Monday, August 29, 2011

Plus One

Saw this on Post Secret today...

It hit a little close to home.  I've written about this before so forgive me if I sound like I'm beating a dead horse.  It's just that this is something I think about a lot.  I've wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember and while that dream has undergone significant metamorphoses through the years, the bare bones of it have remained the same: me, belly, baby, love.  Now, however, there's an element to the dream and the worries surrounding it that I've never entertained before - what if I can't get pregnant?  I've taken a few pregnancy tests through the years (Hi Mom and Dad!), so I'm acquainted with the two minute waiting period, the feeling of sitting on the cold tile of a bathroom floor, sending desperate pleas into the universe, Please say no, please say no, please please please say no.  It's always said no.  I've been lucky.  I certainly didn't want to be pregnant any of those times, and when I held the hands of a couple of friends who were not so lucky, I was acutely aware that There but for the grace of God go I.

Now, though, two diametrically opposed things have happened.  The first - I'm finally with the person with whom I want to have and raise children.  Lucky for me, she wants them as badly as I do and so I know that in the grand scheme of things, I don't have to wait that much longer.  The second - I'm (currently) infertile.  As far as modern medicine has brought us in regards to providing men and women with the ability to choose how and when (if ever) to have children, there is biology millions of years in the making that still has the final word.  And when a body is too malnourished to support life, it doesn't waste its precious energy and resources growing and releasing eggs, let alone supporting a fetus in the event of conception.  Survival comes first.  And since May, my body has been shunting resources far, far away from my (albeit unused) reproductive system.  I'm sure you can see where this is going: Did I waste my chance?  The thought plagues me late at night as I contemplate the perversity of the situation.  Years went by of birth control and the hastily whispered prayers in the bathrooms where an ounce of urine could spell a drastically shifting future and now that Alix's and my ducks are (somewhat) in a row, I've up and quit ovulating.

Physically, amenorrhea as a result of malnourishment is largely reversible.  It's a pretty simple process - once the body isn't desperately harboring nutrients for the support of more important organs, like the brain and heart, it'll start allotting some for the ovaries and uterus and things (should) get kicked into gear again.  Of course, the mental/psychological hurdles to leap over to get to that point are significantly less straightforward.  Which is precisely why I've made a promise to myself: When - not if - I get through this, I'm not wasting any more time.  I'm not going to take my body and my ability to support life for granted anymore.  I'm determined, with a fierceness that I haven't felt before now, to beat this monster that has taken so much from me and from my relationship with Alix.

I will learn to feed myself so that my body can grow a baby, so that I can nurse that baby, and so that I can be the mother I want to be.  I will beat this thing, one way or another.  And when I do?  There will be a different picture heading a blog post.  Something with a plus sign.  My family plus one.  The best one of all.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Trusting Your Insticts

I have a new little one in my life to love.  An 8-week-old, eleven pound, pink clad little munchkin who has already melted my heart into oogey gooey I-want-a-baby-NOW-ness.  Starting yesterday, I get to spend Wednesdays hangin' with this chickadee while her mom does stuff around the apartment, goes to the gym, and participates in adult activities like conversation.  Speaking of which, she and I had a great one yesterday...

J., the mom, is quite possibly the sweetest woman I've ever met.  Case in point - she gave me a hug and called me gorgeous when I walked in the door (we'd met once before).  We also spent all day together yesterday and truly enjoyed each other's company.  In the land of mother-nanny relationships, this is huge.  We talked, we got coffee, we oohed and ahhed over her daughter and she asked me a million questions about baby-raising that I tried to field as best as I could.  It turns out that she and her husband had hired a baby nurse to come in after the little one arrived and the nurse has only left within the last week, leaving J. feeling a little scattered.  (Yes, this is New York City.  Yes, "normal" people get baby nurses that live with them full-time and charge exorbitant amounts of money to, in this case, wreak havoc.)  Now, to be fair, I think that a baby nurse can have a lot to teach first-time parents and if that's how people want to spend their money then it's no skin off my nose.  What does get my panties in a knot is when baby nurses make sweet, capable, loving women like J. feel like she's a horrible mother and that none of her instincts are correct.  Which is exactly what happened.  Apparently, the nurse went so far as to follow J. around, correcting her every move and telling her in no uncertain terms that she was going to "ruin" her daughter by "spoiling her so young."  Grrr....

