Broken Doors and Grey Zones

Well, here’s the news, friends:

  1. Pediatrician Visit

We had to wait until Sept 1 for our new insurance benefits to kick in, and first on the priority list once they did was to get A in to see the doctor, since he’s due for vaccines and an 18 month check up.

I couldn’t go, so L took him alone to the pediatric clinic in our neighborhood that had been highly recommended. She liked the doctor and it was super close, and the clinic was founded by pediatricians who specifically wanted to practice in the community they live in – which is super cool. South Seattle is a bit of a desert for a lot of resources – medical included – so I find this especially endearing.

The great news is that he is perfect and healthy and adorable, which we knew of course. He weighs in at 25 1/4 lbs and 32 3/4 inches tall – a solid 50 %ile in both categories.He passed his autism screen (some day I want to write about the strange spectre that I think autism has become, and how complex my feelings are about it – namely, my terror about a diagnosis simultaneously alongside my politics about how autism is talked about and treated. But its for another day . . .) and other than a slight admonishment about our constipation solution (doctors HATE juice, no matter how infrequent or watered down) and a suggestion about vitamin D supplementation, since Ansel continues to dislike cow milk, all is well.

Except that he is ‘in the grey zone’ for verbal development. He’s not in the “concern” zone, but he’s not in the ‘free and clear’ zone either.

I’ve been a little worried about this for a while, feeling like he wasn’t quite picking up words as quickly as I’ve seen other toddlers pick them up. Worrying that he says things once or twice and then not again. But I wasn’t worried worried, just a tiny little slice of unease.

But this news is hitting me kind of hard. I know that kids develop at different paces. I know that developmental charts are averages. I know that I shouldn’t be going down the rabbit hole(s) that I am – the one where I’m sure this is because I listened to talk radio in the car with him instead of music, or we let him have too much screen time; or the one where this becomes a widening gap instead of a narrowing one; the one where I compare my beautiful, smart, funny, tough, brave baby to other babies.

I also believe deeply that it is more important to raise kind children than ones who are ‘smart’ or achieve academically. AND, my deepest and most important identity is based around my brain. And not even just my brain, but my love of language and entanglement with words. And Ansel is not me – a lesson I know I will need to learn again and again – but I want him to love language like I do and what if he doesn’t?

He understands lot of words. He is responsive. This is not something that I need to be feeling as much as I am.

But I am.

2. The House

On Friday evening, L got home from her arts equity workshop to an open, busted door. In her shock, I think, she called me and said “I think maybe someone tried to break in?” even though it was really, really clear that is EXACTLY what happened. Someone kicked the door of our house many times before successfully busting it in and . . .then leaving? Nothing was taken and there was no evidence that they even came in at all.

We called the police and waited . . .and waited . . .and waited . . .Despite being told we were their ‘top priority’ and ‘next’ many times, we waited almost 3 hours. Not a big deal generally, since it didn’t seem like anyone had even been in the house, but a little more frustrating since they told us to wait outside in the ever dropping temps with our toddler, advice we eventually ignored. They finally came, agreed the door had been kicked in, and gave us a report number.

The landlords didn’t return our calls until Sunday, when they told me I should ‘be grateful’ they were calling me back and then sent the ineffectual and totally mansplainy maintenance guy over to do a sub-par job of fixing the door.

Break ins happen, especially in big cities. They are unsettling and a little scary, but they are a part of life, unfortunately. Shitty landlords feel totally different to me. Yesterday, I was ready to forfeit our deposit and buy the first affordable semi-decent house we stumbled across. L talked me off that particular ledge, but I am still so frustrated. I hate feeling like I can’t control my own life, I hate rich people taking advantage of working people, I hate being at someone else’s mercy. It’s going to be a long few months until we buy. And I am going to have to do a lot of deep breathing in the meantime.


