Calm yourselves, people

Okay, everyone, take a deep breath.  You know who you are (and there are plenty of you).  I love that you’re so excited, really I do, but I’m trying to stay calm.  A day or two or three without blogging does not mean I’m in the hospital screaming bloody murder and wishing I’d never met John.  Although it could mean that.  And since you won’t know for sure, why get all worked up?  Let’s be good to ourselves and practice our centering exercises and be all zen and shit.  It’ll be healthier for you and it’ll help me, too.

I’m both ready (I don’t want to drag this labor thing out too long, you know?) and very NOT ready (labor and the few weeks after sound AWFUL, physically, and I REALLY don’t want to go through it), so the less I stress about it, the better.

Right?

I mean…right?

Hands to yourself, please

Know what else I’ve been lucky about?  No one – I mean NO ONE – outside of immediate family (they’re allowed) has tried to touch me during this pregnancy.  I haven’t had to fend off ANY unwanted belly-rubbing.  I’d been led to believe this was a problem I’d have to fight constantly.  Maybe I’m giving off a stay-away-from-me-I-bite vibe.  Or maybe Rhode Islanders understand personal space.  Whatever the reason, I am NOT complaining.

Feel free to ignore this one

You know what I don’t want to talk about?  Itching.  Because I’m still itching.  And it’s kind of all I can think about.  Even though I think it might be getting a tiny bit better.

So that means…well.  Um.

We finally finished the online childbirth class.  It was…underwhelming.  And repetitive.  But I’m super glad we took it online, at home, so we could make fun of the videos on our own.  Much more entertaining that way.

My hospital bag is packed (mostly), the baby laundry has been re-washed using not-Dreft (which is under suspicion for possibly causing my itching), and we’ll probably install the car seat tomorrow.

I don’t think there’s anything left to do…but I’m not in a rush.

Resist the urge

With a new house comes new stuff, even when we’re trying to avoid buying stuff.  I mean, we’ve been buying (and receiving) PLENTY of baby stuff, but most of that is kind of necessary.  But then we bought a new stove because the existing one was a fire hazard (our new one is so pretty!), and then – THEN – I may have gone a little overboard.

I knew I didn’t need it.  I almost bought one months ago, but talked myself out of it.  Too frivolous.  I’ve lived without it for 39 years – I can live without it now.

Except, apparently, I can’t.  There’s a coffee shop nearby that makes a chai latte that is the closest I’ve tasted to the BEST one I’ve ever had (from Shoe’s Cup and Cork in Leesburg).  They specialize in coffee, not chai, so I asked them what mix they use for the chai and promptly ordered it.  But that’s not all.  Boiling water into a powdered chai mix doesn’t recreate the latte experience.

I ordered a milk frother.

I KNOW.  I’ve become one of THEM.  It makes my chai so good and frothy!  I’ve gone off the deep end.

But that’s not all.  You know what came yesterday?  THIS!

I can hardly contain my glee, I love it so much.  What’s next?  Well, I’m eyeing these super-cute rocket and robot nightlights from Uncommon Goods for the baby’s room, but NO.  THIS HAS TO STOP.  They’re expensive and fall exactly in the category of things a baby doesn’t need (certainly not for that much money), especially when my salary is about to be cut in half, and we’ve been trying so hard not to accumulate things after three years of living light and damn it, I’m not going to ruin our streak because of night lights!

But seriously, how cute are these?

Lucky

Maybe I shouldn’t say this (because of the possibility of jinxing – again – I swear I’m not ACTUALLY superstitious), but I’ve been pretty lucky this pregnancy.  All of the classic symptoms and irritations, if I’ve had them at all, have been pretty mild.  My version of morning sickness in the first trimester was just a terrible taste in my mouth for weeks on end.  And sure, I complained plenty (it was disgusting), but it didn’t keep me from doing anything and it was WAY better than constant nausea or vomiting.  I’ve been dealing with pregnancy brain (John just referred to it as my inability to function) when I need to eat, but I haven’t had ANY food cravings or aversions, I haven’t been terribly uncomfortable physically (even now, at 38 weeks), I’ve barely had any hot flashes, I’m not super tired, and any swelling has largely confined itself to my feet and mostly only happens on really hot days.  That has changed a bit in the last week – my feet are almost constantly swollen now – but if that’s the worst, I can hardly complain.

The worst thing that has happened during this pregnancy isn’t pregnancy-related at all.  We (me, John, the doctor) think I had a brush with poison ivy about a week ago.  It’s mostly on my feet, maybe a little bit on my ankles and my fingers, and IT’S AWFUL AND I HATE IT AND WHEN WILL IT GO AWAY?