Your daughter is eight weeks old.  She needs you.  Being needed and responding to your child's needs is called parenting, not spoiling.

I said as much to J. when we were discussing whether or not to go get her little girl when she's woken up from her nap.  The first time, J. asked me to wait to get her, and so we both waited for two or three agonizing minutes while the little peanut worked herself into a screaming, squalling, inconsolable mess.  J. was also a mess - her milk had let down, she was flushed and anxious, and when she finally let herself pick up her daughter she was practically in tears of her own.  I kept quiet, knowing it wasn't my business to interfere.  Later that day though, J. came back from the gym looking refreshed and bright-eyed and she told me that she thinks she'd like to forget what the baby nurse said and get the little one as soon as she wakes.  I applauded her.  I told her that was fine, that was great, that's what feels right for her and she should be proud of herself.  I told her she was a rock star mom and that there's a school of thought that responding right away to your infant's needs helps them learn to trust you and know that you are there, responding to them when they need you.  It sets up a foundation for teaching them patience later, when they're emotionally and psychologically ready to be told to hang on a minute while you put the dishes away.  I told her gently that I'm sure there were some awesome things she learned from the nurse, but that hey, the nurse is gone.  Your daughter is here to stay - with you, her mom.  And doing what feels right, trusting your instincts, all of that will help create the loving, safe, consistent atmosphere that her daughter needs to thrive.

Her relief was visible.  She smiled at me over her daughter's downy head.  "Do you really think so?" she asked me.  Yes, absolutely.  You've got this, I told her smiling.  You've so got this.

This is what I want to do with my life - helping women believe in themselves, helping them to know that they are strong, they are capable, they are rock stars in their bodies and in their ability to give birth, to parent, and to love.  No one, I don't care how young or old or inexperienced or scared they are, should be made to feel like they aren't capable of being a good parent.  And if I can help women learn to trust their instincts, to trust their bodies and their hearts and minds for this awesome, amazing, terrifying journey called motherhood, then hot damn, I can't wait to be a midwife.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dodged A Needle

Modern medicine has declared...that they have no idea what's wrong with me.  I don't care, because for the first time in almost a week, I woke up this morning without a fever.  You know what I noticed when I took Rupert out for his morning walk?  It was chilly outside!  With my temperature reigned in below 100 degrees, my light sensitivity and headache were both much improved.  The cough and trouble breathing - nothing I'm not used to with my asthma.  I will take a mysterious infection that has responded to antibiotics over potential meningitis any day of the week.

So I know that bad things come in threes.  But I'm gunning for some good fortune coming my way, in triplet form.  Dodging this health scare was round 1.  A friend came through for me yesterday with an offer that just might save my sanity from the brink it's been teetering on, and if it all works out, that will definitely qualify as round 2.  (I promise I'll explain once things are settled.)  Any takers for round 3? 

Rupert and I watched the sunset over NJ tonight.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Not my best day

