Monthly Archives: October 2008

Proud of myself

posted by Mel

Two posts in one day! This one will be a little more empowered than the last. We haven’t posted a lot about the fiasco that is home remodeling. The worst part of the whole thing for me (besides not being able to bake for months) has been the countertops.

When we purchased cabinets and countertops (Vanessa did all of this research really), we opted not to go with a big box store in part because Vanessa read horror stories about working with that kind of retailer. The employees have no or little vested interest in making sure that what you get fits the dimensions of your kitchen; so either you end up with something you didn’t really want or a lot of waste, reordering, and extra time added to your project waiting around for fixes to be made– the cost of which the customer often ends up swallowing. The model with a big box store is that you do the measuring; the store employee plugs the measurements into a software package, and the software package spits out a basic cabinet/countertop configuration which can then be tweaked. Instead, we went with a smaller boutique cabinet and countertop reseller, where we felt we’d get higher grade materials and personalized customer service. We paid a premium to do this.

Someone from the company came to our house and measured. They met our contractors, talked to us at length about what we wanted. We were confident we were going to get it.

The cabinets came in pretty much as scheduled, and they were mostly what they were supposed to be after our contractors finally figured out where everything was. A few pieces were missing, and one cabinet was 3 inches smaller in both width and height than it needed to be. We got them to pony up the extra pieces and decided to live with the shorter cabinet because our contractor could at least build it up to the correct height and make it look good.

But the countertops– the countertops were a nightmare. After the cabinets came in, the company came back out and measured for laminate countertops. They should have been in 2 weeks later. Instead, they came in 4 weeks later, completely stalling the rest of the project because the plumber refused to come in until they were here. This meant no sink, no dishwasher, and no oven (we’re bringing in a gas line) for that much longer. When they finally did come in, the measurements were all wrong. Several of the backsplashes were off size. The piece for the tiny cabinet came in even TINIER than that cabinet– 9 inches instead of 12. The countertop for the bar came in 3 inches deeper than it was supposed to be on one side. The company had made an “executive decision” about the edge on half of the counters because of a weird angle; so half had a rounded edge and half had a straight edge. It looked ridiculous.

If I weren’t already frustrated enough, I called them several times this week and could get no one to call me back– no answers for why the executive decision had been made or when they’d be coming out to fix things or who was going to pay for these mistakes. I was angry and pretty sure it wasn’t going to be us. At the same time, my contractor was talking to someone in their warehouse, not a sales contact like the one we’d been talking to, and seemed to be working things out with him behind the scenes, but I wasn’t sure that the solution he came to with them was going to satisfy me. Finally I got an unfortunate salesperson on the phone and found out that our salesperson was out on vacation and her voice mail wasn’t being checked. Inconvenient for us. This is exactly what had happened the day we’d ordered the countertops. Coincidence? I think not. The unfortunate salesman passed me off to an unfortunate saleswoman who dealt with my nearing hysteria at the amount of hassle I’ve been dealing with and was treated to a rant on the damage fast food was doing to my arteries and the arteries of the baby in my belly because of these continued delays. Wednesday afternoon I wanted just one. beer. so. badly.

As of yesterday afternoon we have about 3/4 of the countertops we need, but at least the ones the plumber requires before he’ll come over are here. The plumber is due in on Monday.

The title of this post is Proud because I just spoke with the district manager for the cabinet and countertop retailer, and somehow I was able to calmly and cogently explain my disappointment in his establishment and my expectation of some remuneration for my trouble. I didn’t rant. I didn’t cry. I didn’t tell him he’s introducing my unborn child to childhood obesity, and in return I think what I heard in his voice was genuine apology and the promise of some token discount. At this point, it’s not the discount I care about. It’s the acknowlegement that this was handled poorly and the commitment to fix it as best they’re able. I also care about getting in control of my emotions around this and reducing stress, which I seem to be doing pretty well with at least today.

And the moral for everyone else who has made it this far: probably best not to take on home remodeling projects while pregnant.

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Bigger

posted by Mel

I woke up huge this morning. I think it happened overnight. I’ve gained at least 2, possibly 3 lbs this week. I’m not complaining about that. That signals to me that she’s growing. But I’m suddenly so awkward. I had to spin out of bed on my tailbone and put my feet over the side of the bed before I could really sit up because I felt like I was going to wobble right over. That’s the first time I’ve felt like that– like a fat daddy long legs or a crab who can only scuttle one way. My movement is different. It’s restricted. My body’s changing, and it’s all so out of my control. I know I’m not, but for a second on my way to work this morning I just felt so helpless.

