Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ready or Not...


“So,” asked a friend over dinner recently, “are you ready to be parents?”

The DB began, “well, we have the stroller…”
I added, “and the car seat.”
“We’ve got the crib.”  “Oh yes, certainly. And plenty of diapers.”  “Well, for the first week.  But we need to get wipes.” “We’ve got lots of clothes.” “Tons.” “And linens for the bed and duvet covers for both the little and the big duvet...”

“Yes,” said our friend.  “I see you are very prepared.  But I meant was, well, are you ready to be parents.”

“We knew what you meant,” the DB replied, as we looked at each other across the table and exchanged some nervous laughter.  “There’s just not any good answer for that.”

Durr, say those of you who aren’t parents, the answer is either yes or no, hello?  You are SO not ready to be parents!

Those of you with kids know; the answer really is way too complicated to be answered over a casual dinner.

I have not read every child-care book on the planet, nor have I an advanced degree in Child Development (thank god, parents who have degrees in Child Development seem to always be slightly more neurotic and anxious about their kids than the rest of us poor uneducated slobs) and even if I did, I still don’t think I’d be confident in saying “why OF COURSE I’m ready!  Silly bugger, now pass the whiskey, I need to get very drunk.”

That isn’t to say I haven’t paid attention during “Nanny 911” or “Supernanny” or other shows that put one right off of having kids (seriously, what is it with these people, not only are they horrible parents, but they managed to breed three or more times before the little monsters turned on them - what were you thinking, that you’d just keep popping them out until you got a nice one??).  Or haven’t discussed various parenting situations with the DB.  But I don’t think that there is such a thing as “ready” as if it’s a black or white, yes or no, kind of thing.  “Ready” is a three-dimensional cloud in which certain areas you may be prepared for and others you may not which total up to your “readiness” but may be in a completely different vector than someone else’s “readiness” and neither of these results is better or worse than the other.

Sorry for the random mathy imagery, I watch a lot of National Geographic Channel.

So I can say that I have the physical accoutrements of “readiness” - the crib, the baby bath, the iddle biddy stripy socky-wockies (dude, what is it about pregnancy that makes one completely nuts over baby FEET?  Seriously, it’s like I’ve developed a tiny foot fetish and my preference is for stripped socks that I can barely fit over my thumb.), I’ve read up on the basics of baby care, I know how to change a diaper, and I completely understand the mechanics of breastfeeding.

But actually doing it… well, that’s another story.

How will I function with the upcoming sleep deprivation?  What if breastfeeding turns out to be even more difficult than I can handle?  What if the Spawn is a particularly fussy baby?  How will I handle the overpowering emotions that are part hormones and part exhaustion and part iddle biddy stripy socky-wocky madness? Besides, how on earth are you supposed to be ready for having a whole new human being of your very own?  The big eyes looking up at you?  The little hand that grasps your finger with THAT GRIP?

If you say you can be prepared for all of that, and a million and ten things you haven’t thought of yet, I call you a dirty filthy liar and I’m a gonna cut you (sorry, hormones).

But you know what, you aren’t supposed to be.  I mean, in real life, not what you read on the internet or in a book.  Although, to be fair to the internet and the books, they pretty much lay out “you have no idea what’s about to hit you, you sad sack of cellulite” because there isn’t anyway to be ready and all you can do is hold on to your big girl pants and roll with the punches.

The DB and I are ready to roll.  And I am certainly wearing big girl pants.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Shampoo shenanigans and stuff

How is it that my husband can go through shampoo so fast?

A quick aside for more information - my husband has a skin allergy that renders him completely scaly and pimply and gross from regular soaps.  (I'm sure he's going to just LOVE that I told you all about his eczema.)  *I* (insert preening) figured it out and found him a soap that he could use as well as a shampoo and conditioner.  But that left us with all the other soaps and shampoos that we'd bought in our mad attempt to cure him and I've been steadily using them up, one after another, for the last two years.

You'd think I'd be done or that we must have had a MOUNTAIN of soaps and shampoos going at the time.  And I'm starting to think that your assumptions must be right, because DAMN I am *still* working on that last bottle of regular shampoo and I am no closer to getting rid of the two half bottles of Head & Shoulders (copyright trademarked blah blah blah) than I was a few years ago.

