the big nutshell

June has not been much of a blogging month. I'm not entirely sure how the month is almost over already... To make up for the lack of words that I have written this month, this post will undoubtedly be a long one. Feel free to eat it in two bites instead of one.

Life:  Part I
For various reasons, Jason and I have decided to get rid of one of our cellphones and just use our Google Voice numbers as our secondary numbers. I rarely leave the house without Jason [this may sound lame to more independent folks, but trust me, it's actually just pure awesome], and when we do go somewhere, we just grab whatever phone is closest to the door, so it's not like we currently need two phones or are attached to having individual phones. We could have done this months upon months ago but just never thought about it. Thinking about things is revolutionary, I tell you.

I remember when my family first got a cellphone back in the day [yes, I can say back in the day because it was over a decade ago]. We were living perfectly comfortable lives. Yet, suddenly, with the arrival of this little handheld device, it was a tragedy if we didn't have the phone with us when we were out and about. I don't know why. It didn't make sense. Suddenly, potentially life-threatening emergencies were everywhere and only having that little gray phone could hold them off! Humans are funny like that, I suppose.

This little toy with all 5 of its contacts and the ability to use voice commands to mistakenly dial the wrong person was new and neat and somehow endlessly entertaining. And it quickly went from Nonexistent to Unquestionably Essential. But sometimes, even then, I would think about how, just a mere month ago, we had somehow managed to survive without it, so why all the fuss if suddenly the phone wasn't available? Ah, the subliminal tentacles of Convenience Turned Necessity. Crafty creature, that is.

Anyway, I often still have the same thoughts about cellphones. Yes, they are convenient. But no, they are not necessary for many people. I believe I currently fit in the realistically-not-necessary category of people. Which is good, because if I did feel compelled to always have a cellphone with me, I might have to start using some kind of purse/bag/trendy cellphone belt clip/large-pocketed man pants. Whew, bullet dodged. Instead of my own man pants, I shall continue to use Jason's man pants to hold all of my things, and our one cellphone.

Anyway. In order to properly retire my lonely cellphone, I had to empty it of all the random stuff that had accumulated on it. Various pictures of ears and price tags and men's legs and shopping lists and finger comparisons all needed to be transferred to my computer. And then there were the notes.

Now, Jason is a decently funny fellow to the general public, in my opinion. But to me, he is hilarious. [I may have a really low standard for humor or I may just have a bad case of I Like Your Face So You Are Basically a Stand-up Comedian.] He says things and I can't help but laugh. Sometimes my brain tells me that the world would also like to benefit from something he said that was particularly entertaining. And so, when he says one of these things, I jot them down in my phone, if it is available [this, of course, means that 72% of his funniness is lost forever], and post them on Facebook afterwards if I remember.

Sadly, I often do not remember. And then, if I do happen to remember, I will have forgotten the context to the remark or conversation. And then I have to decide if it is still worth posting. It's a process, people!

Anyway, I apparently collected a few handfuls of these types of notes on my phone. I considered deleting them, but that really seemed like a shame. So instead, I will type them out here in our blog and they will be duly head-scratched/chuckled at for generations to come. Let us begin.
  • "You cannot be promoted from bat boy to player." -- Says who?
  • "We're cavalier; we dirty the counter and then eat off it!" -- We're trying to do better. Really.
  • "Puma, shut up and stop climbing up my leg." -- These are two commonly spoken desires.
  • "Did you know shampoo is just shamoo with a p?" -- Some people insist hamsters are spelled with a p, and some people think Shamu the whale is still alive. The fight for truth is a daily battle.
  • "I think you know all of common knowledge." -- It's all relative.
  • "Ok, lady, if you think making your husband look stupid is funny then.. you're hilarious." -- I accept this compliment.
  • "Can we be Amish by day and use the internet by night?" -- This is our backup "once we turn 50" plan.
  • "I don't know how to do Amish face." -- That'll do, love. That'll do.
  • "I wouldn't have married an Asian if I didn't like rice." -- There is a fine line between liking and loving many things. However, for rice, there is a chasm.
  • "Are you just going to leave it there? ...But that's not where you found it!" -- You cannot always mask the OCD.
  • "Every time I see a sweater, I think, 'He's not wearing spaghetti straps!'" -- Context is nice, but no context is even better. Trust me.
  • "The kpluBlet is going to come out and not recognize your voice because you're not yelling anymore." -- We are currently working under the assumption that the birth of the kpluBlet will magically create that much longed for volume control that I have always lacked... I have my doubts.
  • "I don't know why you mind having short limbs. It just separates you even more from monkeys." -- Some things you just have to let slide like a greased pig.
  • Korean:  "I like when you smile at me. Even though I know you're just laughing at me in your head." Non-Korean:  "Oh, I'm laughing at you out loud. You just can't hear me." -- Reason #873 why I love him.
So, recap:  We are now a one-phone family. Jason is Mr. Funnyman. I like to take pictures of men's legs with white tube socks.


