Rain, rain, go ahead

It hasn’t rained here since June, if my memory serves. What was a rushing stream in the spring has dwindled down to a sophomore of a creek, propelled more by the turbine at the source of it than its own volition. The campus in our part of town has run in-ground sprinklers everywhere, including our front and back lawns, so we continue to see emerald green grass everyday, even while other parts of town are blanketed in shocking states of yellowness. A few times some dark clouds have rumbled through, menacing the ground with threats of a downpour, but none have come, even when we hear thunder overhead. It’s almost as if the rain refuses to fall all the way down to us because we aren’t worthy of anything but bone dry stillness. I can almost appreciate the oddity of last winter’s incessant snow, but as the television was out of order for five weeks, almost is as good as it gets.

Susanne and I have been staring at little blue lines this past week, namely the lines on the ovulation indicator multi-packs we’ve bought. These packs were found between the KY “his and hers” jelly and the female condoms, as if the pharmacy itself was in conflict over procreation. According to the back of the box, one will see a clear blue line on the right indicating a “control” condition—showing us the indicator strip is working. If you also see a clear blue line on the left, it means you’re ovulating RIGHT NOW, so you should run to your nearest sperm producer and harness his goodness. Or you could settle down and not jump on the first available man in proximity.

The issue with the test, however, is that these lines are nowhere near as clear as the little illustrations on the box. And by nowhere near, I mean something like the distance between, say, 3rd base at Yankee Stadium and the outermost ring of Uranus. So there we were, scrying into the vast whiteness of the indicator strip, our noses precariously close to a swatch of material very recently peed upon by Susanne. Is that a line or not a line, we wondered? It’s certainly not as dark as the test line, but that line isn’t very beefy, either. So maybe we’d just pee again, “we” meaning her, and “again” meaning tomorrow. So on we went.

Same result. Next day. Same again. I looked at all three test strips in my hand. Maybe this one was darker. Maybe yesterday’s was better, or maybe not. I looked away after memorizing the potential trajectory of lutenizing hormone as documented on the indicators, and saw a big black box in the air with two impossibly thin,  yellow lines, wherever I cared to look. Dear me, I’d burned the darn things into my retinas! I was going to see hormone levels until I died now. I wondered blithely how many people have lost their sanity staring at hormone indicator strips and realized, astonished, that even one life lost to this is too many. Where was the public outcry?

Meanwhile, our impregnating friends sat in the corner of the dining room, which was an arbitrary choice, really, as neither of us were trying to make a statement about the dining room. It’s got the nicest furniture in the house, actually, so what’s not to like? According to our “vendor,” the little helpers are guaranteed to be frozen solid for at least a week, so we strung ourselves along from blinding ovulation test to blinding ovulation test, reassuring ourselves nervously that any minute now, we’d be ready for prime time.

Tick tock, went the days, which sounded something like the biological clock noise we were hearing anyway. Okay, we don’t believe in bilogical clocks, but we were watching the calendar all the same. Finally, the indicators indicated something slightly more than a ghost of a line. Would we ever see a definitive line? Where did we draw the line [sic] at saying we should try now or not? We understood intellectually that we should only expect ovulation was happening when the lines were the same width and darkness, but we also read online that some women just don’t have that huge surge, and ovulate anyway.

All bets were off. The swimmers were waiting near the head of the dining table, calling out to me in the night. We’re so cold, Everett…help us! Save us!

Neither did we want to miss the timing window nor did we want to open up the canister to a warm vial of sperm corpses. So now was the time.

“Please tell me there are instructions inside this thing,” I said, and I broke the seal and opened the lid.

Inside sat another container, this one metal, with another seal. I began wondering if I wasn’t going to find a gate to hell inside a Russian doll set of containers. Helpfully, a set of instructions was sitting on top of the inside container.

I read through them, then went to the kitchen and put on oven mitts. It was at this point that Susanne saw me, started laughing, and ran to get the camera.

Really? Our child should see these pictures someday? Can i t be the cover of our baby photo book? I pulled out the vial, at the end of a long metal stick, and watched the air around it condense and freeze in a bright white frost. We put the vial on a table mat to thaw out. Both of us came down with a case of the giggles, the likes of which we hadn’t experienced since 6th Grade sex ed class. I don’t think people understand how funny the collision is between “Catholic school” and “sex ed class,” but I always thought it was hysterical.

Fast forwarding to this morning, I called FedEx and requested they pick up the containers, and left everything out on the front stoop. I really didn’t want to have another conversation with the truck driver, in case he asked me how the animal husbandry went.

I looked up and saw dark clouds in the sky, and laughed at them. Waiting for a rain drop is like waiting for two thick blue lines around here.

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2 Comments on “Rain, rain, go ahead”

  1. jen
    October 7, 2009 at 5:00 am #

    Very exciting! I remember the dilemma of the ovulation predictors well. They are just NOT so simple as the package directions make them sound. (And they’re darned expensive too.) Good luck with all of this! And good call on the librarian. (I’m a big fan of librarians.) Now, I’m off to figure out how to subscribe to this thing…

  2. Sharon
    October 11, 2009 at 12:21 am #

    I’ve heard that it has rained there now so maybe that is good sign….

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