Just like with any couple, there are things that Alix is good at and things that I'm good at.  I remember to buy toilet paper before we have to start using tissues, for example, and she calls the super when the pipes are so hot they're melting the paint off of them.  Unfortunately, when you're on your own, you don't get to divvy up the chores and beg the other person to do the ones you hate to do.  Which is why I haven't called the super about the kitchen faucet that has slowed to a trickle over the last three days.  It's also why I spent fifteen minutes clipping Tucker's claws tonight.  Alix is cool, calm, and efficient when she's on pedicure duty.  I am, in a word, not.  I have to wrap Tucker in a towel and it takes me at least five minutes to wrangle each toe from the growling, writhing, terry-cloth-and-cat bundle clutched on my lap.  Against all my wishes, I needed to take on this onerous task tonight because our screen is in danger of ripping down the middle if Tucker gets his claws stuck in it one more time when he's pursuing our fire escape pigeons.  So there I am, squinting in the dim light, sweat pouring down my face, hands shaking too much to hold the clippers, idly wondering how high my fever is now, and I actually hear how crazy I am:
"No, Rupert, stop, STOP! STOP JUMPING ON ME!!"
"Tucker, NO! Just. Hold. Still. Please."
"Rupert, I swear to god, if you don't sit down right now, I will put you in your crate.  Don't think I won't!"
"Tucker, you don't act like this with your other mother, so don't start this with me. Just HOLD STILL!"
and so on
until we were done
and this day got the best of me
and I burst into tears.

I tried for four days to convince myself that a constant fever, a headache that never eased up, and an ever-worsening cough were just a common flu.  This morning though, when the dim sunrise made me wince and set my eyes streaming, I knew it was time to give up the ghost.  Three appointments later, and the top contenders for a diagnosis are pneumonia and meningitis.  I never thought I'd be praying to have pneumonia, but that's exactly what I'm doing.  The countdown is on for tomorrow morning: if I don't feel better by then, it's off to the hospital for a lumbar puncture.  NOT FUN.

I've felt adrift and disoriented without Alix here, but today was the first day I felt truly lost and alone.  I rushed home in between my appointments to walk the dog and nearly passed out each time on the stairs.  I couldn't afford yet another cab ride at the end of the day so I had to take the forty-five minute subway trip home.  Thankfully, a kind and alarmed-looking gentleman gave me his seat after I sagged dangerously against the pole when I started to black out.  I talked to myself in the mirror for ten minutes tonight, convincing myself to eat dinner, knowing that my body needs nourishment in order to get better.  (That logic didn't sit well with the eating disorder, but I told it to go to hell, at least for tonight.)  I can't help thinking back to this time last year when Alix was sick and I took care of her.  I sat in the dark kitchen one night, too scared to sleep, and prayed silent, desperate pleas for her to get better.  I gently helped her from the bed to the bathroom and back.  I cooked up an enormous batch of chicken soup. I brought home trashy magazines from the pharmacy along with her medications.  I know (because I talked to her and she told me) that if she were here, she'd be doing all those things for me.  Not because she owes me, but because that's what you do for the person you love.  I desperately hope I don't need a lumbar puncture tomorrow.  Not because it will hurt.  But because I won't have anyone's hand to hold when it does.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Back in Action

It was completely my own decision to leave my computer at home while I went to Michigan for a week.  But you guys -  I missed you.  I managed to get in one measly blog post on a borrowed computer while there but other than that, I relied on my phone for email and was otherwise cut off from the internet world.  Now that I'm home, I've plugged back in and oh, it feels so good.  I managed to be the only person in the world who gets sick after a week of R+R so please excuse the lack of content or coherency in this post (or blame it on the fever I've been nursing) and instead enjoy the photo dump included below.  I promise more substantial writing once I'm no longer shaky and chilled.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Letter to...Coffee

Disclaimer: This post contains significant discussion of and/or reference to my bodily functions.  If this freaks you out, disgusts you, or just plain doesn't interest you, please don't read.

Dear Coffee,

You and I have what I would consider a "long-term" relationship.  While it is true that for the majority of my life, I shunned your existence, all of that changed in my first year of college.  Sleeping only four to five hours a night, waking up at 5 AM for crew practices, and endless hours of homework - all of these conditions converged into the perfect storm that made me listen to the hushed, frantic whispers of the overly-caffeinated drug gods: "Go on, just try it.  One will keep you awake through chemistry!"