It’s a constant burning/itching that gets worse at night and nothing seems to help except soaking in cold water, but I can’t live my life with my feet in a tub and my hands in a bowl and JESUS CHRIST IT’S DRIVING ME CRAZY.  Also, I can’t sleep through it, and for the last week or so (since Saturday, maybe?) I haven’t slept more than an hour at a time until around 2am, when I get up to soak my feet for an hour or two, and then I’m able to sleep for 2-3 hours until I can’t anymore and I just get up.  I have to fall asleep quickly, while my feet are still numb-ish, and if I accidentally rub them on something, it’s game over.

Weirdly, I’m not napping during the day and I don’t feel as exhausted as I should.  Maybe I’m adapting early to the (lack of) sleep schedule I’m anticipating when the baby comes.

On the bright side, I’m getting a lot of reading done in those hours with my feet in the tub.

Mosquitos have some nerve

I have been really lucky in the mosquito bite department this summer.  You all know how irresistible I am to those bastards, and from everything I’ve read, the increased blood flow from pregnancy is supposed to amp that up, but I’ve only been bitten two or three times the entire summer and that’s without using bug spray (mostly – I’ve used it here and there).

I realize it’s still summer and I’m totally jinxing myself, but I’ve been thinking it for months and how different is thinking it to myself versus writing it down when you get down to it?  If I were going to be jinxed, it would have happened already is what I’m saying.

Although maybe my jinx has occurred, but in a sneakier form. More on that in a bit. Maybe tomorrow.

One of my tiny handful of mosquito bites was about six inches above my belly button.  That bloodsucking jerk was trying to get at the delicious innocent goodness percolating in there!  I found it one morning and also found that I took my revenge and killed the perpetrator by rolling over on it in my sleep.  I don’t particularly like waking up to smushed mosquitoes in my bed level with my midsection, but at least it won’t strike again.

(Note the lengths to which I’m going to avoid saying “baby bump”. Not my favorite term. Too cutesy.  But distended abdomen is a bit too clinical…)

Hi

This has been one of my worst years, if not the worst, for blogging.  I don’t really have a reason for it.  I mean, I’ve been pregnant the entire year so far, and I’m sure that has plenty to do with it, but I’m not sure exactly in what way.  It’s not like I don’t sit in front of a computer all day, every day (still), and it’s not like there aren’t things to talk about.  I suppose I’ve been trying not to be all-pregnancy, all-the-time around here, sometimes consciously, sometimes not.

I have no intention of stopping (the blog – I have every intention of not being pregnant anymore REAL SOON NOW), but it seems kind of sad that I’ve been so absent THIS year of all years.  In a couple of months, we’ll be looking at the 10th anniversary of my blog, and I feel like this year shouldn’t count.  Especially since I can’t imagine I’ll be writing all that much while the baby is tiny.  Maybe I’ll surprise myself (and everyone else).

My plan, that I will not stress myself into sticking to, is to not worry about whether I’m all-pregnancy or all-baby or all-books or whatever and just write something.  For nearly 10 years, my only theme has been that there is no theme (and no standards – thank goodness I set that expectation up from the start!), so why worry about it now?

Anyway, hi.

Hugo winners!

Sad as I am about missing WorldCon and the Hugo award ceremony this year (and missing our visit with Erik and Margaret and the kids, obviously), I was still totally excited to see the list of the winners this morning.  I looked that up before I even got out of bed.

The full list of winners is on Tor.com and the WorldCon site and I’m sure other places.  If you’re at all interested in seeing how my votes stacked up against the final tallies, keep reading.  I got the details about the final voting order from here.

