April 7, 2013

Two Months...54 Days...What Feels Like a Lifetime

Well it's been a while, hasn't it?

I'd like to say I've been MIA from blogging because I was off traveling the world and seeing the Eiffel Tower and being romanced in Italy by Mr. Right, but... well, the past few months...

Hmm. I get a little stuck at trying to describe the latter portion of 2012 and 2013 so far. So much has happened, it’s difficult to find one word that can easily describe the changes my life has undergone over the past 4 months. I suppose it’s easiest to start at the beginning...

Mid-December was marked by one of the most shocking events in my life: I was laid off. A mere two weeks before Christmas my prior employers handed me a paycheque for 2 weeks of severance and walked me out the door for no reason other than that my new boss and one of the owners did not like me. I was a remnant of the previous Controller; he and I had rocked the boat by questioning several of their financial procedures, and after they pushed him out I was promised that there would be no negative effect to my position. Four months later they made liars of that statement and sent me on my way, without even allowing me to say my goodbyes to the department that I managed. It was an unjust dismissal and for about two weeks I debated taking action against it, even going so far as to talk to my lawyer about the situation and my options. In the end, I decided that the emotional and financial stress and the potential of a fight that could drag on for months (or even years!) was not worth it, and I let it go. It hurt, on a level that I find completely indescribable; I was a star performer and had worked my ass off improving many areas of the company, only to be humiliated and treated with a disregard that belittled every one of my accomplishments and the many hours of service I invested in a company I believed in. It still stings.

I was employed by the next business day, and I like to think that what happened happened for a very good reason, because my new job is a significant move upward in both title, responsibility and salary. I signed a disclaimer with my new place of employment, so I can’t say much... but what I can say is that I’m exceedingly happy with this new opportunity and the learning experiences, exposure and challenge that it’s giving me. I have the option of working overtime, rather than it just being expected, and for once I’m finding a balance between work and home. It’s wonderful and satisfying on every level that I appreciate about a job.

Unfortunately the effects of being laid off were felt – I didn’t start my new job until January, and I’d been working to recover from the unexpectedly high closing costs of my house purchase, a new furnace installation, and a few other unforeseen expenses. I had to stretch two weeks of severance into four over the Christmas holidays, and in spite of my accounting background and natural tendency to scrooge out, it still hit me in the pocketbook. I’m not poor and I’m not struggling, but I’m one of those people who needs an emergency fund that’s equivalent to two months salary. As a result, I’ve put myself on a strict budget which I’ve vowed to follow to the last cent, with the goal of building my savings back up to pre-house-purchase balance plus.

It will be easier come May 31st, when Mr. Right will officially move in. Two months from now and I will be making a commitment that I’ve never made to any man before – sharing finances and all of the things that I’ve avoided previously. A little part of me wishes I’d been a little less fierce about my independence; I am so set in my ways from having lived on my own for so long, that I’m finding it hard to adjust to having someone around All The Time. Mr. Right and I have a lot in common, but there are a few significant personality differences that create a challenge, particularly in our living together. He is as Type B as they come; his easygoing nature tends to nicely work against my uber-Type A personality... except when we clash. It’s most noticeable in our financial management and housekeeping skills, oddly enough; I’m a ‘deal with it nownowNOW’ and he’s more: ‘It’s nothing to panic about, worry about it later’. I tend to hyper-stress and over-react about things, but I Get Them Done fast and properly, whereas he is calm and collected but tends to procrastinate and defer to others. He's a spender, I'm freaking Scrooge incarnate! He's also wasteful in ways that make me cringe. Add to the mix my red-headed temper and his dislike of confrontation, and there’s a melting-pot of potential communication issues that we continue to work through. What’s important is that we ARE working through them. And there’s a lot of value in knowing that we are identifying and solving the challenges of living together, since he’s been staying with me permanently for over 6 months now. Mr. Right has taken care of business and though we still have our challenges (mostly involving ex-nonwife and trying to stepcouple together - a future post, for sure) and we are still in love and planning for the future.

Which brings me to the end result (hopefully!) and our near-future goal: a baby. (SQUEEEE!)
After a lot of discussion and planning and thought, Mr. Right and I have decided that, in June, we’ll be throwing out the condoms. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how overwhelmingly exciting this is for me – in a mere 2 months, we might be pregnant. 2 months from now. 54 days. I could be a Mommy-To-Be by my 33rd birthday. Though it’s extremely difficult to wait (even if it’s only 54 days!), the rational side of me knows that this time can be used to better position and prepare us for pregnancy and eventually a new baby.

