Thursday, May 31, 2012

One More Thing I Didn't Know I Needed

Or perhaps more rightly: one more thing I know I don't need.

I am talking about Pinterest.

First there was my family blog. Then came Facebook. Followed by groups on Facebook. Netflix and Words With Friends, naturally. Pinterest may be the most compelling waste of time yet. OK, there is value there - but I know I am going to get sucked in.

I am flirting with the idea of joining Pinterest. I have visited the site and looked around. I even snagged a couple of great ideas for my daughters birthday party that were a huge success.

I hear people talking about it. They have me convinced Pinterest is the next hot thing to consume all my time, and have me spending money in my dreams and searching the interenet just so I can pin something.

Do I go there? Do I dare?

What would I have to give up to be part of that group? I suppose I could skip bath time for the kids. But that only happens 2 or 3 times a week these days. Maybe I could skip... I can't think of anything else.

My downtime is no longer relaxing, it is filled with stuff. Some of it good, some of it not so much.

Goodness what did I do with all that time that I wasn't spending some 5 years ago before all these distractions?

I am going to cast the blame squarely on residency. It has to be the culprit. If my husband were home more often I would be doing something productive, because I can't stand to look like I am doing nothing. I save that for when no one is looking. Being married to a resident means no one is looking most of the time.

I might be cooking a delicious dinner. I don't cook much because my kids don't like to eat what I like to cook. And I don't call making kid friendly food cooking. Oh, and cooking requires getting to the grocery store. I seem to do that as little as possible.

I might be cleaning. But cleaning when you have a  house full of kids is the definition of redundancy. I can only walk around picking up things for so long. My strategy has long been to pick it up once when they go to bed. I really should train my kids to take care of it. Bad mom. I have pulled out the trash bags a few times - that is my favorite, because I know that particular mess will never return. (I don't throw them away, I donate).

I might be creating something lovely. (I need Pinterest!) That would require that I go somewhere to get materials to make something. That means my kids would have to come, and I leave the house as little as possible when they are all together. Creating also means making a mess before the beauty comes to life. I can't handle another mess.

I might ponder, meditate, read something uplifting. But that would require total silence. I have forgotten what that is exactly. I could make a great nun. What is that period they go through when they don't speak a word. Sign me up!

Residency has driven me to some extremes. I have a feeling I will be spending the Fellowship year on Pinterest. I have already talked myself into it. So much for willpower, I am going to request my invite.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Triple Threat

There are three things that threaten every relationship, but particularly relationships involving medical training: Sleep, Money, Time. Any of the three experienced in singularity are an annoyance, but when working together they have the capacity to fatally wound the parties involved.

This triple threat is what makes medical life unique. At some time or another every person, regardless of occupation/profession, experiences one or two simultaneously. But how often do all three make an appearance? How often do all three linger for weeks, months, or years?

Sleep: I have had a small glimpse of what it means to be sleep deprived, but only in cycles. I have small children. Currently, I am working on a stretch of almost a year without an uninterrupted night of sleep. That is almost 365 nights that I have woken up to take care of someone else. I am optimistic that it is almost over, but also realistic - we are in a state of transit, and no one is sleeping well. I can't very well expect my baby to sleep through the night when I keep moving around from one place to the other. When we get settled, it's on.... that baby will sleep!

Money: That is something I know all too well. There were a few times that we were able to relax and felt like we had abundance. But those times were usually isolated to tax return season, and the two glorious months each year when the payroll cycles worked to our favor - like hitting the jackpot. But outside of those times there was a lot of doing without.  I can list all of the things we lived without, didn't experience, didn't eat, didn't do. But I won't, it's depressing. One wrong step and down you go. I'm not going there. But we made it!

Time: How did DrH accomplish anything? Mowing the yard, shoveling snow, running, cycling, studying. He had time. The problem was there weren't any large blocks of time. An entire weekend? Not often. An entire week off? When we had babies. A Friday night where he was home before 5:00, can't recall many. Time that could just be enjoyed leisurely.... No. There was always something to do, some place to go, some one to call. Downtime, real downtime, is what is in short supply. You know the time when you can just sit and talk about nothing in particular. Time that you can spend walking aimlessly without anywhere to go. Time you can spend without worrying about how it is going to make the rest of your day ridiculously hectic.

It's hard to assign an impact rating to these three relationship threats. Is it the lack of sleep? Is it the lack of money? It is the lack of time? Which one pushes things over the edge?

I have tried to figure it out over the last 6 years and have come to this conclusion: I don't know which one is to blame, but when they are present together it's time to put on your game face and plow through it.

During residency there is plenty of sleep deprivation, cash deprivation, and time deprivation. Maybe residency should be renamed "deprivation". If anyone asked what your husband is doing you could respond he is doing his "Deprivation" at the local hospital. Seems self explanatory to me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

From My Inbox

Occasionally things are delivered to my inbox that make me go "huh". This was one of them.

Hey There!

I wanted to send you some information on a television show I am working on. We are looking for wives of in demand doctors who live on Long Island or female doctors. 

They way that docu-series casting works, is we start by emailing the casting information to anyone we know who is a doctors wife OR that may know doctors wives or ways to contact them (work/personal email blasts etc). 

It would be fantastic if you were interested in this opportunity, if not I encourage you to PLEASE pass this information on to as many people as possible so word gets around about the casting. From there we interview the potential talent for the show and create our fabulous cast!

Some more information about the show:

This is a new docu-series that will follow the fabulous lives of an elite group of women from Long Island.

The series will focus on women whose lives are connected to the MEDICAL industry. We are currently casting women between the ages of 35 and 55 who are either in the medical field or married to someone who is! (Pediatricians, Plastic Surgeons, Cardiologists, Vets etc)

If you or your spouse is an in-demand doctor or surgeon who is balancing a thriving career, a family, and a glamorous society lifestyle, we want to hear from you!