My Voting Order Hugo Final Order My thoughts on the final results
Best Novel
The Stone Sky by NK Jemisin The Stone Sky by NK Jemisin YAY!
Provenance by Ann Leckie The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi Can’t be upset about this.  I didn’t love it, but I liked it, and I felt pretty much the same way about Provenance.
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi Provenance by Ann Leckie Yeah, okay.
Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty I couldn’t finish this one, so no.
New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee Didn’t read it, but I liked its prequel.
Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson Didn’t read it, no opinion.
Best Novella
River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey All Systems Red by Martha Wells I can’t complain too much about this category because I liked all of these SO much, but I LOVED River of Teeth more than anything, and to have it come in 6th hurts a little bit.
All Systems Red by Martha Wells And Then There Were (N-One) by Sarah Pinsker
Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor
And Then There Were (N-One) by Sarah Pinsker The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang
The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey
Best Novelette
The Secret Life of Bots by Suzanne Palmer The Secret Life of Bots by Suzanne Palmer YAY!
A Series of Steaks by Vina Jie-Min Prasad Wind Will Rove by Sarah Pinsker I was close enough on the rest of these not to be annoyed by the results.
Wind Will Rove by Sarah Pinsker A Series of Steaks by Vina Jie-Min Prasad
Children of Thorns by Aliette de Bodard Extracurricular Activities by Yoon Ha Lee
Extracurricular Activities by Yoon Ha Lee Children of Thorns by Aliette de Bodard
Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time by KM Szpara Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time by KM Szpara
Best Short Story
Fandom for Robots by Vina Jie-Min Prasad Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience by Rebecca Roanhorse I was close enough on all of these not to be annoyed by the results.
Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience by Rebecca Roanhorse Fandom for Robots by Vina Jie-Min Prasad
Sun, Moon, and Dust by Ursula Vernon The Martian Obelisk by Linda Nagata
The Martian Obelisk by Linda Nagata Sun, Moon, and Dust by Ursula Vernon
Carnival Nine by Caroline M. Yoachim Carnival Nine by Caroline M. Yoachim
Clearly Letter in a Mostly Steady Hand by Fran Wilde Clearly Letter in a Mostly Steady Hand by Fran Wilde
Best Series
The Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan World of the Five Gods by Lois McMaster Bujold Haven’t read anything by her.  Planning to in the near(ish) future.
InCryptid by Seanan McGuire InCryptid by Seanan McGuire Yay!
The Books of the Raksura by Martha Wells The Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan Yay!
World of the Five Gods by Lois McMaster Bujold The Books of the Raksura by Martha Wells Haven’t read these, but I’ve read others, and I like her.
The Divine Cities by Robert Jackson Bennett The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson I couldn’t get into the first book.  Might have to try again sometime.  People rave about it.
The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson The Divine Cities by Robert Jackson Bennett Haven’t tried it yet.
Best Related Work
Sleeping with Monsters: Readings and Reactions in Science Fiction and Fantasy by Liz Bourke No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters by Ursula K. Le Guin She’s wonderful, so okay.
Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler edited by Alexandra Pierce and Mimi Mondal Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate by Zoe Quinn Eh.
No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters by Ursula K. Le Guin Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler edited by Alexandra Pierce and Mimi Mondal More wonderfulness.
Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate by Zoe Quinn Iain M. Banks (Modern Masters of Science Fiction) by Paul Kincaid Okay.
Iain M. Banks (Modern Masters of Science Fiction) by Paul Kincaid Sleeping with Monsters: Readings and Reactions in Science Fiction and Fantasy by Liz Bourke She’s the only one I read regularly, so boo to 5th place.
 A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison by Nat Segaloff  A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison by Nat Segaloff I don’t really like Harlan Ellison, so this is okay with me.
Best Graphic Story
Saga, Volume 7 written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples Monstress, Volume 2: The Blood written by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda Read and liked Vol 1.
Bitch Planet, Volume 2: President Bitch written by Kelly Sure DeConnick, illustrated by Valentine De Landro and Taki Soma, colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick, lettered by Clayton Cowles Saga, Volume 7 written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples Love Vols 1 and 2 – need to catch up
Monstress, Volume 2: The Blood written by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda Bitch Planet, Volume 2: President Bitch written by Kelly Sure DeConnick, illustrated by Valentine De Landro and Taki Soma, colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick, lettered by Clayton Cowles
Black Bolt, Volume 1: Hard Time written by Saladin Ahmed, illustrated by Christian Ward, lettered by Clayton Cowles Black Bolt, Volume 1: Hard Time written by Saladin Ahmed, illustrated by Christian Ward, lettered by Clayton Cowles
My Favorite Thing is Monsters written and illustrated by Emil Ferris Paper Girls, Volume 3 written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by Jared Fletcher
Paper Girls, Volume 3 written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by Jared Fletcher My Favorite Thing is Monsters written and illustrated by Emil Ferris
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
Thor: Ragnarok written by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost; directed by Taika Waititi Wonder Woman screenplay by Allan Heinberg, story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs, directed by Patty Jenkins Close enough!
Wonder Woman screenplay by Allan Heinberg, story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs, directed by Patty Jenkins Get Out written and directed by Jordan Peele
Get Out written and directed by Jordan Peele Thor: Ragnarok written by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost; directed by Taika Waititi
The Shape of Water written by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, directed by Guillermo del Toro Star Wars: The Last Jedi written and directed by Rian Johnson
Star Wars: The Last Jedi written and directed by Rian Johnson The Shape of Water written by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, directed by Guillermo del Toro
Blade Runner 2049 written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, directed by Denis Villeneuve Blade Runner 2049 written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, directed by Denis Villeneuve
Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)
