Saturday, December 29, 2007

How (not) to deal with pregnant people at Christmas...or really at any time.

A few things that were appreciated and not while we were away at Christmas. All of these things applied to our trip. The do’s were done well. The don’ts, well, weren’t. Most of them were amusing in retrospect, but irritating at the time.

Do try to have something appetizing for her to eat and drink. Most pregnant women will be avoiding alcohol, and many will also be avoiding caffeine, at least in high doses. Some may be avoiding other foods they previously enjoyed, either to reduce risks to her health and that of her baby, or because they currently can’t stomach them. Others will have decided that the risks are ridiculously low, and be eating everything they always have.

Don’t try to dictate what she’s eating. If she wants a Pepsi, some shrimp or some tuna salad, just accept it. It’s her body, and her decision. If you feel there’s a risk she’s unaware of, mention it once in a non-confrontational way, and then let it go.

Do ask questions if you’re curious about things she’s doing or how she’s feeling. Just try not to get overly personal if you don’t know her well, and accept that she won’t want to discuss certain things. You are not her doctor.

Don’t assume that what your doctor told you when you were pregnant 50 years ago still applies. Medical knowledge and guidelines change over time. She doesn’t want to hear your rant on why she’s an idiot for worrying about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. After all, your kids were fine...

Do talk about your experiences while pregnant or while your partner was pregnant. She’ll be happy to know she is neither alone nor going insane. Cute stories of silly things you did, or minor issues you had will probably be amusing and relieving to her.

Don’t talk about your late-term miscarriage. If it happened recently and you’re still actively grieving, she’ll likely be willing to sympathize and help you get through it. But if it happened decades ago, it’s a story that can wait until after she’s given birth. This also applies to stories about 47-hour labours and 14-pound babies.

Do offer her a chair. She may not accept, but she’ll be grateful you thought of it. She may also pounce on the offer. Or just collapse into the chair.

Don’t just light up in front of her. Many pregnant women will be avoiding cigarette smoke, or at least trying to cut back if they’re smokers themselves. She will not appreciate your intentionally throwing toxins into the air around her. Unless you see her lighting up her own cigarette, assume she’s going to want you to go outside to have one yourself. This applies to anything illegal you might light as well.

Do tell her you won’t be offended if she wants to go have a nap. She may not feel comfortable abandoning you all mid-day, but she may wish she could.

Don’t make continuous comments about how much she’s eating, or how much weight she’s gained. If it’s not tactful to say to a non-pregnant person, assume a pregnant one doesn’t need to hear it either. No one will find it funny to be asked ‘What? Are you eating for four now?’ when they reach for a second helping of stuffing.

Above all, do remember that she’s still the same person you knew before. Apart a bit less emotional control, a few more idiosyncracies, and (hopefully) temporarily being a bit wider, of course.

Friday, December 28, 2007

And we’re back

Survived Christmas with the families, and all the chaos that ensues. Came home yesterday and promptly slept for 16 hours. Guess I overdid it a bit.

Christmas was a success. We managed to get everything and were only $15 over budget. Everyone seemed very pleased with their gifts, so either we did well, or the whole family has tremendous acting skills.

The bad news is the $75 we saved by not buying gifts for our friends was spent instead on our parents, but the good news is we didn’t spend any money we couldn’t afford to. The MasterCard will easily be paid in full in January. We also had some exceedingly generous family this year, so we actually came out ahead.

We were repeatedly congratulated, hugged and grinned at by everyone we hadn’t seen since we broke our pregnancy news. It was a fun an enjoyable experience. Also, it was no doubt our last chance to be the centre of attention. Junior will be taking on that role next Christmas.

I’ll be posting some dos and don’ts on dealing with pregnant people over the holidays in a day or two. Trust me when I say all of them directly applied to what we experienced.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Heading out for the holidays

I'll be taking a few days off of posting to head to my old home town to visit our families. I'd hoped to be able to squeak in a post or two while I was there, but it looks like Hubby may be spending some time getting my parents' computer working again, which doesn't bode well for me getting online.

So, Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate it. To others, Happy Winter Solstice (that's today this year) or Kwanzaa. To still others, Happy Belated Hannukah, Diwali or Eid. And if you don't celebrate anything this time of year, happy few extra days off work, or at least happy stat holiday pay.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The joys of unexpected expenses

Hubby lifted his left foot as he stood beside the snow-covered car, bracing his calf on his opposite knee. He peered down at his sole. “Huh,” he said. “I think I need a new pair of boots.”

Fecundity followed his gaze and snorted aloud. “I’d say you’re right.” She poked at the crack clearly visible across the ball of his foot, easily touching sock with the end of her finger. “Why didn’t you say something earlier?”

“I hadn’t noticed.”

As tempting as it is for me to get into a diatribe on how it shouldn’t be possible to miss a three inch hole in your shoe when there’s literally four feet of snow on the ground, I’ll skip it and instead talk about unexpected expenses in general.

Sometimes, as in this case, we should have seen it coming. Sometimes bad luck just falls on you from the sky, or, more likely, rear-ends you on the way to work.

The boot incident isn’t bad luck. Hubby bought cheap boots last winter. They wore out earlier than expected, but still should have been foreseen. I figure if I drag him into a decent shoe store this time, it’ll set us back $150-$200 and he’ll have boots which should last at least two full seasons, preferably five.

Our last round of actual bad luck (or, rather, bad luck leading to an emotional response which lead to stupidity) happened about two years ago. We were still living in an apartment, and we didn’t own a car. We were borrowing my parents second vehicle (which they’ve since sold to us, as they no longer need two after retirement). We came down to the parking lot and discovered that some of the delightful kids of the neighbourhood (did I mention the cheap rent?) had egged the car overnight for something to do. Cheaper and healthier than doing drugs, I suppose.

After much scraping (and swearing) to make it possible to drive said car, we were late, and Hubby was Angry with a capital A. We made a quick stop at a local deli to get some bagels I needed to bring to work, which made us even later. Hubby fumed a bit more, put the car into reverse, and promptly backed into another vehicle. Crunch.

Not wanting to up my parents’ insurance premiums, we didn’t claim the expense of having the victim’s vehicle’s bumper replaced, we paid for it ourselves, to the tune of $797.43 (the faxed receipt is still on my hard drive). Delightful.

How did we pay for it? Back then, we weren’t doing so well financially. I was making significantly less, and Hubby was still in school. We didn’t have an savings to speak of. We put it on the MasterCard, then paid the MasterCard (18%) off with our line of credit (7%). It probably took us three months to get rid of it entirely.

How would we deal with it now? Well, the boots are a relatively minor expense and shouldn’t cause more than a ripple in the chequing account. Another bumper cruncher would set us back a bit, but no use of the line of credit would be necessary, as I could suck any needed amount out of our emergency fund. Since our standard of living has increased significantly in the past two years, we’d have some room to save a bit of money by dropping back down a glutton level for a couple of weeks, which would allow us to build the fund back up quickly.

It’s my plan to build our emergency fund up further in the future. Right now we’re concentrating on getting it to $5000. I hope to have that done by the time I go on mat leave. Once Hubby’s student loan is gone and I’ve returned to work (the latter will almost certainly happen before the former), we’ll start slowly building the fund up to three month’s net income, which right now would be about $17,000. That’ll prepare us for bigger emergencies than a bruised bumper or a dead pair of boots.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My student loan is officially paid off

Originally scheduled to be complete in December of 2011, my student loan has officially sucked its last payment out of my bank account. With a final withdrawal of $27.36, I can kiss it goodbye forever. Hah!

I’m supposed to receive a Notice of Balance Paid in Full in about 10 days. I may frame it and hang it on the wall next to the degree it paid for. Tacky? Perhaps. Satisfying? You betcha.

A note to Chickie at Scotiabank: I called Christine at the National Student Loan Service Centre (NSLSC) yesterday. After giving her my account number and enough info to prove I was me, she graciously answered all of my questions about how to close out my loan, rather than acting as though she was doing me a favour by deigning to speak to me. She then gave me the option of waiting until the scheduled payment date of December 31st, or having her withdraw it immediately. Despite my not having a chequing account with them, she was still able to access my funds through a little technology some people call the Internet. Lo and behold, this morning my bank account was minus the exact amount she told me it would be, and when I checked the NSLSC website (which I can access all by myself), my account read a gratifying ‘Balance remaining = $0”. No need to wait for them to get around to acknowledging my payment. Christine also did not hang up on me, nor did she say anything rude. In fact, she congratulated me on paying off my loan, and wished me all the best in my future endeavours. You might consider learning a thing or two from Christine, but I have a feeling she’d have nothing to do with you.

Oh yeah. That was satisfying too. Though I should probably do something about this bitchy streak I seem to have before becoming a mother...

Christmas shopping finally underway

Whew. Finally getting on the ball and getting the shopping going. We bought a few children’s books for my niece and friend’s son while in Watertown on Saturday, as well as some cookies for Hubby’s grandfather which aren’t available in Canada.

Hubby also bought a Wii game for his Dad while I wasn’t looking. Apparently, despite his looking at the spreadsheet and repeatedly nodding approval of the budgeted amounts, I was the only one paying attention to the numbers:

“Oh, I got a video game for one of the presents in Mom and Dad’s basket. Dad will love it.”
“Great! How much was it?”
[awkward silence]
“The budget for their whole gift was $60.”
“You should have told me that before.”
“I did tell you that before! You agreed!”
“I don’t remember that.”
“Of course you don’t.”

Last night we went to Chapters and got a few crosswords for my grandmother, some Hercule Poirot short stories on CD for Hubby’s Gran (who is blind), and some codebreaker puzzles for my Dad’s birthday. Hubby’s Gran’s present was significantly over budget, but the others were under and it worked out about even.

Tonight, we’ll be heading out to get the rest of the stuff for our parents’ baskets, including the baskets themselves. We won’t be able to completely recover from the Wii overspending, but we might be able to come close. If all else fails, we still have the $75 from the gifts we’re no longer buying our friends.

Tonight, I also get to go to the post office and pay some exorbitant amounts to get the kiddie books I bought to Toronto and Wisconsin on time because I was too tired and cranky to get my butt into gear a month ago. This is where the procrastination, which has occasionally served me well, comes back and bites me. Good thing my niece is in Toronto for Christmas. She actually lives in Australia, and I’d be totally S.O.L. getting it there on time.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Shopping report and a couple of notations to the people in charge

The shopping expedition to Watertown was a partial success: I found a couple of good deals on maternity clothes, but I was disappointed with the lack of selection. Books were much cheaper, which is obvious from the US prices stamped tauntingly on the covers up here. Large appliances were also less expensive. One of the couples we went with needs a new set for the house they’re buying in January. They took photos of the American fridge and stove prices for negotiating power up here later. “Well, I have a friend with a cargo van, so if you can’t do better than what you’re currently offering...”

Note to Canadian retailers: Learn something from your American counterparts. It is not necessary to have 87 people in line when you can open another cash.

Surprisingly, electronics, music and software were the same or more expensive than they are at home. And the fast food joint we stopped at was also pricier.

