Archive for October, 2011

How much is that baby in the window?


Despite our worries and fears that we were walking into a condo-time share presentation my wife and I went to the monthly “seminar” at a reproductive medicine clinic. We expected high pressure sales tactics. We expected to be the least attractive people there. We expected to be the least affluent people there. We expected to be the ONLY people there since no other cars could be seen in the parking lot.

As we got ushered back to the waiting room I can honestly say I had never been happier to see a more overweight, more poorly dressed, more socially awkward couple already waiting. (Yes, I know that is a terrible thing for me to say and it makes me really shallow.) Seeing them was like having a heavy weight lifted from our shoulders. Suddenly we knew this wasn’t going to be so terrible. Suddenly we knew that as socially awkward and weird as we were going to feel there was another couple there to make us feel better about ourselves.

I even felt bad for the other couple as  we were waiting and she awkwardly ran out of places to look and picked up the plastic uterus on the coffee table, fiddled with it for a moment, the quietly put it back down as she turned red. Woo hoo! They are “that” couple and we’re suddenly the confident ones.

As we awkwardly stood around (again, still not as awkward as them) for about another 10 minutes more couples joined us. We were “that” couple to some of them I’m sure. But at least we had “that” couple to put us at ease.

The presentation itself was “enjoyable” (?) i guess. I mean as “enjoyable” as a thirty minute power point on reproductive medicine can be. Certainly it wasn’t as exciting as “Employment Laws and You” but it far surpassed the intricacies, plot depth, and sweeping grandiose of “The History of the National Labor Relations Board”. I mean really the only thing I kept thinking was “that’s cheaper than I thought” and “not so expensive”.  The great thing about this clinic was as they discussed each option they included the approximate cost.

I thought it was neat too that it wasn’t just a salesman giving the entire presentation. It was actually about five different people from the head doctor, to the head nurse, billing manager, and some of the “fertility coaches”. So each different person came in to talk about a different portion. A fertility coach, by the way in case you were wondering, is a nurse who helps the parents to be with everything from questions, to how to take some of the medications, to encouraging them if they get discouraged, etc. The fertility coach is NOT someone who yells at you while you’re having sex trying to get you to perform better. “Pick up Smith! Looks like you’re asleep out there! Wake up! Push! Push!

We also got a tour of their facility. It was small but pretty neat. I don’t know if it was good or bad that they had colorful sperms painted on the floor leading to the “happy room”. I shit you not that is what they actually call it. The “Happy Room”. If you don’t know, the “Happy Room” is where men make love to a cup. For the really dense crowd out there – men masturbate in to to a cup to provide a sample. I, of course, being the mature 11 year old in a 41 year old body actually went into the room and announced loudly to my wife’s horror (and the other touring folks’ entertainment) “Look honey, they’ve got dirty movies.” That earned me simultaneous giggles from the others and swift eye roll and punch to the arm from my wife.

Sorry, I’m not used to seeing movies like “Butt Busters 3” and “Wild, Wet & Horny” in a top rate medical facility. It strikes me as embarassing, funny, and awkward all at the same time.

There are some professions that define who a person is. It defines and shapes a way of thinking that becomes second nature to them long after they take off the uniform. A cop who always has a cop’s suspicion eye for detail. A fireman who is willing to jump into harm’s way to help others. And me. My occupational thought process? My keen sense that never leaves me? Why, Human Resources of course. My super human ability is to immediately react and respond to violations of employment law. I can’t help it. It is who I am. (Aren’t you jealous?)

I knew I have spent too much time in HR when, after the presentation, we were talking with a doctor and nurse. I mentioned my boss’s name and the nurse gets so happy and says “Yes! I did her ICSI!”. I couldn’t think here is the nurse that helped my boss with her fertility. I couldn’t think “great! I’m in capable hands!”. Nope. Me? The HR nerd? All I can think is “That is the biggest HIPAA violation I’ve ever heard! How dare you tell me the exact medical procedure she had to undergo to get pregnant! How dare you madame! Good day!” Of course I didn’t really say that. I did just tell you I thought it not said it. It really wasn’t a huge deal to me. What was more of a huge deal was that it was the first thing popping into head. It was the realization that my wife if right and I am the biggest HR nerd this side of Texas.

All around it was a remarkably good experience. Imagine my shock when my wife who was openly reluctant (reluctant = nice way of saying pissed off she was getting dragged here) to attend asked the nurse “Can we make an appointment now?”. Wow! That was fast.

Daddy’s Disclaimer


I want to make a disclaimer about my posts. Specifically about my better half.

My wife and I have a unique relationship. One that is not your typical spousal relationship. Do you remember the Costanzas? The ones from Seinfeld? Not necessarily George Costanza. I’m talking about his parents. Estelle and Frank Constanza as played by Estelle Harris and Jerry Stiller?

That’s pretty much us.

If you’re too young (alternatively think that I’m too old) then think Frank and Marie Barone, the parents from Everybody loves Raymond.

