Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Moving on up

Since we got married, Victor and I have lived in a tiny one-bedroom apartment. We also rent a storage unit that houses all the grown-up gifts people bought us for our wedding. We don't live in this apartment because that's all we can afford. No, we live there because we keep thinking Victor will get another job and we'll move, so why move twice? Alas, this kind of thinking has caused us to live in a 600 square foot box for 10 months now.

On Monday the leasing office called and asked us if we wanted to move into a bigger apartment in our building. We've been hoping for this phone call since August. The catch they say, is that we have to be completely moved by Sunday. The other catch is that we're going on vacation on Sunday. But what fun is moving without a challenge? And, I figure, is there a better way to guarantee that Victor gets a job clear across the country than going through the trouble of moving and signing a new lease? We started the process last night and our goal is to be completely out of our current apartment by Saturday morning so that we can actually clean the place and pack for our trip. The poor cat is going to be dumped in the new apartment and abandoned for a week (don't worry, we have someone coming to visit him). Needless to say, I probably won't be writing much for the next week and a half.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

All the cool kids are doing it

I've seen this meme going around and thought since I'm new to the blogosphere I'd answer it to give my readers (if I have any) more insight into my life.

What are your middle names?
Mine is Jennell and Victor's is Patrick.

How long have you been together?
We've been married for 10 months and dated for 17 months before we got married.

How long did you know each other before you started dating?
We met at a swing dance in August of 2005 and started dating in September 2006. I was wearing a t-shirt that says "Science Nerds Rock" and he was smitten. It took me longer (like a year) to be convinced.

Who asked whom out?
This is up for debate. Victor took care of my cat for several days when I was out of town (at swing dance camp, how nerdy is THAT?) and so being the polite young lady I am I just HAD to invite him over for dinner to thank him. Lucky for both of us, he took charge by suggesting a slow dance to a Billie Holiday song after we ate.

How old are each of you?
I'm 28, he's 37. I always said it wasn't scandalous until there was at least a 10 year difference. So we got in under the wire, whew.

Whose siblings do you see the most?
We see them all about the same amount. I will refrain from saying anything else about his siblings (like how they COMPLETELY IGNORE ME when we're together).

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?
I think right now it's the uncertainty about where we are going to live. Our life is basically on hold until Victor finds the right job and it causes anxiety-prone me even more stress than usual.

Did you go to the same school?
No, he went to the University of North Carolina and I went to a much smaller school.

Are you from the same home town?
We are, even though we never met until we both lived in another large city 300 miles away.

Who is smarter?
I say Victor. He says me, thus proving that he indeed is brilliant.

Who is the most sensitive?
The cat. He feels neglected if we so much as talk on the phone.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?
We really don't eat out too often now and there's no one place we go the most. Back when we were dating I lived next to a vegetarian cafe that had half-price black bean burritos on Tuesday nights. Almost every Tuesday night until I moved we would get takeout burritos and make, I mean hang out at my apartment. It got so that when I called to place our order the staff would know my name and what I wanted.

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
Um, which is further: Jamaica or LA?

Who has the craziest exes?
I've never met any, but Victor's definitely seem a little nuts.

Who has the worst temper?
I'll go with the cat again. He bites, hard.

Who does the cooking?
Me, but Victor helps me prepare stuff and always does the dishes.

Who is the neat-freak?
Unfortunately neither of us. The whole full-time job thing sucks the life out of me so I don't have energy to clean.

Who is more stubborn?
Probably me. How else am I supposed to get what I want?

Who hogs the bed?
Pshaw, don't believe whatever he tells you.

Who wakes up earlier?
During the week we wake up at 6am. But I was responsible for turning my 10 am rising academic husband into an early bird.

Where was your first date?
Well, my apartment if you count that dinner. But our first REAL date was to Harper's Ferry, WV. It was lovely.

Who is more jealous?
Me, unless he's hiding something.

How long did it take to get serious?

A week or so. We were both feeling pretty sure this was going to be the BIG ONE when we started dating.

Who eats more?
Victor. He is the human carb disposal.

Who does the laundry?
We both do. Quite a few of our early marital spats were due to Victor's inability to read the labels in my clothes, but he is getting better.

Who's better with the computer?
I would never have married a man who was worse than me because then our computers would be commandeered by aliens due to my inability to keep my virus protection running.

Who drives when you are together?
Victor usually. I have to drive more on a day-to-day basis for my commute, so it's only fair.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Let's Get This Party Started

Last night I took my last birth control pill. While Victor and I aren't in baby-making mode quite yet, we've decided that I should stop taking the pills to give my body some time to get used to life without extra hormones. We'll use other methods to prevent right now, but we both agreed that if I were to get knocked up, we could handle it. I read an amazing book called Taking Charge of Your Fertility that explains how to chart your waking temperature and the texture of some down-there stuff (okay, I'll be a's cervical mucous) to determine when you're most likely to be fertile. Maybe I am a nerd, but I am SO EXCITED! I'm a scientist and this undertaking is like an experiment on myself. I think seeing that first temperature spike (which means ovulation) will be so cool. And I'm going to tell you, Internets, all about it. My mama would be so proud.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Burning Bras and Sterilizing Bottles

On Friday afternoon I was talking to my group director (my boss’ boss) and she mentioned to me that she wanted to start getting me ready to be promoted. Obviously, I should be happy, right? I do a good job and am glad other people recognize it. But instead of making me happy, this news has left me conflicted.

You see, Victor and I have a plan. The plan is as follows: a) Victor gets a new job (he is currently temporary research faculty and his position is renewed yearly), b) we move and buy a house, and c) I get pregnant and become a stay-at-home mom. I like this plan, I really do, and I’m going to stick with it if at all possible. I truly want to stay at home with my children so I can take great care of them and of my husband. I dream about being able to fix Victor’s lunch and write love notes on his napkin, about taking my kids to play dates and soccer games, and about having time to do domestic things like gardening and canning my own tomato sauce.

But, every once in a while a tiny nagging voice says that my dreams coming true might mean living with regret. I studied hard in college, got good grades, and went to one of the top graduate schools in the country for biological research. I have done work at my company that most people said would be impossible. I love science and doing experiments and I’m good at it. Sometimes I get scared that I will miss it, but I think my reaction is more related to the external than the internal.

The feminists of the twentieth century fought for equal rights. They wanted women to be able to get good educations and to be successful professionally. Some women I’ve met along my educational and professional journey tell me that leaving science would be a waste of talent and that being a full time mom will not fulfill me. I think what they are forgetting is that women have fought for a choice, not for a mandate. I chose to get a good education and job and I can also choose to leave that job. I will not be wasting my talent, I’ll just be redirecting it to another pursuit.

I do not judge women who choose to work rather than stay home with their kids, but I do not think I could be happy with my performance as a mother if worked outside the home. If I have a daughter I will teach her that she should do what she is passionate about at all stages of her life. Study the things that interest her, get involved the activities she enjoys, and do something that makes her excited to get out of bed in the morning. Right now that for me is science, but soon (I hope) it will be the screaming baby in the next room. For now I do my best at my job, but then I will be doing my best at raising my kids to be kind, thoughtful, smart, driven people. And you can bet that my kid will beat your kid’s ass in the school science fair.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I wasn't aware that was a medical condition

I went to the radiology office today to get an ultrasound of my thyroid. I've always had borderline low thyroid function and my old doctor in R-ville gave me good medicine that helped me stay awake for more than 12 hours at time. When I moved to my current location for graduate school the university health docs weren't so useful and now I'm trying to get back on medicine as part of the LORETTA PREPARES TO CONCEIVE project. More on that later... My new doctor here is a very thorough diagnostician and ordered a bazillion tests to figure out exactly how to treat me.

The ultrasound technician asked me why I was getting the test and whether thyroid disease ran in my family. I told her yes, it came from my mom's side. Her: "oh, I know how that is. I inherited fat thighs from my mom."

