Saturday, February 26, 2011

Facebook: More Faces Than Sybil

I have a hard time saying “no,’” and nowhere does this characteristic play out more vividly that in Facebook. Currently I have 285 Facebook friends, two of which are not human…Merlin is a black tabby cat and Earl is a Labradoodle.  Obviously I can’t reasonably decide whether to confirm or “ignore” potential virtual friends.  As in life, I have a certain façade to maintain through Facebook, and I do not want to appear unfriendly.  It’s a social network, for crying out loud! However, you should not underestimate the power of this “friend-filled” forum as it elicits roller coaster mood changes, serves as a vehicle for the collective consciousness, and offers an anonymous stage for
recreating ones’ self.        

As I page down the posts of some of my dot-com “friends,” their communal status’ randomly bring forth anger, fear, satisfaction, confusion, pity, humility, concern, tears, and laughter.  Just selecting “news feed recent” puts me in a bi-polar tail-spin. On a regular-random basis, my Facebook family members are like tiny gigabyte ants, busily checking their daily horoscopes, their fortune cookies, and their tarot card readings; they are endlessly posting political opinions, requesting prayers and linking me to Youtube music videos from the 1980s.  With each keystroke the multitudes plead for items via Cityville, Café World, and FarmVille. (Hold the presses….did you know that Microsoft Word now recognizes Farmville as a properly spelled word?  Seriously, when I type it, there is no red, squiggly line under it to alert me to potential misspelling or grammar errors. Frightening. Especially since I am typing this on a cheap-ass Acer laptop!)

Speaking of FarmVille, the app has apparently rocketed through all of the domesticated and wild animals currently recognized on planet Earth, and now finds it necessary to tantalize people with fairy tale creatures.  No shit.  I just saw that Ridinghood Sheep and Cat n' Boots have made their way to the Farmville Market.  Not even Shrek confused Red Riding Hood with having any sheep. Although I did sleep through my bootleg of Shrek: The Final Chapter…maybe Red partied with sheep in that version? But, I digress….

My pre-teen “friends” are calculating their “sexy percentage” even though they don’t yet have boobs; my middle-age friends are calculating their “mean percentage” even though they claim to be taking their meds. Marie just found out her exotic dancer name….Dawning Daye.  On a positive note, I think the Mafia Wars are experiencing a cease fire.  And, hey ya’ll, Brad is getting the band back together! (Actually, this is the best post of the week ‘cause Brad and the Boys are bound to rock some serious Stones throughout Hooterville proper and the surrounding suburbs!)

No offense, friends a la Facebook, but I am trying to imagine what would result from a Global Consciousness Exercise or Web Bot Project involving you guys.  Let’s see…”In exploring whether the construct of interconnected unconsciousness can be validated on Angie’s home page, we, as researchers from several institutions and countries, have come to the following 2012 prediction:  Exotic dancers and people with sexy names will be elected to the majority of congressional and senatorial seats under the affiliation of the recently-formed “Tea-zer Party.” These “Tea-zers,” whose iconic symbol, xio*, trumps both the elephant and the ass, will proceed to rescue the failing economy by charging for virtual hugs, hearts, smiles, and lap dances… Then, 99 Luftballoons will be released in celebration, while Brad’s band plays Shattered."

At this time I would be remiss if I did not convey the following warning:  Please remember that the Force That Is Facebook was not made for sending sappy love messages and Burno Mars videos to your mate, veiled threats to neighbors, or for requesting help to fertilize your computer crops.  According to the Oscar-nominated Jesse Eisenberg who played Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg in the Oscar-nominated film, The Social Network, Facebook was created because Marky Z just wanted people to understand what was going on in their world a little better….and surely, an Oscar-nominated performance in an Oscar-nominated film would not lie! Actually, Mark himself is quoted as saying, “I wanted to create an environment where people could share whatever information they wanted, but also have control over whom they shared that information with…with the people you care about.”  Whatever, Mark.  Wake up.  Your huge ass cul de sac on the Information Highway is simply a means for people to concoct exaggerated profiles of their lives to make others jealous, duh. 

For the purpose of illustration, let’s review only three of my current profile statements…

1.     I enjoy sailing. 

Illusion:  Wealth, adventure, relaxation, Yacht  clubs, fruity beverages, Jimmy Buffett, exotic ports of call. 

