Police ponderings

You know that moment when you’re out for a leisurely drive, enjoying the radio and not really having a care in the world, when all of a sudden, you look in the rear view mirror and see there’s a police car following you?

That’s never good.

Even if you’re being a perfectly well-behaved law-abiding citizen – hands on 10 and 2, no distractions, and doing the posted speed limit – things automatically become tense.

Here’s a question for you, though; what happens when the person driving that police car happens to be your spouse?

If I had considered it before it actually happened to me, I may have thought that it would be a little easier to see that it was Mr. B back there. He knows my insurance is up-to-date and that I do, in fact, own my car, for example, so he wouldn’t need to pull me over to check my documents. I have an idea of what his tolerance is for speeding and that I was well within it, and he and I both know that I haven’t had a drop of alcohol for the last eight months. Well, eight days. Eight hours.  A sip here and there is fine, okay?

The point is, I was driving to a medical appointment today – an hour drive along the highway – and my husband and his coach officer pulled out behind me on the road and followed me for about twenty minutes.

Sure enough, I tensed up. It was rather disconcerting.

When I relayed this story to people I knew at the doctor’s office – did I mention it’s all small towns around here? – they laughed at me and told me I didn’t need to worry. And I mean, I guess they were right – he didn’t pull me over, after all.

But when I got home, I told my husband that I had been nervous. He laughed, then told me that he had, in fact, asked his coach whether he could pull me over.

Thank goodness his coach has been married long enough to know the right answer.

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Maternity leave? More like maternity achieve

After I told her I was taking my maternity leave early – at least a month earlier than most women would consider stopping work, probably – someone asked me, incredulous, “What will you DO all day?”

On one hand, I was a little offended. People who don’t work can still be productive members of society, I thought. I can still contribute to life around me. I can still matter. I can DO all kinds of things.

But on the other hand, I was wondering the same thing.

Of course, if we hadn’t moved, I wouldn’t be on maternity leave yet. My body is still in pretty good working order, relatively speaking, and my job wasn’t particularly strenuous or hazardous to a pregnant lady. But we did move, and I certainly wasn’t going to find a new job for a few weeks just to leave for a year.

So, maternity leave it is.

And what do I DO all day? So far, more than I ever did while working.

I took the last week off before we moved to sort out all kinds of legal things and financial things and utilities things and other things. (I also signed up for a personal challenge to see how many times I could use the generic, bland, bane-of-my-existence word ‘things’ in a sentence without hating myself. It turns out four was too many.)

I thought I would need to find a new show to watch on Netflix to fill in the time gaps between doing one thing and another, but between all the phone calls, errands, and social engagements, those gaps seemed few and far between.

The week of the move – yes, from start to finish the process took a week – filled itself in without my help, thank you very much.

And since we’ve arrived, I will say without hesitation that I have accomplished a lot of, well, things. Sure, one day I sat down and read an entire book, but that day I also got three rooms in our house completely unpacked and organized. Another day, I did two full coats of paint – trim included – in the baby’s room. I’ve painted the master bedroom (although that was not a solo effort) and baked treats for my husband’s platoon and gone through all the paperwork required to change my name and taken the dogs out to explore this new world around us and assembled lamps and gliders.

I haven’t even really missed having the Internet at home.

(Although, having it back now is good. Very good.)

I’m not sure this keeping busy trend is going to come to a halt any time soon, either. There are a couple more rooms I’d like to paint, plus I could always paint the insides of all of the closets, and maybe the deck. I’d like to clean up the yard and cook lots of extra meals to freeze and drive around all the back roads and plant a vegetable garden.

And once Little Parasite makes her entrance into the world, I have a feeling – although it could be completely unfounded – that I might be even busier.

So I’m left wondering – what did I DO all day before maternity leave?

Good luck with Ganuk

One of our first activities once we got to Cochrane was to visit the Polar Bear Habitat which I had been anticipating since I first found out we were moving to the town.

We got there about half an hour before feeding time – we wanted to make sure we had the chance to look around the gift shop and, more importantly, purchase annual passes so we can return as often as we’d like.

I can’t speak for my husband, but I’d like to return often.

Ganuk made his appearance precisely on time – I have a fine appreciation for punctuality (and for punctuation, but that’s not exactly relevant here). The keeper climbed above the building we were in and tossed half a watermelon into the water directly in front of the window. He seemed extremely hesitant to get wet, but once he hopped in the water, his love of watermelon became clear. He pushed it to the edge of the pool with his nose, then relaxed on the surrounding rocks while devouring all of the fruit. He was never more than 15 feet away from the window.

I was practically in paradise.