That was the beginning of the end.  One cup of weak, college coffee later and I stayed alert through chemistry for the first time all semester.  I was hooked.  It seemed innocent enough at first.  You and I didn't hang out every day.  We met up a few times a week when I really needed you to stay awake.  And then, of course, things changed.  Life got more complicated, I got less sleep, and soon I was hanging out with you every day.  By the time I graduated, I was chugging that weak, college coffee like it was water.  (Which it was, essentially.)  

Then, I tried to change.  I decided to be virtuous.  I quit you, cold turkey!  We didn't meet up again for MONTHS.  Alas, it was not meant to last.  Like any good addict, all it took was one really tough week, and I was back to hanging out with you.  The descent was much faster this time.  Within a week, you and I were meeting up every day.  After two weeks, it was multiple times a day.  I managed to keep it to two cups per day.  That's more than enough, I thought.  Oh, how wrong I was...

You and I are so deeply entwined by now that I consider you my life-blood.  You keep me moving on days when I don't eat, you keep me awake and chipper through endless hours of nannying, and um, your diuretic and laxative properties serve a crucial role in my life.  Today, though, marked a new high (low?) in our relationship.  Today, I went to the bathroom pee smelled like coffee.  So strongly that I checked to make sure I hadn't spilled my cup into the toilet.  (Which would have been a sin unto the Lord, by the way.  WASTING COFFEE IS A SIN.)  I flushed hurriedly and walked away, convincing myself it was a freak occurrence.  It wasn't.  Every time I've peed today, it has smelled like you.  The fact that it's still yellow (and not coffee-colored, as the smell would suggest it should be) is remarkable.  Sadly, this highly obvious sign that perhaps you and I are spending a bit too much time together will go ignored by me (with the exception of this blog post to commemorate the occasion) because, hi, I need you.  I need you in order to stay awake.  I need you to suppress my appetite.  And yes, I need you if I ever want to poop.  So, coffee, I realize that our relationship changed today.  But I'm not running away.  In fact, I'm already looking forward to the morning, when I get to greet your sweet self one more time...


Second disclaimer: Yes, I poke fun at my eating disorder.  Yes, you might think this is in bad taste.  I'm not going to apologize.  If I didn't laugh sometimes, I'd be crying all the time.  So either laugh along with me, or go cry by yourself.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Date with a Monster

I was supposed to be waking up right about now.  Instead, I woke up about an hour and a half ago and knew it was useless to try to go back to sleep, so I hopped in the shower and finished my packing.  Why did I have my alarm set for 2:15 AM?  Because I'm catching a 6:05 AM flight to Michigan with this girl!  It's a yearly family vacation trip that she makes each summer and on which she graciously invited me to tag along.

Yesterday, I was a bustle of activity.  I took Rupert to Alix's dad's house for the week, I did laundry, I cleaned, I figured out how to hold my mail, I took care of my plants, I packed (halfway), and I got Tucker safely into the hands of my brother.  It should be noted that while Rupert was sad to see me leave, Tucker left for his uncle's house without so much as a backward glance.  Clearly Mom's coolness pales in comparison with that of his hip, artsy uncle (who happens to live in a ginormous Brooklyn apartment and who feeds him grilled cheese).

Last night, packing by myself in the emptiest apartment I've ever been in was surreal.  There was no panting dog that needed to be carried down three flights of stairs.  There was no sulky cat waiting in the shadows to attack my legs as I walked by.  And there was definitely no Alix, the most heartbreaking absence of all.  However, it should be noted that I had a super duper fun experience with the "My-Job-is-to-Make-You-Highly-Uncomfortable Monster."  Otherwise known as the activity of trying on swimsuits.  I hate looking at myself in the mirror anyway, let alone scantily clad in swimwear.  And the most frustrating thing about it?  Seeing that the suits I wore when I was forty pounds heavier hang off of me like oversized diapers and bras two cup sizes too big does not make it any easier to see that my actual body has changed.  I still look in the mirror and find the body I see to be disgusting and fat.  It horrifies me that forty pounds ago, I felt confident enough to go out in public wearing these suits when now, even though they're hanging off of me, I'm terrified of going to the beach in anything more revealing than a snowsuit.