Truth:  My step dad has a great sailboat on Smith Mountain Lake.  The few times that I have actually sailed, I felt completely inept.  The commands are confusing, winching takes the strength of a superhero, and I don’t know what “tack” means.  Someone always ends up bleeding.  The skills necessary for sailing are honed through a lifetime of practice.  I am no sailor, and it is certainly not as romantic as it sounds.  I spend 98% of my “sailing time” motoring about the lake and drinking beer.  Certainly fun, but, let’s face reality, any redneck can sit in his backyard lounge chair, cooler of High Life beside him with his feet in a Walmart kiddie pool and a box fan stirring a gentle, moist breeze (powered by an extension cord snaking into mobile home’s rear screen door.)  If you close your eyes…me and the Redneck are having an identical experience.

2.     I enjoy running.

Illusion:  athletic, fit, health-conscious.

Truth:  I run because I am too uncoordinated to do any other exercise.  I have to force myself to do it by mentally reviewing all of the fatty, sugar-filled food I consumed the day before.  Note:  I have tried Zumba.  I spent the entire HOUR hiding behind Melanie, mimicking her moves.  She is much more coordinated, and most importantly, taller.  Halfway through Pitbull’s “I Know You Want Me,” the entire wave of sweaty estrogen choreographed its way 180 degrees.  To my horror, I found myself in the FRONT of the crowd.  It was a clownish, disjointed pop Latin nightmare!  I have opted for the less humiliating mode of exercise…besides 35 minutes of torture beats an entire hour of torture plus degradation. 

3.     I have a Masters Degree in Counseling.

Illusion: I am smart, determined and an expert in relationships and the complicated human psyche.

Truth:  It took me five and a half years to complete two years of study.  I am preparing for my third marriage, so “expert” is probably not the most appropriate word. Oh, and the best part, I have my own therapists….one who is paid in cash, one who is affiliated with Skinny Girl Margarita consumption and several others who practice the method of Relaxation through Rowdiness.

So, there you have it.  The Facebook fantasy unmasked.  Perhaps the Facebook “Team” which is so quick to change applications, modify page layouts, and anonymously alter privacy settings, could take on the following task:  find a way for me to organize my “friends” based on the moods their posts elicit.  So, if I am feeling melancholy, then I can read inspirational messages from God, and receive virtual bouquets.  After all, my well-being contributes to the Common Good...and isn't that the ultimate purpose of all trendy technology?

A.  Ballerina

*xio is a symbol for kiss/boner/hug, according to

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Menopause: Egg-Less Is More!

Earlier this week, I received the exciting news that I have begun menopause.  A standing ova-a-tion; it is the final curtain call for ovulation.  Taking its last bow…strutting and fretting its hour upon the stage…and then is heard no more…It is Angie’s Terminal Ovum.  Estrogen has left the building.  But enough with my witty puns…on to the inevitable questions:  How will this revelation actually change my life?  What clarification must be explored concerning the event? And how do I pay homage to my failing ovaries?

Going through The Change will actually change very little about my day-to-day functioning.  I will still have legitimate excuses, backed by valid studies, to be a royal bitch.  The source of the bitchiness, however, will shift from PMS symptoms to menopausal mood swings.  Not that I must justify my bitchiness, but having context, clarity, and perspective, based on research, is comforting. With no guilt whatsoever, I can continue to dole out harsh criticism of others, including calling people vile names; go into maniacal rants for no apparent reason; and display a melancholy demeanor when it suits me.  And wait, that’s not all.  No calendaring major events, like vacations and sexual intercourse, around menses.  No buying tampons, Pamprin, or sanitary napkins (that term is just WRONG in so many ways), and no more high heating bills!  With my own internal greenhouse effect, I AM summer, year round.  

To make clear my condition, please know that I am not in menopause, which seems to point to me as the culprit.  My ovaries have failed me, thus I am the victim.  Simple semantics, I know, but it’s my story and I do not want to be hailed the perpetrator.  Truth be known, my ovaries have done not one nice thing for me in 44 years.  They have been sparse and lazy with no drive nor motivation even when over stimulated with copious amounts of synthetic hormones.  My ova have had four decades to lounge around in my ovaries, stirring occasionally to double me over writhing in pain mid month.  The useless bastardettes would send mixed signals to my uterus, bless her heart, who would be so confused she didn’t know whether to run the play or drop punt.  Now, the few ova I have left, old and withered, still slumbering, will weakly tap, tap, tap on my ovarian wall in their death throws.  Karma.       