The Good Place: The Trolley Problem written by Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan, directed by Dean Holland The Good Place: The Trolley Problem written by Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan, directed by Dean Holland YAY!!!!!!  You know my love for Doctor Who, so you can see how much I must REALLY love The Good Place to vote for it over the good Doctor.
The Good Place: Michael’s Gambit written and directed by Michael Schur Black Mirror: USS Callister written by William Bridges and Charlie Brooker, directed by Toby Haynes We should watch this.
Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay The Good Place: Michael’s Gambit written and directed by Michael Schur Yay!
Black Mirror: USS Callister written by William Bridges and Charlie Brooker, directed by Toby Haynes Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay
The Deep [song] by Clipping (Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes) Star Trek Discovery: Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad written by Aron Eli Coleite & Jesse Alexander, directed by David M. Barrett Haven’t seen it
Star Trek Discovery: Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad written by Aron Eli Coleite & Jesse Alexander, directed by David M. Barrett The Deep [song] by Clipping (Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes)
Best Professional Editor (Long Form)
Miriam Weinberg Sheila E. Gilbert For these, I looked at what they edited that made them eligible, and ranked them by whether I’d read it, liked it, heard of it, never heard of it, and so on.
Sheila E. Gilbert Navah Wolfe
Joe Monti Diana M. Pho
Diana M. Pho Devi Pillai
Navah Wolfe Miriam Weinberg
Devi Pillai Joe Monti
Best Professional Editor (Short Form)
Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas For these, I looked at what they edited that made them eligible, and ranked them by whether I’d read it, liked it, heard of it, never heard of it, and so on.  And apparently most of the other voters agreed with me in every case.  Weird.
Sheila Williams Sheila Williams
Neil Clarke Neil Clarke
John Joseph Adams John Joseph Adams
Jonathan Strahan Jonathan Strahan
Lee Harris Lee Harris
 Best Professional Artist
Galen Dara Sana Takeda Kind of annoyed that my least favorite won, but there’s no accounting for taste.
Victo Ngai John Picacio
Bastien Lecouffe Deharme Galen Dara
John Picacio Victo Ngai
Kathleen Jennings Kathleen Jennings
Sana Takeda Bastien Lecouffe Deharme
Best Semiprozine
The Book Smugglers edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James Uncanny Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Julia Rios; podcast produced by Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky I don’t read any of these regularly, so I went with have I heard of them?  Am I familiar with anyone involved? Do I think the name is cool?
Strange Horizons edited by Kate Dollarhyde, Gautam Bhatia, A.J. Odasso, Lila Garrott, Heather McDougal, Ciro Faienza, Tahlia Day, Vanessa Rose Phin, and the Strange Horizons staff Strange Horizons edited by Kate Dollarhyde, Gautam Bhatia, A.J. Odasso, Lila Garrott, Heather McDougal, Ciro Faienza, Tahlia Day, Vanessa Rose Phin, and the Strange Horizons staff
Uncanny Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Julia Rios; podcast produced by Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky Beneath Ceaseless Skies editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews
Fireside Magazine edited by Brian White and Julia Rios; managing editor Elsa Sjunneson-Henry; special feature editor Mikki Kendall; publisher & art director Pablo Defendini Escape Pod edited by Mur Lafferty, S.B. Divya, and Norm Sherman, with assistant editor Benjamin C. Kinney
Escape Pod edited by Mur Lafferty, S.B. Divya, and Norm Sherman, with assistant editor Benjamin C. Kinney Fireside Magazine edited by Brian White and Julia Rios; managing editor Elsa Sjunneson-Henry; special feature editor Mikki Kendall; publisher & art director Pablo Defendini
Beneath Ceaseless Skies editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews The Book Smugglers edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James
Best Fanzine
SF Bluestocking edited by Bridget McKinney File 770 edited by Mike Glyer I’d never heard of any these, so I ranked by how I felt about the names in the moment.
Journey Planet edited by Team Journey Planet SF Bluestocking edited by Bridget McKinney
Rocket Stack Rank edited by Greg Hullender and Eric Wong nerds of a feather, flock together edited by The G, Vance Kotrla, and Joe Sherry
nerds of a feather, flock together edited by The G, Vance Kotrla, and Joe Sherry Journey Planet edited by Team Journey Planet
Galactic Journey edited by Gideon Marcus Galactic Journey edited by Gideon Marcus
File 770 edited by Mike Glyer Rocket Stack Rank edited by Greg Hullender and Eric Wong
Best Fancast
Sword and Laser presented by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt Ditch Diggers presented by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace Again, I don’t listen to any of these, but I had heard of one of them, so I ranked it first (it got 5th).
Verity! presented by Deborah Stanish, Erika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, L.M. Myles, Lynne M. Thomas, and Tansy Rayner Roberts Fangirl Happy Hour presented by Ana Grilo and Renay Williams
Galactic Suburbia presented by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce and Tansy Rayner Roberts; produced by Andrew Finch The Coode Street Podcast presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
Fangirl Happy Hour presented by Ana Grilo and Renay Williams Galactic Suburbia presented by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce and Tansy Rayner Roberts; produced by Andrew Finch
Ditch Diggers presented by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace Sword and Laser presented by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt
The Coode Street Podcast presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe Verity! presented by Deborah Stanish, Erika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, L.M. Myles, Lynne M. Thomas, and Tansy Rayner Roberts
Best Fan Writer
Sarah Gailey Sarah Gailey YAY!
Bogi Takács Foz Meadows
Foz Meadows Mike Glyer
Camestros Felapton Bogi Takács
Mike Glyer Camestros Felapton
Charles Payseur Charles Payseur
Best Fan Artist
Geneva Benton Geneva Benton Happy to have chosen the winner
Grace P. Fong Likhain (M. Sereno)
Maya Hahto Grace P. Fong
Likhain (M. Sereno) Maya Hahto
Spring Schoenhuth Spring Schoenhuth
Steve Stiles Steve Stiles
Award for Best Young Adult Book (not a Hugo)
In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor Deserved
Summer in Orcus by T. Kingfisher Summer in Orcus by T. Kingfisher Okay
Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan A little bummed.  I really liked this one.
The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge Didn’t read
A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller Not really surprised
The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman Didn’t read
The John W. Campbell Award (not a Hugo)
Katherine Arden Rebecca Roanhorse
Rivers Solomon Vina Jie-Min Prasad
Rebecca Roanhorse Jeannette Ng This feels like a literary vote.  Her book didn’t grab me (this past week), but I put her last because at the time I hadn’t read her at all.
Vina Jie-Min Prasad Rivers Solomon
Sarah Kuhn Katherine Arden A little bummed.  I loved her book.
Jeannette Ng Sarah Kuhn Yeah, okay.  Didn’t love it.

