Sunday, 31 May 2009

Pity Party for One

It's just after midnight, which doesn't sound late until you realise that I went to bed at 9:30 exhausted and haven't been able to fall asleep.

Stuff is bothering me. Maybe if I write it down it will go to the back of my mind again and let me rest. And yes I know this is all trivial and all about me... such is life, right?!

  • Living in a house under renovation sucks. We are now 3 weeks without a kitchen. I am sick of sandwiches and takeaways and washing up in the bathroom. I want to cook. I want to eat proper food! Our back yard is a building site - I have nowhere out of doors to sit with a cup of tea and read the papers. I have severe cabin fever.

  • I'm fed up with this cold. It's been more than a week and I still feel like shit! It's just a cold, dammit! I should have shaken the thing off within a couple of days. Milord is all out of sympathy and I just get snarled at when my coughing interrupts the TV. Oh, and I pee a little bit after a really good coughing fit. Fucking pregnancy.

  • I'm tired of being pregnant. Do you know it's been half a year now? Half a year of being unable to get tipsy, eat [some of] my favourite foods or do [some of] my favourite pastimes. Half a year of low energy. Half a year of low libido. Half a year of being sober when my husband [occasionally] gets drunk and obnoxious and then snores.

  • The neighbours are giving us the shits. The one we are not attached to plays American/folk/rock stuff very LOUD very late at night. Not often luckily, but I was still ready to egg his house today after a midnight rendering of Deliverance-style music. Oh, and he sings along. Badly.

    The neighbours we are attached to - an old Greek couple with their grown sons still living at home - had a flooding last night courtesy of our renovations and now the old man is being a complete pain in the arse about it. Even though we sorted the leak out and helped them clean up and have assured them that we'll make good any damage, the bloke has been around literally 10 times today to have a rant in broken English. Milord is not that diplomatic at the best of times and is about to lose his temper...

  • I'm worried about our finances. Milord got cut to 2 days a week (from full time) at his primary client and although he is picking up enough other work to keep him very busy, I don't think he's going to bring in nearly as much as we are used to. And I'm 3 months away from stopping work. I worked out our future budget on his old earnings and I just don't think we are going to cope if it reduces by a lot.

    Unforseen costs in the renovations keep turning up - like now we have to replace all our boundary fences and we've just been quoted $10,000 for it! I don't have enough money to cover the basic building renovations, where the hell am I supposed to come up with the rest from? We will be borrowing more against the mortgage, but we can't afford much more on the repayments... especially if our income drops drastically.

    And now I have to try and stop Milord from buying a plasma telly. Which makes me the bad guy.

  • Milord has been like a bear with a sore head lately. Obviously all of the above is weighing on him too, and I understand that. But don't take it out on me! Oh, and is a cuddle too much to ask for? I'm pregnant not leprous for fucks sake! My body image is at rock bottom without my husband seemly finding me gross.


So yeah, I've been lying there for hours with this shit running through my head. I got up for the umpteenth wee and surprised myself by bursting into tears in the bathroom. My first weepie of the year. Ugh.

Oh woe.

Suck it up you idiot. You'll be fine.

Friday, 29 May 2009

House Renovation 2009 - Week 2

This is a bit late, but pretend it's Monday!

The scene last weekend:

Front yard (we have ripped up the cement covering all this that made a sort of ramp for the old lady living here before us)

Back yard (laundry dungeon gone, new concrete footing for new laundry poured)

Inside the living area looking to the back (ceiling gone)

Inside the living area looking to the front (part of house we are living in boarded off)

Kitchenette, on other side of boards. No oven, stove or sink. We wash up in the bathroom.

We're surprisingly comfortable in our 2 rooms and bathroom - it's like being in a 1-bedroom flat. The front room is the lounge/study, where I play xbox "keeping Milord company" while he works from home and I'm off sick. I am now addicted to Civilization - I'm on to level 3 and am getting my butt kicked! I'm missing having a yard to sit in... I suppose I could go out back among the bricks, cement and roofing, but it doesn't appeal!

We finally got our Development Approval this week, but we had to drop the shed/storeroom from our plans. Once they've inspected our renovation we'll sneakily build it anyway, like every other house in the street (shhh)!

