>Hello all, today marks the end of my first week of maternity leave. I wish I could say that I took it easy.

On Monday, 11/3, after the Sunday rains, there was an unpleasant musty smell coming from our kitchen. Since I didn’t want to breathe in the odor, I decided it was laundry day! So I hauled our unmentionables and new baby clothes & towels over to my old apartment to my own washing machine. I hung out at my sister’s apt. all day chatting with friends online. After two loads of washing and drying, and walking up and down two flights of stairs each time, I wasn’t exhausted enough so I ran some errands. Why must Trader Joe’s parking lot be so tiny? I swear, with running in for one item, I spent more time trying to maneuver my way through the dollhouse-sized parking lot.

On Tuesday, 11/4, I walked about a half-mile to my polling place and stood in line for 45 minutes…and that was just to get inside the church. Once inside, the kind polling people took one look at me and said they didn’t need a pregnant lady standing in line, so they let me sit down. Thirty minutes later, I finally made it to the front of the line, and cast my votes. Then I had the dreaded half-mile walk home. I don’t know what I was thinking of walking that far in my condition — “I’m just 9 months pregnant…big deal.” I obviously overextended myself because as soon as I arrived home, I finished off the half of our large size container of hummus with some chips, and crawled into bed for three hours. When I woke, my feet were pounding and achey. I guess I deserved that…

On Wednesday, 11/5, I drove 30 minutes to our local Ikea to pick out a chair for the baby’s room. I found the perfect one and gleefully made my way to their self-service warehouse. I discovered my perfect chair was in pieces in a box weighing almost 50 lbs., and I swear, almost 5′ x 4′. I know I’m freakishly strong with my Eastern European strength, but I know my limits. Andy was going to have to get involved. On my drive home, I grew so hungry and ravenous that I scarfed down a chicken kabob and two slices of well-buttered toast in less than 2 minutes (damn you pregnancy low blood sugar). And once again, I’d found that I’d overexerted myself and was soon napping. Two hours later, Andy called and woke me up. I was on speakerphone, surrounded by all of his work friends, while they threw him a surprise baby shower. I musty admit I felt a bit on-the-spot to be charming and witty, but I handled it ok…I think. Thank you Andy’s work friends for being so generous and nice people! At 6pm I put myself back in the car and drove out to Andy’s work so we could pick up the Ikea chair. We moved the shower gifts from his car to mine, and followed each other to Swede Furniture Land. Before we purchased the chair we ate a traditional Swedish Furniture dinner — Andy had the meatballs, I had the salmon with apple glaze. Not too bad for furniture store food… After 10 minutes of watching Andy struggle (successfully!) to get the elephant-sized box into the car, we departed and met each other at home.

Thursday, 11/6, (today I’m officially 39 weeks) I decided NOT to leave the house except for the morning doctor’s appointment — I’d had enough exhaustion for one week. At the doctor’s office we confirmed that we’re having a girl, and that she could come anytime. My nesting instinct obviously doesn’t care how tired I get, because I soon found myself ripping open the Ikea box and putting together the Karlstad chair, all my myself. I promise that I took breaks and ate snacks here and there. It came together pretty well, I must say. After that, I cleaned out a bathroom cabinet that was full of hotel shampoos & lotions, expired medicines, unused hair products, and band aids that hadn’t been touched since 2001. I cleared a shelf for baby towels and shampoos on the bottom shelf.

And today I sincerely am taking it easy. Ok, fine… I spent the morning cutting down the Ikea box and bringing the pieces to the recycling container, but that’s truly it. Oh, and I tried to hang up a picture in the baby’s room but the wire on the back of the frame broke. That was a sign to stop. Now I’m relaxing, lying in bed typing this. I might even take a nap.