Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nursery room themes

So I know Peanut's big day is still far off (170 days to be exact), but today I woke up with this hankering to start picking out a nursery theme. Maybe my "nesting" instinct is finally kicking in on the cusp of my 17th week!

As far as nurseries go, I don't want to spend exorbitant amounts of money on everything from the crib to the changing table to all the little room embellishments that make nurseries so cute....buuuut I also don't want to chintz out. It is Peanut, after all. So maybe I'll do a blend of different price points and try to make some things myself, like curtains (if I'm feeling extra ambitious and have the time). All I know is there's really no reason to go all out and spend $500+ dollars on the Cadillac of cribs, people. Most baby's are too un-evolved yet to even appreciate the fact that its crib is made out of exotic imported mahogany.

Currently our "nursery" is the bedroom across the hall from our master. We painted it a Tuscan yellow when we first moved in thinking it was going to be a guest bedroom, then we conceived much faster than we thought we would, and now I'm toying with the idea of changing the wall color. I've still got lots of time, but I have some nursery theme ideas in mind:

1.) Peter Rabbit

In my salad days (read: single digits) I was ob-sessed with the Peter Rabbit books. They were and still are so classic, and I dig that the series and characters are pretty gender neutral, so they'd work for whatever Peanut happens to be. I found some adorable Peter Rabbit nursery ideas I could borrow from online:

Pictures from Design Dazzle

Okay, I never thought I'd be a fan of the striped wall look but I LOVE this!! The periwinkle/cream combo is so cute, and the little chandelier accents the theme and decor perfectly. J says painting "straight" stripes that don't bleed into one another is actually a lot harder than it seems and that he doesn't know if he'll have the time to do it since he's still remodeling the kitchen at the moment when he's not at work, but perhaps we could do just one accent wall striped?

And then there's Pottery Barn's take on Peter Rabbit:

I always love a good topiary or two.

2.) Vintage Alice in Wonderland

I feel like this concept would only work if it's a girl. I'd want to go with the traditional drawings from the original text and somehow incorporate those in framed decor and bedding (although in the latter I'd have no idea how -- I haven't exactly seen old-school Alice illustrations in fabric as of late). Anyway, it could be an idea...

I would definitely say that both these Alice in Wonderland nursery examples (above) are way too ambitious for me. I don't have the time or interest to go that far out on a limb (hello? there are actual toy geese flying over that crib!!) but I could borrow certain elements from both.

So far, that's all I have. I was also thinking maybe a vintage Winnie the Pooh theme (though I do like Peter Rabbit better), and maybe a Parisian theme, though that would probably be better suited for a girl unless I've got a little Brad Goreski in the making. ;)

Thoughts? Suggestions? Ideas on how to do this myself? I'm such a newbie at all of this that I feel a little lost.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The first flutter

It happened last night -- I finally felt Peanut inside me!! There was no kick or sharp movement or anything (I still don't have a bump), but I felt a strange fluttering in my stomach, like no other feeling I've ever felt before. It felt like something inside of me was giving me butterfly kisses with a dozen little eyelashes. I couldn't help but smile.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The almost-ruined Valentine's Day

Last week J took me out to dinner for Valentine's Day at a nice restaurant here that I'd been wanting to try in forever and a day (actually just since we moved here a couple years ago), but the stars never quite aligned with planning a lunch or dinner there. Until Valentine's Day 2012 came along. Then it was like bashert.

With J being all busy at work, I made reservations over a month in advance just to be sure we got a table since the place is popular and small and award-winning in the Bay Area, which doesn't bode well for holidays. And when we got there that night, everything was perfect -- the ivy-covered brick outside, the smell of wine and hearty Italian dishes wafting into the lobby, every woman in the place wearing some form of red. Then we got seated and that's when things starting going downhill, thanks to our server, Rick.

After looking over the extensive beverage menu (which consisted 100% of wine), I quietly decided I would just have water unless Rick recommended some "preggatini" that bartenders can usually whip up at comparable restaurants.

"I'll have a glass of the Pinot Noir," J ordered across from me.

"Shall I make that two?" Rick asked, motioning to me.

I smiled and said that I wished, but I was pregnant and couldn't drink alcohol. Instead of recommending something else (um, even club soda would work for me, honey) he curtly grabbed the drink menu from J's hand and said, "Well, you can just smell his then" and walked away. Strike one.