Too lazy to take pictures

This has been a busy week for contractors.  The painters were here Tuesday through today, painting the main living spaces downstairs (not the kitchen), our bedroom, and the baby’s room, a plumber came Tuesday to fix the leaking kitchen sink (and a few other things while he was here), and the yard people came today (just left), and WOW what a difference having work done makes.  I mean, hello, that’s obvious, but it’s so nice to see the changes.  We can walk out the back door without being attacked by bushes and trees, we can see whole flower beds we didn’t know we had, and we can see much of the low stone wall around the front of the house.  I can’t wait until those guys come back.  Too bad I don’t know when that will be – they have a couple of jobs to take care of next week, and everything else in the schedule is weather-dependent.  The guy in charge (Dana) definitely understands what we’re after, though, which means we are completely comfortable letting him loose.

I was not that comfortable with our lead painter after a day or two.  We had to ask for another coat of paint over the section of wall downstairs where the chalkboard paint had been because we could still the difference between that part of the wall and parts next to it, and then yesterday, he messed up one of the bedroom walls.  In the master, we wanted the two walls with windows to be dark blue and the two without windows to be a lighter blue.  I even diagrammed the room and included that, and he had that diagram on his phone.  So yesterday, I went in to take a look and I found that one wall of each color was the wrong color.  His excuse was that the day before, I had said I wanted to the two lighter walls (the room was already two colors) to be the darker blue and the two darker walls to be the light blue.  First of all, I said no such thing.  Second of all, when you come in to start painting and you realize that you have conflicting instructions from the homeowner, wouldn’t you check one more time to be sure?  Anyway, he fixed it, but he didn’t seem happy about it, which annoyed me even more.

What he’ll never know, because we’ll never tell him, is that now that we’ve had a day to live with the room in two colors, we think we like the darker color MUCH better, and we’ll probably make all four walls that color ourselves.  He doesn’t need to know that.   Besides, I got the impression that he’s as glad to be done with this job as we are to have him not in the house anymore.  Three and a half days of strangers in the house all the time was way too much.

Accomplishments

Thursday:

  • Routine doctor’s visit, met a new doctor from the practice. Everything is fine, normal, healthy, and she landed the doppler-thingy right on the baby’s heartbeat today, first try, no searching or smearing goop around.  It was pretty impressive.  I really liked her, and it looks like I’ll see her again during on my September appointments.
  • We bought the stroller and carseat.  We originally decided on the Baby Jogger Summit X3 (and the compatible infant carseat), but we dawdled on the actual purchase and the price for both of those went up kind of a lot.  Brian has been talking up the BOB strollers (and they get very good reviews, too), so when we saw that the jogging stroller and the infant car seat were each about $70 less than the Baby Jogger equivalents, we snapped them up.  I’m pretty sure that price difference was the opposite when we first started looking.  Milestone complete!  They’ll be delivered on Monday.
  • We hired a plumber to fix the leak under the sink.  Tuesday morning, no more leak and we should have a working garbage disposal.
  • We finally got a schedule for getting the painting done (end of August, although they’ll move us sooner if they can).
  • We hired a yard guy!

