Friday, November 30, 2007

Random Act of Kindness

I'm not sure if it's the holiday spirit or what, but I've been blessed by the kindness of others this week, and I wanted to share it with you. It started Wednesday when we screened our new OB and loved her. (Nothing like enthusiastic compliments on my uterus and impending "man child" to dispel insecurity about gaining 20 lbs!) It continued yesterday when my boss called to tell me that 1) she was paying me for Thanksgiving, even though I'm a part-timer and typically not eligible for paid holidays; and 2) she was able to get a raise and a bonus approved for me before our VP of Operations retired. (Now we can get a fancy glider-rocker for Bean's room!) Then last night our incredibly agreeable landlord rushed over to fix the garbage disposal that DH and I had the talent to break within 2 weeks of moving in. Even when it looked like it needed to be replaced due to our blatant mistake, he was not going to charge us for a new one. (Fortunately, he took it home and could fix it; he put it back in this morning.)

But this most recent situation, a truly random act of kindness, really topped off a good week. I ran out of cereal this morning, so I decided to go out and get a coffee and donut. (I refuse to eat that Kashi stuff that DH consumes. I don't eat tree bark. Unless they start coating it in frostring or adding colorful marshmallows.) Usually, I try to be more creative than going to Starbucks for my over-priced coffee, as there actually are other options for over-priced coffee here in Seattle. But this morning, it fit all the major criteria I needed: it's close (because there's always one close); it has a drive-thru so I could go in my sweatpants and slippers; and I could get both a coffee and a donut at the same stop. So the pup and I hopped in the car and headed down the street. Twenty seconds later, we arrived at a Starbucks.

The cars waiting at the drive-thru wrapped around the building. When I was next in line to pay and get my goodies at the window, the woman in front of me took a rather long time. It didn't bother me; the dog and I were grooving to my new Ingrid Michaelson CD and were not in any particular hurry. (No more of a hurry than a pregnant lady can be in when she's waiting for a donut, at least.) When it was my turn, I pulled up to the window with my $5.31 in hand. "Actually, it's $1.75," the cashier corrected. "The woman in front of you paid for your coffee." Astonished, I asked why. She shrugged, "Random act of kindness. I guess she felt bad for taking so long, her coffee was double-roasted."

True, I am generally easily impressed and currently prone to emotionality and sentimentality. But for someone about to bring a new life into the world, it's heartening to see generosity and goodness in others. It's out there, despite the prevailing images on the evening news. (Which, incidentally, is why I solely rely on The Onion for current events.)

So to random Seattle-area woman with the double-roasted coffee, thank you. It was one of the best peppermint lattes I've had. (The donut was also delish, but what donut isn't?) And to everyone else, here's wishing you random acts of kindness -- given and received.

Now I'm going to go to the McDonald's drive-thru and see if someone will buy my McNuggets.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

26 weeks (and 1 day)

It's that time again, folks... belly pic! DH took this tonight, at 26 weeks and 1 day. It looks like I'm carrying Bean a lot higher, but I think it's just the way the shirt is pulled. Either way, he's a growing boy!

Since I'm too tired to type a real post, I'll add some more pics to round it out. DH and I ordered the crib and dresser this past weekend. (Yipee! Something crossed off the list!) We were really excited that our favorite set was reasonably priced, although it was fun to visit the upscale Seattle shops and pretend to be big shooters. The furniture is a gift from Bean's four fabulous grandparents... thanks guys!

(No, this is not a clever way to announce that Bean will be named "Joshua" post-womb; this is actually just the display in the store. So far, he's still just Bean. But if we can't decide on something in the next three months, who knows. We are taking suggestions, and I promise to say the name you offer is beautiful, even if I think it's hideous. I expect the same from you when we finally select one.)

That's it for me today! I'm wiped, between starting work again and trying to settle into the house while lugging an extra 15+ pounds. Plus, I had to kick the dog out of bed because she wouldn't fit anymore (it was her or Bean, and the choice was easy), so she's been crying all night and keeping us awake. Poor little pooch, she doesn't understand. And I've tried explaining. If she keeps it up, I think DH may trade with her and sleep in the dog bed. It looks pretty comfortable, actually.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Turkey Day!

I have so much to be thankful for this year. A mix of the ever-important constants -- family and friends, the most notable -- and some new blessings as well. Now that the physical part of the move is finally over (although the settling in process has just begun), I can say I am grateful for a relatively smooth relocation. After spending much of the past week wading through moving boxes and rain puddles, we are largely up and running in the new place. There were a few annoyances to get straightened out (we nearly had to provide DNA samples to get our garbage service started), but nothing that doesn't come with the territory of a transition like this. Sanity check: so far, still here.

