Saturday, July 29, 2006

Officially off program 

Rich is officially off his low cholesterol diet! On a scale of 133 to 200 for a good range, he tested 136 on cholesterol level! He celebrated the testing by having his much missed Lois the Pie Queen Reggie Jackson special, a La Farine morning bun, pate and fries (not all in one meal, but through the weekend). Ironically, the subsequent Monday was when he had his heart attack scare. We were wondering if there was any association! But we doubt it. But it is interesting to note that after one weekend of "off-program" dining, his cholesterol went up to 167 from 133 in just two days!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Rich is back home from the hospital - whew! Tests thankfully came out normal so he's home resting. I'm glad that Rich can have a sense of humor about this episode; it tells me that he must be feeling OK. Nonetheless, an experience like this really clarifies what's important in life and puts things in perspective. It was a wake up call for both of us.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Yes, but at what cost? 

Rich and I are very fortunate to have a good and comfortable life, a wonderful loving family and friends, and a solid marriage. We really have little to complain about.

Nonetheless, at times like this I have to wonder - at what price do we have this life? Consider:

Rich - today felt bad chest pains while commuting to work, worried that he might be having a heart attack (?! he is only 37!?), checked himself into ER, and is staying overnight for observation and tests; diagnosed six months ago with high cholesterol when two years earlier it was low and healthy; I think all this is stress related from too much work and travelling, lack of sleep, long commute, etc.

Our marriage - for a while, I'd classify as on the rocks and at the lowest point ever in our 13 (!) years together; for a while, saw little of Rich because he'd get home so late or he'd get home and continue working; now Rich makes the best of the situation so it is getting better; he gets home so he and I can have dinner together at least and sometimes he is early enough that he can see Isabella; but right after eating he is right back on his laptop working until anywhere between 12 midnight and 4 am; sometimes I feel we hang out so little together that I might as well be a single mother! I am up 'til midnight hoping he will finish work and come to bed, but much of the time we go to sleep at different times still; after working 'til whatever hour, he is up at 6 again so he can drive the 50-90 minutes to work

Our daughter - strong case of separation anxiety since she was 2 months old; of course, this is probably temperament, but of course everyone has their theories: that it is because she was traumatized during her hospital stay when she was one month old; her father being a stranger since she was only seeing him on the weekend for a long while, so she was that much more attached and therefore demanding on me; that my stress translates to her stress; who knows? I think this is her sensitive personality that she was born with

Me - case of "moderately severe" eczema (my skin is usually what bears the brunt of my stress) that took about nine months to resolve; because Rich works so much, I don't want to add more stress on him by complaining or asking him to help me, so I do everything for all three of us - financial management, child rearing (I feel like a single parent when it comes to all the health and allergy issues), laundry, cooking, cleaning, home maintenance and renovation, errands, etc.; I am "working" the equivalent long hours as him on home stuff!; overwhelmed, stressed and general unhappiness to the point that doctor suggested I consider an anti-depressant, which I vehemently refused in lieu of exercise (endorphins are good for you), hiring help, better communication, etc.

I am completely freaking out by Rich's potential heart attack, so of course I am bringing up all the negatives here. There are certainly a lot of positive aspects in our lives, and at times like this I have to remind myself of them. I believe that the way you manage your life highly depends on how you frame your experiences. If you continue to focus on the negative, you will be weighed down by all the negatives you see; if you look at the positive, you will make the most out of any situation. For the most part, I feel like I've made pretty tasty lemonade out of any lemons we have. I really do know that we are extremely fortunate, and that there are people out there that have even more stressful lives without the carrot at the end of the stick that we have for all of this effort. My parents certainly worked like dogs to dig themselves out of poverty and make a better life for themselves and their 5 kids, each working 2 unskilled labor jobs, with no English proficiency, and not only did they survive but they also put all 5 kids in college! And, all of our afore-mentioned issues of course could certainly be completely uncorrelated. But considering the recent health issues that Rich has been experiencing, I still can't help but wonder - we have a good life, but is the price we are paying worth it?

In Japan, they call it karoshi.

p.s. For those who read this and are suddenly greatly concerned about us / our marriage, we are totally fine now - really.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Breaks my heart 

In preparation for the new baby, I've concluded not to be so idiot proud like the first time, and ask for/hire all the help that I'll need. Since Isabella is already in school three days a week, I concluded that instead of more school, I'd prefer her time be spent in more varied fun activities - going to the park, meeting friends for playdates, etc. (She has the rest of her life for a 5 day a week schedule...) So I've hired a new babysitter for Isabella for two afternoons to do playdates with a neighbor's daughter the same age. While I know that this is good in the long run, I'm really sad about it! I'm the one having separation anxiety now! I'm surprised by my feelings because I remember the big sigh of relief I gave when she started school 16 months ago, and currently there have been days when I've felt my brain atrophying or was so infuriated by her behavior that I wanted to scream. But we have so much fun together these days; I miss her already. She is at such a wonderful and precious age. I'm going to miss our trips to the parks, having mango shakes by the fountain, doing the Jamba Juice-coined horse-Tog Dog trifecta, walking to visit all the neighborhood dogs, hearing all of the funny things she has to say, and seeing the pure joy in her face when she makes an exciting new discovery. But I also know that this separation is for the better, because I don't want to feel the stress or guilt associated with ignoring her needs while having to care for a newborn. It will prepare both of us for spending less time together once he arrives. And, we will really appreciate the time we do have together, and make every moment that much more precious.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Last adult overnight... 

...before Baby # 2 arrives, as we attend a wedding in lovely San Juan Baptista. I can't believe I only have 5 more weeks to go.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Umm, what's this charge here... 

I lost a big stakes bet with Rich in which he won the right to buy another car (kind of a non-bet anyway because he had already planned to buy another one). He gets a carte blanche on car choice without any grumbling from me. (What? I thought I hid my wincing about our multiple cars pretty well?) So apparently now we have a deposit down on ANOTHER car. Although I knew that this was inevitable, I found out about it when I received a monstrous credit card bill. Since I manage all the finances, I was like - "umm, what is this charge...??!" to which he sheepishly replied that he put a deposit on a car, and can I figure out how to pay for it. His excuse for not telling me about the deposit was "I wanted it to be a surprise." Umm, tip for everyone out there - if you want to surprise your spouse, do NOT charge something huge on your joint credit card and ask them to figure out how to pay for it (especially before presenting what you've bought).


Saturday, July 01, 2006

First paid babysitter 

Hey, this is an occasion to be remembered! Rich and I acknowledged that we have to do a better job maintaining our relationship, and saw the writing on the wall with the new baby coming. So instead of waiting for a special occasion or an opportunity for a date night to magically present itself, we proactively paid a neighborhood teenager to look after the kid. So what do we do? We go out and make ourselves feel guilty about driving our cars by seeing Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth".