100 Words

Mel from Stirrup Queens has a site called Bridges.

Bridges is an awareness consortium of compassionate bloggers who are using writing to educate, tell a story, bring awareness, and build community.

Today, September 11th, marks the 7th anniversary of one of the most horrific events in history. Mel has asked for our experiences of that day in just 100 words. I had a hard time describing that day for me in just 100 words but once done I realized 100 words was all I needed. Here is my story.

Sgt was in the Immediate Reaction Unit; my heart sank with the knowledge that soon I would be getting a call from him telling me he had to go. The call came, his voice was a mixture of emotions but the one that stands out the most for me was the excitement. 14 years he had been training for this. 12 years I had been telling myself this day could come. People ask me how I do it, love a soldier. I always reply: “It’s not what he does; it’s who he is.” I’m damn proud of who he is.

Every half hour today, from midnight to midnight, there will be a 100 word memory of that day. 55 powerful stories. Please stop by and read each and every one.

You won’t be disappointed.

Murphy’s Law or Why I Hate Deployments

Sgt left last week for a sandy place I like to call “the ‘ghan”. Sgt like to call it “the sandstorms, duststorms, people who hate you shithole.”

Everyone else calls it Afghanistan.

This is not a regular deployment for us. We don’t need another one of those, four is enough thanks. He’s gone for a short trip to deliver a product to some of his co-workers, set it up, show them how it works and how to repair it if it breaks down. I have no idea what this product is because he can’t discuss this part of his job and I’m OK with that.

Needless to say the day, the DAY, he left things started to break. Or get loose. Or get sick. It started Monday morning when I figured the carpet needed to have the vacuum run over it. With two St. Bernards it’s something that should be done everyday, sometimes twice a day, and I had neglected it over the weekend. I plug in the cleaner, hit the switch and immediately smell burning rubber. “This can’t be good.” I think and sure enough it’s not. After taking apart the head I find the reason behind the burnt rubber smell.

Burnt rubber.

The rubber thing that makes the bristles go around (yes that’s the technical term) is in two pieces because it has melted. No big deal, I have a replacement rubber thing. After replacing the rubber thing, cleaning out the bristles and putting it all back together I sit back and look proudly at my accomplishment. Who needs a man around to fix things huh?

Then I turn it on.

Strangely I smell burning rubber again. Quickly I shut it off, gather up Graeme and head into the Canadian Tire in town to buy a new vacuum.

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One of our lambs got out of the pen yesterday. It so desperately wanted to be with it’s mother it popped over a 4 foot gate. No small feat for this husky fellow.

I needed to get this lamb back in with the others so we can finish them on grains before they head off to market but he seems to know of this plan and refuses to cooperate with me. I left him with the ewes for the evening and told Nic that tonight we had to get him back into the pen.

Nic takes this sort of thing seriously and refuses to give up. He’s a tenacious teen. Just what you need when you are trying to catch a lamb that doesn’t want to be caught. Not what you need when he wants to got to a bush party with his friends. (The teen, not the lamb.)

It took Nic about ten minutes to get this lamb and it was luck that caught it. The flock was heading back out into the pasture and Nic spooked the lamb. Instead of running to catch up with the others this brilliant creature thought it would be safer to hide in the barn. The barn where all the other lambs were being kept.

Plain old shit luck, it’s the only way to catch one on it’s own.

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Sgt’s due home in a few days and I can guarantee that before he gets here one of us with become sick or injured in some way.

What do you think the ailment/injury will be Internets? And who will it affect? I’m taking wagers now and the closest guess will get a little something.

Show and Tell Sundays with Mel

 Show and Tell

This week I thought I would try something a little different for Show and Tell. I video blogged a tour of our evening chores here at Dunwaetin Farm*.  I hate the way my voice sounds so no making fun of my Canadian accent eh?

The boys “outed” themselves by using their names on the video. At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to post this but after talking with them about using their real names here they wanted me to post it. They are both very proud of the animals and love to show off. Not that you could tell from the video.

I’d like to do more video blogging in the future. Maybe a Q&A from commenters or perhaps a tour of our town. What would you like to see?

* Dunwaetin as in Done Waiting. It was Sgts idea to name our farm Dunwaetin and I love it. 

One Year

On August 3 we celebrated Graemes first birthday.