I'll tell you this much - eating disorders really screw you.  They manipulate, they talk you down, and they seek to control over your every move.  They also cloud your vision and lie to your face.  I'm determined to have fun on this vacation, eating disorder be damned.  And on that note - I got a plane to catch.  See ya!

Monday, August 8, 2011

My Verison of Faith

I have a great deal of faith.  I tend to leave it at that, without going on to add anything about the word "spirituality," purely because I read an article for my History of Judaism class senior year that condemned the word very eloquently and convincingly as being a soft, selfish word used by people who don't have the balls or wherewithal or interest in conforming oneself in order to follow a structured religion (in this author's case, Judaism).  I don't agree with him.  But I still tend to leave that word out of my lexicon and simply say that I have faith.  I have faith in karma, in the overarching goodness of all people, and in the great and powerful ability we have to change ourselves and the world around us.  

When I set out to be a religion minor, I did so with a certain amount of selfishness: I wanted to figure out for myself what I wanted to do with all this faith; where to direct it, so to speak.  Four years later, I realized two things: 1) I should have relaxed a bit on the pre-med stuff and double-majored in Religion, and 2) There was no perfect religion for me.  I didn't want or need the structure of an organized religion in order to feel deeply connected to what I believe and that was okay.  So these days, I look fondly at the beautiful Catholic church across the street while reminiscing about a childhood spent altar-serving and praying the rosary.  I also speak at length about the Bible with the Jehovah's Witnesses that come enthusiastically and passionately to my doorstep.  I respect and admire my mother's dedication to her meditation practice and when I can't sleep, I often count my breaths and cup my hands together at my belly button as I was taught during another Smith class, Buddhist Meditation.  I consider all of these representations of my faith, but I still felt I was searching for a practice of my own, a ritual, if you will, that helped me organize what it is that I do believe in, and what it is that I hope my faith can do for the world.  I think I've found it.

I can't take credit for this idea in the slightest, rather, it came from a book I read recently called The Blue Cotton Gown, by Patricia Harman.  In this memoir, the author talks about lighting candles and placing names in a prayer box each night in an effort to help those she knew and cared for during her life as a midwife and mother.  That's it, I thought when I read it.  That's what I'll do.  The universe helped me out: I found a box for twenty-five cents at a garage sale when I was visiting my parents, and I am blessed with a friend who heard me out on the idea and jumped in with me without a moment's hesitation.  The other night, the two of us wrote thoughts, prayers, names, and wishes on scraps of paper, took turns reading them out loud, and placing them in the wooden box while two candles flickered in the breeze from my open window and Fleet Foxes played on the stereo (loosey-goosey is a totally acceptable word for describing this entire practice and ceremony).  

A lot of the notes are too private for the blog, but I chose a select few to showcase what we independently came up with to add to the box, the two of us sitting on the couch, listening to the gathering thunder and scribbling away on imperfectly cut up pieces of cardstock.

Last night, after saying goodbye to my dear friend, I had a chance to put my new faith practice to the test (as all faith practices should be.  I just wasn't expecting mine to happen so quickly.).  I was riding the subway home, standing by the door and reading my book when a bedraggled man came crashing into the subway car, having walked through the car in front of ours and dangerously changed cars while the train was in motion.  He was very drunk and/or high on something, he smelled, he was panhandling, and there was an edge to him that scared me.  I pulled myself tight against the door and studiously ignored him, forcing myself to concentrate on my book.  He was moving down the car and I had just started to relax when I heard a scream.  I looked up and saw the man reaching to choke a woman sitting and at the same time, another man reach around and put the homeless man in a tight headlock.  Pandemonium broke out.  The lurching train sent the wrestling pair sprawling to the floor and the homeless man bounded up and stood over the other man with his foot ready to kick in his face.  "She elbowed me!  She deserves to die!" he screamed, as another, third man put his body between the two fighting men and tried to prevent any more violence.  The rest of us were standing in shock and horror as the adrenaline coursed through me and I had a moment of very clear thought: We could die right now.  He could have a gun, he could pull it on this train, and there is absolutely nowhere for any of us to go.  The adrenaline was useless - "flight" was not an option, and "fight" was certainly not high on my list of priorities.  When the train stopped, the homeless man went crashing back through the doors between cars and the woman who was attacked ran from the car before anyone could stop her or ask her if she'd like help in reporting it to the police.  I stood there afterwards, shaking with terror and rage.  That man is evil, I thought, and then stopped.  No, he's not, I corrected myself, He's very troubled.  He did a horrible thing and we are all lucky that nothing more came of it, but he is no more evil than me or anyone else on this train.

