Storms of All Kinds

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Things are strange here. Maybe it’s just us. Like during this Hurricane Florence, for instance. In my four decades of living in New York City and its suburbs, I remember exactly two hurricanes. One happened when I was in high school or at least on my way to it. Everybody got to school in the morning as usual but there were gates up when we arrived and administrators telling us to go back home. Then, about sixteen, seventeen years ago, I was walking home from my job at the limousine company in Long Island City and, while waiting for a light to change at a very busy intersection, I blew into the middle of Queens Boulevard. (Luckily I was able to fight my way back to the sidewalk and grab onto a telephone pole until the light changed.)

We had only been in North Carolina a couple of months when there was a tornado warning. I nonchalantly stopped in to a supermarket to pick up a few things.

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As I stood in the express check-out line, I took a gander at the shopping carts around me: Bottles and bottles. In fact, cases and cases of water. Piles of batteries of all shapes and sizes. I looked at my hand basket: Raisins and yogurt. My husband, Lloyd called my cell phone while I was standing there. He had desperation in his voice.

“Did you check out yet?!”

“No. I’m waiting to.”

“Thank Gd! We need salad dressing.”

“Oh yeah.” I said. “We’re prepared.”

While the North Carolinians went home, put their supplies away in case of emergency and went on with their lives, we arranged our babies on a blanket and all huddled together on the bathroom floor like we were waiting for an enemy attack in a scene from M.A.S.H. Lloyd and I looked at each other, faces against the tile and said simultaneously:

“It was your idea to move here. Look what you got me into.”

Another thing we haven’t quite gotten used to in the decade plus since we moved here: How, what and when places decide to close as a storm approaches. While schools, stores and medical facilities may have a more wait-and-see approach to impending weather, churches are always the first to bail. The hurricane could be two states away and there comes the announcement scrolling at the bottom of the screen on the six o’clock news: “All services canceled.” You always have to wonder: “Is all of that ‘faith’ talk of theirs bullshit or do they know something we don’t?”

And the schools don’t have districts like we were used to. So if you live in a huge county here and the roads are fine where you live, your kids may still be home from school for weeks because the county’s schools are all closed at the same time even if the road problem is an hour away from you.

Our kids go to a year-round school which everyone but us loves. That means they go to school for nine weeks and have three to five weeks off all year long. When the schools are closed because of weather, instead of lopping off one of their weeks off and using them as make-up days, they have them go to school on Saturdays. If the county goes through with their proposed plan, this Saturday would be the first time that my kids would be subjected to this weirdness. And they’re not taking it well.

“Saturday? Well at least you’re not going to make us go. Right? Right? We don’t have to go. Right? Right?”

But my husband and I couldn’t hear their pleas over our own gleeful thoughts:

“The kids will be at school all day on a Saturday?” Cue the organ at the hockey game: “Date! Date! Date! Date! Date! Date! Date! Date! Ta dum da dum… Charge!!”

Images wafted through our minds. The first was of us being cooped up the past five days and who knows how much longer with these people. (How have families ever spent years together in one room hiding from Nazis, guerrillas, drug cartels…? After five days in our five bedroom house, I’m about to run outside and offer myself to Florence as her love slave) The next images were more pleasant: Lloyd and me- fourteen years younger. He and I were at that innocent, carefree, age: forty. Okay, so it wasn’t our ages that made us as youthful as much as our children’s ages: “Not yet born.” I’ve mentioned often how Lloyd and I had met and married “later in life”. (I hate that expression. It sounds like we were introduced at a card table in the nursing home.) So we kind of hurried it up to get married and trying to start a family. In fact, we got engaged seven months after we first met and married three months later. We are pretty lovey-dovey in general (much to my kids’ dismay), but I can’t help thinking that we long for dates in part because we’ve never given up on trying to have those dates we never had when we were dating. So in answer to my kids’ question an hour ago: “Damn right you have to go to school on Saturday. Those are make-up days! For us anyway. You’ll probably just be sitting there doing nothing for seven hours but oh well… And take the bus home, will ya? And remember to bring your key. Just in case…”

Thanks a lot for stopping by for my buffoonery! Please consider signing up for my newsletter at the bottom of the home page and perusing one of my books under well, "books". They are designed to de-stress during some of life's most anxiety-producing moments. Please always remember: Laughing IS Conceivable... And Humor Heals.  

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Write here…

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Bringing Lousy Customer Service into my Life

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I'm one of those people who is a big believer in universal energy and that we play a major part in who and what we attract into our lives. So, what's so appealing about lousy customer service that I've been attracting it in droves lately?

1) The "stylist" at Great Clips. I know. I know.  But between the time I checked my son in and he had come off their hair-cutting assembly line only about 12 minutes had elapsed. Shouldn't everybody in the world over 17 be able to keep their surliness, disdain, boredom, and eye rolls under raps for 12 minutes? 

2) The sales guy at Eyecare Center. Over a 3 month period, we got severely overcharged, my husband's glasses came back wrong 3 times and all was made worse by his patronizing attitude. He "yes ma'amed" me to death and constantly said things like: "I know it's hard having a husband and kids to take care of." to which I replied: "Not to mention a business." Another time he said something about me having to cook and all the things that come with being a mommy to which I responded:"Yeah, Lori don't play that."

3) The substitute dentist. I adore my dentist. So why oh why did the bastard have to go on vacation? I've only been going there for about 6 months and got the same guy twice. Well this time he was on vacation. I got a different dentist / used car saleswoman. All I wanted was to fill a cavity in a wisdom tooth. She wouldn't hear of it--- Okay, a lot of dentists agree with just pulling them out.... but this is what I got when I pulled onto her lot: "Why don't you fill the one in the front instead? Wouldn't you feel worse if you lost that one? And then pull those 2 wisdom teeth. And I would take out all of those old fillings and replace them. And those 3 are going to need build ups and crowns. But if you can't do the crowns, let's just do the build-ups, and Beth, set her up with Care Credit if her insurance doesn't cover that...." Needless to say, I drove off her lot, drove back a week later when the other dentist returned and had the receptionist add the substitute dentist to my list of allergies. I think they actually put a sticker of her face with a line through it on my chart.       

4) Scooper at the local ice cream place. She gave me the ice cream for 5 of us. I gave her my frequent shopper card that was full. Fine. Then I asked her for a new card to start. She said they had run out of them. I asked if I should just mention the 4 credits next time. She begrudgingly scribbled her initials 4 times on a slip of paper and handed it to me saying: "Well, if you want to keep track..."  

5) Wal-Mart cashier. I know. I know. Our interaction was maybe 7 minutes. I know that Wal-Mart doesn't treat employees well and many of them might hate their job. I know. But can you at least be pleasant? Half of them look like they're slipping in and out of consciousness. This one the other day just started ringing up the next person's order and tossing his items into bags while Lloyd put the credit card back into his wallet and I grabbed the last few of our bags off the carousel. As I looked to be sure that I had gotten all of them, she finally decided to speak: "I gave you all of your bags."... I said: "I'd like to double-check for myself if that's okay with you." So she hates her job. I've hated most of mine too over the years. So what? Apply elsewhere. There must be dozens of places looking for people with your sparkling personality. Can you cut hair?.

On the other hand: Once we found her, The EyeCare debacle was straightened out by a fantastic regional sales director. and the office manager, my dentist, and his assistant all went above and beyond to rectify the situation at the used car dealership.. 

So maybe all of my signals being sent out to the Universe aren't going totally haywire lately..  But really, the Universe has been around a while. It should know better than to accept messages sent via peri-menopausal hormones. 

Thanks a lot for stopping by for my buffoonery! Please consider signing up for my newsletter at the bottom of the home page and taking a gander at one of my books under well, "books". They are designed to de-stress during some of life's most anxiety-producing moments. After all: Laughing IS Conceivable... And Humor Heals.  

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 Coming Soon!

Coming Soon!