I’m afraid I did a terrible job of accurately conveying how I’m feeling right now. I wanted to capture a complex nuance – feeling deeply alone and unsettled, but also astounded by beauty and very much happy. I erred on the side of the loneliness and you all are so lovely to reach out and be supportive. But I want you to know that as hard as it is to not know where I’m going and feel like very few people would miss me if I disappeared here, I also feel deeply certain that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. The future is muddy and unclear, but I sense it’s general trajectory, and that trajectory is towards growth and goodness.

Also, things have improved along some of the more difficult fronts. For example:

  • The house in Colorado officially closed yesterday and we are now in possession of a sum of money so large I feel paranoid about having it. You don’t know just how deeply you mistrust technology until you see a 6 figure number in your bank account all of a sudden. That enormous balance is already dwindling as we pay off the credit cards and my car, and repay the loans each of our parents made us to help with moving costs. Once all of that is done, we’ll pull the bulk of the rest (with a small cushion put aside in our regular savings) in an investment account that my account broker brother will manage until we are ready to use it for a down payment. Financially, things are finally feeling manageable, for the first time in . . .well, a long time.
  • This weekend, Laurie is participating in an equity and social justice cohort with a bunch of other theater folks from the region. She was selected for this, and it’s a big deal. It is also grueling. She was there 4 hours last night, all day today and tomorrow, and half a day Sunday. I’m proud of her for stepping outside her comfort zone and connecting with other folks in her field. The other exciting piece of this is that Ansel is at our new friend M’s house. M stays home with her 3 year old, and was willing to watch our boy for the day (for some $$, of course!) I met M when I posted a sad sack plea in the One Bad Mother facebook group about being new to town and especially lonely (this was during our first full week in Seattle, when I wasn’t working and Laurie was out of town at a conference in Chicago) and she invited me for coffee. Since then, we’ve hung out a few times with her family and her friend’s family, and we really like them and it was hard and awkward to make friends. But we did it! We have a teeny tiny bit of community!
  • Things are starting to pick up at work, so I feel less like I am just sitting on my ass. The work right now is the hardest for me – cold calling and meeting with people for the first time to begin building connections. Once I have a foot in the door, I really enjoy myself. But the first call or meeting? Ugh, it drains me and I spend the next half hour berating myself for my awkwardness. Yesterday, though, I met with a school nurse who is also a GSA leader and during my meeting with him, a couple of sweet high school age trans guys came in and I got to talk to them about having sex ed at their group and they were so excited. I miss working with queer kids all the time and I got a little misty eyed connecting with these youth.


There are other fun things a-brewing, as well!

  • We have (re) started the process for Gayby #2. Did I tell you that our donor, BFF, moved to Tennessee just about a week before we moved to Seattle? It was kind of weird, but . . .too long and not interesting enough to go into here. Anyway, we are now VERY far apart geographically, but he’s still up for helping out, although we know it will be a more complicated process. We tried DIY style for four months, although we were not as intensive or invested as we were when trying to conceive before – maybe because, in part, none of us really feel like it will work at home, and also we were getting ready to move cross country. But, we reached out to a RE that was highly recommended, and are in the process of registering with them and getting an appointment set. We know our insurance covers IUI, IVF and embryo transfer up to a $25,000 lifetime max at 80% – but I imagine there are some additional ‘catches’ to this as well. So, we’ll see!
  • We had family pictures taken! Ansel was not terribly interested in sitting or standing or being held, so the family shots aren’t as good as I’d like, but there are some real gems of just him. Such a hambone!


  • We are tentatively starting to look at houses. We are technically in a lease until August, but after re-reading our lease and talking to some more knowledgeable friends, it seems like as long as our house could be easily rented (and trust me, that would NOT be a problem) we shouldn’t incur any penalties for leaving early. So, we are talking to a realtor and looking around. We found the cutest house EVAR in a suburb just south of Seattle proper – a remodeled craftsman with a giant chef’s kitchen, 3 bedrooms, an unfinished basement, and a beautiful yard, in our price range but . . .we are just not in a place to put an offer in right now. But, it’s good to know that houses like this do exist in places we might want to live and for an amount we can afford. Another bonus, one of L’s new friends is a gay mortgage broker – score!
  • We are going to Portland in October for my birthday, my parents are coming to visit in early November, and we’ll be back in Portland in December. I feel good about connecting with folks, including my parents . . .even though things are still, well . . .HARD with my mom. But less hard. Or, same hard less often?

