Tag Archives: Moving

Pink, for mild concern

I am in the market for a pink “MILD CONCERN” button.  It seems I am hard wired to reach for the bright red PANIC button.

Two situations came to a resolution this morning.  Both of which have had me near tears for the last twelve hours.

Two weeks ago at my midwife’s visit they told me that I seemed to be “measuring big” and that I “might have excess fluid” but not to be concerned yet.  They’d check in two more weeks and then maybe schedule an additional ultrasound.  As much as I’d love to see this baby one more time before I hold it in my arms my poor little third trimester/moving/daughter starting new school heart can’t take the worry that scheduling an extra ultrasound would cause.

They told me I had no cause for concern.  Yet.  Knowing full well it was a terrible idea –  I googled.  And I found that nearly all of the time it is nothing.  But when it’s something?  Well, then it could be an increased risk for still birth or a zillion other equally rare and horrific somethings.  So I did my best to try not to worry.  We had the closing on the house to worry about.  And packing and unpacking. (“Town to town, up and down the dial…” I can not say that, packing and unpacking, without hearing the WKRP theme song.)

But when I did think about it… the red PANIC button was right there.  Whispering sweet nothings and saying “push me, push me, you know you wanna…”

Predictably I seem to be measuring just fine as of this morning’s appointment.  Baby D is good.  Mom is good.  Last night’s meeting of the doula was fantastic and I can breathe a big sigh of “holy shit we might actually have a healthy baby and everything will be just fine” relief.

The last week has been a whirlwind of moving and unpacking.  MQD and I are so lucky to have had a bunch of help from our parents. It’s funny, but the moments in our lives that are the most “grown up” – pregnancy, the wedding, a home purchase, are the moments when we need a parent the most.  So we can take off the grown up hat for a second and shrug our shoulders and say “I don’t know?”  We have been in our house for seven days and last night was the first time we have been there without parental supervision.

I was meeting MQD at the doula interview so it was just me and Em when we got home.  Quick dinner, shower and we’d be  back out the door.  Or so I thought.  I got home and tried to turn on the heat.  Nothing.  No problem.  We can deal with that.  Maybe it is just the thermostat?  I’ll turn on the gas fireplace.   No.  I won’t.  Pilot is out.  Suddenly 58 degrees inside is starting to feel like an icy tundra.  I really didn’t want to ruin this evening.  Em can jump in the shower.  I’ll make dinner. We will make it to the doula appointment.  And I might just be flakey, MQD can look at the thermostat when he gets home.

Em skipped a shower on Halloween.  It was a late night.  So last night’s shower was lengthy.  And steamy evidently.  I no sooner had the water boiling for pasta when the smoke alarm outside the upstairs bath started beeping.  Not a problem.  Run up the steps and pull down the smoke detector.  But as I get to the top of the steps I discover the smoke alarms are wired in to the alarm system and soon the whole house  is beeping like a bomb in Die Hard.  I can feel the pregnancy rage building.  I am freezing, the house is beeping.  Loudly.  And like clock work Em starts to cry.  “Is there a fire?!” She is standing in the hallway, wet and soapy.  And cold.  “NO!  Get off the carpet, get back in the shower!!”

I run back down the stairs to turn the water down before my pot boils over.  Fish has jumped on the back of the new couch and begun to bark.  Now I am cold.  And my water is boiling.  And the alarms are beeping.  And so help me we are not eating fast food again tonight.

The alarms stopped beeping. 45 minutes later.  And we ate spaghetti.  And we got to the doula interview a few minutes early.  And I made Emily sleep in bed with me because that kid is like a heater box.

And this morning I reached for the PANIC button again.  I called a project manager at work and got the number for the HVAC guy.  He was going to come out this afternoon.  And then I called my mother.  She asked me “Are you sure you don’t have gas heat?”  Duh.  Yes, of course I am sure.

While I was on the phone with her my friend, the project manager called me back.  “I am sure you’ve thought of this, Kelly… but are you sure you don’t have gas heat?”

So I took my hand off the PANIC button and I called the natural gas company that services our area.  “Yes, m’aam, we service that address.  Gas heat, gas fireplace and gas for your water heater.”