This is a unique and selective casting opportunity. For more information please contact me at:


This email was received months ago so I don't know if they are still looking:-) Sounds an awful lot like one of the many Housewives of XYZ shows that are so popular now.  Maybe one day instead of reading blogs about the lives of doctors wives we will be watching them. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day!

I am having a difficult time writing today so I am going to keep it brief.

How many holidays does your family celebrate together? 

In my previous life (BM - before medicine) I worked in the financial sector and we had the following holidays off every year, in addition to general Paid Time Off (PTO). I am beginning to wonder if I even worked with all that time off.

New Years Day
Martin Luther King Jr Day
Presidents Day
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Veterans Day

There might have been others, too. If any of these holidays happened to land on a day that we normally didn't work (Saturday/Sunday - who works weekends?), we took either the day before or after off. Heaven forbid we didn't get all of our paid holidays in addition to all of our vacation time and every full weekend.

The people that I worked with were crazy about holidays. Requesting time off around any of the 3 day weekends was akin to gladiator fighting. There were always a few who would pull the seniority cared "I've been here for 20 years, and have taken this holiday off every year". That was the worse part of managing staff. 

In our house, AM (after medicine), we are lucky if we get one of the holidays each year to spend together. A hospital is open 24/7, 365 days a year. It may be a holiday but at the hospital it feels like any other day. In fact, a holiday almost insures a full ER (increased alcohol consumption = increased ER visits). A full ER means consults for the surgeon. Consults mean there is a possibility of surgery. Surgery means the hamburgers and brats will be stale before he gets home.

This year we are celebrating alone, but only because we are in different states. We are going to a BBQ alone, like we have almost every year before. It's not that bad. After a while you get used to it and find other things to celebrate.

Happy Memorial Day! Be responsible. Drive safe. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Nap time is the NEW Happy Hour

A friend of mine had a post of this same title a few years ago. I can't remember a thing about the post, I remember the title and that there was a book with the same name. I haven't read it. I don't need to read it to know it is TRUE!

When you are doing the family thing alone, (and you know I am, you probably are too) any moment of quiet time is seized upon like the last bread stick in the basket at Olive Garden. As a mother I feel guilty saying that my favorite time of the day is when the kids are in bed. It is true.

Now that my kids have gotten older, nap time isn't what it used to be. Only one of my children naps during the day, and I protect that nap with my life. When they all napped I was like Hallelujah! Those two hours mid-day is just what I need to maintain my sanity. I am a little less sane these days.

I wish I could get my children in bed earlier! I have followed the counsel of Dr. Mark Weissbluth the author of the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" for all four kids! I am pretty sure he has saved my life, or in the least gave me permission to not feel guilty about putting my kids in bed.

During medical school and residency it was tempting to keep the baby(s) up so they could see dad when he came home from school/work. But in the end it just made the kids grumpier and mama bear ready to show some teeth. Armed with Dr. Weissbluth's wisdom I could put the kids down guilt free, and enjoy a moment or two with DrH when he got home.

Some days the kids wouldn't see their dad. But it was a gamble keeping them up.... they might not see their dad anyway and I would have tired and grumpy kids to deal with. It wasn't a gamble I took very often.

Dr. Weissbluth is an advocate for early bedtimes for children. I would love to have my kids in bed by 7:00 pm. And once upon a time they used to be. Those were the days!

Now, thanks to things like Daylight Savings Time and Summer - that darn sun that never sets early enough to give the right cues, it is more like 8:00 pm. I really need it to be 7:00 again. Even better would be 6:30 pm.

I love that he is very scientific and has graphs and charts in his book. He suggestions (and I wholly agree) that children who are well rested learn better, behave better, are more sociable, and have happier mothers (I added that last one, but I am sure that he would agree). I have some great kids - I can say that when they are in bed:-)

When I read his book, I tell myself the title is "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Mommy". If I don't sleep.... oh, it is bad. When my children don't sleep, it is bad. When we both don't sleep well enough - you'd better watch out, it is going to be a rough day.

If you have a baby, toddler, preschooler, or school aged child this is a great book and I highly recommend it. I have read it with each of my children and re-read sections of it periodically as we are experiencing changes in our sleep routines. I can tell when my kids haven't had enough sleep, and when I haven't too. Sleep is a big deal!

We just had a rough day. They need to sleep. I need to sleep. Goodnight.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Delivery Boy

This is totally random, but it struck me as profound when I realized it.

My DrH and I were sitting on the couch watching the comedian Jim Gaffigan on Netflix. He is seriously funny, and his humor isn't raunchy. I don't like raunchy. He does talk an awful lot about food so I immediately feel a connection with him.

Jim (my funny friend who likes to talk about food) was doing a bit on how people order food from their favorite place and have it delivered, but how good can it be if we are too lazy to go get it ourselves ...yadda, yadda. It was funny, I am not funny - go check him out.

I looked at my husband and asked very seriously if we had ever ordered food and had it delivered. The answer was NO. I am in awe that in 8 years we have never, ever, had food delivered to us. Not a pizza, not Chinese, nothing. We do eat out, but we go pick it up. We have never even had a discussion contemplating whether we should have something delivered. The thought hasn't even crossed our mind!

That is the ultimate in cheap. No tip, no delivery fee.

I am feeling like I may need to order something just to say I have! As I write that sentence I realize at the present moment that would be completely ridiculous. We have a pizza place less than a mile away.... that would be the ultimate in lazy. I'll have to wait for a time to make it really worthwhile. Who am I kidding, I probably won't do it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Happy 1 Year!

How did I miss this very important milestone. This blog is a year old!

It has been a CRAZY year. Husband started chief year, prepares for fellowship, we have a baby, sell a house, move cross country twice, live apart for two months - some pretty significant events in such a short period of time, and it just keeps on coming.

I feel like I need to add a disclosure somewhere (and maybe I will) that posts written between such and such date need to be read with those events in mind. Any one of those could incapacitate a person and I may have been a little crazy:-) Shhhh... no comments on how I might still be crazy.

