It’s a profession, not just a job.

I had a long day at work today. There was a filing deadline and some miscommunication with the client about the deadline, and some technical glitches in getting everything filed, and it just made for a very long day.

But the part of the day before it got long, the part where I was doing my job? Was actually fantastic. I was doing what I love about my job, and doing a good job of it. And I didn’t even mind that I was in the office later than I prefer to be. It was exhilarating, quite honestly. And then I started to think about how, in a few months, I won’t have that flexibility to stay late in the office if something comes up. And that made me a little nervous.

I’m lucky to work in an era where technology lets me work from home when I need to. But we all know that there are certain tasks that just can’t be done at home. And some of what I was doing tonight fell into that category — I really needed to be in the office. Fortunately, I was able to be there tonight. In a year, I that might not be the case. And that makes me a little nervous. Will my supervisors be understanding when that happens? Will my career suffer? I work in a pretty family-friendly place, but women are definitely outnumbered by men, mostly men who have wives who don’t work. Will they be understanding when I can’t stick around the office to put out fires, or will they decide that the unmarried male associates (or even the unmarried female associates) are a better (or at least safer) bet?

The reason I’m so nervous about all of this isn’t because I’m necessarily worried about losing my job. It’s about not being able to do what I love, about the risk of being, basically, shut out. Tonight, I really hit my stride (and was recognized for it by the partners I was working with). Will I still have the same opportunities to do that in a year, when I have to get home to my baby? And if I don’t, will I mind as much as I think, right now, I would?

And I wonder why I hate people.

So my great growing tomatoes?

Someone came and ripped (literally) my two big (still green) brandywines right from the vine. Like, the stalk where they were hanging is all shredded — this person just tore them off with their hands, I guess. Now my brandywine plant doesn’t have any fruit at all.

People really suck, is what I’m trying to say.

Back in the saddle

Last weekend we took a long weekend to travel home to Texas to spend the weekend with family and friends. It was relaxing and wonderful. My mom (with the help of Mr. D. and my sister and my brother) managed to surprise me with a baby shower, something I wasn’t sure I was going to have here where we live (we haven’t been here that long, so I don’t have a circle of friends to host a shower, and we’re far from any family). The whole thing was a complete surprise — and I am not easily surprised — and was really just what I needed.  I think I really needed an opportunity to sit around with family and friends and just talk about being pregnant — about how excited we are, about how nervous we are, about all the things we just don’t know. I mean, I talk to Mr. D. about this stuff, obviously. But other than Mr. D., I spend most of my time with people at work and I haven’t exactly been sitting around at lunch chatting about the baby! So it was absolutely wonderful to have a chance to focus completely on the baby for a couple of hours.

Of course, as soon as we got back, the proverbial excrement hit the proverbial wind machine at work, and I’ve been pretty busy — too busy to worry about baby stuff!  I did take an hour off yesterday, though, for the anatomy scan, which was, frankly, amazing. All of the parts we could see look perfect, growing right on schedule.  Of course, it’s a good thing we don’t want to know the sex, because this baby was just not cooperative.  Baby’s legs were all curled up — so much so that the tech had a hard time getting a good shot of the feet and legs.  She said there was almost no chance she’d’ve been able to get a look at the goods anyway, so fate was on our side.

Anyway, things are progressing. I’m halfway through and the list of things we have to do continues to get longer. And work hasn’t slowed down at all either. One of the partners I work for told me yesterday that he realizes I have a lot of stuff on my plate for him, and to let him know if it gets too overwhelming. Of course, he followed that up by telling me that he’s comfortable giving me so much to do because he knows how capable I am. That’s a nice thing to hear, even if it kind of makes me hesitant to go back to him and tell him I don’t think I can get everything done by our deadline. Right now, I think I can get everything done (though it does mean giving up some of my weekend), but we’ll see how I feel Monday night, when I’ll need to be ahead enough to take a few hours off to take my cousin, who’s in town for her Fulbright orientation, out to dinner.

I do love my job — I feel consistently lucky to have landed at my firm, which is such a good fit for me both professionally and personally — but I don’t feel guilty at all saying that I’m really looking forward to taking my maternity leave in about five months. But that’s fodder for another post.

The inevitable daycare post.

So, the daycare post.

Daycare around here is…an adventure, to say the least. There are a lot of two-working-parent families, so there’s a lot of need, but the state requirements (for the state we live in, in this multi-state area) are pretty stringent for infant care, so there’s not a lot of supply. That means wait lists at pretty much every day care center anywhere near where we live, and pretty high prices.