Life:  Part II
The past week and a half have been like that super rickety wooden roller coaster that you know gives you a headache and back twinges if you ride it, and yet you ride it anyway. Or someone forces you to ride it. 

This past week and a half, I was forced to ride the wooden roller coaster. If I knew how to throw up, I might have done it.

Of course, since pregnant people are legally obligated not to have fun, I did not get to ride an actual roller coaster. Instead, my wooden coaster consisted of week 28 glucose testing. Ingest dyed sugar*. Get stabbed with needle. And, if you're unlucky, repeat with twice as much dyed sugar and get stabbed with four times as many needles.

I was unlucky.

To make a long, fear-filled story shorter, let's just say that I do not care for things puncturing through other things. Whether this is something "normal" like blood draws or something fantastical like Wolverine's claws appearing or even something completely mundane like pushing a pin into a pincushion... The thoughts that flood my mind when I see/hear/sense/imagine that pushing through of something sharp into that slightly resistant material... My hands immediately get sweaty and all I want to do is curl up in a ball. It's debilitating. I don't know what's wrong with me.

When the puncturing is happening to someone or something else, I just get extremely uncomfortable and have to look away and hum loudly to drown out the imagined sounds of tortured screaming [that tomato pincushion has quite the nerve endings, I know]. But when the puncturing has to happen to me... Oh dear gravy, I am an absolute mess. And poor, poor Jason has had to deal with this mess for the past week and a half. 

My husband is amazing. You don't even know the half of it.

It took a week just to get up the nerve to ask Jason to schedule the appointment for the first glucose test. Merely thinking about telling him to schedule it would work me up to the point of tears. I wish I could blame pregnancy hormones/emotions, but I fear this would not be completely truthful. I physically dislike needles, but I mentally abhor needles. In fact, typing all of this is making my hands all sweaty again and the inside of my elbows are starting to ache. So, we will quickly fast forward.

Test one happened two Fridays ago. I'm pretty sure the feelings of wanting to throw up were the results of a week's worth of dread and anxiety, though I also suspect it had to do with sitting through the Twilight movie in the waiting room. I can't even. Why is everything blue? Why is everyone so deadpan? Why does it make your insides feel like you're drowning in a thick pool of high fructose corn syrup? Anyway, luckily for everyone, I am not sure I even know how to throw up. So all of the pent up feelings stayed inside my stomach. Whew.

I seriously had no real concerns about passing the 1 hour screening test. I consider myself to be a relatively healthy person who eats pretty well and the idea that I could be a candidate for GD wasn't all that present. Despite all of the anxiety about the blood draw itself, I was never really concerned about the result. And then Monday came. And I got an email from the lab with the horrendous news that my blood sugar was high. And I knew four more needles were in my future. I completely crumbled.

Jason is a rock. The sweetest, most caring, selfless rock who, interestingly enough, is still soft enough to cuddle a distraught Korean for hours on end. You don't even know the half of it.

So. I was mentally frantic, unable to focus on work at all, praying desperately for peace, and attempting to get some sort of grip over my anxiety. Friday was just around the corner and I knew there was nothing I could do about it. I was going to have to be stabbed, clogged with dyed sugar again, and then be stabbed thrice more over three hours. I was in a living nightmare.

[Yes, this probably sounds melodramatic to those who don't think twice about blood being drawn. Trust me, though, this is the un-sensationalized version of this past week. (Again, poor Jason...) Phobias are so annoyingly irrational.]

Lesson:  Never count out the goodness of God.

We had our appointment at the Birth Center and in I went sweating profusely and on the verge of tears as I knew that the inevitable outcome of the visit was that dreadful laboratory prescription sentencing me to debilitating mental anguish. The options presented to us on review of the first screening were what I expected:  Go through with four more blood draws or just assume the GD diagnosis and act accordingly, which would include multiple blood sugar fingersticks a day. Neither option was rainbow-filled.