Those of you who have seen the house (or who read my post from Wednesday) know that the lawn is overgrown, the flowerbeds are full of weeds, there’s poison ivy in too many places, vines are threatening to take over the wooded areas, and every plant/tree/bush near the house is practically (in many cases, actually) attached to the house.  And we have an acre, so it’s kind of overwhelming.  We knew going into this that we would be hiring help for the yard, so paying for a bunch of yard-related stuff is in the budget.  We just had to prioritize and pick someone.

The first place I called took down my notes about what we wanted and then sent someone out to look over the place WHILE WE WEREN’T THERE.  We never met the guy, never talked to him, never clarified what we might want or not want to do, and we ended up with a quote that didn’t meet what we wanted at all.  Surprise.  I eventually talked to him on the phone, and he quoted us an hourly rate to just have some guys come in and trim or clean up where we point for a set number of hours.  Still not really what we’re looking for.  We want advice, too.  Oh, yeah – this is the guy who basically told me I can’t pay him to remove the poison ivy.  So they’re a no.

For the second place I called, we met with the guy Friday afternoon a week ago.  Turns out his sister went to high school with John, and he (Anthony) was only three or so years behind.  Rhode Island is small and no one leaves.  We liked him, he helped us prioritize, understood what we’re after, WILL help kill and remove the poison ivy, and when his quote came in, it was about what we expected.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to be in any kind of hurry.  It took him over a week to get us the quote, and he wants to do the work in October, and we just can’t wait that long to trim back the stuff that’s attacking the house.  We’re happy to break up the work, but that part needs to be done soon.

John found the third guy (Dana) via a card and write-up on a bulletin board in a local coffee shop.  His website sucks, but we called him Wednesday and he made the appointment to come out Thursday, and we liked him immediately.  He seems very practical, practices organic gardening/landscaping (no pesticides or herbicides), and understood our need to simplify.  He’s maybe a little odd – he’d wander off mid-sentence, get up really close to a tree branch, grab hold of it, and inspect it closely.  With nearly every tree.  He was happy to see that everything we have is native, and said it appears that our yard was designed by a professional, and he even thinks he knows which one (the timing matches up to that guy’s career in RI, although apparently he has moved on to landscaping in the Hamptons).  It is crazy to me that a landscaper could look at our overgrown yard and, based on the layout and the type of plants, be able to name the landscaper.  What was I saying about Rhode Island?  Also, hopefully that means he knows his industry.  Artists can do it – why can’t landscape architects?

After one circuit of the house, I left John and Dana to roaming the yard, and when John came in later, he said, “I hired him.”  I’m glad I’m not the only one who liked him.  Also, turns out his hourly rate is $30 less than the first group, AND he wants to come back in a week to get started.  Works for me!

Reading my mind

John and I bought olive oil when we went to the store the other night, and I expressed regret that we can’t just buy Wegmans extra virgin olive oil like we used to.  We’ve been not so lucky at picking out other relatively inexpensive olive oils over the last few years.  (There are a lot of really boring olive oils out there, and some of the more exciting ones aren’t great for general use.  I feel like Goldilocks.)  We have a Wegmans within reach, if you consider an hour and 15 minutes one-way to be within reach.  I don’t.  I actually considered asking Emily to buy us some so John could bring it back this weekend when he drives up with our stuff from the storage unit.  We picked something since we’ll need it this week, I don’t remember which brand, and shortly after we got home, John said, “I think we owe my mom a really big thank you.”  Of course we do, for any number of things, so I asked for a few more details in my own articulate fashion. “Huh?”

She gave us a housewarming basket with a bunch of traditional housewarming gifts, all with their own meanings, and one of the items is olive oil (“May you be blessed with health and well-being”).  WEGMANS OLIVE OIL.

THANK YOU, PAT!

All is well with the world.

#Blessed

#snortgiggle

Moving happened!

We have moved!  We live in this house now.  And while we are both occasionally overtaken by fits of holy-shit-what-have-we-done with regard to this stupid-big purchase and the baby coming and the changes all of this will mean to my job (and salary), it’s all under control and we’re very happy about it (after the fits pass).  And we have moments like last night when we went to our local grocery store and they played a Frank Turner song we love, or like today at lunch when we walked to the library (it took us four minutes) and found that our Providence library cards work in every library in the state because of course every library in the state is on the same system.  Also, our library has at least four of this year’s six Hugo nominees for best novel actually on the shelf, in the science fiction section (which I didn’t expect to find at all in a tiny town library), meaning they are keeping their collection pretty well up to date.  Yay for me!  And I picked up the new Cat Valente novel from the new releases shelf because I can’t go to the library and not check something out.  Anyway, those moments reinforce that we picked the right place (“It’s a sign.” “You don’t believe in signs.”).

