pm, and I am at the law library with my husband. I wanted to spend some time with him, and he needed to go to the library, so here I am. Usually I am in bed at this point. Although, it is a Friday night, maybe I would have stayed up until 10:30 or even 11pm. Either way, I am never out this late.

I guess this is one of those things you do when you love your husband and you're in law school.

The library is rather cold, by the way.

21 August 2010

The Reinvention of Self

At the last book club meeting, the particular book we were reading led many women to tangent upon how the choices they made when they were growing up have changed their lives today. It was interesting how even though unexpected things did change the course of events for them, a good number of things they'd wanted "ever since they were young" came true.

I am also struck by a coworker of mine. She is in her 50s and has recent discovered the gym. She has taken bikram yoga, is currently taking a spinning class, and hopes, when her two high-school age children have left for college, to start taking tennis lessons. I am really amazed that at 50, she decided to do something new with her life.

Matt and I choose to go to a particular school that put us in a city we don't want to live in and in a state we don't want to reside. We are stuck doing this for the next two years. We have no extra cash with which to take long vacations, buy kayaks, or even buy a second car. (Which, by the way, had something else go wrong with it, and I have officially put about as much money into the car as it is worth since the spring, although that does include new tires). Anyway, I start to think that nothing in life will ever be back in our control.

I also feel, perhaps because so often our society decrees our 20s to be the best years of our lives, that I have to accomplish all of my dreams before I hit the big 3-0. (This proves difficult because I don't want to work when our kids are young and we hope to have most of our kids while we are young). Anyway, I often feel like we are going to be stuck in a one bedroom apartment with no money and no excitement for the rest of our lives, thus rendering my dreams, and my life, empty.

Lastly, a friend of mine (in her 30s) has done a significant amount of traveling, especially in Indochina, including spending a month in Thailand. I would say that her experiences traveling have shaped her outlook on life dramatically. I was shocked to find out that by the age of 21, the only place she'd ever visited outside of America was Cancun!

I think that as much as it is important to have friends going through what you are going through (in my case law school), it is also important to have friends who are in a different place in life. I think that later group of friends is really crucial to us seeing the "bigger picture" so-to-speak, as opposed to getting caught up on the drama of our own situation.

I could still learn how to become a camping and kayaking expert, perhaps while teaching my family. I could even pursue a job field testing LLBean gear! If I want, it is completely possible for me to have a 15 year career as a library. I wouldn't even have to start until I was 50 in order for that to happen. I could see all 50 states, visit Ireland, and Scotland, and London, and Egypt, and Greece, and Krakow, and Austria, and Bali, and Kamchatka. I could even volunteer to work with that big cat sanctuary up in Tennessee. Maybe if I played my cards right, I could even do all of those things; if I live to be 80, I could have six ten-year long careers. And heck, at 23, I could still even get a novel published before I hit the not-so-awful 3-0.

16 August 2010

The Final Days of Summer

It certainly feels like an update is needed, but I'm not really sure what to post about. I do have an idea, but I think it's too sensitive of a topic to talk about, as people it discuses may read this blog. I'll guess I'll just general update headline-style.

I had to take my car in to the shop three times in one week. I took it in today as the a/c was broken. I've had to drive around since Saturday with 95* temps and 88% humidity. Thankfully all three trips combined were less than $350.

Matt started his orientation for Law Review today. They require about 20 extra curricular hours. 2L year better be way easier than 1L year. We are going to buy his books for class on Wednesday.

Matt's birthday is in about three weeks, so I have begun doing some preliminary planning. Nothing too exciting yet.

I have chosen two life goals for myself. The first is to write a novel that someone publishes. The second is the camp in the Adirondacks. I'm not sure if I want to have a base camp from which I can bike and kayak or if I will backpack it. Either way, I want to do those two things.

I have one week to finish up my summer goals. I need to read one more book, lose four more pounds, play around with a computer program that I have, and go to a beach to which I have never been. Hmmm...that is a lot for one week and one weekend. We'll see if I can pull it off.

I will make a winter semester goal this weekend.

In the meantime, I need to go fold the laundry.

05 August 2010

Going It Alone

So I've had a hellish few days. Lots of waiting, lots of money, not much sleep. I have a deaf, epileptic cat.