I’m doing my best to keep up, y’all . . .but I’m glad to be back.


Ok, you guys. I’m sorry. I’m sorry to you, but I’m more sorry for me because the guilt of not updating has been . . .well, not consuming . . .but definitely, present. Like a stone in your shoe or maybe a sort-of itchy bug bite. I’m aware of it and it doesn’t feel good, is what I mean.

There are so many reasons for this, and I could expand on them . . .like how the physical act of moving is exhausting but it’s nothing compared to the emotional exhaustion of being never fully landed, of needing to google map your way to EVERYTHING, of not being able to just go on autopilot for even one minute because nothing is what you know. Or how I used to pretty consistently update my blog on my lunch breaks but now that I work for the government I have the fear of God on me that any ‘inappropriate use’ of my work computer might get me fired. Or how once it’s been a little while, it gets harder and harder to know where to pick back up in a way that is at all meaningful and not just an endless drone of quotidian bullshittery. I do not want to offer you a blow by blow of my life because I KNOW I am not that interesting.

But I miss you. YOU, all the yous who are out there, the ones I know and the ones I don’t. I miss the cohort of fellow internet travelers with whom I grew up, metaphorically speaking. And while I don’t feel I OWE you anything, because I think you all have much better things to worry about, I do long for the interaction of this blog. And unlike other folks, I have not had any internal struggle with what to do about my blog now that I have a physical child, and maybe that’s because I actually didn’t expect my blog to become about infertility because it didn’t occur to me, four years ago, that it would be so fucking hard to get knocked up. So I want to keep posting, but there have just been a million tiny hurdles in the way, and I just don’t have enough fucks to launch myself over them.

But, no one wants to read THAT, the semi-apologetic crap about NOT updating. So, onward.

The logistics are this: One job ended (not nearly as dramatically as I thought it would), we packed everything into a semi-trailer, put L and her mom and three dogs in two cars while A and I boarded a plane and we all landed in Seattle and moved into a house we’d never seen before. I started a new job, our stuff arrived, and we unpacked it.

But none of that is very interesting, honestly. And they aren’t what I have wanted to tell you. But here, in brief, are the things I HAVE wanted to tell you:

