Gone Coastal

Saturday, May 27, 2006


This is the post I'd expected to make last weekend, the one that'd been rolling around in my mind, gathering other thoughts up and tying them together into a coherent mass, ready to be drawn out and spun into a post.
Right at the heart of this ball is a question. Is it hormones or a forboding sense of all the extra responsibility on the horizon that makes an expectant mother need to try and settle all the outstanding, and typically longstanding, messes, and believe that suddenly she'll be able to keep on top of all the issues and tasks that have consistently been neglected up till now?
I'm inclined to think it's some of both, where some items fall closer to one end than the other. Like all those little (and not so little) projects like moving the raspberry bushes and levelling out the yard so it can be mowed and not be just a weed farm. Like setting up a designated dog-pile in the back like we had in Kelowna so we can retrain the dogs to go only in their corner, and not have to worry about demining before we go out in the yard. Like getting the paint stripped off the upstairs window so we can actually open it up and get some cross-ventilation happening. These I think fall closer to the true nesting instinct of wanting certain things in place before baby arrives, knowing it'll be much more complicated to make it happen after.
Then there's the ongoing pipe dreams that I'll suddenly be able to keep up with all the paperwork that comes through the door - paying and filing every bill on time, recycling everything recyclable in short order, shrinking the various piles of stuff to nothing, and keeping them gone - everything in its place and all. And keeping the dishes always cleaned and put away, the floors washed, the bathrooms done, and the laundry folded and stored.
Truth be told, I'm getting further behind in all these things, and yet I still think several times a week that 'this weekend, I'll make a big dent in it.' And Sunday afternoon comes and I look around and whatever I've done, the overall effect is still a bit more chaotic than the week before.
Well, I guess all I can say is, if any of you opt to come visit us here, consider yourselves warned. It's a mess.

An unexpected post

I frequently have a few postable thoughts ruminating through any given week. And since it would be unusual, especially lately, for me to have the time and focus during the week to put thoughts fully to paper, I'll often let one present itself for more complete digestion towards the end of the week, with the hope of posting over the weekend. Such was the case this week, but this is not the post I'd been preparing. Other events have taken precedence.

I took our boxer Keko to the vet last Saturday while the Bear was in the Kootenays. There's been a funny lump on her elbow for sometime, but it seemed to be getting a bit bigger, so we figured it was time to get it checked. As it always seems to be with our good intentions, it was awhile before we actually made a vet visit happen. Finally, when I sent the Bear by the vet's office after work to pick up cat food I had him make an appointment for the weekend, for both Keko and our cat Fluff.

The vet aspirated the lump, which basically means she took a sample from the middle with a needle. Two samples actually, first with a small needle, and then with a bigger one since Keko was fairly cooperative with the first and the bigger needle gives a better chance of picking up anything.

The clinic got the results back from the lab mid-week, but with a few other things keeping me busy, I didn't actually connect with her until this morning. The results are that it's a mast cell tumor. I'm bringing her in tomorrow morning to do the pre-anaesthetic bloodwork, and Friday she goes in to have it removed. Just like in people, we won't know all that much until after the tumor is removed and a biopsy done. I was planning to get the bump removed anyway, but having done the aspiration, now the vet will know to take a wider margin around it.

Having done a bit of research online, apparently boxers are particularly prone to these tumors, but tend to have less aggressive cases. I'm trying not to think too much about worst case scenarios, at least not until there's reason to.

In the past, we've been known to answer when asked if we have kids, "Just furry ones." In many ways we've thought of them as our kids, in terms of looking after them, and including them in stuff we do. But with a two legged - and presumably less furry - baby on the way, we've been working to prepare them fur for a shift in status. I think they know instinctively that something's up, and quite possibly what, through those senses they have that we can't compare to.

Hopefully, this won't require much of my maternal reserves beyond post-op care, which I'm pretty good at by now. We'll likely have to move her to the basement so she won't have to deal with stairs. Since the room they're in now will become the nursery, it was going to happen eventually anyway. Perhaps it'll even be easier for them to accept if it's for Keko's healing, rather than to make room for 'the usurper'.

Like most things these days, the effect of this news kinda comes in waves. I can only write when the emotional tide is at low slack, at least if you want something coherent, but it probably comes out a little detached. Perhaps I'll still get to the expected post later this weekend.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The obstacle

All in all, this pregnancy has gone better than textbook from the start. I say better than textbook, because all the measurable milestones have come pretty much where they're expected. Apart from a little jump up around Christmas and down at the end of our Mexico trip, weight gain has fallen almost exactly on the marker at each checkup without much conscious effort on my part. At the ultrasound, the key measurements of this growing person were all just a little above or below the 'standard', averaging out to just where they were expected.

The 'better' part comes in in those areas where there are no rules - the majority of pregnancy, really - where there's a whole range of symptoms, side effects and complications that you may or may not experience to a little or large degree. I continue to count myself hugely blessed in that respect, as I had no morning sickness to speak of, little in the way of strong food aversions (buttered popcorn was definitely out for awhile), and cravings for basically good healthy food. I've been able to stay pretty active - even walked the Times-Colonist 10K a few weeks ago.