Said kitty is only two years and three months old and I miss love her very much. She has been deaf most of her entire life (depending on who you ask). She meows funny. She meows loudly, like a teenager wearing head phones, yelling above the music. She has had seizures pretty much her entire life, but a previous vet wrote them off as asthma. How do you confuse asthma and seizures? They are not grand mal seizures  and they never lasted more than 10 seconds. Until Tuesday. Tuesday night I played with her. Then on Tuesday night 10 second seizures ran back to back for a few minutes. They were worse than they've ever been before. I rushed her to the vet. She had a seizure at the hospital. Then she had a few more. I waited. A long time. They bruised her in several places trying to draw blood. They shaved her feet and put needles in them. She hates it when anything touches her feet. They gave her lots of drugs. They wanted to keep her over night. They wanted to give her $1500 tests and $24/dose drugs with side effects. Seizures cause brain swelling, which triggers more seizures. They told me that if her seizures last more than 5 minutes or run back to back for more than 5 minutes that she is in imminent danger. She will fry her own brain. They took her into the back room away from me. They don't know her hand signals. She is deaf. They don't know how to communicate with her. She scratched the vet techs. They think I am a bad pet owner for taking her home that night. They indicated in the report they wrote that I am a bad pet owner. I stayed at the pet hospital for three hours. I took her limp,  drugged up, unconscious body home. I woke up every hour or so as she thrashed around in her carrier, fighting the valium. I stayed home from work the next day as the drugs wore off and she stumbled around and fell off of chairs and coffee tables. I found all natural herbal remedies online with zero side effects. I ordered them. I went to work today. I spent all day wondering if I would come home to a dead cat. I left work early. I held my breath as I opened the door. Kitty was breathing. Kitty is breathing. I have not observed kitty having a single seizure since we got home.

But they are not over. They will never be over. It is not a matter of if. It is a matter of when. My stomach is in knots. I am waiting for my cat to have a seizure. I am praying that the drugs she got at the hospital will hold until the herbal remedies arrive. They shipped today. I am praying they arrive before the weekend. Drugs don't work. Holistic medicine does. I have an incurable colon disease. The side effects from the drugs they gave me were the same as the symptoms of the disease. I took herbal remedies instead. I am not suffering from my incurable disease. I am living my proof. I hope they work for kitty.

Matt is in Arizona. I am doing all of this by myself.

I love my kitty. Please don't have another seizure.


31 July 2010

Phase 3

We'll, he's gone again. He's in the third and final phase of his Blackstone Internship, which is located in Arizona. It wasn't as hard to say goodbye this time; in fact, I didn't even cry. I teared up at a few points, but no full on tears. I keep telling myself that it's only for a week - I'll pick him up from the airport next Friday night. I am hoping to enjoy my time to myself. I made myself a weekend goal list (believe it or not, blogging is on there), and I am going to get some work done. I mapped it out so that I'll do some relaxing on Sunday; hopefully watch a movie and give myself a pedicure.

In other news, I finally took my own advice and joined a book club! An acquaintance of mine invited me and I really enjoyed it! I couldn't believe how much my friend and I agreed on interpretations of the book. The other girls in the group are nice, some are insightful. I struggle with pride when it comes to literature because I studied it so heavily in college (English major!) and I can usually discuss circles around most people. I have to remind myself that I am not the final and absolute understander of these books. Luckily my terribly shy and awkward social skills keep my mouth in check. Between the magazine on which I volunteer, the book club, hanging with my husband, and my summer goals list, I am staying pretty busy.

My sister-in-law is coming to visit the week Matt gets back as well. I'm excited to have a visitor (one of Matt's brothers may come with as well, which would make visitors plural). I revisited a list of things to do with visitors that I made a little while ago, and, in true designer fashion, I made a snazzy little pamphlet out of it. I am hoping to finish it up this weekend and get a few copies printed. (Maybe one of my printer connections will do it for me cheap?) She'll leave the weekend of the 13th, then the following weekend Matt has Law Review Orientation during the day and then...law school starts back up and Matt is an L2!

PS. One year ago today was our last day in Michigan.

29 July 2010

A Degree in Mattology

Our parish priest when we were married taught us this. It's a fun metaphor for us law school wife types as we're quite academic, even if only by association.