When I heard the glorious news regarding my condemned corpuscles, I figured I had two choices…take to bed or throw a party.  Duh, like I even spent a nanosecond making my decision.  So, the planning of the menopause-themed soiree commenced.  My FSH was going up in style.  I was already sporting a firm 65, when most young, fertile women only peaked at 33.  I was well into the ballgame, and it was time to party!      

On the party menu is a red velvet cake with the following etched in butter cream icing on top:  Ding dong the witch is dead.”  Drinks for the evening will be Bearded Ladies and Flaming Sambucas.  Guests will be given a blanket and a paper fan, and the thermostat will be set at 80 so everyone can experience simulated hot flashes.  A sign in the front yard will greet the party patrons touting “Welcome to Death Roe.”  Music selections will include: Hot Child in the City, Gonna Make You Sweat, and Fat Bottom Girls.  Yes, we will celebrate extra room in the bathroom cabinet with vigor, and at the close of the evening, I will deliver the following eulogy to memorialize my last, thankless egg:

Ode to the Ova

Hark, tiny eggs! So small, yet bold
Your demise; however, has been foretold
Irritating and snappy every 28 days,
Follicles now explode in your final phase.

Farewell to the Crimson Tide,
No more white pants in the closet hide.
No more stain removal to take to task.
Body ablaze, what ‘tis the thermostat set passed?
Wingeth pads…Super…Maxie…absorbeth nil.
Hormones now come in the form of a pill.

Night sweats and hot flashes I sing
But, Oh Cramp, where is thy sting?

A. Ballerina

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wrinkles On My Knees, Seriously?

Tooling down the Highway of Life brings the expected potholes…physical changes like worsening eyesight and varicose veins…things that I generally just have to acknowledge and keep easing on down the road, as Diana Ross crooned in 1978.  Sometimes, however, little surprises come blasting from around the bend, and broadside me.  And--as long as I have this disco-thoroughfare theme going--my reaction is Aaahh. Beep. Beep. Freak out!  I was, in fact, blindsided last week, and I have since been fixated and obsessed, more than usual, on my aging body. 
The crash occurred during a routine maintenance task.  I was in the shower, shaving my legs per usual, and suddenly I lost sight of my pink Daisy razor as it traveled in the vicinity of my right knee.  Upon closer inspection, I found that it had careened into one of SEVERAL deep crevices around my knee cap. WTF?!  I have been inundated with warnings about crow’s feet, dark eye circles, laugh lines, and brow furrows, but knee wrinkles? Again, WTF?  There I was dripping, naked, vulnerable, completely ill-equipped, and yearning for revenge. My first thought was: I want to sue Somebody!  Proctor and Gamble, Johnson and Johnson…One pair of these Brothas need to pay up for failing to prepare me for these nasty creases. 

Our airways are flooded with anti-aging potions, brews, and miracle mud from the Nile. Yet, not one single infomercial targets knee wrinkles. Does Victoria Principal know about this? How about Joan Rivers or the Kardashians? 

Granted, things like the Nile mud products have effective marketing campaigns, but what are they doing for the aging patellae? And while we are on Da Nile, mud manufacturers tease you with tales of how this magic sludge kept Cleopatra youthful, beautiful, and sexy. I know this because even I have fallen victim to their hypnotic promises.  But, I believe a little historical perspective is in order!  Cleopatra committed suicide when she was ONLY 39.  Which means she had  a very small window of time to experience aging— and I doubt a prolapsed bladder, menopausal hot flashes, and friggin’ knee wrinkles were part of her experience…Nile mud or no Nile mud. Besides, a daily skin regimen was probably the last thing on her agenda, let’s see…mastered nine languages, planned and executed political seductions of Caesar and Mark Antony, saved Egypt from the Romans, ruled as Pharaoh of the Ptolemaic Dynasty for 21 years, and, oh yeah, scheduled monthly chemical peels? I thinketh not.

Undoubtedly, Cleo has been an awesome role model for women throughout the ages. Despite her faults, she was one powerful broad and when the shit hit the chariot, she was in control.  Even in choosing her own mode of death, she was Asp-iring (a little historical humor for you, dear reader…get it? Asp-iring?).  For centuries, her reason for committing suicide has remained a mystery…Was it the death of Mark Antony?  The inevitable fall of Egypt into Roman hands? The discovery of wrinkles on her knees during her morning bath?  Alas, we will never know for sure. 