Note to American soft drink distributers: Try to get more variety in your non-caffeinated pop, er, soda. You have this substance called Sierra Mist, which was my only option, and quite repellent, though to be fair it may have been a faulty drink fountain. Also, Mountain Dew should not contain caffeine. I have spoken. ;)

It was a fun road trip, and gave us something different to do on a Saturday. We had a great time chattering in the car on the way down and back, including what seems to be a standard cell phone exchange for our group:

“Where are you guys?”
“About to cross the border.”
“Ack! You got ahead of us. We’ve stopped at Timmies.”
“Wait for us once you’ve gone through customs.”
“What, you want us to pull off the road beside the border guards? That won’t look suspicious at all. Why don’t we just yell ‘Death to America!’ while we’re at it?”
“Finish crossing the river and then pull over.”
“I gave you a map. I’m pretty sure Watertown isn’t going to up and move while you buy a doughnut. Just meet us there.”
“We lost the map.”
“Of course you did. You realize I’m getting picked up by a US cell tower right now, which means this call is costing both of us approximately $7000 a second?
“Just pull over once you hit the mainland.”

I also find it entertaining that people who live so close to each other and speak the same language can have such completely different accents. The entire pronunciation structure and speech pattern changes the second you step across the border. Coopon vs. Quepon. Hawkey vs. Ice Hackey. Fan-tas-tick vs. Faen-taes-tick.

Note to the Department of Transportation or whoever is in charge of the road planning in Watertown: Rip it all up. Start again from scratch. I have never seen traffic so horrendous in such a small town. Luckily the local people seem resigned and relatively polite about the whole thing. Can’t even blame cross-border shoppers for increasing the volume, ‘cause I didn’t see another Canadian plate the entire time we were there.

So, the summary of my vague and wandering report is: You can find good deals on a few things, but unless you’re only buying those things, and buying a lot of them, it’s better to just check the local flyers and shop at home.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

How do you feel about cross border shopping?

We’re heading down to the States today with a few friends to do a little Christmas shopping. The timing seems ideal. The Loonie is still high, our local prices haven’t yet dropped, and the American ones haven’t yet risen in response to the sagging Greenback. I figure we can get a few good deals and have a bit of fun shopping in a new place. I’m also hoping the maternity wear selection will be better and cheaper.

That being said, I won’t be telling my parents we went.

Why? Mom and Dad have always been vehemently opposed to cross-border shopping. Well, opposed to Canadians shopping down South. They quite enjoy Americans bringing their money up here. Bit of a biased viewpoint, but understandable.

They have a few solid points, which apply no matter what border and which direction we’re talking about. Spending your money locally helps keep that money in the community. If you buy a gift from a local business owner, it helps keep him in business, which helps keep tax dollars and employment in your town. This is even true, though to a lesser degree, of shopping at the local outlet of a big chain store.

As an investment advisor in a small town, Dad was always very much aware of this. His clients were local. They were often local business people. If their profits were down, their available money for investing went down, and Dad’s paycheque went down. He was directly tied into the loop and he knew it.

Many others were also directly involved in that loop and for the most part, they knew it too. It was the ones who were indirectly tied to it that didn’t. The teachers and other government employees tended (and I’m generalizing here) to be the most active border crossers. They’re paycheques weren’t directly tied into the amount of money currently circulating in town. They were paid by the federal, provincial and municipal governments.

Ultimately, however, the prosperity of a town affects even them. If a business closes down, then those former employees have to look for work elsewhere. If enough of them leave, some of the schools will be closed due to the lack of kids, and government services will be cut back.

But cross-border shopping moves in cycles. When I was young, everyone crossed to the States to get better deals on things. When I was older and the Loonie took a dive down to 60-odd cents US, it was the other way around. Good deals could be found in Canada for Americans and their powerful dollar. Now it’s turned around again.

It might be said that it all evens out. It could also be argued that if we’re all equal, I shouldn’t matter where we spend our money.

I don’t go often, it’s probably been ten years, though that’s more to do with the currency exchange situation than anything else. I usually buy locally when I can, and I visit local chain stores when I can’t. I figure I can take the occasional trip across the border without too much guilt. I’m one of those indirect loopers, after all.

I still won’t be telling Dad.

What do you think? Would you cross a local border to save money, or is it taboo?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I have always relied on the kindness of strangers

Okay, that's a lie. I'm not Blanche DuBois. I don't rely on the kindness of strangers. I just really love it when it happens.

