On Saturday, we'll be hosting a meeting/party for this pregnancy/post-pregnancy support group thing my wife belongs to. Okay, I guess I belong to it too. Not that I need support or anything. I've got this shit dialed in. So does Dr. Mom, of course, but she read a study somewhere about expectant moms in Sweden having better outcomes when they joined a group, so she hit up the internets and made it happen.
Now that everybody in this group has had their babies, it turns into a pretty good opportunity for baby socialization. But almost everyone lives too far away from us for it to be a regular playgroup.
I think we are the only family in the group that has not hosted an event. Until recently, we always had the excuse that the house was under construction. But now that major construction operations are complete (Mission Accomplished!), we can no longer shirk our responsibility.
It was almost a year ago now that I finally got the permits (Building Department, Historical Society, FAA for cryin' out loud, etc.) and started working on the addition. When we found out Dr. Mom was pregnant with twins, that's when we called our architect friends and started the whole process. During the months of permit gathering, I can't count how many bureaucrats (with whom I invariably played the my-wife-is-pregnant-with-twins card to expedite the process) shook their heads and pointed out that I would never get this thing built before the babies arrived. Of course they were correct, but we had been trying to get pregnant for a while, and didn't want to jinx it by building a big addition before there were any buns in the oven. Plus, you know, twins. We maybe could have lived in 800 square feet with one kid, but not with two.
So in the past year, I tore this crummy old bootleg addition off the back of the house, built a two story, 800 sq foot addition with two bathrooms, a laundry room, a master bedroom, and an all purpose family room that is now filled with babies and their junk. I also had to change the whole electrical system, installing two panels and burying the main power line. And with help from a friend, I added air conditioning and heat, which we previously did not have. Did I mention that this house was just a slightly tarted-up shack when we bought it? Then I reconfigured the kitchen so that it was twice as big as before. I got subcontractors to do the plumbing, the foundation, and the sheetrock, and I hired a day laborer for a few weeks, and our families helped out when they came to visit. But other than that it was all me. I'm not going to pretend that I don't think I'm pretty cool for having done all this stuff.
We lived on this construction site all during Dr. Mom's pregnancy and for the first 7 months or so of the twins' post-natal existence. While Mom was at work, the girls napped in their nursery (which is really a walk-in closet, or will be once they move out) as I installed siding with a nail gun on the other side of the wall, baby monitor hanging on the scaffolding. When they started fussing, I would clamber down, change clothes, and get all nurture-y.
Now, the inside of the house is--I don't think I even need to qualify this anymore--done. The outside is also done except that it needs paint. And landscaping. And a handrail on the deck. Once I get the handrail up, I can get my final inspection and we can legally move into the addition (where we have been sleeping for the last six months).
I should not be worried about hosting this party on Saturday. I'm sure that, although our guests will be coming from affluent suburbs and sparkling condos, they will appreciate our funky neighborhood, the vagrants in the alley, the dirt/rock/concrete/scrap metal pile behind our house, and our neighbors' even more dreadful yard. All I need to do is be a good hausfrau and tidy up, cook up a big mess of pulled pork BBQ, and make the jell-o shooters. The house is good to go. There's one more trick I'm going to try on the carpet to eliminate the the remaining odor from last week's dogshit debacle (we soaked it in vinegar and re-shampooed it, which makes it smell not like shit, but kind of like someone left a mincemeat pie on the landing for a week or two). Maybe I could make some kind of gesture toward child-proofing. Put tape over the outlets or something. Make a sign that says, "Don't let your child out on the deck or the scaffolding or the rubble pile or near the nervous incontinent giant dog. Rusty saw blades are not toys."