All signs point to lost brain cells

Dad says he likes to get my pregnancy-related updates, so here are the three latest:

  1. It is no longer comfortable for me to bend at the waist to pick things up off the floor.  I have to bend at the knees, or get all the way down, or hold on to something, and it’s…awkward.
  2. Summer finally arrived, so the combination of swelling because of the heat plus whatever swelling happens during pregnancy means that I can’t wear my rings anymore.  They live on a chain now.
  3. Hm.  I thought there was a third thing, but I can’t think of it right now and I swear to god I’m not trying to be funny about pregnancy brain.

John doesn’t remember, either, but maybe I didn’t say it out loud?

The updates below are in order of importance

The new toaster has arrived.  It’s cool-looking AND it makes toast.  I can’t really ask for more.

In other news, we made an offer on a house, it was accepted, the inspection was yesterday, and there is nothing major wrong with the house, so we’re expecting to close near the end of July.  Yay!  Like, so much yay.  All the yay.

YAY

Behind that big yay, I am doing a happy dance.  Can we move in tomorrow?

Well, I was doing a happy dance, but now I am thoroughly exhausted.  I just spent an hour on the phone with USAA talking about homeowner’s insurance, and it took my entire brain.  I have nothing left.  If you have a spare one, I would like to borrow it.

This whole Hugo Voter thing is SO COOL

The Hugo Voter Packet was released recently, and do you know what that is?  I mean, I didn’t know it existed until after I got into this process, and then I kind of knew I’d get a voter packet, and I kind of knew what that meant, but I just downloaded it yesterday and GUYS.  It’s like my birthday and Christmas and Hanukkah and people just giving me presents for NO REASON.  That’s how cool it is.  The Hugo Voter Packet contains electronic copies of many, if not most, of the Hugo nominees for best novel, novella, short story, novelette, series, art, magazine and so on through all the categories AND NOW I HAVE THEM ALL.

I am so happy to have these AND it makes my “what should I read next” dilemma WAY easier to solve.  Voting is over in a month and a half.  What will I read next?  Everything in my Hugo Voter Packet!

The day the toaster died

We are now on the market for a new toaster.  I’ll probably just buy a cheap pop-up toaster tonight for immediate use (hello, Amazon Prime), but I’m going to get a new toaster oven eventually.  I like them.  And that’s what died.

I  mentioned the issues we were having with the toaster back in November (link here), and we’ve been coasting along in that state since then (plug in the toaster, watch it like a hawk, unplug when done).  I had toast this morning, no problem.  I picked up a panini from Starbucks on my walk at lunch, and when I got home, I plugged the toaster oven in so I could heat up the panini.  Seconds later, I heard a small whoosh, I saw some orange flickering, some smoke drifted out with the smell of burning plastic, and then I yanked the plug out of the wall.

Bye-bye, toaster.

The nosebleed that messed up my morning

Most mornings, we get up early, go to the gym, work all morning, and then I go for a walk mid-day.  Once it gets and stays hot, I’ll probably switch the order so I can walk when it’s comparatively cooler and hit the air-conditioned gym in the mid-day heat, but for the last couple of months, this schedule has been working.

Today should have been no different, but my nose had other thoughts.  I wasn’t moving all that quickly, and John was planning to stop working early to fly, so he headed off to the gym without me.  I figured I’d catch up and meet him there, but then I blew my nose and now I have to clean up a crime scene.  Okay, fine, that’s not true.  No crime scene.  But plenty of bloody kleenex.  And it took FOREVER to stop.  Like, more than half an hour.  I had to google what to do because I couldn’t remember if I should tilt my head back or forward.  I eventually just sat in front of my laptop, doing work with one hand (I figured I’d start early so I can take off late morning to make up the missed workout) with my head tilted forward (thank you, Google) while using the other hand to pinch my nose shut, periodically switching out kleenex.  Uncomfortable, annoying, and kind of gross.

I don’t think I was ever prone to nosebleeds.  I can only remember two.  The more recent was on my first deployment, sometime in the second half of 2002.  Not exactly recent.  We were in the Persian Gulf, so I assume it was the inevitable result of months of hot, dry air.  The issue wasn’t that it happened, but that it happened right as the general quarters alarm sounded, and I was trying to figure out how to stop the bleeding and still get to my post quickly (in aft steering, which is the very very very back of the ship, several decks down and right at or maybe below the waterline).  (It was a drill, not the real thing, but still.)

The other one I can remember was in Louisville, maybe around age 10?  11?  Before we moved off the base, for sure.  I was out with Mrs. Campbell – no idea what our plans were or why it was just the two of us – and my nose started bleeding in the car.  My shirt got destroyed, so we went to the mall and she bought me a new one.  Maybe we were going to the mall anyway, but why would Mrs. Campbell have been taking me shopping?  Whatever.  I had to walk through the mall in a blood-soaked t-shirt, so there’s no chance I would forget that incident.

I need to be better about doing yoga by myself

Ways that I am stressed, in no particular order:

  • We’re trying to find our forever home, extra stress (get it?) on the forever.  We’re tired of moving, and we’re ready to settle here and never move again, but only if we find the right house.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, but if it’s not already perfect (or very close), it needs to be cheap enough to be made perfect.  And I REALLY want to do it in the next month, ESPECIALLY now that our landlord is being difficult.  Next bullet.
  • It’s time to leave this townhouse.  Our lease is up August 31st.  The landlord will let us extend, but every time we talk, he adds another month to the notice we have to give, which adds another month to the length of time we’d have to carry mortgage AND rent.  We were about to agree to 90 days’ notice, but then he said it’s actually 90 days plus to the end of whatever month that is.  So if we gave notice on Monday, June 4th, we’d owe rent through 9/30.  THAT’S NOT 90 DAYS.  So we’re super irritated and about to pull the plug.  If we give notice now, like today or tomorrow, we can probably still get out August 31st, but talk about adding pressure.  I’m due in the second half of September.  If we do this, and we’re probably going to do this, we have to find our house in the next two to three weeks and then hope everything goes smoothly with the inspection and closing.
  • Work is crazy busy right now and I’m trying to figure out the best way to handle it post-maternity leave because I’m not quitting my job and we’re not putting our infant in daycare.  I probably won’t work full-time, but I haven’t had that conversation with work yet, so that’ll be interesting and isn’t at all stressful, nope.
  • I am PREGNANT.  I’m not sleeping well, I don’t look like myself (I’m still surprised every time I look in the mirror), and holy crap I’m about to have a baby I didn’t think I was going to have.  I’m juggling pre-natal appointments with extra thyroid appointments (because oh, yeah, I’ve had a messed up thyroid for over 10 years, and pregnancy is known to mess up thyroids, so I have to have additional blood tests and more visits with an endocrinologist) and trying to see houses whenever possible, but don’t forget I still have to work full-time for now.  And I also have to eat right and exercise regularly and make sure I gain some weight but not too much weight.  And I’m TIRED.
  • I’m in a book funk.  I quit my last book, read a pretty good novella, and then started a really long book that’s okay enough that I’ll keep reading it, but I don’t love it.  That’s hardly a big thing, but it’s a small nagging thing, and you know what I don’t need right now?  Exactly.  The baby will fit that description soon enough, so how about we just avoid all small nagging things until then?  (That sounds negative – I don’t mean to imply I won’t LOVE that particular small nagging thing.)

Now pardon me while I go sit on the floor and cry.  Some more.

  • Right.  I cry.  A LOT.  Over both stupid things and not-stupid things.  Example of a stupid thing?  I cried at the end of the pilot episode of Hart of Dixie last night.  Guys, that is not a good show.  It’s not terrible, but it’s not good.  I cried anyway.  AND THEN I WATCHED THE SECOND EPISODE.  My judgment cannot be trusted.

Blogs and books and bears – okay, no bears

My blogging muscle appears to have atrophied.  I don’t know if I just don’t have anything to say, or if I’m avoiding it because I’m a little single-minded lately and I don’t want to be repetitive, or if I just haven’t felt like it and when I think about it, I decide I’d rather be reading.

It’s a little of all three and a lot of the last one, which is kind of funny because I’ve also fallen into a book funk.  AND my book list broke because it got too big and I’m going to have to change the format of it, and I need a test version of my site so I can poke around and try things, and I haven’t gotten around to doing that, and maybe that’s also a little bit of why I’ve stayed away?

Anyway, the book funk.  The last book I read that I LOVED was 13 books ago.  Of the 12 since then, including the one I’m reading now, I liked six okay, really liked only one (The Trespasser by Tana French), thought two were meh but finished them anyway, and I gave up on three.

The books I gave up on:

  • Magic Bites, the first Kate Daniels book, by Ilona Andrews.  It’s urban fantasy, or maybe paranormal romance, or maybe both.  I like that genre (duh), but I just didn’t care about this one.  Couldn’t get into it.  There’s one series like this that I heard was really good starting with the second book, but I can’t remember if it was this one, and Twitter wasn’t able to help me when I asked.  So I gave it up.  There are lots of other books in the sea.
  • A Window Opens, by Elizabeth Egan.  Supposed to be in the vein of Where’d You Go, Bernadette, which I LOVED, and Today Will Be Different, which I strongly disliked (both by Maria Semple).  This one fell into the strongly dislike category.  The main character and the overall situation should be relatable, but I just can’t with her character, her decisions, her choices.  So I quit halfway through.
  • The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware.  It’s a thriller, but I didn’t like the protagonist, and the whole thing felt weirdly paced and plotted.  I don’t think I made it a third of the way in.

Thankfully, the book I picked up after giving up on those last two IN A ROW was one of the Hugo nominees, and while it had a slow start, I ended up liking it just fine.  Now I’m reading one that I’m enjoying, but I don’t love – I don’t have that need to drop everything else so I can have more time to read.

I am confident that I can climb out of my book funk, though.  There’s a Tanya Huff trilogy I haven’t read yet staring at me from the shelf, and the Hugo Voter Packet should arrive soonish, which is SUPER exciting and which I’ll tell you all about when it gets here.

Tied up with a bow

It rained all day today BUT:

  1. We went to a library book sale at lunch and I picked up three books.
  2. I saw a cherry tree in bloom!  Spring!  It’s coming!

Okay, I already knew spring was coming (or maybe is here) because my allergies reminded me.  They’re not bad yet (and hopefully will remain not bad), but last night I drove John out of bed with my snoring.  Whoops.  And I woke up congested.  BUT:

  1. An hour upright cleared most of that up for me.
  2. It rained all day today, so the pollen should be washed out of the air (for a short while).

Full circle!

What’s with today, today?

Today was a sucky day.  The plans I had for my workday went out the window right from the beginning, which means I’m way behind, and I just put in an extra hour that sucked and I’m still behind but I’m 100% done for today.  I’m cranky and it’s going to rain tomorrow and if I’m supposed to be some glowing pregnant goddess right now, well…I’m very definitely NOT.

Add being in a book funk to my list of woes.  My book is odd.  I like it, but the technology in this universe is, I think, deliberately inscrutable.  It could be really interesting – it relies on calendars, dates, and the population’s belief in those calendars – but the way it’s described is not clear at all.  The characters are interesting, and the plot is interesting, but there’s a space battle and how it’s being waged might as well be in Greek.

I was really looking forward to this one, too.

Things are moving along

We switched practices recently, and even after just one visit with a doctor (met with a nurse last week to get some initial stuff out of the way), I am SO MUCH HAPPIER.  The nurse and the doctor both introduced themselves immediately, something not a SINGLE person in the previous practice did.  It’s such a small thing (and that is certainly not the whole reason we left the other practice), but it’s so nice.  I’ve seen that at other doctors’ offices, too – why do so many medical professionals skip the introduction?  Am I supposed to just assume you’re the doctor or the nurse I made an appointment with?  The nurse at the first practice never got my name right, either, so I was never entirely sure I was in the right place.

This practice is in a new building, and it’s nice, and it’s pretty, and everyone we’ve met has been nice and helpful and cheerful and WHAT A RELIEF!