(Sidebar::  Here is another interesting fact about Cleo that sealed our uteral bond:  She was very close to a eunuch named Mardian whom she befriended when she was a little girl. Mardian learned to read and write at her palace, and they remained friends throughout her life.  Yes! Cleo had the ancient version of a gay friend! I feel certain he  helped her with history-making  fashion decisions, like picking what sandals to wear when  sneaking into Caesar’s castle to seduce him.  “Low straps, girl!  They are faaaaabuuuulouss.  Show him that ankle.  Work it!”  And Mardian probably gave advice about relationships.  “Mark Antony, now he is a hottie!  Oh.  My.  God.… muscles, sweaty from battle, courageous, hmm, hmm.  And, C, I don’t know what you were thinking when you married your brother.  Girl, that was just wrong!  What was up with Caesar?  Isis knows, he was way too old!  Yeah, snap, snap, MA got it going on! )

But I wander…

What we need is The QVC Icon, Susan Lucci, to take on this sagging knee quandary.  Susan herself has fallen into Ponce de Leon’s pond, man…and not just once….that biatch has been swimming freestyle in the fountain of youth for decades!  Would it be too much to ask Erica Cain to pimp some knee cream with Retinol and Nile mud in her line of Youthful Essence®?  Again, I thinketh not!

“Age is just a number” …LIE!  “You’re as young as you feel”…LIE!  Certainly, getting older sucks, but according to Cleo, the only way to avoid getting older is to die, and, duh-huh, that sucks more. I think I will explore the cost of having the hair on my legs lasered. Then I won’t have to look at my knees as often.  Maybe I will just let the hair grow, thus creating Yeti knees to camouflage the unsightly ravines.  Choosing option two would be much cheaper, and it would create the illusion that I am a natural, granola kind of girl!  Naw…no one would buy that.  I will call Sona MedSpa in the morning for pricing…

And Mardian, who would have undoubtedly been a front row seat season ticket holder for The Wiz had he existed in the late 1970s…AD, that is,…says, “Keep your chariot between the ditches, girl!  Besides long togas are all the rage in Athens!”

A. Ballerina

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Theory of Relativity

There is no better source of humor than my dysfunctional family gatherings, especially the wedding ceremonies.  My excitement begins with the arrival of the invitation, be it raised script on fine parchment with a stamped RSVP envelope or purple crayon on a Garden Collection Bounty napkin with “Call Mama if ya’ll are comin’” scrawled on the bottom.  Either way, I immediately mark the date on my calendar…denoted with bells…and thus begins the anticipation.

My all-time favorite family wedding occurred many years ago and involved very distant relatives; take that statement however you want to, for I have left it wide open.  The humor in the situation came to me only in hindsight, for it is the human body’s natural defense to numb itself when exposed to trauma.  Literally, I went through the ceremony and the reception in a state of shock.  Of course, the 110 degree heat index inside the non-air-conditioned facility could also have fried my brain a little, thus creating a temporary, amnesic effect.

It was a mid-summer afternoon, as myself and the other guests drove our vehicles down the winding road toward the Cathedral of Snake Handling.  Like a stripper at a bachelor party, the road kept removing its layers of as we traveled.  From lined asphalt, to lineless asphalt, to gravel, to red dirt and mud, its final raw state left me wondering if my car would be able to escape when this ordeal was over.  The familiar sounds of the country transformed as we continued spiraling into the depths of the Land of the Lost.  The birds’ gentle tweets disappeared, and were replaced with the prehistoric calls of unknown creatures, perhaps Sleestaks.  Where in the Hell is the church?, I wondered.  

And then, I saw it…a white structure, with 4 x 4’s holding up the covered porch. No, wait, was that a double wide?  Sure enough, there was a “birddog” tied to an oak tree in the “church” yard who had ran a circle of bare dirt in what may have once been grass. And a blue, rusted Nova with no tires sat on cement blocks in front of a shack adjacent to the house of worship. I swear to God, no pun intended, we must have crossed through some kind of rip in the Chevy time/space continuum. 

