A Double Win


It’s Sunday morning, my husband has won another prize.  He is the most winningest (is that a real word?) person that I know.  Of course, it helps that he enters into every drawing and contest from around the country.

I can only imagine what the outcome of this announcement will bring to our front porch in the next few weeks.  The poor mailman has dragged packages of all shapes and sizes to our door and amazingly he still waves and smiles when he sees us in passing.

“We only have an hour to claim it, so we have to go right now.”

Blankly, I stare at him.  I am still in my pajamas and sipping a cup of coffee on the couch while he is preparing to collect his latest prize.  This one crummy cup of weak coffee is the only adult pleasure that I am still allowed and I. Need. It.  Sometimes, I wake up early just to get started on my one cup of the bitter nectar of life.

“I cannot go anywhere until I finish this coffee.” I declare firmly.

“Mmmm…..” he whines impatiently without words and waits three seconds.

“Ok, how about now?”

I sigh, there will be no peace until the prize has been claimed.

“Let me brush my hair.”

I change into a clean pair of leggings and t-shirt, my uniform as of late, because regular pants, shirts with buttons and dressing up in general is for regular sized, non-turkey-sized-baby carrying people, and we set off.  After a very long waddle down the road, we finally arrive at a brewery where I collapse into a chair while my beloved makes his way to the counter to collect his much-deserved prize.

He returns to the table with a double win, a Kurt Vonnegut book and an order of a Cuban inspired brunch.  We devour a stack of pancakes infused with guava jelly and topped with freshly whipped cream and a plate of fried eggs with a side of sliced mangos.  What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine, I secretly think and pull the book towards me across the table.

Just like brunch, The Sirens of Titan is exactly what I need to remember to take life less seriously but not for granted, to dream of adventure and travel, and to consider that we might not have any control over our path in life, but we can control our attitude, our sense of wonderment and how we treat those who walk along side of us during our short time on Earth.

Lamaze class


There were eight couples, paired off and uncomfortably sitting in hard-backed chairs against the wall with pillows and blankets at their sides.  A pile of brightly, colored exercise balls were gathered together in the center of the room, and a slender woman in dark, ankle boots leaned against a table at the front, presumably the Lamaze instructor. 

It was a good guess, as she was the only woman in the room who could still see her feet to admire those cool boots.  She casually rested there and I couldn’t stop myself from noting the flatness of her stomach.  It was a slightly concerning obsession that has worsened over the past few months, categorizing every woman’s stomach into flat, fat, pregnant or other.  

On the way to work, I saw a transgendered person and had to stop, not only because of the traffic signal but also the delay in my mental processing, and to think how to classify them into the system. Then the light changed and I sped off, only to remember just now that I never finished that thought.  

The woman in the boots was indeed the instructor and she shared that she had several children, naturally no less, in addition to a plethora of other important information about contractions, relaxation and dilation.  There was hope to return to normal, I mused in an unfocused type of way.  My belly can be flat again, someday, and maybe an active listener, too.

Throughout class, much like pregnancy so far, I had a number of assumptions turned upside down. Exercise balls in this new reality are called “birthing balls” and the he-he, hoo-hoo breathing is to prevent pushing too early rather than as a pain management strategy.  Apparently, pain management is left up to having a strong mental reserve and the promise of an epidural should the situation become too unbearable. 

There is still so much to do and learn that life feels overwhelming, and at the same time, I am grateful to have a little over three months left to prepare a nursery and practice my breathing exercises, to further perfect my classification system and to generally enjoy this downtime of idle musing before the world flips, yet again.

A fruitless exercise


Volleyball Grandpa let the screen door slam behind him as he left the house and headed across his lawn towards the court, giving me a one hand wave along the way.  He wears flip flips and jean cut-off shorts; his skin is brown to the point of being crispy from spending so much time tending and playing his beloved game.  It is unclear what came first, Volleyball Grandpa or the volleyball court.  The only certain thing is that he is the unofficially official ruler and overseer of the park and the volleyball court contained within it.

After four years of living in rather close proximity, I think he is starting to recognize me.  The pregnant waddle and belly certainly helps his ability to pick me out of a line-up.  When he waved, I felt like I was being recognized by royalty.  I have yet to be invited to a volleyball game, but there is still time for that particular honor.

