26 October 2008

The post where JellyBelly tries to find humour in the situation

I've had more than my fair share of things to complain about this week. Not only is my teaching partner driving me crazy, but we have been without heat for five days and we were without hot water for four. Mr. JB and I have been on the phone with our service provider, D.irect E.nergy, constantly. I think we've logged over 20 phone calls since our saga started.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a musty smell in the basement. We are very lucky to live in a fairly new home that has a very dry basement so I was instantly suspicious. We did some investigating and found a leak in one of the pipes in the ceiling. My dad came right away and fixed the problem (thank God for handy dads!). Unfortunately the leak was only abated for a couple of days and we ended up having to call D.irect E.nergy since the problem was just getting worse.

We thought that we were lucky when the technicians were dispatched the next day to speedily fix the pipes in the ceiling (at a cost of $400) and replace the hot water tank. Then four days later we heard horrible noises. I thought that it was the construction on the road in front of our house (the main road is being torn up to install sewers for two new developments in our neighbourhood), but it was past 8pm and there were no construction guys outside. Needless to say we got on the phone again with D.E. and more technicians were dispatched. This time the guy told us that the first installers did a poor job and that the new unit was ruined and that we needed another hot water tank. The tech was at our house until past midnight trying to patch up the faulty work, but he was unable to get the system working again.

This was last Thursday night and it was over 24 hours that we didn't have hot water or heat. After much complaining and yelling over the phone we were offered $120 a night to stay in a hotel, but we decided to tough it out and shower at my best friend's house (who lives around the corner) and bundle up. We were promised that someone would be at our house first thing Saturday morning so we decided to stay at our cold house since we would've had to leave the hotel so early in the morning.

Well, 8am became 4pm and I was absolutely livid by the time the technicians showed up. It wasn't until 2pm when Mr. JB called the customer service people that we found out that our hot water tank wasn't even at their warehouse. In the age of cell phones no one could've phoned us so we could've gone about our day? I could've gone to the laundry mat or the grocery store, but I was essentially held hostage in my home while I waited for people to show up at my house.

Unfortunately, the story doesn't end with the second new hot water tank. We do have hot water, but we don't have heat. We have a compound system and our furnace and hot water tank are connected, so there was a problem with the installation. We had a technician from the E.nbridge come to check our thermostat and he said that there is nothing mechanically wrong with our furnace.

So here we are, freezing in our house. I cannot believe how poorly we have been treated by the powers that be. We're good customers. I've never paid a bill late and we own a well-maintained home. I feel as though this large company just doesn't care about their customers. Although we were offered to stay at the hotel, they didn't offer to compensate us for eating out (I refused to boil water so I could do dishes when it was their mistake!).

I was so upset at the injustice I e-mailed various media agencies, the ombudsman at E.nbridge and the Better Business Bureau. I don't know what will come of it, but it got someone from the Executive Office interested. Last night when we were waiting for our hot water tank to fill up the Director of Planning and Logistics called us and he wants to meet with us to discuss compensation. I'll let you all know what comes of that meeting.

I have to wonder how many good customers have been treated with such incompetence. As I sit in my house that is 18C I can't help but feel so angry at a system where monopolies control essential services. It's not like I can seek another service provider for my house. If I refuse to pay for their work I'll get in trouble.

I really hate feeling like I'm banging my head against a brick wall.

On a happier note: we attended the baptism of my cousin and his wife's new daughter. They went through many years of IVF to conceive their first daughter and we found out last June that they had adopted a toddler who was in foster care. We met her for the first time today at the church and we fell instantly in love. She's a beautiful little girl and it is so obvious that their family is just over the moon. I don't know if I'm quite ready to look into adoption, but seeing their new little girl's happy face made me think that perhaps it's what we're meant to do.

So wish us luck. Hopefully we will have heat sometime before the first snowfall.

Now I'm going to eat some chocolate.