We’re very slowly unpacking (the kitchen is finally a working kitchen again as of last night, although I guess Sunday night to Tuesday night isn’t so bad).  We’ve hired a guy to paint four rooms, and we’re working on scheduling that work, and we’re getting quotes to have someone come out and do some initial yard clean-up (including poison ivy, which we seem to have a lot of).  About three quarters of the outside of the house (first floor) is under attack by bushes and plants and vines of all kinds, and we want some help beating them back.  The poison ivy is all farther from the house, but I want to start killing and removing it as soon as possible.  One place I called says they don’t like to handle poison ivy removal because that can cause their guys to miss work, and I was like, I KNOW, OF COURSE IT’S DIFFICULT, WHY DO YOU THINK I’M WILLING TO PAY YOU TO DO IT.  So we’re probably not going with that guy.  We have a stone wall bordering most of the property that we can barely see through all the overgrown plants, but that’s next year’s problem.  (We have a stone wall!  Of all the things we wanted in a forever home, a stone wall was one we never thought we’d actually get.)

Want to know something REALLY weird?  There’s a CRIB upstairs.  Like, for a BABY to sleep in.  Because we’re going to have a BABY soon.  This kid is going to be 15 years old, and I’m still going to be surprised to see them come in to the kitchen.  I’m adjusting.  Slowly.

(The crib and dresser both got delivered yesterday – BIG thank you to both sets of parents for those and their accessories.  They look FANTASTIC, and they’ll look even better when they’re actually in the baby’s room after it gets painted.)

Things are coming together!

Moving is happening!

This weekend, we are moving everything from the townhouse to the new house.  Well, everything that requires a truck.  Last week, we moved a bunch of little things, stuff that didn’t need to go in moving boxes and was small enough to fit in the car.  And we cleaned.  Tomorrow, we pick up a truck and we’ll make a trip with all the boxes.  I will do no more than supervise, I promise.  Tom is coming on Sunday, so he and John will move all the furniture then.  As long as the only things left by Sunday night fit in the car, we’ll be in good shape, but I have no doubt that we’ll have EVERYthing moved.  Then we’ll just have to do a quick clean of the townhouse, and we’ll be done there.

DONE.  Done with the ugly bathroom that never feels clean enough.  Done with the super-loud creaky floors and stairs.  Done with the nails popping out of the floor downstairs, hurting feet and ripping socks.  Done with the windows that look directly into our neighbors’ house.  Done with the stuffy, overly warm house that has forced us to flee to Starbucks to work for the last two days.  (I’ve been super-productive, though, so maybe working in Starbucks isn’t a terrible thing.)  We left one of the box fans at the new house, so the first level hasn’t had any way to move air for a week or so, and last night we were eating dinner and watching TV and I was SO HOT.  I was dripping sweat doing absolutely nothing.  John was not as uncomfortable as I was (and he’s usually more sensitive to the heat), so I can only assume baby Hugo was contributing to my issues.  It was not fun.  Also, my feet are swollen by the end of every day, and I HATE it.  That is NOT what my feet are supposed to look like.  Or feel like.  It kind of gives me the creeps.

Anyway, we’re ready to move.

Transfers and money back

It’s official – we’re not going to WorldCon this year.  Okay, it was official MONTHS ago, but as of today, we have transferred both memberships over to other people who will really go so now it’s super official.  And because people are basically good (or at least the people in my sample of SFF fans who go to conventions are basically good), both of the people we transferred the memberships to paid us for those memberships.  And because WE are basically good people, we didn’t charge them the full amount we paid back in December.  One of them got her membership (John’s) in time to vote.  The other didn’t, but that means MY votes for the Hugo awards (and other awards) counted, and we all know how important that was to me.  (Voting ended Tuesday night at midnight, and the transfer of my membership went through today.)

Next year, WorldCon is in Dublin.  If we can’t make it (with a baby!), I’ll at least get a supporting membership (which is WAY cheaper) so I can nominate and vote.  I like being involved in this.  These are my people.  This is my community.

Are we going to do something fun and relevant with the money we got back?  Well…sort of.  Fun, no, but Hugo-relevant, yes.  The money is going to go to buying the stroller.  Practicality FTW!

Looking for middle ground

We’ve FINALLY started to shop for baby stuff, and we’ve come to the decision that we need two bassinets: one for our room and one for downstairs.  We have one (thank you very much to John’s parents), but we’re looking for a second one and WHY is this so hard?

Well, the vast majority of bassinets fall into two distinct, EXTREMELY DIFFERENT, categories.

