The Secrecy Farce

I'm staring at myself in the mirror, staring at my noticeably larger breasts, and all I can think is,

There is no way in hell my mother is going to get off that plane, see me, and not know I'm pregnant. 

Don't get me wrong, I have some cute and clever reveals planned, but I'm seriously starting to realize that pretty soon, anyone who has any familiarity with my silhouette whatsoever isn't going to need to be told.


My New Hobby

"I guess being pregnant is your hobby now, huh?"

That's what Nathan said to me this morning as I dutifully checked not one but both of my pregnancy apps.  I have to say, he's not wrong.

The coffee table is currently home to a teetering pile of library books, spanning the not-so-broad subjects of pregnancy, pregnancy yoga, pregnancy massage, and birth.  I have a new collection of websites that get checked on a daily-if-not-hourly basis, a new (still secret) wishlist on Amazon ("Spawning"), and, obviously, a new blog** to host all my extra-self-involved thoughts on the experience of growing an entirely new human.  The kitchen table has a few pamphlets from the maternity center, including the paperwork for our first ultrasound.  My phone, in addition to the aforementioned apps, also has a gallery labeled "Belly Progression", which currently sports a grand total of seven photos of me making various faces in reaction to my non-existent "bump" (and my suddenly extra-existent boobs).  I just got done watching a film that I probably wouldn't have watched a year ago.  (Hint: it shares a title with one of the few pregnancy guides not currently perched on my coffee table.)

Hobby is, of course, the polite way of saying obsession.


**(at the time of writing I'd created a baby-specific blog so that I wouldn't drive the readers of this blog insane.  Needless to say, circumstances changed and so did the blog this entry belonged to.)


Rock Climbing While Pregnant

rock climbing while pregnant

That's the phrase that I type into the search bar.  Because I am a rock climber.

And I'm friggin' pregnant.

My eyes skim the results- it's a topic I've researched before, actually, so I'm not totally unfamiliar with what's out there.  It's just that now the subject has a level of urgency beyond "mildly curious".

And then my eyes hit the phrase, "Rock climbing while pregnant is a really bad idea."

I snort and roll my eyes.  I do not click the link.  And then I laugh at myself, because apparently it doesn't matter what comes back in my query- the truth is that I'm going to climb, regardless, until I feel like I no longer can.


This morning my husband gave me a worried look.

"Maybe you should take the car."

"What?  Why?"

"So I can walk and pick it up later," (this is not an uncommon thing to happen in our one-car household: Nathan uses it as a way to sneak in exercise.)

"Nah.  I want to ride today."

Worried look persists.  "So, um, how long do you think you'll keep riding your bike?"


I swivel my chair to look at him.  "Until my balance gets too screwy," I say firmly.

I just worry about you falling," he explains.  "And, I don't know- hitting the curb or something."

"Babe I have to exercise," I say.  "You don't want me to turn into a fat piece of crap..."

He gives me a speculative look, as though considering the merits of this scenario, and I narrow my eyes at him.

"...it wouldn't be good for the baby, either."


I am coasting down the long hill of my morning commute, and resisting the urge to yell at strangers, "I'm pregnant!"  My face is plastered with a ridiculous grin, and I think to myself,

This makes me happy.  And anything that makes me happy must necessarily make the baby happy.  And the happier the baby is, the happier the baby will be.

So yes, I will keep rock climbing now that I know I'm pregnant.

(because let's face it- this little critter has already taken than one lead fall...)



June 21, 2013.  Your period is three days overdue!

"Yeah yeah," I grumble at my app.  "I know, I know.  Shut up."

My period is not actually three days overdue.  It is day thirty-two of my cycle, and although the calendar stubbornly insists that my cycle is twenty-nine days long, it's actually closer to thirty-one.  So, theoretically my period will be showing up today.  It hasn't, which as far as I'm concerned is relatively convenient, since I'm even now sitting in the waiting courtyard of my accupuncturist's office.