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Preggy Update

Week: 24 and 4 days

Just a quick note to say I'm alive... although I've been flattened by a cold since last Friday. I am having great trouble shaking the thing and it has now settled in my chest. Ugh. I took 2 days off work and now I'm going flat out trying to catch up.

My weight is steady this week, I didn't do any measurements, and Milord has now felt the baby kick.

Right, back to work!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Preggy Update

Week: 23 and 4 days

Weight: 73.5kg (+1kg from week 20, +2kg since start)
Boobs: 99cm (same as week 20, +1cm since start)
Ribs: 83cm (same as week 20, +1cm since start)
Waist: 93cm (+2cm from week 20, +6cm since start)
Hips: 100cm (+1cm from week 19, +2cm since start)
Thigh: 58cm (same as week 20, same as start)

I am gaining on average 0.5kg (and 0.5cm across the belly button) per week, which is right on target and I'm following the desired curve of my "safe gain" graph nicely.

I feel huge. Already. And I have just over 16 weeks growing to come! Slowly but surely my clothing choices are narrowing down - I need to go shopping for tops again but it just isn't that much fun shopping for maternity gear!

I'm feeling well, although last night I was violently ill shortly after dinner. Milord had exactly the same thing and was fine - I guess I'm a bit sensitive. Personally I think it was the slightly unripe persimmon for dessert that set me off. It was a very uncomfortable hour while my body got rid of everything I'd eaten since Monday (god, some women have this for months on end)?! Then I shivered off to sleep and feel fine today, if a bit tired. I think I'll sneak home early for a lie down.

I now understand why pregnant women dash to the loo so much. It is partly the reduced space for the bladder, but mostly it's the little person inside suddenly squirming all over the poor abused bladder!

I reckon Milord should be able to feel her now. Tonight when she gets active I'll see if he can feel my tummy bounce around. The "kicking" is not like I expected - I always thought it was a poke here then a poke there - but it's all over the place at once! She's doing star-jumps! Luckily I don't really feel that much from the inside yet (unless it's right on my bladder), so my sleeping is still ok. Rolling over is getting harder though...

Monday, 18 May 2009

House Renovation 2009 - Week 1

Just over a week ago my house looked like this (old photos from past postings):

Living Room


Spare Bedroom

Now it looks like this:

Living Room (the kitchenette against one wall is going to be blocked off from the rest of the space sometime this week, before the roof comes off...)

Backyard (diggers, argh!)

Spare Bedroom (now the temporary sitting room)

Problems so far:

  • 1. Our mains water stopcock (and that of the neighbour) runs down the middle of the side passageway. Where the diggers have to come through. So we have to move them.

  • 2. We started digging the foundation of the new wall to run alongside our neighbour's extension, only to discover his bit doesn't have foundations! So we're going to have to stabilise his construction and switch ours from a brick wall to a timber framed wall (because you can't dig lower than your neighbour's foundation - which isn't there).

  • 3. Although we were verbally assured that our plans had been approved by council and that we could begin, they had a mixup and approved someone else's instead. While hurrying ours along after the mistake was noticed they found 4 more items on our plans to query. After we've started! Demolishing! Walls!

Of course this all costs extra too.

Oh what fun.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Mind your Language!

As an ex-pat I've learned to roll with my adopted countries' speech. Every country customises English to its own devices, and as a newcomer you have to learn the new usage just as if it were a completely foreign language.

In Pom-land it took me a while to realise that the receptionist's query "You all right, luv?" didn't in fact mean that I looked ill and should they call an ambulance, it just meant "Good morning" (and I now still struggle to call trousers "pants" after 7 years of pants=knickers).

Here Downunder they have altered the English language in their own way too. I'd say 50% of the rows Milord and I had when I first arrived were purely language-misunderstanding (the other 50% were from sleep deprivation because of his world-class snoring). Phrasing, inflection, tone - these all differ from country to country too, so you have to take that on board as well as a whole new slang.

