Category Archives: Married Life

The Evolution Of (Our) Cars

First, there was Mr. T. My first car. A beat up, rusted out old ’82 Dautsun Maxima, with an inoperable rear door, a horn that sounded like a Smurf being squished by Gargamel, and a sun roof that I kept open most days of the year.

Mr. T

I loved that car. I have so many fond memories of driving up and down the beaches of South Carolina with my girlfriends, sun roof open, music blaring through the open windows. I drove that car till the exhaust system rusted out of the bottom. I remember driving up the hill to my apartment after work one day and hearing a decidedly sinister “Screeeeee” followed by an even more deadly “THWAAMP.” As I coasted into my parking spot, I looked in the rear view to see a large chuck of rusted metal that used to be attached to the belly of my Maxima.

It was the day Mr. T died.

About a month later, Brian and I moved into our first apartment together. We went another three months with no car to speak of. Finally, in the throes of a winter snow storm, we bought our next car–a burgandy 1997 Buick Skylark. It had a giant crack that spanned the entire width of the windshield, a sagging interior fabric that we eventually ripped out, and a heating/AC unit that didn’t work. But the engine was good, so we bought it from a friend for $600.

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Click for Source

As much as I had adored Mr. T, I absolutely hated this car. It was long and low to the ground, and had terrible visibility. More than once, I drove it up over a curb, or onto the textured pavement at the edge of the median, teeth rattling. It got us from school and work to home again, and allowed us some freedom in our little college town. And eventually, the monstrosity drove us the 300 miles from Boone to Charleston.

We sweltered through our first summer here, with no AC and black interior. We drove that car to the beach house in September of 2004, where we said our vows with our toes in the sand. And on the day we loaded it back up to drive back home, it died a not-so-quiet death, right there in the Red and White Grocery Store’s parking lot.

A few days later, we drove home in our used-but-new-to-us 2002 Chevy Malibu.

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Now THIS car…this one, I liked. It had great acceleration, a decent sound system, and best of all, air conditioning.

I was not, however, a fan of the baby poop brown color of the interior. I wasn’t too keen on the beige paint color, either.

Our bliss was plain on our not-red-from-being-overheated faces. Brian would come in from work beaming from ear to ear. “Look, honey, my shirt isn’t soaked from sweat!” Oh, how we praised that Malibu and her sweet, frigid air.

It lasted less than a year before she took that gift away from us. And so, off to the dealership we went, driving our steamy-hot Malibu with us. Our objective had been to get the AC fixed, until we were told it would cost more to repair it than the car was worth.

Several hours of nerves and anxiety sitting in the sticky naugahyde chairs of the car salesman’s office, and finally, they gave us the keys to our shiny new 2005 Pontiac Vibe. It had less than 30,000 miles on it, and if you breathed in really hard, you could still ALMOST smell that new car smell.

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What a vehicle. Roomy, comfortable, great gas mileage, all in an adorable little package. And yet, we were still a one-car family. My job, and our income, didn’t have enough wiggle room to include a secondary vehicle. And so, yet again, we drove off the lot in a used vehicle that we hoped would last.

And it has. We’ve driven this car up and down the Eastern seaboard, from the theme parks of Orlando to the mountains of Tennessee. We’ve loved it the whole way. And not too long ago, we actually put the 200,000th mile on our beloved Vibe.

Still, I yearned for the freedom I had when I drove Mr. T–the freedom to drive to the beach on a whim, the wind in my hair, the rust raining down into my hair.

This past weekend, we finally made those two-car-family dreams come true. Brian drove home a gorgeous, BRAND new, 2014 Chevy Cruze, in dark metallic blue. And guess what?

Cruze

It has a sun roof.

Life has a funny way of coming full circle. Sometimes it just takes 15 years or so.

The Over-Achieving Wife Strikes Again

You watched yesterday’s princess birthday extravaganza, right? (If not, you can see it here.)

Well, today is Brian’s birthday, and I couldn’t let him go un-celebrated. Especially after celebrating my goddaughter’s birthday with such flair yesterday.

And so, without further ado…here is Brian’s Annual Happy Birthday video, done my way.

Happy Birthday SUPERBrian!!!!

Recalculating…

About three months ago, I was as close to rock bottom as I’ve ever been. It took every ounce of energy to drag myself out of bed in the mornings. My idea of the perfect day was to stay in stretchy pants, veg out in front of the television, and just exist until it was time to crawl back into bed. (I wrote about it in an emotional post titled “Here’s The Truth.”) I was crying in the shower, in the car, in the office. I was crying while cooking supper, while folding laundry, while writing in my journal. I cried into my pillow, into the warm belly fur of reluctant kitties, into my pillow.

I was depressed.

One night, sometime in August, I verbalized my pain to Brian. Of course, he already knew. He’d been witnessing it all first hand. I’d been avoiding my friends and family for a couple of weeks, and he was right beside me during stretchy pants time. But I needed to find my soft place to land in him, confess my darkest fears and private feelings, talk it out with my best friend and confidant. Curled up on the bed beside him in the dark, my head in my hands, I poured out my heart.

He listened, comforting me through the hardest confessions, wiping away my tears, shedding a few of his own. And when I was finished, he looked at me in that way he has–like he can see into the depths of my soul. “When was the last time you did something that truly made you happy?” I pondered, going over the last few weeks in my brain. After several moments of silence, Brian smiled sadly and said, “It shouldn’t be that hard.”

“You’re right,” I whispered. “But what do I do?”

“You need to rejoin your life. We’ll always be sad about not being able to have a baby. Now we have to learn to live with that grief and still have a fulfilling life.”

I tucked his words into my heart like a precious jewel, and over the next few days, I cleaned myself up, dusted myself off, and tried to re-inject myself into life. Lunch with a friend, an afternoon shopping trip with another, a long telephone conversation with yet another. I opened the blinds and let the sunshine spill back in. Even though it hurt, I allowed myself to smile. And eventually, after some time, the laughter followed.

I wasn’t ‘happy’ again, but I was trying to be happy. And that was a mega-huge step in the right direction.

Infertility 1

♥     ♥     ♥     ♥     ♥

It’s November 12, nearly halfway through Nanowrimo, and I’ve never felt less inspired. My desk is littered with post-it notes filled with To-Do lists. My phone dings relentlessly with emails that need to be answered, reminders for upcoming events or meetings, private messages that require my attention. I feel like there are a hundred bees buzzing in my brain, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t turn off the noise.

My frustration reached a boiling point, and once again, I found myself turning to my husband for advice. I fussed about problems that aren’t mine to fix, whined about my lackluster word count, bemoaned my missing creativity. “I just don’t feel like a writer anymore,” I said. “I just don’t have the time or the inclination to do it.”

“If you didn’t have the inclination to write, you wouldn’t worry so when you aren’t writing,” he said. “It’s the time you don’t have.”

I sighed. “I know I’ve been really busy lately. I’m sorry.”

He looked at me in that way he has–like he can see into the depths of my soul. “When was the last time you did something that truly made you happy?”

This time I didn’t hesitate. I rattled off five or six things with relative ease.

“Let me rephrase,” he said. “When was the last time you did something JUST FOR YOU? Something that made you giddy inside? Just for Abby. No one else.”

I shut my mouth and, yet again, could offer no answer.

“You’re stretched too thin. Too many irons in the fire,” he said. “What are some things that brought you joy before?”

“My blog. Writing my book. Chasing my dream of being published.” The answers rolled off my tongue without much thought.

“So you need to get back to that, then. Start writing every day again. Pull out that list of agents and dust it off. Get back on the horse. I know you can do it. You just have to make time for it. Make it a priority again, like you did earlier this year.”

I heard his words and knew he was right. But in that moment, I realized what I’d been doing. In an attempt to learn to live with the grief of infertility, I’d been filling my life with things to keep my mind as busy as possible so I wouldn’t think about the things that had led me to my two-week long stretchy pants sabbatical.

I tucked his words into my heart where all his other bits of wisdom live. I let myself cry a little, to feel the sadness that is always lingering but that I hadn’t allowed myself to access in weeks.

The journey of mourning isn’t an easy one. We are learning in the process which avenues work and which ones don’t. We are making detours and getting stuck in emotional traffic and occasionally, taking a totally wrong turn and winding up in the wrong part of town. But the one thing I know for sure about all of this?

Brian is the most reliable GPS on the market.

Infertility 2

Three-Hundred and Sixty Five Days (Times Three)

Three years ago on this date, I was given a gift so profound that it changed my life. It taught me gratitude, patience, appreciation, and how to find my own grace under pressure. It was the kind of gift I never imagined I’d be asking for in my 30s, but one I went down on my knees to beg for behind closed doors.

That gift was my husband’s life.

After over a year of illness, a misdiagnosis that was almost catastrophic, and a three week period of waiting, Brian went under the knife to remove a life-threatening tumor from his colon: a tumor that was the size of a grapefruit. It had slowly been draining the life out of him, denying him the right to eat, withering him down to 120 pounds. Weak, sick, exhausted, we finally went for a third opinion and found the cancer that had been killing him. He was 30 years old. We were terrified.

It’s become a tradition of mine to remember that day here on AbbyGabs by sharing the post I wrote to celebrate Brian’s first year cancer free. It’s one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written, but it felt important to me to preserve those moments somehow, so I could look back on them one day when they begin to go fuzzy in my mind.

It’s three years later. We have moved on with our lives. The “C” word is rarely spoken in our home. We laugh all the time, we eat too much, and we enjoy the life we’ve built together. And it all hinged on the outcome of October 25, 2010. Here is our story.

The alarm clock blares into the darkness. It is 4:15 a.m. We wake in the same position in which we fell asleep: flat on our backs, staring at the ceiling, our hands still clutched together between us. It brought enough comfort in the night to allow us to sleep, even for a few short hours.

My husband gets up without a word. The shower and the antimicrobial surgical soap are waiting.

I make the bed, wake his Aunt Tina, start the coffee maker. I debate for 5 solid minutes over whether I should lay out his clothes for him. I decide to do it. This isn’t a normal day, so why should I act like it is?

Dressed and completely awake, we decide to get an early start to the hospital. The interstate is deserted. I’m unused to driving in the dark, and the empty highway startles me. Our headlights slice through the pitch black, and only road signs greet us along our asphalt path. For twenty minutes, we are silent. The radio plays quietly in the background. Tina asks me a question, I answer it. Brian sits in the seat next to me, hands folded in his lap. He tries to appear calm, but I can see the nerves dancing under his skin.

As we pull into the parking lot the sky just begins to turn pink. Morning has officially arrived. We gather our belongings–bags and afghans and books and sweaters. Changes of clothing. Warm socks. We trek to the sliding glass doors, a small caravan of modern day nomads.

The fluorescent lights are much too bright. I feel like I want sunglasses. Tina takes our stuff and makes a beeline for the waiting room “to get us comfy seats near the coffee maker.” I smile. Brian and I head the other direction. I stare at the dark blue veins under the skin of his hand as he signs his name and hands over his driver’s license. I rub my fingers down his back. He smiles weakly.

We sit. We wait. It feels like days, but it’s only minutes. He plays Angry Birds. Tina and I make small talk. I want to stand up, pace, fidget. Finally, they call his name. We walk back to finish the paperwork. I could let him go alone, but I can’t abide it. So I squeeze in to the little cubicle with him. I listen as he answers the same 25 questions he’s been asked so frequently these last few weeks. He jokes with the nurse who taps away on the keys of her computer. We sign where we’re told to sign.

They send us to another office. Here we go over how the surgery will happen. What the doctors will do. What we can expect. This nurse has less information for us than she likes. She keeps looking as his file, glancing at her computer monitor, swishing her mouse in search of more facts.

“Did the surgeons tell you what recovery was going to be like?” she asks gently.

No. We don’t know what to expect because they won’t know how bad it is, and they won’t until they open up my husband’s abdomen.

She nods once, plasters a smile on her face, and continues to walk us through the surgery plans she’s aware of.

At this point we are separated. They take him back to prep him. I can’t go. It’s the first time we’ve been separated since the cytoscopy. I feel the panic start to creep up and I stamp it down quickly. No time for that now. He kisses me, squeezes my hand, and disappears through the thick wooden doors.

Thirty five minutes later my parents arrive. Dad hugs me, Mom squeezes my arm. I tell them all that has happened. They ask if they will get to see him before the surgeons take him to the OR. I say yes, we should get to go back any minute. Moments later they come for me. We pick up our bags and afghans and books and sweaters and head to his room.

Brian lays on the gurney in his blue cotton gown. It looks so thin, I immediately want to ask for a blanket. He has a shower cap on his head, and blue booties on his feet. He’s already got an IV in each arm. His skin looks grey in the too-bright lights.

Mom goes over to him immediately and smooths back his hair. “How ya feelin’, kiddo?” she asks. She’s been so strong throughout this whole ordeal. My heart swells. Dad and Tina talk about everything but why we’re here. The C-word hasn’t been used once today. We’re denying its existence even as we are trying to eradicate it from my husband’s body.

One of Brian’s surgeons knocks and comes into the room. He is young and handsome and calm and kind. Brian and I share a secret smile–he’s known in our house as Dr. Superman. I can feel Brian’s nerves begin to settle as Dr. Superman walks us once again through the procedure. He reaches out a hand to me when he mentions how unsure they are of the outcome. “We won’t know how much the tumor has spread until we’re able to get a good look at it. It could be attached to his colon. It could be on his bladder. If it has infiltrated the wall of his bladder we will have to remove it. I don’t think that will happen, but you need to be prepared for that.” He gives my hand a squeeze. My heart is in my throat.

The activity in the room increases. There’s no room for us in there anymore as nurses and doctors hover over my husband. We’re allowed to kiss him goodbye. I lean over him and we lock eyes. A tear escapes even as I swallow a sob. “I love you to the moon and back,” we say. And we’re ushered back to the waiting room.

I can’t stand it. I can’t sit there and wait. So I leave Tina and my parents and I head to the financial aid office. I spend an hour asking questions, filling out paperwork, discussing our options with a social worker. I get a sense of calm knowing I’ve accomplished something. When there’s nothing left to do I go back to the waiting room.

I keep waiting for the phone at the nurse’s station to ring. It doesn’t. Why aren’t they calling? Shouldn’t they call for an update? It’s been nearly 2 hours and I’m beginning to worry. I’m contemplating getting up and asking the volunteer about it as Dr. Superman rounds the corner in his scrubs. He looks grim. My heart begins pounding so loudly I can’t hear anything else. He asks to speak to us in a private room. Episodes of ER and Grey’s Anatomy flash into my mind. The private rooms are bad. They only take you to the private rooms for bad news. My knees buckle. Someone steers me by the arm.

Dr. Superman turns the knob on the private room’s door and it is locked. “Well, I don’t have a key,” he says. “And I don’t want to keep you in the dark anymore. The surgery was a success. We got the entire tumor.”

I don’t realize I’m holding my breath until it all comes out at once. The tears that have been living behind my eyes for 3 weeks come out in a flood. My Dad is smiling, my Mom is crying, and Tina has a look of relief on her face I didn’t anticipate. She never looked worried for a second before this moment. Now I realize she’s been holding me up for days.

I hear only bits of everything else Dr. Superman says. The tumor was larger than they expected. His surgical scar will be about 10 inches long. The tumor was the size of a Nerf football and was only attached by a fiber to his colon.  Brian is going to be fine. He won’t even have to endure chemotherapy. Dr. Superman gathers me into a hug and his reputation as a superhero is solidified.

We flutter back into the waiting room like so many birds. We are light on our feet, there’s a song in our hearts. We each grab for a cell phone and begin the process of spreading the good news. I call Brian’s Dad first. Then my brother. Then Brian’s boss. I email and Facebook and text message. I could literally dance a jig in the middle of the hospital.

We’re told Brian is on his way from recovery to his room on the top floor. We grab our bags and afghans and books and sweaters and head for the elevator. We beat him up there. We stand in the hallway, afraid to occupy a room this isn’t rightfully ours yet. The nurses see our posse and begin rounding up chairs. It’s a private room, and we’re all impressed that Brian will be treated like a VIP while in house.

I hear the elevator doors open and a gurney coming down the hall. There is my husband, back in his blue cotton gown. The booties and shower cap are gone. They maneuver the bed into the room, plug in all his equipment, and retreat. I dash to his bedside, lean over him and say his name. I’m desperate to touch him, to connect with him, but there are so many wires.

Groggily, his eyelids open and I all see is ocean blue. He takes a moment to focus on me, and smiles weakly. “How’d I do?” he asks.

I run my fingers carefully through his hair, down his face, and smile at him, wanting him to see nothing but joy and excitement and exhilaration in my face. “They got it, baby. They got it all. You’re gonna be just fine.”

“That’s good,” he says, and drifts back to sleep.

My family talks quietly in the background. I watch my husband sleeping, and I allow myself to take in everything I see. I wrap my fingers around his bony wrist, stare at his chest as it rises and falls, wait for the pulse I can see in the vein of his neck. I’m no fool. I know recovery is going to be long and difficult. I know he’s going to wake up when the drugs wear off and he’s going to be in tremendous pain. I know we’re going to be living at this hospital for a week, maybe more.

But nothing could tramp down the feeling of good fortune in my heart. On that day, and every day since, I am the luckiest girl in the world.

It’s October 25, 2010.

I Know, I Know. I’ve Been Gone For Two Whole Weeks…

…And I know your minds are all in a whirlwind trying to figure out where in the world I’ve been. So I’m here to dispel any rumors that have started on the internets regarding my whereabouts.

I did not, in fact, pack up my bags and my husband and take a whirlwind tour of New York’s version of ComicCon.

I did not go to space camp, or take a month-long sabbatical to Italy to learn how to make the perfect bolognese sauce, or visit the Doctor Who museum in Cardiff.

Nay. For the past two weeks, I spent my time with my toes in the sand of a very private, very beautiful island with my new pretend celebrity boyfriend, Nathan Fillion.

Nathan 1

That would be a great excuse to explain my fourteen-day absence, right??

No?

Ok, fine. I did NOT spend the last fortnight letting Captain Mal rub sunscreen on my knees. I did, however, spend it redecorating my house.

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Not nearly as stimulating as a moonlit stroll on the beach with Captain Hammer, but I still rather enjoyed the process. (At least the part that didn’t involve me driving around the greater Charleston area looking for the perfect rug for the space…which wound up being the very first one I saw at Target.)

We also converted our craft/catchall/home gym room into a guest room…which started with a 2-day process of refinishing a thrift store headboard…

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…and ended with a sunshine-yellow comforter…

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…and the perfect accessories…

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Making the decision to redecorate was an easy one–particularly when the last remaining furniture any guest could sleep on finally fell apart. We love entertaining, and we love having visitors, but people are less likely to stay the night if they have to sleep in the bathtub. So…we put our heads together and came up with a layout that we love, that is functional, but that is also beautiful. And I’m a happy…if tired…girl.

We celebrated by inviting some of our favorite people to spend the night…

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…and while Tina and Charlene both approve of the improvements, there’s really only one opinion that matters most. That of our resident felines.

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I think we did ok.

The Infertility List Blog

Let’s set the record straight. I’m not a psychologist with years worth of research in my portfolio. I’m not a doctor who knows big words about specific sections of the brain and the hormones that they squirt into the body. I’m not a fertility specialist who can explain to you the complexities of coping with the emotional baggage that comes with having broken lady parts.

But I am an infertile woman living in the 21st century. And I’m also a blogger. So that gives me all the necessary tools to present you with a list of 10 things everyone (especially my friends and family) should know about infertility.

10 Things This Infertile Wants You (The Fertile Ones) To Know

1. Birth announcements don’t come in bouts of 3.
Nay. In fact, they come in groups of a hundred. Sometimes more. In fact, in less than a 2 week time span, practically everyone I knew–from best friends, to that child actor from the 80s, to the kid I used to babysit in the 8th grade–announced that they were expecting. Even the Prince of Friggin’ England was all like, “Heeey yoooou guuuuys….I’m gonna be a baby daddy!”

one

You should be forewarned that when this happens you will find me in holey pajama pants, lying on my bathroom floor, sobbing into the bathmat. Don’t worry–I’ll find my happy for you eventually. It’s just going to take some time to pick up the shrapnel from the baby bomb that just hit my house. (It’s not as cute as it sounds.)

2. Let’s just put it out there–Friends with Kids, We Are Jealous Of You.
It’s nothing personal. But when we come to your house to visit and accidentally step on a Lego, we’re jealous. When we meet you for dinner and you’re a few minutes late because you had a diaper blowout, we’re jealous. When we call you up and can’t really hear what you’re saying over the sound of baby giggles in the background, we’re jealous. When you post a picture of your darling child in over-sized sunglasses and a beer box on his head, we’re jealous. It doesn’t mean we love you or your pint-size mini me any less. It just means that we see what awesomeness you have in your life, and we want it for us, too.

3. We really don’t need to hear about the conventional methods anymore.
I know you mean well when you gently remind us that the best way to get pregnant is to stop thinking about it/take your temperature/get drunk/elevate your hips after sex. Believe me–I’m more flexible than I look.

See?

contortionist

The problem with us is mechanical, not creativity. (wink wink) So there’s really no need to reenact the Kama Sutra to show me just how you got knocked up. (Although, if you really want to, go ahead. Just be forewarned that I will take pictures. I’m always looking for good blog fodder.)

In this same vein, please don’t make weird suggestions about other, less traditional ways to procreate. I want to have Brian’s baby. Not his brother’s, not his uncle’s, and not his third-cousin-twice-removed’s. Sorry. That’s just weird and creepy.

4. At some point in our relationship, I will cry.
I’m a big ol’ fat cry baby about most things, anyway. But this particular thing? I have no control over my emotions. The truth is–I’m grieving. That’s really what infertility is–grieving the life of the child you always imagined but will never have. It sucks. It’s really hard. And I cope by crying.

A lot.

So inevitably, we will be cheerfully chatting about that catty thing someone said at the party, and something will trigger that “OMG I DON’T HAVE OFFSPRING” button in my brain, and I’ll be sobbing all over you before you can grab the stray tissue at the bottom of your purse. I apologize in advance.

5. I use humor as a defense mechanism.
If this blog isn’t proof of that, then let me explain.

Your adorable toddler will run up to me and give me a big kiss. I will make an inappropriate joke about my ovary exploding. Everyone will laugh.

You’ll ask me if I’m available to take photographs at your child’s birthday party. I’ll laugh too loudly and make a joke about always being free since I don’t have a child of my own to throw parties for. No one will laugh.

I’ll be writing a semi-serious blog post about the trauma of infertility, and I’ll throw up a stupid picture of myself Photoshopped to look like a clown.

Clown

With me now?

6. Please don’t say, “You should adopt!”
You’re totally right. A family IS about love, not blood. There ARE lots of kids in the world who need loving homes. We totally agree with you. That doesn’t mean we’re ready, yet. It also probably means we’ve still haven’t worked up the courage to rob a bank, yet. Cuz that’s shit’s expensive, yo.

7. We totally still want to be friends with you, even though you are fertile.
It’s ok. We don’t begrudge you your fully functional baby-making parts. Mostly. So don’t worry that bringing your kids over is an inconvenience. Don’t stop inviting us to birthday parties and baby showers (although sometimes I might not come.) Don’t apologize when your kid squeals loudly or chases my cat or accidentally scribbles on my kitchen table. We love you, and your screaming toddler. I’ve even been known to miss a football game or two just to hang out with you guys. Now THAT’S love.

8. Sometimes, we need to hang out with our “non-kid” friends, though.
It has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with our desire to drink copious amounts of alcohol, talk about grown-up type things, and say curse words often and loudly.

margarita ole
*Drool.*

I know you can carry on conversations about stuff other than your kids. (There’s a reason we’re friends. You are a super-cool cat with tons of interesting things to talk about. Am I right??) I also know that you want that giant margarita right there just as much as I do. But I also know it’s harder for you to leave the kids out of conversation, because they are your life, as they should be. No guilt trips here, lady.

It’s just this: sometimes it’s easier for us to be around people who don’t have that problem, and who aren’t so hyper-aware that something they say about their child could potentially send me into the ugly cry. It lets me get my drink on with the knowledge that I can be a happy drunk instead of the weird drunk who’s walking around the party blurting out random child-rearing facts that I probably shouldn’t know.

9. Imma spoil yo’ babies.
When they fall down at my house, I’m going to kiss their boo boo and give them a cookie. When it’s their birthday, I’m going to video myself singing to them and email it to you. When I come over to visit, don’t be surprised if I come bearing little gifts of my adoration for your progeny.

There are two parts to this: 1) I do it because I love your kid. He/She is adorable, and I just want to squish them regularly. Kudos, Mom and Dad, ya did good. And 2) I do it because it helps me fill a void. I don’t have my own child to sing to or bake for, so I’m gonna do it for your child.

Don’t worry, they’ll pay you back by pitching a fit at bedtime because they just want to go to Auntie Abby’s house and play.

cooler than you

You’re welcome.

10. We will be fine.
I know you’re concerned, especially because I’ve been in a constant state of funk since we got the official word in June that we won’t be able to join you in the land of Parenthood. (At least not without a crap load of cheddar and a miracle to rival the parting of the Red Sea.) If I’m honest with you, and with myself, I don’t know how long this part of the process takes. We’re sad, and we will probably always be sad. But even though I don’t have working ovaries, and even though Brian doesn’t have the Michael Phelps of sperm, we still have each other. And that, friends, is the really great news.

*It took me a really long time to publish this blog. Do you have any idea how hard it is to make something like infertility even remotely funny?? It’s really, really hard. So don’t feel like you need to send me an email or comment apologizing if you think you’ve possibly done or said one of the things above. Because you probably have. Because everyone has. And it’s totally OK. The important thing is that I know that you care. There’s not really anything anyone can say to make it better, but knowing I have friends in my corner who are cheering for me and who only want me to be happy makes bearing this cross a little easier. I love you–each and every one. And I love your stinkin’ babies, too.

ComicCon 2013: The List, Part 1

When you’ve waited for a trip for years and it finally comes to fruition, it’s a heady experience, my friends. The walls of the San Diego Convention Center rang with my squees from the moment we descended into the hallways amongst several Princess Leias, Captain Mals, and Red Shirts.

Our first glimpse of the concourse from the escalator. This was one of many “Squees Heard Round The World.”

There was SO much to do, to see, and to enjoy that trying to describe every moment to you all would take weeks. So instead, I’m sticking with what I do best. Here is a list of my top 5 favorite things about our ComicCon Experience.

Viva La Nerdolution!!: The Top Five Things That Made Me Squee At ComicCon ’13

FIVE: ALL THE STUFF!!!
Holy sensory overload, Batman! When I say there is tons to see at ComicCon, I’m not lying, friends. For the first two hours in the exhibition hall, I felt like a five year old with OCD that had been dropped into a candy factory that plays boy band music over the loud speakers while also making a myriad of toys and giving away free puppies.

Yes. It was just like that. Exactly.

When I wasn’t distracted by the flashy lights, the giant screens playing cartoons and movie clips, and the professional cosplayers whose costumes rocked my world, I was busy shopping. Because OMG ALL THE STUFF!

ComicCon is a veritable smorgasbord of all the nerdy things in the world you could ever wish to purchase, all under one roof. And purchase we did.

There weren’t just things to buy, either! Movie props, museum quality displays of famous costumes, life-sized Lego sculptures, pop art of our favorite TV stars…Wowzas.

A short list of the swag we came home with: multiple Doctor Who collectibles, including an entire set of teeny tiny Doctors (all 11!); t-shirts ranging from Star Trek to Doctor Who and everything in between; Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 Graphic Novel, Volume One (more on that later); and the crowned jewel of the Transformer collection, the ComicCon exclusive Mr. Metroplex himself (he’s two and a half feet tall, y’all.)

To say that we would have bought more stuff if we’d had the room in our luggage is an understatement. I saw no less than ten other things I wanted (including but not limited to a television remote control that is the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver. WHAT the WHAT?!?)

 

Four: Um, That’s John Barrowman, You Guys!!?!?!
On our first day wandering the floor, we noticed a booth advertising autographs and photo opportunities with a few nerdtastic celebrities. While we were intrigued by the possibility of meeting Star Trek TNG royalty Brent Spiner, Marina Sirtis, and Michael Dorn, there was one name that caught our eye above the others.

And that name, ladies and gents? John Barrowman, aka, Captain Jack from Doctor Who and Torchwood.

There was no way we were going to pass up the opportunity to meet, talk to, and touch him, for two reasons: 1) he’s Jack Harkness, y’all!! and 2) He has not only worked with, talked to, and touched David Tennant, but he’s kissed him. Which by proxy means we did, too.

So we took our places near the front of the line (we were numbers 3 and 4) and waited for nearly an hour for just that opportunity. We were behind Rose and the Doctor who, despite holding a sign that read “end of the line,” were actually at the very front of the line.

Side note: the next day I was delighted to find that "Rose" had followed me on Twitter. I officially made a friend at ComicCon!!

Side note: the next day I was delighted to find that “Rose” had followed me on Twitter. I officially made a friend at ComicCon!!

Behind us was another Doctor, this one the Matt Smith version, who had a relatively thick German accent, and we spent that hour discussing the many anamalies taking place in that precise moment when two Doctors are crossing timelines while waiting to talk to Captain Jack. (These are the types of conversations that happen in line at ComicCon. It makes the time go by faster.)

To the delight of both Doctors, Rose, Brian, and myself, John Barrowman walked out and smiled his one-million watt smile right in our direction. He joked with the Doctor and Rose, saying, “Hey, I think I know you guys from somewhere!” We anxiously awaited the moment when the booth bosses would take us in to meet our celebrity.

After a brief mix-up over tickets, we were led behind the curtain. Mr. Barrowman smiled at me and wrapped his arm around my shoulders, leading me to stand on the X at his feet. He smelled wonderful. (Sorry Brian.) We looked up, the photo was snapped, and he thanked us for our time. As Brian exited the booth, I turned to Mr. Barrowman, put my hand on his shoulder, and congratulated him on his recent nuptials. He smiled again, dazzling me down to my toes, and said, “Thank you. Sincerely.”

I melted.

Here’s the photographic evidence that I’m not making this up:

John Barrowman smaller

Thank the photography gods that I didn’t look as star struck as I felt. This baby’s going in a frame.

 

Three: Nerd HQ, Zach Levi, and the Serenity Viewing Party
I have to say, as much fun as we had at ComicCon, I think our day at NerdHQ might have been my favorite. Here’s a little back story—

Nerd HQ is a home base separate from ComicCon. Located at the iconic Petco Park, it was originally a place for nerds to congregate away from the bustle of the convention center, and it offered charging stations, arcade game play, cutting edge technology, and most importantly, a chance to encounter celebrities. Nerd HQ was the brainchild of actor and philanthropist, Zachary Levi, who donates the proceeds from the event directly to Operation Smile–a charity that helps children around the world born with cleft lips and palates.

First and foremost, let me take this opportunity to thank Mr. Levi and his team for providing some weary nerds with a place to SIT. The entire area was filled with plush black leather couches. After three days pounding the pavement, my feet and my arse were thrilled with all the sitting that was to be had at HQ. I also got to charge my equally exhausted iPhone, and we were dazzled with a hilarious puppet show featuring Glove and Boots. (Check them out. They’re really funny.)

We also had close encounters of the celebrity kind with Wil Wheaton of Star Trek fame, as well as Evangeline Lilly from Lost. (Wil totally brushed my shoulder while walking by, you guys. No kidding. Thanks, insanely crowded concourse!)

There were two huge moments that happened for us while visiting Nerd HQ. Firstly, we got the chance to meet the man behind the whole shebang. While recycling some water bottles (we were in Cali, y’all) and deciding what to do with the rest of our afternoon, we noticed Zach Levi himself walking toward the Operation Smile photo booth. Excited to get the opportunity to thank him, we joined the queue. We were encouraged to be creative with our photo op, and since the couple in front of us stole our idea (getting him a gin and tonic for a “cheers!” pic) we opted for goofy instead. Here it is:

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I think we made the right choice because, let’s face it, no one’s gonna pull off hotness quite like Mr. Levi. I mean, look at that smile, wouldja???

After the shock and delight of meeting Mr. Levi, we took the opportunity to take a few shots, just the two of us. And I’ve gotta say, they may be my favorite photos from the entire weekend.

2 3

(Let the record reflect that we totally won ComicCon with these Joss Whedon-inspired shirts from RedBubble.com. We were stopped everywhere we went and asked about them. It restored my faith in humanity, learning there were so many Joss fans in the world. Le sigh.)

Anywhoo, awesome moment number two was the Serenity Viewing Party on the baseball field, hosted by none other than Nathan Fillion himself.

(Pause for maximum squee-age.)

I didn’t get to wrap myself around Mr. Fillion’s leg while promising to always adore Captain Mal, but I did get to watch him and Alan Tudyk introduce one of our favorite movies of all time.

We were about 6 rows back, so there’s no close up of our guys, but I recorded it anyway. For Firefly/Serenity/Joss Whedon/Nathan Fillion fans, it’s pretty squee-worthy, in my opinion. Here are a few snippets from the event.

How cool is that? I stopped recording when the movie came on because, let’s be honest, sometimes it’s about experiencing not recording. So we sat back, enjoyed the movie, and cried when Wash died (as usual.)

On the way out of the stadium, both Zach and Nathan came out onto the balcony above us and waved us goodbye. Each of them took a photo of the crowd and tweeted them later, and guess what—Brian and I are in BOTH SHOTS. Proof that we are now famous by proxy because we live in celebrities’ camera rolls:

Nathan's Photo

Nathan’s Photo

Zach's Photo

Zach’s Photo

SQUEEEE!!!

To complete this list, I have to share 2 more total squee-worthy moments with you…and since this post is already bordering on a novella, I’m going to save those for next week. So stay tuned for the next 2 installments of ComicCon 2013: The List!

Behind the Scenes at ComicCon with The Lucky Puppy

Curious to see what happened during our first day at ComicCon? My father-in-law and fellow need connoisseur, Walt, is helping me tell the stories behind some of our experiences. For a sneak peak, visit this post at LuckyPuppy.net! And stay tuned for more news and posts as this nerd train keeps rolling through the halls of the San Diego Convention Center!

In the meantime, here’s a picture of Iron Man to tide you over.

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Welcome To Nerd Nation, Abby!

The house is quiet for a moment, Brian and Tina off to pick up lunch and run some last minute errands. My list of “things to pack” keeps growing exponentially, and I’m starting to wonder if it’s all going to fit in our luggage. My Matt Smith crocheted doll sits nearby, irrationally snuggling with my blue plush Dalek. My iPhone is at the ready, in case any last announcements come through my Twitter feed in the next few hours.

By this time tomorrow, our bags will be packed. By this time tomorrow, we’ll be eating lunch and making last minute plans and loading the car. By this time tomorrow, we’ll be animatedly dissecting the final episode of Doctor Who, predicting the series’ next move with a frenzy.

And in a little over 24 hours, I’ll be boarding the plane to San Diego with my husband.

I hear the familiar “ding” of my phone from the table behind me, and as I pick it up, my hands shake with the hopes that The Nerd Machine is finally, FINALLY announcing Nathan Fillion’s itinerary for the weekend.

(And I’m equally as geeked out when I find it’s a random tweet from Wil Wheaton instead.)

My anticipation and eagerness begins to overflow as I realize I’m about to partake in a weekend where I’m allowed–nay, expected–to fly my nerd flag at full mast with pride.

Abby In Space

We’re going to ComicCon, y’all. And I couldn’t be more jazzed.

I’ll be in California (squee!) until next Wednesday, readers!! While this *might* be my last post here till then, there *may* be a few surprises coming your way over the course of the next 10 days. If you’re curious what’s going on with me in Nerdvana, follow me on Twitter (@ThatGabbyAbby) and look for the hashtag #ComicConGab.

And while I’m gone, why not don a red shirt, discuss string theory, fix a broken pipe with bubble gum and a shoestring, repeat your favorite catchphrases, and watch your favorite episode of Firefly? It’s all in the name of Geekdom, friends.