A little later we were ready to order, and Rick stood dutifully near us with a pen and pad of paper in hand. But as J was in the middle of our order, a customer at a nearby table stood up and made his way over to our server, tapping him on the shoulder and complaining about not being brought something they had ordered. Instead of quickly apologizing to us that he needed to deal with this other customer, Rick turns around as J is still ordering, talks to the customer, then strides away without letting us know...well, anything. J's voice trails off and he gives me a look like you've got to be kidding me.

"Well that was rude," I said. "Maybe he'll apologize when he comes back."

But no, he never did apologize. Rick drops off whatever it was he'd forgotten at the nearby table and ambles back over to our table, standing silently near J with his pen poised over his pad. No explanation or anything.

Now I don't want to sound snotty or entitled or that I expect to have my butt kissed whenever I spend exorbitant amounts of money on food or clothing, but in my book this kind of customer service is completely inappropriate in this caliber of an establishment.

The next day I talked to some friends about it and wasn't planning on doing anything until a couple of them suggested I leave a bad Yelp review or call the restaurant. Personally I don't do Yelp reviews (especially since most of them around here are written by pretentious San Francisco hipsters decrying any business as lame or unworthy if it falls outside of city lines), and I've never been one to call a place and complain about service. It just seems like such a first world problem to me, and I'd rather vote with my wallet and take my business elsewhere. But in this case my friend had a point, so I called and left a message with the owner.

Two days went by and nothing. I'd almost forgotten about it until I got a call from a strange number, picked up and it was him. Without going into all the specifics, after my conversation with the owner, I was very very glad I'd picked up the phone and made that call. I detailed exactly what happened that evening and he apologized and said that if it was any consolation, Rick had been getting similar complaints lately from other patrons, including a food critic at a major publication, so I wasn't the only one. Then he asked if he could make it up to me by offering us a dinner on the house next time we came in. How could I turn down $200? Of course I said sure all casually, though internally I was freaking out like "whaaat? this is not what I expected. Score!"

So was I glad I called? Of course. Will I make it a habit? Probably not, I still feel like people who call to complain about everything little thing are annoying with their false senses of entitlement, but under special circumstances that I feel cross a line, I will definitely pick up a phone.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Please stop saying "labia"

Last month I had my first "official" doctor's visit for Peanut. This visit also happened to coincide with the first time I've ever met my doctor. Usually I meet with her head assistant for my annual check-ups, as the doctor is obvi too busy to perform routine pelvic exams.

I invited J to come along to this first visit so that we could both meet the woman who was going to be delivering our baby and to get a feel for whether we felt comfortable with her. When she walked in to our room, I grew a little worried. Not because I got a bad vibe from her or that she was unprofessional or that I felt slightly embarrassed sitting on a table in a partially open Pepto Bismol pink hospital gown. No, it was just that she seemed so...old. Like on-the-cusp-of-retirement old. Which is fine, I mean the woman went to Yale and has delivered 6,000 babies during her career, so she knows what she's doing. But when she hobbled around looking for a wastebasket for her tissue and almost tripped over her little wheeled doctor's chair, or when she had five minutes worth of awkward problems with my speculum (don't worry, I won't go into all the gory details), I wondered if maybe her place in the world in 2012 wasn't sitting in this office prodding me with a speculum, but instead poolside in some Palm Springs resort waiting for her tee time.

The worst part (or the most humorous part, if you're sick and twisted like me), is that she had no warmth or empathy about her. In fact, I don't know if she was even capable of smiling. She very much reminded me of one of those cold, technical German doctors from a black-and-white film. Because of this, from here on out she shall be known as Fraulein Margaret. She'd clearly been through the whole having-a-baby drill a billion times, was good at it, and purely cared about the medical aspect of the whole procedure. Her inspecting my nether-regions was like a mechanic examining an old Volkswagen engine. Been there, done that.

So the last half of my appointment was getting my first ultrasound. For that Fraulein Margaret asked J to stand over by my right shoulder as she took a front-seat to my hoo-hoo and used her probe to get a good look at Peanut. But no, she didn't just do that quietly. She had to announce every. single. thing. she was doing down there.

"I'm examining your labia right now," she declared.

I don't know what it is, but just the word "labia" makes me laugh hysterically. It's such an ugly little word for a weird part of the human body. And if you think about it, the term rarely ever gets used in passing, making it even funnier when it is said aloud.

I tried not to look at J since I knew we'd both burst out laughing if we locked eyes after her little announcement. Out of my periphery, I saw him standing near my shoulder, his hands in his suit pant pockets, looking away at the ceiling as though there was something phenomenally interesting up near the fluorescent lighting. Meanwhile, the silence in the room was deafening. But then, it happened again....