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Women Who REALLY Make Infertile Women MAD

Okay, it's true. A LOT of women make infertile women mad. And, let's face it, what almost all of those other women have in common is that they're fertile when we're not. Maybe it's our hormones from everything we shoot into our stomachs, butts, or anywhere else on a daily basis. Maybe it's just the exhaustion. We're so worn down from all of this crap. Whatever it is, people get on our nerves like never before.

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Infertile women have to deal with other women inviting us to baby showers, and to go baby clothes shopping. Infertile women endure stupid advice on how to get pregnant: "If you take a cruise to Portugal... I got pregnant on a cruise to Portugal."  And insensitive comments disguised as spiritual comfort:: "If it's meant to happen..." 

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But when I was going through it, the hardest thing for me to suck up was dumb people who got pregnant so easily. And even worse, irresponsible people who not only weren't they trying to get pregnant, they just as soon not.  

 First the clueless: 

They don't know how they got pregnant, when they got pregnant, why they keep getting pregnant and sometimes, occasionally-- They don't even know that they are pregnant.

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One day she's trying on shoes at the shoe store and just happens to look down and see a little face in the little rectangular shoe mirror. And she exits the store in search of a whole different kind of pump than what she had intended when she entered twenty minutes before.

But back then, clueless women who got pregnant easily only made my eyes roll. Irresponsible women who got pregnant easily made me wretch repeatedly. Two words:

Maury anyone?

For those of you who aren't up on your daytime TV because you're dead set on doing something productive during working hours: A Maury show staple: Women get DNA tests done on an ex-husband, an ex-boyfriend, a boyfriend's son, a mother-in-law's husband, a husband's twin, an ex-boyfriend's boyfriend,  the guy who sat next to her at church --or all of the above--to confirm her child's paternity. 

Here's a direct transcript from the show, or something I'm making up as I go... You be the judge.

"Miss A" is seventeen and has four kids with four baby-daddy. All of them have their respective daddy name. I'm not sure which is the most irresponsible part: Having all of those kids at such an immature age, having four different baby-daddy, or saddling all four kids with the same name and then calling all of them, even the girls, "Junior".

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"Miss B" is twenty-four and has a husband. He is even a possible contender to be the baby-daddy. Hoo ha.

So are eight others guys: A few of his cousins and a few of their friends who happened to stop by at the family barbecue on that fateful late summer afternoon...leaving them all to rethink the true meaning of the "labor day weekend"... and to ponder if, perhaps, the grill should be the only thing turned on and heated up during it.       

********

"Miss C" has been stalking poor David for two years trying to get him to pay up for his child. There she is on TV calling him a bastard and belittling his little body parts.

Where does a young lady learn such behavior? Oh, wait, there's her mother sitting next to her calling David a c*** sucker into the camera.

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And naturally, when Maury and his official DNA report finally get a word in edgewise, David is officially declared to be not the baby-daddy. 

So, irresponsible "Miss C" has been barking up the wrong guy's little tree for two years, while her child has gotten two years older and the real baby-daddy, with a two year head start, has probably made his way over the border into Mexico, Canada, or Indiana.   

I didn't know those people. I was ashamed of myself for judging them by a TV show. But when I was dealing with infertility, I had such a tough time looking at the guests without forming some serious opinions. Maybe it was jealousy. Maybe it was the hormones. Maybe I should have just stopped watching. If only it wasn't so damn entertaining. And, I'm thinking I'm not alone. It's been on the air for 27 years. 

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Thanks a lot for stopping by! Has my buffoonery made you feel just a little bit better during this trying time? I really hope so. Please consider subscribing to my infrequent blog newsletter at the bottom of the home page and to get more laughs at infertility's expense, come read about my own personal fkd up journey in my little book: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. It's recommended by world renowned infertility professionals and can be found on this website under "Books": (Duh)     

  

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One Person's Hug is Another Person's Smother

  "One Person's Hug is Another Person's Smother." 

"One Person's Hug is Another Person's Smother." 

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I've realized recently how much you can tell about people in your life by the way they hug. My husband Lloyd and I are very affectionate with each other partly because we like to hug and kiss and partly because it skeeves our children. My one daughter in particular, Carly, always attempts to wedge her entire 62 pound self between us to pry us apart. She was probably the only child ever to secretly wish for a crowbar for their twelfth birthday who is not on the FBI's radar. It's her fault that our G-rated hugs sometimes go further down the alphabet in front of our kids. In an attempt to not have her succeed in pulling us apart, Lloyd will grab onto whatever part of me he can. (You're right. Now that I'm typing it, it does seem like an obvious ploy on his part.) Sometimes he will even fuel Carly's fire. She'll be in her room minding her own business doing her homework and Lloyd will yell up the stairs: "Carly, I'm home! And I'm about to kiss Mommy!" The interesting thing is that neither my husband nor I grew up in a home where our parents ever hugged, kissed, or even held hands. So of course back then I always thought that parents showing affection to each other was normal only on sitcoms. I once was at my friend's house in high school and saw her parents kissing and flirting. I said to my friend: "What is this like a second marriage thing?"

 

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But I'm not comfortable hugging everybody. Let's face it, nobody is comfortable hugging people whom you know are not "huggers"... like my sister and my father-in-law. They both hug from three feet away like I'm still eight months pregnant. They don't squeeze. They sort of just tap your back with their hands.  It's about as warm and fuzzy as hugging a cinder block. 

And what about friends? Anyone else still stumped on what the protocol is when you run into a friend on the street or meet up with someone you haven't seen in a while? I always get it wrong. I over think. In that three seconds it takes to visually identify the person and make my way over there, I've already weighed the eighty possible scenarios: "Oh geez, is this the one who kisses one cheek? Or is she the one who kisses both cheeks like we're in France? No, wait, I think she's a double hand grabber. Or is this the one who hugs? I guess she'll hug over and I'll go under because I'm shorter. And remember the number one unwritten rule: If we have an accidental boob bump, neither party will ever ever mention it. And then what do I do with her boyfriend? What's currently acceptable for a woman hugging a straight male friend? Do I shake his right hand and put my left arm around his back like another guy would? Or do I hug him like when I G-rate hug Lloyd and then forever wonder if he was trying to cop a feel like Lloyd does? When you see someone you know approaching and know it's going to end in an embrace, I say: Yell out instructions: "Grab both hands! Kiss right cheek!" For me, it might clear up all of my indecisiveness which typically results in something closer to a mugging than a greeting.   

Thanks a lot for stopping by!  Please stay tuned for previews of my latest book:

"Laughing IS Conceivable: No Matter How Many You're Carrying". Insanity in its Infancy

It's about getting pregnant with, staying pregnant with, giving birth to, and caring for-- more than one baby. Coming Soon! In the meantime: If you'd like Laughing IS Conceivable updates, please subscribe to my not-ridiculously-frequent newsletter at the bottom of my home page. And if you'd like more laughs at life's expense, kindly check out my books in my Laughing IS Conceivable series at the menu at the top... (One book is for parents right about now & one is for those dealing with infertility anytime.) 

 

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I've Just Been Malled

I revel in my immaturity. Maybe it's not immaturity as much as it is childlike-ness. I'm proud of the fact that I've pretty much liked and disliked the same things my whole life. So that makes me ponder: "What in the world did I ever see in the mall?" I think I do know the answer: "Freedom". It was the first place my parents ever dumped me off with a friend, let us walk around unaccompanied for hours and then picked us up later. I think I was about 12 but since my kids just turned 12 on Friday and that ain't gonna happen... let's just say I was 15. In fact why don't we just forget the "drop-off" part altogether and say I was 16 and drove myself? 