I started this blog as a private adventure on May 5th so I wouldn't explode, and can't remember when I removed the private setting and went public (although anonymous). I know it was sometime later that month, but since I can't recall with certainty I am celebrating today.

I find it absolutely amazing that anybody even reads this! I am glad you do. Thank you. To date this blog has had over 15,000 page views, and I know they can't all be mine. Many of you have followed my blog from its infancy, added it to your blog rolls and suggested it to friends. You have left comments that lifted my spirits and reminded me that even while feeling alone, we are never alone. I consider each of you my friend and confidant.

Here is to another year. I wonder if fellowship will gives me something to write about:-) Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Party Don't Start Until I Walk In

I am a stickler for timeliness. In some situations I would rather not show up at all then show up late. I make a conscious effort to be on time for everything.

When someone says 5:00 I am there at 5:00. Not 4:55 or 5:10, but 5:00. This has often been a source of frustration in my marriage. I just assumed that DrH wasn't as concerned with time as I was, and faulted him for his lack of interest in being on time. I find it rude to be late. He doesn't think anything of it.

I am sure the people at church have thought that the reason we are late sometimes is because I am getting all done up. I like to look good, but I give myself plenty of time. Often it is my husband who isn't ready when it is time to go. 

I pride myself as being somewhat of a genius when it comes to time. I can estimate with a high degree of accuracy how long something will take, how soon we will arrive somewhere, etc. It even impresses my husband. I am so good I can even translate his "I'll be home in 15 minutes" into real time. It is never 15 minutes.

As we were getting ready to close on our house I had made arrangements for us to be at our attorney's office at 3:00 to sign a Power Of Attorney. It was 2:45 and my DrH wasn't even dressed. He was in between cases, but had been home for at least an hour, and was headed to clinic right after signing the papers. He had plenty of time to get ready, he just choose to do something else.

Since we were taking two vehicles anyway I left so that at least one of us would be there on time and I would try to explain my husbands absence if it was necessary. Wouldn't you know I got to be the one waiting and he walked in just as she is pulling the papers out for signatures. It took me 15 minutes and he waltzes in for 45 seconds.

A few days later he was able to summarize his position on time. "Nothing starts until I get there". Oh my goodness - he has turned into a surgeon! In his field that is right. It doesn't matter when he shows up, they can't start without him, so he gets there when he gets there. Nothing ever starts on time in his world. Not because he is the one holding things up, but because there are numerous other variables that determine the actual start time of a case. Rather than showing up on time and having to wait, he just goes late expecting to walk in and get started! 

As a surgeon I understand that his time is valuable, and that waiting is not the best use of his time. The problem I have is that his attitude has trickled down to every other event that has a predetermined start time. I am glad that I understand his view of time as a mere suggestion - but I am having a difficult time reconciling it with my view of time as a manifestation of good manners and polite social behaviors.

Maybe I will have to start employing the "little white lie" strategy adding an extra 30 minutes to every event. Yes, dinner is at 4:30 :-)

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Family

It isn't fair to compare my family to my husbands family.

For starters, mine is larger and 3 of my 4 siblings live within 45 minutes of my parents. The siblings who live here have 14 cousins for my kids to see compared to two on my husbands side.

My parents are significantly younger and they live in a small town, unlike my in-laws who are in a metropolitan area and 15 years older.

When we visit my parents we share their home, their meals, their late night talks, and their errands. When we visit my in-laws we miss out on all of those things (because we don't stay with them, we stay in their guest house 25 minutes away).

We haven't done anything spectacular while we have been with my parents. We have done the every day stuff that makes you feel like you are part of a family. We have watched my nieces t-ball games, cleaned my sisters kitchen, celebrated a birthday, went to a school carnival, shopped at Wal-mart, rearranged furniture, ate ice cream, talked, watched late night tv, etc. We have shared a part of their life, or rather they have let us share a piece of their life.

This is what I have wanted all along. Nothing planned, nothing scheduled... just being together. This is what I was missing when we were with my husbands family. This is what we have been missing by living so far away!

Oh, I am well aware that this is really just the honeymoon period. We have only been at my parents for two weeks and have 3+ more to go. Overall, I think I have it pretty good in the family area. Ask me again in another month, I may have changed my mind.

Living close enough to be together for little things and the big things would be wonderful. It is one of the criteria we will certainly consider in our job ongoing job search. Sadly, there are others that trump family, but I am hopeful we can find something close enough to make time with our family more than just a yearly occurrence. I want my kids to know their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Copy Paper Gifts

Because I took a large chunk of time off from blogging I realized that I missed some topics that I wanted to cover. So I am going back in time.

We celebrated our anniversary a couple of months ago. It coincided with our house hunting trip so technically we had a lavish celebration staying in hotels and eating out for a long weekend.

If you recall I purchased my husband a hard back copy of Harry Potter volume one. Romantic right? But I never followed up with what he got me!

For a long time I have wanted a matching diamond band to wear with my engagement ring and wedding band. We have never had the money to buy one... there was always something else we needed. More specifically, there was always something else that the house needed. Darn home ownership! (Yep, I could have bought lots of diamonds without that house:-)

This year I was surprised! There was a small bag with a small jewelry box inside. Can you guess what was in the box?

There was a picture of the ring that I want. It wasn't even a color copy but a true to size photocopy of the ring that I would like.... one day. He successfully convinced the jewelry store to make the copy, give him a bag and box, and they even threw in chocolates:-) He must have told him that he was a poor resident and that one day he would be a full fledged doctor who will be buying diamonds (I hope). How many husbands would go through that kind of trouble for a photocopy gift? He also took my rings in to have them cleaned so they were sparkly and new for our anniversary. So sweet.

For all of our married years we have at one time or another given "IOU" gifts. They are really sweet, and because it is the thought that counts it feels almost as good as getting the real thing. I cherish the gifts that he would have purchased if he could have. I know our time is coming to an end (finally!), and that shortly we will have the means to purchase the real deal. Knowing that makes me a little sad. Just a little.