Emily, Sean, and Graham visited this past weekend, and we spent most of two days driving past potential houses and exploring potential neighborhoods (and also eating our weight in seafood and ice cream and pie, which CERTAINLY showed when the doctor made me get on the scale today).  They swore up and down that they were happy house-hunting with us, but I’m willing to bet there was some regret about spending so much of the weekend in the car when they hit the road for the long trip home Sunday afternoon.  Let’s drive ALL the hours!

Graham is adorable and funny and I’m SO not ready for a toddler.  It’s a good thing that happens gradually.  I spent part of my morning trying to imagine the baby that’s going to fit into the super-cute onesies Emily and Sean bought us in Newport – our first baby things!  It’s the first time I’ve tried to picture this baby as a real baby, and I’m failing miserably.  I’m basically coming up with stock baby photos that don’t look anything like us.  I realize I could probably look at my baby pictures and John’s and get close, but that’s no fun.

Maternity clothes!

Am I showing?  No.  I mean, it kind of depends on the time of day, but I think that’s food.  First thing in the morning is what I’m counting on to tell me the truth, and first thing in the morning, I’m still basically flat.  The second I start eating (or even drinking just water), I start to look a little pregnant, and by the time I go to bed at night, I feel….not so svelte.  That pattern has been going on for about a month, so I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count. It’s just food.

However. My clothes are a little tight and anything that doesn’t stretch is now hiding at the bottom of the drawer, so I figured it was time to order a few basic pieces of maternity wear AND THEY ARRIVED YAY!

How did no one tell me how comfortable maternity jeans are?  I got the ones that have the stretchy front panel (as opposed to side only), and I don’t know why anyone would ever wear normal zip front pants EVER.

Once it gets warmer, I’ll need shorts like this, and I haven’t ordered any t-shirts or anything because spring is never going to get here and all my sweaters and hoodies have plenty of room in them, room I don’t really need yet.

I am a little tired of this in-between state, though.  When I go to the gym (I can’t wear my skinny workout clothes, but I can still wear my mid-size workout clothes), I just look overweight, not pregnant.  And, you know, I don’t CARE what anyone at the gym thinks of me.  Everyone goes to the gym to get in shape or stay in shape – no judgment.  But still, care what I look like, and I definitely don’t look pregnant yet.

I WANT TO LOOK PREGNANT.  I think?  Yes?

In the meantime, for real, these jeans are GREAT.  I’ve been hanging out in pajama pants for a couple of months now because all real pants are uncomfortable.  It’s nice to be comfortable in clothes I can actually wear outside.

At least I didn’t burn the house down

I have run out of patience for my coworkers in the past, so I’m hesitant to call this a pregnancy symptom, but I’m pretty much calling EVERYthing a pregnancy symptom nowadays, so maybe…?

Anyway, just about everyone at work sucks today. Nearly every person I spoke to asked stupid questions or had us rehash decisions that had been made weeks ago or couldn’t follow basic instructions or figure out logical next steps on their own.  I spent much of the day really really really annoyed.

Then work ended and I mostly got over it.  But then I did another thing that I’m pretty sure I can blame entirely on pregnancy brain.  I made dinner tonight, and John came downstairs, went into the kitchen.  The ravioli was draining in the sink, the salad was in a bowl…”Did you make sauce?”

Uhhhh…you mean the sauce that’s still in the jar in the cabinet?  Because by “make”, we mean “heat up”.  Let’s not kid ourselves about how I cook.  “How about we do the olive oil and parmesan thing instead?”  So not a disaster by any definition, but certainly a slip of the brain.

Eating is hard

This whole I-need-to-eat-every-two-hours-or-else-I-get-faint-and-cranky thing is getting OLD.  And it doesn’t seem to matter how much or how little I eat for dinner or how early or late I eat dinner, I always go to bed feeling bloated and gross.  During the day, I feel okay except that I haven’t mastered snacking (so, not bloated and gross, but hungry/faint/generally ugh).  Hold on – announcement:

I AM NOT LOOKING FOR SNACKING ADVICE.