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I'm not much of a shopper so I guess the whole mall appeal did wear off for me about the time I got a driver's license but that's where I found myself, for 5 hours no less, the other day.. When my triplets were small, their birthdays were easy. We rented a bouncy house party place, invited all of their friends to eat cake and get bouncy house burns on their arms and legs for 3 hours. That was then. Using my sound parental judgment, I thought that inviting a group of kids in varying stages of puberty might bring a whole new unwanted meaning to "the bouncy house". So for the past 2 years, I've let my kids each plan a "birthday day" to do whatever he or she wanted. This year, my daughter Carly picked the mall. Did I drop off her and her friend? Of course not. I walked 3 paces behind them for 5 hours like I was the Secret Service. I know that this would be the perfect time and place to critique my daughter's thirst for shopping that she inherited from I don't know where, but she actually did a pretty good job of shopping responsibly and not begging me for shit that I had no intention of buying. Instead, I feel more compelled to critique some of the stores. I read on the internet that if I write about the mall, I can write off all of her birthday purchases on my taxes next year. 

My disdain for certain mall stores has always been there. I distinctly remember being 17 and walking in and out of any store where the sales people seemed to be working on commission. I couldn't bear being followed around the store and asked "May I help you?" 5 times by 5 different sales people in a span of 10 minutes. (I think I actually preferred the ones who just followed me around because I was a teenager and figured I was shoplifting.) 

My short list of most annoying mall stores according to me and nobody else:

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Sephora: I am what I am so people and places that pretend to be something irk me. $20 for a blending sponge for those too high class to buy their make-up at Walgreen's. But it was the faux friendliness that was the most annoying. I told the greeter at the door that my daughter wanted the free mini-makeover as part of her birthday day. After she told us the makeover wasn't available she said: "Happy Birthday!!" with such exuberance to my daughter's friend who is of a totally different ethnic background than us as opposed to my daughter who looks like me with glasses which makes me think in all of her exuberance, the sales woman didn't even look at us.

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Build-a-Bear You've all undoubtedly heard by now about their debacle where they offered the bears at the price of your kid's age so a $30 bear suddenly became $5. (I thought of going in there to build myself a bear but didn't see the point in paying $54 for a $30 bear. ) Not that my daughter and her friend --2 sophisticated tweens-- went anywhere near this place the other day. I just hate places that make little kids want things that are so overpriced and that most of their parents can't afford.. and that require a la carte accessories. (You can imagine how I feel about American Girl dolls). I found that craze a few weeks ago very strange. People stood in line for hours and hours with toddlers. For what possible reason? Did their 3 year old say: "Hey Mommy, did you read on Facebook about the great deal that Build-A-Bear is having? Can we go? Please?!" 

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Claire's:  This is by far my least favorite mall store. Never mind that my daughter got her ears pierced there last year and almost had to go through life with a latex glove and a salesgirl's finger attached to her lobe. Also never mind the absurdly bright lights that make you feel like you got your pupils dilated at the eye doctor's then took a stroll on the sun. It's the blatant attempt to rip off young girls that I mind. Glitzy, novelty crap with jacked-up prices. Oh, but they have a great deal! Buy 3 glitzy novelty crap items with jacked up prices and get 3 free. My daughter's friend, when I wasn't looking, got a few trinkets that rang up as $40. Of course the cashier didn't tell her that what she had picked as her "3 free items" were not going to be her "3 free items" because they weren't the cheapest items she had picked. The woman just told her: "The free items come off at the end." When the girl had enough presence of mind to tell her to refund everything, the woman said: "You can pick cheaper items if you want." When she said "no" to that, the woman countered with: "Or you can buy one and get half off something else." Wait, let me go outside and look at the sign. Are we at a mall or a carnival?       

I guess we can deduce then, that I'm fine with the food  court, the parking, the kiosks, and the other hundred or so stores in the mall. My favorite mall stores by far though are the ones that nobody ever makes me go into.  

Thanks a lot for stopping by!  Please stay tuned for previews of my latest book: "Laughing IS Conceivable: No Matter How Many You're Carrying". Insanity in its Infancy -about getting pregnant with, staying pregnant with, giving birth to, and caring for-- more than one baby. Coming Soon! In the meantime: If you'd like Laughing IS Conceivable updates, please subscribe to my not-ridiculously-frequent newsletter at the bottom of my home page. And if you'd like more laughs at life's expense, kindly check out my books in my Laughing IS Conceivable series at the menu at the top... (One book is for parents right about now & one is for those dealing with infertility anytime.) 

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The Envelope Please- Awards for my Family, Friends, & Co-Workers

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My kids recently got a bunch of year-end awards at school. I'm proud to say that among the three of them, they amassed a whopping twelve awards. When I was a kid, the awards they gave in school were based mostly on academic achievement. If you did the best on a standardized test or had the highest grades, or were the best athlete, you got an award. If you didn't, screw you. But things are different nowadays. Even the older kids are given awards for being the friendliest or the most helpful or most respectful. Why can't life be like that? We should get a certificate of achievement for everything. And I have a few I'd like to give out myself: 

Co-Workers:

The Practice Makes Imperfect Award- For the coworker who started out okay and as time goes on, actually, somehow, inexplicably, seems to get worse at their job. 

The Consistency Award- For the coworker who made a lot of mistakes at the beginning and five years later, is still making the exact same mistakes. 

The Selfish Bastard Award: For the coworker who regularly shows up late, leaves early, and does nothing in between, totally unconcerned if they're lousing up everyone else's schedule or doubles their workload.

The Selfish, Annoying, Bastard Award: For the coworker who meets all of the requirements of the previous award recipient plus, when they finally do show up to work, they sit there and talk to you the whole time. So not only are they giving you more work because they're not doing their job, they won't leave you alone long enough to do yours,

Friends & Family:

The "I Couldn't Be On Time If My Life Depended On It" Award: Pretty self-explanatory. For that person who makes plans to meet you at 2 pm and while you're still standing on the corner waiting for them like a dumb-ass at 3, finally answers your text: "Sorry I'm running late. I'm just going to jump into the shower."   

The Worst Timing / Pervert Award: For the person who only calls or knocks on your door when you're, for whatever reason, naked.

The "I Can Wear Anything." "No You Can't" Award: For the person who wears clothing whose shape, size, and / or color were never ever intended to be worn by them.   

The Promise But Don't Mean It Award: For that person who will always be there for you, any day, any time to_________ (babysit, help you move, help you pick out your wedding dress, plan a birthday party, return your library book) just not that Thursday, Friday or Tuesday that you________ (need a babysitter, are going to pick out your wedding dress, are planning the birthday party or your library book is due.)    

The "Most Likely" Awards:

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To The Teacher Most Likely to get pregnant and quit before the end of the semester.

To The Family Member Most Likely to hold a grudge for more than a decade.

To The Coworker Most Likely to flip out on a client.

To: The Child Most Likely to interrupt a private urination with a very important story involving a TV episode.   

To: The Cashier Most Likely to go on break and be replaced by the "Trainee" when it's my turn.   

To: The Friend Most Likely to interrupt my story so they can top it with their story. 

To: The Neighbor Most Likely to mow the lawn at 5 a.m.   

To: The Relative Most Likely to say multiple times that they'll come visit next time they have time off but never does. (And with this award comes my heartfelt thanks.)

Thanks a lot for stopping by! If you'd like more laughs at life's expense- please consider heading over to my home page and signing up to my not-overly-frequent newsletter or purchasing one of my little books.   

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Live Chats Will Be the Death of Me

I like to think of myself as a relatively intelligent person. So then tell me: When I need customer service or tech support, why oh why do I fall prey to the "Live Chat" option every single time? 

