Monthly Archives: November 2008

So. Gmail.

So, I got a Gmail (or is it gMail?!) account.

Yes, I’m five years late on the trends. It’s just one of many endearing things about me.

Anyway, I felt that it would further reinforce my anonymity (my actual e-mail has my name in it — not so anonymous!), and Gmail sounds like it has all sorts of nifty features.

Like, apparently, a chat mechanism. Which will most assuredly put a damper on my already low productivity levels.

If I had people to chat with, that is.

Which I don’t.

So…chat with me! Friend me, follow me, do whatever-the-hell-catchphrase-gMail-uses to me.

I’m still learning the lingo, obviously.

I know there’s e-mail, and I do know how to work that, so you could certainly e-mail me.

secretlysupergirl@gmail.com

And hopefully someday people will invite me to chat with them, since I sure as heck don’t know how to.

Yours in gGoodness,

A Super Girl

P.S. — Happy Thanksgiving! Right now, somewhere in metro Detroit, there are 8 Nebraskans bringing the heat down on this fair town. And in just a few hours, I shall be meeting up with them for a little dinner, a little hockey, and then a lot of Thanksgiving goodness. Ah, family. Wishing all of you a lot of holiday cheer and hardly any indigestion!

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Filed under Uncategorized

A smattering of plusses and minuses

Not too much super going on in life lately. Not that life’s not great — it’s just run of the mill. So, I present my list of plusses — and minuses — of the holiday season.

  • PLUS: Detroit Tree Lighting. Held the Friday before Thanksgiving, I’ve been going since it started 4 years ago. In fact, it was at the inaugural tree lighting that I met DD. It was in passing, and he barely remembers it, but I like to think of it as my very own proof that fate exists. Or persistent friends. Who knows, really. This year’s tree lighting was filled with a pre-party at a friends, a trip to Campus Martius for the official lighting, and then trips to the new Michael Symon restaurant/bar, Roast, and a cap-off at Cliff Bell’s, my favorite little jazz club. Cliff Bell’s was shuttered for 20 years before it underwent major renovations in 2005. It is also home to my favorite bar, built with little jut-outs that seat 2 or 3 people around them. You know how bars are so hard to sit at with a group? Not at Cliff’s!!!
  • MINUS: DD’s holiday party got cancelled thanks to the slumping economy. I was really looking forward to it (even though last year it spurred a fight that nearly led to our break up), because it’s my only excuse to buy a cocktail dress and look snazzy. It was also going to be another excellent opportunity for a Super Outfit! blog entry. I thought it was a hopeless cause, until…
  • PLUS: Since they’d already booked the band, his company couldn’t cancel it, so they chose to keep the party and just make it more low-key (read: cheaper). Jeans instead of cocktail dresses. Kegs instead of open bars. I’m still unclear on whether significant others are invited, but it is a Friday night, and they were before, so one would assume. This means I will get to be comfortable (last year’s fight starter was my uncomfort level. I looked hot, but man was I not at all comfortable!), and it may still warrant a Super Outfit! entry. Just with cute tops instead of sexy cocktail dresses.
  • PLUS: Two weeks off. Starting Dec. 12. I’m semi-concerned at how quickly that will come and how much I need to get done at work before then (most of which probably won’t get done, but once it’s here… Thank. God.
  • PLUS: Family. My mom’s side of the family is coming on Wednesday for Thanksgiving. This is the third year they’ve come, and while it’s a ton of people descending on my apartment and my parents’s house, it’s always a fun time.
  • MINUS: Darkness. It’s only been in the last week that daylight savings has really hit me. The darkness is all around and it just makes me want to curl up and wake up in April.
  • PLUS: Presents. Giving presents is fun, except…
  • MINUS: Choosing presents. I feel like I’m so awful at figuring out what to get people. Which is why I end up waiting until the week before to go shopping, and why all of the bloggers who have finished (or even started!) their shopping making me just the teensiest bit jealous.

Overall, many more plusses than minuses. I’m hoping that another plus of the holiday season will be blog fodder, because I could really use something to talk about!

