Wednesday, June 30, 2004

We officially closed on the house today. what a relief! Other news is not so good. Today my nostrils flared for the third time in a matter of two weeks. The first time was a result of the pernicious painter, the second was the result of the baneful broker and now there's the malicious (anti)marriage equality crew who filed their petition signatures today. See Come November, R.I.P Same Sex Marriage in Oregon on the Portland Communique. Okay, so maybe pernicious and baneful are too strong of words, but I stand firmly behind using the word malicious for this group.

Now that things are calming down a bit on the home front and my thoughts are back on life and not fires, I've been thinking about an entry on Chuck Currie's blog Views on Faith and Politics from a United Church of Christ Seminarian. It's titled Homosexuality and the Bible. It's one of the most thoughtful sharing of words I've read on this subject. I felt comforted on the day I read it. On the other hand, my paranoia is being constantly fed by extremists who have only hate to share. Today I heard a guy on the radio saying that as a christian he doesn't have to be tolerant and accepting. He said that his bible demands that he hates and loathes. There are a lot of other people who consider it their duty as christians to hate and loathe too. Read Voting Down Fear and Loathing in Multnomah County Part I and Part II recapturing the testimonies to the Board of County Commissioners. If you think their words sound hateful, you should have been there for the presentation. Their hate was palpable.

So, big breath. Another initiative fight begins soon... I think we can; I think we can.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Finally, we signed on our home today. Jack is beginning to be more exploratory. He really likes the big windows and other cats that come to the front door and visit through the screen. He's still scared of humans though, and this neighborhood gives him much cause for pause. There's a lot of foot traffic. Alison and I exchanged emails today. She lives on the East Coast. She's thinking about taking some science classes (her interest is botony) but is pondering how she could fit classes into her schedule. She and Scott are planning on drinking some home brew this weekend. A honey ale they made in their basement. I told her our basement still smells like beer (from the previous party crowd), and she told me I needed to embrace the smell and start making beer!

We are 24 weeks today. Susan and I have just been feeling around on her belly and found what we think is bean's head. I'm trying really hard to convince Susan that having a photographer in during our labor and delivery won't be intrusive or gross. I haven't put a face behind the camera yet. It has to be someone who is quiet, creative and energetic but who isn't a stager. Staged pictures at the amateur level aren't very exciting.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Hi all - Susan here writing to you from the aftermath of too much dinner eaten. We met my folks for dinner tonight and I - unsuprisingly - gorged on too much Olive Garden (I'm such a sucker for the salad and breadsticks). My parents just got back from Hawaii and they bought little bean some great outfits. She'll be able to wear these hopefully next summer.

This is a picture of my parents; everyone say aloha to Joe and Renee!

Sunday, June 27, 2004

We went to Legacy Emanuel Hospital today for a tour of the labor and delivery and family units. This is us in the parking lot. Don't we look excited? Actually, we were excited.

Barb, our childbirth Educator, started us off with some class room type schooling. An average labor is 6 to 24 hours in length. Early labor includes contractions about 20 minutes apart. The hospital wants to hear from you when you reach what they call the 5-1-1. Contractions 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long for at least 1 hour's time. When you get to the hospital, they will put you in a Labor Evaluation Room and attach a tachometer to you to measure contractions and a Fetal monitor to measure the baby's heart rate. Then, they either admit you or send you back home (if you're not really in labor). Barb talked about what to pack (toiletries, glasses, lip gloss, something to labor in if you don't want to labor in hospital gowns...). For post partum bring a car seat, a few baby outfits and something to wear home that you wore at about 6 months into your pregnancy. Here is a terribly interesting tidbit: A mother's breast milk chemically changes according to the stages of pregnancy and the growth of the child. (In other words - the breastmilk is completely different in composition if you deliver early at say, 38 weeks, than if you deliver on time. They find that premie babies recover 50% faster with mom's milk!)

We started the tour in the Labor and Delivery wing.

Up to 5 people (total) are allowed in the labor and delivery room. There's a family waiting room outside the area:

In the labor and delivery room you can bring music. Apparently, familiar music is a soothing benefit to a woman in labor. Other things that can be good to ease pain and open the birth canal are the ball, jacuzzi, shower, etc. The thing that hinders the most is the flat on the back position. Here's the room:

Women in labor sometimes aren't very hungry, but partners shouldn't forget to bring snacks or food. But not anything too fragrant. The pregnant bionic nose intensifies during labor. Partners should also bring their bathing suits, particularly if mom ends up in a 2 hour shower. Partners can clamp and cut the umbilical chord after the birth now too! How exciting is that! New born test and procedures, except weighing and measuring, can be delayed for an hour or more too, to give mom/partner and baby some bonding time. There's no need to be separated from the baby anymore.