On my travels my accent and speech has settled into a sort of mid-atlantic Queen's English. I've dropped my Saffa slang and most of the stronger vowel sounds. The Aussies think I sound British, the Poms can hear my Saffa twang, and the Saffas say I sound posh. I pick and choose my slang based on who I am with: I'll talk of "bakkies", "takkies" and "braais" to a Saffa and "utes", "thongs" and "eskies" to an Aussie. When in doubt I'll fall back on proper English - and at the moment I work with a lot of Indian and Asian ex-pats so I don't use much slang at all!

It actually startles me when a long-time ex-pat still sounds like they are fresh off the boat. Is it a conscious decision to "hold onto their identity" or are they seriously unable to tone it down? Am I in the minority in that I am happier with a middle-ground accent? I used to think I was a chameleon and that I picked up the accent of the place I was in, but after 3 years I haven't picked an Aussie accent.

When asked why I haven't picked up the accent I say that I pick up accents that I like. This usually gets a laugh after a beat or two, although it's probably quite true! I realised the other day that my children will have Australian accents. Urk. I've yet to come across a nice Aussie accent - the only good ones out there have been toned-down like my Saffa one (think Hugh Jackman or Nicole Kidman - that's not accent, that's a lack of accent).

...and the slang. Oy. The thing that sparked today's post was a headline in the newspaper: "Firie's experience criticised"
Firie? FIRIE?? (That's pronounced "firey" by the way, and it means "fireman")

But wait, there's more. Ambo = Ambulance / EMT. Arvo = Afternoon. Smoko = Smoke break. I won't go into any more of these because they annoy me, but "firie" really annoys me! Shouldn't it be "firo" anyway, in keeping with most of the other abbreviations? Suffice to say that I haven't adopted any of these slang items into my speech!

Good article here.

After 3 years it still amuses me when Milord comes out with some stuff. "G'day mate" is actually a common greeting, and "Fair dinkum!" a common comment. "She'll be right", "Good on ya" and many other phrases pepper his speech, especially in conversation with another "true blue" Aussie. I'm trying to discourage him from calling our unborn child a "little bastard" but I'm losing as it is apparently a term of endearment. *sigh*

Strewth mate, what the bloody hell am I going to do? Crikey!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Losing it...

I'm losing things.

I've been hearing about "Preggy Brain" for ages. Or "Placenta Brain" which just sounds gross. They say pregnant women start getting really confused and forget stuff, and there is no real explanation. The only explanation I've come across is lack of sleep, but that is most definitely not my problem. If sleep was a sport I'd be earning medals in it! ("enjoy it while you can!" fuck off already)

Last weekend Milord and I packed up half the house and moved it into storage or into the roof. (By "we" I mean I got to point at stuff and go "that too" a lot!)

Because Milord's had a bad track record with key sets I took the keys to the storage padlock off him as soon as I could for safekeeping. And promptly lost them. Within 5 minutes. 4 days later we still haven't turned them up! I have no idea what I did with them and I was completely sober so that's not an excuse any more. It is most baffling.

Yesterday the lip balm that I know I left in my jeans pocket was not there, or anywhere else.

I'm losing my mind. Aaargh

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Preggy Update

Week: 22 and 3 days

Weight: 73kg. I didn't get around to the measuring tape - having a bunch of builders turn up at the front door at 7am every day is mildly distracting.

My weight actually skyrocketed last week and I began to panic - "I'm only supposed to gain half a kilo a week!". I think it was bloating perhaps, but I also replaced the jelly beans and salt and vinegar chips that had somehow crept into my afternoon snack with fruit (don't know how that happened!), and over the weekend I dropped back down again.

Pics for your delectation, even with clothes on this week! I'm sure I look bigger with clothes on...

These are taken first thing in the morning. By the time I come home at night I'm bigger, because food has nowhere to go!

Hmm what else? I'm feeling the baby move more and more - I can almost feel her from the outside. She has a busy spell every couple of hours... I'm not sure if she's reacting to when I eat something or if that's coincidence. Eating so often it's hard to tell!

It's chilly here - around 12C in the mornings. Of course none of my winter coats fit now, so a friend has lent me a "swing coat" which is perfect and should see me through winter. She's a very stylish lady, and I'm sure this black cashmere coat is worth half my monthly salary... I'm terrified of something happening to it! It's lovely and cosy though.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Here Goes...!

