Real Housewives of Cologne, Episode 19

31 12 2021

“STUNDE SCHLÄGT”

Coming into this year, I instinctively knew that 2021 would be the year that reality would reassert itself. Things were going too well, we were ignoring all the world’s problems, regression to the mean, and all that.

As you all know, it didn’t take much of 2021 to elapse for that to happen, in a drastic and terminal way.

You didn’t think 2021 was going to get outta here without another bombshell of reality reassertion, did you? If you did, then, brother, you don’t know 2021.

About a month ago, I hinted about it as a comment.

***

Right around the time our nephew came into the world, the better half experienced something she hasn’t since then, and perhaps will never again. It is a thing she had experienced every month (save a recent nine month break) for more than two decades, until that point.  I think you can already see where this is going.

The next month, September, you know was one where I was much more on the road than home. At the end of the month, when I finally got to go home for good, and I was done with Berlin, or Berlin was done with me, she informed me that she was late.

My first thought was precisely this: “Well I know what it isn’t. I’ve been mostly gone, and even when I was home, we’re too tired for that.” Yes, it’s the “two working parents of infants and then toddlers” thing taking its toll. But just in case we both happen to be sexsomniacs, she went for a real pregnancy test, and it came back negative.

October came and went, no time of the month. Again, another test, and again, negative. Which was not surprising, because if the tests were wrong and she was, morning sickness would have set in between the first and second missed periods. And she wasn’t praying to the porcelain god at that time.

November came and went, and ditto. By this time, we knew that another test was pointless.

And now, December has come and gone, and, well, you know the drill.

She’s only 34, which means she’s way too young for true biological menopause. Needless to say, we’ve already seen her Frauenärztin about the matter. One thing that speaks against this being literal menopause is that she’s not experiencing hot or cold flashes, and, notwithstanding the fact that she, like her husband, is almost always too tired for sex, she does still feel the urge on occasion, which means the juices are still flowing.

As of right now, the working theory is that there’s not a supply problem, but there’s a plumbing problem. Meaning that she is experiencing her monthly estrous cycle, but the eggs aren’t making it to her uterus, for some reason.

Next month, she’s going to go in for non-invasive scans to see if anything pointing to that can be discerned. However, if we do find such plumbing problems, any surgery to fix them would be risky and elective, and, considering what else is going on right now in the health care world, elective surgeries are a no go. And on top of that, there’s another issue: She turns 35 in the year about to begin, and that’s the inflection point when it comes to women being able to carry successfully. Even if some sort of corrective surgery could happen, the question is this: Would the doctors and surgeons actually want to pull the trigger on this operation? Considering that they’d be doing this on an about to be (or, after May 2, an already) 35-year old woman, whose odds to carry are going to start going down just for that reason, and one that has already had two children?  It would be different if she was currently childless, but that’s obviously not the case.  Any surgery carries some measure of risk, to boot.  When you’re operating “on that” and “down there,” even more so.  I’m no medical ethicist, and much less no doctor, but I know enough not to bet everything we have that such a surgery will actually happen.

We are seriously considering the possibility that our two now yearling hostages to fate and fortune might be it for us.

The better half has been trying to put up a brave front, considering the time of year, and that our pre-existing children had their first birthday right in the thick of it, and all that is on top of her line of work.  But I know my own wife, and I know it’s eating her alive.  She acts like I can’t hear her when she’s crying in the bathroom with the door closed.  And if I said it wasn’t affecting me at all, I’d be lying.  The only thing that keeps us from falling apart are, obviously, those two.  And it’s not like my recent past hasn’t taught me the hard way a thing or three about this sort of thing more generally, to take these kinds of things in stride.

***

As many of you may remember reading here, one of the things which the better half brought up in the time between the proposal and the wedding, something that made us get this wedding done sooner rather than later, was that she was hearing the loud ticking of her biological clock. As you also know, the stars were really looking out for us when it came to all that, because Germany shut down for Covid all of four days after our wedding day, which meant that if we would have scheduled the wedding date as much as the next Saturday later, it wouldn’t have been able to happen as planned.

Now that some time has passed, we see here in the longer run that those stars were doing double duty. It may well turn out to be the case that her instincts and the timing of her trepidation was a real buzzer beater of life.

Never doubt the gut instincts of reasonably intelligent people who are well enough in tune with their own existence.

***

Even if this didn’t happen, and even if my mother didn’t pass back in January, this the old year about to end was very much a year of reality reasserting itself, in a more conventional mundane sense.

I figured this out on Christmas Day, along with one of the two saying his first word — You’ll find out about that as a comment in the previous post in this series.  Christmas Day 2021 was the first Christmas since 2016 that there wasn’t some sort of dramatic or surprising or unexpected difference in my life compared to the previous Christmas Day.  Which leads me to this to say about 2021 in general:  This was the first year in the last five that my day to day life wasn’t dramatically or surprisingly or unexpectedly different in some way at the end of the year compared to the beginning. The last year that was true was 2016.

One other similarity between my 2021 and my 2016 was that the number of miles (kilometers?) I logged this year was the fewest in the last five years, and 2016 was the last year I was away from my home residential city that relatively little. In 2016, the farthest I got from St. Louis was Kansas City, and barely leaving Missouri otherwise. This year, the farthest I was away from Cologne was Berlin, and barely leaving Germany otherwise. Only four brief excursions outside the Reich this year, twice to Brussels, once to Paris (a trip that turned out to be a waste of a Saturday and expensive gas), and once to Straßburg, though that’s not really leaving Germany, even though it “legally” is. (Insert 748,219,359,648th rant about the Alsace here).

You long timers already know why 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 were so different in all those regards.

And it does speak to my existence settling down and settling in.

I will most likely be spending a good chunk of April in Paris, because what will happen there that month will be at least consequential and maybe even historic.  That and I really need to see Paris, as my two previous trips there have only been superficial.  And a year and a half from now, if all goes well, and logistics made all the easier thanks to Lufthansa’s accidental Christmas present to me, the better half and I will be traveling a really long way.  You know, the closer it gets to that, the more I’m looking forward to it, in spite of everything including my previous hesitance.  Three and a half years, and by then, five years, away from your native city and the one where you had lived for virtually the entirety of about forty one and a half years of your life to that point will do that to you.

***

When it came to 2021 being as 2021-y as it was for the better half and I, the whole reality reasserting itself thing, it hit for me at the beginning of the year, and for the better half later in the year.

The German translation of Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls has as its title “Wem die Stunde Schlägt.” Whom the hour strikes.

This year, the hour struck for both of us.


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3 responses

31 12 2021
Alex the Goon

considering what else is going on right now in the health care world
This could be jab-related, even if she didn’t take it. Some of the reported after-effects are drastic changes in menses, even in women who simply had the misfortune of occupying the same office or living room as a jab victim.
As for whether to try fixing it, nobody remembers Dick Van Patten for starring in “Two Is Enough”.
God be with you and Frau.

31 12 2021
David In TN

For Whom the Bell Tolls is my favorite novel. I first read it as a high school sophomore circa 1966. The best part IMO are the internal monologues. One of the best scenes, where Comrade Marty screws up the attempt to warn General Golz the fascists are ready was cut out (was filmed with George Coulouris) of the movie.

The weakness of the Gary Coper-Ingrid Bergman film is the internal monologues can’t be fitted in.

In 2008 we were told FWTBT was the favorite book of both Barack Obama and John McCain, who used the title for the film he made just before his death. Neither of them “get it” IMO.

1 01 2022
TBC

Good luck to you both – rather, good luck to all of you. Challenging times indeed.

It's your dime, spill it. And also...NO TROLLS ALLOWED~!

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