In other news, my mom is getting a divorce

So, now that I have moved to the Bay area and things were looking like they were going to be calm for the next month or so, a new emotional crisis has arisen: my mom is getting a divorce.

My parents got divorced when I was 15 and all I can say about that is thank God because they were absolutely miserable together. Sure, it sucked. Sure, our family was thrown into turmoil and I blamed myself (my parents got married in the first place because my mom was pregnant with me). But, overall, the thing made sense because, for various reasons, my parent’s marriage was a disaster.

Flash forward a few years and my mother got remarried just before my senior year in college. I was happy for her, even if she was treating her older children like they didn’t exist for awhile (Sis was something like 8 or 9 at the time and therefore was still very much a part of Mom’s life whereas I was in school far away in Boston at the time and it was out of sight, out of mind, it seemed). For awhile it was, “2ndhusband this,” and, “2ndhusband that,” and “2ndhusband wants to do this instead of visiting you because 2ndhusband hates the city that you live in,” and that got old fast. But, by and large it looked like 2ndhusband was good for Mom and they were happy together. After a few years, it seemed like Mom was learning how to balance her new husband and her older children and that was great. 2ndhusband still didn’t want to visit my city so Mom came without him. Things were hunky-dory.

Flash forward a few more years and now you have my sister living with her fiance and pregnant. Her fiance can’t keep a job to save his life. Sis and her fiance are really struggling and Mom helps them out every now and again. 2ndhusband doesn’t like that fiance doesn’t work steadily but how can we fix that?

Flash forward more time to present day. Sis and fiance have 2 kids and they are still struggling and Mom is still helping them a little bit. Sis and family are living right around the poverty line. Fiance is now a stay at home dad because he can’t find a job that will pay him enough to have the kids in day care. 2ndhusband is getting more and more upset with this situation. He doesn’t like Fiance. He doesn’t like Mom helping Sis and Fiance. He thinks they should stop helping them entirely because it is wrong to support Fiance when he can’t get a job. They bicker about it.

Then, last week, 2ndhusband announces he wants a divorce. Helping Sis and Fiance is “eating him up inside” and he can’t stand it anymore and since Mom insists on helping them, that’s it, they’re through. He actually tells Mom one of the reasons for the divorce is that he can’t stand she puts her kids before him. What kind of an asshole says something like that?! Other reasons cited: he can’t make her happy anymore (Mom didn’t realize she was unhappy), something about sex (please Mom, don’t need to know anything more about that one), and well, that’s it.

Granted, this is all from Mom’s perspective so we could be missing stuff. But, my mom is baffled. There was no warning, no, “We need to resolve this issue because it is making me unhappy with our marriage,” no, “If things don’t get better, we should consider a divorce,” no nothing. It’s left us all shaking our heads wondering, WTF? WTF is he thinking? Where is this coming from? Is there someone else? Because that might make some sense. Right now, nothing makes sense.

There’s more, so much more, but I think I’ve spilled enough family drama for the day. Now, I need to call my mother.

Alone time and distractions

I have yet to reach 10 hours of thesis writing time and that has been for two reasons.  First, today is the first time I’ve been alone in the apt.  I can’t write with my husband around.  He gets offended when I say things like, “Do not talk to me unless the apartment is burning down.”  In our old apartment the desk and all of my stuff for writing were in the living room.  So, if he was home, he would either have to stay in the bedroom and not come out, or sit in the living room and not talk and not walk around and basically not do anything in order for me to be able to concentrate.  Need I say that was essentially an impossibility?

Now, we are in our new, two bedroom apt. and the second bedroom is set up as an office.  You’d think I’d be home free, right?  You’d be wrong.  The office is the least complete of all of the rooms in the apt.  First of all, it has the boxes of books that go in the living room.  Those boxes can’t be unpacked until Husband takes his work stuff into his new job (Thurs. is his first official day) because the work stuff is blocking the living room bookcases.  In the living room boxes of books is a lot of my thesis stuff so I really need to unpack at least one of those boxes.

Second of all, in addition to the boxes, everything else that doesn’t currently have a home in the apt. is in the office.  And, there is no space on the desk due to a large collection of computer wires that Husband says he’s going to organize.  There’s no space to put your legs under the desk because a little file cabinet is there because there is currently  no other place to put it because there are unpacked boxes in there, boxes which contain my thesis stuff.  Argh!

So, not a lot of thesis writing going on.

So, my goal for the week is to get a work area set up in the office and find my thesis stuff.  If I can sneak in an hour of writing, that would be great, too, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

Public Service Announcement: Me and My Diva

Today, I thought I’d talk about something a little bit personal (I know, you’re shocked).  This may or may not fall into the TMI category.

Men, if female problems make you squeamish, you might want to skip this post.  You have been warned.

Ladies, today I’m going to tell you about a product that literally changed my life.  But first, a little background.

I got my period in 5th grade.  It’s been the bane of my existence since then.  My periods were, and have always been since then, very heavy.  This was a problem because I’d have to go to the bathroom frequently to change my pad and the teacher was always wondering why I had to go to the bathroom so much.  It further was a problem because I’d have to take my purse with me, thus alerting everyone to the fact that I was “on the rag” (or so I thought at the time).  The other problem was my mother.