You ought to know your spouse better than anyone else. Know them inside and out, backwards and forwards. Think of getting to know your spouse as getting a degree in them. You take a class in "my husband's strengthens," "my husband's weakness," "what my husband does when he feels lazy on a Saturday," "what my husband does when faced with a crisis."

Matt and I extended this metaphor even further in a "life-long education" style. We have to get multiple degrees in each other during the different phases of our lives, working up to a PhD. For example, I have a degree in "newly married Matt with a job a no kids." I am working on my degree in "Matt in law school far from home with no kids." We assume that we start off each program with at least an associates because we still have the same personality, same likes and dislikes, etc. Anyway, one day I'll have to get a degree in Matt with kids, Matt with new lawyer job, etc. You could also treat each of those like classes on the life-long journey to get a PhD, or, in our case, a JD.

It also makes for a fun joke. When we incorrectly guess something about the other person, we joke, "well I guess I'm going have to retake that class," or "I'm never going to get my Masters in Mattology at this rate."

27 July 2010

You start walking my way, and I'll start walking yours

I often wondered as I prepared for my marriage about how mature Christians argue with one another. Surely they do, as everyone argues, including mature Christians, but I didn't know how.

The solution came shortly after our engagement: Matt and I had to take an anger management class as part of our marriage prep classes. The class was hokey, the VHS they played was from the 80s, but even though the techniques were good, we, or at least I, quickly forgot them. We have a magnet on our fridge that reminds us, but it's been there so long now (2 years!) that I don't even see it.

Today in the Wall Street Journal Personal section, they had a piece about "arguing happily ever after," which talked about how fighting smartly can actually strengthen a marriage and talked about how to fight respectfully. Humorously enough, both our long-forgotten class and this article draw from the same source: Fighting For Your Marriage, a book about fighting nicely, so to speak. The article reminded me how much I want to fight like a mature Christian instead of a teenager. They say that if you can teach the concept to others then you truly understand it, so here goes!

1. The listener shuts up and listens. The speaker explains her position in a few sentences. The listener does not interupt.
"I am angry because I cook dinner and do the dishes every night. I feel like you don't help."
(There are lots of other sources who caution that you shouldn't say "you always, you never, I always, or I never" as this will only put the other person on the defensive).

2. The listener repeats back to the speaker what he heard the speaker say. The point of this is to make sure that the speaker is clearly communicating her point.
"You feel like I am not helping you around the house."

3. The speaker is then given the opportunity to re-explain her point until the listener clearly understands and is able to repeat back how the speaker feels/what is upsetting her. Only one person may talk at a time!

4. Now they switch positions. The former listener gets to explain his position.
"I feel like you boss me around when I help you clean and only want me to clean up your way."

5. The listener repeats back to the speaker what she heard him say.
"You feel like I always want you to do things my way."

6. The speaker is then given the opportunity to re-explain his point until the listener clearly understands and is able to repeat back how the speaker feels/what is upsetting him. Only one person may talk at a time!

7. A solution is reached! Sometimes just talking about the issue solves the problem. Maybe he'll actually pick up a sponge and she'll bite her tongue when it's the "wrong" sponge. Other times it is more complicated; this give and take often brings up deeper issues. In this example, it could easily come up that she does not feel that he loves her enough to want to help her. He could feel that she doesn't respect his decisions around the house.

It is easy to see how arguing happily ever after could lead couples to have a stronger marriage than if they didn't argue at all! You'll grow familiar with each other's "trigger issues," even the ones you could verbalize. Then you'll be able to encourage, protect, and strengthen your loved one. What a good relationship!



(Blog post title comes from Diamond Rio's Meet In The Middle).

20 July 2010

The Summer of (Wedded) Bliss

It is nice being married again. I definitely feel like a (fairly) newly married person (is 2 years still new?) living without kids. There are, of course, the never-ending budget concerns which keep us reined in, but it is still sooo nice to spend our evenings and weekends together. Playing games, watching movies, reading together, going grocery shopping together, having help with chores. I am worried that I am getting too used to have him around again; it's going to be so difficult those first few weeks back. They'll be hard for him to, as he adjusts to spending his evenings doing homework instead of gaming. In the meantime, we'll keep hitting those famous Naples beaches : )

14 July 2010

Inner Demons

(This post is a deviation from the law school theme). I've blogged a couple of times before about my almost obsessive compulsive organizational behaviors. They are heightened by excess of emotion and lately I have been dealing with an excess of boredom. I reorganized the bathroom today. It was all I could do to stop there. I am going crazy in my head right now. Okay, this is totally weird, but part of me doesn't want to clean. I desire the end result: looking back on a clean room. I feel like one day I will finally organize everything enough to where I won't have to clean it anymore. Ugh. This weekend is definitely going to be a serious reorganization weekend. Oi. I am sorry that I am everywhere and that this has nothing to do with being a law school wife. I am probably going to delete this post in the end.