I think I get lured in because "Live Chat" sounds like the best option, doesn't it? I have a question or an issue and there's a highly trained professional waiting there in the wings like my personal customer service / tech support butler just waiting for me to beckon. No searching for a viable email address to send my question or concern to where I wait with my fingers on the keyboard for 72 hours for an answer. (Where the only immediate answer I get is: "Assisting you is our #1 priority. A representative will get back to you within 3-5 business days.") Personally, I usually prefer a good old-fashioned phone conversation. But hey, "Live Chat"- no waiting on hold listening to the same music, sales pitches and messages-- "I know my call is important to you. You've told me that 40 times in the last 20 minutes." And when there's finally a break in the music, messages, and sales pitches, no getting my hopes up that the silence is an indication that someone's finally about to actually pick up my call.  Plus, a lot of places I've dealt with lately don't even offer phone support anymore. Maybe word about me has gotten around. So "Live Chat" it is. Don't get me wrong. I've had excellent "Live Chats"  a few times. 3 out of 72 isn't bad. Most of the others, no matter how seemingly simple or complicated the issue, this is pretty much how every one of the other 69 "Live Chats" has gone:

I start with the obligatory contact form. Name. Got it!  Email: I'm on a roll. Subject: I can't type it. Oh no. It's got a little arrow. It's the dreaded drop-down menu... The first option: Definitely not. 2nd: Maybe but not really. 3rd: Don't know what that is. 4th: Definitely getting colder. 5th: Colder. 6th: Freezing! Freezing! 7th: Am I even on the right website? I just pick anything and head for the "Message" box. Finally. I can freely express myself. I can pour out all of my details: Everything this company's put me through since I first got involved with them in 1986 and ending with: "Quick question: The promotion that I had with your cable company is about to expire. I see that in the new packages, in order to get the football channels, I would have to sign up for the whole sports package which is mostly soccer channels. Can I just pay separately for only the football channels?" A few minutes later, after promising that a person will be right with me, they really are.

"Hi Lori! I'm Jamie! Hope you're doing great today!"

I always wonder if there really is a "Jamie" or it's just a generic unisex name they give anyone willing to be verbally abused for minimum wage so that when they leave, another batch of "Jamies" can seamlessly take over.  

"How can I help you?"

"Didn't you read my 6 page message with footnotes and a bibliography?"

"Great question! (Yay for me.)... One moment please."

Then nothing. Finally it says: "Jamie is typing" and the little ellipses dots start floating. 

"If I understand you correctly, you're looking to get The Soccer Channel, right?" 

"No. I'm looking to not get The Soccer Channel. I want football only."

"I can help you with that! One moment please..." 

(Jamie is typing.)

"I just checked with my supervisor. Yes! Football is part of the soccer package."

"I don't want the soccer package! What is so difficult?" I cut and pasted photos with arrows pointing to them. "I want this. Not this. Can I..." 

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(Jamie is typing.)

Oh great, now we're typing at the same time. Now I'm getting frustrated. I've gotten pretty good at typing frustration.

"Can... I... get... the FOOTBALL channels without buying the whole soccer package? N-F-L. A-La-Carte. Possible??? Yes or no?"

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"This question will have to be escalated to Customer Service. They will be in touch with you in 2-3 business days. Nice chatting with you!"

"Customer service? Then who the..."

(Jamie has ended the chat.)  

"Jamie?! Jamie?!" Where did he / she go?

The good news is: I've been escalated so many times, the next time I get suckered into a "Live Chat", I won't have far to go to jump off the roof.

Thanks a lot for stopping by! If you'd like Laughing IS Conceivable updates, please subscribe to my not-ridiculously-frequent newsletter at the bottom of my home page. And if you'd like more laughs at life's expense, kindly check out my books at the menu at the top.

 

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The Walmart Minute Infertility Clinic: Could You Imagine?

(This post was originally, well, posted in October. I've jumped on the reboot wagon while I put together my brand spanking new website. Enjoy... & stay tuned!)  

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"The Walmart Minute Infertility Clinic" I admit. There are several disturbing elements in that title.  I will calm some of your fears right here by saying this post won't have much to do with the ongoing fashion show at Walmart. You don't need me for that. You have your own eyes and YouTube. Although, I do think the mentality when we're getting dressed to go to a fertility clinic is similar as to when we're going to Walmart:

"Who cares what I wear to Walmart? At least half of the shoppers will look worse."

"Who cares what I wear to the fertility clinic? Ten minutes into the visit, I'll be in a backless couture hospital gown with my ass hanging out."

So, dressing for infertility success or Walmart success notwithstanding-- Walmart has eye centers. So why not fertility centers? The best part would be that they could run them just like they run their seasonal items. In and out. No delays. Fast and furious. Bathing suits are gone in June. School supplies are done in July and on to the  Halloween candy because you know everyone wants to get a jump on their Halloween candy buying. I'm sure that August bag of candy is just laying around the house unopened waiting for October. (I wonder how many people actually finish the candy on the way home and turn around and head back to the store. I mean, it's August. You can't take a chance on it melting in the trunk.)

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Well, why not a Walmart Minute Infertility Clinic? In and out. No delays. Fast and furious. No waiting ten days for your first consultation. No waiting until next month to try the next procedure. No two week wait to find out if you're pregnant. Here's the schedule at the Walmart Minute Infertility Clinic:

Monday 8am: First and only appointment. You say "hi" to Dr. Total Stranger and tell her everything you can think of about your menstrual cycle and your sex life, editing out only the parts about the whipped cream and the crack in the windshield. While you're chatting, a nurse takes blood out of your arm and sperm out of your spouse and then tosses away her latex gloves and goes to lunch. You then proceed onto the examination table behind the curtain. The doctor directs you to open up and say "aaah". You ask how everything looks. You probe her mind. She probes everything on that diagram in sixth grade Health class. You swallow a handful of fertility drugs that your spouse picked up at the pharmacy while you're on the table as the doctor stares at your ovaries to see if the pills have taken effect. She decides you need IUI. She uses something from Housewares to shoot your spouse's sperm up north. You leave the Walmart Minute Infertility Clinic, go to Subway next door and have a sandwich then return to the clinic. If you're still not pregnant, the doctor does an egg retrieval, sprinkles in some of the spouse's sperm for IVF and then sends the combo into your uterus. Now is the hard part: The 2hw: The two hour wait. You get a flu shot. You go into the pharmacy area, kick off your shoes and stand on Dr. Scholl's machine. You peruse the trial size aisle. You could take your blood pressure if Walmart hadn't replaced the machine with a garbage can last year. (A simple matter of priorities.) You buy some non-perishable comfort food and return to the clinic. Success! You're pregnant! You'll return next week to buy maternity clothes, pick up your "It's a boy/girl!" cake at the bakery, and stop in at the Walmart Ob/Gyn to deliver the baby on your way out.

Hey...Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you had a few laughs while  you were here. If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense, please sign on to my newsletter and and check out my little book in the menu: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. 

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Fair Food-Part 2- Gotta Be NC Fair: The Triplets, The Husband, & Me

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Food Glorious, Disgusting, Absurdly Over-Priced Food

Last time I talked about my family going to the Gotta Be NC Fair and how wonderfully I dealt with 11 year old triplets, inclement weather, ride wristbands and every parent's gift from Gd-- bumper cars.  But there was one aspect of fair life that I didn't mention: The fair food. (Feel free to take that as a pun.) Last time, I omitted it intentionally. I thought that the fair food required and deserved a blog post all its own. And this is it.

As I explained in the first post, "Gotta Be NC" held every May, is a smaller version of the state fair held every October. This way, we North Carolina residents get two opportunities a year to pay homage to local farmers and eat our body weight in saturated fat. I've always considered that having the two events in spring and fall respectively, serves a dual purpose: The weather is most likely going to be pleasant, and our digestive systems will have several months between events to successfully complete the five stages of gastronomic grief:

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Denial: "I didn't eat that much fair food. Last year I ate way more. And that deep-fried butter should be no big deal. Last year I had three of those."

Anger:  "I can't believe I wasted an hour and a half at Planet Fitness that morning. If I was going to eat all that fair food, why oh why did I go to the gym when I could have been sleeping? Oh right. They had bagels.

Bargaining: (Day of the Fair) "Please don't let me get sick! Please don't let me get sick! I swear if I don't get sick, I won't eat another thing all day." (Day after the Fair) "Please let this pain be an 'antacid' blockage situation and not a 'surgical' blockage situation. If this ache can be cured by TUMS, I swear I'll only eat organic, unprocessed, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleontological vegan food from now on."

Depression: "Oh... the Thanksgiving feast in an egg roll... I can't believe I missed that booth. I saw it advertised on TV the week before and stupid me I didn't even notice it at the fair... And those chocolate covered knee caps. I forgot about those too! I mean, I don't think they're actual knee caps but I never got the chance to find out!"

