Friday, October 31, 2008

La casa

No major updates on the house front yet--but my fingers are crossed that I'll have news soon. We've had a lot of positive response to our open house, which was last weekend, and we've found a place that we really like that's only a 10-minute walk away, so we'll see how it all pans out.

I did have a small victory with SMTT on Wednesday. During the open house and the showings we've had, we've stored our coffee table and the cat boxes under a tarp behind the house in an area that is common space for all four units in the house. On Wednesday night, I came home to a catty Post-It note (I couldn't help thinking of that SATC episode) on the door saying that we needed to clear our stuff out of "her" space because she needed to put her garbage cans there. F* that noise. Spiteful wench. So Lunchboy and I went online, printed out the legal schematic of the house that says "common space" in the area we were using, highlighted that part, and taped the whole thing to her door with a remarkably civil note correcting her misconception. I wasn't home when she got the note but Lunchboy says there was a lot of stomping upstairs afterward. God, I cannot WAIT to get away from her.

Teeny yogini

One of the best things I've done for myself over the past year was to treat myself to a yoga membership at Exhale. It's semi-swanky and there are a lot of Lulu-ed out people wearing enormous diamonds, but the teachers are amazing and their studio, which is 4 stories underground, is one of the most calming, retreat-like spaces I've ever practiced in. I love that place. It's been my cave, my sanctuary, the place I go to be renewed, and whenever one of my teachers asks us to think about something we're grateful for, I always find myself thinking of them and my ability to practice there. It's my one indulgence and I don't ever feel guilty for having it.

Practicing in the yoga cave has been a journey in many ways. Last winter, when I felt filled with a freezing cold blackness for months on end, I'd go there and come out feeling warm, even if it was just for a few minutes. Then I started to heal, in no small measure because of the comfort and guidance I received from the teachers there. They watched as I got back to my formerly strong self, and celebrated with me when I found out I was pregnant again. They are some of the only people who don't make me feel weird when they come up and want to touch my belly. And they don't get annoyed if I have to child's pose it or modify a lot during class (this was especially nice during my first trimester, when I felt so sick and off balance that I'd sometimes only make it through 10 minutes of class).

It has been meaningful for me that I've been able to practice for my entire pregnancy so far. I like to think that the baby will have been practicing since she was conceived, whether she grows up to enjoy yoga or not. What I do know is that she enjoys when I practice--it often feels like she's practicing inside me during class, and she likes to kick in this one particular way during savasana. I think she will be a Radiohead fan, because my teachers play Radiohead a lot, and that she will know my teachers' voices almost as well as she knows my and Lunchboy's voices.

Pregnant yoga has been an exploration all its own--poses change every day as I lose a bit more range of motion, or find it harder to make room for my growing belly in lunges, forward bends, or side stretches. I've learned to practice next to a wall because my sense of balance is all off and since the baby is now kicking all the time when I'm upright, which can make me tip over. Also, doing chaturanga and some of the other load-bearing poses is getting more and more challenging as I get heavier. My body isn't used to supporting almost 30 extra pounds. At first I got frustrated that I couldn't do poses the way I used to (hello camel--my ab muscles are already overextended, there ain't no more backbending to be had), and then I just relaxed into it. Practicing regularly has kept the worst of the back pain at bay, it's kept me sane during this whole housing experience, and it keeps me from feeling calcified and as if all the blood in my body is stuck in my legs. I always feel better after class.

Today I had a really special experience with one of my teachers, who always gets the biggest smile on her face when I come to her class. I've told her before about how the baby seems to like yoga. At the end of class, while I was blissfully draped over a bolster during savasana (I have learned to LOVE props), she came over and started to rub my feet. Right as she touched me, the baby started to kick, so I took her hand and put it on my stomach. "OH!" she said, as she got kicked a few times. For some reason it felt very important to share the sensation with her. My teachers have always seemed to have a sense about who needs to be adjusted or who might just need a few moments of human contact during class, and perhaps it was a reverse of that. But she's been such a part of this pregnancy that I wanted to share that feeling with her, even just for a second or two.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A staggering work of heartbreaking genius

Last night I came home to what is arguably a beautiful sight -- my sister-in-law's boyfriend, who is a superb handyman, finishing up the paint on the new walls and closet downstairs and on the ceiling upstairs. After what feels like years of us talking about how we wanted to put these walls up, it is now 95% finished and it looks amazing. If our house does not sell within the next 8 weeks, it will be really wonderful to live with that extra room for however long we stick around. We've set the eight-week deadline so that, no matter what, we will not be moving and closing on anything new when I could conceivably be giving birth at any moment. Eight weeks is incredibly optimistic but we are being very realistic about the chances of it happening (insert mad laughter here) and are making contingency plans just in case.

