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40 Days Day 4–30

“So you’ll love her, she’s great,” Kevin said.

Helen snorted. “Not that great.”

“Don’t listen to her. She’s still pissed about the car thing.”

“She borrowed my car for a single errand, and it took six hours.  I was very clear about what I was lending it for, and she took it on a joy ride.  She even ferried passengers.”

Kevin rolled his eyes.  “You got it back. Unscathed even.”

“That’s not the point…” Helen started, but Kevin moved on.

“Eddie, she’s a dynamo.  She takes over a room when she walks into it.”

Helen rolled her eyes, and then sighed.  “Ok, I will admit, she does have a superpower of getting impossible things done. She’s amazingly persuasive, and her force of will is something to behold.  You find yourself agreeing to her crazy ideas without even questioning them. And later, you wonder how we all managed to pull it off.”

Kevin nodded. “It’s amazing. And it works even if you know her well.”

Eddie looked at them, not quite sure if this was a good person or a bad person that he was about to meet. “So, where does she live? What does she do?”

Kevin and Helen looked at each other and shrugged.  “It’s unclear.  She’s a bit of a gypsy.  I know at least a dozen people who have hosted her for an extended period of time.  She has a bunch of projects going.  Sometimes she seems flush with cash.  Other times she’s broke.”


I have an appointment next week with a reproductive endocrinologist with Baylor. It’s been nine months since I went to the OB/GYN and he gave me Clomid. I went through seven cycles of Clomid without any success. On the eighth, I noticed that I had a very light, very short period, and I decided to stop and let my body re-regulate. No luck there, either.

So we’re seeking professional help. I suspect that this will be a frustrating journey, since they’ll have to see what’s wrong first. Probably a lot of testing. Probably a lot of waiting on my body. Or on Graham’s. Or on both of us. And then some hard decisions about how far we want to take this, how far to go before we decide we waited too long, that we’re too old, that a baby may not be in the cards for us.

I’m not sure we’re there yet. Maybe I’m pregnant now, this last week of my cycle. Maybe I just need a nudge. Or Graham needs something. Or a catheter has better aim than we do on our own.

I’m a little scared, but there’s nothing to do but go to the appointment and see what the doctor says.

Peed on a stick

So since July, Graham and I have been trying to get pregnant.  We’d been sort of trying before July, but we weren’t all that organized about it.  I’d gone off the pill, and we’d have sex, and we’d wait, and I’d not be pregnant.  After Graham had his hernia surgery in June, we decided that we needed to get more organized.

So I started taking my temperature every morning.  And I’d keep track of my cervical mucous. And I’d take ovulation predictor tests. And we’d have timed sex.  And every month, we’d wait for my period.  Which inevitably came.  I’d read more about fertility, and I joined an online board and learned all the acronyms.

In early November, I went to an obgyn to get checked out.  He said that I probably wouldn’t have any trouble getting pregnant, but when I showed him my temperature charts, he thought that maybe my luteal phase was a little short.  He gave me a prescription for Clomid for three months and sent me on my way.

I was bitterly disappointed the first month.  And then just sad on the second.  The third, I thought something was wrong with me.  When my period came at the end of  January, I called my obgyn, and he recommended a test to see whether any of my tubes were blocked. So on February 7, I went in and had my perfectly formed uterus and very open fallopian tubes x-rayed. Everything looked normal.

Next up was Graham.  He went in for a sperm analysis two weeks after I had my test. It seemed like it took forever to get the results back. And when they got back on March 7, they weren’t great.  I’d spent enough time on fertility boards to know that they weren’t insurmountable, but it was beginning to look more and more like we were going to need help getting pregnant.  Graham immediately stopped putting his laptop on his lap, and he started taking more supplements to get his numbers better. In the meantime, he made an appointment with a urologist, but that wouldn’t be until the end of April.

I decided that I’d take this two month break to work on my luteal phase. It’d improved considerably when I was on Clomid.  It’d been about 8 or 9 days before, with a 25ish day cycle.  On Clomid, it was a 12-13 day luteal phase with a 28 day cycle.  So I took Vitex every day and started to go to acupuncture once a week.  My acupuncturist told me that I had low kidney energy / yang.  I also added vitamins b12 and b6 and coq10 to my supplement intake. Plus some herbal medicine from my acupuncturist.  And it seemed to work. Though my cycle was still 25 days long, my luteal phase was 11 days. The previous month it had been 9 days.

On March 23, I started a new cycle. This cycle would be complete before Graham’s urology appointment, so it was another throwaway cycle as far as conventional medicine was concerned. In addition, I was going to Mexico for a wedding right around the time of ovulation, so we might miss our window.

The cycle was weird.  We got Fusilli towards the beginning of it, and sleep was interrupted considerably because he had to go out so often in the middle of the night.  My temps were pretty high early in the cycle.  Then they fell to very low.  My OPK was positive around the time my cervical mucous got egg white, and we had sex.  I flew to Mexico, and my temps started to rise. Five days later, they started to rise some more.  It was confusing, because I wasn’t sure if the second set of temps meant that I’d just then ovulated, or if it was one of those triphastic shifts I’d heard about.