(Yes, she has a waiting courtyard.  It's awesome.)

Of course, in all fairness the reason I've been letting this woman stick needles into me for the last six weeks is entirely to do with my wacky menstrual cycle.  And the fact that it keeps insisting on showing up, sort of whenever the hell it feels like it.  And being painful as hell when it does.  Thanks to her I no longer have mid-cycle blood and pain, and my cramps weren't as bad last cycle.  I may not be pregnant yet, but hey- I'm happy enough that my lady parts are back to toeing the line.

She ushers me into my room and gives me a speculative look.

"Has your period showed up?"

"Nope," I say, matter-of-fact.

Her face immediately lights up.  "Have you taken a test yet?"

"Nah," I wave the suggestion off airily.  "My husband and I had to implement a rule that I can't take a pregnancy test until I'm at least a week late, because otherwise I get too excited and then disappoint myself.  I'll take one on Tuesday."

"Hmm," she says, speculatively.  "Do you have any breast tenderness?"

"No."  I am emphatic.  "I definitely do not have any pregnancy symptoms."  Not that it would matter if I did.  I've had every pregnancy symptom in the book- nausea, fatigue, breast tenderness, metallic-taste-in-the-mouth- and never once has it actually been related to pregnancy.

"What about PMS?" she asks.

"I-" I stop suddenly.  "Huh.  You know, come to think of it, I haven't been bitchy lately."

This makes her laugh, but it makes me very thoughtful.  Because... I'm always bitchy right before my period starts.

She lays me out on the table and feels my abdomen, which she says is feeling nice and warm, then places a smaller amount of needles than normal, and leaves me to my epically satisfying nap.

I decide to stop for a strawberry milkshake on the way home, a major indulgence for me.  All that dairy and sugar?  Yeah.  I chuckle to myself.

"Well if I am pregnant, I'm totally giving you the wrong foods."


June 22, 2013.  Your period is four days overdue!

I'm laying in bed and I'm thinking.  I'm thinking, I am totally not pregnant.  This is silly.  But...

"But" I really haven't been bitchy.

"But" I believe in a Universe with a sense of humor about me and pregnancy symptoms.

"But" (and this is the one that finally gets me out of bed and into the bathroom) I have friends coming over for a barbeque later, and I'd feel a lot better about drinking if I had a definite Not Pregnant staring up at me from a pee stick.  Gods know I've seen it enough times over the past three years.

It's a new brand- a weird, digital brand that I got on sale two months ago and involves actually constructing the damn thing.  Yes, awesome, definitely I am so glad I'm figuring out how to engineer a damn pee stick while attempting to ignore my overfull bladder.

Not even a minute later I'm staring at the results.

"Holy shit," I whisper yell, my voice high-pitched and strangled.  "Holy shit holy shit!" I am dancing around the bathroom like an agitated cricket.

I have, over the years, put in the requisite number of hours daydreaming about how I would tell my partner if/when I got pregnant.  It's probably a pretty good thing that I never came up with a really fabulous method, because all thoughts of presentation flee my mind as I scramble back into bed.

"Nate!  Wake up!  Wake up!  Guess what!"

I shove the test into his hand and he looks at it blearily, then at me.  He is squinting and I suddenly remember that there's a very good chance he can't even read the results without his glasses on.

But let's be real- there's only one reason I'd make him look at a pregnancy test at seven in the morning, and my man is nothing if not quick.


Standard of Living

How strange, you might be thinking to yourself.   A blog post going up in the middle of a weekday.

Okay, probably you are not thinking that at all, because chances are you're not reading this until well after I've put it up, anyway.  But check that time stamp- go on, check it.  Not even noon o'clock.  And that, gentle readers, is because I have, at long last, implemented The New Schedule.