Thank you.  I have the internet, I have my What to Expect book, I have info from the doctor.  I’m just bad at it right now.  But I’m trying.  Today, I went to the store at lunchtime and stocked up.  I have fruit (strawberries, raspberries, bananas, although the bananas aren’t even close to ripe yet), yogurt, granola, two kinds of granola bars, and applesauce.  I already had plenty of bread and crackers and peanut butter, and I’m not in the mood for carrots or celery or whatever, so I didn’t get those today.  I think what I’m missing are nuts, like almonds or something.  Ooooh, wait.   I have creme brulee almonds.  Does the creme brulee flavoring undo the nutritional value of the almonds?  I’m going with no.

Let’s review today:

Breakfast: Toast with peanut butter (usually I slice banana on top, but I was out)

Late morning snack: hard-boiled egg

Just prior to and after my lunchtime workout (and while grocery shopping): granola bar

Lunch: Yogurt (fruit-on-the-bottom) and granola

Snack: Applesauce

Right now: Hungry and cranky and mildly headache-y because my applesauce was gone over two hours ago and I was stuck on a client meeting and applesauce isn’t a very filling snack to begin with and I NEED TO EAT RIGHT NOW.

Top of the list (for now)

Last weekend, we drove to East Greenwich, all of 15 minutes south of Providence, and found maybe our perfect town.

  • Good schools
  • Houses we like, in the price range we’re considering
  • A cute Main Street with lots of businesses
  • Houses we like, in the price range we’re considering, that are walkable to cute Main Street
  • Near water*

*The near water part isn’t perfect.  Main Street is a few blocks up from the water, and it doesn’t look there are any public spaces on the water.  There’s a marina, but no park over there or paths or anything.

[Pause for googling]

I stand corrected.  There is a park a little south of downtown, and I forgot about the state park that’s just on the other side of the bay.  So whether the park on the water is walkable from downtown remains to be seen, but at least it’s there.

When I think about things I miss about Eugene, the parks and the paths along the river are high up there.   I really loved the convenience of walking out the door and being in a park, right on the river, within a couple of blocks.  And the 20 miles of paths…but then I remember the gloomy winter, the ultra-dry summer, that John had sinus problems almost the enter 18 months, and the forest fires.  So I’ll keep missing some things about Eugene, but moving was the right decision.

We need some backup towns because when it comes time to look seriously for our next place to live, we might not find what we want in East Greenwich, but we took this weekend off.

Weekending right

I am the valedictorian of weekend breakfasts.  Lately, anyway.  Last weekend, I had this OHMYGODSOGOOD deep dish cinnamon french toast with fresh fruit and whipped cream at a restaurant in East Greenwich (we were checking out the town).  It was basically a piece of bread pudding with fruit and whipped cream.  SO.  GOOD.  That was Saturday.  Sunday, we had breakfast at home, so we made french toast ourselves with big slabs of bread and strawberries and raspberries and whipped cream.  It wasn’t the same as the day before, but it was nearly as good.

This weekend, breakfast both days was cereal, but we got the good cereal.  A box of Lucky Charms, a box of Golden Grahams, and a box of Cocoa Puffs, plus a gallon of milk, and we were set.  And happy.  And somehow, even after two days of cereal in front of the TV, we still have cereal left in all three boxes.  Maybe we’ll have cereal for dinner, too.

Hugo update (the awards)

The Hugo nominations were announced last weekend, and my nominations don’t look a lot like the final slate for voting.  Out of the six books up for Best Novel, only ONE of my picks is on the list (The Stone Sky, NK Jemisin), I haven’t read four of them (YET – a trip to the library is in my immediate future), and one book that I decided not to finish because the writing felt…amateurish…IS on the list.  Voting for the Hugos involves ranking the nominees.  That one will be last for me.  For Best Novella, three of my picks are on the list, so I feel a little better about that, but my one pick for Best Novelette didn’t make it.

TWO episodes of The Good Place were nominated for Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form, which is GREAT because I love that show so much.  (If you’re not watching it, go watch it.)

I don’t know when voting will start, aside from sometime this month, but I’m totally ready!  Except for not having read four of the six nominees for Best Novel.  But I’ll get there!