The post partum room is much smaller and more intimate.

Mom's should bring their own pillows for post partum breast feeding positioning. You're in the post delivery room for 48 hours plus from the time of delivery. Longer if you have a c-section.

If the wing is full, or there are multiple births, you might end up in a double room instead of a private room.

Susan's mother called. With the assistance of a local craft person (she lives in Kansas), she's going to finish the quilt she started when Susan was a baby.

Speaking of crafts. Friend Laural stopped by to help with the house and box unpacking this afternoon. She is part of the Church of Craft. They meet once a month. Laural thinks that Portland is getting crafty again. She was raving about this new coffee shop and knittery right down the street called Mabel's. It's across from the Wild Oats in lower SE Division. They have a big couch, and coffee, and pastries and knitting classes are in the near future. It's non-smoking and open 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Happy Saturday, all - it's Susan here for another random post. For those of you not in Portland, I hope your weather has been as wonderful as it was here today. I think it got up near 80 today and there's only been a few clouds out. Of course, Sheryl and I didn't get to enjoy too much of it; we're busy unpacking and nesting. So far, we have a very livable living room, dining room and now our kitchen and dining nook are nearly complete.

We have guests coming next weekend, so I imagine the guest room will be our next conquest. Today we got our washer and dryer all hooked up (had to replace the dryer cord to match the outlet). It's just in time too, Sheryl and I are both wondering where all our favorite clothes are and see them hiding in the laundry anxious to get washed.

My condo went onto the market today if anyone out there is interested in buying a great 2-br in Tualatin. You can check it out on the RMLS site. It's a bit sad to see it go; it was my first property and I chose every fixture and finishing inside when it was remodeled in '99.

Tomorrow we have another Bean milestone; we get to go and tour the birthing center at the hospital where I'll be delivering. We'll update you on that venture tomorrow if we get a chance. I hope it's going to be conducive to what I'm needing; I really want this to be a life experience and not a medical procedure, you know? I hear there are lots of perks to help moms, though; birthing balls, bars, whirlpools, etc. Unfortunately, no water birth options...

We had our monthly check up with the OB yesterday and everything is going well; my BP is up a bit and Dr. Holtzman says the edema is normal because of the weather and all of the flying that I have to do - so that's a relief. Working hard at keeping my feet up - which is never easy to do with so much work to tackle on the house...

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Here's Tiffany, laughing at Portland for not snatching her up for development work.

Actually, that was last year about this time and we were heading to ride in Forest Park. She had recently lost her job and spent an entire year hunting. She searched for an entire year before moving to the Boston area to live with a friend and be more strategically located for an East Coast job hunt. She found a job in Washington D.C. in one week's time working for the Human Rights Campaign. She starts on June 30th. Yay Tiffany!

Pay attention to this upcoming news: Dave Sullivan the best singer/songwriter in town, is going to play acoustic guitar in SE Portland. I'm also going to play a few songs. Laural Winter, Portland poetess, is going to spill some words. And all for the want of some huge anti W noise and whatever the audience wants to bring in support of funds for We've got the location but haven't set the date. More info to come.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Susan is in from Seattle, large swollen ankles and all. We go to the Dr. on Friday and we'll talk about the edema. Crazy the way once it starts it just doesn't want to go away. There's a woman at work, Timshel, who is about one month further along than Susan. Timshel said she sat by the pool this weekend and actually watched her feet grow out of her sandals. Bizarre. Jack finally came down the stairs last night and is actually being social again. Our friend C.K. brought some live cat nip by and I think that eased Jack's fears. He explored around in his yin soft feet. Speaking of which, we're all walking around in our yin soft feet. It's hard to use the yang "I own this house" feet when you don't actually own this house yet. Our mortgage broker... Hmmmm. He's talking about next week now. I talked to my friend Martina and she gave me the name of a woman who works for a title company who can refer me to some reputable mortgage brokers I can talk to about our options in backing out of this relationship with our current broker. I should have done that 2 weeks ago. That's always the problem, when you feel like you're in too far to get out...

Susan here - I've swiped the computer from Sheryl. We're 23 weeks along now. I was reading the other day that Little Bean is about the size of a squirrel - how's that for imagery? We're almost nearing the stage where a birth would be viable should something go wrong - that's a little bit of a relief - but it's still a bit odd to think about.

She really likes classical music - I've been playing her a lot of Mozart and she really starts to wiggle around in there. The weather in Portland has finally started to cool off - this is the first time in our house that we've not had to have a fan on to stay cool. What a relief! Now, if only we could get this house fiasco settled down...