We were greeted by the pastor on the front porch. He had a large grin on his face and a permanent tobacco juice stain on the left side of his chin.  “Saved by the Blood, how ‘bout you?” he said to each guest, clasping there hands with both of his meaty claws.  I just smiled back, and thought, “Yes I am saved.  And it’s a good thing because Jesus is the only who will be able to maneuver my car out of this forsaken hillbilly hideaway.
Beside the minister stood two extra-large toothless women, clad in matching burgundy, strapless dresses.  Apparently, the inhabitants of this foreign land had not yet acquainted themselves with Spanx, for the boobage, it was riding mighty low. At first I thought these two may have been the pastor’s wives, or his cousins, or both; at this juncture I don’t think polygamy would been much of a stretch.  But when they introduced themselves, I think they said their names were Billie Lou and Randi Sue, (I am not certain as I was starting to disconnect with reality at this point), it became evident that these girls were serving dual roles - as bridesmaids and greeters.

As indicated by the Bounty napkin, this was a casual, seat-yourself affair, so I found a pew with an unobstructed view of the altar, not wanting to miss anything when the strychnine drinking broke out.  At , just as the service was about to begin, a loud thump resonated through the sanctuary.  I figured the bride-to-be had experienced a syncope episode and fell out…a logical conclusion.  But, alas, it turned out that the “smaller” of the Merlot-clad bridesmaids had hit the floor after being cold-cocked by the “not smaller” one.  Later, I found out these bridesmaids actually did share a man, not the pastor and not a blood relative, but the source of their altercation, nonetheless.

The processional began shortly after Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum rolled up onto to their feet and sauntered down the aisle, stopping occasionally to chat with friends.  As the congregated stood, the bride began her promenade and from a distance, it appeared that she was wearing a vintage lace gown, actually a very beautiful vintage lace gown. It was only when she neared the altar that I noticed her frock had probably originated from Fredrick’s of Hollywood. Simultaneously, it occurred to me that this ensemble was intended to be worn for her wedding night as it was completely sheer and left nothing to the imagination. 

The temperature in the building immediately rose 10 degrees.  Out of respect, some of the guests averted their eyes; others, like myself, stared in horror, their mouths agape.  “Bless her heart,” I whispered, which is the appropriate Southern response when you don’t have anything nice to say but you can’t keep quiet. Like Eve before that unfortunate apple business, the bride was completely oblivious to her nakedness.  On a positive note, she was probably the only one in the church that was comfortable in the scorching, un”bare”able, heat.

Between the lighting of the unity candle with a Bic from the groom’s front shirt pocket and an evangelical rant on fornication, I think the couple exchanged vows.  It was sometimes hard to hear over the howling of marital hound, Duke Clampett, who apparently got a scent of a woodland creature midway through the service.  Amazingly enough, although facial hair and the consumption of alcohol were condemned, the pastor did not say one word about being naked in the House of the Lord.  As primitive Baptists, I guess he figured her being nude was less blasphemous than if she had been wearing pants. 

After the recessional, we were all herded to the picnic shelter behind the church for the reception.  I use the verb “herded because the picnic shelter was parallel to a cow pasture, and from the distinctive odor that abounded, apparently, in the vicinity of a hog farm.  The refreshment table was lined with a plethora of 2 liter generic sodas, a wide selection of Sam’s Club chips, and cake squares adorned with, you guessed it, wedding bells.  The Boobsey twins then broadened their ceremonial resumes by pouring sodas for the guests, and then serving the cake squares.  While we supped, the bride and groom opened their gifts…during the reception…thanking everyone personally right then and there. No need for silly Thank-You cards what with the expense of such a lavish reception spread!

I left the reception after the ceremonial unwrapping of the gifts, fearing that Briscoe Darling and his family’s jug band would be next on the agenda providing the entertainment.  By the grace of God I made it back to civilization, relatively unscathed. 

As far as I know, the happy couple remains espoused. Which just goes to show you, it’s not about the pomp or the venue or the dress (or lack thereof)…the foundation of any long-standing union must include versatile friends who fill a variety of roles, family who can overlook the rough edges (and/or outright nakedness) and an old-fashioned fornication sermon.  