Part of the problem is that when I go off on excavation I can't take the HUGE bottles of shampoo and soap I have sitting in the shower and so buy smaller bottles to start me off and then I get stuck buying more while I'm abroad and then I bring it home and now I've got TWO bottles to finish instead of one.

You could suggest that I throw it away... but that goes against every fiber of my being.  Obviously, $20 worth of shampoo, soap, conditioner etc. is not going to bankrupt me... but a very large chunk of my soul wants to scream "it's not like we're rolling in cash, either, sweetheart" and I just can't do it.  I also keep left-over pasta (you can re-heat it by dropping it into boiling water for 30 seconds and you'd never notice that it was older than newly made pasta) and my husband will not throw away the tube of toothpaste until he's absolutely sure he's gotten the last bit of toothpaste out.  Usually this results in less and less toothpaste actually getting on his toothbrush, until I point out, "uh, honey, I don't think there actually *is* any toothpaste on your toothbrush" and he sheepishly admits that maybe, just maybe, he's gotten all the toothpaste out... at least all the toothpaste that can be gotten out without resorting to surgery.  If he didn't know that I'd kill him dead, I'm sure he'd use my nail scissors to gut the tube for that last little bit.

We joke about it.  We laugh over how he scrapes the last of the toothpaste out of the lid and I add water to the last of the soap dispenser to make sure we get EVERY LAST BUBBLE.  We laugh at my propensity to empty hotels of their soaps (hey, they're going to throw it away anyway, I'm just saving them the trouble) and his practically invisible socks (so thin that one of these days a load will go into the wash and NEVER RETURN!).  Sometimes we'll throw away the leftover pasta (but only if it's not enough to make a meal of the next day and NEVER if there is leftover sauce) because we aren't REALLY that poor.  I mean, there was The Month Of Cabbage a few years back.  *That* was poor.  We can afford organic eggs now.

But.  Still.

Why does my husband have to go through shampoo so fast??

It really boggles my mind.  He's got far less hair than I do.  And SOAP!  Okay, he's bigger than I am.  Or was.  Because at this point, we weigh about the same amount and I'm pretty sure I've caught up with him in overall surface area AND YET it has taken me four months to go through a little bottle of soap, during which time he's gone through THREE bottles that are THREE TIMES the size of my little bottle.  WHAT IS HE DOING IN THERE??  I've been in the bathroom when he showers.  I know he turns off the water, like a good environmentally contentious young man, to soap up, so I know he's not rinsing it off faster than he can slap it on.

But I'm starting to have the suspicion that he's possibly forgetting that he's washed and he's repeating himself in the shower.  Like he enters some time-loop and keeps repeating the same motions again and again, only time is not repeating, it's continually moving forwards and the soap is simply getting used up.

Evidence:
1) He takes twice as long in the shower than I do.

I'm a woman.  We're designed by nature to take longer in the shower and yet I take 10 minutes (okay, it's inching up to 20 because I can't bend over or stand on one leg for very long, so reaching the soap on the lower shelf and getting my legs up high enough to be scrubbed takes some slow careful maneuvers, if it wasn't so utterly grotesque it might be considered performance art - but his showers have also gotten proportionally longer).  I'm in the bathroom when he's showering three days out of the week and I know that he spends the entire time in there lathering and scrubbing (I tend to spend the majority of my time rinsing) and seriously, it should not take that long UNLESS HE IS WASHING EVERY PART THREE TIMES WITH VAST QUANTITIES OF SOAP!!

2) He has no memory of what he's doing in the shower.

Conversation from a few weeks ago -
DB: (in the shower) Um, so, baby, can I ask you something?
AG: Yeah...
DB: Water seems to be getting into the soap and it makes it really watery and hard to use and so, um, if you could, you know, remember, to... uh, close the lid, you know, after, uh, you... uh, use it... that would be, um, really great...
AG: Honey, I don't *use* your soap, remember?
(Pause)
DB: Oh, so I guess it's me then.
AG: Gotta be.

And since then, 9 times out of 10 when I get into the shower, I end up closing his soap because HE STILL FORGETS TO DO IT.

