Writing the Dinky Stuff

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  • Wed, 12:38: Ticking biological clock? Read DIY Mom, one woman’s story about how she had a baby on her own. #DIYmoms
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What's So Great About the Bay Area
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A friend of mine emailed me recently to ask, “What’s it like raising a family in the Bay Area? Would you recommend it?” She herself moved away from the Bay Area six years ago, just before the birth of her first son in search of more family-friendly pastures and have been slowing working their way up the coast ever since. Still, she confessed, she thought about moving back from time to time.

What should I tell her? All those reasons that drove her away then (mostly financial) are just as valid now—maybe even more so. In 2008 owning a house seemed impossible. Now just even renting one is cost-prohibitive.

Four years ago, Matt and I did the math. Our twins were in precarious health; I couldn’t go back to work and we couldn’t live on his salary. If we were going to be able to afford to stay in the Bay Area, we’d need to plunge into debt first. Heart-stopping, astronomical debt. Matt went to law school with the plan that with his paralegal background and twenty years of legal experience working in Silicon Valley, he’d be able to find a job with a firm after graduation.

It was a gamble insomuch as there are never any guarantees in life, but at the same time, but it also felt like the right choice. And since he did find work (with the law firm that first employed him twenty-something years ago), it feels like our gamble paid off.

Yay! We’re back where we started! We can afford to keep our head above water! Even though we know that as long as we stay here we will likely never own our own home and we won’t pay off our student loans until just before our second-grader goes to college.

I’m not sure if I can recommend this route to anybody but I’m also confident that this is where I want to raise my kids. So what am I going to tell my friend?

What's so great about the Bay Area?

This Week's Fun Facts
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One of the things I hate about adulthood is becoming an expert in something that you really couldn’t care less about.

For example, I couldn’t care less about fleas or flea eggs or how long flea larvae can lie dormant in your hamper. I don’t care to know that if, for example, your cat’s fleas lay eggs on your husband’s Verona tam from his recent graduation ceremony and the eggs hatch, that the larvae will still wave to you from under the magnifying glass even after you’ve put said tam in the microwave for 45 seconds.

I don’t care to figure out how long it takes the fleas to die after you’ve applied the toxic gel to the scruff of your cats’ necks. I didn’t really want to know that the gel is filled with hormones that stop the fleas’ reproductive cycles and that it makes the cats a little wonky, too.

I didn’t need to know that flea bites itch because we are allergic to flea saliva.

Of course, I’m not exactly an expert. Only time will tell if there are eggs hidden in couch cushions or if one really does need to wash everything in hot water rather than cold. If the toxic hormonal gel really does work for a month. If Dawn dish washing liquid really does keep fleas off the cats.

There are other unanswered questions. Just how long did the cats have fleas before we noticed, anyway? Is this something that’s slowly been escalating for months but we’d done just enough cleaning (until recently) to prevent an outbreak? Or is it like fruit flies—one brownish banana and the two flies you saw at breakfast have become legion by evening?

I don’t think I need to know. But if I find out, I’ll pass the info along.

Bio for O'Hanlon Women's Lit Series
j9kovac
Another bio.

Janine Kovac is an event coordinator with Litquake, San Francisco’s literary festival and conference coordinator for digi.lit, Litquake's digital publishing conference. Her work has appeared in Salon.com, Pregnancy and Newborn magazine and in the anthologies Nothing But the Truth So Help Me God and Mamas Write: 29 Tales of Truth, Wit, and Grit, which she co-edited. Janine is an alumna of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, a co-founder of the Write On Mamas, and a ballet teacher for Pacific Ballet in Mountain View.  She lives in Oakland with her husband and their daughter and twin boys, one of whom thinks he is a kitty cat.

or this?
Janine Kovac is a talent-wrangler for Litquake, San Francisco’s literary festival and conference coordinator for digi.lit, Litquake's digital publishing conference. She is co-editor and a contributing author of Mamas Write: 29 Tales of Truth, Wit, and Grit. Her work has also appeared in Salon.com, Literary Mama, Pregnancy and Newborn magazine, and in the anthology Nothing But the Truth So Help Me God. Janine is an alumna of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, a co-founder of the Write On Mamas, and a ballet teacher for Pacific Ballet in Mountain View. She lives in Oakland with her husband, their daughter and their twin boys, one of whom thinks he is a kitty cat.

wish I could fit this line in, but probably not.
She spends her free time wondering if it’s really free time or if she’s forgotten to do something very important.
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