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In the time before the baby arrives

I wrapped up work last week, concluding with a week that included two days of training to become a Certified ScrumMaster, a discussion-driven talk at an ACM-W chapter, a talk at the Linux Application Summit, and a talk at SeaGL. It was probably too much, but I love what I do and if I’m going to be away from work for four months, I’m absolutely going to make it a dramatic exit! I also had a lot of work to hand off and to complete some projects. I didn’t complete as much as I wanted to, but it really is just four months, one of which will be taken over by the standard holiday slowdown. It was strange for me though. I’ve taken time off between jobs before, but I’ve never taken leave from a job. Even with Adam, I took my maternity leave between jobs. I’m also just generally bad at shutting off. My work is so intertwined with who I am and what interests me, that I can’t just shut off without walking away from social media entirely. So if you’ve seen me talking about mainframes on Twitter this week, you know why! It is a relief to no longer have work obligations though. With doctor appointments becoming more frequent in these final couple weeks, it would have been impossible to keep up with everything.

In these two weeks before I go into the hospital I’m taking time to finish up personal and house projects, write (hello!), and do as much as we can to prepare for the new little one. One of the first things I tackled was finally getting a little bit of art put up in my bathroom. I searched around a lot for something that resonated and came up empty. That’s when I realized that I should just go all in Me and use one of my green streetcar photos (the bathroom is green and purple). It came out better than I expected, I’m really pleased.

We also had some much-needed electrical work done in the kitchen and FINALLY managed to get a vendor to provide a quote for the composite fence we want. Both are big to do list items house-wise, so while boring, it does feel nice to have them move along. The crib is also set up in my home office where it will live while I’m on maternity leave.

I’ve been working to figure out Thanksgiving and Hanukkah plans. We’re going to order a Thanksgiving dinner, but we’re still a bit uncertain as to where from, and stores are already starting to sell out of things and I need to decide soon. Hanukkah will happen after the birth, but I want to be ready with wrapped presents and everything is set up before we go into the hospital, since I know I’ll be too tired and sore to do it after.

Thankfully, the cool weather and rain have started to roll in for the winter. We’ve had clear skies here for a few weeks, but the fire risk has remained high so we’ve had to stay vigilant, with an eye on the air quality. The changing weather should pave the way for the conclusion of fire season, and we’ve been finally able to shut off the air conditioning!

I was also able to bring Caligula into the vet this week. We’re still waiting on some test results, but we’re already seeing some real concerns as he approaches his 17th birthday next month. But one of the hidden benefits of all of us being home bound with this pandemic is that we don’t have any trips interrupting our time with him right now, he never likes it when we’re away for a while.

Speaking of the pandemic, things are getting bad again. We’re sitting here at the beginning of the holiday season (Happy Diwali!) and cases are already rising fast nation-wide. Our county, along with most of California, was quickly thrust back into a more restrictive tier with little notice to try to stem the looming crisis, and hospitals are preparing for a large inrush of patients. It’s a scary time to be preparing for a hospital visit that I can’t avoid. Giving birth is not elective, and it’s quite time-based! Maternity wards are traditionally separate from the rest of the hospital for security and medical safety, and the sanctity of that area will never be compromised, but I do still worry about being in a hospital during what could very well be the worst phase of this pandemic. I think the biggest risk is that I will need emergency care related to the birth after we’re discharged. I hope I can get it if I need it.

The other big news this November has been the election in the US. The Trump administration has caused a considerable amount of heartache, fear, and straight up loss of rights for so many of my loved ones. Living in a state that a sitting president is openly vindictive against has been a roller coaster. Even my own family has been impacted with the rise in anti-Semitic sentiment and crimes nationwide. When MJ and I had a Jewish wedding seven years ago, I happily agreed to raise our children Jewish. I would make the same choice again, but given the political climate today I would have a lot more to consider if I were making the decision again. It’s been a long time since I naive enough to believe we lived in a post-racial society, but living in a coastal bubble with diverse neighbors and doing a lot of international travel for the past decade has wildly skewed my perceptions. As I watched the progressive changes made during the Obama administration to increase access to health care for everyone and extend rights for my LGBTQ+ loved ones, I believed we were moving toward a better future in a unified way. So I was naive enough to believe that. I do still believe the pockets of bigotry are shrinking, and I have hope for the future, but they are tempered with a large dose of reality from these past four years. It was with that optimism that MJ and I went to the polls on November 3rd.

The next several days were nerve-wracking as the initial numbers showed a close race, but with Biden solidly leading at this point, even with impending legal challenges, I feel much better. Biden wasn’t my first choice, and I won’t be shy about voicing my opinion when they inevitably get things wrong, but the freedom to do so is one of the things I love about the United States. Ultimately we have a lot of work to do and we have to be prepared for the long haul. But at least we’ll have a politician who wants to do right by all the American people and won’t be aggressive to states and departments he doesn’t like. I hope to see my sons grow up in a kinder, safer world than we live in today.