Life happens

Life has been busy. Buying and starting to renovate an apartment, finding a donor, going home for Thanksgiving, wedding planning, …

We’ve bought an apartment.

It’s in a building built before the first World War. It has a lot of interesting details, – dental moldings on the ceiling, parquet floors, an insulated wine closet. It’s big, although not as big as our wildest dreams. A bedroom for us, two smaller bedrooms for kids or guests, an office/library for my Love and her books, a small office for me, a living room, a dining room and a kitchen.

Buying it was complicated. As I’ve mentioned, the board of a cooperative apartment building has to approve any transfer, and they can be very intrusive if they want. Boards normally require several years of tax returns and asset statements. I’ve earned at New York levels less than a year. My Love’s business requires a ridiculous level of security and confidentiality, to the extent that she can’t give a board the information it usually requires. We can easily afford the apartment and the monthly maintenance charge, and fortunately the board was pragmatic rather than a stickler for protocol.

We haven’t moved in yet. It’s a complete wreck. It has to be almost completely rebuilt; all the walls have major cracks and the ceilings in two of the rooms have collapsed. There’s water damage all over the place.

And we’re ripping out the kitchen and consolidating it with a small bedroom (what they call a “maid’s room” here in NY) to make the kitchen of our dreams.

The design work is done and we’re getting bids. It’s interesting for me personally to be an owner. We needed an engineer for the kitchen design; hiring one was particularly amusing.

We’ve found a donor.

My fiancée has thrown herself into pregnancy planning.

This is bizarrely uncharacteristic. It’s funny, actually. Or it would be, if the potential for disaster were not so high:

  1. She is a force of nature. When she gets the bit between her teeth, there’s no stopping her.
  2. Never having planned anything, she has no idea how to go about it.
  3. She has the best part of a year to waste spend on this.

It’s like being in Tornado Alley with a thunderstorm on the way. You know there’s going to be havoc, you just don’t know where it’s going to hit.

She has scored some early successes. She’s proposed a donor (this time with the potential to help us). It’s a guy who once proposed marriage to her. (She turned him down.)

I initially rejected this. It’s just too weird. But I’ve met him now, and, for a lot of reasons, it turns out not to be weird at all. I just hope that, if we have a girl, she looks like my Love.

Wedding planning is progressing.

On the other hand, she’s not permitted to do any planning for our wedding. Our mothers, our sisters and I have pointedly excluded her. She’s allowed to ask questions and make requests (which have generally been excellent), but not to participate.

Her father says that makes my fiancée the man in our relationship.

We’ll let her pick her wedding dress. That’s it. She has exquisite taste in clothing. Her business has been so successful that her budget is effectively unlimited.

I’d love to have her pick my wedding dress, but, of course, that is out of the question.

The next best thing: Our sisters are coming to New York next week. First they’ll help her. Then, armed with that knowledge, they’ll help me.

We are going have a lot of fun. It will be my sister’s, and one of her sisters’, first time in New York. There’s not much room in my apartment. Either it’s going to be a big sleepover on my living room floor, or hotels.

Thanksgiving was lovely, thanks.

I’ll write more about that when I get the chance.

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She’s a pro

My fiancée grew up on a ranch, what’s known in the business as a “cow-calf operation”. They have a herd of cows and heifers, each of which bears a calf every year.

They also have bulls whose purpose is, in sperm donor jargon, NI (natural insemination).

To maintain genetic diversity and for cows that haven’t been naturally inseminated, they use, again in sperm donor jargon, AI (artificial insemination). They buy frozen sperm from the owner of the bull or from a semen dealer. (One of her favorite caps has the logo of a semen broker, the name of which includes “Breeders”.)

She has inseminated thousands of cows and heifers.

I’m already feeling performance anxiety.

Coming to grips with conception

Things one knows in the head sometimes become things one understands in the heart.


  • Separating conception from love.

Our child will be my child, a child of our love, a child I will love unconditionally. The person we are selecting will not love either of us or our child.

I understood that intellectually. But it wasn’t until we were flipping through the books – coolly selecting or rejecting the biological parent of our child based on a check-mark or a word or two on a form – that it became more than an intellectual understanding.


  • Separating conception from sex.

We can’t conceive a child in an act of love.

I understood that intellectually. But now I know in my heart that the best we can hope for is a kiss while jamming her with a turkey baster.

