Tuesday, November 29, 2005

One step forward?

Aside from the fact that I just dropped a glob of oatmeal into my keyboard, things have improved quite a bit in the last couple days. I started taking vitamin B-6 on Sunday for the nausea, and it seems to be making quite a difference; yesterday was the first day w/ no vomiting in weeks. (Here's hoping for a repeat today...). I also had a doctor's appointment yesterday morning and met the really fantastic second doc at my ob-gyn's. She was really kind and easy to talk to, and very sympathetic about the morning sickness. She gave me a prescription for anti-nausea meds that I went ahead and filled -- even though they cause drowsiness and so you can't drive after you've taken them, making them absolutely useless for work purposes -- just to have them on hand.

The whole experience made us decide to stay with the ob-gyn rather than switching to the midwives downstairs, as we'd initially planned. The ob-gyn practice is small and incredibly friendly; we very much like both docs, and feel comfortable with them and the rest of the staff. They're open to holistic stuff like water births and doulas, which is important to me. And at this point I think the relationship we already have with them is better, and more important, than whatever crunchy factor we'd gain by going to the midwives. And, honestly, I'm more comfortable being on the crunchy end of the ob-gyn's spectrum than being on the conservative end of the midwives', if that makes any sense.

One other morning sickness-related thought: Having something to do other than lay around, watch cable and whine about how lousy I feel makes a difference, too. I felt noticeably better yesterday morning even before taking my vitamin, just because I had to get up, get dressed and get to work. So I probably didn't have to waste the entire weekend being a lump on the couch, but oh well. The chances to do that are going to diminish rapidly in the future anyway, so I'm glad I took that one, nausea-induced or not.

Ok, gotta get going. The contractor who did our bathroom is coming over this morning to fix the paint on the wainscoting -- apparently his painter didn't prime it well enough, because the wood grain is coming through in a most unattractive way. Darren called the contractor last week, and he said he'd take care of it today, all in one day. We love this man.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Progress... in home decor, anyway

While I've been completely indisposed, splitting my time between the couch and the bathroom, Darren has been working like a fiend in the bedroom. Last night he finished painting the walls; we ended up going with a mulberry-ish color -- we couldn't find a brown we liked, and Ginga's point about our wood furniture clashing with the brown was well taken. Now he's working on the baseboards, which were all scuffed where the plywood and linoleum hit them. After that, all that's left is to paint the slanted wall of the eaves -- it'd formerly been painted the wall color, but we thought that with this intense mulberry, it'd be better if it were white like the ceiling -- and then to do the floor.

Speaking of which: The paint store guys recommended that we (and by "we," I mean, Darren) use liquid sander on it. It's a nasty chemical you rub on with a rag; it roughs up the surface of the paint enough so the next coat of paint will adhere, but it doesn't create any dust. Which, given the lead issue, is a good thing.

So, some visuals. This is the wall on the long side of the room; again, the yellow eaves will be painted white.

And this is taken from the doorway looking down the long side of the room, toward the front of the house (the yellow eaves are just out of sight on the right).

Friday, November 25, 2005

First trimester blues

Yesterday was an amalgam of horrible nausea and family time -- a lovely combination that never left me time (or, to be honest, the urge) to get near the computer. I tried really hard to be grateful about this pregnancy, but that was tough... I felt just miserable after I convinced Darren to make me French toast for breakfast, then promptly went into the bathroom and lost it. Watching 93 back-to-back episodes of "Bringing Home Baby," a TLC show that chronicles the 36 hours after a couple brings their first child home, didn't help much, either, between the sleeplessness and the confusion and the overwhelmed-ness every single couple experienced.

Still, I eventually felt somewhat better, and even managed to make an apple pie, complete with homemade crust (though I had to get Darren to take the trash out before he left for work this morning; the smell of rotting apple peels was a bit more than I could handle). We also spent some time going through a book of Irish names that my mom sent us. We've started a list of potential baby names, which is just a bit unreal. Unfortunately, one of our favorites is also on the Social Security Administration's top 20 list from last year, but lots of the others aren't. (We've also been checking this cool site, which displays the relative popularity of a name graphically; it's totally addictive.) I think we've decided not to talk about specific names with other people, since we have enough trouble agreeing just between the two of us. And we certainly will not be following in the footsteps of one of my cousins, who had the family vote on his daughter's middle name.

Anyway, we spent the late afternoon and early evening at Darren's parents' house. D had invited a coworker and her husband, who don't have family in the area. So the six of us had a very mellow and comfortable dinner. I managed to pack away quite a bit of turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing... yum. We brought some leftovers home with us, though I'm unsure if I'll be able to handle looking at them long enough to heat up a plate (I'm having as much trouble with visual stuff triggering nausea as I am with smells... yesterday it was the sight of a cereal bowl soaking in the sink that did me in).