When you don't have much you use your imagination and get creative. I hope we can keep a little of that as we move through the next chapters of our more potentially prosperous life. Here's hoping medicine is still a profitable career choice when we have a paycheck!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Super Secret Identity Spoiler

Clark Kent has Superman.

Peter Parker has Spiderman.

Bruce Wayne has Batman.

What do I have in common with this totally awesome group of male comic book heroes? Mystery. They each have two different persona's. One is their every day, nose to the grind stone, average, nothing extraordinary self. The other is their all out, fearless, defender of truth and right "secret" self. They can do what they do because no one knows who is doing it.

I only saw the movies and never read the comic books. From that brief knowledge of super heroes  I know that they save the revelation of their true identities until the very end when they kiss the girl and take off the mask.

My story isn't over yet! I like to think I am just getting started, and it's only fun if I can pretend that my identify is still somewhat secret. The mask is still on and until I am ready to take it off, no one is getting kissed! 

What I love so much about this blog is that it is real. It is my reality. I am not trying to sugar coat what is happening because I want you to think that I am awesome, or because I want your pity. If you don't know me there can't be any pretense, or exaggeration. I can tell it like it is without wondering what people will think of me as a person with a name. It also allows me to shield the identity of my husband as he is embarking on his career. Thus, no name.

I have a pretty smart group of readers, that much is obvious. I may have tipped some of you off inadvertently, or slipped up and you caught me. Leaving clues has never been in the plan, and I'll have to pay more attention. I am sorry that the element of anonymity has been spoiled for you. 

A friendly reminder to all those who have guessed correctly and incorrectly in the past: Play along for now, please. If you need me to know that you know... you can send me a message that I will neither confirm or deny:-) I will delete blog comments that include my name or appear to be identifying me in any way. It makes me sad to do that, because I love comments - just not ones that (intentionally or accidently) try to attach a name to the author.

One day, when the time is right I will post my complete bio including name, height and weight. Maybe not weight.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Homeschooling and House Hunting

Because I mentioned this in my previous post it reminded me of something else that was rather interesting.

Back in March we took a long weekend and flew into our fellowship destination to do a little house hunting. We had a realtor along with us, and she was great. Unfortunately, she wasn't exactly an expert in the area we were looking at. The last time she had seen this part of the greater metropolitan area it was horse ranches. She even asked us if we had horses. So our trip was her reintroduction to the area.

Did I mention we are moving to one of the 5 largest cities in America! Did I mention we are coming form a city that even as part of a twin-city hardly makes any ranking list of importance?! It was huge. I can't fault her for not knowing about a neighborhood that is on the other side of town from where she lives. It might as well have been in another state.

Maybe we should have found a different realtor, but my husbands uncle is a realtor and referred us to her. He did a ton of leg work and even though she didn't know everything, she has been great finding out what we need, and offering to drive over and look at places for us since we can't make another trip out. We like her, we are keeping her.

Back to our story though. As we flew in we had our list with the properties we wanted to see, 8 in total. We looked at pictures online and ranked our list. Of course the one we liked the most in pictures was also the most expensive. It always is.

Because we got in the day before we were going to meet the realtor, we drove out to the property that we really liked to take a look. It was great. In a nice new development, or rather a master planned community. Elementary schools right down the street. No backyard neighbors. From the outside it all looked great.

And then we looked up. No backyard neighbors because the house backed up to huge power lines. Gigantic, massive, ominous power lines. If we were buying that would certainly be a no-no, but we are renting, we can be more flexible.

The next day we visited all the properties on our list, this one that we knew we would really like was last. It almost didn't happen because the owner forgot we were coming and left her LARGE dog free in the house. It looked like the kind of dog that wouldn't have a problem eating our baby (who was also with us). So we waited an hour, and then saw the house.

It was gorgeous. Just the right size, great kitchen, everything was perfect. It was the kind of house I could see us staying in for a few years  (if we didn't have to leave after a year). It was that great.

So we are excited and fill out our application, pay the application fee. Now we would have an entire day with nothing to do because we were so efficient. So that next morning we take off for the nearby beach without a care in the world, and feeling rather successful.

On our way back from the beach we call to ask about our application and how the meeting with the landlord went and the landlords realtor said: "Are you planning on private schools, or home schooling?" To which we responded that we weren't planning on either, and she replied, "In good conscience I need to mention that the house is in a different school district and the children listed on your application will be bused out of the neighborhood to a different school. You may want to look at it."

That raised some red flags. I couldn't think of what she could mean. I had looked at each of the homes we had on our list and their school rankings. I wasn't overly concerned. I didn't want to send my kids to the worst school, but for one year an average school would be alright for a 2nd grader and kindergartner.

I realize not every shares my casual attitude towards education. It's not casual in the sense that I don't care, as much as it is casual as in I know I am involved in my children's education and don't plan on just turning them over to the school system and casual in the sense that one year isn't going to ruin my kids... I won't let that happen.

So I knew this particular school was performing just a little under average. But it was a great house, and I really liked it. After she had made her comment though we started digging around some more to figure out what she was getting at. And we found it.

When we looked at the demographics for the school, my husband said no way, and I wasn't far behind him. I realize this may sound racist, but when it came down to it the race of my children was represented in less than 1% of the student body of 650. It would most likely mean that our children would be the only one of their race in their class.

I am all for giving children diverse learning opportunities, but less than 1% isn't diversity, regardless of what your ethnicity is.

We drove by the school to get an idea for how far away they would be bused and realized that we were going into a part of town we didn't know about.  This brand new community was just off the freeway, but as soon as you passed the master planned community (heading toward the school) you passed into a completely different area. It went farmland and then heavy industrial and then there was the school. An old, ugly, poorly maintained building.

At least it appeared to be that bad in the dark, and was in stark contrast to the brand new schools we saw that were just down the street from the house we had looked at and wanted.

Do I home school? Private school tuition is out of the question for two kids. I could do it right? It is a great house. It would only be a year.