Mom didn’t have heavy periods.  She had normal, manageable periods.  Therefore, she couldn’t understand why the pads that had served her well all these years were not working well for me (there was no question of tampons except for when I had my period while I was in swimming lessons).  She yelled at me because there were stains on my underwear.  I wanted the fancy pads with wings.  She told me they were expensive and I didn’t need them.  Eventually, I got them, but it was a struggle.

Things went on like this until I got to high school when, in addition to having a heavy period, I started getting cramps.  Lovely.

Finally, I got on the pill.  It was supposed to take care of all of my problems with my period.  It didn’t.  My periods were still heavy, and my cramps were worse.  I tried many different pill formulations but nothing made it better.  A couple of them made things worse (two-week period, anyone?).  Then, one day, I ran out of my Rx and I couldn’t get in to get an exam (which they required once a year in order to be on the pill) and so I went off the pill.  Things got slightly better immediately.  My periods got a couple days shorter, the cramps weren’t debilitating and my mood improved so that for the first time I had total remission from depression.

The problem of the heavy period remained, though.  They’ve gotten worse over the years.  I’m pretty sure if I was bleeding this heavily from my arm, it would be cause for major concern.  In the years since I was a kid struggling through this, I had discovered tampons.  This was good because it meant that if I had a tampon (the biggest, heavy dutiest one I could find) and a pad (the biggest, most absorbant one I could find), I might be able to go as much at two hours without going to the bathroom.  Not ideal.

Then, one day, I was reading a knitting blog and the author just had to tell us about a product that had made all the difference in the world to her.  The menstrual cup (check out that link, it has all the information you could ever want about the various models on the market).  A menstrual cup is, well, a cup that gets inserted into the vagina while you have your period.  You then empty the cup as necessary.  The blogger who told me about this cup was so in love with hers, I decided to try one for myself.  I purchased the Diva Cup.

I fell in love with it immediately.  Initially, I had some issues inserting the Diva Cup and getting it to pop open (you have to fold it up to get it in, then it needs to open up fully in order to be effective), but I found a livejournal site that has all kinds of information and helpful advice.

Now, for the life-changing part.  I no longer have to go to the bathroom every couple of hours even on my heaviest days.  On the lighter days, I can go all day without having to empty it.  It truly is a miracle product for me.  I don’t have to worry so much about the availability of a bathroom.  I can go on long car rides without having to stop all the time.  I can fly on a plane without worrying about whether I’ll get stuck in turbulence and not be able to go to the bathroom.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not perfect.  I still have to wear a pad at night on my heaviest days because it will leak due to overflowing.  But, that is so much better than worrying about whether I’m going to stain my pajamas and the sheets everytime I go to bed.

I’ve saved quite a bit of money on tampons and pads.  And it’s better for the environment.  And, it’s no problem if I get to a bathroom and they say don’t flush tampons.  There’s no risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome.  You can wear it overnight, no problem.  When it’s in, you don’t feel it at all.

I wrote this post because most of the women I talk to have never heard of menstrual cups.  All of the doctors and nurses I have talked to have never heard of menstrual cups.  That means there are a lot of women out there who are suffering like I did and could really be helped if only they knew about the cups.  So, this is my attempt to educate some women about a product that can really make a difference in their lives.

So, that’s the story of me and my Diva.  I hope that some of you try it (or one of the other cups) and it works as wonderfully for you as it does for me.  If you do try it, or if you already use one, give a shout out in the comments and tell us what you think.

Dear Universe: a little help please

Dear Universe,

While I appreciate that you do not revolve around me, I was wondering if you could cut me some slack here.  See, I’m trying to write my thesis and I’m having a bit of difficulty.  In addition to the extreme lack of motivation I have for writing (which I realize is totally not your fault) in the last three days there has been:

  • Major construction going on in the apt. above me (Tues.)
  • A friend that I have not seen in over 10 years in town (Wed.)
  • A steady drip of water from my ceiling (leading to more construction upstairs).  AND tree trimmers outside.  All.Day.Long. (Today)

As you might imagine, these things have not been helping the thesis writing.  It’s really hard to concentrate with all of that hammering, sawing, and (I think) shop vaccing that’s going on.  And it’s really important to me to get some work done this week because we are moving at the end of next week which is going to make it difficult to do any work until things get settled again.

So, if you could see your way clear to refrain from sending any more distractions my way, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks much,

Mrs Whatsit

P.S.  If you could also get my advisor to read the drafts I keep sending him, that would be totes awesome.  Thx.

Blog Block

I’ve been suffering a little writer’s block lately when it comes to the blog.  As you might imagine, not being in lab eliminates most of the previous blog fodder.  So, I need to find other things to talk about, I suppose.  The thing is, this blog mostly has an identity as a “disgruntled grad student” blog.  Now that I’m not so much disgruntled (does that make me gruntled?) I’m not sure where this blog fits in my life and the blogging community at large.

This is almost certainly related to the fact that I don’t know where I fit in society anymore.  I don’t have a job.  I’m still technically a grad student but I’m not in classes or in lab or even on campus.  I’m writing my thesis, but slowly so as not to overwhelm myself and what does that really mean anyway?  I mean, I have a really bad feeling that if I got all gung ho and tried to work on my thesis more for than an hour on any one day, I might collapse into a depression.  Am I just paranoid or is this really a valid concern?  I don’t know.

So, posting may be light while I try to get a handle on things.  Maybe I should try something simple like twitter.  Surely, I could manage 140 characters or less on a semi-regular basis?