Inspired by Lynnae's post about the kind stranger who made her family’s Christmas when she was young, I thought I’d pass on another story of someone who went above and beyond. It’s not about buying gifts for less fortunate young ones, but it was sweet and much-appreciated.

It was during my first year away at university. I’d spent four months away, and I was looking forward to coming home for Christmas. I’d loaded all of my stuff on a train, including all my presents for everyone, as well as what was no doubt several weeks worth of laundry so I could take advantage of the parental washing machine.

I was exhausted. I’d been ‘studying’ for exams, I’d been shopping for gifts. I’d probably also been to a few too many holiday and end-of-term parties. I slept the whole way home on the train, waking just as it pulled into my home town’s station. I had to quickly gather up my things and dart off the train into the waiting arms of Mom and Dad.

What I didn’t notice until the car pulled into our garage was that I didn’t have my purse. It was still sitting on the train.

I called the local station to see what could be done, which at this point was nothing. The train had, of course, continued on its way. I’d have to call the lost and found in Toronto, which was its last stop, and hope for the best. I did so, and they told me they’d let me know if it turned up.

I spent the next couple of hours on hold with my bank and credit card companies, cancelling everything. If you’ve ever had to do so, you know how delightful it is...especially late at night on December 22nd.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, an older man was examining my purse to determine where it came from. He was getting off in Toronto, and he dutifully took it in to the Lost and Found. They told him it would likely take at least a week to get the purse back to me, since it was such a rushed season, and that I’d have to pay for the expense of having it sent.

This is where I got really lucky. This older man was A) incredibly kind-hearted, and B) a retired CN worker. As such, he was entitled to free train rides within Canada. Appalled that it would take so long to return the purse, and apparently thinking of the panic this young girl (my driver’s licence with my date of birth was naturally in there) must be in, he took the early morning train heading in my town’s direction the next day.

It’s a pretty long trip from Toronto to the town where my parents live. He got off the train, turned my purse in, told the ticket teller that since his trip was free the least he could do was bring it to me, and then promptly hopped on the next train back to Toronto.

He wouldn’t leave his name. To this day I have no idea who he is.

The ticket agent called me. When Mom and I went to the station he told us the story as far as he knew it. I’d already cancelled my bank cards, but I no longer had to get a new driver’s licence, health card, birth certificate, etcetera, etcetera. Between not having to pay postage for the purse, and not having to pay to replace all my ID, he probably saved me a couple of hundred bucks. And all my cash was still in my wallet.

Mom took out a space in the Toronto Star to try to thank him. It’s doubtful he saw it, but I hope maybe he did. It was about 12 years ago now, so I don’t even know if he’s still alive.

I try to think about him every time I get cut off and given the finger in traffic, or hear about some nut somewhere who’s spouting hateful things. It helps me retain hope for humanity.

Photo from Guidepost Travel.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Link Roundup or What to do when writer’s block strikes.

I haven’t been feeling particularly well the last couple of days. I’m hoping it’s morning sickness’s last hurrah before getting lost for good due to my newfound second trimesterness, but I may be the victim of wishful thinking.

Anyway, the point is: I haven’t had much luck figuring out what on Earth to write about. I’ve been cruising the blogosphere in hopes of inspiration, and there have been some great posts recently...just none that have triggered a surge of creativity on my part.

So, I figured I’d cop out and link a few of the interesting ones instead:

Plonkee of Plonkee Money wrote a guest post on Get Rich Slowly about her money fears. She wonders how healthy her belief that money is security really is. I imagine this is pretty common, most especially among those of us who think and/or write a lot about finances. My personal opinion is that it’s a healthier character trait than soothing your emotions through shopping, but it’s still something that may be holding you back from enjoying your life thoroughly.

Generation X Finance posts about a CNN article on a woman in Nevada who is in danger of losing her house, apparently due to repeatedly using her home equity whenever ‘times were tough’. From the looks of things, her idea of tough times differs significantly from those of Gen X’s readers. It’s a good reality check on what your home equity should really be about, and it looks like the lady may be suffering from a skewed set of priorities.

