Thursday, January 31, 2013

Liz Lemon and the Magic Adoption Agency

I love 30 Rock. I do. I love Liz Lemon, the quintessential woman whose life is consumed by work not because she chose her career over her personal life, but because her workplace is so damn needy. Let's face it, if Liz Lemon quit TGS (the show within a show), or Tina Fey left 30 Rock, the show would be dead right then, and dozens of people would be out of work. And that's why so many of us identify with Liz and Tina. Not that we've have that experience on that level, but because so many of us have had to work long hours because we were surrounded by idiots, or we were told that starting next week we'd be traveling nonstop for two months, so there go your chances of meeting someone new or even keeping up with your existing social circle.

Every time in the past seven seasons that someone has given Liz a hard time about being single, so many of us have nodded knowingly. That's Tina Fey's thing - going someplace we've all been, but worse, all to make us laugh about it and feel better.

Which is why the adoption subplot in the final few episodes of 30 Rock have infuriated me to distraction. I realize that there's no room for a realistic portrayal of adoption in a workplace comedy. But did they have to make it look as easy as ordering takeout?

First, Liz was on a list at the magic agency to adopt a newborn. As a single woman, the wait would be four years. I can only assume this was traditional closed adoption with just a waiting list. Since we didn't try to adopt that way, I have no idea if that's how it's done. When she got married, she got put on a different waiting list that would only take two years. The woman at the agency suggested that she adopt an older child if she didn't want to wait. "I can get you an older child tomorrow. What color do you want?"

Over the next couple of weeks, we find out that this magic agency handles international adoptions and domestic older child adoptions. Liz and her husband decide to go for an older child and at first, the magic adoption agency contacts them about a three year old in Romania who only exists for vampire jokes. Then they end up with six year old twins from Texas. That are delivered to them by plane before they've even seen a picture of them.

And of course I can't be happy for these fictional people because the reality is so goddamned hard. Last season, Liz even said that if they adopted an older child, they'd always be a little afraid of them. This season, she came to realize that after wrangling difficult actors at work, she could handle raising any child. And then she gets six year old versions of those same difficult actors. Well, isn't that neat and tidy and adorable? It made for a great gag. I realized that even through all my bitterness.

But I spent over a year trying to get my kid, and to make things work. A teenager, not some cute little tyke like everyone who knows nothing about adoption says I should've gotten, and should get next time. And at times I was afraid of...not her exactly, but the ways she was acting out. I was afraid for me and for her. And it was for her sake and safety that we let her go.

We're two years into this process and we've lost our child. And I have no idea how long it'll take me to recover from that loss, and from everything that happened while she was here so that I'll be ready to try again. So yeah, I'm resentful of Liz Lemon's magic adoption agency that delivers up children as easily as kung pao chicken. 

You can have practically anything delivered in New York City, but not a family.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Typical Day in Life of a Freelancer

