Archive for July, 2006


We’re here. Within an hour Lenny had found and consumed parts of two long-dead rabbits.  It’s 100 degrees here.

More when we get a better connection.

Thanks for the nice messages!


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Tomorrow morning I will dismantle the cable equipment and we will enter the last stages of Project dePittsburghization.  Mostly this project involves declaring war on balls of black tumbleweed, but also finishing up the packing and loading the truck.  We embark on Saturday morning.

Last night I cried long and hard but mostly I’m OK.  It’s part Adventure and part What are you Nuts? and it’s the Nuts part that’s making me cry.  Last night I said to Attic Man, “you know how wonderful Ireland is?  Well, I cried every night the first two weeks I was there.  It was a great trip but it is hard to be far away from everything you know.”  Except this time I am taking him with me, as well as my black tumbleweed-making machines who also provide much comfort and companionship.

It would be a whole lot easier if I knew I could just hook up when I arrived, but until we know what our financial situation is, I’ll be offline indefinitely.  Food for us and the pooches will have to come first.

I’ll really miss connecting here and reading everyone’s blogs.  I am absolutely breathless with anticipation for Marisa.  I have enjoyed being pregnant alongside Kohana.  I haven’t missed a day of Dawn in the past year and a half.  Richard keeps me current on robots.  I learn more about love every time Gail posts.  I am crossing my fingers for Cindy and Tamara as they wait to find out if they can keep their kids.  This is going to be hard!

Things are going to be a lot simpler for awhile, which is a very good thing.

I’ll check back here before I dismantle my connection.

Love to you all, and here’s to hoping I’m back up within the month!


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Yesterday I took off my wedding ring and put it on a chain so it doesn’t have to be cut off later. So naturally I googled “wedding ring pregnancy,” and found this. (Hint: read the customer reviews) Poor Midge–caught up in the culture wars…

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Dining room is stacked high with boxes; couches are sold and gone; attic is empty (will we be able to call him Attic Man henceforth); kitchen is almost packed; mostly, though, starting the goodbye process.

Moving is the pits but we have been enjoying ourselves.  Attic Man quit his job two weeks early to help pack and do his schoolwork, so we have a lot more flexibility with our time.  We’ve been working hard, of course, but we’ve also been playing: up to Presque Isle for a quick swim in the waves (if it were sterile I’d give birth in Lake Erie–the waves are soothing and the Snapper loved it), out to movies in the middle of the day, on trips to the parks with the dogs, and lots of other Pittsburgh-y, Western PA-style activities in which we won’t be able to partake on the prairie.  Attic Man has had a demoralizing, soul-sucking job and a full-time graduate career for the last two years (the job for three and a half) and this is the first time he’s had a break, literally.  We’re enjoying each other and this gift of time.  It occured to me as we floated together on the lake that this will probably be the last leisure time we will have alone before the Snapper is born.

It is nerve-wracking not to know what we’re going to do after what little bitty savings we have for the move is gone, but I can’t bring myself to panic.  It just doesn’t feel the same as the other times we’ve moved with nothing (which was every other time, really).  I don’t know what’s bringing me this peace.  When we get to Cedar Rapids we’ll just have to march over to the temp agency and start with whatever we can get.  We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again.

Actually, the first thing I’ll do is fill out my Medicaid application.  Attic Man, the former Income Maintenance caseworker, has always remarked that for as much as our welfare system sucks, it does really well for pregnant women and young children.  Medicaid for pregnant women is often better than some private insurance.  Even if Attic Man gets an awesome full-time job the first day we’re there, we’ll probably have to wait three months for the benefits to kick in.  COBRA is too expensive and it wouldn’t do us much good anyway being out of network.  So Medicaid it is.  Our healthcare system blows in a major way but I am thankful that pregnant women can get what they need.  We’ll just pray Attic Man doesn’t get butt cancer or something.

I am technically without insurance now, too, and because of a dumb caseworker that misapplied case law.  Apparently because we are planning on leaving the state I can’t get it.  There’s no time limit, though; we could be planning to leave in a year and this caseworker would apparently still deny me.  Worse, though, was the sneer on her face.  No wonder people would come to Attic Man’s booth with a chip on their shoulders.  Thank God he no longer has to deal with the ramifications of other caseworkers’ attitudes.

More later–

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The Great Purge

This time I am determined not to move with any boxes that say “miscellaneous” or worse, “to sort.”  Last time we moved with a BAG, a PAPER BAG, that carried the contents of our “utility” drawer (you might call yours a “junk” drawer, but we are just too high-class for that).  Guess when I finally got around to sorting it?  A week after we moved?  A year?  How about yesterday?  Good news, though: we found Attic Man’s long lost headlamp.  He’s been wearing it around the house like a fool.

Then there are the files I have been carrying around since before we were married.  I just shredded a batch of pay stubs from high school.  And my SAT scores, and records for cars we no longer own, and records from bank accounts that are no longer active, and stubs from bills we paid five years ago…

But it gets worse.  There are the journals starting from 1991.  There is the diary that I started in third grade (I’ll sum it up for you: I heart Robby!  Robby is mean.  I hope Robby asks me out.  Robby asked me out.  I heart Robby!  Robby doesn’t heart me.  Robby does heart me!  I heart Robby!).  There is a letter I wrote “to my future husband” at 15, and the letter I wrote “to my future daughter” when I was 16.  And it’s all about boys.  Boyfriends, friends that were boys, friends that were boys that I wished were boyfriends, friends that were boys that used to be boyfriends, but always boys.  And my “walk with the Lord.”  It all makes me want to wretch, mostly because I am not in it anywhere.  They are other peoples’ phrases all jumbled up in a way that was supposed to fit my reality but never did.