So there, if he's washing himself and then forgetting that he's washed himself, this could in fact lead to the kind of shower loop that increases soap and shampoo usage to the point where I'm buying him a new bottle of soap from the organic shop every two weeks.  They must think I've got a particularly large family that all uses the same bottle of soap.  I've bought them out of their stock.  I've got to go in there and ask them to restock, please, because we're about to be out again and I wasn't able to get any more on the mainland (having, I think, possibly bought THEM all out of this soap too).  Really, at this point, I ought to call the manufacturer and ask to purchase a case because we go through it so bloody fast.

Or really, I should make the DB do it because he's the one using it all up.  The soapy beast.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A momentous week

No, I didn't give birth... *sigh*

But we bought a house!!

Correction: my husband bought a house, I am forbidden from owning property because I'm a dirty foreigner on a temporary residency visa.

There is some logic to this -  every time there's a war, Germany invades Denmark (usually right after Poland), today Germans *love* to holiday in Denmark (why, y'all have the ALPS fer fecks sake??!!) and there is a worry that the Germans would buy up Denmark given the chance - after all OBVIOUSLY the Danes have SOMETHING the Germans want because THEY KEEP COMING BACK!

There must be ways around this rule, I know a Polish couple that just bought a house on my island, so maybe the law is limited to dirty foreigners on temporary residency visas AND Germans.

So yeah, there will need to be some lawyering to get it all worked out so that if the DB dies (God Forbid) the house will pass to the Spawn and I'll be executor or something.

BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT OF THIS POST!  THE POINT OF THIS POST IS THAT WE'VE BOUGHT A MOTHERFREAKING HOUSE Y'ALL!!

Before you jump in and say "welcome to the wild world of home ownership" let me remind you that we (DB) own an apartment in Aarhus, which we rent out rooms in, making us not only homeowners, but landlords.  Believe me when I tell you I keep a close eye on interest rates and inflation.

Unless you are my accountant, you're probably getting bored with this discussion.  "So, this new house - what up?" you ask.

It's on the western side of the island, in a little village we came across a long while back that we fell in love with.  We've been trying to figure out how to move there since we settled on the island, but most of the houses for sale were WAY out of our price range.  We shopped around looking at places that were in our price range and they ran from "OH DEAR GOD I think I need another tetanus booster" to "JESUS H CHRIST we should just burn this down and start over!"  We looked around outside our "happy zone" - going as far as to look at a "parcelhus" (think 1970's ranch-style in the US... aka hideous) in Marstal.  That was a sad sad day.  Things overheard at the parcelhus:
"Hey, if you stand here, in the corner of the lot, you can almost see the ocean... there, just on the other side of the breeze-block mother-in-law cottage..."
"Well, we certainly wouldn't have to worry about lawn maintenance, I could trim this with your electric razor."
"I suppose we should be glad it comes with A tree."

But this is a small island.  Tell one person you're looking for a house and people begin to call YOU with homes for sale.  That's how my husband heard about this house.  We went out and saw it several times.  It was perfect, nothing has to be done before moving in.  We didn't say to each other "well, we can live with it for now" (although I did say that about the kitchen... but I say that about most kitchens) and after a bit of discussion we could get it for within our price range.

It has the most gorgeous view over the landscape.  There's a bit of ocean, but mostly it's fields and wooded areas.  We're surrounded by farmland, being just outside the village itself, so yes, we'll get that wonderful manure smell several times a year, but we'll also get an ever changing seasonal view.

It's a two bedroom house, with two floors, but only one bathroom and alas, I'm losing my bathtub.  We're going to get creative on the upper floor - it's a huge room and I cannot abide wasted space (why do Danes make a huge open space and then fill it with multiple sitting areas... how many hygge zones do you need?), so we're going to build a master bedroom up there using bookshelves for walls (this is what happens when you watch too many home improvement shows) and turn one of the bedrooms on the ground floor into a guest bedroom.  The back yard has several fruit trees and lavender and wisteria (hands down my favorite plants) and a lawn that is large enough but hopefully not too large.  There will be space to grow as well, if we decide to keep adding on to the family.

I'm awfully excited about this house!  I can't wait to be able to hang pictures on the walls again (without thinking... hmmmm, will this mean I have to paint the whole room when we move out or just this wall...) and decide randomly to paint a room cerulean blue JUST BECAUSE I CAN.  I'm also relieved because this means when the Spawn gets a hold of my markers and decorates the wall, I can say, "ah, well, I'm sure Dad will be VERY PROUD" instead of "OMG THE DEPOSIT!!"  Spawn will be able to run about in the backyard, whooping and hollering and not disturb the neighbors.  Nor will Spawn disturb anyone other than Mom and Dad with the indoor roller skating or "Puttin' on the Ritz" routine (which the baby is practicing RIGHT NOW in my uterus).