Monday, June 21, 2004

We're in! What a crazy weekend. This is going to be a long blog--so hang with. We started moving on Friday morning at 6:30 a.m. carrying Jack the cat over. We put him in an upstairs room. Last night was the first time he came down the stairs. It was pretty traumatic for him, even with all of the attention we gave him. He basically went 24 hours without drinking food or water. We finally enticed him to eat with wet food. He loves wet cat food. Our next step was going to be canned tuna--we even went out and bought a can. Our vet would scream at us. She said tuna is highly addictive to cats and it depletes the vitamin E in a cat's skin. We didn't have to give it to him so it's all good.

One surprise waiting for us when we came over here early on Friday morning was that the painter had packed his blankets and left without bothering to clean. Well, he did leave 5 large garbage bags full of tape and paper for us to dispose of for him. And all of his empty paint cans. And a living room, dining room, kitchen, and downstairs bedroom full of dust and paint chips and dirt on their floors. And a mop bucket in the kitchen sink full of dirty water. How sad is that? Why would he think that was okay? It took me an hour and 1/2 to sweep and mop and get it ready for our stuff coming in from the other house. Some of the doors had hardware, but most all of the other hardware was in some drawer in the respective rooms. We still haven't put it all together. Here's an example for you. This door is to a cabinet over the stove. Notice the missing hardware, and the tape still on the frame.

We continued to have surprises the painter left behind as the day moved on. There are multiple drippings like these on the built in cabinet doors.

And this ceiling shot with primer sprayed on it.

And this paint sprayed on the glass in the kitchen cabinet (and there are more of these beauties to be seen).

And just for fun, here's a picture of the living room on Tuesday afternoon.

And here's the room as it is tonight:

The only differences: No tape and paper and blankets. Oh, and our furniture is in place. The mantle, which was supposed to remain unpainted wood, is painted in either ceiling paint or primer. It's hard to tell at this point. What it definitely is not painted in is enamel. Neither is anything else in the room--doors, window frames, baseboards. The walls are supposed to be painted a light beige and the wall behind the mantle a light steel blue.

Our goal in hiring the painter was to get things painted so that Susan wouldn't have to be around paint. Some people say it's not unsafe as long as you ventilate the rooms very well, but I just don't trust that. Paint fumes are very strong and if she doesn't have to be exposed to them, then the better off all of us are, including baby.

So, to conclude our painter nightmare. When I was taking the stuff he left behind (garbage bags, paint cans) to the metro dump, he came over with a painter's bill for over 1 thousand 1 hundred dollars. How's that for painting primer on everything in the living room, except the floors, the dining room and nook, the basement, the upstairs baby room (more poorly primed than even the downstairs rooms--and there's still tape and paper on the windows) and the hallway? Oh, to be fair, the kitchen walls have been painted the color we picked out. That's the only color in the house, except the paint left on the walls in our bedroom and the downstairs bedroom.

Susan is doing well, but still very swollen. My dad asked about Susan and the baby in our phone conversation on Father's day. I guess I normally talk to mom and not too much to dad, but this is the first time he's asked about the baby. Progress! He really likes Susan. Friday night she said her feet hurt more than they've ever hurt. Then Saturday night rolled around and she said the same thing. Efforts to get her to get off of her feet and put her legs up were hard, but she did. We go to the Dr. this Friday, and we're taking a hospital tour on Sunday. I can't wait! We're so excited to be in this house and that this will be bean's first home.

So, continuing with bad house news. As if the painter fiasco wasn't enough, we're having serious mortgage broker issues. The mortgage broker didn't do his due diligence. He has known for over 2 months what kind of property we are buying and what funding we were seeking. He didn't put things in motion until too late and made promises he couldn't keep. Our property has a rental unit above the garage. The second mortgage bank won't fund what they consider to be an investment property at the 15% level. Consequently, the papers were not to our title company on time and we still have not closed on this house that we are occupying now. We're doing this thing called early possession. The sad thing is that now we have to put every single cent of the profit we made on the sale of the other home into the downpayment on this house plus an additional out of pocket 4,000. That severly restricts our plans for Susan and baby staying home after birth. We're now looking at ways to borrow against other funds. So things like paying the painter over 1000 dollars sticks in our throats right now. Susan actually cried. She doesn't cry easily.

Well, I said this would be a long blog, and it surely is that. The good news--we're healthy, we love eachother tons, we're happy to be in our new home, we're excited about the neighborhood, we have a lot of opportunities ahead of us, and we'll be smarter in the future about who we hire to paint and who we use as a mortgage broker--if and when we need one again.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Selling your home is a major non-event. The only one who says congratulations or thanks for your business is the title company representative who explains what you're signing. Our buyer signed early last week and we finished off the paperwork today. The City came and passed the newly installed sewer line today at the new house after some re-work requirements. The repair crew digs a deep hole. This one is at least 10 feet deep.