So I waited.  And my temperatures never went down.  I peed on a stick on day 25, the day before my period was supposed to come. Nothing.  I peed on a stick on day 26, the day my period was supposed to come. Nothing.  I peed on a stick today, my period a day late.  HOLY FUCK! I think that’s a line!!!

Graham and I studied the stick.  It’s very faint. Very very faint.  And it could be a chemical pregnancy.  But I think I’m pregnant.  And I think that we were able to do this pretty much on our own.  Graham is still going to his appointment next week.

But if it is true, if I am pregnant, we’re going to have one of the best Christmas presents ever.

A new journal

Trying something new.  Back when I lost a ton of weight, I journalled the hell of my exercise.  It was a private journal, and only one other person could see it, but it was really great for me to keep track of what I was doing.  I think it also kept me honest about things.

So today, for the first time since my wedding nine months ago, I ran on a trail at the ranch.  I’d also run in October, but that was a one shot sort of thing.

Today’s was a pretty awesome run, as far as such things go.  I started with my mom, Liv and the pulik, and we stuck to the road and then the dam and then across the field.  Then everyone but Liv went back to the house. I paused for a second to use the rest room and then pushed on past the rhumpton house and then around the road back.

Depending on which device you ask, it was somewhere between three and three and a half miles and it took me about 40 minutes.

This is the route:

The Reluctant I

So this is an exercise from The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction.  I am trying to get in the mode of writing more often. And I think that having some direction would be helpful.  I’m sort of starting at the front and going forward until I get comfortable with the rhythm and start flipping through.  

At any rate, this is the first exercise:  Write a first person story in which you use the first person pronoun only two times.  The point of this exercise is to imagine a narrator who is less interested in himself than what he is observing. The reader should not be surprised to realize 40 or 50 words in that it is the first person.  600 words. 

That fireworks show before the oil rig blew was amazing.

Before it started, after several delays and some encores by the Mutaytor, everyone could feel this weird tension in the air.  The thousands of people standing in front of the stage were vaguely aware that something could go horribly wrong, and we’d all die a quick but firey death in the moments before the build up to the blast.

It’s not as if this thing was field tested. It’s not like they had a really precise idea of what minimum safe distance was.  It’s not like the art cars at the scene weren’t to some extent flammable, not to mention the yards of fake fur, stretchy lame, and other synthetic fabric on the population. It’s not like everyone wasn’t repeatedly told to read the back of the tickets with the lengthy disclaimer, which included death.

A fire truck stood by.  People with walkie talkies moved the perimeter circle even further away from the hundred foot tall oil derrick surrounded by 20 foot statues.   Rumors flew.  Was the BLM going to shut it down?  Did anyone know how many fire balls there were going to be?  No way was this going to be better than the Man burn that happened a few hours ago.   Some people spun fire or LEDs.  Others danced around the art cars.  Still others stood alone in the desert, in their own worlds, surrounded by thousands of other people.

But no one moved. Some people talked about taking a few steps back a little before the show started, but once the smoke started wafting in and that air raid horn started blaring, everyone was transfixed.  Heartbeats start speeding up.  Lovers squeezed each other tighter.  No one made any effort to leave. Instead, everyone turned their attention to the oil derrick, sitting silently in the distance.  The air horn went off forever and ever and ever. And everyone waited. And then it stopped. And a minute later, the Star Spangled Banner started, which morphed into this cool Arabic music, and the fireworks were off.

The fireworks were beautifully choreographed to some pretty fucking amazing music in a fairly ballsy way. The music and the fire were synched, and the bursts of color exploded in patterns and motions that not seen before.   The whole display hovered around the derrick, closer to the earth than displays they show in the default world.    This show drew our attention to the thing coming out of the earth, not the sky.   It seemed to go on forever and ever, and everyone was transfixed.  But that tension was still there. Even with the awe and beauty of the fireworks and music, everyone was acutely aware of all of that jet fuel waiting to blow.

And at the end, the Star Spangled Banner started again, but this time with a funeral organ playing it slow and morbidly.

And then a wait.

The motherfuckers knew exactly how to make every single person in that desert just shake in anticipation of this blast that was going to go off. It seemed like hours, staring at that oil rig, knowing that it was going to blow, but being unable to do anything more than just stand there and watch.

And then it did. Was there a sound? Maybe a sort of dull roar. The night turned into day for a few seconds, and everyone leaned back away from the radiant heat at the same time. People from far away said that the fireball went 500 feet into the air, but we were too close to see that high.  The crowd was just surrounded by light and heat and thousands of people, old and new, who were all thinking at the same exact moment, “Holy fucking shit.” Afterwards, the crowd stood there and watched the rest of the oil derek catch on fire and burn and burn and burn.