"I am still working around your labia," she said.

This time I couldn't handle it. I tried scrunching my mouth closed like an angry muppet, successfully muting any giggle trying to escape, but then I made the mistake of looking up and locking eyes with J. The look on his face was priceless, one of helpless amusement desperately hidden under a semi-straight face. I tried, I really did, to not laugh, because really, we're almost 30 years old and it's SO immature to laugh at a stupid little clinical term like labia, but I couldn't help myself. I ended up trying to muffle my laugh, which came out sounding like a giant repressed sneeze cutting the silence in the room. Luckily. Fraulein Margaret, seated on her wheely chair below my line of vision, didn't seem to notice the sound or that at this point J was basically almost entirely turned around with his back to her, hands still in pockets. She just kept on keeping on, examining my Volkswagen engine.

The rest of the exam went splendidly, and we got to see Peanut for the very first time on the ultrasound monitor. His/her little heart was beating like a tiny hummingbird's, and we could just barely make out where his/her little face was starting to form. I admit, I did get teary-eyed when I saw it on the screen because all of a sudden, it was a reality that I was pregnant. I'm not currently showing at all, so sometimes it's hard to imagine that there's something growing inside of me and that my life is going to change from here on out. But that day the blurred image on that medical screen was all the proof we needed that we were actually going to be parents. It was one of the best reality checks of my life.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hello again

Confession: After months (well, years) of being gone from Brunette on a Budget, I've decided that this site is exactly where I belong in my off-time. Now that I'm finished with The Worst Job in the World (officially quit February 2011), I dabbled off and on in my other anonymous blog and it never felt quite right. Partially because I've never liked doing anything anonymously, especially writing. Why should I feel bad about telling it like it is? Why do I need to hide how I really feel? I don't, and it's only taken me about 16 months to figure that out. I'm sorry, sometimes certain people or certain situations just suck. That's reality, no matter how much it hurts to read. Now I'm back, to the inevitable chagrin of some and the (hopefully) happiness of others (hey, if you don't like reading here, you're more than welcome to move on).

SO, with out of the way, the last year or so of my life has been packed with changes. Like the kind of drama in Jennifer Aniston movies where years of changes have been condensed nicely down into two-hour bits. For starters:

We bought a house!:

The house around Christmastime (still hadn't unpacked yet).

The house was a steal, mostly because it needed major remodeling to be "cute," but we spent all November remodeling. And by remodeling, I don't just mean throwing up a coat of paint on the walls, though we did that as well. I'm talking on-our-hands-and-knees-scraping-old-tile-adhesive-off-the-concrete-bathroom-floor-for-six-hours (okay, that was more J than me), ripping out all the older Pergo flooring throughout the house, laying down new, dark hardwood flooring, completely gutting the bathroom and rebuilding the shower, painting the dirty fireplace white, etc. etc. After our remodel, we refinanced the place and it appraised for $50,000 more than we paid for it. Apparently, all that work in November paid off. Now our mortgage on our 3-bedroom home is much less than rent on a 1-bedroom apartment. J calls it one of the best investments of our lives so far; I have to agree.

Now that most of the interior remodeling is done, we're going to start fixing up the outside when it gets warmer. On the docket: Painting the house dark gray with white trim and a dark red front door, and landscaping everything.

We got a second car!:

A few days ago we picked up this beaut, since we really only have one reliable car between the two of us (J's been driving his old '67 Volvo to work, and it hasn't been too happy about that.) Now we both have reliable cars. Movin' on up.

We adopted a new dog!:

This is Gidget, a six-year-old Chihuahua we found at the pound. She's a quiet, shy little four-pound thing that barely ever makes a sound. Since it seems she's cold all the time, I had to buy her this bathrobe to pad around the house in.

Last but not least: We're having a baby!

World: say hello to Peanut (above). We don't know Peanut's sex yet, but I think we find out in March and we're both very, very excited. Well, I'm sure Peanut is excited about this revelation as well, whenever it happens. I still can't believe I'm going to be a mother (Jesus Christ, just the word makes me feel old), but I'm looking forward to the whole thing as I'm sure it will provide reams of good blog fodder, starting with the odd encounter I had recently with my doctor. But that story's for another time.

Those are the big things in my life as of late. I'm sure there were many other things but probably not as important. Ah, it feels good to be back. :)
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