You probably won't get any more photos until we move in, sometime in mid-May.  I'm not going to post pictures of the previous owners things, that's her stuff and I think she should have some privacy.

Monday, February 14, 2011

It would be so much worse if I lived in Haiti... no, wait, it would be warm there!

We're having a horrific storm at the moment.  It's all wind.  Nothing but wind.  But it's pulling tiles off of roofs (not mine, thank you Mr. Whoever Laid the Tiles, but boy am I glad I don't live just down the street) so it's not your normal-every-day-gee-you-complain-about-the-weather-too-much kind of wind.  And it's cold.  It's probably trying to snow, but the snow is getting blown horizontally and is probably landing in Munich.  I've been watching people walk their dogs and have never been so grateful to have a cat instead as I do today.  However, having a cat isn't without it's drawbacks.

Alot: Meow!
AG: You do *not* want to go out in this cat.
Alot: MEOW!
AG: You're going to regret this.
Alot: Meow MEOW meow!
AG: *opens door* (both AG and Alot are smacked in the face by incredible winds at freezing temperature) Okay, there's outside! Go and do your thing!
Alot: Meow? *turns tail and runs under table*
AG: That's what I thought.

Ten minutes later.

Alot: Meeeeooooowwwwrrrr!
AG: You know, we have a litter box.
Alot: Ooooowwwwr!
AG: You're going to be so pissed when you want back in and I've gone off to the pharmacy and there's no one home!
Alot: Mrrrrrrr!
AG: Okay *opens door* (repeat of the wind-in-the-face, both are practically blown back into the house, doors slam five rooms away)
Alot: *full body shiver* *darts out and down the stairs and under the deck*
AG: I'll give you 10 minutes and then I'm going to the pharmacy.

Time's up.

No cat.

Well, gotta run, these antacids won't buy themselves.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's not the distance

Okay, it *totally is* the distance.

I know it's not that far.  Because in a pre-pregnant state I can walk there in under 20 minutes, so it's probably only a kilometer - which is less than a mile.  In fact, it's probably only a quarter mile 'cause it's like three New York blocks or something.  That's like once around the track (this refers to my high school which has a track that is a quarter mile round - I'm telling you this because it occurred to me y'all might not have gone to my high school).  It's not that far.

Except I've already walked it once today.

And I'm carrying a small angry beast inside of me, one that is head-butting my cervix and clawing at my uterus with its little hands and kicking my diaphragm with its little feet.

The "it" I must walk to is the citizen service at the county/city hall.

Because of this NemID thing that I've talked about.

The borgerservice (citizen service) is only open when a virgin slaughters a unicorn during the second full moon of the month (or you know,  M, Tu, Th, F from 9-12 [possibly] and Th afternoons from 2:30 to some unknown time).  I thought it opened on Thursday at 1:30, so I walked up there after Danish class.  But NO, *I* was thinking of the pharmacy, which also closes for a lengthy lunch break at the same time that everyone else takes a lunch break and runs out to buy things in the pharmacy.  I was an hour early.  So I went home, totally forgetting to write down when the blasted place is open.  That's okay, I has the intertoobs!  I tried to see when the opening hours are by going to the website.  But the page that gives you times and phone numbers is ERROR 404, which means it's been eaten by a bear, so I'm just going to have to take my butt up there again to see if it's open now.

Frak that!  I figure... it's cold.  It's going to snow.  I am going to drive.

Only I can't get the car unlocked.

*hangs head and sobs quietly in the car port*

Back inside.  Ring to husband to complain about the inequity of life.

Get hung up on because DB is in an interview.

Try to blame the cat.  Fail miserably.

I tried to psyche myself up "come on girl, it's not far, just walk slowly and steadily and you'll get there and you'll deal with this crap and it'll be out of your hair and you'll be so proud of yourself and then you can go back to the pharmacy, which will be open and you can buy cotton swabs and more of that genius antacid and then waddle home and you can even take a bath or something equally awesome."

But my hips are done for the day.  And the Spawn hasn't stopped moving for about an hour (sleep DAMN YOU).  And I am not walking up there if there is the slightest chance it will be closed because I just don't think I could take that kind of rejection.

Just about everyone on the planet has bigger problems than me today... however, I think I'm just going to curl up here on the couch, cover my head with a blanket and throw myself a little pity party for one.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

... and with that, the Danish Boy began to panic

Sometimes I wonder if the Spawn is aware that the ultrasound tech said my due date is March 19th.

I ask, because I think the Spawn dropped today.  About half way through Danish class.

Last night Spawn was all up in my business, kicking my stomach, shoving my uterus into my lungs and causing me to wake gasping for air.  I had a completely random dream in which I went into labor and gave birth.  On March 23rd.

God I don't want to wait until March 23rd.  Even February 23rd sounds far away!

So anyway, there I am in Danish class and the Spawn is kicking and wriggling and suddenly I cannot sit comfortably.  I had this total flashback to when I wore short sexy little skirts (don't worry Mom, it didn't last very long and I was over 18) and it was so very important to keep your knees together when sitting down.  Because at that moment, "knees together" was not going to happen my friends.  I was trying my best to keep each leg as far away from my belly as possible.  And it was getting harder and harder to do.  Having my legs at the 90 degrees angle needed to sit in a chair was practically impossible.  I leaned back as far as I could but it just seemed that my belly had dropped down between my legs.  Forget worrying about the baby falling out (as some women describe it), I was worried my belly was going to end up falling out of my pelvis and hanging down by my knees.  HOW CAN YOU BIRTH A BABY THAT ISN'T IN YOUR PELVIS???

Now, having the Spawn drop, I was kinda hoping that I'd be able to breathe again.  This hasn't really been the case so far.  What has happened is that I seem to be getting kicked in new places, which is kinda nice, because maybe the bruises will heal.  (I swear I have uterine bruises, y'all.  You can't see them, but DAMN I have little spots that HURT!)  But I still have the problem - how am I going to sit
- at the dining table?
- at my desk?
- on the toilet?

And how much longer does this mean I have to go?  pleasedon'tsaysixweekspleasedon'tsaysixweeks Because supposedly I have six weeks to go.  Unless... we go by my original reckoning... which would make my due date March 10th... and that would be only a little over four weeks and that has GOT to be better than SIX.  And then if Spawn decides to come early, it's not too shockingly early... I mean, if Spawn came next week, then I'd only be three weeks early!

I think I might just start working on some of the methods suggested to bring about labor.  I'm already eating spicy food.  Perhaps I'll bring up the other method with the DB tonight over dinner...

Monday, February 07, 2011

The Good News is, You're Normal. The Bad News is, *This* is Normal

I got caught up in other things and never got around to telling you about my midwife visit.

I'm fine.  I'm normal.  I'm so normal, it's practically abnormal.

I got a bit of a patronizing smile over the weight thing, but once I explained that I was concerned because I'm also bloated and my hands are hurting, she realized that I was listing some of the symptoms of pre-eclampsia and took me very seriously.  My blood pressure is normal for a woman at my stage of pregnancy, I lack protein in my urine (sorry about that, that was possibly too much information?), and the weight gain is not really that severe, nor was it really sudden.  However, she told me to call her if the swelling got worse, because that could indicate something's going on and she's rather have me checked out again than wait until I start having convulsions.

So this weight thing - all over the internet and in all the baby books it says "a woman should gain between 25 and 35 pounds in the course of a healthy pregnancy."  They should all be shot.  I now know gobs of women who are gaining/have gained far more than that and it hasn't resulted in any problems whatsoever.

Despite the evilness of the internet, I had to return there for information because this pain in my fingers... sometimes numbness... had me a bit concerned and I wondered, WTF.  It wasn't really mentioned in my books, apart from one of the signs of pre-eclampsia, but I had noticed some women talking about pain like this in late pregnancy, so I was wondering if it was normal.  (This procedure of checking first, calling midwife in a panic second has so far worked very well.  A shocking number of rather disgusting bodily behaviors are completely normal during pregnancy.)

When you type "pain numbness pregnancy" into Google, you totally expect to find:
OMG - You are Dying and So Is Your Baby
Here's A List of Terrible Diseases You Have and So Does Your Baby
Call 911
Check Out This MILF Action!!!