Great.  While I was freaking out last night, Em was using the vast majority of the hot water.  And our “god damn heat pump, what the fuck else can go wrong in our new house on 0ur first night here just as a family” well we just need to call and get our gas turned back on.

It sounds perverse to say that I should probably spend the evening looking for my pink button.  And even more profane if I mention I should do it in my daughter’s room that resembles a bordello in the evening.  But really, I should.

I need to learn to go from calm, cool and collected to a state of pink, one of mild concern.  Calm and cool right in to red, hot PANIC is no good for me or anyone around me.

This morning I saw a terrific bumper sticker.  “I wish Morgan Freeman narrated my life.”  I laughed all the way to work.  If he did he’d be doing a rendition of the old Time Life “Mysteries of the Unknown” commercials that ask the questions about whether or not something is a coincidence or a strange and inexplicable phenomenon.   “A woman burns herself on a hot pan and 600 miles away her twin sister’s hand begins to blister.”

Only instead of the Time Life guy it was Morgan Freeman.  “As she drives on toward work with a smile on her face she can’t help but chuckle.  Her baby is healthy.  And her heat?  Well, it was no coincidence she had lost gas to her fireplace and heat on the same day.  On the first of the month, no less.  Well, how about that? I do believe the world’s not gotten the best of her yet.” And the scene would fade to black. Me, laughing at my tendency to overreact.  Fisher’s head out the car window, smiling.

Happiest Day

This morning I crawled in bed with Em after I got out of bed.  Literally crawled, as her mattress is on the floor, her bed disassembled and ready to go.

“It’s time to get up, kiddo.”

Like her mother she woke in a sunshine mood.  “Oh, great, only two more days in this crazy house.  It will be the happiest day ever when I can finally have my regular room back, and my toys.  Not sleep on a mattress on the FLOOR!”

I spared her the speech about how grateful she should be.  Instead I put my head down next to hers.  “What was  your happiest day ever, Emily?”

“The day I was born.”

“How come?  That was my happiest day, too.”

“Because that was the day you became my mom.”  She paused for effect.  And I knew she was waiting for a reaction.  I didn’t give her one just to see what she’d say next.  “Well, it could have been my second happiest day, because my happiest day was when I grew up.”

“When was that?”

“Well, when I knew what was going on and I actually found out that you were my mom and I could talk.”

“I think you knew I was your mom the moment you were born.”

“Well, then that was my happiest day ever.”  And then she pinched her nose.  “We really need to brush our teeth.”

Recollection of Happiest day Ever was over.  Return to your normal programing.  Where morning breath is an issue.  And the boxes are piled high.  But we’ll keep on keeping on.  There is an end in sight.  Moving day is tomorrow….

The Village

They say it takes a village.  I think it takes only slightly less than a village.  Which is fortunate, since I am not sure where exactly I’d go to find a proper village.

I think raising a kid takes more of a compound.  And several cases of wine.  We went over to the new house again this weekend to take some measurements.  Through the empty house I could hear Em and her long time pal, Kellan,  raising hell.  Eventually we threw them outside.  I could still hear them, chasing each other across the yard.  I stopped and looked out the window and there was my daughter.  Stick raised like a spear in hot pursuit of a boy she has known since she was three months old.

When they were small we lived within walking distance of one another. .9 miles if we walked Bay Drive.

Amy recalls the weeks before Kellan was born, we’d walk.  The dogs on the leashes,  Emily crying in her stroller. Me, crying and mumbling about how I didn’t know  what to do!  Eventually Em stopped shrieking all the time.  And Kellan was a calm sort of fellow.  And we took them for strolls around the neighborhood and we stared at them.  Because that’s what you do.

And then before we knew it they were big enough to haul around behind the bikes.  And we could stop staring at them for a few minutes at a time.  And they’d entertain each other.  They were moderately mobile.  Those were peaceful months.

The following year went by fast.  My “village” moved to Chapel Hill.  I took walks by myself.  I trained for the OBX half marathon and Em and I listened to music as we ran up and down Bay Drive.  Solo.  I’d talk to her when we’d pass Dock Street, the cut-through to Kellan’s house.  “Do you remember where your buddy lived?”

We visited.  We got the requisite “Look at you two on your potty seats” picture and in retrospect it seems we didn’t miss much.  The story told by the pictures hardly registers a lapse.