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School Days

posted by Mel

Thank you, everyone, for your well wishes and support.

In other non password-protected news (remember, please, not to respond in a password-protected kind of way to non-protected posts here), Simone now has a daycare provider. When I was 3 years old, my mother sent me to a preschool I adored, and I’m pleased to say that preschool has since opened up a full-fledged daycare for for newborns through 4’s. I was wary of it at first because it’s religiously-affiliated, but the location is incredibly convenient, and my parents are comfortable with it, so it provides a lot of flexibility for members of our support network to help out with pick-ups. I decided to check it out.

On the initial phone call I confirmed that the staff was comfortable with and accustomed to working with alternative families. Simone will not be the only lesbian-parented child there. I spoke with close friends who had good feedback on the place from friends and acquaintances of theirs who took their children there; so I scheduled a time for Vanessa and me to visit last week.

It’s warm and comfortable, as Vanessa put it “a little chaotic,” but I love that. Kids are. At least it wasn’t completely sanitized like the corporate daycare we visited. I never got the impression that chaotic equates to a damaging lack of discipline there. We didn’t find one infant in a crib. They were all either being held or changed, or they were lying in bouncers/swings or fumbling around with toys on the floor or one of those baby gym mat things. The caregivers in the infant rooms were all older women; content-looking, slightly messy, no frills women. I didn’t see one magazine, book, or television. These women look at, care for, play with babies all. day. long. (How do they do that?!)

In good weather, every child gets time outside, and the daycare is on the edge of a lovely residential neighborhood with plenty of green space on the grounds that I remember playing on as a child. In inclement weather, there’s a gym. In the summers, there’s water play and all parents are required to apply sunscreen and keep appropriate swimwear available. There’s no problem with bringing in homemade baby food, breastmilk, and your own baby rash/first aid supplies; though of course, otc medication still must be accompanied by a doctor’s note.

As an aside, in their handbook there is a 4-page long very reasonable and sensitive policy on the subject of biting.  I had no idea that this issue would require so much thought, but they seem to be handling it well.

Down sides:

1.) The hours are 7:30 – 5:30. It’s a bit of a drive from this place to my work, and this could be a problem in bad weather. It means I will always have to leave work by 4:30. Given the flexibility of my job, this won’t present too much of a problem and, when it does, Vanessa’s schedule might prove more flexible. Katie and my mother are also close by.

2.) Security seems a little lax. As mentioned previously, the corporatized daycare we checked out was as locked down as a prison. On the day we checked out this place, we were able to walk in and get all the way to the classrooms without being stopped. If there are children in a classroom, however, they are always supervised– even during caregivers’ bathroom breaks. There’s a heavy reliance on the caregivers to provide security.

Most important, though, I got the sense that there’s a lot of love and patience for the children and respect for their parents. It’s urban, comfortable, and laid back, and it fits my family. I’m looking forward to seeing Simone skip through those halls the way I did.

Now to find a pediatrician.

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Underground for a while

posted by Mel

The time has come for a password-protected post or two or three or four. Too much is going on that I want to keep away, for now, from the prying eyes of casual RL acquaintances, co-worker lurkers, and family. If you know me well enough for me to have already discussed some private stuff with you recently, you’re welcome to request a password. If not, RL people, please respect my privacy. If you’re a member of the infertility/loss/rough road to family community, then to my side, sisters. Please comment for the pw.

And lest anyone worry, Simone is fine.

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Just Sharing

You can call on beauty still and it will leap
from all directions

you can write beauty into the cruel file
of things done things left undone but

once we were dissimilar
yet unseparate that’s beauty that’s what you catch

Adrienne Rich
from Part 7 of “Calle Vision”
from Dark Fields of the Republic

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Movement

posted by Mel

When she moves around a lot (usually after a meal) my heart races. I can feel my pulse beating in my throat. I’m not sure if it’s purely a physical response to her movement, like she’s snorfing up the blood supply and my heart is speeding up to get us both what we need to keep going, or if it’s actually the adrenaline rush that comes from fear.

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