Instead I got:
Boring, We All Get This
So Normal, Your Child Should Be Called Norm Al or Norma Al
Did You Seriously Think Pregnancy Was Easy and Pain Free?
Check Out This MILF Action!!!

Advice on handling the pain ranged from taking Tylenol PM to not sleeping on my side, because that can compress nerves and things.

Which leads me to a bit of a rant... I can't sleep on my back because I'll compress some major nerve and artery and kill myself and/or my baby and I can't sleep on my side because I'll lose all use of one or both arms and I can't sleep on my stomach because, DUH, I'm pregnant... exactly how am I supposed to sleep, oh wise Internet People???  I can't sleep flat because of acid reflux, I need to keep my feet elevated and now possibly my arms elevated, so basically I need to elevate everything but the baby above my heart.  Can I get myself shot into space for the last 6 weeks of pregnancy?  'Cause it sounds like the only way to solve these problems is to be in zero G.

I mentioned the acid reflux to the midwife, who immediately wrote the name of an antacid on a slip of paper.  BEST FREAKING DRUG EVER!  Right there in the information packet included in the medication (what, don't you read those?  You totally should, you learn some of the darnedest things about half lives and chemical reactions) it said SAFE FOR PREGNANT AND NURSING WOMEN.  I'm really sick of "like all medications, contact your physician before taking this medication if you are pregnant or nursing."  And they work!  Oh, how they work!  I still can't lay completely flat, because whatever is in my stomach will come up, but I can lay mostly flat and I'm not getting heart burn or acid reflux.  Genius!  They don't taste half bad either.  And I can keep eating chili, barbeque, Indian, and anything deriving from the cuisine from south of the Mason-Dixon line, because recommended meal plans for pregnant women are so bloody dull.

Look, I'm fat, I waddle, I'm retaining water and I'm leaking strange fluids from strange places, I can't go for long walks without needing a (rather large) bush to pee behind, I can't go on amusement park rides (although I think I'm going to ask my husband to let me stand on the front of the shopping cart like a hood ornament next time we go shopping), I can't get drunk and dance with abandon - do not tell me that I have to eat the most boring food on the planet at the same time!

Though this does beg the question: are jalapeños a fruit or a vegetable?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I'm tired, so don't expect this post to be linear, let alone grammatically correct

The brain has been churning out some doozies lately.  Mostly the "oh my god there's a ghost standing next to your bed NO DON'T OPEN YOUR EYES IT'LL TOTALLY KILL YOU IF YOU OPEN YOUR EYES!" variety.  'Night terrors,' my mom calls them.  Last night I was trying to help a talking lab mouse come up with a plan to defeat the evil wizard who had transmogrified him (I guess you had to be there) when something grabbed my shoulders and dragged me, backwards, through the wall and down a dark well.  I could smell the dank air, I could feel the wind rushing past my face, and all the blood was rushing from my head towards my feet because I was moving That Fast.  I think it was a well.  I was a little preoccupied to ask what manner of architecture I was falling through at the time.

As I was plunging towards god-knows what, all I could think of was "if you hit the ground in your dream you will DIE and if your peacefully sleeping husband doesn't wake in time, SO WILL THE BABY!" and I flipped myself around in that dream and began clawing at the air trying to either stop falling or wake up.  I don't think I've ever struggled so hard in a dream before.  I was crying, I could feel the tears on my face - complete and utter gibbering panic.

I'm shocked that I didn't wake with a kick or a scream.  I hadn't actually been crying in my sleep either, because my eyes were dry.  And I hadn't flailed about.  Apparently I was completely silent and still because my husband continued to sleep peacefully next to me, and since he wakes up if I so much as roll over, the exertions in my dream had to be completely in my head.

Trying to get to sleep after that was pretty near impossible.  I kindly let the DB continue sleeping.  But then he was a bit of an ass (in my humble opinion) this morning, so we'll see if I'm so freaking nice TONIGHT!

And today hasn't really been my day.  Danish went really well, so that's something to hold on to.  But yet again I'm having trouble with my Nem-ID, the brilliant idea somebody came up with that ties all of your accounts, both government (like your tax info) and private (like your bank account), to one 9 digit number and a randomly generated four digit code that needs a special card to find the random 6 digit response.

