Wednesday, April 04, 2007

hello? is this thing on?

OK, so I did an ICU rotation in January, and then more work things happened, and life continued to march by, and then suddenly it was April and I hadn't updated this page for three months. BUT! I am updating it now. Because of guilt. And because big life things are HAPPENING and I figured you all would want to know.

The thing about not updating for a long time is that the pressure to turn out a good entry and right all past neglect just grows to monstrous proportions once you're out of the loop for, oh, months. There's that feeling that the comeback entry must be so well and hilariously written and of SUCH PROFOUND INSIGHT that not only will the faceless legions totally forgive you for going incommunicado for the entire winter, but also fall in a stunned faint to the floor because MAN, YOU REALLY NAILED IT. So not updating for a long time leads to not updating for an even longer time, because you can't just slap some shit up there, it actually has to be good, and can't you see I'm CRACKING UNDER THE PRESSURE HERE? I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so...scared! (Starts inhaling handfuls of caffeine pills.)

(And yes, I am referencing a Very Special Episode of "Saved By The Bell," what of it?)

But then I figured I would just pretend like there was no pressure because for god's sake, it's just a stupid blog--and just catch you all up on what's been going on. Good? OK.

The biggest thing that's going on for us right now is that Joe just submitted his fellowship match list. Don't talk about this around him, because he's all nervous and filled with self-doubt and whatnot, but the oculoplastics match is April 25th, which those of your with calendars or calculators or (better yet) calculator watches, can see is exactly three weeks from today. These past few months, he's been flying all over the country on interviews, wearing suits and being impressive and charming, running through airports throughout this great land of ours like some latter-day O.J. Simpson, minus the murderous insanity (mostly). We are ranking something like 8 or 9 oculoplastic programs (when I say we, I really mean "Joe," but since all of us are sort of tied into the relocation package, I really really mean "we") in various locations, but our top three choices (in no particular order--I must keep it abstruse like this because the fellowship match is something of a closed and black-box process, where neither side is really supposed to know the exact order of the rank list of the other) are Columbus, Ohio; New York City; and Denver, Colorado. So as you can see, our hopes and prospects are strewn hither and yon, which means that the result of this match is a source of great anticipation. Where we match is where we are going to move (or, in the case of New York, stay), for at least two years, starting July 2008. It will be where I find my first real job, where Cal will start school, where we will (probably) have another kid, where Cooper may get run over by a truck and get buried in some ancient Indian resurrection soil only to come back EVIL. The rank list is already submitted, so at this point all there really is to do is sit back and wait. But as you can probably imagine, the suspense of not knowing is killing me.

The other big thing that happened is that I finally got some rain boots! Well, no, I guess that's not really a big thing, but I just realized that Joe's fellowship match is really the only major news item. Everything else has just been chugging along. There was some snow in March, and I got sick of getting my feet wet, so I finally bought some rain boots. They are yellow with little apples on them! And rubbery! Then of course, it was sunny for many weeks, and I didn't get to wear them, even after I took my rain stick and shook it at the sky. Here Cal is modeling said boots, though they are more like those full-leg fishing boots on him. Note that he has clearly been watching "America's Next Top Model," what with the angulation of the shoulder and the hip.

The thing about not posting for a few months is that while a few months is nothing in the lives of adults, it's a lifetime in toddler time. Cal is bigger now. He says things. I shant bore you with a list of things that he says (such lists should be solely confined to the minds of parents and perhaps shared during select gatherings involving doting grandparents who clap when the baby farts) but suffice it to say, he talks. Also, he eats things and likes to play with toys. Hmm. Maybe not that much has changed in the past few months after all.

I was thinking of enrolling Cal in preschool after he turned two this July, not for SAT prep purposes, rather for socialization purposes. Cal is fine at interacting with adults, but around other kids, he's a little shy. So why not throw him into the shark tank that is nursery school, I thought? Learn how to form small Lord of the Flies-esque tribes, eat partially stepped on floor crackers, and become a hothouse for viral scourge! Brilliant! All I had to do was find a good nursery school nearby and sign him up, right? Oh, Michelle of the past, I, Michelle of the present, have so much to teach you. And yet I cannot.

What I forgot to note was the total cutthroat to-the-death cage match known as the Manhattan nursery school admissions process. What? say you, Admissions process? To nursery school? Yes, my friends. This is Manhattan, and everything is a scene. By the time I was starting to think seriously about enrolling Cal in nursery school, all the other families were already glued to their mailboxes, waiting for their acceptance (or, for shame, rejection) letters to come pouring in. Some reseach into the process what had already passed us by revealed that these other families had already had their kids tested, interviewed, written their application essays, and solicited their letters of recommendation. For their two year olds. FOR NURSERY SCHOOL. If you do not live in Manhattan (or maybe London), you perhaps think I am kidding, ha ha, with the mirth--only I am so, so not kidding. So I guess unless there's a half-day opening with the hospital-affiliated nursery school, Cal will just have to content himself with the life of a prince for another year. I'm not really sweating it too much, since I'm not totally convinced that he's actually going to be ready for nursery school at age two (he's still so shy in new situations, I don't want to create some sort of indelible fear complex in him before he's really mastered the whole verbal communication thing), but I guess we should just work on more opportunities for him to play with other kids his age. If only I were more friendly. And less scared of the other New York moms. Don't judge me, playground moms. I'm post-call.

Oh, and one last thing. We just got back from vacation yesterday. We went to Clearwater Beach in Florida. You may recall that we went to Florida last year too, though Sanibel Island that time. So why Florida again? Do we love Florida or something? Easy, amigos. It's Spring Break season, and Florida was the cheapest beach deal Expedia had to offer.

Why am I in none of these pictures? Because I am in charge of the camera. I'm no Annie Leibovitz, but Joe is a worse photographer than I am. I keep explaining to him that it's about COMPOSITION, and WAITING FOR THE RIGHT MOMENT, but then he goes ahead and takes a picture of the side of my head standing in front of a cement wall with Cal's head in the foreground, all blurry with his eyes closed. And then I have to wrest control of the camera back from him.

Oh, I just had to include this photo to show you how Cal is weird. This is a kid who does not like to get messy. All around us were kids slopping around in the surf and building sand castles and burying each other in muck, and Cal wouldn't even touch the sand. He hated the water, he hated the feeling of the sand on his feet. The only way that we could convice him to let us put him down was to cover up that horrible, horrible sand with a towel so that not one grain would touch him. That is weird, right? Don't kids usually like sandboxes and mudpies and all that?

There, I finally updated. I feel better. Maybe I should make some sort of commitment, 30 posts in 30 days or some such AA-sounding thing, to get back in the saddle. We could try it.

Currently reading: Waiting for my copy of "Better" to come from Amazon. I loved his first book. What is with this guy, though? Even the New York Times profile of him was practically drooling with accolades, "Tall, handsome, brilliant...a former Rhodes scholar and currently the recipient of a MacArthur 'genius' grant," and he's married with three kids, which at least implies that he has a life outside of work. You almost want to hate him for being so perfect, but in all of his writing, he seems like just a nice, down-to-earth guy. How unusual (optional postscript: "...for a surgeon"). I also read "Nineteen Minutes" on the plane, and I advise you only not to waste your time doing the same.