In case I go missing

This is Alyosha. I named him after the youngest brother in The Brothers Karamazov, which I was reading when I obtained him five years ago. According to this quiz, there is a 93% chance he is plotting my demise. He looks innocent here, but I bear the scars to prove otherwise. Even when I am on vacation sans cat, I never let my limbs hang off the bed. Internet, if you find a litany of blog posts that say only "meow", you'll know that Ally's plan has come to fruition.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Insert foot here

Cheerful people annoy me. Don't get me wrong, I'm a pretty happy person and want others to be happy too. But for some reason it bothers me when someone is indiscriminately smiley, bouncing around like they just won the lottery ALL THE TIME. In fact, sometimes I think people like that are a little lacking in the brains department. I know that this judgement of mine is probably unsubstantiated, but it's there.

So last night at a dance (Victor and I are swing dancers) I saw a girl who had a perma-grin plastered across her face. She was smiling at all the guys and acting like everything was so fabulously hysterical. I pointed her out to Victor with some kind of comment about how much she was irritating me. He laughed, and turned to our friend B to tell him that I am a "hater". B tried to find out who I was talking about but I wouldn't tell him because, you know, I don't want to be mean (FYI, it's not badmouthing if you just say it to your spouse). A little later another friend asked me to dance, and then Victor and B continued talking. On the way home Victor told me that B admitted to dating the SAME GIRL I had mentioned to him. B kept asking Victor if it was her that I had said was annoying. Thankfully, my heroic husband denied it (whew!).

Victor told me I shouldn't have judged her to be dumb because she is actually a dentist. I humbly accepted his chiding while all at the same time thinking, "how is it possible for someone who drills teeth all day to be SO FREAKING CHEERFUL?"

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Now I Definitely Can't Let Victor Read My Blog

This weekend I met up with some girls I found on the Internet, booked a swanky hotel room, and strutted around in my lingerie with them. That's right, I let girls I had never met before see me in my underwear. SLUT!

A couple of friends I met on a local board on TheKnot and I decided to have boudoir pictures taken for our husbands. We found an awesome photographer and makeup artist and arranged to have a marathon session so we could split the cost of the hotel room. Victor's and my first wedding anniversary is in April and I thought that I'd make a book of pictures of me before I get pregnant, old, and saggy. (I doubt those Hallmark folks imagined anything like this when they decided that the "correct" first anniversary gift is supposed to be paper!).

It actually required quite a gallant effort to even get to my hometown (for the sake of simplicity, let's call it R-ville) for this event. I told Victor I was going to R-ville because a lot of Knottie ladies were having a big get together...I didn't even have to lie! Shopping for and storing the little items I wore in my pictures was a little more difficult, but I managed to get the stuff and hide it in the back of the closet. The real challenge was packing, but the FAA helped me. The night before I left I feigned a panic. "Victor! I can't take my [insert random beauty products here] to R-ville because they are in containers larger than 3 ounces!" I cried. Our unsuspecting hero galloped (drove) to Target to buy me some travel size bottles and I was able to pack without him.

The actual picture taking was a truly excellent experience. When else does an average-looking girl get to strut her stuff while onlookers whistle and photographers perform gravity-defying stunts of furniture climbing to get the best angle on you? I had three different outfit changes: a pink slip, Victor's dress shirt with some red lacy undergarments, and a lavender and black lace corset with a garter that I would describe as ridiculous. Ridiculous, but HAWT, at least according to Fredericks of Hollywood.

(As an aside, I imagine it's not very easy to walk across the room to fetch a beer and slice of pizza in tight lingerie that you have to keep adjusting and high heels, so if men really knew what was good for them they'd find sweats and slipper sexy).

I was pretty nervous at the beginning, but after my third glass of wine kicked in I started getting into the part. I've seen a few of the shots and Internet, my hubby is a lucky man if I do say so myself. If any adolescent boys have accidentally stumbled across this blog, sorry, you're not going to be so lucky.

Victor has been trying to guess what I'm getting him for his anniversary present. I like to keep the suspense high so I have him ask questions and give clues, which may confuse him more. Victor: "Is it something I'll use in 20 years?" Me: "You'll probably need it more then than you do now."