Previously on Life in The-Land-Where-We-Fix-Things-That-Aren't-Broken: I was sent a Nem-ID by my bank.  It arrived when I wasn't here.  It got mislaid.  I got another Nem-ID.  The bank had on record that I had one Nem-ID, let's call it #A, the government that I had another, we'll call that #B.  Got bank to transfer my account from #A to #B.  Used #B to do important things like check taxes and paystubs.  Happiness and joy all around.

Got mail today from the Nem-ID-issuing-peoples that they've blocked my Nem-ID because it isn't being used.  Called them up.  They tell me that they've blocked #A oh, and that bank is using #B, so I need to call the bank and get them to transfer account to #A.  Which they've blocked.  Did I mention they blocked #A, the number they *want* me to transfer accounts to?  I say, I don't use #A, I use #B, I don't want to use #A, I want to keep using #B, that's the number I had signed up to use to check taxes and paystubs.  Ah, says the man, but we changed your account to #A.  Well, I say, change it back.  We can't, says the man, unless you have a Danish passport or Danish driver's license.  You gotta be fucking kidding me, I say, I haven't either of those things.  I'm 100% foreign.  Ah, well, the man says, then you probably don't need to use the civic/government services that require you to use Nem-ID.  Ah, no, I say, I do in fact need to be able to check my taxes and my paystubs, both of which are civic/government services WHICH IS WHY I GOT #B IN THE FIRST PLACE.  Oh dear, says the man, this is awkward, you'll have to go to the citizen services in your local city hall and ask them to change #A to #B.  Brilliant, I say, because I got #B from them in the first place and made sure they had set my civic/government accounts to that number and I certainly never asked them to change it to #A so why is it now changed, I ask you, because *I* didn't do it.  I'm afraid I don't know, said the man, and all I can say is that I'm really really sorry that you are getting bounced around like this.  You're telling me, I say, this is the least NEM (nem means "easy") thing I've ever had to do in Denmark! [Insert pleasantries] End Call.

Nem-ID is NOT EASY.  Taking the bus is easier.  And I have serious issues trying to take the right bus in the right direction in this country.  THAT'S HOW NOT EASY THIS NEM-ID IS!   And I'm pretty sick and tired of telling you all about it, cause it's boring.

Most of the time I can solve my problems with one phone call.  Or an email.  It's a pretty small country.  But it is also highly dependent on it's overburdened bureaucracy and it seems that for every time it tries to make things more streamlined or simple, it actually doubles the amount of work and the number of complications that can arise.  But hey, at least now my tax information is SAFE.  'Cause you know that thieves love nothing better than to see what exemptions you've signed up for and how much is in your retirement account.  And thank god my bank account is safe.  It's a continual problem, all my American accounts are constantly being hacked and... wait... no they haven't.  Heck, my bank calls me if they think I've been hacked, meaning I've gotten some middle of the night calls because they think I'm in the US and that some whack job is running around some weird land called "Denmark" using my cards.

The only improvement is that it got rid of the digital signature that was wedded to your personal computer, meaning you couldn't check your bank account from just any computer without 20 extra passwords and account numbers.  Except of course, if you used a Mac because the digital signature wasn't always compatible with the OS or internet program you used (say, if you refused to put Internet Explorer on your computer because IE is the DEVIL) so it didn't matter if you had signed up for a digital signature because it didn't freaking work.

Meanwhile I called up this pathology clinic in Odense because they are pestering me about having a pap-smear because YOU DON'T WANT TO DIE from irregular cells, often caused by HPV, even though they aren't CANCER, but can lead to CANCER.  AND YOU CAN DIE FROM CANCER YOU KNOW.  I gave them a ring because, dude, I'm pregnant, pap-smears are not really the best plan for me at this time.  The nurse lady agreed and then said, how about three months from now?  Three months?  Seriously?  I won't be done [TMI] oozing bloody bits by then [/TMI].  I may have started my first post-spawn [TMI] menstruation [/TMI] but really, I DO NOT WANT YOU GOING UP IN THERE RIGHT AFTER I PUSHED SOMETHING THAT LARGE OUT.  So she'll send me a letter again at a later date.  How lovely.  God knows that when I wanted a damn exam I had to stomp my feet to get one, now they're all HAVE A SMEAR!  GO ON!  HAVEAFEAKINGSMEARTODAY!

Sigh.

On the plus side, the DB has found a driving school that I can go to, so I can get the damn Danish drivers license and play with the Nem-ID people drive a car legally in this country.