A. Ballerina

Friday, February 4, 2011

Putting The Fun In Infertility

A couple of weeks ago, as I was speeding towards Greensboro to deliver Wesley to his tutor at the appointed time, I was internally chastising myself for my lack of time management skills, while scanning the roadways for signs of state troopers.  Out of the blue, my son asked me one of those questions that stopped my racing thoughts in their tracks.  “Mom, how much did I cost?”  What?  OMG, this was one of those questions that required an attentive, sensitive answer.  This was a mega query that could either give him the confidence he needed to lead an emotionally healthy, well-adjusted life, or could send him plummeting into gang activity, drug use, and a life of crime.  So, like any good mom and politician would do, I tried to evade with an acknowledgement question, then divert attention.  “Whatever do you mean, Wes?  Oh, look at that cloud, doesn’t it look like a camel?”   “I MEAN, how much did you and Dad pay for me?  And, yes, it looks like a camel.”  Damn it!  He used the clarification and acknowledgement counter technique.  I was cornered.  “Well, Wes, let me ponder this for a while.  May I get back to you later with an answer?”  “Sure,” he said, as he dashed in for his tutoring session.  As always, the truth seemed to work best, go figure.
While I waited outside Ms. Emily’s office, my mind replayed the events in our quest for Wesley that began 13 years ago.  Infertility testing, treatments, three in vitro attempts, adoption agencies, private adoption attorneys, birth parents, black market babies, home visits, lions, tigers, and big ass bears, oh my!  My sweet child, you were VERY expensive, indeed. Besides the ja-gillion dollars we spent, there was pain, frustration, confusion, and self-blame.  There was also the ever-present sense of being out of control, the on-going intense scrutiny, and a growing void in my soul that no words can describe. There were strangers in and out of my most private places—my home and my vagina, and it seemed that neither of my “goods” met their high expectations.   
And it all began with a routine appointment at my gynecologist’s office, discussing my plans to have a family.  The next thing I know I am enduring painful procedures, listening to white coats point out every aspect of my flawed reproductive system, and shooting up $2,000.00 worth of injection prescriptions per week that insurance didn’t cover.   The hormones, injected three times a day, made me paranoid.  I also developed a bend towards violent tendencies, and pregnant women became the natural targets.  The bundle ‘o joy announcements at family gatherings from all the virile people made me homicidal. The dreaded “we have some exciting news, everyone!” seemed to continuously stalk me at every holiday get together, reunion, and, yes, even church homecomings.  What is wrong with you rabbit people!?  Had I always resided in Fertopolis?  My responses gradually became nastier.  At first, it was the fake smile and the “I’m so happy for you!”  Then I digressed to the unemotional “That’s wonderful.” Toward the end, hyped up on tons of progesterone, I didn’t even try to hide my rage.  “Really.  Who-fuckin-rah.  Break out the Champagne, let’s celebrate.  Oh wait, you’re pregnant.  You can’t drink alcohol.  No worries, I’ll have yours. You just sit over there, glow, and be fruitful.” 
I considered rolling around in cat litter before I left my house to ward off these prolific sluts, or at least putting some granules in a locket to wear around my neck as a talisman to ward off the reminders of my conception-challenged plight.  Eventually I just avoided all women whose age fell in the child-bearing range.  I spent the majority of my time-when I wasn’t shooting up-hanging out local nutrition sites, Masonic lodges and smoky bars.  So much synthetic estrogen was coursing through my body on any given day, I was fearful that even men in casual close proximity would experience breast tenderness, and prolonged exposure would result in them growing boobs in some sort of warped version of a hormonal contact high.
Alas, after two plus years of fertility treatments to no avail, we began exploring other options before I became a recluse, was held liable for some man’s enlarged mammary glands, or ended up incarcerated.  Adoption was the next destination, and the pleasant, peaceful journey was before us…NOT.  Once everyone in the cities proper, and apparently the suburbs of Madison/Mayodan, learned that we were going with a Plan B*, I was inundated with embryonic urban myths, even more so than expectant mothers during my Pilgrimage to Germination Mecca.  Family members, friend, acquaintances, as well as every cashier at Walmart, knew some couple that had tried and tried to have a baby, and when they stopped trying, lo and behold, they found themselves pregnant…generally with twins.  If all these couples were experiencing double zygote fertilization through mere apathy, you would think the miracle would have received a little press.  And where are all the twins?
