Rerailing the train

Oct 12, 2009 | babies, goals

Today wasn’t supposed to be any abnormal kind of day.  It’s raining (again).  It seems awfully ironic that it feels like Georgia has gotten nothing but rain for the past month, when we needed it desperately for so long. 


Another rainy Monday.  This morning I had an interview that I shouldn’t have bothered with in the first place.  The reason I even accepted is because I have the inability to say no to everyone except Oscar and the dog.  Plus, I need to show I’m trying to get a job for my record of work search in case my unemployment claim gets re-opened. 

The interview was nothing special. Thirty minutes, and I was back on the road, en route to Barnes and Noble to look at GACE practice exams and to ask about their holiday hiring schedule (and there isn’t one this year, as I found out).  After perusing the entire store, I stopped at a table that was promoting the new Where the Wild Things Are movie, and I picked up a copy, deciding that one day, little junior Velez will need a copy of this in their library. 

Except, I didn’t stop there.  I walked over to the Libros en Espanol section and picked up a Spanish copy of Mike Mulligan and his Steamshovel, and got teary-eyed, blinking back the tears right there in the children’s section.  I didn’t mean to, and of course, it got worse as I flipped through the book, reading to myself the words I have practically memorized in English from when my parents and grandparents read it to me over and over. 

Then, I picked up a copy bilingual copy of Are You My Mother (one of my favorite books), added it to my stack, and kept moving.  I was running around the children’s section, “I can buy them all, I can buy them all, I can buy them all.”

Before I knew it, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and Tikki-Tikki-Tembo also got added to my stack, and it was about that time I realized 1.) That I needed to get ahold of myself, because I was picking up books for a library belonging to a child that hasn’t even been conceived yet, 2.) I felt slightly guilty about buying books of any kind while I’m currently unemployed. 

* * * * * * * * * * * *

My friend Mark came over last week and we split a bottle of wine and played catch-up.  During our chat, he asked me if I think I’m so focused on getting pregnant right now because I’m not working, and I said, yes, probably.  It’s especially hard because I don’t want to just get a job “just anywhere” and be underemployed, but I’m starting to feel the guilt rise up again (particularly because I’m not getting unemployment help right now), and I focus on all the negativity surrounding that.  And then, I focus on the idea of becoming a mom, and it consumes me.  It’s a vicious cycle because I’m not pregnant, and it just gets added to my “negative” list. 

I really, really need something to pass the time/make money/keep me from buying up everything Scholastic has ever published, and I’ve signed up for my first two GACE tests I need to take in order to begin my certification process, but those aren’t until January.  So I have 2 1/2 months before I can even take those. 

And what’s worse, what causes my stomach to knot up like an angry coiled snake, is that I don’t even have it that bad.  There are people out there who can’t make their house payments, who are getting their possessions stripped away from them because they lost their jobs, people without medical insurance who are thousands in debt, and so on.  I should feel lucky that I don’t have any of that resting on my shoulders, and it’s just guilt from buying up half the children’s section at Barnes and Noble.  I’ll be ok, and I know that.  Oscar and I are doing just fine, and I’m on the verge of making a life-altering and hopefully rewarding career change, we are blessed with the best families anyone could ever ask for, and I have a steady group of friends I can call just about anytime.  I just get derailed sometimes.


  1. Hey Ashley- Its Ashley Gaines! I have been meaning to tell you that I enjoy your blog. I am totally with you on the whole wanting/needing some big life/career (not baby, yet) change when I can currently meet my needs while so many others cant (also on wanting to buy everything in a bookstore). Good luck on the conception thing- you two are going to be awesome parents and the kid is definitely going to have great personality!

  2. rule of parenting: NEVER feel guilty about buying books. They are the best investment. Always a good idea to buy books. I was a book collector for years, and now to see them used for their proper context by my sons is one of the great things I get to see in this rainy world.
    second note: that’s a pretty ballsy question from Mark, keep him close, he sounds pretty honest with you.
    third: you are working. Don’t stoop to think that because a paycheck isn’t attached to it you’re not productive. Is that the sum total of Ashley – the arbitrary amount on a bi-weekly stub? Not in a million years. You’re frustrated, we are all frustrated. But you are working thru it. Many quit. Not you. You’re working on the long haul. A bigger picture. There are always people who have it better and worse, that’s a sliding scale and you’ll fall off if you try to run on it. You are you, better and worse – keep writing. That’s your job. I’m Serious.

    Hope your well. Bird named Cher told me you changed your hair again. Yet to see it. Write me a short on why you did it.

  3. @Ashley – I’m so glad you stick around – it’s nice to know who the lurkers are (kidding!) 🙂 Thanks for the compliment, it’s good to know that people are *for* us having babies and not “ehh, are you sure? I mean, I can’t really see you as a Mom,” and so forth.

    @DB 1.) I just applied for a part-time stint at the library, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Better than a bookstore, because I don’t have to worry about spending up my paychecks.
    2.) Mark is one of those people that can ask me damn near anything and I’m not the least bit threatened. I think it’s because of the genteel Savannah accent, ha.
    3.) Thanks for being my cheerleader. I’m spending this weekend with Rosemary at a workshop so I’m hoping I’ll have some writing breakthroughs.

    P.S. – The birdie was right. It was an accident. I was trying to get all the brassy red out, and bought a box of hair dye called “sweet cola,” a dark brown. The first time, I did it myself, and I missed h u g e chunks of red, so I panicked, bought another box, had a friend go over the red chunks, and the second time, it came out black. I’ve been told it’s very “fall,” but I fear people aren’t telling me I resemble the Mistress of the Dark. Thankfully, I’m not at some stodgy business environment where that would be a problem, so I’m embracing the black and waiting for it to lighten. Evidence here: