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A Room With a View: Portland Version

Just as I did when I left my marriage some 6 years ago and settled for a room with an old college friend to escape my childhood home and my crazy Dad, I have found a room to rent so I can finally move out of my daughter’s house.

After searching every day for a few weeks, putting my name on waiting lists, driving to scope out locations and falling in love with places either unavailable, too expensive or not practical only to be crest fallen when I came to the inevitable conclusion that I couldn’t live there, I decided that it was time to give up the idea of a solitary abode and start looking at rooms for rent.

I came across one in southwest Portland, near the zoo and sort of in the forest. From the pictures, it seemed worth a look so I emailed the owner requesting a view.

“You should come soon,” she wrote back, “I have a lot of interest.”

I drove there the next day after work. I was surprised that it only took me about 40 minutes to get there. Not too bad a drive. I wondered if it would be the same the other way at 8am. Once I got into the higher elevations, the drive was beautiful. Nothing but forest on either side of the road and lots of bikers coming and going.

I parked outside a fence and Ms. J let me in the gate. The house is old with lots of windows. Wood floors and white walls, with a cute little kitchen that you step down into. Walking down a short, narrow flight of stairs, there’s a windowed door that leads to a platform outside and the room is to the right. It begins with a short hallway and opens up to a generous space with three large windows that look out to trees. It has light walls and wood floors and a private bathroom. It felt like a little studio and standing there, I felt somewhat disconnected from the rest of the house, which I liked.

Ms. J showed me around the rest of the house. Her belongings were not messy but not tidied either. She did not have everything in its place and perhaps each thing did not have a home. She had an interesting collection of books, revealing an interest in culture, history and art but on a sort-of surface level; a lot of encyclopedia-like collections, like her interest is more of a survey of things, not an in depth delving into one subject or another.

I didn’t like the idea of a shared kitchen, yet sitting there at her table, looking over at the well-lit kitchen with its black and white checkered floor and gas stove, I could picture Mr. Canada and I there, me sipping wine, he cooking and socializing with the other occupants.

There’s one other woman living there, a graduate student maybe or doctorate, I don’t remember.

The rent is $650 with utilities which is quite good compared to everything I’ve been looking at around here. I was beginning to view $800 as cheap. With utilities, the rent is really $500-550.

I told her I was interested and asked lots of questions. I was surprised at how few questions she asked me.

She was looking for someone right away, we were 2 days into the month, after all. I told her I might not be ready to move in right away but I might be able to put the deposit and August rent down.

As I said goodbye, another car pulled up and a young, Asian girl walked out and introduced herself to Ms. J. Competition.

I drove away feeling like this could be a good thing. A good compromise, but I wasn’t sure. I had felt the same way just a few days ago when I looked at a studio in the Pearl District. That place had its own little kitchen but a shared bath. And parking was tenuous and cost extra. Mr. Canada had talked me down from it, which at the time I found disconcerting. But he was right. It was a ridiculous situation.

I wondered what he would think about this one. I was crunching numbers in my budget spreadsheet when he asked about my day. I told him about the place and we discussed it by phone. To my surprise, he thought it was perfect and thought I should jump on the opportunity. I had already followed up with Ms. J by email and when I got her reply, I told her, “I’m in if you’re in.”

I went for a walk with Lori to tell her about it too. She was a bit happier about it than I was comfortable with. I think she’s been more anxious for me to leave than I realized. But it’s understandable. She, too thought it was a great opportunity, especially given the location and price. So, I told Ms. J I could bring her a check the next day.

I signed papers and got keys and found a way to scrunch the futon mattress I bought a couple of weeks ago into a ball and stuffed in the back of my element.

Place to live: check.

Next: Winter coat and boots.

He Makes Me So Mad!

Mr. Canada has this way of pissing me off. I often feel my heart beating faster and my blood pressure rising. I get exasperated and end up shouting and feeling anxious. It’s usually over some feminist or political issue. He takes a side, one he knows I will disagree with and convincingly argues that side with words crafted to antagonize me. Most of the time, he doesn’t really hold the opinion he is fiercely advocating. He just likes to get me all riled up.