However, I intend to follow it up with an act of love.


We have real empathy for straight couples who face this, too.

Donor search

Flipping through the donor book from the fertility clinic:

Me: I’d love to come across a physicist or mathematician.

My Love: Supply and demand, sweetheart. If they were in here, their DNA would get taken right away.

Me: You’d think the geeks that can’t get a date would be lining up for this. The demand for their DNA would be so gratifying.

My Love: Easy there, my sweet: I was a geek who couldn’t get a date.


A little later:

Me: I worry that we’re engaged in a eugenics experiment. Gorgeous genius DNA looking for hunky genius DNA?

My Love: Think about it, sweetheart. What do you think straight people have been doing since forever? A straight woman wants to marry somebody who’s as smart, as ambitious, as good looking as she is. If we were straight, we’d each be married to some hunky genius. How’s this any different?


A little later:

Me: At this point, I’d settle for a doctor or a lawyer.

My Love: Is this a Jewish mother joke?


A little later. She tosses me a file:

My Love: How about an investment banker?

Me: Eww. Wolf of Wall Street?

My Love: My sweet, those guys were traders. Traders are animals. Investment bankers are very smart, very hard working and very ethical. At least the ones I work with.


A little later:

My Love: We are using the wrong sampling technique. This population is guys who advertise that they will jerk off in a jar to spread around their DNA. That’s fine, but the population we want to select from is geniuses.

Me: Right. And where do we find geniuses? In grad school.

My Love: Exactly. Columbia, NYU, right here on this very island.

Me: Princeton and Yale an hour away. Harvard and MIT up in Cambridge. Heck, my grad school. Get some of that good mountain DNA. So what do we do? Sneak into the science center and put up flyers on the Math and Physics boards?

My Love: With the little tabs at the bottom with our phone number?

Me: Run an ad in the Math and Physics journals?

My Love: “Wanted: High quality sperm for baby-fever lesbians. No further obligation. All expenses paid! Lube and jar included!”

Hey you, you wanna make a baby?

There was a suggestion in the comments to my last post that the son of our friend might be a good DNA donor.

Me (jocularly): If [friend] can’t do it, maybe [friend’s son] can.

My Love: What a great idea! Honors Physics major, two sport athlete, hunk, killer looks, 6-4, wonderful kid, great genes all around …

Me: No, no, no! I was just kidding. How weird it would be to ask him? “Hey kid, you want to make a baby with me?” If it didn’t freak him out, I would be concerned for him. Besides, it would practically be Lolita.

My Love: Sweetie, he’ll be 21 years old by that time.

Me: Sometimes you are so obtuse. Think about it: Asking him to jerk off for a drop-dead gorgeous blonde? For God’s sake, dear, he’s seen you in that Eres swimsuit! He’s not even going to need a Playboy!

My Love: OK, you’re right. But you have a deranged imagination.

Better luck next time

As I’ve mentioned, my fiancée and I have been consulting a fertility clinic and a GYN whose practice is more oriented to lesbians. (New York is a strange and wonderful town.)

I’ve also mentioned my fiancée’s constitutional inability to plan beyond dinner and her specific resistance to planning for pregnancy.

However, I have convinced her of the wisdom of planning. And, of course, she has to do it better than anyone. She is planning meticulously and to a fare-thee-well.

To the extent possible, given her age, we’re going to try to have everything ready for our first attempt when we get back from honeymooning.


We are trying to decide on a donor. Given the advance notice, we have a lot of options, including quarantine.

Although it would be wonderful for the child to have some of my genetic material, I can’t ask my brother. We want the child to be hers, so using my eggs isn’t an option, either, at least for now.


We have a friend, brilliant, kind, thoughtful. He’s been my fiancée’s confidante and adviser since he helped her start her business. He’s become my most prized friend, too. I can tell him about anything. He always has a considered, affectionate answer. I know that he would put my fiancée ahead of me, but that’s fine: I put her ahead of me, too. No one has been happier that my Love has found love.

Before my fiancée’s penny dropped, she often said that if his wife died, she would marry him at the drop of a hat. His wife – at least laughingly – told my fiancée that was her fondest wish.


It took us a couple of weeks (and a couple of dinners) to work up the courage to ask him and his wife.

We weren’t ready for the answer: raucous laughter from both.

My dears, he’s infertile.

Oh well. Back to the drawing board.