We thought it was over and we kind of stood around with stupid smiles on our faces (well, maybe that was just me), but then things got better. The keeper started tossing fish to him, too, and he ate those with almost as much enthusiasm.

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In all, we got to watch him for about 45 minutes before feeding time was done, then he dawdled off.

Again, we thought everything was done, but then the keeper actually came down inside the building. At that point, we were the only people left, and she spent all kinds of time answering our questions. And I had a lot of questions. One of those questions seemed to embarrass my family, but I had no shame.

“I have to ask about his poop,” I told the keeper.

She looked dumbfounded for a second, then realized I was completely serious, and detailed the different textures and colours of Ganuk’s faeces, based entirely on what he eats. I was fascinated. I asked about size and shape, and she seemed eager to provide me with the answers.

And then, a truly magical moment.

“Do you want me to take some pictures and e-mail them to you?”

I didn’t hesitate. I ripped an old receipt out of my purse and scratched down my e-mail address. I handed it over and thanked her profusely.

Well, it had been a week and I hadn’t heard anything. I wondered if she had lost the receipt, or worse, had been feigning enthusiasm about the poop only to mock me later and use my e-mail address for nefarious purposes.

She came through today.

“I’ve been working at the Habitat for six years now and it’s the first time I have been asked that question,” she said. “I will never forget that day.”

She sent along a total of six photos – four of Ganuk’s poop, and two special surprises.

“I also attached two pictures I took of wild black bear poop I found last week while in the bush. I didn’t know if you had seen some before, but I thought I would capture the moment in case you haven’t. As soon as I saw them I was like, ‘Must take picture for girl that loves poop!’ Hahaha let’s just say I’m still laughing at your question.”

She told me about how sometimes Ganuk poops nicely on the floor, and sometimes it “splatters everywhere.” She also detailed his current diet and offered to continue sending me photos.

I am so happy that I’m not even questioning my own sanity.

A (first) day in the life

My husband has his first shift as a provincial constable today. He spent the better part of the last couple days preparing practically and mentally for his role, as I did for mine.

To be fair, his preparations included things like organizing all the expensive gear he might need to subdue criminals (or bears) and reviewing information he’s learned over the course of his training so he knows what he’s actually allowed to pull people over for (as an example, as frustrating as he finds it, drivers not signalling isn’t actually an offense in many situations).

My preparations, on the other hand, included things like hiding the good snacks for today so that he’d have something nice to find in his lunch, if he even gets the chance to eat it.

From when he clocks in to when he clocks out every shift, he is expected to keep a detailed log of all of his activities. I’m fairly certain he has to include details like his whereabouts and even the weather conditions – anything that could possibly be relevant if and when he’s called to court to stand behind a charge he lays (which would likely happen months if not years later).

As for me? Well, I’m almost eight months pregnant, living in a new town nearly 1,000 kilometres from everything I’ve ever known. No one’s really holding me to any standard right now.

Which is why I had a chocolate bar for breakfast.

Still, I feel like keeping a log for myself might be an interesting exercise – or at least a welcome distraction from looking at the clock, counting down the minutes until he will walk back through that door. (As I write this paragraph, we’re only 48 minutes into his shift, and I’ve already lost track of how many times my eyes have darted to the bottom right corner of my computer screen, wondering what he’s up to now.)

Since – thank goodness – no one is likely to ever hold me accountable for my actions today in a court of law, I’m going to start this log at last night and make entries based on what I feel like including and not every detail of the day.

That means you might be spared specifics of any bathroom visits I may or may not experience. If you’re lucky.

May 15

20:05 I start making Mr. B’s lunch. A sandwich is probably ideal, I figure, since it can be eaten on the go, if necessary. But there’s also that container of leftover chicken and rice in the fridge that would probably be very welcome, should he get a few minutes with a microwave. I ponder the conundrum for a few minutes then remind myself that he has a rather large lunch bag (and appetite). Both it is. I open a can of tuna.

20:08 Husband tells me he feels like he’s going to forget something in the morning. I begin making a list of all the things he needs to remember. We get to item number three, and he confesses he has no idea where item number three is. I abandon my lunch preparation station in the kitchen and go to the first place I think of where he may have put it. When looking for things my husband has lost, I have faith in his practicality and go to someplace that makes sense to put it.

I find item number three in under a minute.

20:09 I hand over item number three and discover that husband’s mind is already on a new concern; he needs a haircut. He grabs the electric shaver we bought months ago, thinking it “might come in handy,” and plugs it in for what seems like the zillionth time.