“Why do you do this to me,” I yell at him, usually laughing at the same time. “You know, I don’t actually like getting all anxious and upset. I like being calm. I like my peace of mind and you get me riled up and angry and I feel like I have to defend humanity and shit.”

“I just like to hear you talk,” he said. “I like that you’re so passionate about things and I want to hear your explanations. I learn something, usually,” he said.

He also likes to fix things. A self-proclaimed problem-solver. Which means, sometimes he’s a terrible listener and when he thinks he has a solution or he’s just right about something, he’s relentless and won’t let things go. Like the gas can incident.

I was so mad at him. I was traveling from Louisiana to Oregon and I had found myself traveling a long, empty stretch of  highway with my fuel gauge falling dangerously close to the empty signal. Telling him this story, I told him of my intention to buy a gas can and keep extra gas with me at all times for the rest of the trip. Then I got stuck in Las Cruces with an inoperable key. He hounded me about getting a gas can over and over, even when I asked him to stop. I got so pissed at him one night, I didn’t speak to him the next day. In that moment, I wasn’t sure it was going to work out between us. Now, we call that The Great Gas Can Incident of 2017.

I’m getting better at reading his tells and knowing when he’s just messing with me. Sometimes I just ignore his attempts and tell him to fuck off. But he knows me so well, he knows what will set me off and he relishes in it.

And in his defense, while I find this habit annoying at best and anxiety-ridden at worst, I am usually laughing with him as I shout my arguments while walking the streets of Newberg.

But there’s one issue that really gets to me. A personal issue that I feel he is too harsh with me about. Yesterday I got so upset with him, I almost ended our conversation. It’s about my kids. Well, one of my kids. I don’t want to go into the issue because I’m honestly terrified that said kid will find and read this blog and be hurt or angry. (The blog reader experience was enough for me.) We’ll just call it, The Great Issue of Marie’s Kid.

Anyway, he’s always giving me shit about it. He thinks I should speak up and tell said kid how I feel. But I know better. I know I can’t. Or at least I’m too psychologically weak to. I don’t know. He tells me I’m afraid of my own child. He’s kinda right. But he doesn’t understand the dynamic. And he doesn’t get that sometimes you don’t mess with people’s lives and how they’re living them even when you strongly disagree. He doesn’t get the different dynamics that exist between mothers and daughters and sons. And I hate to present the card that non-parents hate to be presented with but…..he doesn’t have kids. He doesn’t get it.

Plus, he just doesn’t give two shits about what anybody says or thinks about him. Whereas I dread confrontation and tension with my children.

So, when I try to tell him about some incident or observation, he can’t help himself and he insists that I need to take action or speak up. Then I have to defend the very person I’m vending about. And it upsets me and makes me anxious. “I can’t talk to you about things if you’re going to pressure me to do what you think I should do,” I’ve told him.

Yesterday, he took a step farther by suggesting that when he was in said kid’s presence, he might just give said kid a piece of his mind. “No, you will not,” I said.

“Why?” he asked in his whiney, Mr. Bean voice. “Can’t two adults discuss any subject openly.”

“No, not when it’s my kids and I’ve asked you not to. If you love me, you will not do that.”

True to form he kept pushing.

“Ok. I’m not laughing anymore,” I said. “I’m really upset. I’m going to have to get off the phone if you’re going to continue.”

“Ok, ok…” he said. “I don’t want to upset you, baby. I never mean to make you anxious. I won’t bring it up again. I won’t push you.”

“Yeah, but you said that before,” I said.

“Yeah. Ok. I’m sorry, baby. I don’t like breaking my promises. I’ll do better. I’m really sorry.”

“Ok,” I said. “I accept your apology. Thank you for apologizing. I appreciate it.”

“Ok, then.” he said, begrudgingly subdued. “I love you baby.”

“I love you too. Now let’s talk about that position you said was your favorite. How come we haven’t done that very much? The one time we did, it was at my suggestion and you called me insatiable. I didn’t know what to make of that.”

 

“I don’t know,” he said. “I like to look at you.”

 

“See, how can I stay mad at you when you say cute things like that.”

My 48th Birthday

For my last several birthdays I threw myself wonderfully, self-indulgent parties at Pamplona’s in Lafayette. This year I was in Newberg and knew no one. I’m sure my daughter would have made an effort with a cake and maybe dinner out, but it wouldn’t have been the same as having the whole bar filled with friends, laughing and drinking and later dancing at the Moon.

So I was happy that I had Mr. Canada in my life instead.

The weeks that preceded my big 48, Mr. Canada came up with itineraries and menus. Oysters, of course. Lamb and hummus. And a cheesecake birthday cake.

I got there just after midnight on the 28th. That morning, he put 48 candles on the cake and sang to me as I blew them out. I had my first slice with my coffee. The next six days seemed to fly by. There were oysters and beer on Wednesday and shopping with his friend Ray the next day for a dinner the following night.

We watched fireworks on Canada Day from North Vancouver in a condo Ray and N were renting. Mr. Canada talks about Ray and N often and I was anxious to meet them. Ray likes to cook and the two of them discuss food and try to outdo each other. I found Ray a bit pretentious at first and both of them were not what I was expecting. Ray, a caucasian man had long dreadlocks. I was surprised Mr. Canada hadn’t brought this up before. It seemed like just the kind of thing he would make fun of. “Oh, I give him hell about that as often as possible,” he explained.

N looked much older than Ray, though I don’t think the age difference was much more than between Mr. Canada and I. She was Indian from South Africa, neither of which Mr. Canada mentioned. I suppose he doesn’t paint a very visual picture when describing his friends. He met N on a dating site, which I also found odd, since she was with Ray at the time. She claimed she was on it solely to meet new people.

“That’s an interesting way to make new friends,” I said.

“That’s what I said,” Ray replied.

N showed me her craft projects and we got to know each other a bit. I told them the story of Mr. Canada’s visit to Lafayette and how he had ended up cooking for everyone at Larry’s house and the wine coming out of the fridge.

After the fireworks, N retired to her craft table, which was a bit odd and Ray and Mr. Canada delved into one of Mr. Canada’s classic discussions in which he takes one side of an argument just for kicks. I was a bit peeved with myself when I listened to Ray present my side of the argument with an elegance and patience that actually convinced Mr. C where I had failed to many times. He’s a smart guy, I’ll give him that.

Having consumed three glasses of wine, I was pooped, so I sat on the couch and put my head on a pillow until Mr. Canada was ready to go home.

Sunday we went whale watching. They made us put on big, puffy suits that seemed like overkill in the morning heat, until we were over the bay in the cold wind and spray. We saw a pod of orcas frolicking about. I got a few good photos of some fluke splashing and breaches. There was a young girl with a rented 500mm lens. It was fun watching her try to catch the action. I’m sure she got much better shots than I did. Sometimes, I just put my camera down and watched the action. I wasn’t working or shooting for anyone after all and I wanted to enjoy it. The guide said she had never seen them so active before.

We both had a great time on that little day trip. It was one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever received.

The whale watching company’s office was across from The Lobster Man on Granville Island, where we get our oysters. We were about to walk back to the car when Mr. Canada said, “Let’s just go see if he has any of the royal miyagi’s today.”

“Why? Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” I asked.

“Well….you know…..I mean…..let’s just go check it out,” he teased.

They did have some for $9.95 a dozen, as usual.

“Well,” I asked him. “What do you want to do?”

“What do you want to do?” he asked.

“What we are talking about here? A snack, like a couple of dozen or are we going all out again?”

“I don’t know,” he said teasingly.

“Well, I’d be willing to put in for a couple of dozen.” I said.

“So will I,” he said in his weird, goofy Mr. Canada way.

We laughed at ourselves and he proceeded to pick out four dozen oysters for our second oyster feast.

The first time we ever got oysters there, we were helped by what seemed like a very ornery, unfriendly man. He didn’t smile, even when Mr. Canada prodded him and he slowly counted each oyster with precision. The next couple of times, there had been a friendly young woman who didn’t even bother counting but gave us our bags on the honor system.

This time it was the young man again. As he looked over each oyster carefully, he knocked them together and listened to the sound, tossing a few out, declaring that them to be “bad.” Mr. Canada went back for replacements as the family behind us waited patiently for their turn. I was glad he was helping us this time. What seemed like detachment before was good care now.