“One must still have chaos within oneself, to give birth to a dancing star.” —Friedrich Nietzsche  / Chaos / SML.20121204.IP3
This is not what my desk looks like,
but it feels that way.
  1. Take laundry down to laundry room. 
  2. Discover two of the three machines are busy.
  3. Set timer on phone for when they'll be finished. 
  4. Return to apartment.
  5. Write morning pages in the morning for once.
  6. Go down to laundry room and start laundry.
  7. Repeat step 3.
  8. Make and eat lunch while watching DVR'd episodes of Daily Show and Colbert from last night or possibly two nights ago.
  9. Put laundry in dryers, repeating step 3.
  10. Futz around online because it's all part of the process, and holy fuck, it's 1:30, I need tea, no wonder I'm so spacey.
  11. Make tea.
  12. Go fold laundry.
  13. Discover that one of the dryers (from the dreaded Left stack - they take ten minutes longer than those in the Right stack and no one knows why they're programmed that way) didn't actually dry all the clothes. 
  14. Place damp clothes to dryer in the Right stack.
  15. Repeat step 3.
  16. Actually drink cup of tea while playing some video games, which is my way of waking my brain up.
  17. Reread the e-mail to an editor I drafted in step 10 was actually fine as is (but I wasn't sure because of the fuzzy needing-caffeine brain), and send it.
  18. Do some research for an assignment the editor gave me (whee!).
  19. Start an email to a source for the assignment.
  20. Phone alarm goes off.
  21. Fold the last bit of laundry.
  22. Ponder how little I've gotten done this week (Four doctor's appointments in three days, then laundry debacle today and how the fuck is it 3 o'clock?). Feel the self loathing rising like bile.
  23. Finish and send email to source.
  24. Contemplate starting freelance copyediting work, then realize that I should really drop off that prescription before 4 o'clock just in case they have to order it, which they sometimes do.
  25. Go to pharmacy where there are 3 people ahead of me.
  26. Almost hug guy who lets me go ahead of him because I clearly only have to hand over a piece of paper and walk out.
  27. Cross the street to the Duane Reade, feeling guilty about not making all my purchases at the family pharmacy. (They have my bank's ATM, their own line of cookies I was in the mood for and I would buy toilet paper from the family pharmacy if I could find it - maybe they keep it hanging from the ceiling. I dunno.)
  28. Get so distracted by this guilt that I forget to use the $7 off coupon for my vitamins until I'm walking out the door.
  29. You'd think that I would've gotten over the guilt long enough to remember while waiting at the ATM in the Duane Reade behind three people, but you would be wrong.
  30. Get home. Sit in front of computer to eat cookies and play video game before doing the copyediting mentioned in step 24.
  31. Write blog post instead. Don't bother with self loathing.
  32. Realize it is now 4 o'clock, the same time I sat down to work on the copyediting that I did on the previous two days when I was out at the doctor for a good chunk of the day.
  33. Discover husband may be coming home early. View this is a bad thing because it cuts into my working time. I could tell him to leave me alone, so I could work, but I not going to, and yet I still manage to feel annoyed at him. Cue the self loathing.
  34. Eat the cookies.
  35. Finally start editing knowing that the husband could walk through the door at any moment.
  36. Wonder if that feeling is self loathing or acid reflux.
  37. Get a Tums, then return to editing.
  38. Hope tomorrow is more productive.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

That's Our Maura

Magazines Holy crap and half, someone I know has started a magazine. Not the paper kind, though. Maura Magazine is a app. A freaking app, y'all. Because we're living in the future. And before you start asking where the flying cars and jetpacks are, ask yourself this - people text, talk on the phone and put on makeup while driving, do we really need to add altitude to that scenario?

Maura Magazine is weekly, the first issue is free and awesome with the awesomeness. My favorite article in the first issue is founder Maura Johnston's essay about 9 to 5

So check it out. Subscriptions are $2.99 a month, $29.99 a year and it looks like back issues will be 99 cents, but you won't need to worry about that, because you're finding out about it now and not a year from now, so good for you!

I also have to say that I love the length (5 articles per issue) because my magazine rack runneth over embarrassingly. Oh, if I had $5 for every time I flipped to the reader letters in a magazine and realized that they referred to an issue I hadn't read yet because it was buried even deeper in the stack, well, I'd probably have enough to buy yet another pair of Doc Martens. But I don't, and I have enough Docs, so I guess that's OK.

***This is NOT a sponsored or compensated post. Maura didn't even ask me to write it. I just checked out the magazine and liked it, and decided to give it a post of its own rather than tack it on to another post because The Flying Spaghetti Monster only knows how long it'll take me to get my act together to write one of those.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bad News, Good News

day 094: down pipe #26Bad News: We came home from visiting the in-laws in the Midwest to discover a definite bulge in the bathroom ceiling (caused by a leak from the apartment upstairs).

Good News: I knew how to address the problem (poke a hole in it with a screwdriver to let the water out in a controlled manner instead of waiting for the ceiling to just fall apart).

Bad News: Our note to the super got no results. I called the management company who told me to talk to the porter who's easier to reach than the super. When I talked to the porter, he told me to talk to the super who was in his apartment right at that moment. But didn't respond to my knocking.