Acceptance:  "Well, the next fair is coming up in just a couple of months. I'll get them then."

50% of all fair attendees never go on any rides or play any games. We just eat our way from one end of the festival to the other. Basically, the rides, the games, the blue ribbons, the bands, and all of the other attractions are just something to occupy yourself with in those brief bouts of eating downtime between: "I'm so full I never want to see fair food again" and "Hey, that smells good, let me go ask her where she got it."

Many of us fair-goers convince ourselves that we will "walk it off" during the sprawling event, failing to realize that it's difficult to do so when you're strolling with a turkey leg in one hand and a deep-fried Snicker's bar on a stick in the other. (If you never thought you could actually feel your BMI rising, you've never been to a state fair.)

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And gluttony doesn't come cheaply. I always prefer to get my fair food from a local business or charity that has a stand there. This way I know that it's likely to be decent food at a somewhat reasonable price because they either want your business again next week at their restaurant or the money's going to a good cause.

However, my son always wants chicken tenders and fries from one of those: "Have a good day. Scam you next fair!" tents.

I always think to myself as I order: "$7 for frozen chicken and potatoes they throw into a deep fryer. I'm surprised they call them 'french fries' instead of 'pommes frites.'" This year was different. This year the same meal was $10. I knew what was going on. It was lousy weather all weekend and attendance was way down... While the executive chef stood over the fryer tending to our order, I said to the person at the front of the tent, as politely as I could... and as quietly as I could so as not to upset the person actually touching and within spitting distance of my son's fair food:

"How come the price went up from $7 to $10 this year? The people who showed up have to make up for the people who didn't?" I knew I wasn't going to get any satisfactory answer, especially since it was more or less a rhetorical question.  But the young lady was friendly and said she didn't know because the owner usually kept the prices the same at a particular fair from one year to the next. When we got our fair food and left, my son looked at me:

"Why did you have to say that?"

I said: "Because I'm me. And no matter where I live, I'm a New Yorker. New Yorkers don't mind paying more for something that's worth it, but there's nothing a New Yorker hates more than feeling like they're getting ripped off." He still stared at me. So I  continued: "And... like I said...I'm me."

***

I really appreciate you stopping by! I hope you enjoyed my buffoonery. If you'd like to check out Part 1 of this post (which is largely about mean punishing my kids with bumper cars for a year of misdeeds): "Gotta Be NC: The Triplets, My Husband, and Me" immediately follows this post.. Also, please consider subscribing to my not-so-frequent-you'll-want-to shoot-your-inbox newsletter or check out one of my Laughing IS Conceivable books, all on the home page... or you can do both. I won't fight you on it. 

 

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Gotta Be NC- The Triplets, The Husband, & Me

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And how many family outings have you regretted while still in the middle of them?

Fit To Be Tied... with a wristband

Every year my husband and I and our triplets (now 11 1/2) head over to "Gotta Be NC" which is a smaller version of the state fair. If you buy a $20 wristband per child instead of tickets, they can go on unlimited rides. The people selling them are very particular. They have to wrap the wristband tightly around each child's right wrist. Not the left.  Not over a sleeve. Not dangling. (Gd forbid the kid has no right arm. "Sorry, those are the rules.") If the ticket booth people worked for the criminal justice system, people on house arrest wouldn't be slipping out of their tracking bracelets every other day. This past weekend when the fair was held, the weather was a little iffy. But there are no refunds for inclement weather. If you factor in the cost of tickets and how many tickets are required for each ride, we figured each child would have to ride 5 rides for us to break even.

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So we got the wristbands and I looked up at the clouds and my kids were standing around deciding what they should go on first while my husband started off the day's festivities by yelling at them:

"What are you standing around for? I just spent $60! Go on something before it starts pouring!"

Finally they all agreed on a tween-approved helicopter ride. The girls went together. My son disassociated himself altogether and went on by himself. They got off the ride. They're sauntering through the exit while we're looking up at the clouds:

"Come on! Come on! What do you want to go on next? How about this one?" My husband shoved them through the gate of the adjoining ride as I called after them: "You're doing great. Another four rides and we'll break even. After that you can go on whatever you want."

Triplet C yelled back: "I'm starving! I want to eat!"

"There will be plenty of time to eat once we break even! The sooner we break even, the sooner we can eat!" Not that I had a one track mind or anything.

My Two 11 Year Old Daughters and Their Geriatric Triplet Brother 

Triplet B knew what rides she wanted to go on. Triplet C looked at Triplet B to tell her whether she too wanted to go on the ride or not. Triplet A, my son, looked up at most rides and commented thusly:

"I can't go on that. It would upset my equilibrium."

I looked at him: "Upset your equilibrium? How old are you?"

He prefers to take the can-never-be-too-careful approach to amusement park rides. He likes the rides that never leave the ground and look like an eighty year old church lady is driving them. You know how kids are always crying at carnivals because they're too short to go on the rides? My son is the opposite. He laments that all the rides he would feel safe on have a height limit of 3 feet tall. The only other would-be riders who are ever turned away are those who haven't yet mastered sitting up by themselves.

If I hadn't been a somewhat crucial part of their birth, I would swear that my daughters were born two minutes apart and half a century after my son.

Fasten Your Seat Belts... It's Going To Be a Bumpy 4 Minutes

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Bumper cars are something we can all agree on. Although, the second time my son went to get on them the other day he said:

"I'm not sure if I should go again. I think I pulled something." I said:

"Get in the seat. Your Medicare will cover it." I was adamant. Nobody will stop me from sitting behind the wheel of my own bumper car with all three of my children driving around the pit. Bumper cars with your kids. What a wonderful idea and legal in all 50 states. I'm never prouder of having passed my road test 37 years ago than during a round of bumper car derby with my kids. I like to personalize my hits as I gun it towards each child: "This is for crying during Final Jeopardy!" "This is for finishing my Mother's Day cake before I even got any!" "This is for handing me your report card to sign Monday morning as the bus is coming!"

I've considered renting out the whole bumper car pit for an hour or two so I can "reconnect" with my family without any innocent people getting hurt. It gets tiresome yelling at strangers: "Get out of my way! She's the one I want! You're blocking my shot!"

I suspect I'm not the only parent who feels this way. In fact, I know it. Lots of times while I'm driving around on my mission, a parent will call out to me from the other side of the gate: "Over there! Blond hair, blue shirt! Hurry! He's getting away!"

If you'd like more laughs at the triplets' expense, please subscribe to my not-overly-frequent newsletter and check out my eBook written especially for parents at this time of year: Laughing IS Conceivable: From End of School to Back-to-School. (I love my kids. I love my kids. I LOVE MY KIDS!!).. Both doable from the home page.

 

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Mother's Day for Women with Infertile Bodies & Fertile Minds

The Land of Infertility is sometimes referred to as: The Land of If. On Mother's Day, we modify it further to: "The Land of 'What Ifs'. "

How did you handle the "Mother's Day What Ifs" this year?

Those who are going through infertility are typically pretty spectacular at conjuring up "What Ifs" at record speed. But really,  how many Mother's Day "What Ifs" can one woman with an infertile body but incredibly fertile mind create in her head?

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Some quick calculations here: 270 per minute, x 60 minutes in an hour x 24 hours in a day, carry the 6, divide by my BMI... Got it. The average woman going through infertility can create 8,626,509 "what if" thoughts in two weeks. And how many are positive thoughts? Quick calculations here... Carry the 4. Subtract my zip code. Divide by my BMI again. Okay, the answer is "zero".

What IF:

1. ...I run into someone I know on Mother's Day and they say: "Happy Mother's Day"?

If they don't know you don't have kids, you can't be that kind of close to them. So screw 'em: Say "You too!"... even if it's a guy... and keep on walkin'. The last thing you want to do is have an actual conversation with this person.

2.  ...I feel pressured by my family to go to my mother's for Mother's Day?