Back in his apartment, Mr. Canada presented me with the shucked oysters on ice and I used some of the juice from the ceviche he made before as a garnish. They were, as always delightful. When there was nothing but empty shells, I sat back with satisfaction.

“What if I told you there was more.” Mr. Canada said.

“What? Really?” I exclaimed.

“Yeah, I only shucked half of them,” he said laughing.

“Oh yay,” I said. “What a wonderful surprise.”

And we ate more oysters.

One day, I don’t remember which, I had a mild, little depression attack. I wanted to go explore Hastings Street. But every time I expressed this desire, Mr. Canada asked me, “What part? What do you want to see?”

I didn’t know what I wanted to see. I just knew every time we drove down that street there was so many weird and interesting places. I just wanted to explore.

“I know. I’ll take you to Gastown,” he said. I didn’t understand why we couldn’t go to Hastings. But I went along.

We parked a good bit away and walked to a very busy, touristy part of Vancouver with lots of bars, restaurants and high end shops. I could feel myself dipping into a slump. We saw a bar with games inside. I offered to play battleship with him. But when we got a table and found the game, it was missing all the pieces. I would have stayed but for some reason, Mr. Canada got up to leave, saying there was no reason to stay if we weren’t playing a game. So, we walked around some more until I finally admitted I wasn’t feeling well and asked him to take me home.

He was, as always accommodating and very understanding. He asked me lots of questions about how I was feeling but all I could say was, “I just need to lay down and be quiet for a while.” When we got back, I took my clothes off, put the Interstellar soundtrack in my ear and lay down on his bed. I was soon joined by his cat, Pixie who seemed to know that I needed comforting.

I fell asleep for a while and woke up to find him in the kitchen preparing dinner. I got up and gave him a hug and I felt better.

Monday, we did go to Hastings street and wondered around the weird little restaurants and thrift stores. We found one place, Burcu’s Angels that was like walking into a couture museum. Heavy, luxurious fabrics filled the racks of vintage 50s and 60s fashion. It was beautiful. I was entranced by every gown, jacket and after-dinner wear. Everything was expensive, of course but so lovely. The owner had Turkish music playing and was very chatty, encouraging both of us to try things on. I could have spent thousands there. Mr. Canada struck up a long conversation with the owner, as he is wont to do. He did the same thing in New Orleans when we first met, finding a Canadian in the French Quarter at a hat shop.

“See, that’s why I wanted to come here.” I said. “To see stuff like that.”

I was supposed to drive home Monday night to avoid fourth of July traffic but that afternoon, my stomach began to hurt. The cramps increased until I experienced a nice bout of diarrhea. I claimed it was the hot sauce Mr. Canada had put in the ceviche, remembering the time I got sick in Indonesia after eagerly eating everything in sight.

However, it was the cheesecake. We left it out for a few hours when I first arrived and found the crust to be a little soggy. Mr. Canada had insisted right then that we through it out but I had only had one piece. He pointed to a patch of discoloration on the top. “That’s just from the candles,” I claimed.

“It’s mold,” he said, reminding me that he was a professionally trained chef.

“You wouldn’t throw out a whole loaf of bread because of mold on one end, would you?” I argued.

“It’s dairy!” he insisted.

“You are not throwing away my cheesecake,” I said placing my body between him and the cake. I put it in the refrigerator and ate on that thing for the next five days before finally allowing him to throw away the last small portion.

He was right. It had spoiled and I was paying for it.

I decided to spend another night and hoping I would feel better in the morning. As I squeezed his arm every time my stomach cramped up, he scolded me for not listening to him. “It was worth every bite,” I said.

I left the morning of the 4th, kissing him goodbye outside his apartment not knowing when we would see each other again. It’s getting harder being away from him. We need to be in the same city. I want to know what it would be like to see other regularly like a real couple. This once a month nonsense is bullshit.

But…..it was a great birthday and I was so happy and grateful to be with someone who wanted to celebrate and make a big deal out of it.

He did good.

I Got a Job

So, I got a job.

It’s not a design job. I’m an office assistant at a small trailer dealership in a small town south of Portland.

