I Am That Girl Now

Friday, July 21, 2006


I will get my brains together at some point, I promise. It's a lousy summer at work, and every friend and blood relation in the country seems to want to visit this summer, which, FYI, in a one-bedroom apartment is more wearing than in a two-bedroom. We finally have nobody coming in and nothing happening this weekend and I am deeply relieved.

In the meantime, I am wallowing in a deep state of crankiness. I'm in the midst of hashing out what to do about my future, career-wise, and figuring out whether this means I'll have to take night classes and how we could pay for such a thing (more loans, doubtless; GOD I HATE LOANS), or whether I will be able to wrest some more training out of my current employer. We have had funny tummy all week; I suspect that some of the leftovers we were eating for lunch were on the questionable side. My allergies are acting up.

Really, I feel like pouting and being a brat. Which is not good.

Does everyone have at least one friend who has everything she's ever wanted fall into her lap? One of mine has a husband who makes a lot of money, which means that she gets to quit jobs whenever she wants and then take long periods of off-time in which she gets to just concentrate on herself and what she wants to get done. No kids. Lots of money. Lots of time. She has all the time in the world to exercise, shop for fresh food, prepare lovely meals, sleep as much as she wants, and pursue her interests in a new career line.

I'm honestly not sure what I'm more envious of: the time, the sleep, the money, or the sheer open opportunities that are available to her. (It's morning, so right now I'm leaning toward sleep.) It's like the miraculous "fat camp" fantasy that Dietgirl talks about every once in a while, where you get enough time to concentrate on remaking yourself.

I blew off steam for a while on this subject with my Hub, who looked very sad and said, "I wish I could give you that." Which made me feel horrible, because, well, that wasn't what I meant. I wouldn't trade him for anything. I would like to see him in a job that made him happier, but we can't ever seem to get enough down-time for him to figure out what that would be.

I guess that back when that friend of mine was my age, she didn't have what she has now, either. The vast gaping distance there is that while we're considering having kids, she and her husband were very clear from the beginning that they didn't want them. So when they made all their plans for the future, they didn't have to work that into the equation, either financially or time-wise or place-wise.

I don't know. It's like I'm being tempted by the "you, too, could have this, if you just don't have kids" idea, but it makes me feel like a horrible human being to think of it that way. I just... I've always been scared of what I'd have to give up in order to have kids. Not just my present, but my future; I'd be trading in a lot of what I could be in order to fund what they could be. Which, again, makes me feel like a horrible human being. I shouldn't be scared like this, but there it is: there are few times in life where you have to sit down and decide whether or not you want to take your life and turn it completely upside down.


That's where my head is, right now, anyway. Either way we go, I want to be prepared for an actual career, though, and I would need more training to get an actual job that would pay me a quality amount of money (and let me do what I enjoy doing-- puzzling out how to make databases and their queries and reports work), and so I need to get that training.

Anyone know where I should start? Or, rather, where I can even go to get advice?

Cut for length-- click to read more.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Oh hell, where did I go?

There's something about having continual visits with friends and family occurring weekend after weekend that throws me for a complete loop. I don't remember when the last time is that I got anything done, much less slept enough and ate properly. (And I do know that the sleeping thing is at the base of all of this. Not enough sleep means that my body is more prone to seek high-sugar-high-fat foods, and more prone to poop out on me during exercise. NEED MORE SLEEP.) Wow. Not that I don't love my friends and my family, I just really, really want to get back to having enough time to focus on me, my husband, our home, my writing, and lord knows what else.

Also, guests = drain on bank account, because my Hub and I share a sincere belief that guests must be pampered a bit, which means buying them food at least once, and other such things. We don't do well with a lack of cash-on-hand, so there is crankiness in the household.

I've had a number of conversations lately that have made me sit back and ponder. I am currently a city dweller, and fiercely fond of much of the things that go with that status. The thing that's making me feel a bit twitchy, though, is the cost. I'm well aware that we pay for the privilege of being city-dwellers, and in our current state as a young, childless married couple, it's still worth it. I'm just not sure how much longer that's going to last.

My Hub grew up in the suburbs of another city, and I grew up in a small town. When pressed to consider non-urban options, both of us immediately trend toward what we're familiar with. My Hub is horrified (and in much of it, rightly so) of the idea of living in a small town with no access to the city and few non-white citizens; I'm horrified of the idea of living in one of the soul-less, sidewalk-less suburbs. We've started the process of circling closer to one another's positions, and a theoretical middle ground has been sketched out: a small town far out but still involving Metra train access to Chicago. I want something with a good amount of independent small businesses and a good community feel. Between the two of us our politics go from socialist to libertarian, depending on the day, but neither one of us are keen on typical small-town conservatism.

Translation: we are probably screwed.

I just... gah. I have reached the stage where I want to start preparing our exit strategy, start figuring out where we're going to go from here. I know what I want; I just don't think it exists. I want a small, well-arranged house (our current apartment is spoiling me rotten regarding useful space), within walking distance (WITH SIDEWALKS, dammit) of schools/work/groceries. I want trees-- big ones-- because nothing pings my "aieeee, Kansas!" alert like treeless expanses. I want to be in a place where I wouldn't have to drive if I didn't want to, where I could bike around without terror of being smushed by traffic, where the town is arranged in a neat compact way instead of running away from itself. I hate sprawl, I hate huge yards and huge houses and highways and chain stores and chain restaurants. If I could pick up my current neighborhood and drop it about 40 miles away, that would be pretty well perfect. Small, neat, compact, quiet, trees, small businesses, walking distance to two (possibly three) grocery stores.

Seriously, I am so screwed. I love the diversity of the city and the tiny businesses within walking distance of us, and I would be very sad to have to give that up and give my money to a big stupid corporation because it was the only game in town. I do not want to live in a town with a Wal-Mart. Particularly not one of those Super Wal-Marts that include a grocery store and God only knows what else. I am irked at the thought that circumstances are going to someday force me to drive everywhere and give my money to non-community businesses. I am irked at the thought that I will have to have a big stupid yard and an ill-arranged house with too much space to take care of and not enough to live in. I am also irked at the thought that I might have to spend my days explaining to people that no, Harry Potter is not a tool of Satan, and there really isn't a liberal gay agenda to turn all their children queer.

This could, of course, be sidestepped by deciding not to have kids. Except, well, I kind of want them. I suspect that if a few questions were answered-- the HOW THE HELL WILL WE AFFORD THEM and WHAT THE HELL DO WE DO ABOUT CHILD CARE questions in particular-- then I wouldn't mind sprogging at all. One of our friends has recently become a new mommy, and we got to meet her darling baby yesterday, and I think the thing that most struck me was that she's just the same woman as she was pre-baby, just with a new, engrossing hobby. (Bad way to put it, I know, but these are the terms I know on a gut level at the moment.) And the actual mechanics of baby care are things I already know-- feed, burp, play, nap, change diaper, nap, feed, burp, ad infinitem-- so that part wasn't scary. And the baby is terribly sweet and, hey, I can't help it, smelling the top of a baby's head makes my ovaries ache.

Moving out of Chicago and into the exurbs would solve some of the financial issues, but at the cost of giving up... pretty much everything else. This is a quandry. Add in the uncertainties of what we'd do for work outside of Chicago, and the distance we'd be from all of our friends, and you can see why a) the issue is only now coming up, and b) it is really not one we're keen to act on yet.


In other news, having rid ourselves of guests for a while, my Hub and I have declared today to be Get Our Shit Together Day. Back to business on cooking, eating, exercise, and housecleaning. Yay.

Cut for length-- click to read more.