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I’m sitting in the lounge of Sittara Spa in Hat Yai, Thailand, while Apple enjoys a 50-minute reflexology session (that’s a foot massage to the rest of us). I would have gotten one, too, except that we were walk-ins and there was only enough room for one. Because of the possible benefits of reflexology on total body health, including the reproductive system, the choice of which one of us should get the massage was obvious.

There’s very calming music playing in the lounge. It actually sounds like music you’d hear in a baby’s nursery, akin to the chimes of a music box. It actually reminds me of the music from that part of Fallout 3 when you’re a year old. It’s quite comfortable and relaxing in here, even if I’m not having a massage myself. I could use the quiet, frankly. It’s been a busy week. So far, with the exception of my ability to sleep late this morning, the weekend has been likewise.

My parents know this already, but our first round of fertility treatment has concluded in failure. Everything went as perfectly as one could expect, but when it came time for the forces of nature to do their thing, we just didn’t get lucky. Such is life.

We actually handled this turn of events pretty well, all things considered. Especially Apple, whom I am very proud of for picking herself up, dusting herself off and keeping herself busy with forward-looking activities and plans — and in relatively short order. It will be a couple of months before we can try again, so in the meantime we’re trying additional treatments, both holistic (cue the foot massages) and spiritual (a planned trip to visit a famous monk in northern Thailand who is well-known for assisting couples with fertility issues). And in my case, there’s always work, so I haven’t that much time to dwell on it all. At least I can say that my work is going very well.

Tonight we’re having a big family dinner — a Christmas dinner, I do suppose — at a popular Chinese restaurant. I’ve been there before. It’s always one of the favorite destinations when our family wants to have a big get-together, particularly when there is some occasion to be celebrated. The traditional multi-course Chinese meal usually includes fish maw soup, steamed bass with ginger and vegetables, fruit salad, and lots of other things. Quite a bit different from the western-style turkey and mashed potatoes that I’m used to at the holidays, but certainly no less enjoyable.

At times, particularly after the failure of our first IVF attempt, I was feeling a bit consumed by consternation and despair over our situation. How many more sacrifices would be necessary? As much of a pain as these setbacks may seem, today I had to admit to myself that we could be in much more dire straits. An article on MSNBC’s website about the abject hell that my hometown (Detroit) has slipped into was the galvanizing force behind these feelings. We have almost no debt, no other health problems to speak of, wonderful families on each side of the Earth, a stable and well-paying job, a house of our own in the mostly-pleasant climate of Florida, and yes, plenty of toys. By comparison, I could be unemployed, living in a burnt-out corridor of Detroit with nothing but a rusted-out Toyota Tercel and a GED. Things could be much worse. And it’s this thought that I try to use to motivate myself when things seem bleak.

This coming week will probably be pretty quiet due to some family members heading off on a vacation of their own, so I’ll use this time to recharge myself and collect my thoughts. I probably won’t take any days off for the holiday; maybe one at most. But at least they’ll probably all be fairly calm days. I expect to immerse myself in a lot of reading and writing, especially out on the patio where the cool breezes of Thailand’s mild season are best felt. (Oh yes, there’s another reason to celebrate my present circumstances: No snow to clean up, drive in, or otherwise deal with.)

Apple should be done soon, so I’ll wrap this up. Did I mention the spa has free broadband Internet via wi-fi? I think I will be glad to come back here whenever Apple would like.