And then! Right when all hope seemed lost! The midwife thought of a third option. The option that saved my sanity. The option that nearly made me cry with relief [all of this crying business was just getting out of control...]. She remembered that a while back there had been another patient who also had a deathly fear of blood draws. They had ended up ordering some of the nasty dyed sugar and just administering the 3 hour glucose test at the Birth Center with fingersticks. And, it suddenly occurred to her, there might still be an extra bottle of the drink somewhere.

She went to check.
There was a bottle left.
It was not expired.

What did this mean? This meant that I would not have to go in to The Place of Nightmares [known as LabCorp] and spend 3 sickeningly stressful hours with only Twilight to soothe my soul. This meant that I would not have to be strapped into a chair that is too tall for me [OK, so they don't actually strap their patients down, but they may have needed to if I had had to endure the 3 hour test...] and have my arms mutilated by uncaring lab technicians. This meant that I would not have to wait some undetermined period of time worrying about the results of the test.

What did this mean? This meant that I could come to the Birth Center and spend 3 hours in the homey birthing room with blue walls. This meant Jason and I could relax [as much as can be expected during such a test] in the rocking chairs or on the bed or sprawled out on the couches. This meant we could play whatever music we desired, spend the hours doing whatever we wished, and just be allowed some peace and quiet in between each hourly fingerstick. This meant no harming of inner elbows. This meant Jason as close to me as possible. This meant instant results.

God is good.

Sure, there was still anxiety about getting jabs in my fingers. And yes, there was still mild concern about the potential results and worst case scenarios. Oh, but the big picture was so much brighter. The debilitating fear dissipated. The lack of appetite was gone. The inability to smile and laugh disappeared. If I have ever experienced that proverbial load of bricks falling from my shoulders, it was in that moment when the midwife offered the glorious third option.

God is beyond good.

So, that Friday morning, we drove to the Birth Center. We settled into the Blue Room. We rocked in our rocking chairs. We played a few games. We read a few books. We listened to Tenth Avenue North and Phil Wickham [yes, even/especially his Christmas album]. And I drank more grossness and endured four fingersticks.

Fingersticks sting more than blood draws, but my fear of needles isn't really based on the pain aspect so the extra sting was well worth it.

The nurse was friendly and kind. The room was quiet and peaceful. And the results... well, they were excellent. No GD diagnosis here! Just a Korean with four little dots on her index fingers and an extremely grateful heart. Yes, yes, I know this all probably sounds so ridiculous and blown out of proportion. But since when have ridiculosity and I ever been that far apart? Thankfully, God answers even the most ridiculous of desperate prayers. He is ever deserving of praise. Ever deserving.

So, that's June for you. And this post, as promised, is unbearably long. I shall now wrap up.

Oh! This needs to be mentioned: The kpluBlet's arrival aside, the thing I am looking forward to the most is sleeping on my back and reading whilst on my stomach. I cannot wait.

And I bid you adieu.

How my heart felt leaving the Birth Center.

*Allergy information on bottle:  "Gluten Free. Dairy Free. Does not contain orange juice, only artificial orange flavor." Gag.



So, today I was having some trouble writing a blog. I have my thoughts, but it's hard to get them on "paper" in a way that anyone would want to read. For example, I wrote:

Baby room preparations are in full swing. We've been clearing stuff out of our extra room (since it's not extra anymore!) to make room for baby stuff. We've been getting baby stuff to put in the space made by clearing out stuff. We've been building furniture, or mostly just partially building furniture until we notice some of the pieces are damaged so we have to have replacements sent. Still, the room is shaping up. We have a crib, a rocking chair, one of those storage cube things. That last one is actually built completely. I think we've got the layout all planned. It's starting to really look like a baby room. Which is good, since we're less than three months away, now. Yikes.

It's not bad information, but oof. You have to slog your way through it with a snow plow. Sharayah, being the loving wife that she is, volunteered to help me through this difficult time. In her words, "Here, you rub my feet while I write your blog for you." So, I rubbed her feet and she wrote a blog for me. The real plan was for me to just take each paragraph or topic and rewrite it as my own blog post. It would just serve as a framework or outline to get me going. When I read it, though, I realized it was my best blog ever, and I couldn't just erase it and rewrite it. So I'm leaving everything she wrote, and I'll add in some commentary/detail after each bit. (Her parts are block-indented if you can't tell who is who just by the writing.)