When I got home, I lit the candles.  I pulled out every scrap of paper and breathed calmly while I let my thoughts and prayers go out to the world as I read each hope and wish we had written.  When they were all safely back in the box, I added one for today:

I gently closed the box, blew out the candles, and climbed into bed.  I don't know if my prayers will have an effect, but I'd like to think they do.  This morning, looking at the box beside me, I feel at peace knowing that all my thoughts, worries, and wishes are tucked safely into it, having been sent out into the world.  There is nothing more I can do.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

3,000 Thoughts

I heard during some inane commercial tonight on the tv that people have approximately three thousand thoughts in one day.  I stopped chewing the frozen grape that I'd been methodically moving around my mouth for the past few minutes until it was a pile of mush.  I almost laughed.  Three thousand?  That's it?

We, us weird people with eating disorders, we either go wayyy over that "average" of three thousand or else we're just highly trained professionals at thinking multiple thoughts at one time.  I, for one, know that has been a constant internal dialogue that I honestly can't remember ever not having.  I can change a diaper with one hand and my eyes shut, but I can also do things like study for an organic chemistry test while adding up calories in the margins of my notebook, or read Winnie the Pooh to a four-year-old while frantically calculating how many minutes are ticking by before it's too late for me to throw up whatever it was I last ate, or carry on a perfectly normal conversation with someone while scrutinizing how much they weigh and what size clothes they wear so I can assure myself that I am always, always bigger.

It's generally a bad sign if I talk about having watched television, by the way.  I watch tv when I'm numbing myself out.  Purging is also an extremely effective way of numbing onself out, if one so chooses.  In combination, they are the perfect storm of background noise and serve to cease all thought, for once, ohgodplease just let me stop thinking all of these things.  Please.

I know what purging does to my body.  I know that it's bad for my esophagus, my stomach, my teeth, and especially, my heart.
I know what severe restriction does to my body too.  I know that it's why I've stopped getting my period and why I'm covered in bruises all the time.
I know that in combination, the two things are the reason I'm underweight and unhealthy.
But knowing those things doesn't make it real.
Knowing my ribs are sticking out doesn't make me feel any less fat.
Knowing my hip bones hurt because I keep hitting them on things doesn't make my ass or stomach look any smaller.
Knowing that people love me for who I am doesn't make me love me for what I'm not - small enough.

Three thousand thoughts?  Bullshit.
Here's a thought for you (in case you haven't hit your 3,000 quota yet) - if you've ever, in the back of your head, or even out loud, wondered why people like us "do this to ourselves," I would tell you this:
I don't want to be doing this.
I don't want to be kneeling over the toilet bowl for the tenth time in one day.
I don't want to feel vomit splashing back and hitting me in the face.
I don't want to feel like I have two options in life: either eat nothing, or throw up whatever goes in.

And I sure as fuck don't want to be sitting on the cold wood floor in front of my scale every morning, rocking back and forth in my underwear, crying because it's never, ever good enough.

Curbside Gathering

I'm managing to slowly clear away the debris that the hurricane that swept the apartment left in its wake.  I've put a Craigslist ad up for the dining room table and chairs that weren't being used for anything other than as a massive dumping ground for junk (Mounds of plastic bags, bills we didn't want to look at, old catalogs, extra bags of dog and/or cat food, and overdue library books are just a few examples.).  The very last thing we did at that table was eat, and the chairs were only put into use as hangers for wet laundry when our clothesline and drying rack were full.  So, as you can see, it was time to get rid of them.  Now I just need someone to actually buy them...

