Monday, May 11, 2009

How I came to be a mother...the long version

So thinking back yesterday about Mother's Day and Marielle's birthday, which is fast approaching, I thought I'd just write a bit about how I came to be a mother...

I didn't get married until I was 33. I had a fine time being single and saw no need to "settle down". But then I met Ralph and we were friends for quite a while and eventually it turned into romance and we got married.

We wanted to buy a house (no easy feat in California) before we even thought about having a child. We did buy a house.... a total piece of crap (known as a "fixer upper). To give you an idea of just how crappy it was, the day we took over the property, the granddaughter, who handed over the keys said to me, "I meant to have the carpets cleaned but didn't get around to it. I know it smells in here. Grandpa's ostomy bag often leaked and it was just too much trouble sometimes to clean it up". I took one look at Ralph and later said, "I don't care if we live off of concrete, those rugs are coming up before we move in".

As it was, we planned to renovate the bathroom, which was full of dry rot, before we moved in, so we had a dumpster coming the next day. Well, we wound up filling that dumpster with the rugs in the house and the crap they left behind and not even touching the bathroom. Everything you could imagine was left behind in the house....from old rusty BBQ's filled with coals and ash, to rotted outdoor furniture, with all kinds of bugs living in the cushions, old furniture, tons of old wine bottles, saved for God knows what....just tons o' crap.

We had 30 days rental remaining on the house we were living in and in those 30 days we got the bathroom remodeled (barely) and the hardwood floor down in the bedroom and part of the living room. The rest of the flooring was bare concrete the day we moved in. We both worked full time in those 30 days and I spent my evenings patching, sanding and painting every wall in the house. Ralph ripped out the bathroom, down to the studs and took out a linen closet and enlarged the bathroom.

The day of the move, we still didn't have the toilet installed and Ralph's answer to that was to go 2 blocks down and use the gas station, which didn't fly with me at all, so I got up at 6 am and painted the bathroom (first primed the new drywall, then painted) so he would install the toilet, which he wouldn't install until the paint was dry.

And so we moved into our new home....and for the next 2 years we worked on getting it into a decent shape. It took all my salary and much of our free time to do it. We remodeled the kitchen, got the hardwood into the rest of the house, got the front and back yard in decent shape, all while we both worked full time and Ralph drilled in the reserves.

Then Ralph left his job because of stress and the new job he got ended 3 months later in a lay off. It took a while but he wound up going back on active duty in the Coast Guard, on a one year contract. At least he had a job, even if it was for only 1 year. That one year contract, by the way, turned into an 8 year job, one year at a time.

As time went by, we decided to add onto the house, pushing the front forward and adding a dining room and enlarging the living room. The house was 900 sq. feet when we bought it and 1200 sq. feet after the addition. That took our time, energy and money as well, since we did the entire addition by ourselves. It was a fun time, though, because we played "how can we make our house look custom on the least amount of money". We found killer cabinets on sale for $5000, they had been a display set and Ralph came running in one day while I was visiting with my mom and said, "Hop in the car, now, we have to go" and so off we went with my mom. Ralph thought they were "the ones" but didn't want to lay out the money until I had seen them.

Anyway, time was marching on and the next thing you know, I was almost 40. Not impossibly old, but it was time to get serious. We knew that we would need ART (assisted reproductive technology) to get me pregnant, but let's face it...when it's not just a romp in the hay that gets you pregnant, when you have to sit down and plan and have money and go to the doctor's, well, it's a whole different story. I mean, how many people have to actually sit down and plan, sock money away, etc. to have a family? I think it's very different than "the norm"

Ok, stopping here...more to come....


  1. I think I know the rest. That part was interesting. I didn't know about your house.

  2. Ohhhh, we have the same house story...only we had to move out of our apt and into the hosue while we worked on it...I totally cleaned our bedroom but the kitchen was sooooo gross...maggots in the stove....I know you get the picture because it sounds like your house...only a little bigger which meant more crap left in it! The Tiki Room had an orange naugahyde bar in it...with a ton of plastic birds, ferns and palm trees...all covered with spider webs, dust and dog poop...hence the current Tiki Room- without the gunk! AND I was about gagging on the dog pee smell in the carpets we tore out!- Can't wait to hear more of your story...perhaps I will do my house story too...thanks for the idea :)