The New Schedule involves me working Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, which makes Wednesday (aka "today") the official Day o'Errands, thus freeing me up to spend the weekend doing fun weekend things, without guilt tripping/stressing out over my house slowly descending into a filth pit.  It also gives me extra time every week to work on my writing, which I am, obviously, doing right now.  (Yes, blog entries totally count, especially if you are using them as a warm-up exercise).

The downside to the reduced work-week is, of course, the proportionately reduced income, and the restructured budget that goes along with it.  It's not a huge amount, in the grand scheme of things, but it's enough that we can't just be thoughtless about it.  Still, when it came right down to it, we decided that my mental sanity was worth a few extra pinches to the pennies we have.

(Plus, as mentioned, the house will stay hella cleaner.)


Brindle Honey

It's a little after noon when we pull into a leaf-shaded spot around the corner from our destination.  The elusive north-western sun is out, warm and comforting on my shoulders as we walk to the shop, but it's doing nothing to soothe the fizzing in my bloodstream.  It feels like someone poured pop-rocks into my veins,  a sensation which is, perhaps understandably, not helping my nerves.

We walk in, Nathan full of confidence, me full of shy supplication for gods that are not yet my own.  This is a Him Place, the same way that a rock gym is a Me Place.  My husband knows he has every right to be here- more right, perhaps, that some of the salespeople- and he immediately glides off to track down our quarry.  I, on the other hand, approach one of the salespeople, who greats me with a polite smile and a, "Is there anything I can help you find?"

"I'm looking for a Taylor GS Mini," I say, hoping I've said it right and not like a tool; hoping that he can't hear the shake in my voice.  The man's smile turns into a grin, and he gestures with his chin to my husband across the room.

"Looks like he's already found it for you,"

A familiar chord progression reaches my ears, and I see that yes, of course Nathan has already found it.  He's strumming the spruce-top, but that's alright because I've had my eye on the mahogany top, anyway.

The guitar settles into my arms as though made for me, her curves matching mine, her neck obligingly slender beneath my smaller hands.  We are a small and quiet counterpoint to Nathan's bold declarations of mastery: an unusual role for me, but not unpleasant.

An hour later I am torn between the mahogany and the spruce.  I prefer the warmer, quieter tone of the mahogany- I think it's better suited for my style- but aesthetically speaking the spruce is a prettier instrument.  And I do like the bright shimmer she brings to the upper range.  In the end I flip a coin, to make sure of what I've already decided.  It comes up heads and I smile: mahogany is confirmed, golden tone winning out over visual appeal.

The salesman starts to offer me the display guitar, but Nathan intervenes.  "Do you have any others?" he asks.

"Sure," says the man.  "But they're still in boxes in the back."

"Do you want one no one else has played?"  Nathan asks me.

"Yes please," I say, secretly thrilling at him acting the protector.  "Plus I think it would be fun to unbox her."

"No problem," says the salesman, and disappears.

When we get home I slice open the box, remove the packaging, and draw out the padded case that holds my new instrument.  I lay it down carefully, unzip it...

And we both gasp.

She is beautiful.

Both examples of the mahogany top that we'd seen before now were a warm but dull brown, uniform in shade and utterly unremarkable in appearance.  They looked so plain that it hurt a little part of my artist's sole.  But this gorgeous girl has iridescent stripes of honey and amber, like a tiger's eye.

"Oh wow," says Nathan, voice reverent.

I draw her out of the case and cradle her to my heart, feeling as though my novitiate faith has been rewarded.

I am calling her Brindle Honey, and she is Mine.


The Living is Easy

Today was the first Day Off I've had in a long time.

"What are you talking about, Jenny O?" You might say.  "You work a corporate job, regular hours M-F.  You get weekends, like, every week."