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Filed under Detroit, glass half full, list mania

Four letter word

Well, I got myself into a pickle this weekend. While watching a 20/20 interview with the dude who gave birth, I brought up a big ole’ 4 letter word with DD: Kids.

It’s not like we haven’t talked about it before. We’ve touched on it, mainly in regards to my kidney disease and transplant. When I originally told him about my health, I explained that my disease is genetic and has a 50/50 shot of being passed on with every pregnancy I have. I also explained that while I can have children with my transplant, I’m just not sure how I feel about it risk-wise. So he’s known about all of that, has been fine with it, is (I feel) open to adoption if I wanted to go that route, etc. etc.

But here’s the thing. Lately — as in the past couple years — I’ve been thinking about my stance on children in general. Growing up, I always knew I’d have kids, because that’s what you did. You dated, then came love, then came marriage, then came the babies in the baby carriage. It’s what that annoying song tells us, after all. It’s what my mom did. It’s what I knew, and therefore, it was the only path to take. 

As I’ve grown up and realized it’s much more complicated than that, and that I have many paths I could take, I’ve realized my interest in children has changed. I’m an only child. Aside from babysitting when I was younger, I have NO experience with kids. I’m also one of the most impatient people I know. And rather selfish. The idea of turning over my life for 18 years just doesn’t have me running to sign up for prenatal vitamins and Mommy and Me playgroups. On the other hand, everyone tells me the minute you hold your own child, all that changes.

On top of that, I don’t feel my biological clock ticking away. In fact, sometimes I even wonder if it’s on. I’m perfectly happy these days. Sure, I’m itching to get married, but not so I can have kids. I’m not itching to get pregnant. I just feel too damn young to be popping out kids at this point, and so it’s just not a part of my thought process.

Or maybe it’s because I just don’t see kids in my future.

That’s the problem: I just don’t know. Right now, I feel like I could go either way. It’s not a firm “no”, but it’s not like I feel a strong “yes” either.

And so I brought it up with DD, thinking he felt the same way I did. The conversation started out casually enough, with me asking how many kids he wanted. Truthfully, at the time, I wasn’t thinking about my indecision, I was merely asking a question. But then, I saw him get more and more excited about it.

And that’s when the OH SHIT feeling set in. You know, the oh shit…he’s way more into this than I am right now. Which led to: oh shit…what if we feel differently about this topic? Kind of a big thing when it comes to marriage — what if he decides he doesn’t want to be with me because I’m not sure if I want to have kids?!

Oh shit, indeed.

I still decided to express my uncertainty to him, which led to him getting frustrated and huffy (he does this when he’s not sure how to respond) and replied: Well. It’s not a dealbreaker if you can’t have children because of your health. But if you don’t want to have children, I guess I’d have to think about it.

Obviously, the shit hit the fan.

He got increasingly frustrated, asking me why I’d even brought it up when we’re nowhere near this point in our life. Which then snowballed to even more things I’ve been doing lately that have frustrated him, which left me in tears.

Eventually, I explained to him that maybe this kid nervousness was just all coming out of fear of what a pregnancy will do to my transplant (even though my doctor says I’d be just fine), how my child could be affected by my genes (which, honestly, I don’t think is really weighing on my mind), and my level of uncomfort with children in general due to my lack of experience with them (the real jackpot of the issue). He calmed down and we made up.

Regardless, I’m sure this whole thing is still in the back of his mind, and will be for some time. Having children is one of the major issues in a marriage, and before we decide that’s where we’re headed, we need to know each other’s feelings on the subject. But the conversation does leave me a little scared. I thought we were on the same, iffy page when it came to kids, but I see I was wrong. And that just leaves me afraid that I don’t want it as much as he does, and that that’s somehow bad.

Luckily, this whole thing doesn’t have to be sorted out just yet. We’re both still growing up and figuring out what we want in life, and what I think today could change in 3 years. I hope it does.

