9.20.2011

the straw that broke it.

Several months ago my husband interviewed for a position in Seattle. The position he started 4 weeks ago. No, there wasn't a 4-month background check investigation that uncovered some unsavory past life...or some poor planning that led us to the late start. They hired the other final candidate and that was that. Except she didn't work out.

Which brings us to August. Me? 8 months pregnant. David? Re-interviewing. Me? Freaking out. Him? Freaking out. Great. Same page. Let us continue.

Over the course of the last several weeks, my fab friends and supportive family have been closing ranks and selflessly helping me get through the seemingly impossible: an inter-state move, 9 months pregnant, without my husband. As Ethan's due date has been fast-approaching, the questions have been geared less toward, "What can I do to help?" and more toward, "How are you? You look so calm. I have no idea how you're keeping it together."

Well, for those of you beginning to wonder if I contained some abnormally gross capacity for stress, today I dropped my basket.

Sunday afternoon my husband, my MIL and I were loading up the last of the things from our Lake Oswego home into the U-Haul bound for Seattle. I went to the car to load it up with a few things I needed to get ready at the hotel (a.k.a. 'home' for the next several days until baby comes) for my shower that was to begin in a couple of hours. The key fob wouldn't work. Now if you're anyone else, you're irritated. But me? I'd seen a lot worse the last several weeks. This didn't even register on the stress-ometer. So I did the old-fashioned thing and manually unlocked the car with the key. Then it wouldn't start. The lights were on (literally) but no one was home. Then the key wouldn't come out of the ignition.

Digging into my vast array of auto-knowledge, I assumed it was the battery. We found a neighbor willing to jump it. No dice.

If you're anyone else, you're pissed. This stubborn german car is messing with your schedule and your life. You need to do your hair, makeup, get dressed, and have to be there in half an hour. Me? I'd seen worse the last several weeks. And we had a plan: my MIL called AAA and they were going to meet her after my shower to see what they could do. David went to the hotel to watch Emily and relieved my mom to come pick us up for the shower.

Great shower, by the way - so laid back, so fun, it was just my speed that day. My friends were so gracious, told me I looked great (total lies, and I love them for it) and gave generously to a woman who is basically abandoning them in less than a week. Thanks, ladies. I'm going to miss you.

AAA couldn't get it to start. They couldn't get the key out either. Now if you're anyone else, you're freaking out. Me? I'd seen worse the last several weeks. So I did the natural thing and had them tow it to the dealership. They open at 7a the next morning, and surely there's a perfectly logical explanation. A perfectly logical and inexpensive explanation.

Then, with a slap to the forehead, I remembered I drive a german-engineered vehicle. I think those little jackasses must have a "Screw with Those Idiot Americans Department" whose mission is to find the most expensive way to wire a vehicle so if you breathe wrong it costs your first born to even run the diagnostic. Which is, naturally, required to diagnose the problem that will inevidably cost thousands more.

But I digress.

We head to dinner to celebrate my husband's and MIL's birthdays. While we're waiting for our food to arrive, my MIL gets a call on her cell. She goes outside. She returns. It's AAA. They're telling her the dealership is closed (Really? Closed at 8p on a Sunday? Didn't see that one coming.) and that they'll need a credit card to pay for the overnight storage fee. I kindly explained to the dispatcher that I had spoken with the driver prior to towing my vehicle, we agreed he'd leave it at the dealership, it was my responsibility to make contact with them as they would be closed for the day, and that (most importantly) I would not be paying a storage fee. Now if you're anyone else, you're frustrated and likely sitting down with the foot of your hand on your forehead and your elbow on your knee while on hold. But I'd seen worse the last several weeks. A few moments later, she came on the line and confirmed everything I'd said. I pleasantly ended the conversation and headed back to dinner.

The one morning I've had to myself in ages, in my own hotel room with 5 pillows, 3 different door locks and a 'do not disturb' tag on the door, I woke to an alarm. I needed to catch our service advisor the second he walked in that morning to tell him about the car so he could rummage around in his bag of tricks and find the perfectly logical and inexpensive explanation I was certain would be forthcoming. I apparently called a moment too late and he was already off and running. So I waited until 7:30 when his scheduler showed up. The one nice thing about these german-engineering-dealership-types is that you always get to deal with the same service advisor and the same service tech whether you come in for floor mats or with a massive electronic failure right before you're due with your second child and a move to Seattle.

Again, I digress.

Twenty seconds after I hung up with the scheduler briefly explaining the situation, Adam (our trusty service advisor) called. He has a 3 year old and a 21-week old. He said he'd immediately triage my misbehaving car, and could obviously hear the familiar and eerily calm pregnant lady tone in my voice. And, a bit of good news: he had a loaner for me. --Good news because if I went into labor before my car was fixed we could have a smidgen of a problem.

Several hours later we had nothing close to a logical or inexpensive explanation. He couldn't get the car to repeat the prior day's glitches, but not to worry! He did find an old service bulletin describing a similar issue several other vehicles had experienced, and that it could be repaired by replacing a large portion of my electrical system. Now, if you're anyone else, you're passed out on the floor. But me? I'd seen worse the last several weeks. No problem.

My MIL did a little digging on the internet and found that while Adam's theory was sound, there was an alternative and far less expensive solution that would require a little extra attention on my part when I started the car and put it in gear, but would cost exactly $0. Perfectly logical and inexpensive explanation in mind, we decided this was the route we'd go until we got up to Seattle and had the time/energy/mental capacity to have it properly repaired. Done and done.