Brip Blap has apparently done some calculating to figure out if college is worth it financially. He’s only posted a teaser so far, but I’ll be checking out his spreadsheet when he publishes it. I’m interested in the variables he’ll use, what the conclusions will be and, let’s face it, I’m an Excel geek and just want to play. I don’t know how it’ll turn out, but I do know one thing for certain: a Bachelor’s degree gained in four years is more financially sound than the same one in eight.

Lynnae from Being wrote a guest post on Blogging Away Debt about the kindness a stranger did her family when she was a child. It’s a heart-warming story that perhaps reminds us of a kindness someone gave us in the past, and hopefully also reminds us to do likewise in the future for someone else.

Ah ha! That’s what I can post about. Stay tuned tomorrow for my near-Christmas tale of a very kind stranger.

Picture from MS Clipart.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Frugality Success

Hah! I've finally managed to convince the three couples we're closest friends with to not exchange Christmas gifts. We've all agreed that we'll just spend time with each other over the holidays and only buy for the kids, which in this group consists of only one so far, and she's only 16 months old, thus pretty easy to satisfy.

It certainly helps that we all now have or are about to start mortgages, and the three sets of them either got married in the past year or are getting married this year. Nothing like excessive financial strain to get people on board with saving money.

So that's $75 successfully knocked off our Christmas budget. I'll leave it as a buffer for now in case we overspend on a few people. If not, I'll ship it into Hubby's student loan in the New Year.


Friday, December 7, 2007

Top referring domains - November

I’ve noticed that quite a few bloggers out there take a moment to thank other bloggers who have been responsible for driving traffic to their sites. This seems like a nice idea, so I’m going to try instituting it (roughly) monthly on (or around) the day I post my net worth.

My top five non-search engine referring domains for the last 30 days were:

1. Canadian Capitalist – Ran a very interesting blog birthday contest, and kindly linked to my (and others) entry. Happiness is a traceable spike in visitors. Happiness is also a well-rounded finance blog geared to your own country.

2. Brip Blap – Steve’s “Life, simply improved” blog is often such a good read it almost makes up for not being Canadian. ;) Lots of helpful stuff here: finance, parenting, career inspiration, weight loss, being a good partner...and a bunch of stuff I’m no doubt forgetting.

3. Quest for Four Pillars – to be fair, Mike and Mr. Cheap’s excellent Canadian personal finance blog (The Baby Expenses section alone is worth a look if you’re about to be or thinking of becoming a parent) might have ranked higher if I’d been bright enough to enter my link correctly when I started posting comments on it. Thanks for the heads up, Mike.

4. Canadian Dream: Free at 45 – Great stuff if you’re thinking of retiring early, or just want to be more in touch with your goals, true needs and finances. He's got me trying to figure out how early I could retire.

5. Clawing our way to financial health – Wooly Woman’s blog is about her and Mr. Wooly’s struggles to get out of a substantial amount of student and other debt. They’re chugging along farily well. Plus, she’s pregnant too, which makes her site that much more interesting for me.

Thanks to all of the above for either directly posting a link to my blog, or for having posts interesting enough to inspire me to comment repeatedly.

Procrastination pays off - for once

Two years ago at Christmas, my mother gave me a very nice pair of pants. They were attractive, expensive, warm and suitable for work. The only problem with them was that they were fall-off-my-hips too big.

I meant to exchange them, but I forgot until it was too late. I meant to sell them on eBay, but I was too lazy. I meant to donate them to the Salvation Army or Goodwill, but I was too cheap.

So they sat in my closet. I even moved with them last year, again meaning to sell or donate them but never getting around to it.

The upside of all this laziness and procrastination is that now that my waist is starting to thicken and my regular pants are getting too tight, these wool trousers are now not only staying on, they’re pretty comfortable. I figure I can probably get about two months wear out of them before I’m too big. Sweet! That’s one less set of maternity pants I have to buy in the near future.