From my observations, VG spends most of his time playing volleyball, prepping the court or chasing off prospective court infiltrators. He lovingly rakes the sand in the court and edges the grass around the perimeter, he picks up sticks and drags heavy fallen tree limbs towards the road for the street crew to pick up at the end of each week.  He goes so far as to put out bright, yellow cones between the stop sign and park entrance stating, “Slow Down.  Kids play here.”

What the sign might say to convey his personal message more clearly is, “Keep driving if you are looking for a volleyball court because this one is taken but do it slowly.”  VG is not above calling the police on vehicles that fail to heed his warning which occasionally prompts the presence of a cop car and a stake out of the area for rolling stops and speeders.  Absolute criminals, in VG’s mind.

Earlier this summer, a day came when maintenance and policing of the park was no longer enough to keep VG satisfied in his civic duty.  And perhaps out of an overgrown sense of ownership, VG decided to try his hand at horticulture.  (Why not? He had the undisputed space of the entire city park.)  It was then that a pathetic fruit tree appeared with a black, protective plastic around its base and a few branches barely strong enough to support the flock of three sparrows that took up immediate residency at the top.

Every day, VG watered the little tree and then put on his magnifier glasses to inspect the branches for pests which he pinched off with two fingers and shooed the birds off with his skinny arms.  People walked by the little tree in wonder of its sudden appearance and later with an even greater amazement when the little tree began to flower and produce peaches.  The little tree was a literal head turner. 

“After just a few months of being planted, how it that possible?” I asked my husband, somehow expecting an answer to the unknown. 

I suspect that Miracle Grow may have played a hand in the incredibly early and health growth but will give most of the credit where its due.  Mother Nature was at her finest, combining the elements to create little peaches that given time would have become juicy and delicious fruit.  Unfortunately, it is an opportunity that will have to wait until next Summer.  Between the birds and the people of the trail, it wasn’t long before the tree was stripped bare.

So VG is back to tending the volleyball court and I am back to watching him.  Not even with VG’s best efforts could he protect his tree from the forces of the world, a risk he knowingly took.  Yet, he still gained pleasure in caring for the tree, watching it grow and bear fruit.  He didn’t need to eat the fruit to know that it would have been good and he doesn’t need to get permission from the park to know that he will definitely try again next year.  

Maybe next year, he will add a cherry tree.

Hurry up and wait.

docs office

A white, plastic-capped specimen container filled half-way with a clear liquid was next to a tiny, disposable spatula on a square of paper towel on top of the ceramic counter.  I recognized the container and label stuck to the front; it was clearly a sample from the last patient’s appointment. 

“It appears that they forgot to pick things up before bringing us back,” I exclaimed with distaste.  

At least the paper liner was clean and unwrinkled, I thought as I plopped my heavy body down and crinkled the perfectly smooth, white sheet.  I cringed at the waste; the paper would never be the same or used again, destined for the trash as soon as we left.  

My husband sat next to the counter on a low chair and looked over towards the used test kit.  His view was partially blocked by a white bottle with blue print; it was a lubricant with the cap hanging off by a plastic tab. 

“That bottle of lube is staring at me in the face,” he said in a tone between horror and disgust. “And it’s still open.”   

There was something threatening about that seemingly abandoned bottle of medical lubricant, like sitting next to a smoker in a non-smoking section.  My man was desperate for an intervention, but unsure from where it might come, so he stared up at the ceiling, unsure of where else to look. 

He glanced down at the clock on his phone once, twice and once again.

“Do you have someplace that you need to be?” I asked.

Sheepishly, he nodded, “I only took half an hour off for this appointment.”

I didn’t mean to, but I laughed out loud, the very definition of LOL.  I would have gone so far as to ROTFLOL if I could have easily gotten down from the table.  He was a perpetual optimist, always seeing the best in others, planning for success and positivity.  The laughter bubbled up directly from the well of my soul, apparently located in my stomach next to the extra-large baby and kept bubbling up.  

“What doctor’s appointment has ever taken thirty minutes?”  

Every doc’s appointment I have ever attended followed the same script.  Check in and wait, meet with the RN and wait, sit in a room and wait and wait and wait.  

“I didn’t know how long it would take,” he explained, shrugging off my LOL’ing.

“Ok then, let’s hurry up and wait.” 

We will wait together for the next four months to pass, wanting time to slow to a stop and speed up all at once, uncertain as to what the future holds and yet as prepared as possible for life, together, as we become three.