The appliance delivery also happened today. Fridge and Stove.

Old appliance nook look: (btw: that hood you see is vented into the chimney and the home inspector said take it out asap).

New appliance nook look:

Tomorrow begins the harder work as we're beginning to move some boxes to the new place and closing down this space. And I told the painter today that he has to share the upstairs rooms in the new house because I need to buff and wax the floors before all of the furniture gets in. There are a lot of scratches and gouges in the wood flooring.

We're kind of concerned about Jack. Our plan is to have Susan "the catcher" secure him early in the morning into his carry case. Then, we'll take him to the new house and shut him in Bean's room with his food and cat box, and some toys. We'll see...

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Basement art, such as it is in this picture, is now white with primer.

Today the sewer fixers came and trenched up the old pipe and replaced it with new pipe. They say they're busy with a 1 1/2 month backlog. Everyone's busy. It's house remodel/buying/selling/repairing time. There's so much to do I can hardly keep track of it. And the painter we've hired is great, but he's a sprayer. That means he's a room hog. He prepares one room, taping everything, then sprays the paint, then moves to another while that one dries. Right now there are 3 rooms taped from floor to door to windows to light fixtures. Don't get me wrong, it's a great way to paint. You end up using less paint, the application is more evenly spread, ... But you can't do anything else in the rooms and the fumes are extra strong. Like I said, it's all a wonderful challenge!

Monday, June 14, 2004

Yesterday was Susan's 31st. We had a party/gathering at Grandma Kay's house. Susan's Aunt Peggy turned 50 so it was a dual celebration. This is the cake I made for Susan.

Susan scored on gifts and Bean got her first baby clothes and diapers. And a hand made baby quilt. She's also getting a fresh coat of primer in her room this week to cover a dark green almost black ceiling and purple/fuscia walls. We're preparing for the move from this old home into the new old home. Everytime I move, I say "This is the last time I'm moving." So maybe I won't say that this time. It's an awful weekend to be moving. It's Father's Day weekend and the PRIDE parade is happening too. But it's super exciting to be moving even in the face of a lot of work ahead. :-( Susan's father is out of town on a trip this weekend and my father lives in Texas.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

martina and dan got married at 5 p.m., in full on sun. pretty hot for us oregonians. but the warmth was nice about 8 p.m. on the deck when we took this picture.

believe it or not we saw a hummer-styled golf cart. someone said it problably takes 5 times the battery power as other carts and has a re-charging station around the 7th tee box. i hope i never ever see another hummer golf cart. one of the reasons i like to play the city/public courses instead of the private courses is that there aren't as many pretentious people with overpriced toys. but a few weeks ago i played the 3 par course at edgefield. 2 clubs (pw and putter), 18 holes. that was my first golf outing since october of last year. i doubt i'll be playing that much this summer. we're coordinating our move for father's day weekend. and there's a ton of work to do on the new house--years of work...

Monday, June 07, 2004

have your ankles ever swollen so big that you couldn't even see your ankle bones? susan's have. friday we few to albq. new mexico to a wedding of very good friends, and went straight from the airport to the pre wedding party at the couple's home. i guess a lot of pregnant women have swelling (water retention) in the second half of their pregnancies. especially after flying. it's a very weird thing to watch. we think it had something to do with the altitude change too. susan said she felt like her ankles had betrayed her. they weren't THAT big, but the pressure was painful. we put her legs up and she took a warm bath to alleviate some of the swelling. albq.--hmmmm, nice place to visit, but...i don't think i could live there. we flew on the family plane, southwest, and true to form there was a six month old sitting beside us (with parent). about halfway through the flight this baby's diaper starting smelling like crazy. the parents either can't smell anymore or they just ignored. is that what happens to parents? do they lose their sense of smell when they have children? how can you ignore a super stinky diaper? if i ever do that, someone just pinch me or something. i know we're going to be on planes. it's a given--susan's mom and grandparents live in kansas, my parents live in texas. we have vowed not to ignore dirty stinky diapers on flights (or anywhere else).

Friday, June 04, 2004

So, we can officially add the qualifier "Jumping" to Bean. What an active baby!

We're meeting our security company rep this morning, Mark, from Portland Security, at the new home. I used to hate loathe double hate alarm systems. Then some people broke into our home, stole a lot of our possessions, and vandalized the place slashing our canvas paintings, couches, etc... To be honest, this house has never felt the same to me. It's just "stuff" in the end, and that can all be replaced or lived without, but the energy is different. Anyway. I liked Mark. His company is local, first and foremost. Second, he didn't try to "over sell" our security needs, even though we were pretty vulnerable at the time, having just gone through the break-in. Third, they have the best contract rate.