Monday, April 26, 2010

New house, new worries

Recently, we moved into a new house. We're still in Eugene, just not in West Eugene like before. I had a hard time grasping that we were finally moving out of the house on West 11th. It felt like we were going to be there forever! Even though I knew it was only a "transitional home" for us when me and my daughter moved there after my divorce. Well, the change I wanted for us wasn't the change I'd hoped for, but we definitely have moved on past that and taking the next step of having a more "family home" was long overdue. And it finally happened. I'm still amazed it finally happened but really enjoying our new home. Which I hope we will stay in for a VERY. LONG. TIME. Seriously, I'd forgotten how physically exhausting it is to move into a new home! There were days I was too sore to move after carrying boxes and furniture around. Ugh. Well, the plan is, if we move again, we're going to get a farm. We want horses and chickens and a cow and even pigs! But for now, we're staying put right here.

The new house has hardwood floors, which is something we have wanted for some time. My back is getting acquainted with the agonies of sweeping lots of floors again (as a teen, my parents lived in a house with very little carpet, and my back would HURT from sweeping all of those floors.) I am also learning how to properly care for the floors BUT I am not yet liking the idea of not wearing my shoes. Granted, I know I shouldn't, since my shoes are very old and messed up and they'll scuff the floors if I'm not careful, but I can't afford new shoes right now so hubby has been irritated I don't want to wear my slippers instead. Well, wouldn't you know it; the Great Shoe Debate has once again reared its ugly head. I don't like going barefoot because I don't want my feet to get dirty. I don't like only wearing socks because they, too, get dirty (I wear only white socks) and even wet. I don't like wearing slippers; I prefer SHOES. I'm just one of those people who likes to be READY to jump up and head out the door. Not stop to put on my shoes first. YUCK! When I get new shoes, I'm going to get two pairs, because I am going to start walking/running again since we're in a good area for it and I won't want to wear my running shoes on the nice floors after a run. I'll have house shoes for the house and running shoes for the outdoorsy stuff.

Still, I do really like the new house. It is bigger and brighter. And I don't have to carry a basket of fresh dried laundry through the rain anymore; the washer AND dryer are both in the adjoining garage, instead of one inside the house and the other in a storage room out in the backyard, like at the old house. Also, yes! We have a GARAGE! It's good because we have a safe place to store things (my friend's son had a bicycle stolen from my car port when he had left it there) and even keep our cars in it. No more walking out to a busy street with little kids to get them into the car!

Oh, that's another thing. We don't live on a busy street anymore. Hooray!! Granted, I did enjoy watching the traffic drive by from my front porch, but I was too nervous to let the kids play out front with all that busy traffic. Now Jennifer plays out front all the time (and sometimes, Jesse, when he is supervised).

Another thing that's changed? Jennifer is riding the bus to school now. Hooray! She is thrilled about this. She had been begging me and begging me to ride the bus to school before. But I always figured that, since her school was only 5 minutes away, there was no reason to take the bus. Now we live a little further from her school (thank God she doesn't have to transfer to another school! In Oregon, you're allowed to attend any school you'd like even if you don't live in that school district) so now she rides the bus. A bigger bonus is that now she's eager to get up for school in the mornings, get ready, eat breakfast and get going to catch her bus. She has not been late for any one day since she started riding the bus. AWESOME! If I had known that riding the bus meant Jennifer would be more eager to get ready for school in the mornings and get out the door, I would have signed her up for that a looong time ago. Thankfully, finally, our mornings are more drama-free.

The kids now each have their own room. Jennifer is ecstatic about that and Jesse is figuring out how a whole room is actually "his." Also, we have a bigger backyard now. Yay! Big enough for the kids to finally have a swingset. When we lived in California, Jennifer had a swingset in our front yard, but we had to leave it behind (with other things we could not bring). Then we didn't have a yard big enough for a new one. Now we do! That along with other stuff, like lawn furniture. We just need to get the yard cleaned up and fixed nice and purty, fix a part of the fence, then we can get the swingset and other things we plan to have in our backyard.

And because part of our fence in the backyard is broken, I can't let Jesse out there alone. In fact, I try to keep him as far away from that area of the yard as possible, which isn't so hard given that he likes to play around the shed, anyway. This big backyard is awesome for him; he gets to practice kicking and throwing a ball, running (though he has fallen down quite a bit) and just exercising his flexibility in walking up and down the path to the shed.

The neighbors here are REALLY nice. Everybody came out to meet us and welcome us to the neighborhood. This is also different from when we lived on West 11th. When I moved there with Jennifer, I had to walk over and meet my neighbors. But, even so, they were awesome neighbors. I will miss not being able to say "hi" to Darrell, Heather, Lilly, Tobby, Mark and Carol. But at least I will see them some of the time and I do stay in touch with some of them via e-mail. Also, my old landlord's business is not far from here. In fact, the kids and I walked over there yesterday.

We also live just 5 minutes from a park. Yay! Before, we had to walk 20-30 minutes to the park, but now we're just a hop, skip and a jump from it. Jen goes there a lot. She has made lots of new friends in this neighborhood (including finding out that a boy at her school, who no longer attends the school, lives nearby), so she's there Monday through Friday riding bikes, playing on the swings or shooting hoops. We went there yesterday, too, and both of the kids had such fun playing there.