09 July 2010

What is Your BHAG?

There is an expensive fitness store right across the walkway from where I work. They are constantly writing motivational things up on their windows. We are kind of health-nutty at work and quite often comment on the notes and inventive mannequin displays of the store. Anyway, we haven't talked about this one at work yet, but the current comment-of-the-week asks, "What is your Big, Hairy, Ambitious Goal?" I'm pretty big into goals myself; if I'm not working directly for something specific, I start feeling hopeless. My anger-venting post a little while back got me thinking back then too: what are my dreams? I'd love to do a lot of things, love to be a lot of things, but most of them are characteristics I'd like to describe me or hobbies I'd like to have, a lifestyle I'd like to live. But what is my BHAG? I'm sure the store would like me to say, "run a marathon" then dart inside to purchase one of the $60 sports bras, sure to motivate me to succeed. But what is my BHAG? Is it a career? Is it really my big, hairy, ambitious goal to be a librarian after my kids are grown? Is it really my big, hairy, ambitious goal to kayak or built my dream house?

You know what my BHAG is? I'm pretty sure it's my big, hairy, ambitious goal to write a novel that someone publishes.

What is your BHAG?

07 July 2010

Goal Setting

As I mentioned at the beginning of the summer, I mentioned that I made a summer goals list. Well, now that we are officially halfway through the summer, I thought it might be fun to revisit said list. It is made up of 22 things (a few of those were added as the summer progressed). Some of them are fun things like biking different areas of Naples or having friends over 2-3x (not easy for an introvert like me). Some of them are personal development things like having a Bible study with Matt or re-learning some Spanish. I set a short-term weight loss goal, I'm going to teach Matt to cook a few dishes, do some tutorials for the niches of a computer program I use a lot. Humorously, one of the items on my list is to do everything on my list. The deadline is the end of summer, or Matt's first day back to school.

I have fully completed 5 of those things. 8 of those things are multi-stage things that require more time, but I am in the process of doing. Several of the things on my list are easy and would require one afternoon. The point of revisiting my list is to remind myself of my goals and do some more of them.

One of the things on my list is to read 20 books. 20 books in four months is ambitious, even for an English major such as myself. These aren't just any books. I've got Anna Karenina, Howard's End, Don Quixote; I've got some George Eilot and Charles Dickens. I tried to sprinkle in some lighter reading, such as Michael Crichton and a few historical nonfiction books. But either way, I'm halfway through summer and I'm on book number 6. I got stuck on Villette. I'm also trying to do a book review for the magazine I'm a volunteer editor for, which is lessening the time I get to dedicate to my list. At this point, I'm just trying to get as far as I can.

Anyway, I am big fan of lists and I'm really enjoying doing fun things and checking them off my list : )

06 July 2010

How to Make Your Marriage Thrive During Law School

If you're a law school widow, or about to become one, you probably got really excited when you saw that title, didn't you? Well, it was false advertising. I have few ideas on how to make a marriage thrive during law school. The priest for Ave Maria School of Law recommends the following:

1. Having a date night
2. Eating dinner together
3. Celebrating the holidays

The dean of the law school recommends to students that they not cross-examine their families. There is ample advice out there geared towards students to keep them sane. Not so much for law school wives. The best place to get advice for us is probably going to come from former law school widows (lawyer widows?) Maybe I should seek some more of it.

I can't tell you how to make your marriage thrive in law school (although the above principals sure do help), but I can definitely tell you the number one blocker that is keeping my marriage from thriving: my tongue.

