In my uncle's garden
Monday, February 17, 2003

It's week 30 -- I'm three-quarters of the way there. Nothing much has changed in the last couple of weeks; I don't have any new stretch marks, so maybe that cocoa butter is working after all? Or maybe I just haven't got any bigger.

Last Monday we had an appointment with our secondary midwife. I wasn't really looking forward to the appointment, but it turned out pretty well. I warmed up to her as we chatted and I'm feeling good about having her as our backup now. I can't really remember what we talked about, apart from a couple of things.

I asked her about the "rule" that you can only lie on your left side, and she said not to worry about it. Apparently if you lie on your back you'll start to feel light-headed long before the blood supply to your uterus is compromised. She also said that there are a lot of things you read on the Internet that aren't true. (What?!?!) The only food they ask you to avoid, for example, is unpasteurized milk products like Brie. That's kind of unfortunate, because I've been avoiding sushi and soft eggs and rare meat, and eating Brie (occasionally). Oops.

Last month I gained six pounds -- I'm now at 237 lbs. That would explain the stretch marks. I'm a little alarmed that I'm gaining so quickly; I really don't want to gain six pounds a month until May! I've been eating lots and lots of sweets -- candy, cookies, mochas -- at least two treats every day. I should look into that.

I've had a few expensive hobbies. I painted for a while, and for that I bought paints, brushes, an easel, and took a class. Then I dabbled in photography -- I bought a camera, some lenses, a couple of nice camera bags, filters, a tripod. When we bought the condo we spent a lot of money in a short amount of time, fixing it up and furnishing it the way we like it. And of course, I spend $40 an hour on singing lessons, plus I buy plenty of sheet music, and pay choir fees.

All of these things cost money, and last weekend's baby shopping reminded me of the spending binges we've done on those various projects -- you go to Home Depot or Henry's Camera and spend a huge amount of money, a horrifying amount of money. But all those projects were finite -- once we'd got the camera or filled the living room with furniture, we were done, so we gritted our teeth and spent the money knowing that one day we wouldn't have to spend any more.

I realized a couple of things last week. First, that I've been thinking of Delphine as another project, like the new condo or the kitchen reno, that we'll spend a bunch of money on and then be done with; we'll have all the baby stuff, and we'll have the baby, and that'll be the end of it.

Second, I realized that I'm wrong -- she's going to keep on absorbing our disposable income for another eighteen years. Every year, every month, every week, she will need something new. In fact, it's not really disposable any more -- we can choose whether we want to buy nice things or take the cat to the vet or go out for dinner, but once Delphine is born, we can't choose whether we want to take care of her. She's part of the family, she's one of us, she is entitled to as much of our money as she needs to be healthy and happy.


What if I don't like her? What if I resent the money and space and time she takes up? What if she is just this obnoxious noisy roommate who makes a mess and absorbs money and doesn't contribute anything to the household? What if I don't love her, and don't want to spend all that stuff on her?

I'm not really worried that that's going to happen -- I know that even if she's a horrible, ugly little thing, biology will do its work and I will love her with all my heart. And she probably won't be horrible -- she'll probably be sweet and clever and pretty, and I will love her not only because my hormones tell me to, but because she will be lovable in her own right.

I mean, I love my cats to distraction, and what are they if not obnoxious noisy roommates who make a mess and absorb money and don't contribute anything to the household?

We've started the process of trying to replace me at work. It's a tricky business, because my job requires (no, really requires) lots of soft skills, like good communication skills, the ability to learn quickly, conscientiousness, and good organizational ability. You know, that crap everyone puts on their resume whether it's true or not, and never bothers to back up with examples. I really need that stuff for this job, I'm not just saying I need it because HR loves that shit. And I don't particularly need any hard skills, apart from lots of general knowledge about Windows and Unix, and some math.

I'm getting lots of resumes from people who have done system administration, which is sometimes referred to as "technical support" but isn't the kind of customer support I do. I'm getting resumes from programmers, from data modelers, from all kinds of techies. None of the applicants bother to address the job ad and tell me why they will be able to do my job; why I should trust them to communicate clearly with customers, to get back to people the same day, to report customer bugs to QA and follow-up with the customer after they're fixed. That's what the cover letter is there for, but no-one seems to bother using it.

Right now I have two good candidates; one is a friend of mine who has been doing end-user support for those Interac point-of-sale terminals -- can you imagine supporting them? You'd spend half your life talking to panicking high-school-age retail employees, telling them how to power-cycle the units. If she can handle that, she can handle this. I know she's a good communicator, and I'm pretty sure she'd be conscientious about getting back to people. I also know she's ambitious -- she wants to head a tech support team. If this company ever gets big enough to need more than one tech support person, she'll be ready.

The other good candidate has done editing (good writing skills), programming (smart), participated in Toastmasters (good verbal communication), and sales (good interpersonal skills), and project management (organized). The only problem I can see with her is that I bet she'll be too expensive -- that's right, we want all that at a low, low price.

Anyway, bitching aside, it's exciting to be looking for a replacement. It makes the whole having-a-baby, maternity-leave thing seem more real, and moves it along. We'll have to have the new person start around the beginning of April, so I'll have at least two weeks to train them. The beginning of April is only six weeks away! That's, like, nothing!