a race against time

Thursday, jun. 18, 2009   |   0 comments

It’s 3:42 in the morning and look who’s typing! [Sad, dangling-arm insomnia mime pose.]

I guess I kind of have some things on my mind?

Exhibit A: Homeownership

So we bought a house. WE BOUGHT A HOUSE! I know…so exciting! But also so, so stressful, my god, really I had no idea. The poring over listings, the touring of 100s of houses, the loan-getting, the deliberating, the bidding, the disappointing crush of getting outbid, the bidding again (and again), the negotiating, the faxing, the signing your name a thousand times, the whole “wiring your entire life savings into the void” thing (that part actually only takes a freakishly speedy five minutes — I complained to the bank teller that it should take at least three hours, just to reflect the gravity of this being probably the most gigantic transaction of my life, but no, you just sign here, sign there, and WHOOSH! My money’s gone!), the overwhelmed weeping…. Altogether, it’s like a fulltime job. A heart-wrenching, abusive job with horrible hours.

And that’s on top of the fulltime job I already have. While pregnant. And not drinking!

Had I known how much it was going to take out of me, I never, ever would have done it. But I am glad that we did. I guess? We got a good price, and a great rate, and our payments are relatively sane (for the Bay Area at least). And I really do think that if we hadn’t done it now, it never would have happened, this being the moment where all our planets — low-ish housing prices, enough savings for a down payment, gainful employment, parental aid — aligned into this one miracle opportunity.

But did I mention that the house is a fixer-upper? In the month or so since the close of escrow, we’ve upgraded the 1940s electrical system, re-piped the water-pressure-at-5%-capacity plumbing, replaced the gas-leaking deathtrap furnace with central heating, redone the sewer line, and also torn out the entire kitchen. And by “we,” I mean “Marco.”

What with me in my delicate condition, and my knowing less than zero about construction, Marco’s had to take care of everything: Lining up bids, getting permits, digging ditches, tearing down walls, putting up walls, crawling around in the crawl space, cleaning mystery feces (racoon? HUMAN?) out of the attic?!

We’ve also had a ton of help. Our friends have turned out in droves to sweat and swing hammers and measure things — it’s like a 24-7 calendar shoot over there. Rob in particular has dipped his oar in so much it makes my heart hurt with happy. And my dad! He’s been truly amazing, drawing up plans and building steps and crawling around in the horror-film crawlspace. I feel so grateful and humbled and small!

Despite all the help, things are still really and truly bananas. We’re pinching every penny, constantly examining and reexamining our budget and bank balance. And I never see Marco. He goes straight from work to the house each night, where he slaves until the wee dark hours, and he’s over there every possible working hour of every weekend.

The only time I see him is at our weekly home-birthing class. [Sound of tires screeching and records skipping and the world at large scratching its collective melon.]

Yeah. On top of all this life insanity, we’re also planning to have the baby at home. Huh?

Exhibit B: The Surprise Hippie Homebirth Plan!

I had every intention of having this baby at the hospital, I really did. As a hippie-hating Marin-reactionary, a homebirth didn’t even vaguely cross my mind. But then I accidentally saw The Business of Being Born, which brought up all these questions and half-remembered tales told by former-birth-center-receptionist and hairdresser-slash-midwife friends.

And when I brought my Qs to my OBGYN, I did not like the answers, which were brusque and dismissive and delivered with my doctor’s foot literally out the door.

So Marco and I interviewed some midwives, and really liked what they had to say. And we were impressed by how they give every question a sane, measured response, and how their appointments are at your house and they last an hour versus the 5 minutes at the OBGYN’s office. (Plus pun-lover me was ecstatic with the name of their business…ready? Wombservice!)

And WHOOSH! Suddenly we’re buying rubber sheets and a special “placenta storage” bowl.

In Summary

So here’s where we are now: Ready or not, the house will become our new home on July 12, our very last day at the apartment. Our due date is on July 22, just ten scant days later.

Kitchen floor, leveled and ready for tile
Here’s what our kitchen looks like today.

today's "birthday" outfit
And what I look like today: Profoundly pregnant and primed for popping, and officially 39 years of old.

June might just kill me
Which will be done first, the house or the time bomb in the oven?

I’m sure we’ll be fine. Provided we get the kitchen and toilet and water heater and windows installed. And the walls painted. And the floors refinished. And we pass all our inspections. And the baby doesn’t come early.

Oh my god.

more words on: all knocked up, house-ing


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