Drink herbal tea and hear Deepak Chopra's voice in your head until the feeling passes. Later, you can call your mother from the spa, the gym or the inside of a pint of Edy's cookies and cream to wish her a happy day.

3. ...I actually go out with my family for Mother's Day like every other year and everyone starts asking me when I'm going to become a mother already?

All of the following are acceptable answers: "I don't think now's the right time to discuss it." "I'd rather not talk about it." And if they still persist: "I'll tell you later" and then just don't, or my favorite: "None of your fucking business. Will you people let it go already?"

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4. ...I feel depressed the whole day?

See "Edy's" comment above.

The point is: Just like there's no wrong way to eat a Reese's peanut butter cup (and I truly believe that with all my heart and soul- like how Oprah always asks: "What do you know for sure?" That's what I know for sure.), there's no wrong way to spend Mother's Day. The only obligation is to yourself. If you want to go out and feed your body and soul at the beach or hiking in the woods or at a spa, great. If you want to hide from the world and be depressed... uh...am I wrong or isn't that what guilty pleasures were invented for?: Reading your back issues of US magazine, bubble baths, manicures, watching a Real Housewives of Anywhere marathon or using only curse words for 12 straight hours... This weekend... it's up to you... it's all about you.  And I'm talking as an expert here. Between the time I lost my mom to the time I got finally pregnant, there were count 'em- 19 Mother's Days. So for once I know what I'm talking about here. Hang in there! xo

And if you'd like some more laughs at infertility's expense... -please consider my book: Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. It's recommended by renowned fertility professionals around the U.S. and subscribing to my not-ridiculously-frequent newsletter-- both are on the home page.

 

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Laughing IS Conceivable: Not Just for Infertility Anymore

(The original "Ted Talks")

"It all started at a 5000 watt radio station in Fresno California." Of course this is Ted Baxter's story on The Mary Tyler Moore Show not my story but this is what I feel like I'm about to tell you. Laughing IS Conceivable started while I was struggling to get pregnant as a way for me to get my frenetic ramblings out of my head and onto paper where they luckily evolved into a book instead of one very long, incoherent suicide note. I've known since I was little that I saw things in life at an angle. (This coming from a girl who barely limbo-ed her way under the geometry bar before it crushed her trachea.) Maybe it's just me mentally and emotionally removing myself from situations that I can't handle or understand. Maybe it's self-preservation. Maybe it's denial. All I know is my mind has always gone into joke mode at seemingly the most inappropriate times. (Speaking of The Mary Tyler Moore Show- See the "Chuckles Bites the Dust" episode. That would be me- wisecracking at a funeral.)

Like just yesterday, a friend posted that her ex, her children's father, had died. So I'm scrolling down and everyone's sending their condolences and prayers and then I notice one post from one of her neighbors I guess: "I know this is a bad time, but if you're done with my step ladder, could I please have it back?" Obviously this particular ridiculousness wasn't just in my head. All I could think of was: "We're talking a step ladder here. So he's not looking to save a cat on a roof or anything. He's looking to make himself three feet taller." I felt like replying: "Yeah, now may not be the best time for her. Don't you have a kitchen chair you could stand on?"

So, realizing that everyone's mind doesn't go astray like mine does in times of crisis, I wrote that Laughing IS Conceivable book for others going through infertility who actually just try to deal with their problems without mocking them, hoping that my mocking and sarcasm might help.

From there, I started this Laughing IS Conceivable blog to further help others and to help sell the damn book. So now what? The whole theme of almost everything I've written over the years to me has always been: Laughing IS Conceivable... and Humor Heals.  With that in mind, I'm now looking to branch out into other areas besides infertility. Don't get me wrong (or like they say on the Maury show: "Don't get me twisted!") 12 1/2 years and 3 kids later, infertility is still and will always be a part of my life and my writing. But I'm exploring other topics that interest me and are, in my opinion, as equally worthy of mocking and sarcasm as infertility. What do all of these topics have in common? They're all extremely stressful seasons in a person's life. And they're times that many many people have to deal with in a course of a lifetime--and they're all things I've personally gone through like: Living below the poverty line, losing your parents, raising multiples, having a dead-end job (or several), relocating, anxiety issues, dieting and exercising...  No. No heartrending stories of abuse or neglect. Just stresses that I've been through in the course of my life so far... How about in your life so far? Anything sound familiar? Ring a bell? Anything?

Everything in Laughing IS Conceivable world is being revamped to reflect the shift. In the coming months, I will have a brand new website, a new book, audio-book versions, and a podcast where I can publicly interview renowned professionals and ask them personal questions that nobody ever asks them.

"Would you still be a fertility doctor if it paid $40,000 a year?" (Would that be wrong?--  It's one thing to read my words, but what a treat it will be for you to hear my actual voice. It's soothing  melodic, and uplifting: Like a hybrid of Deepak Chopra,  the Little Mermaid, and Joy Behar.)

I will keep posting here regularly while it's all in the works. I really appreciate all of your support. I hope you will come along with me on this Laughing IS Conceivable adventure... (For updates, please join my list of subscribers: http://laughingisconceivable.com- top of home page)

Current Books in the Laughing IS Conceivable Series on Amazon, B & N, & Kobo:

Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility.

La Risa ES Concebible. (Spanish Version of Infertility Book) 

Laughing IS Conceivable: From End of School to Back-to-School- I love my kids. I love my kids. I LOVE my kids.   

Flip the Script: I Will If I Must

Flip the script? What's that all about? If you haven't heard, this week, the last full week in April every year in fact, is NIAW: National Infertility Awareness Week. Resolve.org (a great place for all things infertility & family building-- resources, advocacy etc) comes up with a specific theme every year for NIAW. This year's theme is: "Flip the Script". I can't accept that. Couldn't they call it something else? Anything else? I know it's just me. But see, this is the thing: My guilty pleasure (okay, 1 of 26) is watching Maury.

To sum it up: People want to find out if they're really the baby-daddy or if their boyfriend is cheating so they think it would be a good idea-- I still have no idea why-- to find out on national television. Anyway, I adore Maury the host, but in an attempt to sound hip and current, things come out of his mouth that should not come out of any 80 year old's mouth like: "You accused your man of cheating and now he's flipped the script. You wouldn't do him like that, would you?"

RESOLVE likely didn't expect "Flip the Script" to be as controversial a phrase choice as it's turned out to be. (The controversy beginning and ending with Maury and me of course.) I think their intention is  to inspire everyone dealing with infertility to be out and proud... maybe not proud... just not ashamed about it: A catalyst to get people suffering in silence to at least talk about it, share, help, and inform those around us within and without the infertility community.

Funny thing is: I've always been the biggest in the closet out of the closet infertile person. I mean, I have this blog about my own personal infertility exploits. And I have a book about it. And I'm forever skulking around the support groups talking about it... but with my friends, family, neighbors and coworkers... I really don't discuss it much and never really did... not even while I was going through treatments.

I've never felt shame or embarrassment. It was more: "This is so not at all your business" or "I spend half my day living it, I really don't feel like spending the other half recounting the first half."

I've always felt strongly that infertility is so personal that you have to do what's best for you. If you're honest with yourself and you're honestly suffering because you're not sharing what you're going through with friends, family, the general public., open up, let it out. Expect no particular reaction. They might be supportive. They might be judgmental. They might say a bunch of dumb things. Or a combo platter of all three. Nothing you can do about that. Your only goal should be to share with them what you feel you need to. Screw how they react. That's their issue, not yours.

I've always spoken candidly about my IUI/IVF/FET experiences with others going through it and family of others going through it... but as far as my own family and friends... whatever. I've always been wildly inconsistent with the details, I'd make some vague comment like: "Yeah, I'm going back to the doctor today. I'm trying to get pregnant." Let them think I was sleeping with the doctor. Who cares? Then two days later they'd ask how it went and I'd say: "Fine" and walk away or just act like I didn't even know what they were referring to. When people at work compared notes behind my back, I'm sure it just sounded like I was making stuff up as I went. I figured that was okay because it was right in line with the treatments themselves: The medical staff  sounded like they were making things up too. I remember the first time the nurse told me in her cheery "no big deal" voice:

"So every night you're going to pinch your stomach and give yourself an injection subcutaneously."