It is another one of my weakness (geeze, I'm all about telling the world my weaknesses lately) that I don't have much in the way of patience. I've come a long way, but I'm nowhere near sufficient. I am quick to judge and tell Matt what he is doing wrong and VERY slow to acknowledge that I did anything worth reprieve. Matt and I were doing a Bible study the other day and we read James chapter 3, the end of which talks about how if one looses control of his tongue, it is like a small fire that burns down a forest. Well, I struggle with lots of daily brush fires. I'm not very reaffirming, a quality that I admire in other people. A good wife would compliment her husband when he does things well. A smart wife would point out when her husband does things that make her happy without her asking him (like cleaning his desk or taking out the trash). It is eerie how quickly our relationship and his attitude will shed its negative qualities when I make a point to reaffirm my husband's good qualities.

One rather odd thing, when I work out and eat healthy, I tend do lots of good things the rest of the day. Like, I almost always floss my teeth on days when I work out. I don't know why, but I feel "healthy" and I don't want that feeling to wear off, so I keep doing other "wholesome" things. These behaviors make me feel really good about myself. My positive self-worth translates to my loving words to my husband. I'm a big believer in the interconnectedness of the human brain/body/lifestyle, so this fits right in with my world perspective. So, loosing weight equals a happy wife equals a healthy marriage? I can live with that ; )

05 July 2010

Them's Fightin' Words

Matt has always been a debater, but his time in law school has heightened and refined the way he argues. He is much better now then he was fresh out of undergrad. And me? I hate confrontation. I list it as one of my top three weakness: I'm really bad with confrontation and avoid it with a passion. Well, some days he wants to debate everything. On those days, I can't even have an opinion about the weather without it turning into a debate. Sometimes I can roll with the punches, debate with him, make logical conclusions, but other times, I feel like bursting into tears (and some days I do). When my wrong days align with his wrong days, by the time we're ready for bed, I feel so exhausted and demoralized. I wonder how the heck we will survive a lifetime of lawyer-hood. If I were more mature, I could just say to him, "You're switching into lawyer-mode and I'm not emotionally stable enough to argue with you about that right now," and life would move on, sans debate. But I'm not that sophisticated. I argue with him, get emotional, take everything personally. Halfway through the discussions I feel like screaming at him to stop being logical and just agree with me. Yes, I realize how incredibly stupid that is. Stop being logical? Demand that he just side with me for the pure heck of it? In the heat of battle?! While I have yet to act on my desires, I sure do think about them. I did today as we were debating the definition of selfishness. Yes, that's right; I realize the irony in that.

I'm not really sure where to go from here. I guess acceptance is the first step though, right? According to the 12 Step Program, I now need to "[come] to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." So I need to realize that God can restore me/our marriage to sanity in a moment of frustration. Next step? I guess next time we start debating, we should say a quick prayer that we'll argue respectfully. I also remember seeing an article in Women's Health magazine a few months back about arguing lovingly. I need to reread that.

04 July 2010

The (Rainy) Days of Summer

Matt is signing up for things for next year. So far he's got two student groups, he'll be Deputy Grand Knight in the Knights of Columbus (essentially VP), and law review (it's a secret, though). He also volunteered to make phone calls for the Republican Party/Marco Rubio (running for Senate). I am getting worried that he won't be able to keep his grades up, maybe do a little around the house, still have date nights. The two student groups require almost no commitments, and the phone calls are only supposed to be 1 hr/week through election (Nov 2). So maybe it won't be that bad? He's also talking about getting a work-study job. Oi! Being the worrying, planning person that I am, I have a really hard time letting go of the fall and enjoying the rest of the summer.

In the meantime, we are enjoying day two of a three day weekend. Rainy days have ruined plans to go to the zoo and kept us inside for the most part. We did go to the 4th of July parade and spent some time at the pool. We are hoping to go to a state park/historic site tomorrow to check out this group called the Koreshans. They believed that the world was hollow and that Collier County (the country where I live) was in the center of it. Anyway, lots of grocery shopping, trying to figure out how to have a garage sale in an apartment, falling asleep on the couch, playing computer games, and watching movies.

Ah, the joy of doing mundane things together : )

01 July 2010

Super Husband

My husband went to pick up the pizza today. All by himself. I didn't even ask him to. Having a husband free of law school means having a husband again. He works for his internship during the day and we do things together in the evenings. I am married again. I don't care if it is 95 degrees outside with 90% humidity, summers are awesome.