All the same, I do have new worries to deal with. Jesse is able to unlock both the front door and the door in the kitchen leading to the garage, so we have to get safety locks for them. Also, I have learned, the hard way, to only run the dishwasher when the baby is sleeping. Otherwise, he fools around with the dials and messes up the wash cycle! Also, he gets into the fridge, so we have to keep an eye out for that. (He once took a jug of lemonade with him into Jennifer's room, sat down and started drinking from it in there. We don't allow food or drinks in the bedrooms so I have to bring him back to the kitchen to either pour something into a sippy cup and sit him at the table or put something, like a cookie, onto a plate for him.) I also discovered that the BEST TIME to sweep is also during the baby's naps or after he has gone to bed. It is impossible to sweep the floors and keep him from getting into everything or running out into the garage at the same time. Hubby does sweep, too, so there is that if I can't get around to it.

My time available for the computer has greatly decreased because of said worries. As I type this, the baby is napping. I grab time for writing, blogging, phone calls, checking E-mail and reading E-books to write reviews for whenever possible. I may not be online as much as before, but I'll still be here. Ultimately, meeting my deadlines come first (for SIGNews, my book contracts and turning in book reviews), but if I have some free time to check in with friends and family, or even send out a tweet, then it'll happen.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

In defense of straight marriages

I recently came across a popular claim made in the gay community. It's one of those sayings that gets recycled based on current events but it goes something like this: "X% of heterosexual couples break up at a rate of X%, children coming from dysfunctional homes are usually in homes with heterosexual spouses, domestic violence and abuse among heterosexual couples is X%. Meanwhile, a low percentage of abuse, violence, family dysfunction and divorce happens among the gay couples in America. Which option looks better to you? Obviously, gay couples are better than straight couples, because we stay together longer!"

In this case, someone was saying how Elizabeth Taylor was looking for Husband #7 and Larry King was having his fourth divorce. Because of these two items, the person said that ALL straight marriages are doomed and ALL gay marriages are perfect.

I beg to differ.

Just because a straight couple are breaking up or divorcing or because a straight person is getting married for a certain number of times, this does not reflect on what kind of sexual orientation is better. In fact, I know of gay people who have broken up with their significant others. I know gay people who have had many on-again and off-again relationship cycles. I know of stories of violence and interpersonal abuse happening between gay couples.

You know what? We're all the same whether we are gay or straight. Nothing lasts forever, not even relationships. Not even marriages. Whether you are gay or straight does NOT make you immune to violence, abuse, infidelity, separation or divorce. It can happen to ANYBODY. And I'm tired of people in the gay community saying "gay is better because our relationships last longer." Bull. I know of straight marriages that have lasted longer than certain gay relationships or gay marriages. One does not negate the other.

And one is definitely not better than the other, either.

Friday, April 02, 2010

On home births

Yesterday, I read a note from an online friend on how she was planning to have a home birth for her first baby. While I support my friend's decision, I felt a little edgy about the whole "home birth decision" thing. Especially since I recently fixed up an essay I wrote for my deaf parenting book, which shared the story of something frightening that happened on the night my son was born.

After Jesse's birth, I spent a long time just staring at him as he slept. You parents out there know this moment: How all you can do is stare at this new miracle that is yours. This wonderful, beautiful baby that has come into the world. How can you possibly take your eyes off of someone so special? That is what it was like for me. A moment to cherish this new life who will be my very own.

Then I noticed something wrong. His sleep was disturbed by him struggling with something in his mouth or lungs. It finally dawned on me that the way he was shaking and the look of struggle on his face indicated he was choking. Alarmed, I struggled to get out of my bed and get to him as I was yelling for a nurse for help. A nurse came into the room and helped him cough up what it was he had been choking on: Water. They ended up pumping A LOT of water out of his stomach that night. I was stunned I had come so close to losing him from choking on water, and grateful I had stayed awake and watched him long enough to see this happen.

Still, I was even more grateful that we were at a hospital when it happened. They had a qualified, trained nurse there to pump the water out of his stomach.

Had I chosen to have my baby at home, without a trained medical nurse available to assist for any emergencies, who knows what could have happened.

I don't read much about home births, and I understand why many women feel it is a better option for them. At the same time, if a woman insists on having a home birth, I think it would be wise to find a way for a nurse or a doctor to be present, just in case anything goes wrong. I don't know how home births go. Hopefully, these parents are indeed making sure a nurse is present for the birth.

As for me, I prefer to give birth to my children at a hospital. With such advanced technology available for medical emergencies and trained doctors and nurses ready and willing to help anyone in need, I feel more comfortable giving birth to a child there. Of course, life laughs while we make plans, and there's always the chance a baby can end up being born inside of a car or, as recently happened last Thanksgiving, right on the floor of a kitchen. Still, it's a good idea for a doctor or nurse to be available in case an emergency happens. You never know what can happen, so it's important to be ready in case something does.