Maybe I should give up on titles and just number posts sequentially. Titles are hard.

Hey.  Didn’t mean to disappear again.  Everything is totally fine, things are good, I just fell down a “I don’t want to do anything” hole.  Once work is over and I walk away from my computer, I haven’t wanted to look at it again, so I’ve been reading (finally back into GOOD books) or watching TV (we started over with The Americans since it had been YEARS since we saw the first few episodes, and we’ve been using Parks and Recreation as a palate cleanser).

Also, the coworker I occasionally fight with has been SUPER IRRITATING this week, today in particular, and UGH.  So much ugh.

Oh, it SNOWED the other day.  Like, three-inches-on-the-ground-before-noon kind of snow, even though the two days before had been in the mid-50s.  Then the sun came out and ALL the snow was gone by 5pm.  Weird day.

So yeah, that’s my news.  Totally worth the wait, right?

Something? Anything?

Book news: I put another book down today.  It’s supposed to be classic fantasy about a minstrel who can teleport and travels his world, but I got halfway through and couldn’t deal with the casual women-as-objects issue (late 70s, author is a woman – I can’t even blame it on male chauvinism) or the lack of character development.  On the plus side, I’m finally going to read Uprooted by Naomi Novik.  I loved the Temeraire books SO MUCH, and I only even noticed them because Uprooted (which is not related to those) had just been published and was getting attention.  I’ve been saving Uprooted because I know I’ll love it, and sometimes I just do that.  There’s still a Robin McKinley novel I haven’t read because I’m saving it.  I started Uprooted over lunch today, and I loved it from the first sentence, so I’ll be a happy reader for a few days.

Weird sad news: one of our neighbors died the other day.  We saw police cars and police officers milling around next door, but no sirens.  It seems her roommates found her in her bed that morning, an apparent overdose, but no idea if it was accidental or on purpose.

Just weird news: I was sitting at my desk, on a conference call with a customer in Wisconsin, when all of a sudden a giant silver ladder came to rest outside the window directly in front of me and this dude climbed up until he completely filled the frame and scraped old paint off the windowsill outside.  He had headphones on, and I think he was trying as hard not to look at me as I was not to look at him.  Super awkward, and it was a huge distraction.  It’s hard to have a work conversation when there’s a person outside your window less than 6 feet away.  Thankfully, he didn’t take long and then he was gone.

Pregnancy-related news: See tomorrow’s post.

PROBLEMATIC

I finished the third book in the giant telepathic cat trilogy.  The story was good – I wanted to read it, I wanted to find out what happens next – but the love story was TERRIBLE.  It’s so bad I have to tell you about it.  Spoilers for the series follow, although I doubt any of you are going to read these books.

Book 1:

In the first book, the love story is not offensive.  In fact, it’s barely there, for very good reasons, and I remember specifically appreciating that as the story moved along.  Our main character, Doyce (oh, the names, but that’s a separate issue), is in her mid to late 30s, engaged to a guy who gets murdered right at the beginning of the story.  Tragic to begin with, but doubly so for her because 10 years earlier, she lost her first husband and baby girl in a house fire.  She spends the entire book grieving while searching for her fiance’s murderer, questioning whether she deserves love and happiness at all since she seems to be destined to lose it, and she certainly appears to be in no hurry to look for it again.  TOTALLY REASONABLE.  No complaints here.

Maybe I should point out that Doyce is not a giant telepathic cat.  The main characters are humans, many of whom have giant telepathic cats as companions.  Anyway.

While searching for the person who murdered her fiance, Doyce is joined by this very handsome, super arrogant dude named Jenret who is sort of a co-worker, so they sort of know each other.  Does he like her?  Of course not!  Everyone is beneath him!  Does she like him?  Not at all!  Plus, grieving, doesn’t deserve happiness, not even thinking about romance, etc., for all the good reasons listed above.  All good, and the author keeps the (sigh) inevitable romance on a super-low heat back burner.  Over time and this quest for the murderer, they learn to appreciate each other and depend on each other and maybe like each other a little, but there is ZERO discussion of it, there are ZERO romantic interludes, and at the end of the book, Doyce defeats the murderer in another super-traumatic event with the support of Jenret and their other companions.

