Monday, January 30, 2012

The Adoption Tango

The first questions people have for us when we tell them about the adoption thing are about the whole procedure. So here's generally how it goes. Your mileage may vary.
  1. Find an agency that only deals with adoptions from the foster system. There are 2 in NYC. COAC and AdoptUs, if you're interested. Regular foster agencies deal with fostering and only have a few kids a year free for adoption, so they're not the right place to go unless you want to foster first. Regular adoption agencies might be able to help, but there may be a cost involved.
  2. Take a parenting class that is mostly there to scare you off by letting you know what you're getting into. There's also some talk about how raising a kid from the system is different. The class was 2 nights a week for 4 weeks in our case. I have a friend in Florida whose class was 1 day.
  3. Fill out forms and gather papers (tax return, paid bills, etc.) and submit to agency.
  4. Have your 4 references send reference letters directly to the agency.
  5. Get fingerprinted.
  6. Have home study, in which a social worker visits the apartment, interviews the prospective parents and takes notes about the home.
  7. Wait 2 months for the social worker to write up the home study/profile.
  8. Wait for busy workers at agency to review and edit home study. This took months for us--budget cuts = staff cuts = big workloads. This is what small government looks like. Call your congressperson.
  9. Review and comment on home study.
  10. Repeat previous 2 steps to finalize home study.
  11. Start looking at kid's online profiles.
  12. Ask agency to submit home study for every kid that seems like a match.
  13. Wait while the individual agency handling each kid's case reviews the home studies of all the interested potential parents.
  14. Full Disclosure meeting with the kid's agency. This only happens if they want to consider you further. This is when they tell you all the details of the kid's background. You ask questions and they ask questions--it's like online dating with a matchmaking committee. We've heard back about one kid so far and we we went a detailed history of the kid before scheduling this meeting. No idea if this is typical.
  15. Meet the kid. This may happen after you're matched, or when they've narrowed it down to a few potential parents.
  16. If it's a match, you have several supervised visits with the kid. After a while, you can take them out without supervision for a few hours.
  17. Then the kid can come stay for a weekend visit, 2 weekends in a row. If you're adopting from another state, this may be different. They may be less visits, the weekend visits happen at a hotel in the kid's state so they never see your house until the next step, etc.
  18. If all goes well, the kid moves in with you.
  19. It takes 6-12 months to finalize the adoption, during which the kid is still in the foster system, so a social worker stops by once a week (or once a month--I've heard both) to check up on things.
You can back out any time prior to the finalization, but obviously, the later you wait, the more traumatic it is for the kid. But no one expects you to keep a little psychopath, which was the main concern of the parents in our parenting class. You can also ask for help before and after the adoption is finalized--no one is dropping a troubled child in your lap and running away.

Any questions? I'll answer them in the comments.

Random Randomness

  • The super came and fixed the plumbing on Friday (2 days after I first told him about it). Because it was an emergency.
  • I'm really looking forward to the Oscars this year because there will be a performance of a song from the Muppets.*
  • And Bret McKenzie is totes gonna win an Oscar. I don't even have to hear the other nominated song to know that.
  • That may be the first time I've ever used "totes" in a sentence.
  • With that meaning, I mean. It's not like I've never mentioned tote bags in my life.
  • I keep imagining Bret and Jemaine in their TV apartment. Bret tries to find the perfect spot for his Oscar and Jemaine is all, "Bret, stop showing off your Academy Award. We're a band. You shouldn't have written a song without me."
  • Here's a song by someone I went to high school with. My fave lines because they bring me back to my days of trying to socialize and date in a city crawling with hipsters:
But do I gotta get pierced and tattooed
Just to sit next to you

And while we're at it, here's a video of Kermit & Miss Piggy responding to Fox News' complaints that the movie was pushing a liberal agenda. Unsurprisingly, it is made of awesome.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Joys of Plumbing

bathtub &umbrellaThis Jenuary just hasn't been my month. Cold, migraines, stomach flu and now plumbing issues of a different nature.

The background
The cold bathtub tap hasn't closed all the way for weeks now. It closes most of the way and the water trickles a little throughout the day. The super knows about it, but he has a day job and it takes him a while to get to things. He's still faster than the landlord's one plumber who takes about 6 weeks to show up. To replace a freaking washer that I could replace myself if I had a socket wrench, which I refuse to obtain on principle.

