Babyond Thunderdome

Ain’t no hiding it anymore: I’m knocked up. 15 weeks, to be specific.

I’m nothing if not honest, so I’ll have to admit that the timing came as a bit of a surprise to both of us, but we’re very happy and looking forward to cuddling our little boy in February.


I have all of these hopes for our son, and all of these fears.

I hope he’s healthy.

I hope he’s kind.

I hope he loves animals the way we do.

I hope he inherits Brandon’s calmness but my drive.

I hope he’s not an asshole. I mean, I know we’ll be contributing to that end result, but man, the last thing I would want to bring in this world is another asshole white guy.


Right now, he’s the size of an orange. I think the fruit metaphors are a little tired, so instead, let’s go with a large fist. He’s got fur all over him, so I’ve told Alice he looks more related to her than me right now. She stared at me.

My next mission in life, I think, is accepting that my missions might take a little longer than usual as of now. I can’t do everything I want to do all the time, and that will certainly get even more complicated when we have this new little amazing life to take care of. But I really look forward to bringing him on these missions and watching him create goals of his own.

Man, how apropos that all the things I would do before 30 would culminate in a new little human born right before the big 3-0.

So I may not find spiritual enlightenment. I’m guaranteed not to see a Wonder of the World or participate in a big cultural event before 30. I probably won’t do a cross-country road trip (although we are going to Venice in November for a babymoon! P.S. How dumb is the word “babymoon”?).

There are other things on the list. I’m driving Brandon crazy: Re-do the baby’s bathroom. Get our finances in order. Re-tile the fireplace. Create built-in storage space in the office. Replace all the interior doors. Consider landscaping. Do the baby registry (um, done. Hi, I’m a planner. Thanks, Amazon). Get the nursery ready. Clean the living tar out of everything.  I literally have on the list, “Investigate crack in bedroom wall.” Brandon said that can be my task, but I should be prepared to devote at least 45 minutes to an hour nightly to staring at the crack.

I realize I sound like an insane person. It’s a wonder Brandon puts up with me. This has been our life for four years, but now it’s in hyperdrive because I feel obligated to make everything perfect for baby. In reality, baby will care not one iota if his door is wood or masonite. But I somehow was spoiled by this perfect persona I babysat for in college; the perfect little wealthy family with the perfect little nursery and the perfect, pristine house. I mean, none of them had five pets. But I figure what the heck.

Meanwhile, I’ve been freelancing full-time at a local agency with my old coworker, and I’m sharpening my media skills again. It’s been great, and very low-pressure – exactly what I was hoping for. I’m making it work, and this is a great proof of concept for future FT temp gigs. The situation, although unexpected in terms of timing, could all end up working nicely because it means I can work when I want and be home with baby when I want, sometimes even working from home. It’s a little stressful having so much unpredictability in my life, but I have a feeling the universe did it on purpose.

Here’s to finding the zen in this second trimester, for both my sake and Brandon’s. And here’s to the new little white boy soon entering the world… may he be as good and respectful to women as Brandon is, as embracing of other cultures as we both try to be, and as much a benefit to the world as a drain on it. This is what I wish for our son… and we can’t wait to meet him.


Drowning In My House

There are many things I love about our house. I love the neighborhood, which has grown into this beautiful gem in the four years we’ve lived here. It’s an easy walk to the library, Krog St Market, the Beltline – and we got it for a steal of a deal because when we moved in, it was pretty transitional.

Unfortunately, though, the “steal of a deal” also translated into “money pit” pretty quickly. Our inspection missed a lot of important, expensive repairs that needed to be made. And as we’ve dug under the hood over the years, it just feels like we are fixing a house of cards from the inside out.

We’ve replaced the roof ($10k). The HVAC ($6500). All the windows ($6500). The water main ($1800). And those were the easy things.

We’ve paved the formerly unusable driveway ($4k). We’ve reinforced the deck and are replacing rotted boards literally board by board. We hired a contractor to create a basement landing area that wasn’t a dirt floor ($10k), and they discovered plumbing and ceiling issues (of course).

Our kitchen looks nice on the outside but is literally falling apart bit by bit. Our guest bathroom floor is cracked because something’s going on in the basement. The beautiful tub in the master bath is too heavy for the floor it sits on and can’t be there long term. The shower floor cracked and the whole thing will need to be replaced in the next couple years. Our master closet literally fell apart one day.

Our electric has had to be fixed in the attic because the wiring was, apparently, a home job and a fire hazard, with wires sticking out among insulation (it’s fine now). The venting for the dryer didn’t work and could have started a fire. The fridge was cobbled together from the parts of other fridges. The fence at the end of our driveway was literally built with electrical wire, duct tape, and barbed wire. There’s exposed lead paint in two of the closets (Brandon finished one as cedar, so now we’re down to one).

These are most of the known issues. But we routinely get something checked only to discover there are so many more problems than we realized just beneath the surface. Between us and without help, we’ve tackled:

  • Painting the whole house
  • Finishing the cedar closet
  • Finishing the master closet
  • The driveway fence
  • Fixing two large holes in the floor from old HVAC materials
  • Electrical work throughout the house
  • Electrical work in the attic
  • Hanging lighting in the backyard
  • A full patio and fire pit in the backyard
  • Pebbles all through the backyard
  • Reinforcing the deck and replacing about 50% of the boards to date
  • Installing a new garbage disposal
  • Fixing a hole in the ceiling where Brandon came through one day (okay, that was his fault, and it was hilarious)

I love our house – it’s in a great location, the mortgage is dirt cheap, it’s open concept and a beautiful layout. It’s just the right size for us. But dammit, I am tired of the never-ending list of chores. And I know Brandon is.

We’re not ready to move. There’s so much growth we still have to see in this neighborhood. We got such a deal on the price, and we’ve invested so much time, energy, love, and MONEY in this damn thing. But our bodies are tired and so are our minds. It feels like we’re always standing on the edge of a cliff and waiting for an unexpected gust of wind to blow us over. So tell me, what do we do? How do we dig our way out of the money pit? We still have a kitchen and a bathroom to refinish, two more holes in the floor to fill, appliances to replace, an office seating area to refinish, and six doors to replace. And that’s assuming nothing else breaks.