Saturday, February 20, 2010

In the Cracks and Crevices of Real Life

Wow. It's been over a week and I now know for sure how hard it is to establish a habit, and how easy it is to lose it. Just like going to the gym, I find it is easy to blog every day...until I skip a day. And then it is suddenly impossible to find the time and energy. There's a lesson in there, isn't there?

In any case, when we last left off, our attempts at romance were interrupted by vomit. Awesome. That was last Wednseday night. Thursday, I woke up nauseous, but let Michael convince me that I was psyching myself out. I had a day schedule to read files from home, with just a one-hour meeting in the office, so I wasn't too worried. I found I had no appetite, so I didn't eat...just in case I got sick later. My sick co-dorm parents called to check on me, and warned me that the vomiting part was coming soon.

That night, Michael had planned a night out that he'd been looking forward to for weeks, and I was excited for him to go, even though that left me on duty by myself. I was still nauseous, but not sick. Until about an hour after he left. Which is when the chills hit, and I crawled under the covers, alternatetly crying and shivering until the door bell would ring and I'd be forced to wipe away the tears and answer the door as though I was a normal, functioning human. I held out until 9 and texted Michael to see if he'd be coming home soon. He said he would. I thought that meant he'd be home in half an hour, so I crawled back into bed determined to hold the nausea at bay until he returned, knowing that if I gave in, the doorbell would ring at the very moment I could not answer it. By 9:40 I was having a hard time holding it together, so when he texted and said he was getting ready to leave, I wanted to die. Knowing I'd never make it, I went to make friends with my industrial toilet. No sooner than I settled in front of it, my stomach revolted impressively, considering there was NOTHING in it.

Friday morning, I called my boss. Even though I had a HUGE creative meeting that neither of us wanted me to miss, I had to stay home. February is a critical month for the admissions office--we couldn't afford for me to infect anyone else. I continued to not eat. We were supposed to drive down to NJ that night to help my sister get ready for our new nephew. Since I hadn't gotten sick again, we decided to still go. I was so nauseous on the ride down that I called Alexis and begged her to talk to me for 2 hours to distract me. We made it all the way there, checked into our hotel at 1 am, fell asleep, and woke up puking an hour later. uhoh.

Needless to say, Tiff didn't really want us infecting her house, but we still wanted to see each other so I met them out and went shopping for baby stuffs instead. It was SO nice to get a chance to spend time with her, Lily, and Greyson, but I was still feeling queasy. It was a pretty pathetic weekend, especially given that Sunday was V-day and I was still too nauseous to even stop for a real dinner. We did stop at Boloco though--I figured it was healthy and natural enough for my very first meal in 4 days. Luckily, it was. Also luckily, Michael drove the entire way back even though it was really my turn. He is such a prince.

When we got home, we celebrated a sad approximation of Valentine's Day...exchanging cards and small gifts. (I gave Michael a heart full of ferrer rocher chocolates and a reservation at OYa Sushi--the number 1 rated Boston restaurant for a few years running. He gave me a gift bag of treats to keep me going through file tic tacs, sour skittles, and caramel-filled ghiradelli chocolate squares.) His card was amazing. He puts me to shame. He is so thoughtful and expressive. When he wants to be. =)

By Monday I was still nauseous, but on the road to recovery. I stocked up on ginger tea, gingersnap cookies, and ginger ale. I spent the day reading files, and we were on duty that night. We sprung the girls out of study hours and took them to see the Valentine's Day movie, which was fairly plot-less but entertaining none-the-less. It was a good bonding night for the dorm, and I came back feeling pretty jazzed for a sick girl. (See? the power of connection!)

Tuesday I went back to work and FINALLY felt better. As a result, I will now always stock ginger tea in the house. Tuesday night was another big night in the dorm, with a few different meetings, a black history month celebration, and our lunar new year celebration. We hid red envelopes filled with candy all over the dorm and were gratified to see how excited the girls were to go searching for them. By which I mean tearing the dorm apart. It was good.