Wednesday morning's events
  1. Wake up to discover that cold faucet isn't closing at all and there's an annoying amount of cold water running.
  2. Try to adjust it and make it worse.
  3. Realize that this didn't get worse with no one touching it. His Not-So-Awesomeness just didn't notice after his shower.
  4. Get screwdriver and pliers to turn off cold water the hard way.
  5. Discover my inability to loosen the screw on the tap cover, due to a combination of my own illness-induced weakness and how tight the super made the screw when he last worked on the faucet.
  6. Perform morning ablutions.
  7. Turn off water to the entire apartment under the kitchen sink.
  8. Check the bathtub.
  9. Discover that I only turned off the water to the kitchen sink.
  10. Turn on kitchen sink water supply.
  11. Turn off apartment water supply (mostly, see above referenced illness-induced weakness).
  12. Check the bathtub.
  13. Discover that water is closer to a trickle now.
  14. Try unscrewing the faucet cover again.
  15. Consider divorcing His Not-So-Awesomeness.
  16. Think better of it.
  17. Have breakfast.
  18. Turn water back on.
  19. Take shower.
  20. Attempt to turn water off with towel turban on head.
  21. Swear profusely.
  22. Remove towel.
  23. Turn water off.
  24. Leave apartment for doctor's appointment and work, relieved that at least the super unclogged the bathtub drain last week so I don't have to stay home bailing it out all day.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Insights Gained During My Recent Bout of Stomach Flu

"sorry, u have to queue like everyone else"#1 Illness makes me dumb. I forgot about the existence of Immodium until after a sleepless night that could've been prevented by that particular medication. Which was in the house. Unexpired and everything.

#2 I am a mean, scary person because HA was going to ask if I'd taken Immodium before the sleepless night, but he figured I'd get bitchy at him for suggesting something so obvious.

#3 That point in the stomach flu when you run to the bathroom every time you eat or drink something? It's just like being a Baby Alive doll. (That photo turns up when you search for "Baby Alive" in Flickr Creative Commons and it was too cute not to use.)

#4 I still have fond memories of my last bout of stomach flu, even while reliving the experience. It occurred at HA's apartment less than a year after we started dating. He got me Gatorade and saltines the next day and let me stay on his couch and showed me Carry On Up the Khyber. He really proved himself to be a Guy Who Does Not Suck.

He also pleaded with me to call an ambulance, but I didn't think it was necessary, and the experience was unpleasant enough without the addition of a bedpan and lack of privacy, so I refused.

#5 As ridiculous as it sounds, it's possible to be repulsed by the smell of Cheerios. Cheerios, people. Just when I thought my body had gotten bored with thinking up new ways to betray me--Cheerio intolerance.

Well played, Jen's body. Well played.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Field Notes from the Disco

Disco DrosselI wrote this years ago, pre-blog (as in, before blogs existed) and emailed it to some friends because I just had to share and had no other forum.

For your edification and entertainment, a report on my weekend:

So I visited a friend who lives up around Boston this weekend and we went dancing at some club in Saugus or some such place (because we decided that our time was better spent boogeying than driving all the way into Boston).

My friend teaches aerobics, goes out dancing almost every single weekend and is a fabulous dancer (as well as being pretty & having a nice body--a detail which will come into play shortly). So whenever we go dancing, she gets lots of attention (being one of the best dancers in the room, if not the best, plus the thin & pretty thing).

This gives me the additional entertainment of observing her would-be suitors.

Saturday night's would be suitor: tall, skinny suburban white guy, who danced like a tall, skinny suburban white guy.

Tactical error #1: Deliberately ogling and talking to his friends about Hot Girl in full view of her Fat Friend (Since I've stolen all my dance moves from her, I really do resemble a heavier version of her when we're out dancing).

A) Fat Friend will undoubtedly tell Hot Girl about this & maybe she's sick & tired of being ogled while she's dancing and possibly

B) Fat Friend could be bitter from not being ogled when out dancing and could pout & encourage Hot Girl to leave early. (Just a theoretical possibility that should not be ignored when dealing with Fat Friends of Hot Girls--THIS Fat Friend didn't give a rat's ass about being ogled as she was too busy rejoicing that the DJ was accomodating her & her friend's requests for cheesy disco songs--Abba, Bee Gees, sigh.)

Tactical error #2: Attempting to dance with Hot Girl without bringing over a friend to dance with the Fat Friend. This leaves the Fat Friend free to

A) rescue Hot Girl from lame guy following pre-arranged signals and

B) observe all his lame-ass attempts to get Hot Girl to like him so she may then report on same allowing Hot Girl & Fat Friend to laugh at him on the way home.

Tactical error #3: Failing to notice that he was not a very good dancer and that dancing in close proximity to Hot Girl/Dancing Queen results in making him look extra-dorky and making Fat Friend surreptitiously laugh really hard at him while still in the club.

Tactical error #4: Trying to endear himself to Hot Girl by making multiple attempts to do The Bump with the Fat Friend until she finally snaps & says, "You need to stay the fuck away from my ass." (It actually did my bitchy NYer's heart good to be mean to him, so he may actually get bonus points for this one.)