I’m not exactly sure how I got it actually. At some point, I gave up on design jobs and started applying for admin stuff. After applying for a job on one of the sites a message popped up, “We found 20 other jobs just like this one. Would you like to apply for all of them? Click here.”

Sure, why not? I clicked.

Then one day a recruiter called me about this office admin job. “Why do you think you’d be a good fit for this position,” he asked me as I walked The Kid home from school.

“I’ve been applying for a lot of jobs,” I confessed. “You’re going to have to be more specific.”

I gave him some spiel about just wanting to get a job and how my work life didn’t need to be a creative outlet etc… I even threw in my theories about dating and job hunting. I told him I was willing to meet this woman who owned a trailer dealership if she was willing to give me a chance.

I had two interviews that day. The second one was an office job at a BMW car dealership. The trailer lady one went well. But I left thinking that I didn’t want the job. I just felt like it wasn’t my kind of place. What do I know about trailers? (Not the live-in kind; the kind people use for hauling stuff like cars or equipment.)

Then I drove into Portland for the second interview. I was early so I walked around the waterfront park and sat at a coffee shop watching people go by. I thought about what it would be like to live in a real city, something I’ve never experienced. I started to hope the interview would go well.

It did not. The job was making appointments for car owners who needed work done. But it was somehow incentivized so that you got bonuses for turning phone calls into appointments. I found this concept quite confusing. The woman interviewing me was the manager of the department. She couldn’t have been over 24 and she had been working there 5 months. She was terrible at interviewing. I asked most of the questions and she asked very little. Then she mentioned the work schedule. Monday to Saturday with Thursday’s off. As soon as she said that, I was out.

The trailer dealership was looking better.

I got the offer, accepted it and went in for a short meeting to talk about when I would start. I was smart enough to tell her that I had previously solidified plans for the 28-30 and would not be able to work those days. I was going to Vancouver for my birthday and I wasn’t going to give that up.

At that second meeting, the owner was kind of weird. She asked me more than once if I was sure I wanted the job. I asked her if she was sure she wanted me to have it. She showed me around and introduced me to people, which she had already done at the interview. I left feeling uneasy and wondering if it was going to work out.

I started training with the woman who was moving away. Ironically, the job was basically all the things I complained about doing at my last job, but without all the other responsibilities. It was light bookkeeping, answering the phones and other minor administrative work. They used a combination of up-to-date software on new computers and old-school paper packets written up in sharpies. I liked that. After the first couple of days, I felt a lot better about it. My predecessor went on vacation and I worked one full week alone and I actually liked it. It was oddly satisfying, like putting together a puzzle every day. And I could see that it was going to be easy. I started to get to know the people and their personalities and they seem like a good bunch, easy going and friendly. Plus the pay wasn’t half bad for the kind of work. It would allow me to get an apartment in a few months.

The next week I worked a couple more days with my predecessor and she tried to get me as prepared as possible to fly solo. By the end of the second day I was anxious to be alone in the job again. Her personality is different from mine. She was loud and kind of scattered in her tasks. There were too many piles going on at once. She had a habit of not finishing her sentences and I had to cajole her into getting the full thought out. By the end of the last day with her, I felt confident enough that if there was anything else I needed to know, I could learn it from the owner.

Speaking of her, as I get to know her better, I can see that we’re going to get along just fine. She has a sense of humor and a laid back outlook. I can see how she might be a little whiney sometimes when she’s a bit stressed, but she seems to be honest and to the point. Not the kind of boss who is going to be insecure and who needs constant validation or engages in ridiculous power-plays. Like someone I used to know. We’re going to fine.

So, it’s not the ideal job and I don’t think I’ll want to work there for years. But I could see staying there a year, maybe 18 months before moving on.

Next goal: A place of my own.

The Cover Letter I Want to Write

Marie
Today’s date.
Cover Letter

 

To whom it may concern,

What do you want me say? What are you looking for in this “cover” letter? Is this just an extra hoop you want me to jump through? Is this a way for you to know that I’m really serious about wanting this job?

Is it a test to see if I’ll take the time to customize the letter, adding details about the job description and your organization?

Are you looking for the ability to form a complete sentence and run spell check? Are you testing my maturity to see if I know how to write like a grown up and not just text-short hand?