That also means that I’m having to be patient... which as you probably now know given my personality, is REALLY not easy for me. When I make up my mind to do something, I do it NOW. Add to the mix my post-30 time bomb hormones on top of the fact that I’ve been waiting for this for 14 years and my worries about potential fertility issues with each passing year... le sigh. I do not do waiting well. One of the things I did when I started the process for being a SMC was to plan ahead and educate myself as much as possible. On EVERYthing, from the process itself to financial planning to maternity options etcetera etcetera. I started buying cloth diapers and stockpiling various necessities, and I created a detailed budget and researched infant development and car seats and homemade baby food. All of this made me feel empowered, and also helped to provide me with a goal to work towards while I waited for the day that I would start trying to conceive. Ultimately, what it gave me was patience.

I’ll even admit that I’ve become a little obsessed with planning. When I become preoccupied thinking about the next two months, I focus instead on the preparation that most people think about during pregnancy… like the nursery. I’ve picked some colours that I like; a soft, subtle yellow with accents of mint green and maybe a few grey or red items to pop. Gender neutral, since I don’t want to know whether it’s a girl or boy beforehand. When I bought the house, I mentally designated the back spare bedroom as the future nursery,
Wouldn't this be an awesome nursery?

due to its south-facing window and the wonderful light that shines in, even in the winter. Right now this is the guest room, and the most use it sees is when L~ stays with us on weekends. So I’ve started doing some organizing and moving items from the future nursery to the office/library, which will eventually also host a sleeping area for L~-slash-guest bed. I’ve been trying to brainstorm ideas as to how to fit all of my books (I have 3 large shelves in the office/library right now, with 4 more boxes of books waiting to be unpacked in the closet and two shelves on the main floor with the rest of the books) in the 3rd bedroom with my computer desk and something for L~ and guests to sleep on. My second and third bedrooms are not huge; they’re not tiny, but they’re the typical, townhouse-sized spare rooms better suited as children’s bedrooms. Do you know how hard it is to find decorating/organizational ideas for a situation like this?? Until we have our second child, I want to be able to utilize the available space as much as possible since realty is at a premium in my house; L~ is only with us for a total of about 25% of the year, so I can’t justify having a room dedicated for his exclusive use and thereby not being used for 75% of the time! But how do I fit all of the furniture required to combine an office, a library and a sleeping area in this one room? Since I have quite a bit of time to work this out, I’m not too worried, though I’d like to have a workable solution sooner rather than later. I’m debating buying one of those chair beds from Ikea – they’re a single sleeper, but unlike a futon or daybed they fold up into a compact chair with a much smaller footprint. My only concern with that option is the idea that this isn’t really a bed per se… and Mr. Right might object to this arrangement, given that he maintains that he’d like L~ to have his own room. We’ve discussed this in the past, and I’ve pointed out that my <1100 square foot home just isn’t big enough for any area not to be completely usable 100% of the time; he’s agreed and has no issue so long as L~ has a space of his own for the most part. But Mr. Right may feel that a chair bed isn’t an appropriate sleeping arrangement for his son, so that will be a consideration when the time comes as well.

But enough of that; back to my extensive baby plans. I’ve looked at cribs and have a better idea of what sort I prefer (either white or dark wood and convertible to a toddler bed), and I have a rattan rocking chair – one of my favourite pieces of furniture – that would be practical, functional and comfortable in a nursery! Mint green drapes over the window, maybe a few decals on the walls. I have never liked the traditional change tables, and I’d rather not have a dresser in there. I plan to use this gorgeous buffet table that I own, which has cupboards with shelves inside and is solidly built, and have Mr. Right build a frame for a change table on top and then use a basket system inside to store diapers/clothing/etc. The closet is huge, and I plan to put an organizer in there in place of a dresser; I’d like one of the ones with drawers and shelves, so that it’s multi-functional. I want Lots of wall shelves and TONS of pictures on the walls. When I was younger I was quite the artist – I might even frame some of my own art and put it in the baby’s room! And since I’m handy with a camera as well… lots of pictures. Framed pics of Mommy and Daddy and baby, Mollie and baby, L~ and baby. Possibly with some lovely quotes or poems photoshopped in. Fortunately I have a very good photo printer so I can do all this for super cheap! Though money isn’t really a concern, I have seen financially solvent friends have relationship issues after having children, in part because they just spent too much on baby. And when it comes down to it, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool tightwad.