Good News: The porter was then all, "whoa, you've gone two whole days without a response? Let me go look at your ceiling right now." He even sent the super up later that evening. The porter came the next morning to open up the ceiling as promised.

Bad News: I was using the shower at the time.

Good News: He came back half an hour later and still got everything done before the plumber came. The plumber arriving when you need him and not two weeks later is akin to a miracle in these parts.

Bad News: The porter didn't come two days later as promised to close up the ceiling (after waiting for everything to dry out). 

Good News: We didn't really expect him to.

Bad News: He didn't come two days after that when I was hoping he'd come because I had a doctor's appointment and being out while he made all the noise would've been nice.

Good News: I ran into him on the way back from the doctor and he promised to come the next morning.

Bad News: He spent three and half hours in there, making ungodly noises, spraying something that smelled like bleach (that I could smell all the way on the other side of the apartment) and coming and going without telling me how long he'd be gone, so I never knew if it would be OK if I actually used the bathroom. I just waited since I didn't want to be still using the euphemism when he came back. I mean, I've been living here for three years and the guy still calls me "excuse me," so me going potty while he's waiting outside the door is just not a place out relationship is ready to go.

Good News: During those three and a half hours, he fixed EVERYTHING. The ceiling (new sheetrock and painting), the tile soap holder that fell down months ago (the super said he told the porter to fix it, but it never happened), and the peeling paint on the bathroom door. Dude just repainted one side of the door.

Bad News: Needless to say, my building doesn't use that fancy newfangled paint that comes without the toxic fumes. And since it was the outside of the bathroom door he painted, I can't just close the door, open the window and let all the fumes vent out into the great outdoors. So it's been migraine-a-go-go, even with my homeopathic drops.

Good News: I have absolutely nothing to nag the super about and all this was done BEFORE we gave the super and porter their Christmas/New Years tip.

Bad News: I wrote the above yesterday morning. While making my lunch, I heard a noise. Sort of a drip...drip...drip noise. And now I have a leak in the kitchen ceiling. And the porter and super are MIA. Me and my big mouth.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Just Go Ahead Without Me

I'm having trouble getting combobulated enough to write something coherent, thanks in part to my annual New Year's Mucusfest. (The awesome thing about having a 5-year journal is that I can see that at this time last year I was also wondering if I'd ever stop producing prodigious amounts of snot. You know, so I can feel like it's all part of the Wheel of the Year.)

BTW, my Dad said that my last blog post was TMI, so I'm thinking he's probably not loving my word choices in the last paragraph, but we've all been sick and know that the word "Mucusfest" is nowhere near as gross as the actual experience. Also, Dad? Vagina, vagina, vagina, vagina, vagina.

Anyhoodle, in lieu of an actual post, here's a bunch of cool stuff I feel like sharing.

  • The fascinating unsolved mystery of the missing Sodder children, which I found via The Hairpin, which is also worth a peek.
  • Flying Houses
  • On Writing Morning Pages. I did this exercise years ago, but I was extremely literal minded about it and did them super first thing in the morning. As in while I was still in bed trying to wake up. When that resulted in gibberish, I moved it a little later in my morning routine, but apparently not late enough because it didn't really do anything for me. The author of this essay mentions writing her morning pages on the subway and I had a lightbulb moment. I can do them at the start of my work day instead of looking for one more little to do because procrastination is all part of the process.
I wonder why I was so literal about following the instruction to write morning pages first thing in the morning. Is it because I was a techie? Or is it a touch of the ol' Asperger's? It's probably the Catholic upbringing. No one follows the letter of the law like a Catholic. It's all the anti-Hell propaganda. Like, for all we know Hell is a perfectly nice place. And we certainly don't know the actual rules and regulations for entry thereto. Just something I used to think about while obeying the letter of the law while attending mass twice a week and ignoring the spirit of the law by letting my mind wander and think about how much I disagreed.

Anyway, if you've found anything cool lately, please share in the comments.