No real love story – hurray!  Or if there was meant to be one, which the beginning of book 2 implies, it was so badly done I didn’t notice it.

Book 2:

Doyce is healing.  She’s staying at Jenret’s mother’s house, but she’s tormented mentally, she has blocked most of the events of the first book from her memory, and she’s not ready to rejoin the real world.  Apparently, Jenret has supported her through all of this turmoil, and they’ve exchanged lovey-dovey words and promises and whatever, but as she comes out of this interlude, she doesn’t remember any of it.  She remembers him and everyone else, but whatever feelings she developed for him (that the author completely failed to show the reader), she doesn’t remember and doesn’t feel, and she’s seriously irritated with him every time he invades her personal space.  He seems to understand that she doesn’t remember, but he’s hurt by it and he can’t seem to give her room to grow out of it on her own.  So maybe this is a deliberate characterization of him being selfish – I can deal with that.

The two of them plus a handful of other people go on another quest.  Jenret is being weirdly touchy-feely and possessive (to her point of view), and she keeps pushing him off.  Internally, she thinks maybe she likes him, but she needs time (she’s been through A LOT), and she still doesn’t remember him helping her heal after the first book.  He agonizes over it.  Some other dude they meet is aware of Jenret’s feelings for Doyce, flirts with her a bit to make him jealous (although she doesn’t seem to have a clue that any of this is going on – she’s focused on the mission), and then one night, Jenret gets drunk, declares his love for Doyce and says he has to have her and TRIES TO RAPE HER. Like, no question about it – his pants are off, he has tackled her to the ground, she’s yelling and struggling, and he only doesn’t succeed because his giant telepathic cat claws his naked butt.  So thankfully, she is royally pissed, she specifically calls it rape, and he tries to apologize and explain, and she’s having none of it.

At this point in the book, I was shocked.  Totally didn’t see that coming, and I was happy they weren’t sugar-coating it, and I was happy Doyce was really, truly angry.  So maybe the love story was lackluster because it was never meant to be one.  She’s grieving in the first book,  he’s a violent selfish prick in the second one – I can get behind this.  To continue.

Of course, they’re on a mission, and they have to complete the mission, and he’s ashamed, and she’s mad, and then they’re all escaping and he gets really hurt and while they’re in hiding SHE SLEEPS WITH HIM.  !!!!  Of her own volition, at her own instigation.  Why?  I have NO IDEA.  There’s no build-up, I don’t see why she would want to have anything to do with him…so I was not thrilled with that decision.  After that, he thinks things are great, she says not so fast and continues to hold him at arm’s length, but now he has hope.  At the end of the book, she discovers she’s pregnant, and what does she do?  SHE ASKS HIM TO MARRY HER.  This is not a society that says she has to be married.  This is not a society that says she has to keep the baby.  SHE DECIDES TO MARRY HER RAPIST.  WTF.  And that’s how the second book ends.

Book 3:

Months later, Doyce is largely pregnant, Jenret (still arrogant, still immature) is away on a Very Important Mission, she’s angry he isn’t around, he waxes poetic about missing the love of his life, and they still aren’t married.  Little spark of hope again: maybe the author is going to have them realize that they shouldn’t be married?  NOPE.  No mention of the rape, of their history, of their issues.  Adventure, adventure, adventure (separate ones this time), and Doyce is saving two kids at the end, and the stress leads her to start labor, and then Jenret appears out of nowhere to be there when she gives birth, and then they get married.

Ugh.  Gross.  By the rape scene in Book 2, I lost all interest in the “love” story.  The only things that kept me going were the giant telepathic cats.  Now the trilogy is done, and so am I.  There are a couple of companion books, but no.  Just…no.

Saturday night head explosions

John and I rent a townhouse in Providence.  Moving to Providence was the next step in figuring out where we want to live, settle, buy a house, and so far, we really like it.  We LOVE our neighborhood.  We’re not in any hurry to buy a house (still, although if we find one we like at a price we’re cool with, we might), and so the plan was to give this townhouse a full year, or at least get through the summer, and decide if we wanted to renew the lease or find another place.