22 October 2008

Take three

This evening marks my third foray into jabbing myself in the stomach with needles. Mr. JB has just gone to the drug store (thank God it's open until midnight!) because our regular pharmacy gave him my prescription, but didn't sell him needles. Duh!

I've been really down since the cake-baking fiasco of this past weekend. My teaching partner is driving me absolutely crazy. Not only can she not speak French properly, she also lies through her teeth about how quiet and well-behaved her class is. She seems to forget that we share a wall and that I can hear EVERYTHING that is going on in her room. She had the audacity to say that her class is just good without any sort of help when we were at a meeting last week. I almost choked on my tea since the day before I heard her yelling at a student that she wasn't going to explain something to him because he needed to pay closer attention.

Yes gentle readers, she said that to a six year old.

In my class of 21 I have four kids that can't read at all and the majority are just beginning to read. She expects that all of her students function at a much higher level and she won't bend to their needs. Today my class sat in on some learning carpet activities (we use it for math reinforcement and letter recognition) after lunch. Although she took the much bigger classroom (it's one and a half my room!) there was barely any space since all of the kids had their lunches still out and there were coats and books on the floor.

I realize that I am moving a lot slower than my partner, but my students know the classroom routine. They know how to hang up their jackets, put away their lunches and snacks, and they are learning how to sit quietly and put up their hands. My class is also working on simple things like writing their names on their worksheets as well as the date. Whereas my teaching partner thinks that the students should already be writing paragraphs!

We are teaching grade one, yes?????

I keep on reminding myself that I should not get stressed out about what is going on in her classroom. I need to distance myself from the craziness that she is creating, but it is so hard for me to not feel horrible for the 22 kids in her care. I've started to tell her that my class just isn't as advanced as hers when she tries to push activities that are above grade level. I have also been telling her that my class is so bad behaved that I don't feel comfortable doing certain things that she wants to do.

My gym teacher and my librarian have both said that my class is better behaved, but I don't know if she has any idea that hers are just nuts. I really don't understand why someone would apply for a job when they don't like children. She has said numerous times that she hates teaching 6 year olds -- which makes no sense to me since the job posting said GRADE ONE FRENCH IMMERSION!!!!! Last time I checked grade one aged children were six.


I really hope that I don't strangle her before Christmas.

Mr. JB is almost home from the drug store. I'll keep you all posted.

Please send good needle vibes my way!

18 October 2008

JellyBelly bakes a (failed) cake

I've always enjoyed baking. Being allergic to both eggs and milk I've had to be a little creative and search for recipes that I can actually eat -- I didn't have chocolate cake until I was 20! I also am a little famous (mostly in my husband and my classrooms) for my vegan chocolate cupcakes. So I wasn't at all surprised that one of my friends asked me to bake her daughter's first birthday cake.

I'm also a bit of a procrastinator. I didn't try out the organic, sugar-free, gluten-free recipe until this morning, and I didn't really prepare in the event of a cake-disaster. And as Murphy's law would have it, I had a very bad first outing. I've never, ever had a cake fall apart on me in all my years of baking. Lucky for me, my kitchen has had very few casualties. I know that it's not the end of the world and that I had the time to bake a second cake (I also had enough of the very pricey ingredients).

I know that I shouldn't be resentful that my first cake fell apart when it came out of my new silicone cake pan. I also know that the only person that will be eating the cake is the birthday girl and perhaps some of the other little people that are invited to the party. Another friend is making the cake that will be consumed by the other guests, so I shouldn't be too worried about my cake.

Is this cake an allegory for my lack of baby-making ability?

In my non-babymaking life I'm pretty successful. I have a solid career, a wonderful husband and a nice home. I am surrounded by wonderful friends and a mostly sane family. The one thing that is not going my way is having a child of my own. My ideas of fairness and what should happen have been dashed too many times. Why do my friends with unstable relationships and poor finances find it so easy to pro-create? Why do my girlfriends just think about getting pregnant and a month later they are happily morning-sick?