The adoption odyssey brought new options.  Yea.   There were choices between foster care or straight adoption, closed or opened, international or domestic, agency or private, blah blah blah.  The only pronouncement I wanted to make at this exhausting point was Pampers over Luvs.  JUST GIVE ME A BABY!  No matter what path we chose, however, a home study was required.  Following is an incomplete laundry list of questions posed to us during the various interrogations (along with the answers I wanted to give, and probably would have had I still been in my drug-induced haze):  Why don’t you have screens on your windows? (Because we have air-conditioning like most people, and we don’t open our windows); would you take a child who is blind, deaf, had other physical or mental disabilities, or a combination of disabilities? (Just as long as the baby doesn’t sport your particular sets of neuroses, including that strange fondness you have to screens, I certainly will); how often do you consume alcohol? (Quite a lot since this adoption process started, as a matter of fact, I need a drink right now.  Can I make you a Jack and Ginger?); How is your sex life? (It WAS fine before we started the baby quest); What is your household’s gross annual income? (Pushing $80,000, however, this process has severely impacted our budget.  By the time we finally get a baby, all three of us will be living in a van down by the river); Do you have a written fire escape plan? (No, but I figure if we couldn’t get to the doors, our point of egress would logically be a window given it has no screen to slow us down); where will you put the baby? (the spare bedroom would become the nursery, you know the one with all the Jack Daniel’s cases and window screens scattered about, or we will put the baby in one of the van’s captain’s chair…in a car seat…with a five point harness…rear facing...)
Amazingly enough, we passed the home study, or inquisition, with flying colors.  Soon I was preparing a portfolio of our family for potential birth mothers.  Like an advertising campaign director I tried to develop a product that would sell, or “speak” to the target audience.  Should I go to the country club and take a picture of a huge house and play it off as mine?  Would my pseudo wealth be a positive or a negative to my future baby-birth momma?  What about my dogs?  Should I have a picture of my slobbering bassets?  What if she is deathly afraid of dogs?  Perhaps she was bitten as a child, and never resolved the trauma.  Maybe I can borrow a bunny for a photo op…Bunnies are relatively harmless, and it would show that I love all creatures great and small; therefore, I would love the child she is giving to me not only when he or she was an infant, but even as an adult.  Would she think me too presumptuous if I had a picture of the baby’s nursery?  I could always cut a page out of Pottery Barn Kids and paste it in the book…Instant, color-coordinated, baby room.  She might think I possessed a gift for design, and never would I let my baby wear anything that didn’t match.   Again no one would know it was a façade, and that the kid’s actual nursery was currently a storage room.  Yes, the Adoption Portfolio was a daunting task.  Finally, I just decided to be honest…again, that seems to work best.  And it did.  The bassets hooked a birth mother immediately, only one month on the market…cha ching!
The Boles Baby Portfolio went into circulation in April, 2001.  In May, potential birth parents wanted to meet us, and did.  On June 20, 2001, Wesley was born.  The birth parents changed their minds about giving him up initially (lots of crying and gnashing of teeth), but on July 19, they reconsidered.  Wesley was placed in our care at the South Carolina attorney’s office.  We couldn’t take him over the state line until he cleared some Interstate Compact Agency, so for three weeks we were held prisoner in the penitentiary of red tape, staying with relatives.  You would have thought we were taking him to Zimbabwe instead of the Old North State.  We finally got home in August, 2001, and thus closed the chapter on the whirlwind journey to my son. 
People ask me, “Don’t you wish you could have experienced the act of giving birth?” (Yep, they actually ask me this.  Ignorance does run amuck.)  My response is this:  I was pregnant for three years with Wesley, and so was his Dad.  I learned that pregnancy is not only a physical condition but a state of mind.   I didn’t miss out on anything.  After my profound statement, they generally stare blindly at me, drooling.  Besides, giving birth sounds painful and debilitating…just read Wonder Twin’s February 2nd blog, “One Miraculous Night” at  Why would I miss going through that hell?!       
Anyway, Wesley, the answer to your question…I don’t know how much you cost, but I do know that you are priceless.
A. Ballerina
*There was actually a Plan C:  Baby via the International Black Market.  I am sharing this simply to show how there are a few supportive people who are sensitive to the barren plight, and would do anything to help, including face criminal charges in a foreign country.  My cousin Beth, who had already offered her ova for the cause, was living in Malaysia, and found us a beautiful baby to purchase while combing the impoverished villages on the outskirts of town for infants.  She even went as far as applying for a birth certificate, intent on changing his religious status from Muslim to Catholic.  Yes, it would have been falsifying legal documents, in an Islamic country, where I believe they still cane people…now that is dedication, love, and loyalty for the cause.  Plan C eventually freaked us all out, and we aborted the mission before Beth ended up featured on Locked Up Abroad.