Are you skimming over looking for relevant content? Are you looking for that one person who has a witty opening sentence? Something to make you laugh or say, ‘Now that’s funny! That’s a person with character!’?”

How’s this:

For the love of God, would someone just give me a goddamned job!? All I want is to make enough money to rent a crappy studio apartment near my family. Is that too much to ask? I can write. I’m a good photographer and I like to make things pretty. Just give me some creative work, a decent group of people to work with and a salary I can live on. Why is that so hard to find in this godforsaken wilderness?

Just give me a chance, please. At least an interview. If you’re going to reject me, do it properly by allowing me to be awkward and weird in person. If I’m going to be rejected, let me fuck it up properly. I’m pretty good at it.

I traveled all the way from Louisiana to be here. I gave up all my stuff, said goodbye to my friends and the weather and beauty of Louisiana. The least you can do is give me a chance to live here properly.

What do you say?

 

Marie
Contact Information Here

 

 

Mr. Canada Doubts. Long-Distance Sucks.

June 28 is my birthday. I’m planning to go to Vancouver and spend it with Mr. Canada, if I can afford it and if I don’t have a job, two counterproductive states.

When we talked about it last week I said, “So I won’t see you until then?”

“That’s right.” he said.

When we began this thing back in Lafayette, Mr. Canada painted a picture of us seeing each other every weekend. He could see himself driving to Portland every Friday, he said. We did that a few weeks, then it became too expensive.

I suppose it makes more sense for me to go there, since it’s a free place to stay and maybe he would come here more often if I had an apartment. But that last visit had cost me too much money. He was going to pay for half the gas, but he didn’t. Though he did pay for a lot of groceries and oysters and wine, so I guess it all came out in the wash.

When I added it all up, with the fee I had to pay for getting my car out of tow for parking in the wrong spot….it came to almost $300. For someone who now has about $100 to my name, that’s not very smart.

So, I’m not going there and he’s not coming here. And it sucks. We talk on the phone just about every night but we’re not living a life together. We’re not building a relationship. We can’t do that without being in the same place.

He says he knows it’s temporary. But for how long? A year? Two years? Will it change if and when I get my own apartment?

I’m feeling very isolated and lonely and I don’t like having a supposed boyfriend that I don’t get to be with very often.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was having a bad day the other day and I guess he could tell from my texting. He told me, “If you need me to, just tell me and I’ll get in my car and come down there.”

“I’ll never ask you to do that.” I said.

“I know but I will if you need me to.”

“That’s what I mean,” I tried to explain, “I can’t ask you to.”

I was trying to get him to understand that the condition in my head that makes me feel sad and hopeless is the same one that would prevent me from ever asking him to do something for me.

I was frustrated by his offer. He didn’t get that if he thought he needed to come, he should just come. I think I ended up saying something like, “You’re a grown man. If you want to come see me, come see me. You don’t need an invitation.”

But he didn’t.

I don’t think he understands the nature of my depression. I don’t think he gets how this works. I’m never going to ask him to do what I clearly need and want him to.

I don’t know if this is going to work out.

He would fuss at me and call me crazy if he knew I had just written that.

But, one person’s certainty doesn’t make a relationship last.

I don’t know. I’m nursing a low-grade depressive state right now. Maybe I’m just not thinking clearly.

We’ll see.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Postscript:

We talked for a long time the other day. I told him the story of my tragic-bad-marriage 4oth birthday. When I finished he said, “Well I guess it’s my job to make you feel loved the rest of your life.” I’m such a sucker for a guy who knows how to say the right thing at the right time.

So, I’m back on team-Nigel. He’s planning lots of stuff for my birthday. Oysters, wine, charcuterie plates and cheesecake. He made a test-cake for work to try out his recipe. There will be 48 candles and we’re supposed to have dinner with his friends one night.

I’m really looking forward to it.

 

Ode to The Baby

I’m sorry. I really apologize for this. I have turned into one them. One of those grandmothers who won’t shut up about their grand kid.

The physical, emotional connection I instantly felt for this kid equalled what I felt for my own children. Okay maybe not that much, but pretty fucking close.