28 June 2010

The Secrets to Surviving

Surviving Your First Year as a Law School Wife (in no particular order)


1. Do something that doesn't involve the hubby.  Do two things, actually. One must involve meeting other people. Take a class, join a book club, get a job,. volunteer There are a MILLION things you can do that are completely free or have a modest charge. The second thing is something you can do when you are home together but he is studying. Read, scrapbook, play computer games with headphones. Take up a hobby (he'll probably like it to be quiet) that you can do when you're at home and he's busy.

2. Have a date night. Don't let the riggers of law school destroy your marriage. Set aside at least a few hours once a week to do something together. There are MILLIONS of cheap date nights out there, just Google it.

3. Don't take his mood swings personally. He is going to get angry and depressed, he is going to yell and throw things. When he vents, just listen. Wait until he is feeling better before discussing any serious concerns that arose during the anger spell. Encourage him and acknowledge the good things he does when he is in a more positive mood.


Surviving Your First Year Far Away From Home (in no particular order)


1. Get to know the city. Get a map, a good one. Drive, bike, and walk around the city. Discover good places to eat and shop. Check out the tourist traps, the local favorites. Figure out how the lights at intersections work. The better you know the city, the more comfortable you will be in it.

2. Befriend a local. Hit them up for advice for everything from good restaurants to seasonal weather patterns. Never underestimate the power of the advice.

3. Find a way to claim a part of the city. Join a church, take a class, join a library book club, volunteer somewhere. Do something that lets you feel like you are engaging with your new environment.

24 June 2010

Adjusting

I was munching on some Caribbean imported papaya this evening while cutting up some mango when I realized how different my life is that what I'd planned. I've moved around a lot, but I always stayed in Michigan. Then suddenly, I upped and moved from one of the northernmost states to one of the southernmost (maybe even the most?). I never saw that coming. But here I am, scoping out iguanas in front of the grocery store and eating Caribbean papaya. It makes me wonder how little control we really have and what the future will be like. Or maybe we do have a lot of control, but also a lot of decisions to make. In reality, people live where the jobs are. If you can't do what you were trained to do in your preferred state, you can either change what you do or where you live. Because we/Matt are/is committed to a higher calling (religious liberty), we will go where the jobs are. We will go where the institutes and the firms and the associations are, whether that's Scottsdale, AZ, Boulder, CO, or Washington, DC. So that means my life goes too. As much as I love to plan and imagine life in each one of these locations, at the end of the day, I just have to get through tomorrow. I guess one of the secrets to succeeding is to make the best of it. Right now I will enjoy $.25 kiwis and white translucent geckos.

He's white when he's outside and not in my apartment : )

23 June 2010

Reunion

Well, we're back in the same state again. I was finally starting to get use to the peace and quiet and enjoy my alone time. But I am glad to have him back. Can you believe it: he even unloaded the dishwasher without my asking him to yesterday! Tonight, however, he is working on his application to the International Law Review, his backup plan should he be denied the Law Review.

The weather down here is in full-blown summer. Super hot, super humid. I've pretty much given up on having a good hair day until October.

I am sorry that I am not very witty or exciting today. I am very tired and sick of electronic things.

15 June 2010

L1 Grades

The grades are all back now and the verdict is great! I don't know how detailed he wants me to go, but let's just say that I've very proud of him : )

13 June 2010

Phone Relationship

5 days, 17 hours.
It helps when you have a countdown calculator to do all the dirty work.

I am adjusting to his being gone, finally. The funny thing is that now he is starting to un-adjust. We predicted this would happen because at first the hotel was new, the people were novel, and everything was different to keep him distracted. But now that the novelty as worn off, he is sick of the hotel and wants to come home. Because of the time difference and his busy schedule, we usually only talk for 1 hr a night (plus some texting, of course). Yesterday we talked for 2 1.5 hour blocks, as he had more time in his schedule.

It is weird transitioning into a phone-relationship. We spent a lot of time on the phone while we were dating. But since we got married, we really spend no more than, I don't know exactly, maybe 20 minutes tops on the phone with each other when someone is driving home. Anyway, it's weird adjusting to hearing his voice on the phone and having to use solely words to express our emotions, no physical actions.