We have one of those unique contemptuous relationships that only someone on the inside can understand. It’s full of love and caring delivered in a loud, teasing, antagonistic, almost competitive package. Someone seeing us together for the first time would think our relationship was teetering on the edge. Ha ha! Got ya! Wrong! Our marriage, despite thoughts from first time observers, is pretty darn solid. Absolutely true story to follow.

A coworker of mine’s Mom was visiting from California. We had my coworker and her Mom over for dinner. As they were sitting around waiting for my wife and I to put the final touches on dinner they watched as she I worked together in the kitchen. Our verbal dueling included some of the usual bantering. I accused her of trying to give us and our guest of Ebola and she accused me of suffering from a terminal case of paranoia. I told her if she kept it up I would call immigration to come get her. She said the only reason she married me was for the green card. I told her she was really just after my American dollars. She waived her hand around the room and responded “Oh yes, what a magnificent kingdom I’m getting.”

My coworker later told me that the second they left that night her Mom turned to her and said, “Wow, most couples at least pretend to like each other.”

That is our relationship. Ever since I was a kid I always said I wanted a wife who would be waiting at home with a rolling pin when I was out too late with the boys. I got that gal. She is a firecracker and probably the only woman in the world who can keep my massive bloated ego in check. She is everything I wanted and everything I need in a wife. I don’t want some mousy little submissive “yes” woman. I would be bored out of my mind if I was married to someone who always agreed with me. I need someone who can take as well as she can give. I need someone to be an Abbott to my Costello, Marie to my Frank, and Estelle to my Frank.

We went out to dinner recently with some of her coworkers. After some bantering her freind leaned over and asked, “Is everything OK? Did y’all have a fight?”. What her coworkers apparently didn’t notice was that under the table we were holding hands.

I love her deeply and sincerely. She is my soulmate. She is the ONE. There is no one in the world I would rather spend my life with.

Where I am going with this is that I want to make sure no one gets the wrong idea about my wife. I love her and need her. My posts and my comments (specifically comments about her) should be taken into context. I hope she doesn’t come across as a bitch or mean spirited. She’s neither. Remember that no matter what it seems like on the service, under the table we’re holding hands.

The Seminar


My wife and I are not the most social people.

If you place us at work (her in retail and me in a training environment) we come alive and vibrant and full on confidence. Put us in other social situations and suddenly we lurk in the corner like…like someone who lurks…someone real lurky. I was going to say like a member of the Addams family but even they embraced their kookiness and were really outgoing. I was going to say like the Unabomber but he wasn’t married. But you get the point, we’re not the real outgoing social party people.

So when my wife and I went to the seminar we new their was going to be some awkwardness.

When I got home from work my wife was sprawled out on the couch. My forced cheerful enthusiasm wasn’t budging her. Her mumbled monosyllabic answers told me I was going to have to push the enthusiasm.  I felt like she wasn’t exactly happy about going. I totally get it. She had already told me that she was convinced the whole “seminar” thing was really a slick way of having to sit through a “time share style” presentation only to be followed by some high pressure sales tactics. “If you let us fertilize your eggs now, we’ll throw in a three night two day all expenses paid vacation in downtown Bakersfield. Just sign this 3 child auto-renewing contract”

I get her concern. I still want a baby.

I know she feels the same way I do. I know she’s counting on me to smile and charm her into going.

It works.

For a little while.

Until we get there.

Our first time pulling into the parking lot there are two things that jump to our attention. 1) It’s a much much smaller building than we thought and 2) there is only 1 other car in the parking lot. Hmmm, I smell time share!

So we sit in the car in the parking lot for a good 10 minutes. Do we go in? Do we not go in? There is a lot of talk about how I don’t understand how intrusive this. A lot of talk about how as I guy don’t get poked and prodded and invaded the way she does. A lot of talk about her shame, fear, and embarrassment of a body that isn’t a 19 anymore. A body that PCOS has kicked around.

I get it. I remind her that just because we are scared to do something doesn’t we shouldn’t do it. Apparently my dime store wisdom doesn’t sink in because she angrily gets out of the car telling me the one word every husband and even every boyfriend dreads hearing.

The F word.


She’s determined to do this in part to spite me. To show me she can do it. I know that deep down she wants to it too. She wants it as badly as me. She’s just more scared than I am. “Terror makes a man cruel” said Bronte in Wuthering Heights. Well well listen to me being all uppity and quoting a Bronte. Aren’t I a fancy dan?

True though despite the fancy schmancy source. Fear does an can make a person mean. I know my wife’s anger is just anxiety and fear. At least suppose it is. OK, ok, even if I am completely wrong it makes me sleep better thinking the reason she got pissed off at me was because she was scared. It couldn’t have possible be anything I did or said. Not me. How could I have said something insensitive? Not me at all, its all her.

Have I really been married so long that I am starting to hear my wife’s comments in my own head?