I can’t get enough of holding him. He has big, weird dark, blue, alien eyes and he’s starting to make weird faces. He makes circles with his lips and when he starts to fall asleep his eyes go back in his head and he starts looking around the room like he sees something we can’t see. Suddenly he will smile, like an invisible force is making him laugh. Supposedly he’s not supposed to be able to smile at this point, but it sure does look like a smile.

His new thing is grunting. It reminds me of my Dad. My brother used to call our dad, FrankenDaddy because he said cajun words with a guttural deep voice. When The Baby turns his head and arches his back and lets out a long, strong grunt, it really sounds like he’s saying, “arrête ça.” 

Sometimes between feedings, he just stays awake, cooing and complaining and sticking his tongue out and looking around and flinging his hands up then around and down on the matt  while his feet go in then out over and over and over.

I could watch him for hours. Every day there’s a new thing.

I love to give him a bath. I don’t know why because he cries the whole time. There’s something about getting him all clean and wrapping him up in a warm towel, fresh from the dryer and holding him close, talking to him, consoling him, then putting lotion all over his skin, putting him in some fresh clothes and bringing him to his mom, smelling all fresh. I love it.

Yesterday Lori came back from The Baby’s second doctor’s appointment. He warned her about not getting enough consecutive hours of sleep. She scoffed at the idea since The Baby eats every 2-3 hours and in between he lies in his crib grunting and vocalizing, keeping her awake.

“Give him to me.” I said. “I’ll do it. Just put his little box in my room and as long as we have enough food, I’ll take care of him all night and you can sleep.”

We had our own little sleep over. I fed him at 10:30pm, then he lay awake looking around and doing the arm thing for a while. When he got fussy with gas or stomach aches, I picked him up and help him close until he farted or pooped it out. Then I’d change his disgusting toxic waste and he’d sleep for a while. After the 1:30am feeding he slept a bit longer. During one of his diaper changes, when his little pee-pee felt the cold air, he spewed out a steady stream of pee, arcing onto the bathroom floor, while squirting onto the towel a disgusting splurt of chicken-poo looking swirl. The little shit. I disinfected the bathroom while he grunted in his little crib box.

By the time he woke up again, it was about 4:40am. We were down to his last bottle of breast milk and I was worried that if Lori didn’t wake up soon and pump, I’d have to go into the formula reserves. I didn’t want her to be upset for breaking the breast milk cycle. So, first I tried to text her, “Time to pump?” Then I bundled up the little monster and put him in the crib in their room. I knew he’d function as a mini-alarm clock. Before long, he’d start grunting and making noises and she would wake up.

Sure enough around 5am, she came into my room, came next to me and hugged me for letting her sleep so long and then she went off to get more milk into bottles and I went to sleep.

Now, I find myself with conflicting feelings about being in Lori’s house. She’s obviously glad I’m there. She joked the other day that I can’t move out until The Baby is 3. But it’s been three months now and my psyche is desperate for my own space around my own things.

When I hold The Baby in my arms and Lori is getting much needed rest, I feel certain that I’ve done the right thing. But other times, I can’t believe I still don’t have a job, I’m not sure I really like this area and I’m worried about how long it’s taking to get some independence. I miss Lafayette like crazy and I’m not entirely sure I’ve made the right move.

I guess we’ll see.

 

The Baby Cometh

Since I call my daughter’s 9-year old The Kid I guess I’ll call the new one, The Baby.

The Baby arrived two weeks ago yesterday. They woke me up around 5am saying, “It’s time.” I was in charge of The Kid and we took our time getting up, eating and packing snacks before heading to the hospital. When we got there, they were still doing preliminary exams and stuff and Lori was feeling some intense contractions.

The Kid and I flitted in and out based on what Lori wanted. We hung out in the spacious, glass-walled waiting area overlooking the small mountain range that flanks Newberg. We found some puzzles on a bookshelf and started working on one.

After Lori had an epidural she was understandably more chill about having us around, so we got to visit a little longer.

I was surprised at how worried The Kid was about Lori. He actually said, “I hope she doesn’t die.” I tried to calm his fears but he’s pretty smart. He knows that women do die in childbirth sometimes. We talked about advances in medicine and all the technology in the hospital and the small probability of something bad happening. It seemed to help, but he’s a pretty high strung kid.