Wednesday was the day that Michael decided to deliver the rest of my V-day gift: a specially cooked dinner. And oh did he deliver! He ordered in a Valentine Roll (my favorite) from our local sushi shop. He made a crab-cucumber-wasabi starter. The entree was perfectly seared scallops atop nutmeg dusted sweet potatos with asparagus and a delicious cocounut-curry-cilantro sauce. I was full halfway through. And to really make it special, we lit candles and ATE AT THE TABLE. We never do that. Seriously. Every night, we eat on our couch, on our coffee table, in front of the tv and our laptops. It doesn't bother me--we both prefer it. But on Wednesday, it was nice to revel in the candelight and quiet conversation. It was a nice night, even though I had to return to reading applications after dinner. He even did the dishes so I could focus. I told you he was a prince.

Thursday I met Erin for our monthly dinner out, this time at a restaurant she had a groupon too: the Basha Cafe in Cambridge. The food was middle eastern, and good. We had grape leaves and kabobs and baklava. And, of course, great conversation and company. I've known Erin for over 20 years now and it is easy to get right down to the dirty bits of our lives, even after not talking for months. She gives me a great perspective, too, and while we were talking about how disappointed I've been to not feel like I've made much progress this month in terms of the connecting focus, she helped me realize something. This whole project is about focusing on the things that are important to me. And while it's true that I continue to choose to nap instead of picking up the phone or venturing out after work (thus not meeting my goals in the way I had hoped) I am still focusing on what's important to me. I am aware of when I am connecting and when I am not, and the balance it takes to make the choice to connect. Perhaps I haven't succeeding in making it a priority, or in making more time for it. But I revel in it when it happens, and I recognize it's value. I am mindful of it. Which is its own success.

Early Friday morning I got some good news: Michael and I had a new nephew! Born at 5:54 am, 20 inches, and 6lbs 14oz. We haven't heard the name yet, but we're just happy that he and his mom are healthy. He came a bit early, so we were a little worried. Okay, I was a lot worried, but that's just me. Michael's used to it.

Friday was a busy, but good day at work. We had the group of designers and writers for our new view book project on campus and we had planned a great schedule for them. It was fun to hear from them how dynamic our students are, and how articulate. I also had a great college counseling meeting with a student I'm excited to work with. After work, I spent a lot of time making baby-related phone calls to my parents, uncle, and grandmother, which wound up being a good time to connect...and replaced my normal nap time, which is probably a good thing.

Friday night was devoted to files and I treated myself by letting Michael bring home Burger King. ooooohhhh. I wish I wasn't so fond of fast food. It really shouldn't taste so good. But as a reward for reading so many applications, I took a couple of hours to research and book our upcoming trip to New Orleans! The hotels, car, and flights are now booked--which means I can start looking forward to it. I can't wait! I have too many restaurants in mind to eat in our short time there before we head out to the boonies to fish and photograph the bayou.

Today, I've devoted mostly to files. After I finished the files for which I am the first-reader, I rewarded myself with a bath and some berries. And my May 2007 Oprah magazine. Where I learned that women who get several hugs a day from their husbands have significantly lower blood pressure than those embraced less often. Good news for me! (stop gagging.) Also, a bit into my bath, Michael came and brought me my eucalyptus mint (stress reduction) candle. I love it. My whole house smells like eucalyptus mint now, and it makes me take deeper breaths. I wish I could carry that smell around in my pocket. Even more than the sense of relief the scent brings, I am grateful for my husband. Because he knows me. He knows that I only like sour skittles, that I am addicted to orange tic tacs and prefer my chocolate with caramels. He knows that I will keep his cards forever and thus inscribes them with abundant care. He knows that I love this candle and that it would enhance my stress-reducing bath. And for him to know these things--as surface level as they seem--means that he sees me. And that gives me pause, filled with gratitude.

I'm about to go back to application reading, but only for a short time before I meet Gina at the gym for a bit. Hopefully we'll find something nice to do for dinner tonight before I try to lure myself back to application review. Oh--and I've got a new idea for connecting and exercising. I'm going to ask Michael if he'll start taking evening walks with me a few nights a week, especially when I can't make it to the gym. Yay.

All in all, if you don't count the getting sick's been pretty much a perfect week of connection and presence, in the cracks and crevices of real life obligations and responsibilities.

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