Yesterday I started to worry that I'm not being tough enough -- that I shouldn't be moping around on the couch and making Darren do everything from fill my water glass to make me toast. That I'm being a whiny wuss who should just deal with all this. Then I woke up this morning feeling dramatically better -- eating a couple ginger cookies at about six a.m., followed by two more hours of sleep, may have done the trick -- and realized that I have not been faking it or exaggerating how bad I feel. Certainly, if Darren weren't around I would have to do more for myself -- and I would do so. But he is completely willing to help me, so I'm going to continue to ask for his assistance when I need it.

For the moment, however, I'm going to call the stupid website from which I ordered him a really cool birthday present that has been delayed without explanation and demand that they upgrade me to free overnight shipping. And then I might even -- gasp! -- take a shower. Before noon. Really. Big plans here at Casa MC.

Updated at 10:15 to add: Apparently I jinxed myself by saying that this morning was going well, nausea-wise. So much for this morning's oatmeal and peanut butter toast. Ugh.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Home improvement Saturday

And now, for my 200th(!) post, I bring you this photo essay. Actually, it's a bunch of words with a couple pictures; whether that counts as a photo essay or not I leave up to you.

So, among our preparations for the bambino/a (who really needs a better nickname), we need to redo one of the bedrooms upstairs. The yellow room -- the largest bedroom in the house -- was the first one we touched when we bought the house four years ago, when we didn't really know what we wanted. It's an odd room -- L-shaped, with steep eaves on the long side of the L. And what we didn't know when we painted it bright yellow was that it gets very bright morning light... which, magnified by the yellow, becomes nearly blinding.

The room has other problems, too. The long side has been pretty much unusable, so as a result it has collected junk. Clothes, boxes, a half-working stereo -- you name it. And it's coooold, in part because our forced hot air heating system just doesn't get up there very well, and in part because of the stupid linoleum floor. Yes, in their infinite wisdom the previous owners of this house put some really hideous linoleum -- of the kind you'd see at a lakefront camp, where it would be kitschy and kind of cute -- on the entire second floor of our house, where it is ugly and cold, especially since we could never find a rug we liked to cover it up. This is what I'm talking about:

So a couple years ago Darren and I got really sick of this room, and we decided to move into the orange room, the other bedroom upstairs. It's small and cozy, and the deep burnt orange color we painted it makes it feel warm (plus we had an ugly but serviceable rug to cover most of the linoleum).

Now, however, we've realized that the only room that makes sense for the baby is the orange room, which means we need to make the yellow room habitable for ourselves. Darren for years has been threatening to pull up the linoleum and see what's underneath it. I thought it was a great idea, but was worried about what we'd find. Then, Thursday night after dinner, he went upstairs "just to check it out." At 10:30, I finally had to ask him to stop so I could go to bed. What he found was a layer of plywood under the linoleum, and under that, some pretty decent wood floors that had, of course, been painted blue. Here's a closeup:

And here's a longer shot that gives some context:

Darren plans to finish tearing it up today (all the debris is apparently going to be thrown out the bedroom window onto the driveway, a plan upon which I have chosen not to comment). We're thinking about re-painting the floor; we think the wood is pine or something equally as cheap, and don't imagine it would be worth the effort to refinish it down to the natural grain. The plan for the walls is some sort of warm, chocolatey brown color, which leaves us a little flummoxed about what color to do the floor. Definitely not white, but it should be - I think - something neutral. Part of me is tempted by a really dark brownish red, but I think that could create a hideous disaster fairly easily.

Any suggestions would be most welcome, keeping in mind that we (obviously) are not afraid of color and that the overall intent here is to make the room feel a little smaller and much more cozy.

Oh, and while we're here, how about a little shot that tells an awful lot about Miss Jelly. This picture was not staged in any way.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The first baby-related purchase

Ordered this evening from the lovely Dell outlet: a nice, swanky laptop with wireless card. It's what every modern family needs, right?

It's of course also very prudent to be spending $900 three weeks prior to quitting one's job. But whatever. Babies need the Internet, especially in the living room.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


This morning, I gave notice at my job. My last day is Dec. 9, which as far as I am concerned is Not Soon Enough. I'm going to take the rest of December off (mostly with pay, due to accrued vacation time), and then right after New Year's I'll be starting a new, part-time gig as an editor at a really great magazine where I've wanted to work for years. This magazine is headquartered about 90 minutes away; in the past, that's always been an obstacle to my working there. They've had a change in management recently, though, and have become much more open to new and groundbreaking ideas such as telecommuting (so very 1998 of them...).

