Friday, March 13, 2009

Babies, babies, everywhere

I feel like it's the season of pregnancy.

My friend Lisa is about 7 weeks ahead of me. My friend Elizabeth just gave birth to a bee-yoo-tee-ful baby boy, Elliot. Seriously, he's gorgeous. My friend Christi is about a month or so ahead of me.

Seeing Elizabeth's pictures of Elliot have made me more excited about The Joey. Not that I'm not looking forward to another baby, but strangely, this pregnancy has been very different than my last one, in that I don't feel consumed by it in a psychological sense.

With Zeke, I was constantly aware of being pregnant. I thought about it non-stop. I had my pregnancy tracker as my internet home page.

With Joey, I was very, very happy to have a good 7-week ultrasound, because I had a miscarriage before Zeke, so I was skittish. In fact, when I saw the heartbeat, and the fact that the fetus measured exactly the right size based on how old it was, I started to cry.

But after that, I didn't think about it so much, except when I was puking. I get a weekly email from updating me on Joey's progress, and every Friday morning, when it pops into my inbox, I'm surprised.

"Oh, yeah. I'm pregnant!"

But seeing Elizabeth's pictures of Elliot made my heart skip a beat, not only because I love my friend and am so happy for her, but also because it reminded me of what I have to look forward to in about 6 1/2 months.

And I'm really, really looking forward to it.

What Joey's up to:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Acclimatizing, and why I love my new OB

When people find out that I have just moved from Hawaii to Denver, they invariably comment on the cold.

"Oooooh, are you freezing all the time?"

"It must be so hard to get used to the weather."

"You're crazy."

But the cold doesn't really bother me. It's not like I grew up in Hawaii. I've never lived anywhere with really harsh winters (except when we lived in Michigan the year I turned 7), but I've experienced plenty of snow and blizzards and ice storms. Most places I've lived have required me to own sweaters and a winter coat. It ain't no big thing.

No, what's really kicking my ass is the dryness.

The first night I was here, I woke up at about 1:30 in the morning feeling like I had been lying exposed in the sands of the Sahara in the heat of the day. I chugged 2 large glasses of water, and started to feel better about 20 minutes later.

This went on every night for about 2 1/2 weeks. I kept a full bottle of water by my bed, and invariably woke up between 1 and 3 needing to drink the entire thing.

And this was with keeping a full bottle of water with me throughout the day that I could constantly sip from. So it's not like I was neglecting my hydration issues during my waking hours.

I think my body has adjusted, because now I rarely wake up during the night needing to drink now.

No, now the bane of my existence is boogers.

No matter what I do, multiple times a day I have to excavate giant, dried up boogers from my nose, or risk not being able to breathe. The air is so dry that no matter how much saline spray I squirt up my nose, no matter how much cocoa butter I try to line the inside of my nostrils with, I end up with these boulders that block my airways. It's gotten to the point that I'm not even embarrassed about constantly having my finger up my nose.

We'll see if my body adjusts to that aspect of the dryness, but I'm not holding my breath.

In the meantime, the pregnancy is going well. The crazy nausea I had between weeks 6 and 8 miraculously went away about 2 days before we left Hawaii, which was a godsend. Now I feel fine, with some occasional days of crazy exhaustion where it takes every ounce of energy I have to get up to pee.

The big difference between this pregnancy and my last one is how quickly everything is happening, i.e., the pooching out of the belly. Last time I didn't start to show until about 13 or 14 weeks. Now I'm 10 weeks along and already well ensconced in my maternity pants and holding my non-maternity pants up with rubber bands. I'm not eating an inordinate amount, but am resigned to the fact that I'm turning into the chubby girl way earlier than last time.

Which made it a pleasure to meet my new OB. I had a routine appointment last week, and everything went fine. All is well. But when she saw that I had gained almost 10 pounds by week 10, she said, "well, let's just call it water weight. After all, in this climate, you've been drinking alot more water than you're used to."

Yes. Yes, I have.

Monday, March 09, 2009

In which I start the new job off with an overshare

Even though my official start date at the new job isn't for another week, today was the association's monthly staff meeting, so Kathleen invited me to attend so I could meet everyone. The monthly meetings are a fairly big deal -- every month someone hosts and serves breakfast and there are little icebreaker quizzes or similar fun games to get everyone chatting.

Because St. Patrick's Day is next week, the theme was St. Paddy's Day/Ireland. Kathleen and Cathy, another coworker, were hosting, and served potatoes and Irish cheese and had St. Patrick's Day plates and napkins and tossed shamrock confetti all over the buffet.

The morning "ice breaker" wasn't a quiz, but as part of my introduction to the crew, everyone went around the room, told me who they were, and told something about themselves that related to Ireland or to St. Patrick's Day. Some people talked about having Irish ancestors, some talked about trips they had taken to Ireland, some just expressed a taste for Irish whiskey or beer. One of the women told a story of celebrating St. Patrick's Day in a bar, and everyone ended up doing beer slides down the bar.