Despite days of clouds and rain, Seattle is an incredibly gorgeous place. Especially when the sun shines, as it did today, it's impossible not to be in awe of nature. There is so much to see and do, from watching the salmon run to digging for clams. I snapped this pick of Mount Rainier as seen in our neighborhood when we were walking the dog earlier today. (There are better views of it I wish I could share, but it's not usually convenient to stop traffic and grab the camera. Even now that I am driving with my Missouri watch-it-I'm-an-out-of-state-menace license plates.)

As is evident by the fact that we were walking her earlier today, yes, our sweet little Evey pooch is with us once again. We love having our family reunited! She's adjusting well to the new house so far. The first morning, she did get up at 4 am (which was 7 am Eastern Time to her) and sounded a wake-up call by batting the door stop spring in the master bedroom. BOING! BOING! BOING! She's not really a subtle dog. Evey has also somehow acquired mountain goat climbing skills. Our couch now backs up to a pass-through to the kitchen, and she likes to jump on the counter to see what goodies she can snatch. Actual food is prefered, but she'll give it a shot and consume paper products if that's the best there is. The following pics show two of her favorite perches: the window sill in the family room and the pillows on the guest bed. She likes to survey the house, inside and out.

DH is enjoying his work so far. He is surprised to find that there is no belligerent cursing or door slamming at meetings. Guess it really was time for him to leave that last department! The work itself is new and challenging, and his coworkers seem friendly. We went out with a group of young couples for dinner last weekend, all of them being transplants as well. They have invited us to their weekly Friday night poker games, even Evey and Bean are welcome. (I confirmed that they meant after he's born too, not just while he's gestating and can't be left behind.) Although poker is not my game -- I prefer Go Fish -- I'm willing to learn. If celebrities can do it, it can't really be that hard, right?

Overall, I am still feeling pretty good as a preggo. 25.5 weeks and counting! The belly continues to expand of course, meaning extra weight to carry around all day. My feet and calves are extremely sore by bedtime (aka 8 pm), sometimes I wake up at night with cramps. And it's very difficult to adjust to my ever-changing dimensions -- I am constantly bumping Bean on the edges of boxes and doors and countertops. As revenge, he spends a lot of time kicking and rolling around, especially when I am trying to rest or sleep. Practicing, no doubt! I'm doing my best to enjoy the relative ease of this stage of pregnancy, though, because in less than 3 weeks, I'm hitting the dreaded third trimester. From what I hear, it's going to get ugly pretty quickly. The home stretch... or should I say stretchmarks... here I come.

Next on the agenda: Finish organizing "stuff" around the house, meet with the new OB/GYN to make sure we’re a good fit (i.e. make sure insurance clears), and order baby furniture. I start work again on Monday, too… but I'm going to blissfully remain in denial about that until Sunday afternoon, at the earliest. Maybe until Monday at 7:59 am. On the bright side, I know that either way I'll be wearing DH's sweats, hair a mess, and sans make-up when 8 am rolls around. Maybe I will like working from home.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Home Sweet Seattle

I am in Seattle right now, at Tully’s Coffee using their free Wi-Fi to blog. I’m pretty sure this is the pinnacle of my coolness in life, so I’m glad that I’m able to document it this way. I enjoyed a gingerbread latte (decaf of course), chatted with other Internet users, and explained to two older gentleman the general concept of Wi-Fi. If this cafe is an accurate representation of the level of friendliness of Seattleites, I'll be very pleased.

Because I have a few minutes, and you may be curious (or just passing time like I am), I’ll give you the skinny on how our week of corporate relo went. On Monday, two packers showed up to start boxing our goods. One looked like Steven Tyler; she was a very nice lady. Before they came, we were instructed not to touch anything in the house. (I assumed an exception to picking up underwear on the bedroom floor.) In a process that can only be described as miraculous, they wrapped and boxed every single item in our house at warp speed while we watched in awe. It took them two days for some reason -- even though they only worked 4 hours the first day and 3 hours the second day. On Wednesday, a big 53' semi pulled up in front of our driveway. Two loaders and the driver put everything from our house in the truck, filling about 1/3 of it, I would guess. We were again amazed at the process, there was not an inch of empty air. "Any empty space is lost dollars," the one who resembled Jason Lee explained to me. (Yes, we had quite the collection of celebrity look-alikes helping us in this move. If there was beer on tap, I would have sworn our house was the new hot spot for impersonation contests in St. Louis.) Also on Wednesday, two flatbed trucks came and hauled away our cars to eventually meet us at our new home. Before they left, the drivers made notes on every single scratch on each car. And I mean every. single. scratch. If there was a 1/4" long graze on the center of the roof that didn't even get through the first layer of paint, these guys spotted it. It was actually kinda depressing, because before they went through it, I thought my car was in pretty good shape. By 3 pm, all the trucks had pulled away, and it was just me and DH in our empty home. We walked through one final time before leaving it forever. It was quite emotional for us, and a few tears were shed. But eventually DH pulled himself together. ;) On Thursday (yesterday) morning, we flew into Seattle. Despite the cramped 4+ hour plane ride, I suddenly wasn't ready to get off the aircraft when we landed. But one deep breath and a few steps later, and I was in Seattle. Yes, I live here now.