The Fall of 2009 I moved closer to my village.  I had to go somewhere and Chapel Hill felt like home.  There were trees and Targets and a DSW  (a welcome combination after eight years on the beach with a K-Mart and a hundred Wings beach stores.)  When you are picking up your life and starting over you need something that is familiar.  I needed trees.  And Amy. Chapel Hill gave me both of those and more.  The kids were still too little to register that they had ever been apart.  Em delighted in telling people that she knew Kellan “before he was born.”  And I had a standing invite to dinner.

We kept waiting to see when the evidence of their being opposite genders would appear.  Slowly it reared its head.  Em wanted to play house and “family.”  Kellan wanted to dig in the yard.  He informed me on a few occasions that his “buddies at school” they played games Emily did “not even understand.”  When Kellan told Em he had planned to marry another little girl in his pre-school she told me it was okay.  She’d just be Kellan’s friend for now.  And marry him later “when he was done being married to that other girl.” She is wise beyond her years, that girl.

Em went in to her deeply pink and purple girly phase.  Kellan embraced the dirt, his trucks, and all things LOUD.  But they still entertained each other.  And we got an evening, an afternoon here and there to feel like grown ups.

I tried not to tell Emily that we might be moving in across the street from Kellan.  But she is whip smart.  And I was too excited.  She was over the moon.  Kellan is thrilled to have a sidekick that is available to play at 8 am.  And Amy & I are becoming those parents that talk about the “damn teenagers speeding through the neighborhood” and getting a “Slow: Kids at Play”  sign.

I looked out the window and I couldn’t help but imagine the changes we will see in them both.  Kellan is a Big Brother now.  That rough and tumble boy kissed my stomach this weekend and said “Hello, baby!”  Em has grown out of the 24 hour a day princess phase and seems to be wielding a spear-shaped stick with skill.   Next week they will add neighbors and school friends to the list that describes their relationship.  It should be entertaining to watch it pan out.  We are both prepared for the day they announce that they “hate” one another.  It’s inevitable.

In the meantime they got busted kissing and playing wedding behind the side of the house on Saturday.  And we haven’t even moved in yet.

She claims she was telling him a secret. Perhaps the first of many these two will share.

Our girl

I am cleaning up cat puke.  I may or may not have been scowling and grumbling to myself.  “You shouldn’t have to do that, Mom.  It is not your repsonsibility.”

To my credit I did not say “Really, Em?  Are you gonna do it?”  Instead I simply said “Of course it is.  Cats don’t clean up their own puke.”

“But it’s really Dad’s cat.  I mean, it is our family’s cat, but it is really Dad’s cat.”

“Well, honey, that’s not very nice.  What if Dad said you were really my kid and you weren’t his responsibility?”

It came out of my mouth and it was like I could see the words floating in the air.  I couldn’t shove them back in to my face.  So, I froze.

MQD giving me "The Face."

And in an instant I knew we were a family.  She might worry why the neighbors don’t play with her.   But she knows damn well her place.  There is a face that MQD makes.  He makes it kind of a lot.  At me. It translates to “Did you just say that?  Are you listening to yourself?  I love you, I do, but you are out of your ever loving mind.”

She made The Face.  And said “Right.  But we know that’s not true.”  And she shook her head.

We might never close on our house.  I might go insane from the boxes and the waiting.   Any one of a million things could happen with the baby.  I might not have a lot of the answers.  But we are a Family.






Inside Outside Upside Down

Some posts are about growth.  Some are about things I fear I will forget.  Some I begin with no idea where I will head just to tease out some sense of things that are rolling around in my head.  Some are just a report of the who/what/where/when so that long from now I’ll not forget.  And, of course, some girls mothers are bigger than other girls mothers.

We were supposed to close on our house six days ago.  Six.  Six is not a huge number.  But really quick, for the sake of experimentation, get pregnant, pack up half of your house, most of your kitchen, stop your daily battle against pet hair because you think you’ll be deep cleaning your box-free floors any day now anyway and then just wait.  Wait for six more days.  And maybe for four or five more after that.  Oh!  And if that is not enough pleasure make sure the dryer in the home you rent stops working.  So you have to go to the laundromat.  Because you have wet laundry that will mildew if you don’t.  And then, if you really want to have fun, make sure the light fixture in your dining room stops working so the wood paneled downstairs you have learned to live with is even darker. Continue reading

If you go down to the woods today…

We hit a snag on the closing on our house.  It happens.  We had planned to close several weeks before we needed to move just in case.