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Filed under crazy crazy, DD (aka My Man), decisions, Hmm, relationships, transplant

Mother knows best

Remember the time when my mom told me that if I ever, EVER live with someone of the opposite gender, that she would revoke any and all wedding-related financial assistance?

And remember how I wasn’t really concerned because DD wasn’t anywhere near the point of being ready to live with me? So much so, that when I brought it up in a fit of annoyance of the inconvenience of our living situation, saying it’d be so much more convenient to just live together; he took the opportunity to have a mild freak-out detailing over and over that he was NOT ready for that?

That was just a mere two months ago.

And it all changed this weekend.

While at brunch on Sunday, after quite a lovely evening at Town Tavern, which I’ve already waxed (un)poetically about, the subject of living together came up. I have no idea how, I couldn’t recreate the conversation for you if I spent two hours trying, but it boils down to him now being open to the idea. In fact, if I’m remembering correctly, he brought it up.

How exciting!

But he has a caveat: he’s still not ready for an engagement or marriage. He realizes this means that in reality, we can’t live together just yet thanks to my mom’s ultimatum. I appreciate him respecting my relationship with my family, and being equally smart about not rushing to kick future financial help to the curb.  

It leaves me a little sad, though. Because I’d really like to live with him. I’d see him more. I’d have someone else to cook for and buy groceries for. It has to be easier to cook for two than for one. There’d be someone to split bills with. To cuddle up with on a cold night. I’d get to stop packing bags and planning logistics for spending time together. In the words of my boss: Our underwear could live together.

And that would be so freakin’ awesome. And convenient.

I could decide that I don’t care about my relationship with my family, or the financial support it provides, and dive in. But, thanks to mom’s old school ways, I’ve been forced to take a step back and be more thoughtful in my decision. And you know what? She’s right. It’s hard to eek those words out, but it’s true.

Why in the hell would I combine my life with someone who isn’t sure where this is going? Sure, he knows it’s going somewhere, but right now, it’s a 60/40 chance we’ll walk down the aisle. The odds increase every day and I’m pretty confident we’ll get there someday, but until I’m 100% confident, why take the chance? Living together would mean finding a new place for both of us to live and combining some assets. It would mean making decisions about stuff and furniture (because we both have apartments full of it) and storing or selling things off. Why would I do that unless I knew for sure this was going to last? I know for some people it works, but after thinking about it, it really is a chance I’m not prepared to take.

Don’t get me wrong; three months ago, I thought my mother was crazy and old-fashioned. Who cared if the chances were 60/40 we’d work out? I felt confident it would happen, and whether that was in a year or 10 years, who cared?

Then, my friend and her boyfriend broke up. They’d been dating for probably 5 years and living together for 2 or 3. I would have put their chances of getting married at 90/10.

But it ended. And it was ugly. It was basically a divorce without the paperwork. They had to split stuff up, including custody of a dog. She had to say goodbye to his child from a previous relationship. She had to find a place to live in a matter of days. Not to mention dealing with the emotional baggage of losing a love.

Now, she’s on my mom’s side. Telling me that it was a huge mistake and she did it for the wrong reasons — like convenience. That pesky convenience that I long for. But, just like my mom, she’s right.

So, as much as I want to just chuck it all and move in with the man I love, I’m painfully exercising my self-control and refraining. Holding my ground and telling him that I need more of a commitment than just an “I Love You.” Luckily, he gets it so there’s no pressure to cave.

Instead, there’s just a blue overnight bag and an endless logistical plan.

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The word of the day is bailout

It’s a depressing time to be a Michigander.

It’s an even more depressing time to be a Detroiter.

Our illustrious former mayor went down in a blaze of sex scandal glory and is now sitting in a jail cell while the former city council president serves as interim mayor until a special election is held in which no less than 14 candidates are planning to run.

If it was just that, it’d be cool. We’d be a laughing stock, but we’re used to that ’round these parts.

But, as you probably know, our main industry is going down in a blaze of pray-for-a-bailout glory. So that adds a much more depressing note to the life and times of an ordinary Detroiter.