While that is, strictly speaking, true, it is also true that days off from work do not necessarily equal Days Off.  Capital D, capital O (you know what I'm talking about, don't pretend you don't).  Yeah, last weekend I went down to Smith with a group of friends, and we did some kick ass climbing, but it wasn't exactly relaxing.  And the weekend before that I was in Seattle, visiting Lara in the hospital- again, not exactly leisurely.  And, generally speaking, even those weekends in the previous month where I was not driving somewhere or committed to some event, I was doing what I usually do with my weekend, which is clean the house/do laundry/work in the garden/catch up on writing assignments.

And yesterday we drove up to Tacoma for my ten year reunion, which, while fun and awesome, was (say it with me) not leisurely.

It's mainly my own fault, of course.  I'm the one who always feels like I need to be Doing Something in my free time (a neurosis which must be carefully monitored whenever Nathan and I go on vacation), as though I'm somehow being a person of weak moral character if I'm not being productive in some way, shape or form.  And really, when the hell else am I going to get the chores done?  (More on this problem in a subsequent entry.)

So yeah, I occasionally have a difficult time taking a true Day Off.

Which is why I was pretty proud of myself for saying "yes" last week when KB suggested a trip to the "beach" today.  I packed up a towel and some sunscreen, and one adventurous pig, and the three of us went out and did exactly nothing for like four whole hours (Nathan was off on his own photography jaunt).  I got sun.  On my skin.  It was awesome.  We took Isis for a long walk along the river, we laid out and discussed KB's upcoming nuptials, we splashed around in the water with Isis, who discovered the dubious joys of swimming.  It was thoroughly unproductive, and thoroughly satisfying.  Then we came back to the 'Couve, dropped Isis off, and met up with JT and his wife to do a little gym-climbing, and I finally, finally got lead-certified, which was also highly satisfying.
The important part of this photo is the green lead card attached to my harness.  And, perhaps, the ridiculous expression on my face.

(Of course, today's session also made me realize I seriously need to work on my strength and endurance, but meh...)

Nathan picked me up from the gym and I got home and do you know what I did?  Not a single damn chore, that's for sure!  Mostly I'm just sort of basking in the general Summer Vacation feeling that's stolen over me, only if for a night.



They say bad things happen in threes.

On Thursday, Isis was bitten at the dog park.  We didn't realize it until we got home and took off her harness, and saw the blood flow.  I cleaned the wound (my first encounter with a dog bite) and discovered that the puncture was about the size of the final digit on my pinkie.  We decided we'd take her to the vet in the morning, and in the meantime I put antibiotic cream in the wound (which she did not like, but put up with, poor puppy).

Friday morning, Nathan took Isis to the vet, and I went to work.  After work, I went to the acupuncturist, and after that I saw I had an email from my credit card company, questioning a charge.  I called them up and told them that no, in fact I had not tried to purchase $400 worth of Abercrombie & Fitch.  In New York.  So of course they cancelled my cards and because it was Friday evening, my new ones won't be here until Wendesday.
Here, have a worthless credit card number.

Did I mention we're traveling today?  And that it was my main household card?  That all my auto-pays are connected to?

This morning we woke up and I started the carefully-balanced process of getting ready for my ten year college reunion (looking cute without trying to hard, right?).  I brushed my teeth and thought to myself, Oh, I should brush my engagement ring, too, so that it will be extra shiny when I show it off to my friends!

Grabbed the ring... and dropped it.  Stone down.  At just the wrong angle.
Feldspar is considerably softer than diamond.

So.  Bad things happen in threes.


Good things also happen in threes.

Isis got staples from the vet and they told us we did exactly the right thing in cleaning and treating it the night before.  She's none the worse for wear, and will have a new, roguish scar to impress the other puppies.
Also it turns out she's 70lbs now.
My credit card company denied the attempted A&F charge (and the subsequent PetCo attempt) because they felt pretty positive it wasn't us.  So the thief didn't actually benefit from our loss.

My engagement ring is insured.  We can replace the stone.  But even if we couldn't, it wouldn't matter- because my marriage is not based on a piece of jewelry.

Our puppy is safe.

Our finances are safe.

We are safe.

Good, good things.