I have good news, and I have bad news.

The good news is that our house renovation plans have finally passed planning approval and we will be starting next week, by demolishing the back half of the house!

The bad news is that our house renovation plans have finally passed planning approval and we will be starting next week, by demolishing the back half of the house!

Oh god.

I may be exaggerating a little but not much. Let me explain: our place is a long skinny semi-detached single story house. The front of the house is the oldest bit, and would originally have been 3 rooms with a side corridor under a tiled roof. At some point in time past owners have added a rear extension of 2 rooms under a flat tin roof. And then I'm guessing still later owners built the lean-to-style loo, shower and laundry down the side of the backyard.

When we bought the house it looked like this:

Before we moved in we knocked down a couple of interior walls to create a large living space and built a brand new bathroom, in addition to replacing all plumbing, electrics, gas, plaster, ceilings, lights and flooring:

We ran out of money and have been putting up with a draughty, leaky living area and truly nasty laundry area since last August. I don't have a kitchen - we cook with a tiny 2-plate oven on a table.

Now we are aiming for this:

We will pull the old tin roof off the living area and demolish the rear wall, the old loo and laundry. We'll extend the living room by a couple of metres, build a new laundry along the boundary wall, and re-roof the lot, extending the roof over a bit of the backyard. A covered bit of backyard will have a raised section of deck at the same height as the living area, with fold-back doors onto it. The rest of the backyard will also be decked, but at ground level, and we'll build a decent weatherproof storeroom in the rear corner of the yard. We're putting a kitchen island in the middle of the living room, which will divide it into a TV/sitting area and a dining area.

Out palette is white walls/cabinets/trimming, blonde hardwood floors, black granite kitchen worktop and brushed chrome appliances. It should be gorgeous!

However, in the meantime we will be living in the front 2 rooms of the house without a kitchen or laundry. For 2 months. Aaaaaargh! Oh, and? I estimate we are $40,000 short what this will cost so we are going to have to borrow from the bank again. Better do that soon before I stop work eh?

On the weekend we will be moving all non-essential furniture to storage and boxing up everything we can. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Beautiful Like Me

"I am not beautiful like you, I am beautiful like me"

There are a group of bloggers out there trying to write posts for the future generation to inspire them to be happy in their own skins, and to help them accept people who don't appear on magazine covers... This is sparked by one of the posts on the subject of "What features/qualities would we like today's children to see as beautiful?".

Milord is super critical of other people's appearance. Which is particularly unkind when you consider that he himself is a battered rugby survivor, balding and overweight. (I don't mind obviously - he was that way when I met him - his personality is what made me look twice and eventually cross the planet to be his wife.)

He mocks overweight people especially. I remember when one of his nieces hit 16 and suddenly discovered that food sticks to your thighs once you become a grownup. He was so rude, and to her face too! Like the poor girl didn't know she was chunking up, having her uncle point it out to her can't have helped her self image.

The other day we were driving along and passed a very pregnant woman (they are everywhere since I joined the club!). "Pregnant!" I said. "and Fat!" he said. What? I craned around in my seat - I hadn't thought she was fat. A little rounded in the bum area perhaps, but nothing major considering she's in her third trimester.

Obviously this makes me super self-conscious. Knowing that your husband thinks a normally plump pregnant woman looks grossly fat is not a good thing as you enter the major growth stage of your own pregnancy! At the one time in my life I am "allowed to be fat" I don't dare relax. Shitshitshit.

Actually I've been so very lucky. I am the poster girl for pregnancy. No sickness, glowing, no greasiness, all my weight gain has been bump, no mood swings. "You haven't changed at all!" he said to me last night. Apart from the lethargy and bump I suppose, but I know what he means. But it could have been sooooo different - I guess that makes him so very lucky too!

My sister said something that jarred a while ago. She apologised for nicknaming me "Fatty" when we were children, and commented that our family had always been so focused on being thin that I must have struggled with being the fat kid (it's true, I was a fat lazy kid who only hit her teen growth spurt at 16. There are no photos of me between the ages of 12 and 16 - I destroyed them all.) Funny, I'd forgotten that. For as long as I can remember (and still to this day) my Mom was dieting and my Dad was exercising. When I was 13 Mom would wake me early before school to join her for an aerobics video, and we'd do fad diets together. Dad would takes us running to and from the exercise park in the evening. I'd hide junk food under my bed and binge on it when no one was looking.