I was in a fog: "Wait. Hold up. I'm going to give myself injections? Are you sure? That doesn't sound right."

"It's easy. You dial this pen..."

"I'm sticking myself with a pen? Do you really work here? Don't take this personally, but is there maybe another nurse I can double-check this with?.. Or a doctor? Or the billing person? She always seems to be around."

If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense, please check out my book- Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility. It's been downloaded by 1000s & is recommended by renowned Reproductive Endocrinologists around the U.S. Available in eBook & paperback. (Amazon / Nook / Kobo) http://laughingisconceivable.com /Amazon: https://www.amazon.com//dp/0692950117/

 

Infertility Season: The Girls of Spring meet The Boys of Summer

The "Infertility Season" has so much in common with Baseball Season.

An infertility season often lasts longer than one three-month-long calendar season just like the "boys of summer" actually start playing baseball in February and finish, if they're lucky, in October.

During both seasons, there are delays in the game, rain-outs, unforeseen changes to your team's roster, and maybe health issues that were going to be taken care of when the season was over that just couldn't wait after all.

You want both seasons to be shorter when things aren't going well, so you can put it behind you as quickly as possible and look with hope toward next season. But if things are going as you had hoped, you want them to  go on as long as they can... like all the way to the World Series / the World Series of Infertility - a full-term pregnancy.

You enter Fertility Clinic Stadium. There are a lot of people. There's a lot going on. It's overwhelming. Your first time up at bat, your ovaries don't respond well to the treatment, you strike out swinging. Your second time up, they respond better, but not well enough. You ground out. Your third time up, the ovaries respond better, the egg retrieval is done but none of the embryos make it to day 3. Long fly ball-- caught at the right field fence. Your fourth time up, you get hit by a pitch. So, okay, you're physically in pain, angry, exhausted and covered in dirt, but at least this time you made it to 1st base. They did the egg retrieval. They only got out 2 eggs but you're eager to keep up the positive momentum.

You think about stealing 2nd base but the 1st base IVF coach tells you:

"Not so fast. Stay where you are. We think these might make it to Day 5."

So you stand firmly on first base, peering over at 2nd base, feeling like it's miles away instead of just 90 feet, helplessly waiting to be assured that you can finally get there safely. Finally you get the signal from the coach. Run! Run! 2nd base- Day 3- Everything still looking great! Run! Run! 3rd base- Day 5- Everything still looks great! Transfer Done! Rounding third, heading for home.

"Whoa! Not so fast!" Yells the 3rd base IVF coach.

"I thought you said everything looked great and the transfer went well. So why am I still standing here at 3rd base?"

The 3rd base IVF coach explains: "Everything has gone great so far. But you can't just run home and score. Not just yet. Now you have to stand at 3rd base for two weeks and wait to be told whether you're going to make it all the way or be left stranded right where you are. and have to start all over again. These games have rules. You can't just do what's easiest for you. So for two weeks you stand on third base, whine to the coach, the total stranger playing third base for the other team, and fans in  the bleachers, while you stress eat your hourly $60 delivery of two hot dogs, peanuts and Cracker Jacks that's in no way included anywhere in your $60,000 of IVF. (That's one difference between our "seasons". When there is a lousy, unproductive season, baseball players still get paid handsomely while we still pay handsomely.)

Finally, the 3rd base IVF coach tells you the transfer was a success and you can head toward home. It takes another nine months to reach it, but finally, mercifully... you're safe!

It's vital to remember through all of this, how quickly- sometimes seemingly in an instant- events can  completely turn around: In life, in infertility, & in baseball. Things can seem dismal, hopeless, for weeks, months, years. Then all of a sudden life looks so much brighter, you have a healthy newborn, and the Mets are in first place.

If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense, come read about my personal IVF adventure. It's been read by 1000s and recommended by top fertility professionals to their patients to de-stress while dealing with all of the anxiety-producing moments of infertility. Available on Amazon, B & N, & Kobo.  https://www.amazon.com//dp/B007G9X19A/ 

Infertile Women on Spring Break

Hmmm... Spring Break for Infertile Women. We all could really use a Spring Break. Maybe I should pitch the idea to MTV. What's hotter than watching a group of women in thong bikinis doing shots on the beach at sunset? True, it would be a group of angry, frustrated, infertile women doing hormone shots...

MTV would never air it. They'd be out of business in hours. Clearly women going through fertility treatments desperately need a crazy, wild, college-esque Spring Break. It would just be too disturbing to televise... All of us...thousands of us...living together... every day... all day...in one big alcohol-free sorority house: The Delta Gamma Gametes. How long do you think it would be before our "House of Fun" became a "Fun House"...like at a carnival? Or do I mean "House of Horrors"?

I think everything would start out all warm and fuzzy and chummy and supportive. Ah, but how long before we would lose that lovin' feeling and devolve into "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Hormones?"

And let's see what's on the week's agenda, shall we?

Day 1:  So who's bringing what to the pity party? 

"You people just don't understand what I'm going through! I know that you're all going through it too. That's my point! If you know what I'm going through, then why don't you understand that I just want all of you to go away and leave me in peace so I can go through what I'm going through by myself?! All I ask, is that for the time the thousands of us are living together in this house that you respect my personal space. I feel so alone. You people just don't understand."

Day 2: Spring Break Work Out: Let's Get Critical...Critical...

"The only thing I hate more than people going on and on about their kids in front of me, is when a bunch of infertile women go on and on about how much they hate when other people talk about their kids in front of them, in front of me!"

Day 3:  A Little Unhealthy Competition Among Total Strangers aka: Offering Less Support than a Dollar Store Bra.

"I know it's horrible that you've been going through this for two years...and I do feel for you...I really do...but I've been going through this for two and a half years!"

"Two and a half years?! OMG. If I have to go through this for another six months I'll kill myself!"

"Thanks a lot! I've been going through this for five years."

And how about a few hands of Progesterone Poker?:  

"Really? Well, I've been going through this for six years AND I've had two surgeries and three IUI's."

"Well, I had an IUD before I had four IUI's, one IVF and an FET. They drained my entire IRA! Did you have your IRA drained?!"

Day 4: You know the fun is on the wane when housekeeping becomes a top priority.

"And if you guys are going to throw baby dust at each other, which I think is great...I'm of course all for it...who wouldn't be?... could you at least clean it up when you're done? I'm sure I'm not the only one here who knows how to use a vacuum!"

While we women would be roughing it with very limited access to technology- namely a single red phone each... A hotline to our fertility doctors for "emergency" questions...

Our spouses/boyfriends/lovers/partners would be on Spring Break too in a separate wing of the house. Way over there. Just them, air conditioning, big screen TVs, a 24 hour open bar, pool tables, putting green, stocked refrigerators, two toilets each, and, most importantly... sound-proof walls.

One Woman's Desperate Attempt to Inject Spring Spirit into Infertility

One Woman's Desperate Attempt to Inject Spring Spirit into Infertility.  (Did she have to say: 'inject'?) At this time of year, as we approach the Easter and Passover holidays, I'm sure, like me, you can't help pondering how much this spring holiday season reminds you of your fertility treatments.

"What? Why? What are you talking about? I've never thought that even once."

I mean, take Easter for example. True, infertility doesn't make us feel resurrected...

"Resurrected? No. That's not quite the right word. Maybe: "Angry"? "Defeated"? "Pissed?"

Okay... maybe that wasn't a good example. How about: Infertility reminds us of getting all dressed up and heading to church with the whole family?

"How? It's more like throwing on a sleeveless T-shirt and baggy sweatpants so the nurse will have easy access to my vein and the doctor will have easy access to... somewhere totally different. And there aren't enough seats in the waiting room for the whole family and who wants them there anyway? Yeah, I'll tell you how infertility is like Easter. I feel like I'm the only idiot in the egg hunt still swinging an empty basket!"