My computer at work fried.  That happens, too.  I had my data backed up because it is always a possibility.

Jer’s grandfather had an emergency surgery yesterday, he pulled through like a champ, but it was quite a scare.

I think there was something else that had me blue.  How quickly one forgets… I had a tantrum because MQD “doesn’t like me.”  All in all, I had a shit day.  Nothing permanent.  All things that I had either prepared for, could have predicted or that turned out okay in the end. Continue reading


Saturday was the most fantastic day of the week when I was a kid.  Two days seemed like an eternity to do whatever I pleased.  Saturday mornings had the promise of cartoons and big breakfast and pajamas.

Saturdays when you are moving in six weeks are not so lazy, they more closely resemble a meeting of war officials.  You round up the troops, you assess your abilities and you develop your plan of attack.

We didn’t quite tear the roof off last night. But we did stay up past one in the morning.  This is not  a small piece of news in our household these days.  So, at least two-thirds of the  troops were  struggling this morning as we were developing the  day’s agenda.  Unfortunately the remaining third is not quite as gung-ho about a trip to Bed Bath & Beyond to measure some blinds or scouring the thrift stores for a dresser for the baby.

This pregnant lady might have only had four hours of sleep.  But she is ready to kick some “We are moving in October” ass this morning.  After a Saturday morning that was more like Saturday circa 1982 than I had anticipated I am ready to take on the world.

Thanks, MQD and Em.  Flowers + Pancakes + Sausage = Happy Mom

Day 86: Go to the wrong side of the tracks

I have not abandoned This Book Will Change Your Life contrary to the way it might appear.  But I have had my heart set on Day 85 playing out in a certain way.  Unfortunately, I have not had a chance to properly execute Day 85’s challenge… so I have made a heretofore unprecedented choice.  I am gonna skip it and come back to it.  A wild life, I lead, I tell you.

Day 86 is a simple challenge.  Simple by design and in execution.  “Go to the wrong side of the tracks.”

I quite literally cross a set of train tracks almost daily on my ride to work if I go through Carrboro.  And lately I have been driving through town whenever I have the chance. But I don’t know that there is a “wrong side” of the tracks in Carrboro.

The wrong side of the tracks…. One could say when I moved to Chapel Hill and in to the apartment with Em we lived on the wrong side of the tracks.  I tried to tell myself that I should feel safer because the cops drove by all the time, right?  This plan didn’t always work.  And after our place was broken in to one terrible afternoon I never really felt safe there, again.

It was home.  Em slept with me more often than not, because that was how I preferred it.  And I kicked a charlie bar under my front door handle and made do.

So, in the spirit of this challenge I drove by our old place today.  And while there were still quite a few ne’er-do-wells hanging around… it didn’t look so bad to me.  My life started anew right there.

But even there wasn’t really the wrong side of the tracks.  It was just a neighborhood full of hard working people.  Some of whom happened to be hard at work within… alternative  industries.

My favorite “side of the tracks” in Chapel Hill… the side of the tracks that was so wrong so many nights but always felt so right?       The Station, of course.  As a single mother I didn’t get out too awful much.  And then MQD and I started dating hot and heavy so going out seemed superfluous.   But when we went “out” there was only place we were headed.  Across the train tracks and to The Station.  Where you can laugh at the hipster kids and dance and drink PBR and shots of jaeger and bum a smoke on the deck until you are blue in the face and no one will mind.  MQD and I had plenty of sloppy nights at The Station.  And a few afternoons. My day drinkathon bachelorette party stopped at The Station.  MQD and I spent New Year’s there one year. We had our rehearsal dinner next door at The Southern Rail.

So, I think I have spent plenty of time on both “sides of the tracks” while here in Chapel Hill.   And in a few short weeks we’ll go clear across town to a new place.  Here’s hoping we end up on the right side over there in Hillsborough.  Because right or wrong, I am ready to stay put for a good long while.