Sunday, March 30, 2008


Mrs. Gerbil tells me I do not do sitting around on my butt very well. She is correct. I have been sitting around on my butt for a few weeks now, waiting for the gerb to arrive, and frankly, it's starting to get annoying.

For some reason, over the past few days I've been drawn to rehab movies. Last night we watched Postcards from the Edge, which wasn't all that interesting. I read the book (by none other than Carrie Fisher) several years ago--I recall the library's paperback copy had a hot pink cover--and didn't find it all that interesting either. Today we watched 28 Days, which was pretty interesting. According to the credits, the Betty Ford Center provided expert consultation for the film. How 'bout that?

(When I was still an insurance monkey, I would field a call about every three to four weeks from someone who wanted to know if Betty Ford was in network. Sadly, it's not. And oddly enough, none of the folks who wanted to go to Betty Ford had plans that included out-of-network benefits.)

Mrs. Gerbil and I have been talking to the gerb at length about all the wonderful things that exist in the outside world, although sometimes we get lazy and abbreviate this as "get born!" She has also taken to singing her own version of The Clash to my belly:

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go, there will be breastmilk
If I stay, there will be no milk

I, on the other hand, do my best Gloria Gaynor:

Go on, now, go
Walk out the door
Just get born now
You're not welcome any more

With a week and a half before its due date, the gerb still seems perfectly content in there. Lately it's been throwing itself a whole slew of pre-release parties. Oh, little dude(tte), we will happily throw you a release party ourselves. Get born!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Nesting, part 2

I am doing some serious nesting these days. Having regained my sweet tooth as well as some of my energy, this is all a lot more fun.

In the middle of last week I made Irish potato candy, which actually has nothing to do with potatoes. Then, on Friday, I made a batch of hamantaschen. Our house is now officially fully stocked with a lot of sweet, fatty, carb-o-licious stuff.

Yesterday I started sewing a cute little baby outfit. I also washed all the gerb's clothes, diapers, and linens, and put the finishing touches on the setup of the gerb's room.

Today, in addition to my usual three loads of laundry, I cleaned the bathroom and vacuumed the house. Then I put up a whole bunch of framed pictures which had spent the past two months languishing in boxes in the closet. I wanted also to make a pitcher of nice decaffeinated iced tea, but there was a problem: we have no ice cube trays. (How did we manage to neglect to buy new ice cube trays after moving in?)

Meanwhile, the gerb is still flip-flopping away in there. I say it's high time for it to get to know the outside world, yo.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

...and vice versa

Mrs. Gerbil, who is not Jewish, has taken to baking challah every Friday afternoon.

My mother, who is, spent this morning making hot cross buns.

And in other sociocultural/culinary news, I present yours truly, barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Walking the walk

The other morning I was driving through a rather un-scenic part of Springfield, Mass., looking in vain for my new allergist's office. Google Maps totally let me down on this one. A quick call to the office (from a gas station parking lot--I can't talk on the phone and drive stick at the same time) put me back on track, but I was fifteen minutes late and that made my punctual, detail-oriented self very sad.

While lost in Springfield for what seemed like forty days and forty nights, I noticed a young man clad in an oversized hoodie and pants so baggy that he had to hold them up as he walked--no, make that waddled--down the street.

I find this fashion trend very amusing. Mrs. Gerbil tells me that it began as a statement of solidarity with prisoners, who aren't allowed belts for their ill-fitting pants. But, dude. There's got to be ways to express your empathy that don't involve clutching your inseam to prevent spontaneous trou-dropping.

Nevertheless, I found myself in solidarity with this young man. No, my pants aren't in danger of falling down (far from it!)--but I'm also a waddler these days. I walk like a pregnant lady. It's a distinctive gait, like that of an Egyptian or of a psychiatrist.

Although pregnant ladies wobble but don't fall down, we sure have interesting ways of putting one foot in front of the other--especially when we can't see our feet anymore.

(BTW, the gerb is pretty much fully cooked at this point. Now we just have to wait around for it to pick a date for its debut!)

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The categorical imperative

WARNING: This entry is not about Immanuel Kant's moral philosophy of unconditional obligations. If you're looking for Kant, you won't find him here. I kinda like Schopenhauer better anyway.

Well! Now that I've got that out of my system--I was watching this weird, vaguely vapid show entitled "Secret Lives of Women" today. I had never heard of it before, but Comcast OnDemand graciously provides a couple of episodes free, so for lack of anything better to do, I opted for an episode on so-called lipstick lesbians.

I've always been annoyed by the assumption that chicks who dig other chicks should fit into some neat little box, based on their degree of gender-role conformity. For one, traditional gender roles (including physical appearance and behavior) are pretty heterosexist. Some people, upon finding out that Mrs. Gerbil and I are married, want to know which one of us is the husband. My standard reply is along the lines of "Well, it's my job to do the laundry--and to take care of the car." That usually shuts 'em up.

