Thursday, March 30, 2006

Hurry Up and Relax!

After my Grandma's funeral this past week, I returned to work on Monday to give my 4-week notice for maternity leave. Instead, they gave me the option of just leaving and being put on short term disability until the baby comes... spending the rest of my pregnancy doing whatever I want without having to worry about work.

Kind of a no-brainer!

In a normal situation, I would feel weird about this - as if I were milking the system. However, with the work environment the way it is (i.e. everyone laid off!) I don't really feel that badly. Not to mention the fact that this pregnancy has seen a fair number of stressors, both good and bad:

1. Getting married
2. Renovating the house
3. Getting laid off
4. Starting a business
5. Having my Grandpa die
6. Having my Grandma die

So I am officially no longer working.

This is the first time in my life that I've been jobless. It is SO WEIRD! That doesn't mean I'm not busy, though. I've been running around like a madwoman, buying bottles and receiving blankets, mapping out Stroller Fitness routes for my instructors to use and helping Jason with the renovations whenever I can.

I'm also in the home stretch of my pregnancy! My midwives gave me the go-ahead to drink the Ninth Month Tea! I have an appointment with them every week, as well as with my massage therapist and my osteopath. This may sound like overkill, but my hips are messed up and my hands look like sausages right now. I finally had to wrestle my rings off my fingers, and they didn't give up without a fight! My trusty RMT, Tara, helps drain the fluid from my hotdog fingers while my osteopath, Caroline, helps get my hips in line for baby.

I've also put one of my birthday gifts to use. Most people that get spa gifts use them right away, but I've been hanging on to Andrea's birthday gift for 4 months! So I finally made it to Eveline Charles for a facial, a pedicure and a body scrub, all on separate days. My favourite was definitely the facial. I had to leave my pedicure early, so Jason painted the tiny canvasses that are my toenails later that evening!

This baby could come any day now! I have to hurry up and relax!

Friday, March 17, 2006

There and Then Gone

My Grandpa was a hard man, and together my grandparents Dumas had a hard life. They drank and smoked heavily, worked their asses off their entire lives and never tooke a day off.

Every Saturday, starting when I was 6, I went to my Grandma's coffeeshop to work. I cleaned shelves and wrapped forks and knives in napkins with ketchup and salt. I made $10 a day, a fortune for a kid who couldn't even see over the counters. Over the years, I learned how to make my Grandma's famous cinnamon buns, pies, butter tarts and dinner rolls. I learned the usual orders for all of her regulars. I grew tall enough to use the grill and the deep fryer, brave enough to call orders into the adjoining bar, and good enough to make pretty amazing tips.

When I got to Grade 7, my Grandpa started picking me up every day after school to go to the coffeeshop to help Grandma close up. Each day, I walked out the front doors and Grandpa would be standing there beside the old Chevy Blazer that smelled like farm chickens. His army green GWG's would be unbuttoned to mid belly, with red Husquavrna suspenders straining to hold up his pants. Often he would be playing with his false teeth, making awful faces that mortified me in front of my friends. That was one of his favorite things to do, embarrass me, because it was so easy.

He would drive 35km/hr to the coffeeshop, with Gaye Delorme "The Rodeo Song" playing on the tape deck...

"Well it's forty below and I don't give a f**k
Got a heater in my truck and I'm off to the rodeo

It's an alamana left - an alamana right
Come on you f**king dummy get your right step right
Get off stage - you God-damned goof you know
You piss me off - you f**king jerk
You get on my nerves

Well here comes Johnny with his pecker in his hand
He's a one ball man and he's off to the rodeo"

...I think he liked to play it for the shock value, the same reason he made derogatory comments about my Filipino boyfriend to my face, the same reason he hollered "Hello in 'dis place" everytime he opened the door to our house and the same reason he turned into a violent, angry man everytime he got drunk.

I loved my Grandpa, but I never really liked him. He was mean to my mom and to my Grandma - I was witness to his abuse more times than I care to remember. He infuriated and embarassed me with his racism and judgement - he was half Métis and yet had no problem letting his unfavorable opinions of any other race be known, and often in their company. He was an overweight alcoholic, chain-smoking across the dining room table when I came to visit.

Over the course of a few years, I saw the big hulking man I knew as Grandpa Dumas wither away into someone quite different. As he sat across the table in the hospital the last time I saw him, looking at his only great-grandchild (my niece Ashley), I couldn't help but think that he was no longer the same person. He made jokes about my growing pregnant belly and I hoped fervently that he would make it to see his second great grandchild.

And when he died this January, age 78, I cried.

Visiting my Grandma after the memorial was reassuring. She was still full of piss n' vinegar, notifying us in her French accent that one of the other widowers in town was already "sniffing around". How Leo, her "s'Homme", would be the only man for her - ever! Talking about how she had a new trailer that she would park out at my parent's campsite for the summer and stay.

And then two weeks later she broke her hip. She spent her 75th birthday in the hospital, battling viral infections that left her a shadow of her former self. When my brother told me that he cried almost the entire time he visited her in the hospital, I didn't believe it.

I couldn't envision my Grandma anything other than what she was when I was little. Kneading mounds of bread dough with her arthritic hands, the hairnet over her French Roll hairstyle, the dangly earrings. Telling me not to chew my gum like a cow. Telling me to pull up my slouch socks. Praying over any body part that sustained an injury. Reading tea leaves - but never mine because I was too young. Yelling at my Grandpa in French when they were fighting, so we wouldn't understand. In fact, that is why my brother went into French Immersion, so he could understand what all the yelling was about!