So I'll be working three days a week, two of them from my home and the third in the office. I'll use the other two days for freelancing, for now, and then for babytime later on. Money will be tight -- the magazine is paying me three-fifths of my current salary, which is better than I'd expected, but missing those other two-fifths is still going to hurt. We've made that much (that little) money before, but that was before the mortgage, and the little one.

I'm very excited about the change, though; I'm really looking forward to writing for a broader audience, and to helping institute some changes in what is already a very good magazine. And I'm making the big move to consumer magazines, which is excellent, career-wise. And it's also just really nice to feel so valued by this magazine -- that they are willing to take a chance on this arrangement, which has never been tried before in the whole company, says that they're putting an awful lot of faith in me. I spent the day there yesterday, and it felt good -- the people were nice, and I felt as though I could fit right in. (I haven't told them about the baby yet, which felt a little dishonest, but legally it's my right not to disclose it. I'll have to tell them shortly after starting, though, which is going to be interesting.)

Things went less swimmingly at work today when I gave my notice. My boss looked as though she'd been punched in the stomach when I gave her the news; she hadn't seen it coming at all, and seemed to take it personally. She was also a little scornful about the fact that I'm taking a lower-level title... whatever. The interesting thing is that when I broke the news to my staff, they had the complete opposite reaction: They were excited for me, despite the stress it puts on them, and unsurprised that I had decided to move on. It's clear from those two reactions who knows me better. So I took the guys on my staff -- and they're all guys -- out for beers after work (never fear, I had ginger ale) to help them strategize about the transition.

So... a lot of changes around here. It's a little dizzying, but all for the best. Oh, and I had another dr's appt today. They gave me another unscheduled ultrasound, since I've been having some spotting ever since a slightly scary bleeding episode a couple weeks ago, but the baby is growing as scheduled and things look fine. (They also, just in case, gave me a Rhogam shot since I am Rh- and we don't know Darren's status.) The first "real" ultrasound (with audible heartbeat, I believe) is in two weeks. My mom's coworkers passed the ultrasound from a couple weeks ago around the office today, and they're all convinced that tiny blob is a boy. We'll see....

Sunday, November 13, 2005


I should be content, right? My parents left this morning. We've got the house to ourselves (plus crazy Lucy) and a whole day with very little to do... except for that freelance piece I've got to write.

However, I am feeling like crud. This freelance story is a mere 500 words; it should take me an hour to write. But I can't make myself begin, in part because I am feeling so queasy. Thus far, I've had lots of nausea, followed by a recent bout of post-nasal drip that makes me even more queasy. I've quit dairy (mostly) as a way to prevent it, which severely limits my breakfast options. And this morning, after several hours of feeling not quite right, I finally threw up. In a pot. In my bedroom.

When I came downstairs afterwards, Darren said, "Boy, this pregnancy thing sure doesn't look like fun."

And, really, so far it's not. I did make it through all the wedding festivities unscathed, but now I'm wondering if all that takes a toll -- if today's nausea and exhaustion are a consequence of two-and-a-half days of constant motion and excitement. If so, I've got to make the most of today's relaxation time so that I can buck up for this meeting I've got tomorrow. I'm not going to work, but I've got a chiropractor appt at 8:30, followed by a 90-minute drive to the meeting... which could last for several hours. As this will likely be the definitive meeting regarding this particular opportunity, I really need to perform well, which may include pulling off a lunch outing at a fancy restaurant (oy). I'm hoping to be home on the couch by mid-afternoon... which means that I'd better try to get this story written in the next couple hours. Ugh.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The day after

Yesterday turned out to be absolutely wonderful. My dad and I did a bunch of errands around mid-day -- taking crazy Lucy to the kennel, picking up the veggie platter and collecting the most amazing assemblage of pastries ever -- then came back to my house for a little down time before getting dressed. My mom and sister were off at the mall getting E's makeup done, and Darren headed out to pick up her bouquet and turn on the heat in the little chapel. We'd left plenty of time for all these errands, but all of a sudden it was 2 pm - wedding at 2:30 - no one was dressed, the photographer was here wanting to take pictures of the preparations... it went from serenity to chaos in about 12 seconds flat.

In the end, though, all was fine. My sister looked absolutely amazing in her ivory, halter-neck gown. I got to drive her the mile to the chapel, in which we told dumb dog stories so as to prevent her from dissolving into sentimental tears. Then she and I sat in the car for a moment while my dad ran inside to set up the video camera in the back pew and her soon-to-be father-in-law took pictures of us inside the car.

