Friday, March 23, 2007


In Which I Am A Guest in My Own House...

The Masthead has gone remote tonight. For a change, we're reporting from a portion of the Magazine Mansion you don't usually hear from: the guest room.

Yes, sports fans, I'm sleeping here tonight--possibly longer than tonight--but it's not for reasons you'd think. I'm not in trouble--at least, no more than usual. It's just that Her Lovely Enormously Pregnant Self (Version 3.0) has reached the end stage and it's never pretty. I mean that in an attitudinal way, of course--HLEPS is never so lovely as she is when she's bearing my children. But she's reached a point where she's ready to start pushing yet she's still some weeks away from anything approaching dilation. That doesn't mean that she's not supremely uncomfortable. She's also tired from lack of sleep (HLEPS is a stomach sleeper, so pregnancy is always hard on her beauty rest), her hip ligaments have loosened to the point where she's unsteady on stairs and inclines, the backs of her legs are killing her. The only comfortable position she can find is when she's lying slightly on her side, arms and legs spread, with a giant pillow stuffed under her equally giant stomach. As you can imagine, this takes up most of the bed. We have a queen-size, thank God, but last night, she kept hitting me in the kidneys with her feet and knees and then huffing at me to move as though no other spouse in the world would be so inconsiderate as to kick her in the knees with his kidneys. So finally, I said, "You know, I could make up the bed in the guest room and sleep there so you could have this one to yourself." Which I said in a kind of joking way. But then she looked up at me with those teary eyes of hers and said, "Really? Okay." So here I am.

As requests from my pregnant wife go, this really isn't that extreme (that honor would go to the time I caught the manager of our local Dairy Queen in the parking lot at 10 o'clock one October night and groveled until he opened back up so I could bring two Blizzards back to HLEPS (Version 1.0). And I had to make them myself). And to be perfectly honest, it's nice here. Staying in a different part of the house is always a bit exciting and novel, like getting to sit in the back of the van with the kids instead of driving. Blaze certainly was pleased to see the door to the guest room open for a change. He LOVES the guest room, associating it as he does with my parents, who of course stay there when they visit, and who of course let him sleep on the bed with them.

It's kind of exciting to come up on the final few weeks of what will almost certainly be our last pregnancy, but it's kind of hard too. This is always a difficult phase because this is the time when HLEPS starts to dwell on all the things that are less than perfect in her life and you can bet yours truly is at the top of the hit parade. I try to let all of this roll off my back, and in my experience, HLEPS tends to feel enormously guilty and apologetic afterwards. But I'm no idiot. There's a lot of truth to what she says, and on some level she means a good bit of it.

So for those of you who have tended to view my self-effacing manner as some kind of attempt to be cute and endearing, let me set you all straight with the top 5 on HLEPS's hit parade of my greatest faults:

I am a nigh-faithless heathen. It's true: Despite my confirmation credentials marking me as a Soldier of Christ, I came from a half-Catholic family where the Catholic half wasn't so Catholic to begin with. We almost never went to church. I have catalogued some of my struggles with the faith elsewhere, so the fact that I still attend Mass with my family is an impressive shift and one that my wife should feel proud to have accomplished. After all, it was through her example that I began to reconsider certain aspects of Catholicism and managed to overcome a significant amount of cynicism in order to be with her Sunday mornings. But it's still not enough. I offend her when I joke that I'm giving up self-restraint for Lent; it rankles that I don't jump right up and volunteer to do more at our church.

I am pretty useless around the house. Despite a few examples over the years, HLEPS is at this juncture left with the overwhelming impression that I am a lazy slug who can't bestir himself to do what few minor jobs around the house she's asked me to tend to. Selections from that list of minor jobs include cleaning the garage; painting the stairwell; fixing the screen door at the front of the house; measuring, cutting and installing all-new trim-boards throughout the kitchen; replacing the screen on the back door (the one that Blaze punched out a while back. Okay, a long while back); fixing a crack in the insulating back wall of the fireplace; patching a finger-sized hole in the guest room wall (which Thomas did when he rammed his Thumb of Steel through the drywall, and which I can see clearly at this very moment); repainting the exterior of the house; grubbing up two stumps from the back yard, including the one from the tree that fell over last summer; and taking my turn cleaning the bathrooms. That's just the first third of the list, by the way.

I am practically an invalid. Between my bad back and my more recent bout with pneumonia and the fairly recent development of my doctor prescribing a minor beta blocker for what is turning out to be some fairly impressive high blood pressure for a man my age, HLEPS feels that I have one foot in the grave, and it wears on her, to the extent that I can't complain about so much as a tension headache or a stubbed toe without her rolling her eyes and mentally adding it to the list of Things Wrong with Him. Hmm, wonder why my blood pressure is so high...