As soon as we had confirmation that I was, in fact, pregnant, we got on the wait list at the daycare center at Mr. D’s office. We figured we’d have the best shot getting in there because he works there and we thought it would be better to have daycare near one of our offices so that the nearby parent could deal with emergencies.

We’ve since rethought that. We’re not getting off the waitlist, of course! That would be…ridiculous. But Mr. D. works way outside the city, not particularly close to our home or to where (we think) our pediatrician will be, and his office is only accessible by car. Of which we have one. Which he drives.

So we’ve also looked at daycares in our neighborhood. And a month or so ago, I thought I’d hit the jackpot — there’s a small daycare center about a mile from our house that is highly reviewed on the neighborhood listserv, is reasonably priced (which is to say, barely affordable instead of outrageously expensive), and when I called, the assistant director assured me there was no wait list for infants for next spring and that we had a spot. Hallelujah! We scheduled a tour for a couple of weeks after that and…discovered that there is a wait list. We are first on the wait list, but because the center is so small, there’s really no way of knowing if there will be a space for us in March or April. And since we went on our tour, I have not been able to get in touch with the assistant director. She doesn’t return my emails and I haven’t been able to get her on the phone. To say the least, I am no longer feeling all that good about this daycare.

Of course, we still need daycare, and now we’re a few months closer to when we’ll need it than we were when we started this whole process. So I’ve started looking at the other options — a nanny (out of our price range), a nanny share (possibly out of our price range and difficult to figure out logistically), or in-home daycare.

Turns out there are a lot of in-home daycares in our area. I am personally OK with an in-home daycare, possibly because for many years, I went to one (though it was more afterschool and summer care than true daycare). Mr. D. is not. I am thinking he is going to have to be OK with in-home daycare because we are frankly running out of options. There are a few other daycare centers in our area, but all of them have very long waitlists and most of them are quite expensive. In contrast, there are several in-home daycares available (at least one within WALKING DISTANCE of our house) and of the ones I’ve contacted, all of them have room for an infant in March or April. And they are affordable.

So I think we’re going to be visiting some in-home daycares soon.

A brief annoyance.

Our church has switched to a summer schedule, going from three services (8:00, 9:00, and 11:00) to two (8:00 and 10:00).  This, frankly, sucks. We usually go to the 11:00 service, which allows us to get up around 8:30 and spend a leisurely hour having breakfast and coffee before getting ready and driving over. Now our leisurely Sunday morning hour has suddenly disappeared.  I realize that when this baby comes, that 8:30 wake-up time — and lazing about — will seem sinfully indulgent, but for now, we really like our Sunday morning lie-in.  The result is that we’ve skipped more church than we’ve gone to in the last month and a half. Sigh.

(NB: We managed to make it this morning, but I think purely out of guilt.)

Growing (green) things

I generally consider myself to have a black thumb — I kill plants. I have had any number of indoor and outdoor plants over the many years, and I have managed to kill every single one of them. And it’s not even that I kill them through neglect — I’ve killed plants that I was actively trying to nurture. I’m just not good at it. I lack the plant gene.

Except that somehow, I am now growing tomatoes. And mint. And cilantro (or I was, until it bolted, which I didn’t even know was a Thing until I read up on the internet about why my cilantro was flowering and creating seeds).

Now, the mint I can’t really take much credit for — in this part of the country, mint grows wild pretty easily, so I hoped that if I just stuck it in the ground, it would take care of itself. And it has. But tomatoes are just not that low-maintenance. Or at least I didn’t think they were. In my case, though, they really are growing themselves. I throw some water on them every few days if it hasn’t rained and otherwise leave them mostly alone.

Except that they are now so tall that they were really starting to droop. So today, I took myself and my black thumb over to Home Depot and bought tomato stakes (which…! I bought useful gardening implements? Who is this person?), came home, and spent an hour in the mid-afternoon sun (bad call on my part) staking and tying my oversized, out-of-control tomatoes.

Anyway, y’all. After I staked up those plants I realized — my tomatoes are INSANE. They are nearly as tall as I am and they are fruiting like mad. Like, I expect to have pints and pints and pints of Yellow Pear cherry tomatoes in just a few short weeks, when the several bunches of green fruit start to ripen. The other tomato plant — a Pink Brandywine — is not fruiting quite as madly (it’s not known for being as prolific, probably because it produces enormous fruit) but it’s still doing far, far better than I ever dreamed.

I don’t know how much of this gardening luck is due to where we live — after all, this area doesn’t get the temperature extremes that Austin or Chicago, my last two cities, experience — and how much of it is due to the fact that my in-laws, who do have the plant gene, were here to help us when we decided to put in a garden. Whatever it is, though, I’m enjoying it, even as I stare, bewildered, at the green things I am managing to grow.