Hardly a cloud in the sky, this morning we packed a picnic for our last playdate with Emily's playgroup and drove to the dealership to pick up my car. It started like nothing had happened. The playdate was fun and I was, finally, beginning to feel relaxed. We (and by 'we' I mean my MIL, godblesshersoul) finished the last of the touch-up paint in the house and turned over the keys. Such relief. Right up until the moment we got on the I-5 onramp toward the hotel and my dash lights went out. And the gauges failed. And the power steering went out. And the turning signals wouldn't work. In 5pm rush hour traffic.

That's when I dropped my basket. Thankful the dealership was still open, I called Adam: "tell me what to do." I actually used those words. I had nothing else in my bank to use to combat the stress. I was suddenly on empty. The contractions began and so did my lower ligament pain. Thankfully, they both subsided a few minutes before pulling into the dealership, albeit nearly a half-hour later. I asked my MIL to take care of Emily and went inside. I told him in no uncertain terms what time frame we were dealing with, what I needed him to do and by when, handed him my keys and began transferring our items, yet again, from my car to the loaner. Sometimes it's having control over the small things that helps keep your you-know-what together.

It's likely we'll be running some kind of loaner vehicle circus between tomorrow, the hospital and Seattle, and back again to pick up my car once it's finished being repaired. It's probable it will involve several thousand dollars in parts and labor, plus the inevidable few hundred un-foreseen funds for some 'clips' they needed to pin this part to that. It may not even fix the issue, which would be a real treat, because at this point they're making (and I quote) an educated guess as to what will take care of the issues. Of all the times in my life I can think of, I have to say this is the absolute LAST on my list of convenient moments in time for this to have taken place.

Someday soon I hope to write about the other dozens of rediculous occurrances that have dotted the landscape as of late and, up until this afternoon, had made me thinking, "no problem. I've seen worse these last several weeks", as if I was Winnie the Pooh contemplating the rain. If I hadn't been here to witness it myself I'd never believe it. But for now I'm going to pick up my basket, and call it a day.

9.08.2011

holy crap.

Months after Emily was born, I remember sitting on her bedroom floor, looking up at my husband and saying, "Holy crap. We have a kid." He smiled and nodded, as if to say, been there, thought that. Of course if I'm being honest, I still find myself looking in the rear view mirror at my now 28-month-old singing The Wheels on the Bus and think that very same thought. Holy crap.

Today I sit here 38 weeks pregnant watching Dr. Oz (who, by the way, is talking about how to cope as a woman over 40 thanks, buddy) leaning back at a135-degree angle on David's hotel bed, thinking some familiar thoughts: Holy crap. I'm pregnant? When did that happen? How...? Never mind. Someone stop the train and let me off for a minute. And while you're at it? Please stop the moving train, the new job train, and the when-the-bleep-did-I-turn-33? train.

People have been asking me lately how I'm doing. It's a loaded question, and there's no short answer, so I really appreciate them even asking. The totally false and yet completely honest version is that I'm fine. Now if you're a man, you think that's the end of the story (hence, the totally false version). If you're a woman, you realize no woman uses the f-word unless she means it. It's like Pork (the other white meat): fine is the other f-word.

When I was selling real estate I operated at a different pace. That normal was different than today's normal. Then-normal was a higher base level of stress, a faster pace of activity and a constant multi-tasking way of thinking. The biggest thing I remember changing once I became a SAHM was the stress level. Probably because the other two didn't change that much, they just looked different. For example, as we got into a routine I could feel my stress go down - and better yet, stay down. However, the fast-pace and multi-tasking just changed their appearance: from showing 15 houses in 4" heels to leaping over the exersaucer to catch the toddler before whacking her noggin on the corner of the trunk. Good thing I gave up the heels with the office.

How am I doing? I feel more stress than my biggest closing month ever in real estate. --Which also happened to be the same month I was personally dealing with my largest family crisis to date and the month I was getting married. The difference is that I'm pregnant, and that's something I take very seriously. I refuse to let the circumstances around me affect the health of this baby. So, I'm doing my best to take in today. Tomorrow is tomorrow.

How am I doing? I voluntarily shipped off my husband to begin a life we couldn't because there was no way we were giving up our fab OBGYN and hospital 6 weeks from Ethan's due date. He's my best friend, the grounding presence in our home. Just imagine for a moment how super-calm it is in our house right now. Super-calm like a freaking EF-5 tornado.

I don't have a to-do list. I have several. I had to break it down into categories. I have a baby TDL, a moving-out TDL, a moving-in TDL, a household-stuff-that-has-to-get-done-whether-we're-in-the-middle-of-a-move-or-not TDL, a yes-i'm-grateful-for-the-design-contracts-but-I-had-more-time-last-month-when-we-first-talked-about-this-uber-huge-project TDL and an Emily-survival TDL. I need a freaking personal assistant to organize the to-do lists.

What I know is it will all get done. Ethan will be born. I have an inordinate amount of help. My husband rocks and brings me to tears with pride. And if it doesn't all happen as gracefully and with as much order as I'd like, I'm pretty certain I'll be the only one that notices.

So these days we survive by way of videos to Daddy, dress-up in jammies and high-heels, and chocolate ice cream fixes whenever we darn well please. Can I get an Amen?

video

Family beach trip and one last relaxing vaca for Daddy.

Shopping in her closet with her baby...and heels...and jammies.

Because shopping is an event.
(Easter dress, dress-up hat, new shoes - that's all her.)

Early-morning flowers delivered by the hotel bellman from that wonderful man I married. Not sure whether it makes me miss him more, or less.