At this point, we’ve already mastered the careful dance that is required of the hair cutter and hair cuttee in the bathroom. Although this is the first haircut in the new house, we manoeuver around each other, the sink, and the toilet automatically – he stands, leans and kneels without me having to ask.

I admire my work. It’s a good haircut.

20:48 After becoming distracted by all the clothes that needed put away in the bedroom, I walk past the kitchen and remember that my husband might like to eat the following day. I resume my sandwich making, surprised that the open can of tuna is still full, considering the two dogs that are constantly on the prowl for any supplementary food they can find.

20:54 I am about to zip up the lunch bag, which now contains both aforementioned main courses as well as a few delicious snacks, when I decide that a supportive note is probably also necessary. I have no idea where the paper is – we still have a lot of boxes left to unpack – so I tear a square off the packing paper that litters every corner of our house. I scribble a quick note for my husband, detailing all of my hopes for his first day on the job – including the hope that someone notices that his wife has written him a note and mocks him for it.

20:58 I tuck the note inside the back, close it up, and put it in the fridge, front and centre, where he surely can’t miss it.

20:59 I head through to the bedroom to finish tidying up, only to find that my husband is already in his pajamas. I guess I should show my support and follow suit.

21:11 I crawl into bed next to Comet, who has somehow again managed to convince my husband that it is good for our marriage to have an 80-lb dog sleep between us every night.

I do my best to snuggle into the other human in the room, and we talk a bit about his hopes for the following day. Despite the remaining daylight still peeking into the room through the blinds – we desperately need to get those curtains up, don’t we? – we agree it’s probably time to sleep. He sets his alarm for a time that makes me shudder, and I ungracefully roll over.

May 16

03:24 Upon returning to the bedroom after my third overnight bathroom break, I realize that Comet has claimed my entire side of the bed as his own. I sigh, grab a pillow, and head to the couch.

05:25 The alarm goes off. I shudder again, but get up as a show of support. I even brush my teeth so that I don’t have morning breath when we kiss goodbye later. Somehow, daylight is already rearing its ugly head.

06:12 After my husband has packed up most of his equipment, I notice his health card still sitting on the dining room table. I suggest that he adds it to his wallet – you know, just in case. He agrees, and I immediately regret the recommendation.

06:14 He misses the lunch bag. I take it out of the fridge and hand it off, leaving him with no free hands to open the door. Against my better judgement, I let him out of the house.

06:16 I blow kisses at him as he drives away. I am embarrassed of my actions and decide I need to be publically shamed. I decide to write a blog post.

07:41 I start writing this post.

08:30 I’m finally caught up on detailing my thrilling life up to this point. The dogs have been fed and have both peed and pooped. I still haven’t showered, but that’s okay – no one’s holding me accountable, remember? Plus, I brushed my teeth at 5:30, so I convince myself I’m actually ahead of the “personal hygiene” game today.

08:34 I open up the can of questionably-orange brown paint (called “Burnt Sugar”) to put a second coat on the walls of the bedroom.

11:41 I realize I haven’t thought about Mr. B’s safety in over an hour. I wonder if this makes me a good wife or a bad one.

12:18 I took several breaks due to legitimate exhaustion, and a few snack breaks guised as breaks due to exhaustion, but I’m done painting the master bedroom. It turns out that just about everything is more difficult when you’re nearly eight months pregnant. Before my mother asks, I will falsely assure all readers that all the furniture moved itself and I did absolutely no lifting to accomplish this task.

12:20 After taking a quick whiff of my armpits, I decide the only living beings who will be able to stand my presence in my current odoriferous state will be the dogs. I put on real pants, leash them up, and take them for a walk.

12:?? I think I hear a loon on my walk. I listen really closely in case it happens again. It does. I really think it’s a loon, and I vow to check if that’s even possible when I get home.

12:59 I return from my walk and immediately open my computer to check about the loon. I remember we don’t have the Internet hooked up yet. I’ll have to check later.

13:19 I finally bathe. You’re welcome, world.

15:08 I set myself up at the only Tim Horton’s for at least 100 km to check and send some emails, catch up on social media, and gather some phone numbers to make some VIP (Very Important Phone calls). I realize this will be my only chance today to publish this blog post, so I decide to do exactly that, despite the fact that it has not been a full day of logging my activity.

I’m not really upset by this fact. This has been a pain in the butt. I have decided I don’t like logging everything I do (which, technically, I haven’t done at all), and that I hope this will be the most demanding challenge my husband faces while on the job.

Don’t worry – I’m sure it will be.

15:20 Before hitting the publish button, I do a quick Google search for loon distribution and migration patterns. Good news – I can confidently say I heard a loon today.

Thank goodness I have these detailed notes as proof.