First, the overly ruffled, gag-me-cutesy ones:

Second, the laundry baskets:

If I HAD to choose between only these extremes, I’d probably pick the laundry basket style.  I’m just not that into ruffles…  The one we have already is one of the VERY few in the middle.  Maybe we’ll get another one just like it.

Zannah’s first art class

I took my first art class EVER (well, since 5th grade) last night, and it was pretty neat.  It’s the first of six sessions, Monday nights, and there are five of us.  Okay, there are nine of us, but four people are returning students who are well ahead of the rest of us.  And based on what I could see of the other newbies, they’re all better than me, but hey – that’s why I’m taking a class.

The instructor is this old guy, Don, who shuffles across the floor, has a fairly dry sense of humor, and is pretty blunt.  He had us all fill out some basic information about ourselves – what experience we have, why we’re taking the class, whether drawing has anything to do with our jobs, what level we think we’re at – and then he read them out loud to everyone.

“Zannah…she thinks she’s a beginner…NO experience since elementary school?!?  Not in high school?”  “I took the music path.”  “Hmph.”  Similar for the others, although at least one has more recent drawing experience.  The others apparently just have more natural talent.

Favorite line of the night:

“I’ll ask you to tape down your paper.  I will rip the tape for you because I teach children.  I will repeat instructions multiple times because I teach adults.”

He started by asking us to draw vertical lines an inch apart, all across the page.  Then he said to erase the worst ones and fix them.  I erased all of mine.  Then we progressed to drawing things we could see – angles, shapes, flower pots.  He very briefly showed us shadows and then it was 9pm and time to go.  But I get to go to an art store this week and buy stuff!

Exciting.

There’s always something

It wasn’t that long ago that I was rhapsodizing about them, but lately, the LAST thing I want is a hot shower.  Our townhouse doesn’t have AC.  (Our new house doesn’t either, but it’s much better insulated and it’s pretty shady there.)  We have a portable unit we bought in Oregon that vents out the window, and the townhouse had one regular window unit when we moved in.  It wasn’t TOO big of a deal last fall because we moved in September and we only had a couple of really hot days before the cooler weather started.  Now, though, it’s HOT.  We’ve had several days in a row of 90+ degree weather, and the house is pretty much unbearable.

We’re keeping the window unit running in our bedroom 24/7 (can’t wait for that electric bill), and it’s the only room that feels nice to sit in (with, of course, no place to sit other than the bed).  We moved the kitchen table and the portable unit into my office, so John and I are working together in the only other air-conditioned room in the house.  Fortunately, it’s been a quiet week for meetings so we’re not getting on each other’s nerves.  Unfortunately, the portable unit can’t keep up, so we’re still dying.

Today, even though it’s our first sub-90 degree day in a week, it’s still too warm in the house, so we’re camped out at Starbucks.

That is not the point I was going to make when I started writing.  My original point was that COLD SHOWERS ARE THE BEST.  Truly, that is not something I ever thought I would say.   It has become a necessity to take an actual cold shower before bedtime, both to clean off the sweat that’s accumulated all day long and to cool down before sleeping in the only cool room in the house.  AND IT FEELS SO GOOD.  It’s so hot in the rest of the house, bathroom included, that I find myself lingering under cold freakin’ water.  Maybe this is related to the pregnancy thing, too, but except for one incident, John has been as hot and uncomfortable as I’ve been.  We were watching TV, relatively cool, and all of a sudden I was like, “John, I need you to point the fan directly at me, I am so hot I can’t stand it please hurry up”.

Not to worry – I can find something to complain about in the only cool room in the house, too.  The window unit can only go in the window at the foot of the bed (lack of outlets and appropriate extension cords), and the air (which cannot be directed) blows directly on the pillows in the middle of the bed.  When I’m sleeping on my left side, like I am supposed to do, facing the middle of the bed, it blows directly on my face.  Consequence?  I wake up every morning congested with a drippy throat.

When will life be perfect, huh?

Today is better

Yesterday was a cranky day.  It was dark and rainy all day (we had thunder and lightning, which was cool, but not enough), I didn’t sleep well the night before, I had a headache, I was congested, I was achy, my left arm hurt a LOT from a vaccine, people at work were difficult, I was uncomfortable, and I just felt weird, and I couldn’t shake it ALL DAY LONG.

Today is much better, in every way.  I slept okay, my back doesn’t hurt, my head doesn’t hurt, the sun is shining, and sure, my left arm still hurts a bit, but it’s better.  It’s too early to tell if work people are going to be difficult again, but if that’s the only thing I have to deal with, I can manage.

Also, we’re going to Boston tonight to see Frank Turner, and the show is EARLY, as in supposed-to-be-over-by-9:30 early, and I know this makes me old, but I am so happy it won’t be a late night.

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?