  • I went from working at an organization of 10 people, to being one of hundreds. In Colorado, everything I did or said was under a microscope. Indeed, that was part of the issue and the drama that was emerging. So few people and everyone’s feelings needing to be handled and taken care of, everyone really knowing everything about everyone, even when supposedly it wasn’t the case. And here? Well, one of my colleagues said, “You could be sunbathing on the shore of Lake Washington and Willa (my new boss’s nom de blog) wouldn’t know a thing.” And it’s true. I mean, at some point your absence might be noticed, or the lack of work would at any rate, but in all honesty, there is no one keeping tabs on me – for better and worse. Ultimately, this is a good thing. It gives me the freedom and flexibility to do this job how I want to do it. But when you are new and need your hand held at least a little? It’s lonely and frustrating and scary. I didn’t have a computer at my desk for THREE WEEKS. My boss was on vacation (and she’s located in a different area anyway, AND she’s hella over committed so she wouldn’t have noticed anyway) and then the site coordinator was on vacation and basically no one cared. It’s shocking but also, as I’m beginning to understand, it’s common. I don’t mean that people haven’t been nice – they have – it’s just that in such a big system, unless you are someone’s actual problem, they don’t have the information you need and they can’t help you. It sucks.
  • Not being able to settle into a home is going to drag this unease far into the future, and there isn’t a damn thing we can really do about it. Also, I am terrible about not having a place to land. Everything in front of us is so blurry, there is so little we can even guess at, and it’s exhausting to not know what lies in front of you. We are in a house in a great neighborhood that we can technically afford. But it’s a crappy rental with a cheap ass property management company and we are paying a LOT more for it than we were for our house in Denver. Knowing we will likely be moving in less than a year means its hard to get invested in loving this less than perfect space. It doesn’t make sense to unpack all of our books or put all of our pictures on the wall, but without those things, it feels even more dreary and difficult to live in. We compromised and hung a few things, put out some knick-knacks and the books we haven’t read or want to read again. We’ll put up a Christmas tree and maybe even the Glitter pig. But, it’s not the house we want to be in, it’s not the place we’ll be calling home for years from now. It’s not home, and it won’t be home, and that’s ok but with everything else up in the air, it’s also really hard.
  • Let’s not talk about my feelings about finding what will be our home. I know we moved to a hella expensive city, so I didn’t exactly expect to find a giant, fancy house in the most gorgeous neighborhood ever right off the bat. And, the reality of the kind of decisions we might have to make when it comes time to buy is starting to set in. We will not be able to live in the city in a giant house that is super updated. One of those things, and maybe more than one, will have to be compromised on – size, location, current home quality. We had an idea that maybe we could move to Tacoma when we wanted to buy because things are SO much more affordable there. So we drove down this past weekend and it was lovely and there are so many gorgeous, refinished craftsman homes and it’s a cute medium sized city and no further from my job than Seattle. And, we’d have to start over again there, because Tacoma isn’t THAT far from Seattle, but it’s far enough that not many folks would trek down just to hang out. Would we trek north just to hang out? Do we want to spend a year making friends and getting invested in one community just to leave it in a year? The Tacoma idea isn’t off the table, it’s just not the magic solution either.
  • Colorado is really beautiful, it’s true. And maybe this is only because I grew up with Colorado’s specific kind of beauty, a semi-arid dusty brown mountains everywhere beauty, but . . .OH, Mt. Rainier rising out of nothing, this massive hulk of snow and light, it takes my breath away a little. And sometimes it’s hard to see (a lot of the time in the winter, I hear) and so when you do see it, it feels a little like you might be dreaming, it’s so beautiful and big. And the mornings here in the last week were all soft and gray, with light peeking around the edges and busting into cool winded sun by 2pm. Even today, it’s warm but there’s still this nice little breeze that lifts my spirits a little, makes it appropriate to wear a jacket and boots with my skirt, not feel trapped by my own sweat.
  • Because things are new, and we are new, we have a lovely incentive to go exploring. And we do. ON Wednesdays we go to the Farmer’s Market in the next neighborhood over (the one gentrifying too rapidly for us to afford a rental in, but which is close enough for us to benefit from), and on the weekends we adventure to the State Fair, or the fancy nature trails or the really good playgrounds or sporting events. We did this in Colorado, sometimes. But it was just as easy to fall into the same routine we’d always had.
  • IT’s hard to be the breadwinner partner when your heart kind of aches to be the stay at home, especially when your stayat home dandy wants nothing more than to win some bread. We are both grieving this a little, and looking for ways to boost each other’s spirits. We are probably over compensating, since we each want so much what the other has, but that’s better than building resentment, so I’ll take it.
  • Our house in Colorado STILL hasn’t closed. I’ll spare you the details, but the buyers had to get a new lender because the original appraisal came back all screwy and even though that meant waiting an extra month, it was still quicker than re-listing it. But, the appraisal with the new lender just came back at sales price and our realtor thinks we’ll close on the 20th. If not updating my blog was the rock in my shoe, this has been the very heavy raincloud over my head.
  • Approximately 75% of drivers in the Western Washington region are terrifying. To whit, I got in a (very minor) car accident last week when someone turned right on red without yielding to my green arrow and I grazed the person to my left while evading the blissfully unaware right turning asshole. I would guess I have to actively work to avoid being hit 2-3 times a day. And if this weren’t being confirmed by outside sources, I’d think it is because of me and maybe not being as confident on the road because of the aforementioned dependence on google maps. But nope, all the transplants I’ve talked to agree: Seattle drivers are terrible. They are passive and also sort of clueless. Pray for me.