So the painting and walls are lovely and the cats, all three of them, are so freaked out at this point that they are keeping each other company on the couch with minimal brattiness and taking turns giving us looks that seem to say, "WTF is going on here?????????? What are you keeping from us?????" They know something is afoot.

Given the dust that was everywhere and the concentrated paint fumes, which I could just picture doing some unearthly damage to the baby, we packed a quick bag and ended up spending the night at a Hampton Inn near Lechmere. We brought take-out from our favorite Thai place and ate on the bed while watching The Office. While I was getting ready for bed, Lunchboy flipped the channel to Comedy Central and in the middle of South Park this horrible commercial by the ASPCA came on. It was a full minute of pictures of abused animals who were clearly lonely, sad, and scared, a few of them with that heartbreaking look of desperation and resignation that comes when you know life is going to end soon and it will not be pretty. I have always been a gigantic soft-touch and an animal lover (my parents say that I was inconsolable for two hours after seeing Bambi. I say that that movie is not something any two-year-old should be subjected to. Also, there was an incident in elementary school where I had to be escorted from the auditorium during a wildlife movie in which a mother cheetah refused to let her cub back into the den. And those were just the early years). Watching this ASPCA commercial, which clearly had exactly the impact it was supposed to, my hormones and all the stress of the last few weeks took over and I burst into mad tears. I cried and cried and cried and cried. I will never understand people who abuse, neglect, or hurt animals and I hate that there is only so much one person can do in the face of thousands of animals in need of love and care. Maternal instincts, what? Even after the commercial ended and the tears stopped, I was haunted by the image of this one cat that had been found in the floorboards of a closet. A CLOSET, people. The only way I could get to sleep was to imagine how I would have nurtured and cared for that one cat and tried to make it all better.

Needless to say, Lunchboy and I are now members of the ASPCA. Who knows--if we end up buying a house in the burbs, we may have more space for other animals but do not tell him I said that. I've always wanted to volunteer at an animal shelter and the only thing that's held me back is the knowledge that I would have ended up adopting every creature that came through the door. Puppy eyes = sucker.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What not to do

When trying to relax, watching hours of the bizarre birth and parenting shows on the Discovery Channel is not the way to go. Last night I watched a show about women who opted to give birth at home without any medical support. It was...frank. Then there's Jon and Kate +8, which scares the crap out of me, not just because 8 kids is overwhelming just to WATCH but because whenever they show pictures of Kate's pregnant belly I want to crawl under the bed and not come out until the bean is a good 2-3 years old. Tonight I flipped on the TV (can you tell Lunchboy is traveling for a few days?) and the first thing I saw was a belly shot of a woman pregnant with quadruplets. Transfixed with horror, I stared as the woman was examined by a doctor, who said "Wow, your uterus is about your breastbone."


Now there's a show about a woman with three kids, a set of conjoined twins, and now she's 6 months pregnant with her sixth child.

I need a new season of Project Runway.


It's been a while. Mostly because things have been stressful beyond belief. First I was stressed and now I'm angry. I'm an angry pregnant person and frankly I just want to tell the whole world to f*ck off right now, so if you don't want to read any more, I understand and that's totally fine.

Just a few weeks ago, I was walking home from the T and relishing the contentment that I felt. I was so content. Life was great and I was grateful and I felt right where I wanted to be. Then, SMTT reared her ugly head again and I can't even get into the nastiness of her spite and her desire to make everyone around her as miserable as possible because it makes me so angry and frustrated that my head feels like it's going to explode. I've never before been confronted by a person who is so irrational, unreasonable, and completely self-involved. In the past we've tried to work with her for the sake of peace in our home, but this time we called two lawyers. Both of them said SMTT can't legally do anything without bringing her issues before our condo board. This is kind of comforting, if only because SMTT likes to harp on the fine print of our condo docs but does not actually wish to follow the protocol necessary when one is part of a condo association. She just wants to be a bully and have people do what she wants without actually having to defend her behavior to others.