It’s hard to believe that one year has come and gone. It feels like Graeme has always been with us. He has been in my heart for as long as I can remember so maybe in some way he always has been.

 Newborn

This photo was taken on the day before the packers/movers were coming to move our family 200kms. Graeme was just 2 days old. We were posted once again and Graeme took it all in stride. Infact he slept through most of the hustle and bustle.

Birthday Boy

Before the cake …

Mmmmm Cake 

and after cake.

How quickly the year has gone by.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Thank you all for your comments on my last post. I did send out an email to the Donor Sibling Registry user basically stating that for Graemes privacy I did not feel comfortable sharing photos but would be happy to share developement milestones, medical info, etc. I also offered to send her the childhood photo of our donor if she did not already have it.

When Sgt and I started the whole diui process we had several criteria we were looking for in our donor, looks was not top of the list. We had a list of about 20 candidates. From that list we narrowed it down quickly by looking at the medical histories of each donor and his family. If the donor had any type of pet or food allergy he was crossed out. (Seasonal allergies were not an issue because I suffer from mild seasonal allergies.) If there were serious family health issues, again he was taken out.

Once we were down to about 8 donors we checked to see if there was a childhood photo. If there was none he was crossed off the list. From the 8 we were now down to 4. Our first choice had just two vials left so he was eliminated. Our second choice had 2 confirmed pregnancies and a son of his own. His photo looked very similar to Sgt as a boy and he matched all of our stats ie. height, weight, hair colour/texture, eye colour and blood type.

Unfortunately I miscarried twice while using this donor.

Our third choice had everything the first donor had except his blood type did not match either me (A+) or Sgt (O+). After a brief talk Sgt and I agreed that we planned to be open about using a donor if we had a successful pregnancy so having a different blood type* should not be an issue. We did not want to keep it a secret and have him come home from Grade 10 science class wondering why his blood type was different, who his ‘real daddy’ was and was his mama a ho.

*It was a good thing we had that frank discussion before using our donor because Graemes blood type (AB+) does not match anyone in the family.

What would you do?

I received and email the other day from another Donor Sibling Registry user. She asked if I would share photos of Graeme with her because she’s thinking about using our donor.

I haven’t emailed her back yet because I will not be sharing photos but I do want to know what qualities she is looking for in her donor. Is she basing her choice on how the donor offspring look or is that  secondary? If she is basing it soley on looks then I personally think she needs to do a bit more thinking before choosing.

If you have a donor conceived child would you share photos with someone wanting to know more about the donor? 

Book Review – The Empty Picture Frame

I have been following along with Mels Barren Bitches book tours since they began but had never participated until now. The book for this tour is The Empty Picture Frame by Jenna Nadeau (a fellow blogger) with insight from her husband Mike interjected throughout the chapters.

I had every intention of getting this post up last night but Ontario Hydro decided that they needed to do routine repairs between the hours of 7 and 10 pm. With no electricity or internet I had to sit on the deck with a glass of wine watching the fireflies in the field. It was tough but I did it.

I found the book to be a very quick read. Although there were some areas of the book I could relate to I did think that our journey was so different than Jenna and Mikes that it made me feel like I was intruding on the whole IF issue. Like I was a fake IFer, a fraud. You can read about our journey by clicking on the Still Waiting Journey located in the sidebar.

Onto the questions.

Did your clinic have a Baby Day like Jenna described? Even if not, did you ever have a moment like that in the clinic, with newborn babies being brought in, or a woman cycling who brought her child with her? How did you deal with it?
If our clinic has Baby Days I am not aware of them. There are several large picture frames lining the halls with photos of smiling babies and I would have to walk by these photos every time I went in for bloodwork, ultrasounds and inseminations. On a good day these little faces gave me hope. On a bad day I kept my head down avoiding each and every one.
During a routine b/w and u/s appointment Sgt and I sat in the waiting room with two other couples flipping through old issues of Macleans. One of the other couples were there for routine b/w like us and the other had just gone through an egg retrieval. While we were all sat there lost in our own thoughts in walks a couple with their 2 year old. They took a seat in the waiting room after signing in. While dad sat flipping through the magazines mom was doing everything she could to entertain this little one even though she had not brought anything along to entertain her with. Mom tried to show the little one pictures in the magazines and the little one wanted to tear up all the pages. Soon mom gave up and handed the toddle the magazines, letting her tear to her hearts content. Sgt and I glanced at one another rolling our eyes. I happened to catch the eye of one of the ladies there room and her look said “Get that kid out of here.” Lucky for me I was called back into the examine room shortly after.