Tactical error #5: While wisely retreating during the playing of "I Will Survive", retreating all the way out the room, thus allowing Hot Girl & Fat Friend to leave completely unaccosted. Poor suitor must now wonder if he would've gotten Hot Girl's phone number if he had actually asked. This made extra-pathetic and tragic in light of:

Tactical Error #6: Suitor chose to pursue a Hot Girl who met her ex-husband while out dancing thereby rendering all his efforts (which may include going to the same club next week to look for her) completely useless (except, of course, for the boundless amusement provided to HotGirl and Fat Friend).

The best part was that my friend didn't notice any of this going on while we were at the club. Even the part when he indicated to me via gestures that he thought my friend was really hot. There was much laughing on the drive home as I described the above to her.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Open Letter to People Who Suck, Memory Lane Edition

My upstairs neighbor seems to have taken up an exercise regime that involves moving a large piece of furniture back and forth every night around 10:30. Which has put me in mind of past loud neighbors.

Dear guy who lived upstairs from me and welcomed me to the building by saying that you and you brother/roommate were pretty quiet,

This was a true statement. Until you started a band that rehearsed in the bedroom above mine. Where my computer was located. You weren't very good, even with the midnight practice sessions with your amp turned up to 11. Imagine my shock when I went up to tell you to turn it the fuck down and discovered that your brother and his girlfriend were watching TV loudly so they could hear it over your excessively amplified guitar. Truly, this must have been the first instance in history where one brother didn't tell the other to hold it the fuck down.

And BTW, real bands don't practice in bedrooms. When I had a pro drummer as a rommie, her drum set never even entered the apartment. Because she didn't suck.

And while I'm at it...

Dear woman across the hall from me in that same building,

Way to get laid at 5 AM after being out all night. But did you really think that blasting Barry White music would keep your roommates from knowing about it? I mean, the music was so loud that you couldn't hear me pounding on the door and I had to go downstairs and press your apartment's buzzer all to tell you to turn it the fuck down. And that time I didn't complain, and your date left and you changed the music to Katrina and the Waves "Walking on Sunshine" and sang along? Appropriate music selection, I admit, but does everyone in the building have to wake up to celebrate that had sex?

Seriously, you're a Kindergarten teacher. Is going out for a post-coital jog after not sleeping all night going to assist you in surviving 30 5 year olds all day? Couldn't you have gotten some somethin'-somethin' at 1 AM, so you could catch some sleep after? I know I would've appreciated that schedule and I only had to sit at a desk all day.

Day-m, I'm starting to appreciate my current upstairs neighbor now. OK, who's got an annoying neighbor story to share?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

So We Actually Went Out

102/365 Peep Starry NightAnd did stuff and everything. Between the cold fairy and the migraine fairy, I haven't been up and about much for the past few weeks. And now, thanks to MTA track work, I'm looking at over a month of being unable to go into Manhattan on the weekends.

So His Awesomeness and I seized MLK day and used our MoMA membership. First, we had crazy yummy food at the 2nd floor cafe. Then we looked at art. The big exhibit at the moment is by Sanja Iveković, a feminist activist Croatian artist. Cool stuff, pretty accessible. The statue/monument at that link is a response to all the WWI and WWII monuments that ignore women's actual contributions during the war, and relegates them to a symbolic role. It was erected within walking distance of the monument it spoofs and the large photograph that shows both of them at once was quite powerful.

But the day wasn't all high falutin'. In the photography area, there was a series of snapshots, photographer unknown, from a certain person's collection. As in, you or I could do the same thing with a shoebox of grandma's old pictures. An artist didn't arrange them in a certain way. The museum curator just selected them and hung them. A random collection of old photos is cool, but it's not art.

You see, the first time I met HA's mom & aunt, we went through two, count 'em two modern art museums.* If you've never been to a modern art museum with people who don't like or get modern art, well, I can't say I recommend the experience. I spent the whole time defending and explaining the art. I had to dig deep and bring my A game and probably did my art history teachers proud, but now I get annoyed at art that I couldn't possibly justify to someone.

*Sample exchange from that day:
HA's mom or aunt looking at an Untitled 3-D painting/sculpture thing (possibly this one): I hate it when they don't title it.
Me in my mind: Me too.
Me out loud: Well, that makes you participate in the experience. You have to decide what it is.
Me in my mind: "Untitled" is such a cop-out.
Me out loud: It looks like a turtle's eye

Since I've been so much on the couch lately, my endurance is nil, so I hit the wall as we got to the 4th floor (less than halfway through the place). We went to the 5th floor cafe for some amazing cocoa and pomegranate cheesecake. Then we used our last burst of energy to visit Vincent Van Gogh, right by the cafe. I try to stop by every time I'm at MoMA since the amazing Doctor Who episode where the Doctor bends the rules and undoes a great injustices--the fact that Van Gogh is so admired and beloved now and was completely unappreciated in his own time. He does this by taking Vincent to a 21st century exhibit of his work and gets the curator to talk about how great Van Gogh is while he's standing right there. Just thinking about that scene makes me goose bumpy. Because I'm not dead inside.