It's been a fun and busy few weeks, hence the lack of posts. We went to a wedding in Wasilla (staying for free in my in-laws' motorhome), and my parents came up for nearly a week, both to visit us and to celebrate the wedding of two of their college friends. (Cute story, the couple dated in college, broke up soon after because he wanted to leave the state, and then met again last year and fell back in love so they got married.) In between these events, I spent a few days frantically cleaning my apartment, both to make it presentable to my parents and because my dad is allergic to cats, so I did my best to get rid of as much cat dander as possible. (It seems to have worked. He sneezed a lot but his eyes didn't itch, and the sneezing might also have been caused by the smoke.)
Ah, the smoke. We've been keeping an eye on the reports about the Stuart Creek fire, just out of town. Not only has it been blowing clouds of smoke into habited areas, it actually caused a temporary evacuation before they started getting it under control. Thankfully, we've had some rainy, wet weather which has been helping the firefighters. It's still almost 85,000 acres on fire, but the weather is helping to keep it from spreading toward homes.
And, it's sent a small boon our way. Some family friends live in the hills, not anywhere too close to the fire (they didn't have to evacuate) but they can see it and theirs is a very woodsy area. It got them thinking about what their fire danger is so they wanted to make a fire break. Unfortunately, they're an older couple and the wife is in poor health so she can't do much. So they hired Shane and another friend of ours to work on clearing out a bunch of the black spruce around their property. They're not clearcutting, but they're thinning it out both to make it less likely to be eaten up by a fire and more palatable to firefighters, should they be needed. As Kathy pointed out, "After the incident in Arizona, I can't blame them for being wary. And they'd take one look at our property and say that there's no way they're coming out here just for one structure." It's just been a couple of afternoons of work so far, but they're going to re-assess over the weekend--they have family visiting right now--and then see what other help they'll need from Shane next week. (Am I a bad person for hoping that they'll need at least a week's help more?) As for the trees, anything which can be used for firewood will be (the other guy working on this is going to haul most of it home) and some of the logs have big burls on them, so it was suggested that those get sold to the Alaskan Bowl Company or another local artisan. So they're being cut down, but they're not being wasted.
This isn't the only odd job that has come Shane's way recently, either. My boss retired and immediately after, she and her husband packed up and left the state to be closer to their kids. They called on Shane to help with the packing up, which worked out well for everyone. We're not making boatloads of money off these jobs, of course, but any little bit helps.
My odd jobs, however, disappeared. I was hoping to do the summer opera ('Carmen'), which pays a decent amount for the work they ask. At least, for music in Fairbanks it pays well. (And really, half the point is that I get to play my violin, the money is just extra.) But that fell through, due to the wedding in Wasilla and a few other factors. Even worse, I just found out that the fall FLOT show will be starting November 15th. Since my due date is the 11th, there's no way I can do this show ("Willy Wonka and the Choclate Factory"). I'll still get to play, hopefully (I can do the Fairbanks Symphony, depending on the concert dates) but I won't get paid and, darn it, I love doing the FLOT shows! Missing out on one is disappointing. I do have a wedding which I'll be playing for (and probably getting paid a few dollars for), so the music season isn't a total monetary loss for me yet.
If those are my only real complaints, though, it should show you that life is pretty good right now. Shane's summer class started, so he's got more to keep himself busy these days. I hate how he gets when he's jobless because not doing anything just makes him grumpy and irritable. I understand it, to a certain extent. He gets bored and lonely being at home all day with no one but the pets for company. Hunting for jobs is boring and annoying, and being rejected for job after job is disheartening. He's still applying to new positions, of course, but the pickings are slim right now, which adds to the frustration. Having even small things, such as his class and the odd jobs, helps a lot. I'm glad, for both of us, that he's got plenty to do right now.
As for me, I'm mostly in good spirits. At 22 weeks I'm starting to feel quite large. And apparently looking it, too, enough for the FedEx guy who delivers to work to feel confident enough to ask me when the baby's due. (I told Shane this and he said, "Bold move, sir!") For the record, the delivery guy said November 13th. I kinda hope he's right, since that would mean I'd only be two days overdue. :)
I'm still trying to enjoy most of this, or at least look at it clinically. My stomach is big enough to be getting in the way, which is both funny and depressing. I'm finding it hard to do small things like put on my own socks. (For shoes, I've been wearing slip-ons.) I weighed myself again after several weeks of forgetting to, and saw a number on the scale much larger than anything I've ever seen before. Even knowing that I'm gaining the proper amount of weight and not extra, it still made me want to cry. Then again, lots of things make me want to cry lately.
I have had a number of people tell me that I look great, which helps. And when I actually see myself naked in the mirror, I end up thinking, "Really, I'm not that big." I just feel like I am. My belly button is just on the edge of being an outie, but isn't there yet. My balance doesn't seem to be too far off yet, and I think the yoga is helping me with that. However, it does seem as if my walk to work is getting harder by the day. Getting up the hill is a supreme effort of will, and people look at me with a mixture of pity and awe when I make it to the top, sweating and panting. My stamina is so bad right now that, the last time I took the dog on what used to be our medium length walk on a weekday evening, I came home and told Shane, "That can only be a weekend walk from now on. It's too much, when I've already spent over an hour walking earlier today." And then I collapsed onto the bed and didn't move for a while.
I am totally nesting. Mentally planning, preparing for what's to come and all of the changes. Trying to figure out even more ways to spend less money, to make things out of what I already have and just to, you know, prep the nest. I started reading Dr. Sears's "The Baby Book", and although I was leery when starting it I'm actually rather enjoying it. They do advocate attachment parenting, but everything comes with, "Of course, every baby, parent, and family is different so if this doesn't work for you, don't do it." It's not only backed up with anecdotes but with science. And there's a good dose of relationship advice, too, for how to deal with the changes a baby introduces to a marriage (or a partnership, or whatever) and how to deal with some of the conflicts that naturally occur. I don't expect Shane to read it, but some of it would be helpful for him so I've been passing along things that I think he'd appreciate knowing. The fact that there is so much geared toward fathers, and that so much of the book focuses not just on what the mother could/should be doing but also on possible roles for the father is great. So many new parent books completely ignore the dad, and Dr. Sears says straight out that fathers have a different, but just as important role, from the mother. I really, really want Shane to understand that. I'm terrified that I'm going to make him feel inadequate, or that I'm going to take over everything and make him feel left out, both of which are quite common for new moms. I have grand plans for things like leaving Baby with Shane in the evenings and taking the dog for a short one-on-one walk, but who knows what my feelings will be after Baby is actually here? Will I get possessive of her? Will I get bossy (which I tend to do) and know-it-all-y? Shane doesn't have much experience with kids or babies, but I have lots thanks to my years as a babysitter and nanny. So I hope I keep all of this in mind and that I don't push my husband away when he's learning his role as Dad. I think the biggest thing which will help me is just that I am as excited about seeing him morph into his role as a dad as I am about meeting our baby. I know he'll be a great father, no matter what.
And there I go, starting to tear up again. Dammit.