Let me give you an example.  A highly journaled event in my life was my second trip to the Creation Festival, an event that initially boasted that it was the Christian Woodstock.  It featured bands and speakers that warned against premarital sex and the danger of the New World Order.  You camped up on the hill and came down to the stage for all of the events.  It was an excellent opportunity to mingle with the opposite sex in a semi-supervised fashion.  Anyway, most of the music was bad, in retrospect. There were always a few exceptions, however.  One of them was a band called Degarmo & Key.  They had recently taken a turn in their music toward, um, actual music.  I remember being blown away by an opening instrumental that involved a long jam.  I was mesmerized, and turned to one of our adult leaders, who just happened to be an accomplished if sheltered musician.  Wide-eyed, I said, “this is incredible!”  Shaking her head and throwing up her hands before folding her arms tersely she complained, “yeah, but where’s the message“?  Later I was to sum up D & K’s performance with a single line: “too much rock, not enough talk.”  I must not have bought into the bullshit as completely as I let on in my journal, because what I remember most clearly is that it was incomprehensible to me that Jesus didn’t like a good jam and that it wasn’t OK for a musician to just shut up and let it flow.  If you want to know why Christian music always has been and always will be largely bad, this is the reason.  I’m not knocking the artists themselves.  Consider D&K; if this woman’s reaction was the norm (and it was) do you think they’d be invited back for “too much rock, not enough talk”?  Or do you think they might have to modify the way they produce their music to a certain extent to the huge moneybath that is the Christian right?  It’s far more nuanced than that but you get the picture.  So that’s who I was: churchspeak and not much else.  At least that of me that was on paper.

There were a few journals from when I was at the end of high school and into college that were genuinely interesting and sounded more like me.  I spent a few hours with them, mostly grieving the things I’ve lost since then.  It was a struggle to get rid of them.  I felt viscerally that I would have been throwing away myself to thow away these journals, that somehow I would forget if I didn’t have the words down to remember what happened…and that I would lose people I’d lost physically forever.  But then I realized that I had lost them anyway.  So I said goodbye to the old me and tossed them along with the I Heart Robby journals.

I feel lighter.

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The Deep

1000 years ago when I was youth-group teenager with deep thoughts and questions without the right language around me to navigate them, I came across a Christian band, Out of the Grey.  I’ve long since stopped listening to explicitly Christian music–so bad, so hackneyed–but I came across some scraps of Out of the Grey lyrics I’d written down long ago.  I googled them just now and found the song “The Deep.”  I remember being startled by this song when I first heard it, and how I understood it from a place that again, I didn’t have language for.  Upon revisiting it I find it just as startling–the central metaphor in it is simple but not simplistic, which is rare in contemporary Christian music lyrics.  And it stands alone as a good poem.  It’s not flawless, but it speaks.  Enjoy.

The Deep

I am a wave upon the sea
The wind catches me and throws me
To a rocky beach
Dashing me to pieces
I am scattered on the sand
Then gathered back again

I am a wave upon the sea
Clinging to the surface
Above the waters of the deep
Where the voice of quiet
Calls out to me
From the ocean floor
But I keep rushing for the shore

I can hear the deep
Calling out to me
It’s a siren song of peace
And I long to be
Swallowed up
And swept into the deep

I am a wave upon the sea
Someday soon
The tide will take me
Deeper underneath
Where the wind cannot break me
I’ll be sinking in the flood
Completely taken by His love

Oh I can hear the deep
Calling out to me
It’s a siren song of peace
And I long to be
Swallowed up
And swept into the deep

And to the people
Who are stranded on the land
I’m reaching out my hand

Can you hear the deep
Calling you to sea
It’s a siren song of peace
And don’t you long to be
Swallowed up
And swept into the deep
Come follow me
Be swallowed by the deep

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Attic Man and I have just returned from a four-hour Sunday drive.  You’d think with all our recent traveling and our rhetoric about fossil fuels that such a trip would be ridiculous.  But after sitting in the house for an hour or two wracking our brains about what to do that would honor the time we have left in Pittsburgh, I suggested a road trip.  I thought we could do a tour of some part of our region whose geography we wouldn’t get to experience for quite some time again.  We decided to drive south, and ended up meandering around back country roads through run-down towns (and some ritzy Pittsburgh suburbs on the return trip), skirting West By God Virginny.  We listened to excellent music and talked about family, the move, the Snapper, the dogs, and whatever else we wandered into.  We used to take drives like this all the time before our lives got crammed too tight for them.  Now that we have two weeks of packing bliss in front of us (har, har), but more importantly now that Attic Man has left his awful job (!) we have decided to seize the opportunity for some R & R.  The drive was wonderful.  We ended on a lovely note at the Piper’s Pub in Southside.  In my tenth pregnancy transgression I had a sandwich slathered with Stilton cheese.  Divine.

The entire weekend was a success, as a matter of fact.  What started out as a Pirates game between father and sons turned into a last hurrah for two branches of Attic Man’s family who are about to head west: us to Iowa, and his sister & family to Michigan.  So on Saturday afternoon the crowd descended on our house, much to the delight of the pups.  We parked on top of Mt. Washington, took the (hot, unairconditioned) Mon incline down to Station Square, and enjoyed an enormous dinner at Buca di Beppo.  Then the patriarch, his two sons, his daughter and son-in-law took a boat across to the game while my mother-in-law, my nearly edible nephew and I drove home to watch TLC and eat ice cream in our pajamas.  When the others returned we stayed up late telling jokes and stories.  In the morning we had bagels and lazed our way through Sunday morning before closing the door on the last group at noon or so.   I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect weekend.  The dogs were impressively sweet and gentle with the baby–I am so proud.

All is well.

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