That was the plan until our recent happy news.  Now, we know we have to move when our lease is up.  It would be easy to have an infant here, but once that baby starts to crawl…not so easy.  The entire first floor, with the exception of the entryway and the kitchen, which are both tiled, is old hardwood floor.  The old part is important – it was installed when you still nailed the floorboards down from the top.  So the entire first floor has row upon row upon row of tiny nails that are constantly popping up and ripping socks and hurting our feet.  No kidding – John keeps a hammer in the dining room cabinet.  Hammering down nails in the floor is nearly a daily occurrence.  Yes, we have a big area rug in the living room, but it’s not wall-to-wall carpeting.  A crawling baby on hands and knees on that floor?  I don’t think so.

Also, I think I take back the part where I said it would be easy to have an infant here.

  1. The stairs are twisty and steep.  And slippery.
  2. EVERY FLOORBOARD IN THE ENTIRE HOUSE CREAKS.  LOUDLY.  It is impossible to sneak around in this house.  If one of us is awake and moving, we’re both awake.  If this baby is a light sleeper…
  3. The back door (where we park) is hard to navigate if you have anything in even one hand.  It has stairs, a sharp turn, a railing that makes the space really small, a heavy storm door that opens out and takes up the remaining space, and an inner door that requires two hands to open (one to turn the key, one to turn the knob).  I have issues with it when I’m carrying groceries.  How will I handle that when I’m carrying a carseat with a baby in it?

Sure, none of this is insurmountable, but it’ll be a huge pain, and we can move, so we’re planning to.  Where?  NO IDEA.  I mean, somewhere in New England, but…that doesn’t help all that much.  So to find out, we’re going to drive all over New England most weekends for the next few months and scout.

Last Saturday, we headed to southern New Hampshire, which, to our complete and utter surprise, is only an hour away from us on a Saturday morning (because no traffic around Boston).  We drove around Nashua, Derry, Hooksett, Concord (lunch and a little walking, too), and Henniker.  Nashua and Concord are firmly on our list, and we’ve discovered that we probably don’t want to move to a town smaller than Concord (pop. 42K).  (Of course, that disqualifies all of Vermont except Burlington.  We’ll see.)  We got back home, tired and cranky from our long day in the car, and started talking about Providence.  Why have we essentially written off Providence after one day’s jaunt to New Hampshire?  Well, we haven’t.  We like it.  You know what?  Let’s focus on Providence for a while.  And then we realized one big thing we haven’t discussed AT ALL: schools.  The freakout began.  When we were thinking about kids years ago, it was easy.  We lived in the best (sometimes second best) school district in Virginia.  No thought required.  And while Rhode Island schools on the whole are pretty good, Providence schools SUCK.  Apparently.  Based on a couple of days of frantic research.  Everyone who lives in the neighborhood we want to settle in sends their kids to one of the three private schools nearby.  We are NOT doing that.  We went from “huh, New Hampshire could be it” to “Wait, we really like Providence, let’s just stay here” to “WE CAN’T RAISE OUR KID IN PROVIDENCE SCHOOLS AND OH MY GOD HOW ARE WE GOING TO FIND A PLACE TO LIVE THIS IS TOO HARD UNFAIR UNFAIR UNFAIR UNFAIR!!!!” in the space of two hours Saturday night.

Fun times.  And NO, this was not just me and my hormones.  John was right there with me, although he was more constructive about it.

We’re better today.  The plan for now is to check out the rest of Rhode Island, see what’s out there, see what towns we might like to live in and afford on OH YEAH HALF OF OUR CURRENT INCOME possibly – exactly what I’m going to do for work, both short and long term is still very much TBD.

It’ll be fine.  We’re not obsessed with making sure we live in the best school district ever – our bar for that is pretty reasonable, I think.  It was just such a shock to realize that we had NEVER considered schools in our plans to move around and find our perfect place to live.  We didn’t think we’d have to.