Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Evening Conversations

A brief interaction or two to demonstrate the dynamic between me and the best husband ever.

"Sometimes it feels as though my legs don't know how to work anymore. They don't feel like anything and it freaks me out." Pause. I wait.
"Mhmm." Dustin responds.
"Does that ever happen to you?" I ask, wanting to confirm that this unfamiliar and strange feeling is not, in fact, strange.

We're hanging out in the new homestead with some Vivaldi playing on our Christmas-present-cable which presents us with a Classical Music-station, among several others, not least of which includes a score of Mexican music stations, some techno and, of course, the ever-necessary indecipherable rap. I realize we've lived in this home for going on a month and a half, but since we only just got rid of the end of the boxed stuff on the bottom two floors of the house, it feels brand new all over again (unboxed, that is). D is reading Plato's "Republic" on his Kindle and occasionally goading me into conjuring up my previous philosophy-major self (who read it twice for school and once more for fun before reading it yet another time for comps a year ago) and would've been glad to expound on it for hours. When he's not goading me, he's reading passages aloud that demonstrate Plato's sexism or other odd argument Dustin finds sort of appalling and humorous, at the least, dogmatic and outdated to our liberal mindsets.

When he finishes a particularly female-bashing passage, I comment:
"It was different back then, though. I mean, he liked men."
"That's obvious," D says reading more examples of Plato's hatred for women from the book.
"No. I mean. He liked men. The Greek philosophers, a lot of them, were gay. They liked men and some of them thought it was unnatural to be with a woman."
Dustin turns this over, trying to decide whether I'm lying or not, then gestures toward the laptop on my lap, "Google "Plato" and "gay."
I do. He reads the support to my claim.
"Ok. Now google "Aristotle" and "gay."..."Socrates..."
Again and again the proof is evident.
Google headlines regarding "Leonidas" and "gay" yield the following results:
               A Facebook Fan Page titled: "I'd go gay for King Leonidas" and
               "A gay day in Thermopylae."

"Soulmates came from Plato, but there's a reason he chose the "bellybutton" as where the two parts to a soulmate split rather than, well, the more obvious separation a man and woman would have. He was thinking of two men as soulmates, not two people of the opposite sex."
Silence as he absorbs these new revelations.
"You know...Plato's discussion on soulmates. The "Symposium?"
He explains that, clearly, he's familiar with this concept, but wasn't aware it came from Plato. Understandable since not all people spent their early tween years wandering the local library's stacks in search of the logic to support what I cynically and innocently believed were irrational claims of being "in love" and having a "soulmate." In my search, I found the philosophers, since I couldn't imagine anything going further back to the beginning of those concepts than them. Now, though, I can see Dustin storing up these pieces of information on Plato, the Greek philosophers, "The Republic," rethinking and revisiting movies he's seen or books he's read, all in the flash of a moment. Sheer enlightenment comes over him.
"So ancient Greece was pretty much the gayest place ever." He states, picking his Kindle back up and seeing Plato more clearly now.

We both go back to our individual reading and writing. Vivaldi serenades in sweeping strings and staccato plucks. The soft chirps of our parakeets who have been covered up for the night peek out from behind their transparent sheet. The German shepherd's deep, sleepy sigh escapes at my feet.

"He's describing a pretty Fascist state," Dustin remarks, "And he's going to bang all these guys."

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Our Baby: First Glimpse

Maybe now is also a good time to mention that this blog might see even less postings from Dustin since some of his friends and I have coaxed him into beginning his own blog. It's in the works, and he's not ready to unveil it yet, but it allows him to make whatever changes and calls he wants on it. I think we all need our own blog every once in a while :) Plus, this one doesn't really have a goal or voice yet, and the one he's putting together is going to have both, so once he's ready, I will unveil it to you, silent world.

Since you probably miss Dustin as much as I do when I'm only at work for eight hours or he's at work for five, let me tell you a quick "Dustin Realization" story.

Around week 16 of our pregnancy (we're about to end our 21st week on Monday, so come Tuesday we'll be 21 weeks and a day), we went to the doctor for a regular check-up and ultrasound. The ultrasound tech had me lay down, hike up my dress then SPLAT (think Juno-style) she squirts stuff on my belly and starts running it around. Dustin sits down in a chair to my left, the tech is to my right and a good-sized, elevated television is rigged up on the wall in front of me.

"So we're going to be able to see it this time, right?" he asks.
"You got it." The tech responds, moving the device on my belly around.
"Where will we be able to see it...over there?" He starts to stand up, preparing to go around me to the tech's side where he can see the baby on her monitor.
"No, no. You can see it from there."
Dustin sits back down. "Where?"
"Right up there," she gestures to the wall I'm facing and we both look up to see it:
"Oh, my God," he says, leaping out of the seat and walking closer. "That's our baby? Oh, my God. Neesh, are you seeing this? It looks like a baby now. Oh, my God."