So why do we have to fit into little boxes? Who makes the little boxes anyway? I rather enjoy being outside of the box--most of the time, at least.

This show featured a bunch of self-proclaimed lipstick lesbians. They talked about how much they liked being ultra-feminine girly-girls who like other girls. There were also some predictable sound bites from straight boys, the general gist being "ZOMG it is SO FRUSTRATING to see two really hot girls who are only interested in each other and not in me. WTF?"

And I got to thinking: what kind of lesbian am I? I'm certainly not butch, but I wouldn't consider myself especially girly, either. Most of the time, I prioritize looking presentable; I don't usually even think of myself as particularly attractive, though I know a lot of people (including, of course, Mrs. Gerbil) would beg to differ. Oh, and I rarely wear make-up.

Okay, so if I don't wear boy-cut jeans and act all super-butch, and I don't wear low-cut tops and act all ultra-femme, which box is mine?

I suppose you might say I'm a chapstick lesbian.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Assumptions, part deux

I thought that maybe, just maybe, folks in Massachusetts might assume that Mrs. Gerbil is my wife rather than my "special friend." In California, some admitted that they should know better than to assume that there is a Mr. Gerbil, but California does not have gay marriage. (Yet.)

But Massachusetts does have gay marriage. Mrs. Gerbil and I had a lovely Massachusetts wedding almost two and a half years ago. It is so nice finally to be in a place where our marriage is actually recognized; and in fact this was one of the major reasons for our move.

Unfortunately, it seems that my expectations were too high. Although same-sex couples have been happily (some might even say "gaily") getting hitched in Massachusetts for almost four years now, I guess changes in automatic thought processes take a little longer. (As a clinician, I should really know better, eh?)

Mrs. Gerbil and I have been attending classes at the hospital on childbirth and breastfeeding. We've also spent a few not-so-pleasant nights in the hospital when it looked like the gerb might make an early appearance. And we've had to explain our relationship a lot more often than I'd like.

At the hospital registration desk late one night, I indicated Mrs. Gerbil (who was sitting next to me) when asked for my emergency contact. "Oh," said the registration person, "is this your friend?"

"This is my wife," I said.

The registration person looked at me kind of blankly and said, "Okay, I'll type in 'cohabitant' for your relationship."

"No, she is not my cohabitant. She is my wife," I insisted.

"How about 'partner'?"

"We are legally married in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. If your system won't accept 'wife,' it should at least recognize 'spouse'."

Pause. "Oh," she said, "okay."

In our childbirth class, we are the only same-sex couple. Our instructor is very cool and makes an effort to say "partners" instead of "dads," and to correct herself when she does say "dads." But the instructor for our breastfeeding class was not so inclusive. It was "dads" this and "dads" that--even though we were not the only pair of women in attendance. Granted, some of those pairs were moms-to-be with grandmas-to-be. But there were three other pairs of women who were the same age. They may or may not have been couples; but in any case, I wasn't the only one there without a man.

We were greeted by the instructor at the door. "Hi, mom," she said to me, "what is your name?" I dutifully introduced myself. "And is this your friend?" she said of Mrs. Gerbil.

"No," I said, "this is my wife."

A pause, and then, "Oh. Well, that's all right then." (Jeez, I should hope so!)

So this is all very frustrating. Every so often I wonder whether I should be crass and say, "This is not my 'friend'; this is the person who knocked me up!" But perhaps this is not the way to win hearts.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The times, they are a-changin'

Mrs. Gerbil and I went out and bought a prodigious amount of essential baby gear yesterday. One of these essential items was a car seat.

Mrs. Gerbil decided that we should install the car seat right away, even though the gerb is not due for another five and a half weeks. (Of course, the gerb could really arrive any time.) I was tired and cranky from a lot of mall-walking in snow boots that really don't fit my swollen feet, so I said, "You're on your own!" and went inside to rest and grump about.

Installing a car seat is apparently very complicated, but the final score did turn out to be Mrs. Gerbil 1, car seat 0. So now we have a rear-facing infant seat in the car, but no infant as yet.

According to Click and Clack of Car Talk, the Subaru Outback is the ultimate lesbian car. We're now on our second Ultimate Lesbian Car, also known as the Bigger, Gayer Subaru.

I went out to Staples today to buy us a copy of TurboTax, and let me tell you, it was really strange to be driving a car with a car seat--even an empty one--in it. It was even stranger to know that said car is ours. Mrs. Gerbil, who had driven to and from Hartford earlier today, reported the same reaction.

The Bigger, Gayer Subaru has suddenly morphed into a Big Gay Family Car.

Oh my goodness.