I overindulge the children. To be specific: I am constantly (read: at least once a week) bringing home toys, DVDs and other assorted swag for them. This is one of the perks of working for a Really Big Magazine. I get a metric shitload of free stuff. Now, the vast majority of this stuff--a solid 97 percent, at least--never makes it home. I slough it off on coworkers, or mail it out in vast boxes to friends (of which a few readers here have been appreciative recipients). So my kids get a very small fraction of the actual amount of stuff I could be giving them. Nevertheless, HLEPS says it's too much. Apparently, the only way to reverse this is if I stop bringing things home altogether.

I overindulge the dog. I let him sit on the couch with me. I let him sleep on the Brownie's bed. I let him eat leftover food that would otherwise be thrown out. I make him omelets and other food for performing minor good deeds. Meanwhile, I've allowed his training to lapse, to the extent that he barely responds when either one of us tries to speak to him in his language. Most of this is pure exaggeration, mind you. But I suppose that last one is true. I just tried to Grraaaagh! at him while he was laying next to me, eating from a bowl of leftover quiche, and he barely gave me a second look.

Hmm, maybe there's a reason I'm in the guest room after all.

From Somewhere on the Masthead

May HLEPS sleep well with you out of the bed. Having been an EPS and a belly sleeper I commiserate.
You'd think she'd know better than to ask you to dig up stumps when she's pregnant.

After waht happened last time.
Me too (pregnant belly sleeper). And had my husband even joked about sleeping elsewhere, I'd have considered it a legit offer and accepted before he could back out of it. Well, as long as he could return in the morning to help me out of bed. It wasn't pretty.
And don't feel remotely bad if you don't think you've helped out enough. There's about to be more than enough work for two adults!
Hey MM. My doctor has been bugging me about my blood pressure also (it's borderline high, which is new for me.) However, I think I can cure it if I get off my lazy ass, exercise, and lose some of the weight I put on since I moved. Oh well. Getting older is such fun!

Your honey-do list reminds me of one of the (few) advantages of apartment fix-it jobs.
If your wife thinks you overindulge the kids I bet, I guarantee the kids disagree, and at this point, they outnumber her in any vote.
Hey—at least you help with the cleaning of the bathroom. That is no small feat.
Enjoy your sleep MM, as you know you will soon be missing out on it with the arrival of the baby. So you better rest up.
And as one of the lucky ones to receive items from your basement of crap give away,(thank you again) son is still enjoying those Leggos he plays with them at least once a week. Oh yeah when is the next basement of crap of give away?
HLEPS most surely has a list (somewhere) entitled "Top 10 Reasons NOT to Kick MM to The Curb".

Just don't ask to see it until after the Little Cupcake is here, and you are out of the doghouse, er guestroom.

Keeping all y'all in our prayers...

T. :)
Poor, MM, this is a always a tough time. This too shall pass. I will wear the T-shirt that you sent me as often as possible as a sign of commiseration. Just think, 6 months from now you'll be looking back and laughing about this.
MM, I'm sure you know just how much HLEPS loves and appreciates you. Having next experienced pregnancy (but have been lucky to witness close friends), I can't give you any advice but this: Next time you think about that list (of reasons why you're not perfect), remember that somewhere is a long list of reasons about why you're perfect for HER.

Somewhere under "loving and dedicated husband and father", will be "willing to sleep alone in the guest room just to help out".

Sleep well
Guest room huh? HLEPS, the poor woman, must be miserably uncomfortable. I hope she gets the rest she needs and so do you-
Can you write a "how to" book for husbands? When I was preggers, I was the one who got sent to the couch. If I wasn't so enormous and moved about as fast as a galopagos turtle, I would have drop kicked my husband into the next week!
I kind of want to hug HLS for being so grateful for something like sleep. God, being pregnant has to be hard!
You're lucky your carcass isn't in the garage, dude.

Tee-hee, j-k, j-k. Good luck with the impending young-un.

Best of luck as the time approaches. You know that you and yours are always in my prayers.
As editor of GNMParents, I heartily endorse the indulging of the children. They deserve it, you know it.
My poor wife's feet and hands swelled up "Hamburger Helper" hands style in the eigth month of her second pregnancy. I spent many a night on the couch.
So when's the approximate due date?

I tagged you, for an award, over at my place. Check it out and see if you'd like to accept. Thanks!

Hey gang, it's been a while. Does anyone know the due date for the MM household's newest member?

I am starting to get itchy with no MM posts.. knowing that the impending blessed event could be any day now.

I wish you all the best,MM, and HLEPS, Thomas and The Brownie (and of course, Blaze, who now gets another little soul to guard).
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