A couple weeks ago, the Big Three auto execs headed to D.C. to advocate (read: beg) for government help. To the tune of $25 billion to help them avoid crumbling under their financial obligations until the economy rights itself and they can get sales back on track. Before all that happened, GM and Chrysler were in talks to merge, which would cost a direct loss of around 40,000 jobs. That figure jumps into the hundreds of thousands when you start looking at the collateral damage of 2 automakers instead of 3.

The country’s been focused on a swiftly declining economy for the past few months. But in Michigan? It’s been years of this. Unemployment in Michigan has been at an all-time high for as many recent years as I can remember. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I sat in true “rush hour” traffic during my commute, which is a testament to the number of people who are no longer working/jamming up our expressways.

The word “layoff” is a normal part of our vocabulary. It has enveloped us in a cloak of fear, but it’s a cloak we’ve sadly gotten used to and the stress and the fear have just become a normal part of our daily lives. Those that couldn’t keep up have just up and left their homes and families, hoping for a better future in another state. This of course hasn’t helped our other big problem: foreclosure rates. It’s a buyer’s market in Metro Detroit these days, but no one wants to buy because we’re all afraid we might lose our jobs and have to turn around and move as well. Who wants to take the chance on buying a house under conditions like this? 

So now, Detroit’s only industry, the one that fuels all the other business in this town, has finally learned the word of the day: bailout. They’re on the brink and if they don’t get help, the guy on the line will lose his job. Then the supplier that supplies the parts to the auto company will lose her job. Then the accountant (a.k.a. DD) that audits the supplier that supplys parts to the auto company will lose his job. Then people will stop giving money to important causes like my nonprofit, and I’ll lose my job.

There’s a part of me that wants to scream at these companies and their requests for bailouts. Don’t they get that if the government bails them out, it can’t do equally important things, like improve healthcare or education? But in the same breath, I know the companies can’t do it on their own anymore, and that by helping them, the government is really helping me and my family stay above water.

And to top it all off, the City of Detroit is also jumping on the bandwagon, asking the state and federal government for a $10 billion bailout to help it get out of the hole that it’s dug over the past few years, most recently under the texting sex-master former mayor. I have no effing clue what that $10 billion would go toward, but it’s just one more cry for help.

It all kind of makes me want to crawl under my covers and start wearing earmuffs to muffle out all the cries. Denial is an excellent coping mechanism, after all.

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Filed under Detroit, glass half empty, rambling nature

Unexpected

If you haven’t checked out my Tweets today, I’ve got some good news to share.

I got promoted!

The funny thing is, it was completely unexpected. Sure, it’s something I’ve been wanting for years, and my boss knew I wanted it, but she’d made it pretty clear it was nowhere in sight.

Then yesterday, as I was going about yet another average day, she pulled me aside before a staff meeting and told me the good news. Literally pulled me into a hallway to tell me. No formality to mark the occasion. Told me the specifics, congratulated me, and got on with it.

While I stood there with my mouth gaping open.

Not how I thought my first promotion would occur, but still, very exciting. But maybe the unexpected nature is why it doesn’t feel like it’s as big of a deal as it should be. My friend told me I didn’t seem very excited considering how long I’ve wanted this. He’s right, I’m not jumping off the walls and buying rounds of shots for all my friends, but I am blushing every time someone brings it up. I am (figuratively) petting the new title.

And I am excitedly looking forward to the new paycheck. Though that’s another interesting aspect of this whole thing. My new paycheck will by no means skyrocket me to Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, but it will give me a little extra money to expand my monthly budget. The biggest thing I’m thinking about right now is moving out of my little suburban ghetto apartment and into something a little less likely to be condemned in the next 5 years. 

However, the paycheck also makes me concerned about my precarious prescription situation. I take two very expensive drugs due to my kidney transplant. They aren’t covered by my employer, but because of my (former) income level, I was able to (barely) qualify for patient assistance and get the drugs for free through the companies that make them. 