I had incredible issues with self-worth in my late teens and early twenties. I let myself be treated very badly by a series of idiotic boys because I felt I deserved nothing more. The silly thing is that by that point I was slender, gorgeous and high achieving, but I just didn't feel it. It took me many years to shake off the fat-girl self-image and stand tall and today my husband can't imagine me putting up with disrespect. There is still a little part of me that would like to tear the throat out of anyone who calls me fat, and that spills into the defence of other people...

One of these days I will be having a little girl. Milord is already saying things like "our child will never be fat!"

You know what? Maybe she will be fat. I was. All we can do is teach good nutrition and hope she likes sport, but you can't dictate anything. What we will not do is call her fat (even if I have to beat my husband to a pulp).

So back on topic - what would I like my child to find beautiful in themselves and others? I'd like her to be able to see past things like weight. I want her to know that there is a lot more to being worthy of respect than appearance, and that if she is on the heavy side she still deserves to be treated like a princess. And I, in turn, will do everything in my power to protect her from people who want to call her fat.


I dreamed last night. I dream every night, but this one stayed with me.

In my dream my man abruptly left me for a reason I simply couldn't comprehend. My mom and my aunt and my sister came and one by one they held me and all I could do was shudder and weep, clinging to them like a drowning girl hanging onto seaweed. The doorbell rang and my sister told she'd send whoever it was on their way, but in hope I beat her to the door and there he was. Silently he held me, and I cried, angry and despairing and unable to let go.

I woke whimpering in the dark to the deep breathing bulk of my husband, tears on my cheeks.

Where did that come from? And why was the man in my dream not my beloved lifesoulmate, but a shadow from my past?

Monday, 4 May 2009

Preggy Update

Week: 21

Just back from a checkup with my Ob/Gyn - all is well. My fundal height is 22 cm (my uterus is just above my belly button), BP is good, and we listened to baby's heartbeat after a bit of poking around. My Doc says she's moving around a lot and hard to pin down! My placenta is a little too close to my cervix, so I'll need another scan later to check that it has moved - if not then I'll have to have a c-section. It should move though. Hope so.

My weight is steadily creeping up, pretty much bang on 0.5kg (1lb) per week, as expected/required. I have a very faint line developing from my girly bits to my belly button. I bounced along starkers to Milord to show him on the weekend, but he didn't find it as exciting as I do... tch.

I do try to involve him in what's happening, but it's all so inside that it's difficult to share. I can tell him the baby is moving, but he can't feel it yet - and at this rate won't feel it for several weeks (I can't even feel it on the outside yet). From his perspective he must feel that he just has a wife who is constantly tired, constantly hungry, constantly needing a wee, doesn't seduce him, won't kick back and get drunk, and is getting fat. On the up-side there is lots of awesome food in the house, he always has a designated driver and there is no competition over wine!

[I am sick to death of being the designated driver - driving a drunk man home late at night several times over the weekend is not my idea of fun. And then he snores all night. Joy.]

We're having fun picking names. We've decided we like "classic" names. 80/100 year-old names. What, do you imagine, is the best resource for old names? Especially if you have the weekend papers delivered? The obituaries! Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh. That is so going to come out at her 21st!

Names we won't be considering from this weekend's obits: Euphemia; Wilhemina; Mildred; Gwendoline; Maud; Bertha.

And on the subject of death... there were a few sorrowful notices in there about babies. Week-old babies, 3-month-old babies. Reading them made my throat close and my eyes well up - it's all a bit close to home. When we passed 12 weeks I remember how Milord finally relaxed and embraced the new life we had created, and he said "I now understand why our friends who recently miscarried at 12 weeks were so upset". That feeling only gets stronger - if anything was to happen to my half-term baby right now I don't think I'd cope. I guess that's going to be true for the rest of my/her life now?


Update: quick measurements this week - bump 92cm (+1cm), weight 73kg (+0.5kg). Right on target!