It might've been the greatest reaction I've ever seen. As I lay there, his back to me in a silhouette against the light shining out from the screen showing us our baby, I kept thinking about how moments before we came into the ultrasound room, I'd tried to remind Dustin that the baby no longer looked like a tiny grain of rice, the way it had when we went for our first ultrasound during our very first visit to the doctor. I knew this because I was reading baby books to keep up with how our baby was growing and what parts of it had taken shape. I expected the baby to look something like a baby and knew that D was still envisioning a mass of cells or that early grain of rice, despite my reading aloud to the book about what was happening with the baby during week (fill in the blank with any number up to 16), but I never could've imagined the reaction he displayed. It couldn't have been more perfect. Watching him stand there in amazement, I felt my face widen in a smile.

Finally, he tore his eyes away from the baby, who was now amazing us with its dexterity as it performed flips and turns, stretched its legs up, putting its feet on my uterus and bending its knees before putting its arms up for us as if to let us know it had two and was developing just fine. "That's our baby," D said, stumbling back to me, groping for my hands and nearly grabbing the goo on my belly. "That's our baby."

When we heard the heart beat for the first time that day, as well, the reaction was similar and I felt lucky, all over again, for having married such a wonderful, expressive, genuine man and soon-to-be proud father.


Back and Better than Ever!

...When we last left off, Dustin and I were going into the witness protection program. Mainly this was to keep my life a little private while the job market took hold, but in the meantime, I was offered a wonderful job near my family in the south, which Dustin and I decided would be a wonderful new adventure and opportunity. Not too long after that, we found out we were expecting our first baby on January 3rd (we know, at least, three amazing people born on that day!). Then D had his amazing essay published in Rick Magazine. You'd be doing yourself a huge injustice if you failed to read it, so to better your life and health, I'm posting the link here. Honestly, it gives me chills and brings me nearly to tears each time I read the end.

It took some time once we got to Savannah to find an actual place to live...we looked everywhere, literally from places like this:

To places that had Dustin literally picking fleas off his legs when he left. All in all, it took an entire month with, perhaps, a week or so change on top of it, to find a place to live...but, we found one. A 1920's house with wooden floors, three stories, three bedrooms, beautiful french doors from the dining room to the living room and more french doors from the living room to the front hallway. It has a few decorative coal fireplaces (one in our bedroom!) and the third floor totally fits my ginormous kidney bean shaped desk.

You might be wondering why it took so long to find such a place and what the hold up was. Why we couldn't just move into an apartment somewhere and whether Dustin brought the fleas home to our new home. The problem, in part, was due to having dogs (though Savannah is a super-pet friendly city from what we see), and due to my inability to study, do work...etc...in a room that is cramped with books and desks (example: our study in Columbia where we couldn't see the walls because there were so many books). After 26 years of school each, D and I have too many books to live in a normal room. They require a space of library-proportions. Seriously. D used to study in that room and always wanted me to be in there, too, but I just couldn't do it. I felt so overwhelmed by all the books and stuff in that tiny cramped room.

Then there's the matter of the desk. My desk is not your ordinary desk. It's a mammoth desk. A life of its own, really. I can't explain it better than this picture can do it justice:
See what I'm talking about? It's so large in needs a room or a house of its own, practically. It was, honestly, the bane of our existence when it came to finding a temporary home to live in...and finally, lo and behold, after the fleas and the too-small apartments, the narrow stairways I couldn't possibly climb at nine months pregnant and the perfect places in the horrible locations, we found it! Our home for the year, the place our new baby will first live in:

Pretty, huh?

It has its issues, don't misunderstand. Plenty of 'em and I am going to go on record as saying that we might have the WORST rental company in all the land (Judge Realty) or maybe just the worst realtor (Tripp, who never returns phone calls or fixes any issues). The owners of the house clearly did not maintain the house as much as they should have (knobs in doors fall right off in our hands, not all the phone jacks work which hurts our DSL usage, no one has ever dusted that place until the day we moved in and I did it with my mom and sister, all the crispers and drawers are broken in the fridge AND the fridge had dead bugs in it. Really.), but it has a luxurious backyard that the dogs can play in and we can bbq in (on the giant grill the owners left) and a patio we can eat out on and a sunroom off the side of the house, a white picket fence and gardens, a porch we can sit out on in chairs or a swing...a whole third floor where the kidney bean desk and all of our books can live without feeling cramped or overwhelmed. There's so much space up there, D even had the movers put one of our couches up there (the one I studied for comps on for half a year--the same one I wrote my comps answers on and most of my dissertation) for me to read and work on so when he's studying, I can be close by.

D could now get his degree in historic preservation without ever having taken a class, and maybe a bit of freelance repair work if he advertised himself as such. And we're happy. Together and settled with a few boxes that still need unpacking and a few purchases that need to be made (I haven't even started talking about the three 2x2 closets and how that's the only closet space for our clothes in the entire 2000+ square foot house!), but we're doing pretty great so far.

Stick around. We've been documenting our adventures and our baby's adventures (in utero, of course) since arriving, taking suggestions from friends who are afar for places to go, restaurants to eat in and things to do...we've had visitors and taken small trips...as usual, we're having an incredible time of it. Now that we're settled, we're back in action on this blog, sharing it all with you!

Stay tuned for recaps and KEEP IN TOUCH. Out of sight, but not out of mind, and D's been working at the airport so you can be even more exciting tales are ahead.