In the end I couldn't commit to home schooling my two kids just because this house was one that we loved. I had considered home schooling in the past, but never because I HAD to, it was always sort of an "if we need to". I like having options. This scenario didn't give us any options.

No house.

The next day our flight was leaving in the late afternoon, and we no longer had a house to rent. The landlord's realtor knew of another house in the neighborhood that was in a different school district that was just coming up for rent in the next week. It wasn't ready just yet, but offered to let us see it. We meet the landlord at the house as he was getting it prepared. We liked him. He liked us. He said he would hold it for us. We said we'll take it, and left.

A week later we get the rental contract and it had a starting date of May 15th. Well that isn't what we talked about. We aren't going to be there until almost July. Was this house worth paying a months rent on when we wouldn't be living there? NO!

I was really disappointed, again. I thought we had an agreement. That's the problem with a verbal agreement that doesn't include a realtor.

We think he probably would have honored his agreement, but his realtor who prepared the contract was a real fighter (as in you hope she is on your side, because if not you are going down). In principal I couldn't see paying for something we weren't going to live in, and let that one go too. We would wait and see.

Here we are the middle of May and in 6 weeks we need to be living in another state. We have nothing yet. My realtor sends me a report every morning with the houses that are in for rent in the area we want. I look, re-look, study, and make notes. I have a few that I am keeping an eye on. We will see which one is available when we are ready to commit.

The one thing I have realized about renting is that you can find a property and move in a week later. It isn't like buying a house that takes forever. I am not stressing. We will have a place to live. We will find what we need. We will find the right price. We will find the best location. Those are my daily affirmations.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

More on Mothering

Because I can't leave well enough alone I thought I would add another paragraph or two on mothering.

I am a good mom, of course I am. I could be a better mom, of course I could.

This point was driven home over the last month. In fact, Mother's Day marked the 1 month anniversary of our home closing. Can you believe a month has already passed? I can't!

During this month my sole responsibility has been in the care, feeding, and nurturing of my children. And guess what? I don't think I was doing much of that before!

When you are living without your "stuff", your luxuries and conveniences, distractions, etc that come with being settled in once place you realize how much of your time is taken up with non-essential functions. Being out of my surroundings has been good and bad.

Good because it has helped me focus on my main job: being a mother. There is no other choice, there is nothing to do. Bad because I hate to admit that I want something else to do, I like my distractions.

Truthfully, I have plenty to do - I just don't want to do it. Case in point: homeschooling

One of my friends is a home-schooling mama. She has a t-shirt with the superman logo on it that says Homeschool Mom. Homeschooling is not at all like I thought it would be.

Because my son left in the middle of a semester we could either transfer him to another school for the last few weeks or homeschool. Because we wanted to split our time between both of our parents homes as a type of extended vacation stay, I opted for homeschool. I had not idea what I was getting into.

My son and I go round and round all day. Me trying to get him to do his work, him trying to get out doing work. What should take 10 minutes takes 45 minutes. The majority of the time he is complaining about how unfair his life is and how I am not letting him have any fun. I know I am not having any fun.

I like to think this is just a product of being on "vacation" and that if our situation were different, this experiment might be different also. Everything might be different. Regardless I am in awe of women who can successfully homeschool their children. It is not easy being responsible for the execution of their education. I am still trying to figure out how they manage to shower, cook, and clean while undertaking that task. I get why she has that shirt. I would wear mine proudly, if I could actually do it.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Musings

I have suddenly, and quite rudely, discovered that mother's day isn't so much about your children honoring you, but about your husband recognizing what you do.

This became ever so clear as I spent this blessed holiday without my husband, but with my children and my own mother. You see, children under a certain age (I'll go with 7 because that's what I have) don't think about buying gifts for their mother. They don't have any money so purchasing things is out of the question. And they can't drive and wouldn't consider asking another adult to help them in enough time to make it happen. And they will need to you gather all the supplied they need for making whatever they want to make you. Mothers can't hardly be surprised.

Today my gift was concocted immediately after the breakfast of cold cereal that I served them. Let's paint mom some rocks! I am the owners of a dozen small pebbles painted with washable water colors. It is the thought that counts, and I do love that they would even consider that they should come up with something to give me without any prompting. Their daddy has taught them well.

But, this is where having a husband really helps. He can take the kids to the store, give them suggestions, think of nice things to do. My husband called to tell me that he tried to order flowers for me but the town my parents live in is so small that he couldn't find a place that would deliver them. I reassured him that it was fine. You remember how much I love flowers (waste of money, that some day I hope to enjoy but when you are broke they are just a symbol of frivolity and I look at them thinking about how much food/gas/electricity they could have bough). I reminded him that he just bought me a great watch that I got on sale for $35 and love. Happy Mothers Day to me.

My sweet 7 year old son, to his credit, also wanted to get me the "start, run, done" thing he saw on TV so that I could have more time. It took me a while to figure out what he was talking about. It is obvious that he is watching too much TV if he is able to repeat phrases from a commercial for the Mint floor cleaner. You know the one that you push a button and it magically cleans your floors while you are at work, reading a book, or doing anything else. It was really cute, that he would think of that gift for me. I would probably love it.

But the best gifts from children usually don't come from the store, and typically have a very short shelf-life. I understand now why my mom asked for the same present every year: Could you all please just get along for one day! No yelling, no hitting, no whining, no complaining, no back-talking. And how about a moment of silence? Every year it was the same request, but it didn't sound like it was grand enough for a Mother's Day present, so instead we would wrap items from her closet, or cups from the kitchen and give her those. She did a great job looking surprised and pleased. I find myself asking for the same thing and being likewise disappointed. That is Motherhood.

Also, because I am spending Mother's Day with my own mother (which never happens because we usually live thousands of miles apart) I can't very well expect my mother to wait on me hand and foot. Instead I have to take care of her, she is my mother after all! So I cleaned, cooked, entertained and am now exhausted. She is too, because she had her mother over also - and her daughters, and her brother, and her nephews and grandchildren. It was a full house. Tons of fun, but not a day of rest in the least.