This instance was made worse by the fact that one of our neighbors told SMTT that I'm pregnant and it seems to have driven her a little ballistic. Lunchboy had firmly requested that she not contact me in any way but when she found out about the baby she went out of her way to email me some things that were so upsetting and stressful that I melted down and had to leave work early. She actually said, "[Lunchboy] asked me not to include you in my emails, but I don't think that's fair." Fair? It has nothing to do with fair, lady, it has to do with respect, a concept she doesn't understand. We can discuss fair when her behavior does not have an impact on my and my baby's health. Until then, she can eat poo.

After the email meltdown, Lunchboy and I had a serious powow. At the time, we were hunkered down at D&D's house because the thought of going home and having that woman stomp around over my head was making me feel crampy. We decided that, as much as we loathe being pushed into a decision or an action because of this horrible woman, staying in our condo just to make a point isn't worth the toll it's taking on all of us. We no longer feel comfortable in our home. Every time we hear her walk around or come in/go out of the house, we tense up. Our house in no longer a place where we can relax and it makes me so furious that this has happened. Even if we call a condo board meeting and resolve SMTT's alleged issues around the cats, she is the kind of person who will just find another problem to pick on and all I can say is if that "problem" happens to be our child, then I will not be able to be polite or constructive. I don't want to bring our baby home to a place where the energy is so bad and where we are constantly tense.

So we made the decision to sell our condo (even though you couldn't choose a worse market to do it in) and either find a house or rent something until the market gets a bit better. We've spent the past two weeks going to open houses, talking to realtors, and getting our place ready for sale. This past weekend we actually made an offer on a house we loved in Andover but it didn't work out. So now we are selling without a sense of where we are going and I am not sure how to articulate how scary and unsettling this whole thing is to me because right now I am in a place where I want to feel safe and comfortable in my home, where I want to be nesting and creating a good home for our baby, and instead we are in transition with no destination in sight. True, we could choose to stay where we are and deal with SMTT. But that just doesn't feel like a better decision right now. We are constantly second-guessing ourselves and it sucks. I want to be getting ready for this baby and instead we haven't even had time to think about names or sign up for childbirth classes. I've stopped looking at nursery websites because I can't get all excited about putting a nursery together when we're not even sure where we are going to be.

I go to yoga and I try to be present, to let all the anger go, to just go with the flow and see what happens. Maybe it's the hormones but I am not finding myself able to be that person right now. I am just so mad--mad and stressed. And then I feel like a terrible mother because my poor kid is being subjected to all this. I'm supposed to be as calm and relaxed as possible. Sadly, Ativan is not an option. So if I am late in returning calls or seem to have fallen off the face of the earth, this is why.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cute is a four-letter word

I am having a hard time knowing what to make of it when people come up to me and say "Ohhhhhh, look at your cute little belly!" What do I do in this situation? Say thank you? Mostly I just nod and smile and let the person go on to something else. Today I got "Wow, I can't believe you're due in February, you're so small!" It's a little weird. In the words of the crazy lady who performed at Kripalu last spring, I love my belly, but the whole "cute" thing is open to interpretation. Does cute mean too small? Is it a polite euphemism for "gigantic"? Also, my cute belly is outgrowing all my maternity clothes at a startling pace. Pants I bought two weeks ago are already tight. How do you keep up?

That said, I love everything about carrying this baby. I love feeling her move around like a little alien. I feel a bizarre (and slightly pained) sense of pride when she spends 15 minutes kicking the crap out of my kidneys. I love her determination to grow big and strong, as evidenced by an unending hunger that necessitates two dinners and then an 11:45pm PB&J with milk. I love watching my belly get larger by the day and I don't mind when I discover that I've gone up half a shoe size, or that lately I'm finding it hard to catch my breath at night. Like, have to prop myself up with three pillows to breathe somewhat comfortably. This doesn't feel cute. But it does feel worth it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Brain has left the building

This morning I had the biggest pregnancy brain fart thus far. To date I have a solid history of leaving my keys/wallet/cell phone/iPod wherever I am not (usually at home or in another bag). I've forgotten appointments, conversations, and locations of things. I've blanked on taking my handful of prenatal vitamins at least twice and, more embarassingly, I've forgotten to put on deodorant a handful of times, particularly on mornings when I'm rushing out the door. Doh.