Then there are the things I’d like to splurge on, like a bassinet for beside the bed for the first few months – my sister bought a lovely one off of kijiji for a whopping $40! I plan to try some co-sleeping (I’ve done tons of research on the pros and cons of this, but since I have no personal experience yet I’ll stop there) and I also want to breastfeed, so I think that this will be a must. Is a breast pump a must too? So far the research I’ve done on breast pumps makes it look like a split decision; half say it’s required, half say it’s a waste of money. Majority rules that the best is an automatic pump, not a manual one, which is a pretty significant expense, especially for a good quality pump. Since I think it’s very important for Mr. Right to have the opportunity to bond with baby over feedings, I have a Medela breastpump in the budget – a double, which retails at about $350 but I’ve heard is totally worth it. Mr. Right likes the portable infant car seats, so we’ll have to buy one for the truck and I’ll make him carry it everywhere we go… I, personally, do not enjoy those things and would much rather be a baby-wearing mama. That’s next on my list to research, along with convertible car seats for my car, so that it can grow with the baby from infant to toddler. Since I walk a lot, a good stroller will also be a must. And as much as I would love a Bugaboo, I just can’t justify spending over $800 on a seat with wheels! (I covet the Bugaboo Chameleon and would cross my fingers that it may someday end up as a shower gift!) A swing is in the budget (possibly used, since these are outgrown SO fast!) as well as a high chair (something light, compact and fold-able since my dining room doesn’t have a lot of extra space).

The cloth diaper stash needs to be worked on as well. Right now I have a dozen newborn prefolds, two Bummis SuperBrite diaper covers, and a MotherEase newborn fitted cloth diaper paired with a ridiculously cute newborn MEAF cover. I plan to buy a few AIO's and pocket's to try. I also want a few of the Fuzzibunz One Size Elite, which are adjustable from NB to potty training, and best of all actually has replaceable parts! 6 of these would be nice, but at least 4 to start. Happily Mr. Right isn’t against cloth diapering (I’ve read on diapering boards that a lot of men are), but I’d like to have a decent stash of pockets/fitteds to make the process easier on him (I’ve used pre-folds with babies during my time as a nanny) and grandparents/aunts/uncles that may be involved in diaper changes. Since I use cloth menstrual pads, I’m not worried about travel or laundering and am already experienced on stain removal/washing and drying techniques/etc. I have a wet bag that I purchased for my pads, but then I switched to a soaking pot so I’ll probably use the bag for diaper changes on outings. Cloth bum wipes are a must too, and I may make some with extra fleece that I bought when I was making my own menstrual pads. Lots of stuff to keep me busy!

Two months. January and February flew by, but somehow when I let my thoughts linger on it, the time between now and June seems sooooooooo long. I’ll be 33 in July… I was supposed to start trying to conceive when I turned 32, and now here I am, already some 8 months past that goal date. Having to wait for almost 3 more months before we can even start trying. I’m terrified that I may be infertile; I’ve got endometriosis and Type 1 Diabetes and an extra 30 pounds on my frame (which I’m determined to and working on losing!). But I won’t know that until we start trying, and the thought of the next two months possibly being the straw that breaks the camel’s back… the threshold of time that pushes me over into infertility… I’m being paranoid. I know that. I can’t help it. I think about it, and I have to tell myself to just let it go, I can’t control everything.

So until June I’ll keep imagining my future, my life complete with beautiful babies with their father’s blue eyes and my curly red hair. Hopefully they get his height and my hair line; my brain and his physical aptitude; my dancing feet and his ability to deliver perfect one-liners. 

Some day... soon...


  1. Ugh, I feel SO MUCH for you. I've been laid off twice now - once by the service dog charity a WEEK after I announced my pregnancy, and the second time by the Evil Vet, because they didn't have enough hours for me but mostly because they found me "lacking" in anesthesia skills.

    Yeah, well, I won employee of the YEAR at my new job, which goes to show you that some people just suck and it is NOT YOUR FAULT.

    And yay baby!

    Don't forget, though, that a baby will significantly change your relationship with Mr Right, so if the pregnancy doesn't happen right away (babies tend to happen when you're NOT expecting them) enjoy the time to be a couple and settle in together.

  2. This was my very first ever dismissal of any sort from a job; man, I had no idea how bad it would feel! I can't believe that you were laid off because of your pregnancy Carol! But yes you are right - neither of us were to blame at all. We were just doing our jobs!

    I guess this post must sound a bit flakey after my last blog in December... Mr Right and I have taken advantage of the past few months to improve our communication skills drastically and resolve a lot of personal issues so that we are healthier in our relationship. I've seen relationships break in the face of added stressors like children; having kids tends to magnify existing issues that were previously easy to ignore. One of the positive aspects of Mr Right already having a child is that we're forced to address and deal with issues before adding stressors like kids and marriage and financial aspects.
    No pressure is our motto I think lol - when it comes to conception, Mr Right and I both want to just let nature take it's course. I will admit, I'm a worry-wart so I tend to try to anticipate Every future issue and worry about what can go wrong lol. I'm pessimistic that way!