Once again, there is no rest for a mother. Or any woman for that matter, we work hard!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Amusement Park

Some people compare their lives to a box of chocolates, or a bowl of cherries. My life is like an amusement park. It is equipped with all the rides, foods, sights and smells associated with the best of parks. I've ridden some of the rides, some scary, others mind blowing fun, and some just pure joy. I have tasted some of the food, but have more to savor. I have played the games and won fantastic prizes. I have also lost and walked away feeling defeated and cheated.

I have been on this roller coaster called residency for the last six years. It has had its ups and downs, twists and turns, and exhilarating drops and slow careens. I have had my stomach drop, and my lunch come up. My head has spun, spins, and I have been in a constant state of motion for so long that I can't see straight. My knuckles are white and I may have whiplash. The problem is that I want off now. It is no longer fun.

The ride stops and picks up more riders and lets others off, but here we stay for another go. Not because I want to keep riding, but because my ticket says I have to finish the ride we purchased. After riding for so long it is easy to get caught up thinking about what I will ride next. After all, I have memorized this ride so well that I know what to expect before it gets here and it has lost all of its excitement, but not the cruel side effects. 

I envy all the people who have already exited the ride and seem to be enjoying another one. I want to be with them. I want to look up the riders getting on my last ride proudly wearing my shirt that says "I SURVIVED".  I want to be on the ground surveying the park and deciding what I want to do instead of following what my ticket tells me to do.

I see those standing in line to get on this ride and want to tell them to skip it, move on to something else. I know that isn't the right thing to do. In my heart I know that this ride will affect each of the riders differently. Those getting on may actually find it stimulating and more pleasing than I did. They may have a higher tolerance for motion. Perhaps their ticket isn't for as many rides, maybe they will survive  3 or 4 trips around. The only way to find out is to let them ride. 

It used to seem like we would never move on, but I can feel it coming. The ride is slowing down and this time I think our cart will stop in front of the exit sign. Surely this ride will end, the conductor wouldn't play a mean trick on me at this point. Would he?

There is something exciting about the unknown and a different view from a new vantage point. I am ready for new experiences. More than anything I want to look a the roller coaster through the eyes of someone who has already experienced it. I want to see it from a distance. 

I am looking forward to not knowing and just enjoying the next ride. Even if it is worse than the one we just got off of, at least it will be a different ride. I think the Ferris wheel looks like a good choice. But  I only want to ride it once, thank you very much.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Family Drama

I don't know what I was expecting to happen when me and my four children rolled into town, but I am certain I didn't expect this.

My in-laws have two homes about 25 minutes away from each other. The home that they live in is a comfortable retirement home. It is a two bedroom, two bath home with only 1 bed. The other home they have is more traditional. It has three bedrooms and three beds. It has been vacant for the last 6 years and they use it like a hotel for out of town guests. We lived there during medical school. So in a way it was like coming home.

When we got in on Tuesday night they were there to meet us. They offered to pick up pizza. They said hello, gave hugs, and then left. My DrH left the next morning for the airport and I didn't see my in laws for another three days, and even then it was very briefly at my sister-in-laws house. I thought that was really strange. Here we haven't seen them in months. Granted we had just seen my mother in law the previous month when she came out to watch the kids, but still these are kids they don't see every day (unlike their daughter's kids who live a block over, in yet another house they own).

I am trying to be grateful. Grateful that they had this home sitting vacant waiting apparently for us. Grateful that they bought milk, break, and cereal so we had something to eat.

BUT.... when she asked if I would like for her to bring over some cooking utensils so we didn't have to eat out every meal I really wanted to cry.

We aren't moving in! We are here visiting so we can be with you and instead we feel as if we live 2,000 miles away still but without any of our own stuff. We want to be a part of your life for a few weeks. We want to eat with you. We want to do what you do. And really.... we aren't going to be here long enough to start buying pantry staples so we can cook!

I was trying to be equitable in the distribution of our time. A few weeks with (or rather near) his family, a few weeks with mine, so everyone can see us and we can see them. I was given the impression that they didn't really want to be with us.

During the first two weeks of our stay near them we had dinner with them twice, they watched the baby for me twice so I could do something with the older kids, and I saw them 7 out of the 14 days. Of those 7 days it was only for a couple of hours, or on one of those days just 15 minutes. And two of those days was because they were fixing something at the house. If it hadn't been for that, we would have seen them even less.

The rest of the time was me trying to entertain four kids without tv, internet, or grass. Or me trying to take four kids out on the town by myself. Or me sitting alone at night wishing there was someone to talk to in the same time zone. I didn't anticipate feeling so lonely.

As soon as we left to spend time with my parents, I got a text saying that they missed us already. If you missed us you could have seen us when we were there. I wasn't staying in town because I wanted to, I was staying so they could have the opportunity to see their grandkids. They didn't take it.

I was offended. I was hurt. And I am trying to recognize that I am probably a bit emotional about leaving our home, being away from my husband, and not having anything to do but wait. I realize that I may be partly to blame by not actively putting ourselves in their path - but it isn't my style. In my mind we are guests, but we aren't being treated like guests. And yet, perhaps they are trying to give me my space. How do I tell them I don't need space, unless they want to take all my kids for the day and let me truly have some space?

My in-laws are good people. But being here makes me realize that I have romanticized the notion of living near our family. I somehow thought our lives would be more interconnected. The truth is that unless we live down the street from them, it might not matter where we live. And even if we did live close there are no guarantees.

We are going back next week for another two week visit. I don't know that things will be any different. Thankfully, my husband will be there for four of those days which means we will probably see them more. They may even buy us dinner one night.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Can I Live the Life of a Doctors Wife?

I needed a good laugh! When I do I can always find something amusing if I look at the searches that bring people to my blog. I am always amazed that anyone finds me at all, but they do through the strangest ways.

This one, may be my all time favorite: Can I Live the Life of a Doctors Wife?

Why yes you can, and let me tell you how!