But finally, at nearly six months, one thing is starting to catch up to me. My belly. I've bumped into a doorframe or two with it, and I certainly don't bend as easily when it comes to putting on shoes or shuffling laundry. And just in the last week or so I've found that our couch is a little lower than I'd like it to be. We often end up eating there, mostly because we don't see the top of the kitchen table for months at a time, beyond the little square I carve out for my breakfast each morning. I can sit relatively comfortably on the couch for hours if I put my feet up or sit cross-legged and lean back on the arm. But when I face the coffee table and sit upright enough to use a fork and knife, it feels like I've got my knees up around my ears and any space that was available for processing a meal has been squeezed out.

Getting comfortable at night is becoming harder, too. I've been sleeping on my side almost exclusively for months now, but it takes a bit more coordination and care to roll over when I wake up stiff and need to shift and stretch. If I move too quickly, the baby's apt to protest having its world inverted, pushing hard into some corner of my insides like it's trying to turn me back. And all that shifting tends to mean the sheets get pulled up. As our bed just fits into a nook, you can't walk around the bed to tuck the sheets under, so making the bed involves aligning the sheet at the foot of the bed and the partial side you can access, and then moving across the bed to stretch and tuck as you go. No military tight corners here at the best of times, but the belly now rules out stretching out to do it, so it's hands and knees. I'm always happy when we tuck the last corner in that I can flop right there on the bed and catch my breath.

A couple of weeks ago, after we'd closed the deal on the house, the Bear asked me, "Now, can I get a dishwasher, now that the place is ours?"

I had to ask him back with a grin, knowing full well what I was opening myself up for, "You don't like the current model?"

"Well, it seems to be slowing down over the last few months. It doesn't run as often, and can't do as many dishes at a time." Vince had wanted to buy a portable dishwasher as soon as we moved in last August, but I'd flatly refused. Partly on the principle of at least trying to do things ourselves instead of spending more money, and partly to avoid acquiring another big, heavy thing that we'd have to move and might not need at our next place. Anyhow, I made him a deal that, since he does most of the cooking, if he had dinner ready at a reasonable hour each night, I'd do the dishes after. In the middle of last week, I was well behind in the dishes and was finally home early and awake enough to tackle them. I laughed to discover it was harder than the last time to actually get over the sink. The obstacle had grown again after the weekend's yard workout (I've noticed a pattern that anytime I do something that involves extra exercise, the baby spends the next couple of days growing). So, I haven't given in yet, but I'm starting to think a dishwasher isn't such a bad idea.

The other thing about my belly that intrigues me is how vastly different people's perceptions of it can be. My belly and buttonAt 27 weeks, I've had everything from, "It's about time you started to show," and "Now everyone finally believes your pregnant," to "Three months to go still? That's going to be a big baby." Of course, I have all the other evidence that it's growing, including the actual feeling of being pushed out a little further on a given day. But one of my favourites is the little hernia scar that's been tucked inside my belly button since I was a baby. It's now quite visible below what's left of my 'innie'.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Night of Artists

To paraphrase the Goddess, "I'm too busy to post everything that's been in my head since I last posted, but...."
For now I'll try and squeeze a post out about one thing before it's old news. Night of Artists is an annual art show and auction gala event that happens in different cities across the country. My employer happens to be a sponsor of the local event, and as such I've scooped a ticket to tonight's show. The Bear is out of town for the weekend, so it seemed a great way to get out and do something. Our local office also put together an entry for the auction, care of some of the closet artists. Historically, it's been our own execs that bid on and purchase the in-house work, but I haven't seen this year's creation yet.
Gotta go again...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Welcome to the coast

Welcome to my blog. I had the idea for the blog (or at least the title and a few thoughts of what I'd do with it) some time ago, and had my man snag the domain for future development. After that, as things often go, not much happened - at least as far as the blog was concerned. Those who know us know much has happened since in the rest of our lives. For starters, we recently bought the house we'd been renting, and in a few short months we'll be full-fledged parents.
On that last note, today is Mother's Day. Yesterday, a good 'badgering' buddy of ours was catching up with my Bear. Knowing we're expecting, the Badger asked him what he planned to do for me for Mother's day. I'll spare you the interesting discussion that followed (or the half I heard plus the equally riveting half I imagined), but I think it prompted my Bear to go digging through the den for an answer to 'what can I do?' And so, he set up Gone Coastal for me here, ensured that the domain he'd secured earlier would point to it, and set me loose.
Seems to me the timing couldn't have been better, as the house purchase really does make the return to the coast feel a lot more permanent.
I hope to have a chance to customize this a bit over time, so don't be surprised if it looks a bit different every now and then, but don't hold your breath either. I don't tend to move too quick these days (what with twenty-some extra pounds hovering around my belly) and now that this house is ours there's lots of other little projects to be tackled before the arrival of our new family member. I expect I'll still be able to post something with reasonable regularity, so do check back now and then.
And a good day wish to all the other mothers (and mothers-to-be) out there.


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