Infertility is like spring.

"No it's not. I keep planting but nothing's growing. Groundhogs  are morons. Every last one of them. They may be cute rodents but they're sucky meteorologists."

Let's move on, shall we?

Infertility is like Passover where we celebrate Gd liberating us from slavery.

"Hm... liberation from being a slave.  Well let's see... Every single minute of every single day of my life revolves around doctors, nurses, blood tests, stomach shots, prescriptions, butt shots, appointments, and probing examinations. Nope. Not feeling the liberation. More like: Infertility is like Passover: Everybody tells you what you can eat and what you can't eat and 99% of what you are supposed to be eating, you would never eat in a million years if you had the choice. More precisely: Infertility is like Passover food: Monotonous, bland, and hard to digest. Yeah yeah... that's it."

Well, okay. I guess I see your point. But I can't end our little discussion on a negative note. So let's wind this up with a positive thought, shall we?

No matter whether we're talking about IVF or Easter, or the Passover Seder plate: My wish for you is the same:

"May none of your eggs be filled with Laffy Taffy."

 

What It's Really Like...

When you've been trying to get pregnant, people can relate to that. Maybe they themselves tried for a month or two and it wasn't until month four when they finally conceived. Or maybe they got pregnant the first weekend they tried but their sister or best friend wanted to get pregnant as soon as she was married but "struggled" for six months. So whether directly or indirectly, people have lived through that. But then when you move into the neighborhood of: "I've been trying for a year or five years or ten years and I've been to a Reproductive Endocrinologist, and I've had a test to see if my tubes are open and I might have endometriosis or PCOS..." Once you start to get into the mechanics of your innards- what strangers in labs are probing and things that cause you to miss work... most people mentally drift off. Even the ones who are interested and supportive, most of them don't really understand what you're talking about. If you've ever wanted to tell them what a day in your life as someone trying to get pregnant is really like but you are just too emotionally drained or too private a person to go into it... Well, I have a new essay in Pregnantish Magazine at the link below that might help. In fact, it's called: "What IVF is Really Like: A Day in the Life". See if any of it rings a bell. http://pregnantish.com/what-ivf-is-really-like-a-day-in-the-life/

And one last thing...

Have you taken a look at my book? Recommended by renowned infertility professionals around the U.S. and abroad. Now available in eBook & paperback. (Amazon/ B & N / Kobo)  https://www.amazon.com//dp/0692950117/

Religion, Infertility, & Humor (Really?)

Do you ever feel awkward around people who you feel you have nothing in common with? Now that I've lived in the southern part of the U.S. for more than a decade, I've felt a little less weird about it. But having lived in New York-- the suburbs and then the city-- my entire life, it was quite an adjustment when we first moved here. I remember when we first arrived, it felt like all of the conversations included church, everybody owned a gun, and my husband and I were the only ones who cursed. So here I am, 10+ years later, I'm still me, but the conversations around me startle me a little bit less.  Enter Sarah's Laughter.

Sarah's Laughter is a non-profit faith-based infertility+ support organization. Does this look like some place that would want anything to do with me? Turns out, they've been around a long time just loving, helping, supporting, & yes, praying for people dealing with infertility & related ordeals. I did a podcast interview on their site. Maybe it's just me, but despite the name of the organization, religion & humor doesn't sound like peanut butter & jelly or fish & chips. I was scared to death. Would I be asked "religious" questions? Would I be able to get through it without uttering a profanity? What if I said something that isn't a profanity to me, but it is to them? I was bound to let something slip in vain. All in all... Come have a listen@ http://podcast.sarahs-laughter.com/episode-59-laughing-is-conceivable-lori-shandle-fox

And if you would like to purchase my book (not riddled with profanity, but certainly containing a few more than in the podcast) Available on Amazon, Kobo, & Nook.  Comments by renowned fertility professionals inside.

Laughing IS Conceivable: One Woman's Extremely Funny Peek into the Extremely Unfunny World of Infertility

https://www.amazon.com//dp/0692950117/

 

 

Infertility & Romance. Romance? What Romance?

One of the way infertility ruins our life is that it's sneaky. It toys with us emotionally, physically, financially & in every other way but it does it so cleverly, little by little, that we barely notice it's taken us over completely, body, mind, heart, & soul. The damn thing is a cult. And one of the first aspects of our life that infertility gets its grimy clutches into is our love life. One day you're walking hand in hand along the sun-kissed beach, the warm breeze of the ocean blowing your hair against his face. The next you're walking hand in hand into a fluorescent lit examination room, lifting yourself with one hand onto the table and holding your backless gown shut with the other so you won't flash passersby if it catches the breeze from the a/c . "What the hell just happened?" All of a sudden,just like that, our warm, lovey-dovey, kissy-kissy partnership  has turned into somewhat of a business partnership: "Well we have to have sex by Tuesday. Wednesday of the latest. Ideally if we could meet up on both days... Are you available at 4 on Tuesday and 7:15 on Wednesday? 7:30 after Jeopardy! in the bedroom? That'll be fine. See you then."

This week's post: "Infertility & Romance. Romance? What Romance?" can be found at IRMS Reproductive Medicine at St. Barnabas' blog-- thanks to the lovely Dr.Serena H. Chen who allows me to sully their blog with my two cents.  http://www.sbivf.com/blog/infertility-romance-romance-what-romance/

Please take a look at my very own personal infertility / IVF journey  in my own warped point of view in my book.- Available in paperback & eBook. (Amazon, Kobo, Nook.)

https://www.amazon.com//dp/0692950117/

Valentine's Day: Finally: The Perfect Holiday.

Valentine's Day is the perfect holiday for people trying to conceive.  I know you think I'm about to go into the importance of rekindling our romance. Yeah yeah... I'll get to that in a minute. But first and foremost:

Most of us have cringed at some time or other during our infertility adventure just at the thought of holidays. Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, Thanksgiving... whatever you celebrate, wherever you celebrate it, most holidays include children in your face: They are in relatives' phone galleries, old fashioned photographs, albums, or even worse... in person. At some point during the course of the holiday, you know some oblivious-to-your-pain person is going to shove some form of a child in your face. But not on Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day is the one day everyone is trying to abandon their kids... drop them off... leave them somewhere... so they, the parents, can be alone. That's the beauty of the day: If you're trying to conceive and you go out to a romantic  dinner at an elegant restaurant on Valentine's Day and somebody brings a small child... it's the one evening of the year when everybody around you is irritated too. There is camaraderie in the restaurant. We are not alone for once. Everyone in the restaurant exhales an angry huff simultaneously. We give that couple and their plus one dirty looks in unison. Everyone is outraged at their insensitivity... not just us. That is the incredible power of Valentine's Day...

And then, yes, there is that re-kindling aspect of it too. No, we don't have to wait until February 14th to be romantic and proclaim our love. A sexy, sultry, lovey-dovey spontaneous moment can happen any time, anywhere: Like when we are getting a butt shot in the bathroom:

"Hey... I like the way you stuck that needle in there... Same time tomorrow?"

Or at the doctor's office, as he's about to enter the donation room with his  plastic cup:

"You know that see-thru nighty I have hanging in our bedroom closet with the tags still on it?... Just something to think about while you're in there... No no... not the price on the sleeve... think higher up... or lower down."

Or when you have prepared a beautiful candle-light dinner for two at home:

"How about we feed each other flax seeds,  pumpkin seeds, and lean meats? And then we can move over to the couch to have our milk instead of coffee, wine, or beer. You know there's nothing sexier to me than strong bones."

Let's face it: Valentine's Day is a dopey holiday and a perfect excuse to put down the vials and the pens and the calendars and go somewhere together that doesn't smell like antiseptic for a change.

***

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you feel just a little bit better than you did when you got here. If you'd like more laughs at infertility's expense- take a look at my own Infertility / IVF /FET "adventure" recommended by top fertility professionals across the U.S. -Available on Amazon / Nook / Kobo  https://www.amazon.com//dp/0692950117/

https://www.amazon.com//dp/0692950117/