Which reminded me of a crazy night I had in college, one summer in between second and third years. We started off hanging out at some guy's house, proceeded to traipse around Charlottesville skinny-dipping in half the apartment complex pools near the University, and ended up at one of the fraternity houses with half a keg of beer, the keys to the stereo closet, and a mini-trampoline. By the end of the night, we were doing beer slides across the floor in various states of semi-dress (some people did it on their naked butts, I stayed in my underwear).

So to a room of future co-workers (plus my boss), 90% of whom I've never met before, I get caught up in the hilarity of the story and blurt out, "beer slides are so fun. A bunch of us did those one night in college. But most of us were naked."

Everyone laughed, and some eyebrows shot up, particularly those of the men in the room.

Jesus, what is my problem?

Later in the meeting, my boss was talking about how happy he is with the staff and saying what a great team we have and how happy he is that I'm coming on board. "Though I'm having a hard time getting the image of the naked beer slides out of my head," he added.

And before I could stop myself, I said, "Oh, don't worry, I wasn't one of the naked ones. I kept my underwear on."

He laughed and said, "I'm not sure that helps me much."

Seriously. What is my problem??

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Aloha, Denver

Yesterday Jason and I were in the car, driving back from dropping Zeke off at school. We were stopped at a light, and an older lady was crossing in the crosswalk. She looked at us and smiled and said "Welcome to Colorado" (she must have seen the California plates on our rental car).

And that's pretty much what it's been like to be in Denver so far.

We're living in this incredibly cool intown neighborhood, about a 10 minute drive to downtown, with an elementary school across the street, funky little shops and restaurants around the corner (including a wonderful yarn shop -- all the more reason to get back into some serious knitting -- and an ice cream store that has become a daily stop for us), and super nice neighbors. We'll be walking down the street and people will stop and chat us up. Jason said at one point, "will someone just be a prick to me, already? Am I going to have to be the neighborhood asshole, just so there is one?"

This is the kind of aloha spirit we expected from people in Hawaii, but never really found.

And while Jason definitely misses the surf, and had a hard time his first Sunday here (Sundays were his regular surf days with his buddies), on Monday he went snowboarding at a great mountain about 45 minutes away, and came back feeling rejuvenated and excited about living near the mountains.

In so many ways, this moving is looking to be a good one for us:
  • We live about a 5 minute drive from a Super Target, which happens to be the highest grossing Target in the country. And in addition to having the expectedTarget-y goodness oozing from its brick walls, it's got a full grocery store, so we can do all of our shopping there, and for unbelievable prices. The first time we went, on the second or third day we were here, we filled up a grocery cart. In Hawaii, the bill would have been $300, easy. In Colorado, the total was $113. We practically wept with joy. And really, the cost of everything is similarly reduced -- gas, rent, utilities. It's such a pleasure to not feel constantly ripped off.
  • The horrendous traffic in Hawaii was a constant source of stress and aggravation for us. When Jason worked on jobs in Honolulu, it used to take him 2 hours to drive the 25 miles between our house and work. It would take me 40 minutes of sitting in bumper-to-bumper crap to take Zeke 4 miles up the road to his school. Now, we can get downtown in the heart of rush hour traffic in about 10 minutes, making green lights all the way, and never sitting in any of the stand-still shit that makes my blood pressure rise just thinking about it.
  • There are so many choices. For everything. All different kinds of ethnic foods. A million different retail establishments. In Hawaii, if we wanted to go out to eat, we'd be spending at least $100 for just the two of us, and that was at someplace like Chili's or Outback. Here, there are diners and cafes and little neighborhood bistros, all reasonably priced, that make having a social life an economic possibility again.
  • My parents came to visit last week. Instead of having to travel for 13 hours and deal with the jet lag that comes from a 6 hour time difference, they hopped on a 3 hour flight and didn't suffer significant exhaustion as a result. Next month my brother's band has a gig in New York City. If my work schedule permits, flying in for the weekend to see it is an actual possibility. It's just so damned nice to be closer to everyone I care about.
  • Everyone here looks so healthy. In Hawaii, we got so used to seeing so many morbidly obese people everywhere we went -- entire families where no one was under 250 pounds, including the kids, bellying up to the buffet line for more barbecue and spam and sugary sodas. Here they all look like they stepped out of an REI/North Face/LL Bean/Land's End catalog, with their ski racks on their cars and trailers on their bikes so they can tote their kids around while they do their errands.
  • It's such a pleasure to have friends here. We became friendly with our neighbors in Hawaii, but only really felt truly simpatico with one or two select couples. Here I've got my cousins and friends from college and friends from high school and friends from Atlanta, not to mention Kathleen and Rich. Zeke will be able to grow up with their kids (they came over last night for a pizza party, and ran around so wildly that after they went home, Zeke was practically begging to go night-night), and with his cousins, and with the children of our other friends. And they're all smart and literate and politically astute and fun to hang out with.
There are definitely things we miss about Hawaii. It is a beautiful place, and it was fun to be so close to the beach and to be able to surf all the time and to just have the experience of living in a tropical paradise. I loved being able to do things like drop Zeke at school and head up to the North Shore to watch the Pipeline Masters. But it's not a bad substitute when tomorrow, we're going to drop Zeke at school and drive a mere 45 minutes to go skiing.