The ceremony was short and sweet. All 10 of us attendees participated, with most doing readings -- Darren and I read Love Sonnet IX by Pablo Neruda -- and others carrying the rings and signing the license. Our friend S. officiated -- she's a notary public, and so could perform the ceremony, which was just great... to have someone we all know running the show made it so much more meaningful. And then it was over. We took pictures of every possible combination of those 12 people, and then the crew headed down to the beach for more shots of the bride and groom. I heard P whisper to her that his favorite moment was when the door opened and she walked in... so sweet. They are a wonderful couple, and it makes me so happy to see my sister in such a fantastic relationship.

Later, we gathered at their house for some light appetizers and the opening of presents, then went on to an amazing dinner at a warm, cozy restaurant near the chapel. There is a tension-filled divorce on the groom's side of the family, which necessitated some creative seating arrangements, but everything went very smoothly. P's mom hugged me and cried at the end of the night, saying she's so glad the four of us live so close together and that she wants me to take care of her son, too (along with my sister, his wife, I assume?). Her words came out a little jumbled, but the sentiment was heartfelt.

And then the bride and groom hopped into their car and headed up the coast for a brief honeymoon. Within five minutes of arriving at our house, my parents and Darren and I were all in our pajamas (at 8:15 last night!). We sat on the couch and discussed the day. By 9:45 I was asleep on the couch.

Today will be quiet. My mom and I are off to get massages in an hour or so. Darren's at the gym, and my dad is still sleeping. We have to rescue Lucy from the kennel before noon, and this afternoon we're planning to head over to E and P's to clean up and leave them some surprises for their return tomorrow night. I have preparations to make for my meetings on Monday, and a freelance piece to write tomorrow, but the rest of the weekend should be quiet and calm nonetheless.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The big reveal

So... I haven't exactly been upfront about the lack of posting around here. Yes, work has been demanding and, yes, I've been more tired than usual... but what I haven't said is why: I'm pregnant!

I wanted to wait to post this until we'd notified all the longtime friends who check in on the blog and until we told our parents (who as far as I know don't know this blog exists, but just in case...). My folks arrived yesterday afternoon for the big wedding festivities; we had Darren's parents over for dinner and casually passed around the ultrasound pictures -- I had an early one on Halloween due to some bleeding that turned out to be fine -- as we stood in the kitchen. This will be the first grandchild on both sides, so there was much rejoicing. It was really cool.

Even cooler? My mom is now making me scrambled eggs while I sip ginger ale and nibble on applesauce. I'm struggling with all-day sickness -- worse some days (like Tuesday) than others -- and I really resent the fact that I am supposed to go to work through all this.

So, I'm eight weeks along, which means a due date of late June. Work stuff is up in the air -- I'm headed to meet again with that editor I keep mentioning on Monday -- but it's looking good. Now, time to choke down some eggs and drag myself to the shower.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Wedding bells

Sorry for the lack of posting 'round here. Work's been busy as usual -- we had a big event on Thursday night, which went very well but which was somewhat stressful to prepare for, on top of which my new employee started that day -- and we've been busy helping my sister and her fiance with their wedding preparations. They're gettin' hitched on Friday afternoon, in a simple ceremony at a small chapel between our house and theirs. A friend of ours is officiating, and another friend is shooting the photos. Then we're all -- all 12 of us (parents and siblings are the only guests) -- going out to dinner at a fantastic neighborhood restaurant. The whole thing is happening within 1.5 miles of our house and theirs, at places we all love.

It's been lots of fun to help my sister throw this shindig together on short notice -- they'd had a bigger wedding planned for next summer, but realized that they were completely uninterested in all the hoopla. So they started planning this wedding about a month or so ago. They're heading up the coast after the wedding to stay at a favorite B&B (with an amazing restaurant) for the weekend; we've arranged for champagne and flowers to be placed in their room before they arrive.

My folks get here Wednesday -- sans Sam and Gabby, the neurotic poodle and irrepressible mutt, respectively -- and that night we'll have Darren's parents over for dinner (they're not coming to the wedding, so it'll be nice to get them together with my parents ahead of time). I work half a day on Thursday, then my mom and sister and I are going for manicures and pedicures at one of the fancy salons in town. I believe that Thursday night her fiance's dad is taking us out to dinner, and then Friday is all about the wedding. We'll be taking care of crazy Lucy (picture below) for the weekend; my parents leave on Sunday morning, and E&P return from their honeymoon getaway Sunday afternoon. And then life will go back to the regularly scheduled onset-of-holidays insanity.