Thursday, September 24, 2009

Don't Fence Me In

Hal’s done a little work on our fence. I say “little” tongue in cheek because, to date, it’s been approximately 200 man hours. (That’s about 50 woman hours, if you’re translating.) Actually, it would have taken me about one hour, because I would have started tearing down the old fence, burst into tears, called my husband, and he would have done the rest. Oh, wait, that’s almost exactly what happened.
We (that’s the Royal “We”) decided on vinyl fencing because it looks better, has a no-sliver factor, and lasts forever. Did I mention it looks better? My house is not an oil painting, to quote Rushdie, so anything I change about the outside has to add to the charm. Okay, so the best way to add to the charm would be to pick up and move to a house with style, but since I’ve put my whole heart into the garden at this house, and since I have the kitchen of my dreams, they’ll have to pry my cold dead fingers off the door frame before I agree to move. So, to help the outside, my husband has spent every coherent moment, and some non-coherent ones, working on the fence.
It should be done before my kids graduate.
Apparently, “tear out the old and put in the new” doesn’t quite cover all the steps involved. First of all, he had to dig out all the cement posts from the original fence because the cedar was rotted, could not be reused, and the new post holes overlap the old ones. Which means, of course, that he had to dig out approximately 50 cement slabs, each about 2 feet deep and with a 2-3 foot circumference. You should see the size of his biceps now! Next, he had to dig the holes for the new fence. In some places, this would be easy. But, we moved from Gumbo Ground Houston to Clay and Rock New Home, and so each hole took about 2 hours to dig. Yes, that’s with a machine. No, he does not take smoke breaks. He did occasionally take a Gatorade break, but only when driven to it by the scorching heat.
Then, he mixed the cement. But because it’s quick-drying cement, it has to be done one post at a time. That means moving the 80 lb bag of cement from the garage to the wheelbarrow, adding water, mixing with a hoe, and shoveling it around the post while it’s being held by a helpful friend or neighbor. Note: your wife will not help you with this part because she just gave birth and feels that that excludes her from all other chores. Yesterday, the job of digging holes was done in the Fall Sleet, which added to the joy of the experience. The back yard is posted and just waits for the panels to be slipped into place.
And last night, my sweet husband informed me that he would gladly pay for someone to do the front yard fence. Seriously. Now. Can I remember any of the information of the people who gave us quotes?
I’m smiling. While he was paying for home improvements, he mentioned a new garage door. Which, as of 5 minutes ago, I have put a deposit on. I can make phone calls. Phone calls don’t weigh anything, do not involve standing outside in the rain, and are done in minutes. Besides, I find people in the service industry particularly friendly right now. I don’t know, call me crazy, but it seems that the response time has picked up over the past year. Can’t imagine why.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I’m feeling fine, thank you for asking. For what it was (a major medical procedure involving squeezing a watermelon out of places not meant to be seen), it was a non-event. My step-mum was there, Hal was there, I had the mirror in place to focus my pushing, I had a great nurse, a fantastic doctor, a crash team of pediatric nurses/doctors because the baby’s oxygen levels were plummeting, which meant I wore a mask to force oxygen into my system (all of those turned out to be unnecessary). I spent 24 hours in the hospital, but only because they wouldn’t release my baby before then. I’m recovering nicely, am napping every day thanks to great support, and the baby blues have not been as bad as in the past.
I’ve lost 15 lbs so far (still have a whopping 34 to go, but we’re looking at the good side right now so I don’t burst into tears.) My baby slept for 4 hours in a row last night and then nursed like a charm and went back to sleep. What do I have to complain about?
Here’s the problem. I keep waiting for the Bad Thing to happen, whatever that Bad Thing turns out to be. Will he be autistic? Will he have some genetic defect that takes him from me too soon? Will he marry a girl who hates me? Will he turn out to be a Bramwell to the Charlotte and Emily and Anne that I’m raising?
In other words, my Mom Psychosis won’t let me just thank God that this child is perfect. I’m waiting like Job for the first servant to arrive. It clouds my interactions with my daughters (“Don’t touch him! You have germy school hands!”) It clouds my sleep (the nightmares that were non-existent during pregnancy have now begun to make up for lost time.) It colors the peaceful times when I stare at him and think about the crush I have on him.
I think mostly it’s hormonal. I think mostly I’ll give it a couple of weeks and then I should be back to normal, whatever normal is. I think that I live in suburbia, have no known genetic markers of concern, and that this, too, will pass. I think, too, that perhaps this is Nature’s way of protecting children through the Sleep Deprivation stage. If I’m so fearful that he won’t be protected, that some unknown danger will take him from me, then I’ll be extra cautious, extra pleased to hear his cry at night.
But, mostly, I feel fine. Mostly.