I get fewer "important" things done when he is gone. Of course, the house is clean and I did the finances, but I haven't worked on a few monotonous tasks that I would normally have done. I have done way more crafting than normal. I also have been way better at sticking to a diet. I've dropped more weight this past week than I thought was possible. I also stuck better to my gym schedule, and it was easier to do. I think with those last two things, is that we both verbalize our desire/the temptation to skip the gym and eat junk food. Since we find we have support to cheat, we end up doing so. I am naturally fairly disciplined, so when left to my own devices, I can keep up a decent schedule.

I think I need to channel that discipline to finish those boring tasks today : )

11 June 2010

Side Effects

One of the side effects of one's husband going off to a two week conference to hear premier speakers in the field of his dreams at a Ritz Carlton is that he will get to go out to bars on karaoke night with his new friends while you sit at home alone. Do you know what I did today? I went to work. Oh yeah, and I took the trash out this morning. I even managed to score 30 minutes at the gym this morning. Oh yeah. I'm living it big.

That seems to be the side-effect of law school. He pursues his dreams: his dream law school, his dream internship, doing way fun things 2,300 miles away while I take out the trash. So much for my dreams. I'm paying the bills while he's pursuing his dreams. When the hell will my dreams matter?

I'm trying to find a book club and taking adult ed classes to keep busy. All my friends live in Michigan and the tentative friendships I made down here all fell apart when I had to work so much overtime in Season that I missed 3 girls' nights in a row. The few that survived all moved back to their various homes for the summer.

I'm not saying his life is usually easy or that my life is particularly hard. All I'm staying is that I'm in a bad mood, damn it.

08 June 2010

Loneliness

I am extremely lonely. I even lost my appetite. I never lose my appetite, much to my dismay. I am never too excited or too nervous too eat. Usually when I get sick, I eat more than usual, since I am home all day! But I am not really hungry at all; which is a total shock.

I found that is isn't harder to fall asleep, at least, not yet. I have been getting up at 6am to work out, so when I head to bed around 10am, I'm usually tired and fall asleep pretty quickly. When Matt would stay up to read for school, I would toss and turn, unable to get comfortable without him there.

I still keep a fairly normal schedule. I thought I would get sloppy. I guess I still have time, after all, it's only Tuesday of the first week. My hope is that I am settling into a routine that will continue once the true doldrums hit. Yesterday I had a photoshoot at work, so I therefore worked 13 hours straight (full 8 hrs at work, then a 5 hr photoshoot). By the time I got home, it was so late that I pretty much went straight to bed.

We text a few times throughout the day and he has called me at night all three days so far. I find myself getting choked up, but at least not bursting into tears, which I did quite often on Sunday.

It is so eerily quiet being home alone. After a few hours of silence, it is weird even hearing my own voice. Even one of my cats is deaf, so I don't really talk to her.

Oi, I guess that's enough for now. Not very exciting. 10 days left.

06 June 2010

12 days until our reunion

Well, he's gone. I guess we'll find out how strong I really am.

PS, I have been awake since 4:30am.

05 June 2010

El Dia Final

Matt leaves for Arizona tomorrow. He will be gone for two weeks for Phase I of his internship. Each and every day will be so full of lectures and presentations (even on Saturdays!) that even if we could afford me a plane ticket and the time off work, I would never see him. He'll have a few hours in the evening with which he is planning to call me. His plane leaves at 7:30am tomorrow morning. It has been a little over two years since I was alone and I am dreading two entire weeks on it.

I am trying to figure out things I can do to fill the time. I am thinking about taking another adult education class. I've taken one about digital cameras and their series on Photoshop. They have a writing class that sounds good. Work was not excited about me taking those Photoshop classes b/c they like me to be on call every evening, even though the Photoshop class was for work. I am hoping to go to dinner with a friend of mine. That is all I have that will get me out of the house and keep me distracted. There are lots of other little things I can do, but they are all things I can do at home.

Our vacation finished very nicely and we were both very satisfied. It was the first time we'd spent a vacation alone since our honeymoon! I really love being with him all day. We started working out in the morning so that we'd have more time in the evening. It was really fun getting to come straight home from work (not picking him up from school), and finding the laundry done, or dinner cooked, or some such deal.
Then, we would get to hang out and do stuff together! No homework to do! It was awesome!

Oi. I can't wait until June 20th. When that day arrives, I will stand here looking back at the past two weeks and will be very, very happy.