First, you must really love him, because no amount of future earning potentials will be enough to compensate for medical school, residency, FELLOWSHIP, and starting/joining a practice. If you don't love him fiercely now, you certainly aren't going to love him when this process takes off.

Second, you must have little to no aversion to large amounts of debt. We are talking six figures. Not the six figures you tell your friends you are making when your salary is $100,001 - think mid six figures in the $250,000 to $500,000 range.

Third, you must possess a large measure of humility. There is no room for pride being a doctors wife. You will have to do things you never thought you would do. I am thinking of the possibilities including but not limited to signing up for food stamps, medicaid, borrowing money from family, selling plasma, taking any and every menial income opportunity that comes your way, etc. You will do just about anything to make or save a dollar.

Fourth, you must be independent. Strange concept considering you want to marry a doctor and by definition marriage is a partnership. Being married to a doctor is a different kind of marriage relationship. Get used to being alone morning, noon and night for long periods of time. And when he is home, he isn't really home he is sleeping/studying. But then there will be those golden nuggets of time when he is actually free from anything medical related.... get ready to do something, because those moments don't happen every day!

And lastly, you must have a good sense of humor. That may be the most important characteristic of all. If you can laugh at yourself, laugh at your situation, and laugh together you will be alright.

Now, if the question was "can you live the life of a doctors wife without actually being married to a doctor", the short answer is NO. You haven't lived it unless you have paid the price! And being a doctors wife isn't anything like you think it is. 

Actually, I take that back. The closest thing that would resemble the life of a doctors wife is a single mom with no support from family or baby's daddy.

Maybe this will be a recurring blog special.... there are some others that have been pretty good, too!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Are We There Yet?

I want to paint a picture for you.

Imagine a small mini-van, circa 2001. Four small children all in some sort of child safety restraint device. Black bags containing clothing, shoes, accessories, entertainment, in every available void. Two adults haggard and weary in the front seat. Pillows, pillow pets, and sleeping bags.

Is this family going camping? Is this family living in their van? Is this family going on a long vacation?

No, this family is going to drive cross country (in all fairness from the middle to the edge)!

As we planned our route we had two choices, long or short. What do you think we choose? Of course, we took the long route. That is the way we roll around here. We don't do anything fast and easy.

We decided to take the scenic route and to only drive 8-9 hours at a time with a day to rest. That would make what could have been a 3 day trip a 5 day trip. And... it wasn't as bad as I thought! And we didn't resort to the portable DVD player during that entire time (probably because I didn't mention that we had it in the car).

I wish I would have used some of the great ideas people so graciously gave me regarding how to keep the kids entertained and mark our progress. In reality, I barely had time to think about what we needed to live with for 2+ months. Throwing M&M parties at each 100 mile mark we successfully covered was the last of my worries.

The kids did great. Only once did we have to make a stop specifically for a bathroom break. Of course that would be driving through a state in the middle of a snow storm equipped with only flip-flops because we couldn't bring clothing for every possible weather condition.

We stayed in hotels, ate junk food even though we had brought some healthy foods, drank too little water, started to smell stale, and looked like the crazy people we were at every stop. There is nothing like having to hold all your belongs while you open the door so they don't fall out and then throw them in and shut the door before they bounce out. And the kids, thankfully they don't have very long legs so we could use all the space under them. But every time we unloaded to get into the hotel it was like putting a jig saw puzzle together.

Speaking of hotels. We stayed at some nice ones and then at some less than desirable ones. I have come to the conclusion that our children are spoiled. They have only stayed in Hotels with formal lobbies and rooms that are entered from the inside. I had almost forgotten that some places have an office for check in, and rooms with doors that face the parking lot.  As a kid those were the kind of motels we stayed at if we were lucky enough to go on vacation or unlucky enough to drive cross country.

My DrH took time off (which is why he didn't have time off to help us pack up, etc) so that he could drive us out. We pulled in late on Tuesday night and he was on a flight the next morning. He has plans to fly down for a long weekend mid-May and then I am hoping to fly back in June for his graduation dinner. The thought of him being alone on that night that marks 6 years of sacrifice and achievement makes me sad - I need to be there. I wish we could all be there.

Now every time we get in the car to go somewhere my kids ask how long it will take. I think they may be afraid that we will be taking another long trip:-)

Monday, May 7, 2012


We drove away from our house, our van loaded to the the bursting point, tired, hungry, and spent. It was a short trip from the house to the hotel.

By the time we finished cleaning and loading the car and making sure everything was just right it was 9:00 pm! We drove 4 miles to the hotel and tried to sleep. I say try because sleeping with 4 small children is an experience that is difficult to describe. It's one of those "you would have to be there" moments. And we would be repeating those moments for the next several nights.... all of us, together.

But the topic of this post is closing, and this may or may not be the last time I talk about this process!

We had known for months that we would need to have certified funds to bring to closing, because that is what you do when you LOSE (I am not bitter, I am not bitter, I am not bitter). It is still such a foreign concept to me that we lived there, improved it, and still walked away with nothing to show for it.

So the week of closing I get the call with the official amount needed and I think I may have a heart attack. It is more than we expected because apparently some lenders return any balances in escrow after closing instead of during closing. So, no sweat I am rich thanks to our miracle.

We don't bank locally so I obtained wiring instructions and thought we were good to go. I call my bank two days before to initiate the transfer and find out that because I have never done a wire transfer before I need to personally be in the bank for them to notarize my signature, etc. Well that won't work.

My next plan was to convince my in-laws to do it for me.  I called them and asked them if they would do the wire transfer for me if I transfered the funds to their account. I knew that we banked at the same bank so that should be easy. They agreed to that. But when I tried to initiate the transfer I was told that because I had never done an account to account transfer like this that I was limited to $2,000 per day which means I would have needed to start transferring money 3 days ago in order for it all to be there.

Then I did the unthinkable, I begged. And was reminded why I don't ask for help - some people just can't be helped and I appear to be one of those people. I asked my in-laws if they had $8,000 that they could transfer for me and I would send them the money. I don't know where they keep all their money (actually I do, but that's another post for another time), but it wasn't accessible.