Today, however, I showered, dressed, deodorized, and began blowdrying my hair--only to realize, after several confusing and strangely greasy minutes, that I'd forgotten to wash the conditioner out my hair when I'd showered a whopping 20 minutes earlier.

So much for being on time. I hastily jumped in for shower #2, got dressed AGAIN and managed to get to work without forgetting something else along the way, which is semi-miraculous.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

All hail

I love this site. I used to have a housemate in Chicago who communicated primarily by leaving passive-aggressive notes all over the house and I hear her voice in like every post, with the exception of today. When I read this, I could think of about 25 people in LA who would have left that kind of note. I've wiped my memory of as much cycling knowledge as possible, but there's no forgetting the cult of the Colnago.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Girls just wanna have fun?

Yesterday my mom and I went on a bonding/shopping trip to Destination Maternity in Wellesley. The store is kind of genius--they carry clothes from three different maternity stores, have a spa and a yoga studio, and have cozy chairs and TV kept on ESPN for the boys. Until now, my maternity shopping has been sporadic and scattershot. During the summer, I just wore loose sundresses and made my normal clothes fit with a Bella band. But once the weather turned and I started getting big, it was clearly time to take the maternity plunge.

All the books say to try and hold off as long as possible on buying maternity clothes until the third trimester, when you're so big that nothing else will come close to fitting. I'm 22 weeks and nothing fits. It's not just the belly, it's everything. Which explains what the scale said at my last doctor's appointment (I was in shock about that one for almost a week). I bought a few pairs of pants from Gap Maternity a couple of weeks ago and they are already too small. Yes, I am supposed to be getting larger but outgrowing the maternity clothes? Ouch.

So, off to the store we went. Let me just say that if you think shopping for bathing suits in the spring is bad for the self-esteem, try shopping for preggo pants. They are not kind to the ass. Also, the little tags that say "buy your pre-pregnancy size" are full of shit. I think my mom thought shopping together would be filled with laughs and advice. Instead, after three trips to the fitting room, I was wishing I could have a drink or four. It wasn't pretty. I now own pants with elastic waists so high they come up to my boobs. There's nothing like granny pants to make you feel beautiful and sexy and feminine. Although I hear nursing bras come close.

Getting it done

We were at a lake house, enjoying the very last days of summer in a small resort town filled with warm, friendly people we'd known for years. It was almost time to leave. Once October came, everyone knew that the season was over and the dark, cold times were on their way. On our last day there, I refused to be inside. All I wanted to do was to walk on the beach in the sun and soak up the last vestiges of brightness. The next day was the first day of October and then we'd have to go.

This was my dream two weeks ago. I try not to read too much into dreams, so I brushed it off. But sure enough, October rolled around and the days got noticeably shorter and cooler. While the weather is actually really nice for me, seeing as I seem to be warm all the time, I'm definitely feeling the seasonal change and am not quite sure what to do about it. I know how important it is to think positive and be happy right now, so I am fighting the washed out melancholy as hard as I can. But I've been kind of down and hence pretty quiet.

A bunch of things have been going on that we've been grappling with--family employment issues, job stress (hey, who isn't wondering if they'll still have a job in a few weeks/months), and a fresh volley of stress from SMTT. I'm trying to go with the flow and be ok in the moment no matter what. It helps that I'm literally being kicked on a regular basis--the bean is apparently planning to be a kickboxer (sport of the future!) and I'm endlessly fascinated/uplifted by the way my belly reverberates with her activities.

The cats, while still mostly clueless about the bean, have begun to pick up on the fact that my belly now has a built-in pillow. I'm waiting for the moment that one of them settles in and then the bean kicks right under them. It's only a matter of time.