But then this past weekend, Jason and I went over to the Island to visit. And it was that bad. I cried when I saw the skin and bones that used to be my Grandma on the bed. We had to wear gowns and gloves to visit her, although through my gown she pointed to my belly and said "fat", making me laugh through my tears. My mom and I joked about her nightie slipping off her shoulder and how there must be some male nurses around. I think she smiled. Hard to tell for sure.

And so the weekend passed, us visiting each day, each day getting a bit easier although we knew she wasn't getting better. My mom prepared to take my Grandma home to die. We went to the Walmart and shopped for a Diaper Genie and Huggies wipes for my Grandma, then face cloths and socks for my baby. It was funny and sad at the same time. The special bed was delivered, the oxygen set up, the nurse arrived. Sunday night my Grandma got to sleep in her own nightie, with my mom at her side.

Yesterday morning my mom was sleeping beside her bed and woke up to hear my Grandma's erratic breathing. She said it was over in 15 minutes, very peaceful.

And all of a sudden, I only have one set of grandparents.

My Grandma's death has hit me much harder than my Grandpa's. Or maybe it's the snowball effect of the two, or the pregnancy hormones mounting, or me just reaching the end of my rope.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Photo Op!

My favorite photographer Lisa gave me an offer I couldn't refuse - maternity shots! These are much much better than the pasty bikini shots that Jason and I have been taking! Many of my favourite shots are too risqué for the blog, "baby porn" as Jason and I have taken to calling the numerous boob and belly shots. But here are some of the non-nudie shots for your perusal... 27lbs and counting!

Big Belly Posted by Picasa

Belly Love Posted by Picasa

Yoga Belly Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 6, 2006

Too much information...

Guys, you may want to skip this one.


This morning I tried the unthinkable. I tried to have a DIY "beauty day", which normally means painting my fingernails and toes, doing my eyebrows and waxing my bikini line.

To many women, the thought of a bikini wax makes them recoil in horror. The thought of performing one themselves is utterly unfathomable. But it's never bothered me before. No biggie, I can take it.

Or at least I could before my belly got so large. So large that I need to hold it to one side in order to SEE my bikini line. And certainly before every nerve ending in my nether regions doubled in sensitivity.

Nope, that blood flow increase certainly didn't do me any favours this morning.

Normally you hold your skin taut with one hand, while pulling with the other in the opposite direction. But with the belly, one hand was a little tied up. So I tried pulling without holding the skin taut. YEEE-OWCH!!! I could hear my hubby asking worriedly from the other room if I was alright.

No, of course I wasn't! But the bikini line could not win!

After getting hot wax on my belly, and nearly ripping a patch of skin off my thigh, I was ready to give up halfway through.

But I am a glutton for punishment and persevered. Again, I could not be beaten by the bikini line! I have so little dignity left! I cannot go to the pool with an untidy mess!

So I finished.

Never again.

That's it, I give up. My baby has won the turf war, my body is allllll his.

I say HIS like I know the baby's sex. And I haven't seen any genitalia on an ultrasound screen. But somehow I just KNOW it's a boy.

Friday, March 3, 2006

Long Time, No Blog!

It occurred to me today that I haven't blogged in a while when Jordan emailed me worried that something was up...

Last night was Nutmilk's birthday (she hasn't posted in a while either!) and so we went out for a fab Greek dinner and True Confections afterwards for dessert. A great chick with a great group of friends! I just had a few forkfuls of mine and Jenn's leftover cheesecake, YUM!!! There were a lot of fellow bloggers there too, which is really quite weird and cool at the same time. It was nice to see Mr. Karlsen as well, although there was significantly less of him to see, he had lost 40lbs! I had to look twice to figure out who he was when I saw him at first, so crazy!

This past weekend we were all set up to have our hardwood refinished upstairs - Jason had relocated our upstairs stuff to our half-finished downstairs, quite a lengthy process! I don't see Jason get angry very often, but taking apart a certain Ikea computer desk was proving to be quite the vexation! Anyhow Jason did this on Thursday, as I was convinced that our refinisher was going to show up earlier on Friday. As it turned out, he didn't show for work until Saturday... After spending two nights at my father-in-law's, and a night in Whistler, we came home Sunday to find Peter still sanding! Arg!

Sunday night we headed back to JJ's house, followed by Monday night at our next-door-neighbour's (complete with Dozer and Bella sleeping in our bed) and Tuesday night at my mother-in-law's since she was out of town. That evening Jason and I had run out of clothes and so while our stuff was being washed, Jason wore some of his mom's penguin and polar-bear decorated pajamas and I wore her house coat!

Jason was convinced that the fumes were still not gone enough for me to sleep at home, so finally Wednesday night found us at Andrea's newly renovated home. I had pretty much had it by that point although I have to admit, it was pretty cozy. Andrea drew a bubble bath for me in her clawfoot tub, before tucking us into her gorgeous new bed linens after we had finished a meal of pork medallions with mushrooms...

Last night was our first night home and BOY did we sleep! Even though our upstairs is in a bit of an uproar, it is nice to be back home.

This weekend we hope to finish mudding and taping the drywall downstairs. Next week the completion of the condo goes through, so that will be a load off as well. And then next weekend we're off to Port Alberni to celebrate my dad's 50th birthday, which is being held at the curling rink after their bonspeil! Jason is pretty excited to try curling, but I will have to be content to cheer from the stands, gr!

It will be nice to visit my grandma as well, since she has been in the hospital for the last month. She fell and broke her hip about two weeks after my grandpa died and my mom has been worried sick about her health during her hospital stay. I can't imagine being in my mom's position right now, she is going to the hospital to feed my grandma her meals because she refuses to eat otherwise. It is sad, not just because she's hurting physically but also emotionally because her husband of over 50 years is gone.

Well it's Friday afternoon and I'm already home, so might as well start my weekend off with a bit of relaxation.