After the fourth or fifth puzzle, I called for and update and was told that she was pushing.

It seemed like a couple of  hours later that Lori’s husband finally came through the doors and beckoned us in.

On Lori’s chest lay the little creature, wrapped up in a blanket with elephants on it.

The Kid was relieved to see Lori alive and well. He gave her a big hug and examined his new little brother.

I took The Kid home for a break and took a nap then we went back for an extended visit. I took tons of pictures, later posting black and white versions on friend face. They were awesome. I’m just sayin’.

Lori and The Baby came home the next night. The first two nights were horrible. Lori was breast feeding and apparently her milk wasn’t “coming in,” and The Baby wasn’t getting enough nutrition. He cried all night and Lori and her husband got no sleep for two days straight. Lori was beside herself with sadness and confusion and I felt helpless. There was nothing I could do but comfort her.

On the third day she went to see her lactation consultant and got some advice and techniques involving pumping and things got better as The Baby got more nutrition. Finally her milk “came in,” and The Baby started sleeping more. When Lori gave up on the idea of 100% breast feeding, we started using bottles to deliver her pumped breast milk and things got a lot better.

Now, he’s up to 8 pounds (He was 7 and 9.5 oz at birth.) and he’s a big pa-tot.

We take turns feeding The Baby and when they let me, I take over as much as I can and they get to sleep.

Last night I stayed up with him until 5 am feeding him, holding him and sleeping next to him. It was amazing.

Lori is still struggling with hormones and postpartum bullshit, but there’s this adorable little monster with pretty eyes and funny faces and amazing changes every day to look at. So that helps.

 

As for me……well, that’s another blog. I might have some pretty whiney blogs coming.

Can’t Write

First I was too busy to write. My daughter had her baby. Beautiful baby boy. I was so caught up with helping her and entranced in the beauty and wonder of his little face, that I couldn’t find a few minutes to write all about it.

Then the monster hit. It’s about time, really. I can’t even find the words right now. Apathy. Sadness. Despair. I want to hide under a rock where no one can see me and doesn’t care where I am.

The weight of not having my own space is heavy.

Mr. Canada hasn’t been exposed to this yet. I don’t think he understands. He said he would come here if I asked him too. He doesn’t understand that the very condition that would make me need him is the same that would prevent me from ever asking him to come here.

I’m not sure he gets it. If he thinks I need help, I think he should just come without being asked. I don’t know if he could handle this anyway. I don’t know if I want to be this Marie in front of him.

I started seeing a therapist. She wants me to write down my mood ever day. I’m seeing her again Friday. Maybe that will help.

Dispatch from East Van

I’m sitting on Mr. Canada’s bed. He’s making dinner. Shrimp on skewers and a mango salad. There’s fruit margaritas chilling in the fridge. His cat Pixie is splayed out on a chair. We’re watching season 1 of Sense 8 so we can watch the new one.

I drove in Thursday night and spent the day Friday cleaning his apartment. My way of nesting I guess. I got rid of a lot of cat hair. We spent most of the next day in bed, watching Home Movies and laughing and eating.

We went to Granville Isle and got oysters again. They were amazing.

I really like being here. I feel at home. Comfortable. I wish I could stay here. Life with Mr. Canada is easy. We have fun together. There’s no problems, no arguments or misunderstandings or tension. Well, of course he does piss me off time to time but so far, we always manage a way to get past it. Maybe I’m just learning to chill out.

When we walk through East Vancouver we like to pick out the condos and houses and apartments that we like, bickering over architectural styles. We walked up and down Commercial Drive and he took me to a great Italian deli we went to the last time I was here. They make the most amazing sandwiches. Our search for ice cream turned up empty so we stopped at a grocery store and got waffle cones and chocolate ice cream for later.

Lori is going to go into labor any minute now. I’ll be back in Newberg soon with my air mattress bed and garage office. I’ll have an 8 year old to entertain and a new baby to help with. And of course a job to find. And hopefully soon, my own place.

But for now….I’ve been informed that dinner and margaritas will be ready in 15 minutes. And the Sense 8 binge will continue.

I’m quite content.