Anyway, I've moved the table and chairs into the bedroom until they're sold and I've recreated the corner - it's now my own personal book nook!  The "missing" chair I mentioned the other day turned out to not be - er - missing, exactly.  It happened to be in the hallway.  In my defense, I thought the giant box belonged to the couple that is moving into another apartment on my floor.  It took my non-English speaking super pointing angrily at the box and then gesturing wildly in the direction of me and my apartment for me to realize that the box was, in fact, mine. *headdesk*

Several minutes with a pair of scissors, a few garbage bags, and several curse words later, the chair and ottoman were unpacked and - this is the truth - it is the most comfortable chair I've ever sat in.  You can see it here.  When I sit in it, I feel like I'm sitting in a womb - warm, cozy, and enveloped in soft, fleecy, cushiony loveliness (I sure hope, for my future babies' sake that this is what a womb feels like).  It is so comfortable that I fell asleep in it the other morning for a couple of hours after I woke up at 2:30 AM.  Chair completed, the next step in creating the book nook was to acquire a bookcase.  I despaired of getting one soon, knowing it would take weeks for my father to build one, let alone get it 400 miles across New York state.  Now that I'm on a very strict budget as well, I further despaired over finding one I liked for an affordable price.  And then, the universe cut me a freaking awesome break. 

Because this morning, when I took Rupert out for his morning walk at 6:30, I stopped short fifty feet from my apartment.  There it was, my bookcase, calmly sitting on the curb waiting for the trash pickup.  I rushed Rupert through his bathroom routine, ran up the three flights of stairs, poured his breakfast in a rush, and stomped back downstairs and out the door.  I'll be damned if I was letting MY BOOKCASE go either to anyone else, or worse, the trash.  It was lovely.  It's about five feet long and three feet high, with thick, heavy outer boards and thinner shelf boards with an open back.  Excitedly, I hefted it onto my shoulder.  It didn't move.  Uh oh.  This was going to be harder than I thought.  Ten minutes later, I had reached my front door with it (fifty feet, remember?) while the line of homeless people waiting for the soup kitchen across the street to open watched interestedly.  I then spent another six or seven minutes navigating the bookcase through the obnoxiously heavy and too close together double door entrance to my building, politely turning down help from a passing mail carrier.  I'm sure I looked a sight: bright turquoise pajama shirt, flaming yellow sweatpants that say PINK on the butt, hair sweaty and hanging in my face, cheeks bright and eyes slightly maniacal with excitement.  Then came the fun part.  Okay, Cait, I thought, It's only three flights.  No problem.  Just in case you're wondering, the first flight has eighteen steps.  The second has sixteen.  The third also has sixteen.  Something about thunking a seventy pound bookcase up those flights kinda burns the numbers into your head.  Finally, I got it into the apartment, sanded a rough spot, cleaned it thoroughly, and set it up against the wall before gleefully calling my mom to tell her of my find (it's a good thing she wakes up early is all I'm saying).

It holds all the books that needed homes and get this - there's room for more.  There's even room for a certain someone to nestle into.  He seems to think that one cubby of this case was designed especially for him, which, of course, it was.
Here's the bookcase in all its glory (it kills me that this is blurry but I'm too lazy to try again):
Now, it's not a finished product.  I'm envisioning a colorful runner for the top, a different lamp, and some framed pictures (our apartment holds precious few and with this fancy new camera of mine, I'm determined to take some frame-worthy shots).  Decorating tips and ideas are always greatly appreciated!

Right now, I'm basking in the comfort of my new chair, admiring all my favorite books close at hand, and being grateful for the slow clearing of my home.  Wednesday, you've done well so far.  Let's keep it up, shall we?