Am I doomed to be envious my entire life? Am I supposed to just care for other people's children at school and bake cakes for birthday parties? Will I be the forever-childless woman in the room who seemingly can do whatever she wants, whenever she wants?

I don't want to be the one that my mommy friends envy because I don't have stretch marks and sleepless nights.

I have thought many, many times in the past few months that I would give all of it up: my love of shopping, my job, and maybe even yoga if I could just have one baby of my own. I'd give up the ability to sleep in and fancy meals out. I'd give up my perky little car for a mini-van. I'd give up vacations to exotic locales so I could stay home and bake cakes for my own little one.

I'd do it all in a second without looking back.

I just feel so sad that I feel like I'm never going to have a chance to do any of it.


6 October 2008

It's not easy being green

Green with envy, that is.

I was clearing off e-mails and I noticed a message from one of my friends from teachers' college. She's pregnant with her third baby.


I'm really happy for her, but after getting my period on Friday I have a serious case of the feel-me-sorries. I spent most of Saturday crying and in a total funk. Shoe shopping didn't even cheer me up!

Which brings me to another thing to rant about: it's really difficult to find cute and comfortable shoes that don't look like old lady orthopedic shoes! When I was teaching older students I could wear whatever shoes I wanted -- heels, pointy shoes, wedges, boots, you name it. Now that I'm teaching little kids and I never sit down I apparently have to ditch being fashionable.

Speaking of fashion, I've also found it really difficult to find work-appropriate clothing! Are there no clothes for thirty-somethings out there? All of the clothes that I saw at the mall were either too young or too old for me. I could either choose to wear trends that would look totally ridiculous on me, or buy clothes that my mother would wear. It looks like yet another fall of black and gray turtleneck sweaters for me!

Mr. JB and I took the day off today for an appointment with our NaproTechnology doctor and we also snuck in a visit to our Creighton Model practioner as well. Both of them reassured me that things look good and that I was being too hard on myself for not getting pregnant this cycle. I also had a lower than normal mucus score this past month which we're figuring is due to the stress of starting school again. I also forgot that it's going to take a couple of cycles with the HCG as well as the Low Dose Naltrexone to normalize all of my hormone levels. The good news is that this month was the first in years that I didn't have any brown bleeding at the start of my cycle. Yay!

Our doctor recommended that we continue with the HCG for two more cycles before we start on Clomid -- that is, if I don't get knocked up beforehand. She even gave me a requisition for Peak +17 bloodwork! I almost laughed since at this point I can't even imagine getting pregnant, but she's pretty confident that it's going to happen for us sometime. She also thinks that if we don't get pregnant in five to six cycles that she's going to recommend that I get a Laparoscopy, but we're going to wait to cross that bridge when we get to it.

So thanks to Duck and Shinejil who reminded me that it's like we're finally TTC for real now and that I shouldn't be so hard on myself.

Now I'm going to continue my search for cheap and interesting March Break vacations. It's a great way to get my mind off of being barren. Any tips out there fellow bloggers?

3 October 2008

I really don't like being barren

I've been laying low since the start of the school year for many reasons.

1) I've been so exhausted from chasing after 23 grade one students that I can barely see straight, let alone write blog posts.

2) I've been busy planning and adapting English worksheets for my class in the evenings.

3) I thought that perhaps just this once, I may have gotten pregnant.

For the first time since we started going to the Marguerite Bourgeoys Family Centre my body has finally stopped doing all the things that it wasn't supposed to. Since starting my HCG shots in August (which I bravely administered, despite my fear of needles), I had a normal seven day long period. I also didn't have any brown bleeding two months in a row. I ovulated on day 14 and had a luteal phase that lasted 14 days. We even made whoopy on the day that I ovulated.

I thought, naively, that we did all the right things.

Alas, yet again, I was wrong.

I was hoping that this month I would have good news to post. But yet again, I don't.

So all I have is the feel-me-sorries and an empty uterus. I'm not even happy that Mr. JB poured me a big glass of white wine.

I thought that I was used to the disappointment.

Apparently I'm not.