So I find the nearest branch, it is 2 hours away. Mind you I am two days from closing and still have a house to clear out and clean out. This is crunch time. I can't afford to spend 4 hours in the car driving to the bank, when I have successfully managed our finances by phone, mail, online for the last 6 years. And I do it.

All the while I am thinking to myself that the amount of the check that I have to drive 4 hours to get covers, almost to the penny, the 6% commission paid to the real estate brokers.

In our particular state, all involved parties are present at the closing: buyers, sellers, their respective agents, attorneys, the lender, etc. It is a party (I guess that depends on which side of the table you sit on). Because we wanted to get out of town earlier than the designated time of closing our attorney took care of everything for us. But I wonder if it even occurred to our agent that the check we wrote was to cover her expenses. Did she feel like she had earned it? Did she have any remorse about taking our money?

I know real estate professionals perform a valuable service. When times were good and people were making money off their homes paying a commission wasn't a big deal, because it's paid with profits realized not your actual money. When it is your money and not profits, it is a harder pill to swallow.

And that was our closing, and I suppose in a small way closure.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Moving Day Drama

I wish the drama was actually confined to just a day, but nothing ever happens in just one day. Moving is a process that can takes weeks if not months.

In our case it really was months. We spent a significant amount of time before our house went on the market sorting through the stuff. Trash, Donate, Keep, Store, Pack Now, etc. The tedious part was finished before the moving part took place.

Then as moving day approached it became apparent that this wouldn't be a family activity, this would be me packing the entire house myself. In my DrH defense, he did provide all the boxes. Another perk of working at a hospital - they have a never ending supply of boxes. Everything we own is packed in a box that is marked Kimberly-Clark, or one of a half dozen other suppliers.

We are cheap, but you already knew that. That factor heavily contributed to our choice of storage/transportation providers. But we also came to our senses and realized that some convenience would be worth it. And before I forget, the credit goes to my drH for taking care of that arrangement. We needed to store out items for a couple months and have them transported to our final destination (wherever that will be).

In the end he choose PODS. But here is where it gets interesting. Because we don't know where we will be living in July, we don't know how much room we will have so we erred on the small side and committed to taking only what would fit in one 16x8x8 box. 1 box is cheaper than 2, and we could replace whatever didn't fit cheaper than getting another POD. That is right, a family of 6 in one little box. And let me tell you it was little.

The nice thing is that the POD was delivered a week before we moved, so I packed the boxes and stored them neatly in the basement and as drH had time he would load the box (with surgical precision I might add). We knew that we would be needing to dispose of more items before a single box went it.

The day came for the POD to be picked up and while most of the stuff we wanted made it, some very important pieces that should have been in it didn't make it. Namely the baby's crib. That is a funny story.

The night before the big day, my friend offered to let us borrow her pack'n'play so we could take the crib down and pack it that night. My drH tossed that suggestion aside thinking that he would have time to take it apart that morning. I looked at him with the eyes that said are you sure? Well, morning came and so did the truck as he was still taking the crib apart, the long hard way - the truck wasn't waiting around.

So when we arrive I need to purchase a place for the baby to sleep, a vacuum, a boys bicycle, lamps and furniture. The only pieces we took were: our bed, a guest bed, our sons mattress, 1 dresser, kitchen table and chairs, entertainment center, 2 book cases, 1 cubby storage thing, 1 couch and 1 chair.

We gave away or donated a cedar chest, a large dresser w/ mirror, a toddler bed, a convertible crib/bed, a rocker/ottoman, computer desk and chair, 3 small book cases, a childs table with 4 chairs, a dresser, a filing cabinet, 3 lamps, and 2 chairs.

Typing it makes it seem like more than it really was. I couldn't feel too bad about giving the stuff away seeing as most of it was donated to us, or picked up off the side of the road, and was certainly college furniture. I almost wish some of our other pieces would have been left behind so they could be replaced. I say that like I have the money to replace such things!

In the end, it all went away and the truck drove off with our stuff. We cleaned and said goodbye. I think leaving the house for the last time was harder on my drH than it was for me. His memories were only good ones. Because I lived there every day, and paid the bills that drained our accounts and robbed our time, I was less sentimental about saying "so long". That and I feel like the house had betrayed me and I hold a grudge.

Would I do it again? I don't know, and since we don't have that option I am not going to give it another thought. What's done is done. Onward and upward.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I Have a Blog?

It's 3:00 am and I am awake looking for something to do because I can't sleep and then I remembered I have a blog that I have completely neglected for over a month now! If I have any readers left you may be wondering where I have been and if I was still alive. That is actually a valid question, because there have been a few times I wondered myself.

Now the difficult part: deciding where to pick up the story and what to leave out?

As of April 13th we are no longer homeowners and I must have been throwing the word "homeless" around too often, because my son asked me what the word HOMELESS meant. At that moment I realized that, while technically true, we are not without a place to live. It may not be ours, and we may not be together, but we are not homeless in the way that so many others are.

That was a nice discussion to have, although I fear that he may repeat our status to others who may not know our situation and people will formulate their own version of what happened to us. It may go something like this:

"Do you remember her from high school/college?"

"Yeah, her husband left her and the kids. She is living with her mom, but only after living in their car for a week."

"Can you believe that they lost all of their stuff. Not just the house, but everything, and only have what they could fit in their van? It's not even a nice van, I thought he was a doctor or something."

"He must have been a professional student because he is almost 40 and I don't think he has ever had a job. You know the kind that just go to school forever, living on student loans, and think that is a career. No wonder they didn't come to visit very often, how embarrassing."

OK it might not go down exactly like that, but who knows what crazy things people come up with. Look with I just pulled out of my head!

Fear not, I am alive but may have suffered from amnesia secondary to selling a house and moving across the country. But now that my memory has recovered sufficiently, you may wish I had left well enough alone. I am back, and I missed you!