I'm going to be a dad in under 3 months. I have a lot of jokes to start storing up. I'm going to be the funniest dad. How many jokes can you learn in 3 months? How soon can you toss a baby high into the air? Or when can he ride on my shoulders and use my ears to steer? One thing I already know:  I'm never going to "let" him win at anything. It will be good for his character. Plus, since he's going to be Asian, there will soon be a time where he will be better at everything anyway... I might as well get my winning in now.

Ok, well a lot of that is solid. I'm not doing so well at storing up jokes (I keep forgetting them, I can only seem to keep 3 or 4 in my head at a time). Still, I think they'll come back to me at opportune times. That's how dad jokes work. As far as not being able to win at anything because my son is Asian, well... I'll have to get back to you on that in a few years. I sort of thought if I had blood relatives who were Asian, that would make me part Asian and help me compete a little better. We'll see.

My hand is nearly as big as kp's foot. I think she has a dwarf foot. But then, I haven't yet seen the kpluBlet's foot. His foot is going to turn my brain into mush.

This is actually a combination of tiny kp feet and large me hands. It's hard for me to imagine walking on something only an inch longer than my hand and not falling flat on my face. I'm not sure how she functions, really. The tiny kpluBlet feet may put hers into perspective, though. We bought some baby socks. I'm not sure a human foot can fit in them. How small would the toes be for the feet to be that small? It makes me dizzy.

Speaking of mush brain, I went to a math conference at Villanova. I met a Canadian. I ate chocolate desserts every day. I took naps during math talks. I had my picture taken with my hero (and an Asian guy). I drove through a lot of traffic. I don't like traffic.

The Villanova conference was actually really good. I presented my research and it was well received. I met some cool mathematicians (some of them famous, but when I say famous I don't mean that normal people have heard of them...) and heard a lot of good math talks. I definitely did not take any naps there, although I was completely exhausted by the end of the week. I'm really glad my talk was on the first day when everyone was still alert. By the last day everyone was so tired they barely seemed to be paying attention anymore.

My adviser had someone take a picture of him and his two students (me and the Asian guy). Sharayah found this very amusing, apparently. I'm not sure why it's so funny to her.

The traffic was intense. It was the week that the I-495 bridge was condemned unexpectedly. That just happened to be the route I was supposed to take. Monday I drove both ways on that bridge, and Tuesday it was closed because they thought it might fall down at any minute. It's still closed. I'm not sure how they plan to fix it. Anyway, the ~45 minute drive took about 2 hours each morning, which was rough since the conference started at 9. I think Sharayah summed it up well: I don't like traffic.

All of these adult activities looming on the horizon makes the future seem gigantic. There are many decisions to be made. Babies, jobs, homes. At this very moment, we are planning our lives for the next... who knows how many years. No big deal. Our life is going to be grand, no matter what all the little details look like right now. There are 3 doors in front of us:  Behind one is a brand new car. Behind another is a picket-fenced cottage. And behind the third door is a goat. Which will we choose? Luckily, it doesn't matter since even the goat would thrill the kp. Win win win.

Yep, we have a lot going on right now. Figuring out where I'm going to work, where we're going to live, which is where we'll be raising our kids. The 3 doors are supposed to be a reference to the Monty Hall problem, I think. I'd say you're always supposed to switch doors, but if you actually don't mind winning the goat then you should maybe stick with your first choice.

So that's the blog Sharayah wrote for me, and the extra thoughts from me that it inspired. For the most part, she hit the nail on the head. I guess she sort of knows me pretty well and understands what I'm thinking about and going through. What a cool lady.

Dear tiny little half-Asian kpluBlet,
Really soon you'll be here. It's the weirdest combination of scary and exciting that I'll get to meet you so soon. I hope you like having your feet played with, because I'm going to count your toes a hundred times. When you're big enough, you better believe I'm going to toss you way up high and catch you. I hope it'll be one of your favorite games. Do me a favor, once we start playing more competitive games (you know, where someone wins and someone loses), maybe let me win a few from time to time?
While you still live in your mom, we're doing the best we can to make a good place for you to live once you get out. I can't wait until you're here!