The only remaining downside is that a closer look at the label reveals them to be dry clean only. Well, that won’t be a problem as long as I don’t spill my decaf on -- Ah, crap.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

This month’s net worth

Okay. Time to crack out the statements and spreadsheets and figure out where all our money is. You can see all the numerical figures on my NetworthIQ profile for December 2007.

As for the highlights and excuses...


  • The emergency fund is down, since I used much of it to get rid of Hubby’s obnoxious PSL.
  • Cash on hand is up a bit since a couple of our utility bills didn’t clear until after month end.
  • We contributed $300 to our RRSPs, though most of that was negated by the market downturn. It'll go back up eventually.
  • My stocks are also down a bit for the same reason.


  • Hubby’s PSL is gone, finished, zip, nada, nothing. My student loan is down to $27.25. I still have to call them to see how to close it out properly. We sent $814 to Hubby’s CSL in November.
  • Because we pay our mortgage biweekly, it received 3 payments last month, and so decreased by $841.
  • The credit card spending is down. Note that we pay the full balance every month on this, so even though I’ve listed it as a debt (which it is), we’re not paying interest.

Current net worth:


All in all it was a very productive month. Two student loans are (practically) gone. An extra payment went to the mortgage. We spent less. Not bad at all. Too bad I can’t get paid three time every month.

We're on track to reach my net worth goal of $10,000 by year-end.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The world at large is aware

I had my first ultrasound this morning. It was cool to finally see the little being that all this fuss is about. S/he graciously gave a well-timed full-body wiggle during the ultrasound, which was very exciting. It moves! It’s alive! I’m actually pregnant and not just ill!

So, now that I’ve reached the 12 week mark I’ve bitten the bullet and told everyone at work. My boss knew a few weeks ago when my symptoms and doctors’ appointments were starting to interfere with my job, but now it’s general knowledge. It’s a bit surreal. I’ve already started to get parenting advice; one person has informed me that I’m having a boy based on the angle the legs seem to be at in (side view) the ultrasound. Yeah. Sure. I’m guessing she’s got, oh, about a 50% chance of being right.

Next step: Scan ultrasound photo and send to grandparents-to-be.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Weekend report - The family has been informed

This weekend was fairly productive in one way, and quite unproductive in another.

I spent Saturday morning cooking up a nice lunch for all four of our parents. I winged together a Shepherd’s Pie using beef and Portobello mushrooms in a red wine gravy (alcohol carefully boiled off, extra wine fed to the guests so I wasn’t stuck with an open bottle I can’t drink). It turned out very well and I’ll have to write it down so I can do it again.

I ended up taking the advice of Steve (Brip Blap) and Mike (Four Pillars) and just blurting out that we were pregnant the second they were all together in the living room. I had wanted to have something special prepared for them, but this worked just as well and was a heck of a lot easier.

Everyone was very excited and they had a nice chat reminiscing about Hubby and I when we were babies and what it was like to be about-to-be parents. Let’s just say pre-natal and newborn parenting guidelines have changed significantly since the 70s.

After lunch we phoned our grandmothers. Mine was ecstatic and we spent a good long time chatting about it. Hubby’s said ‘that’s nice, congrats’ and then told him to tell his parents she’d received the parcel she’d been expecting. She’s never been one for letting the little things get in the way of what’s important to her. I found it hilarious (and predictable). Mom-in-law was quite embarrassed, poor thing.

We were then taken out for a very nice steak dinner, where I discovered that 90% of the appetizers are on the ‘no-eat’ list. Pass that bread and water, would you, Steve? The French onion soup seemed safe enough (and was delicious), and I had a very nice (medium, instead of my preferred rare) steak. I had a deep, hearty sniff of Dad-in-law’s after-dinner Port in recompense.

Sunday I’d planned to go and get started on the much-procrastinated Christmas shopping, but I decided to sleep through it instead...oops. Guess that’ll have to be next weekend.