At several points in the book, Jenna describes how she felt that motherhood was a “calling” for her — the conviction that she was “called” to be a mother and that she would achieve that goal someday, somehow. Do you feel the same sense of “calling” in your pursuit of parenthood?
I clearly remember the moment I heard the calling Jenna speaks so often about. I was 12 years old and had been asked to babysit by our neighbour. Her son was 3 and her daughter just 10 days old. The little boy was in bed for the night and I sat on the couch with the tiny infant snuggled on my chest. Sitting there smelling her sweet little head, feeling the rise and fall of her breathing and watching the sleep-smiles fluttering across her tiny face was heaven to me. I knew then I would be a mother and it wasn’t just something I would do. It was (and is) who I am. After having our first two boys I still felt a void in my heart. I knew I wasn’t complete. I filled that void for many years by providing childcare to families in our community and loved each and every child that came into my home. It took us many years to have another child (several years trying to adopt and two years of treatment and miscarriages) before Graeme. People ask us what we were thinking having another when we were so close to being empty nesters but what they don’t see is the years of heartache and longing. One day when Graeme is older Sgt and I will look into fostering children. Like I said before being a mother is who I am and who I will always be.

The last chapter is a guide to the fertiles reading the book on how to respond and not respond to a situation. Some of the reactions and commentary has happened to many people. What was the best reaction you got to your story and what was the worst?
We had so many positive reactions during our journey but the one that really stands out for me came from a co-worker, Meghan. After every appointment with the RE Meghan would show guenuine intersted and always asked questions I was happy to answer. I shared details with her because not once did she ever say something like “Why not adopt? You already have 2, why more?”. Because I was “growing eggs” she would refer to me as Mama Hen, something that made me smile even on a bad day. She listened, really listened without saying a word during the miscarriages Unlike some others. When our last cycle worked she began refering to Graeme and the Little Chicken. Even now when we talk on the phone she asks how the Little Chicken is.
Chosing the worst response/reaction is tough. There were several but the one that really sticks with me (and I think always will) came from one of the nurses at our clinic. I had just come home from the hospital after having my D&E for the missed miscarriage at 12 weeks. Wanting to jump right back into treatment I called the clinic to see how soon I could cycle again. Nurse X, who I had always liked and respected for her humor and encouragement, took my call. As we talked about the miscarriage she said “At least you know you can get pregnant.” I was stunned and could only respond with a quiet “Yes.”. After the call ended and I had time to get over the shock of her statement I had several comebacks running through my mind and was kicking myself for not thinking of them sooner.

Show and Tell

Show and Tell

Today I thought I’d share one of my favorite things about summer.

Sheets

I love the smell of laundry that has been line dried. In our old home I did not have a clothesline. Our yard was too small to put one up so I would resort to hanging items out on our deck on a fold-up drier. Although it helped save me $$ on our electic bill every month it just wasn’t the same as hanging everything out on a traditional line.

When I’m out in the sunshine hanging out laundry I think of the women in the past and how many, many years ago an entire day would be dedicated to washing. If the women had daughters they would be kept home from school to help with the chore unless you were one of the wealthy and could send out your items to a place in the city.

There were a large number of laundries in cities because of the importance of keeping linen white, but most women did laundry at home and it was backbreaking labor. Clothes had to be soaked, boiled and beaten, then rinsed and wrung out by hand, and dried in the fresh air. Washboards and sticks made doing the laundry a little easier, but it was still a very time-consuming task. Leftover soapy water was given to the poor, because soap was still too expensive for most people. In addition to the regular laundry, a “Grand Wash” took place twice a year. It was a symbolic ritual, lasting three days. Some say that that it represented Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. The “Grand Wash” was a symbol of purification, the triumph of clean over unclean.

Because laundry day was such a huge undertaking clothing was only washed once every two or three months. Could you imagine if we only laundered that often? I want to hug my Maytag when I think of those poor ladies.

At the end of a long day nothing is better than crawling into bed and drifting off to the scent of sheets that have dried in the sunshine knowing that I did not have to spend and entire day (or three!) to enjoy them.