Now we wait. Our household goods will arrive on Wednesday the 14th, after visiting Indianapolis and Boise. Our cars will arrive about a week after that. (We have rentals in the meantime, of course. This makes navigating more difficult, because the cars have Washington plates. Our Missouri tags would have been helpful to announce to fellow drivers: "I have absolutely no clue where I am going, and I am going to cut you off at some point. Sorry.") We have a to-do list to keep us busy while our worldly belongings migrate across the country. And one of DH's best friends from college has a business meeting in Seattle next week (he lives in San Diego), so he and his girlfriend are flying up early to spend the weekend here. It will be great to see him and start exploring the city. A familiar face in the midst of upheaval, and one seen far too infrequently, at that.

And in other bits of news, DH started his new position today. I miss him already, I'd gotten used to spending my days with him. I don't start work again until the 26th, after Thanksgiving, to give me some time to set up home and office. I also booked Evey dog's flight to Seattle. She'll be joining us next Saturday the 17th. I can't wait!! Eight more days. It is PRICEY to get her here, good lord. But worth it -- at one cent per tail wag, she'd make it up in a few hours. Another important agenda item: visiting the birthing centers at local hospitals and setting up meetings to "interview" OB/GYNs. There is a major hospital about 2 miles from our place, but we've heard some negative reviews of the birthing center staff. Apparently they are not always responsive to the laboring woman. As someone who plans to ask for her epidural at around 8 months pregnant, just to be prepared, this does not appeal to me. So the search continues.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering. Yes, it's raining. But the sun is peaking through in spots, and there is a rainbow. I think we'll be just fine.

Friday, November 2, 2007


Like most people, I hate goodbyes. I always feel awkward and can never think of the right thing to say. Whether it's a passing acquaintance or a close friend, I would rather just pretend that everything will continue to be the same. But deep down I know it won't -- so we say our goodbyes.

Wednesday was my last day in the physical building of my employer. Sure, I'll be working from home once we arrive in Seattle, so I will be "interacting" with the same coworkers, sort of. But I will really miss the camaraderie around the department, it's going to be pretty isolating and lonely. (And much harder to get the latest gossip.) I've been driving to that building for nearly 5 years now, and it was surreal to be leaving it for the last time. Fortunately, there was a huge traffic jam on the way home, so I felt much better about the whole thing.

DH's coworkers wished him farewell with cake and a happy hour. It was quite the turnout; one of the best the department has had for a send off, they said. A cynical person could say that they were especially happy to see him go -- but I know it's because he's such a personable guy, he gets along with nearly everyone. Even a boatload of engineers, who are generally not known for their social aptitude. To express their admiration and good wishes, their going-away gifts included a Slim Jim, 30 packs of Orbit gum, and a gift card to Best Buy, which his boss instructed him "not to spend all at the same place." It was a good day for DH.

We have lunches and dinners planned with as many friends as we could squeeze into our schedule. Unfortunately, my hormonal crankiness gets nearly impossible to hide when I'm tired. And I'm tired. I almost lost it at one Mexican restaurant when they told me they didn't have any guacamole. WHY AM I AT A MEXICAN RESTAURANT, IF NOT TO ENJOY SOME NICE FRESH GUACAMOLE! If you don't have the guac, you might as well stay closed for the evening so we know to go somewhere else. But hopefully my friends will forgive me for my preggo- and relocation-induced moodiness. Please, guys???

We also had to say goodbye to our OB, today was our last appointment. We will sorely miss him and his distinctly male obsession with his 4D ultrasound machine. In fact, this may be the last time we get to see little Bean before he arrives! Hopefully we can sneak another one in with the new doc, when we finally pick one. We were really spoiled up to this point. After seeing these latest pictures, DH joked that the baby looks just like him. As long as Bean doesn't look like the other guy in the doctor's waiting room when we had our procedure done, I'm happy.

I've been holding onto my sanity so far, but I feel it slipping away as the weekend begins. It's crunch time, the movers come on Monday. We get to supervise two days of packing and one day of loading before waving goodbye to all of our worldly possessions for their cross-country trip. We fly to Seattle on Thursday, just in time for DH to start his new job on Friday. In one week, we will have no home here in St. Louis to come back to. This will probably be my last post before we head out, because things are about to get really crazy. So despite my best efforts at denial and avoidance, I have to say it:

"Goodbye, St. Louis. I'll miss you."