1. The Pump:
My new Spectra S2 came in the mail last Wednesday, a full week and a half after I’d ordered it which felt like an eternity because Amazon Prime has made me a wretchedly impatient person. I checked the UPS shipping update page on that order WAY too many times.
In the interim, I scored a couple of free hand pumps. One was the medela hospital kind that looks like a piston and, at least for me, didn’t work at all. It came free from one of the ladies in my local FB breastfeeding group. Then I got another – this time, a single handed lansinoh – from a co-worker and OMG I kind of love it! Obviously, it’s not as efficient as a double electric, but it’s actually come in handy a number of times in the last week and a half I’ve had it. Ansel has slept a bit longer a few nights and only eaten on one side when he does wake up, so I’ll pump the opposite to take the pressure off and score a few extra ounces. I’ve also used the hand pump in the car a few times when I was out at meetings and couldn’t get back soon enough. It’s maybe not the safest thing in the world, but it has helped when my schedule is crazy. I’m also going to try pumping on my way to work with the hand pump this week to up my supply and squeeze out another ounce.
But, back to the Spectra . . .I love it. It’s like night and day in terms of the pain/suction. It uses a sort of vibration type of suction that is much more gentle and also feels a little more like an actual baby nursing. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s still a pump. But its a gentle pump! I’m going to do the PISA part hack so I can use the flanges I prefer and because the Spectra bottles are stupid and I have 8 medela bottles so I have less to wash. I’m hoping the pumpin’ pals flanges boost the comfort even more! So far, I haven’t seen any huge bump in the amount I pump but my use of the Spectra has really been too limited to draw too many conclusions yet. On Wednesday, we had crazy flash floods in Denver and my office got flooded (so did one of our cars . . .because the universe just can’t let us actually get ahead financially . . .) so I worked from home most of Thursday and Friday, and I normally WFH on Monday, so I’ve only used the spectra about 4 times so far. I don’t seem to be one of those women who can eat of bowl of oatmeal and get 2 oz more than the day I ate eggs, though . . .and I pump what A needs, so I try not to let the pictures of overflowing bottles posted to FB nursing groups get me down. In any case, being able to pump for the same amount of time with substantially less pain was always my goal. And that goal has definitely been met. My vote in the pump election goes handily to the Spectra.
2. Marriage Equality: I have a lot of complicated feelings about all things marriage related, political and personal. It’s definitely an historic event, to have same gender marriage recognized as legal across the country. I’m not very surprised at the decision, since all the signs pointed to this being the decision from SCOTUS. And I would be lying if I said I wasn’t happy about it, to some extent. After all, it means my family has legal recognition across the country – no more worrying what states we are traveling to or through and how that might impact how we are legally recognized as a unit. So, that’s good.
But, honestly . . .I don’t think it’s what it’s cracked up to be. Yes, our families are now legally recognized. But queer folks can still get fired from their jobs, turned away from housing, or denied entry to services. Trans women of color are still being slaughtered at incredible rates. LGBTQ kids are still almost half of all homeless people under 21. This thing got SO much money and SO much attention, and it really only is the tip of the iceberg. It really mostly benefits folks who already have some degree of privilege. And if we had fought for it under those pretenses, I think I’d feel more excited about the win. But the LGBTQ ‘machine’ has poured millions of dollars into this one fight, at the expense of many other organizations and causes. And that sucks.
So, it’s fucking exciting, yes. But, I want just as much energy and passion (and MONEY) to go towards reforming (or abolishing!) the prison system that kills queer folks every day,reforming the health care system that robs people of their dignity, the discrimination that the least of us face. And I just think that, without the respectability and easy narrative of marriage, that’s not going to happen. And it makes my heart hurt.
My final note is that the LGBTQ community – particularly the poorest, most visible of us (which usually means low income trans women of color) will face intense backlash because of this decision. It’s already started. This kind of thing happens with almost every ‘win’ but it doesn’t get talked about. So take care of yourselves and each other, and throw some money at your local LGBTQ anti-violence organization. If you’re in Colorado, it’s Survivors Organizing for Liberation – SOL
3. JOB Stuff (if we know each other “in real life” please keep this on the DL)
So, I’ve alluded to the fact that I have a possible new opportunity coming up. It’s still in progress, but I thought I’d share because I’m thinking about it a lot and why not?
So, one of the school districts I work with (side note: my current job is working at a non profit helping school districts select good sex ed programs, then training them to deliver those programs, writing additional curricula/materials for them, helping them re-write policy, etc. whatever they need to make sex ed sustainable for them) decided last winter that they wanted to hire a specific position to deliver sex ed at the middle school level in all of their schools. They asked me if I wanted the job and I jokingly said, ‘depends on what it pays.’ They took my half hearted not too serious response and ran with it, asking me what it would take for me to leave my current job. Based on the teacher salary schedule, it was quite a bit more than I currently make. Plus teacher schedule – off early, off summers, etc.
While I was on leave, the health program coordinator called me and said that, because of how the district hiring stuff worked, it might be better if they could just contract out my time through my current organization. The problem with that is that 1) my organization doesn’t really do direct service, as a rule and 2) I wouldn’t get the financial and schedule benefits, since I’d still be an employee of the current org. I told her this, and she agreed that it probably wasn’t the best choice.
A few weeks after this, she proposed that I be an independent contractor – create a contract, ask for what I want in salary plus some to cover benefits, etc. I thought this through, did a bunch of research and concluded that while it was a possible solution, it wasn’t ideal. Mostly because it meant holding aside money to pay taxes, buying insurance out of pocket, and no other benefits. I told them this, as well as my desire to do addition training and coordination in addition to the teaching, and they said, ‘ok, we’ll work it out.’
No matter what happens, it feels pretty awesome to have someone want to hire YOU so much, they’ll twist in knots to find a solution. They are currently working on a job description, and I’m currently working on getting an alternative teaching license so I can be a legit teacher. It’s not a done deal, but it does seem to be moving. It could be as much as a $10K/year increase from what I make now, which feels staggerly awesome. (It really says something when you’re moving up in the world so substantially by going to a public school position) It would take so much pressure off and might actually give us an opportunity to get ahead of our finances, for really the first time ever.
But I LOVE the organization I work with, I adore my colleagues, I have a flexible schedule where I work 1 day from home and can schedule appointments kind of whenever and I can totally wear jeans to work. These things are far less likely to be the case in a school system. Then again, the school retirement plan is amazing, having a teaching license and working in the school system affords incredible opportunity for growth and movement (my mom stayed in the same district for 30 years and just kept moving to new and better paying jobs) and I really do love teaching (although I mostly teach adults these days) and have kind of always figured I’d end up here. Lots to think about . . .
4) My final update is that I cut all my hair off and I’m really fucking happy about it. (and also I got a ring sling and it’s rainbow because I am that gay.)