Now, I will not qualify. Which means I’ll have to approach my employer. When I’ve inquired in the past, they were willing to cover the drugs — if I paid 20 percent of the cost. Which would end up being a couple hundred bucks a month. Who knows if that’d still be the case or if they’d want me to pay more. Or if they’d even cover them. Times are harder than they were 2 years ago. 

Either way, having to pay full price or a copay on these drugs would eat up all of the raise, and potentially more. So, sadly, the question of moving or doing something equally money-sucking, now gets entangled with this stuff. 

So while the promotion is exciting, part of my mind is consumed with figuring out the best way to handle this. I really don’t want to bring this up with my employer until I have to due to privacy and all of that. I really don’t like showing them how much my healthcare costs. I have to reapply for one of the assistance programs next month, so I guess I’ll find out then if I can still qualify. If I can’t, I’ll have to see what my employer can do and what it’s going to cost me. And then I guess I can make a decision about moving. I’m just antsy to move forward.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled overall and this is just a tiny aspect of the grander picture.

But, God. I hope our new President-Elect fulfills his promises and makes some improvements to our healthcare system.

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Filed under career, decisions, glass half full, transplant

It is worth it: Just another election blog

I won’t even mention who I voted for. If you follow my tweets, you’ll know.

Instead, I wanted to talk a bit about the act of voting. Because over the course of the day, I encountered several people that didn’t believe their vote mattered.

It started this morning as I was standing in the hour-long line to vote. I was perky even though it was early and I’m the quintessential anti-morning person. The people around me were friendly and patient and that’s what I always love about election day — it’s a chance to see your neighbors (or my parent’s neighbors as the case may be), and really participate in a local community event.

So, there I was, chatting with the woman in front of me when another lady walked up to vote. My polling location has two precincts attached to it and she didn’t know which she belonged to. She had just moved, and was asking for help. Come to find out, she was at the wrong polling location. She turned away from the election volunteers and said to no one in particular: “F*ck it, I’m not going to vote. It’s not worth it.” And walked away.

The woman I was talking to said Yes it is! and I nodded my head in agreement. It saddened me that this person was probably only a few miles away from her actual polling location, but didn’t see the worth in casting her vote.

The second interaction was with some coworkers, one of whom hadn’t voted yet. He made the comment that he wasn’t going to wait hours and hours to vote — that it wasn’t worth it. Presumably, he’d wait for a short time, but would draw the line somewhere once he assessed his polling location this evening.

Finally, there have been several blogs and other random conversations throughout the day about the idea that our individual votes don’t really matter because of our pesky electoral college.

Which I get.

But I don’t think that’s the only point in voting. Sure, the main point is electing someone or something, but the other, and argueably equally important point, is simply participating in the act of voting. 

Participating in the act counts, even if your choice maybe doesn’t “count” as much because of our election process.

Voting allows each of us to stand up and say that we support something. It’s about our right to get involved in government and have a say. No matter how minor that say is, it’s about the act. The right.

Our soldiers risk their lives to defend freedoms like voting. Not just the process we use to elect our representativs — but the act and the idea of voting. And this isn’t about our current controversial war, any elementary school History textbook will tell you that’s what our country and our military was founded on.

Then there’s the reality that not everyone is allowed to participate in the act of voting. On the other side of the world, people aren’t allowed to vote. They can’t stand up and say “I support X” without fear of persecution or death.

So, I just don’t get the people I encountered today saying their vote isn’t worth it. Even if they believe that because of the election process, they should at least see that the act matters. It’s part of a freedom that we take for granted.

I’ll even include myself in that group. I’m guilty of not voting in every election. While I vote for the major stuff, I usually skip the local elections and primaries. Part of it is because I vote in a city where I’m now only a resident because of my driver’s license, therefore a lot of the local choices don’t impact me; and part of it is my general laziness.

I’ve always known I should do better, but my excuses kept me warm at night. But, I want to make a commitment to be better about not taking for granted the act of filling in that circle or pulling that lever.

And I hope you don’t take it for granted, either.

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Filed under decisions, Hmm