First there was the fact that neither of us will be technically employed when the baby joins our family. But this is typically the case for every hockey family until potential contract options for the upcoming season arrive in early summer. So, with this tiny little insignificant detail being temporarily outside of our control, our most pressing quandary was where we were going to live.
We knew we had to remain in Connecticut until the baby arrives since that is where I am currently insured. But we do not own a house, and renting is too complicated for a mobile couple. We do not have a definitive 6-month plan, and, therefore, cannot commit to renting in one place over another should an internship or job opportunity come up elsewhere. Not to mention the fact that we would be in the market for a furnished apartment, a commodity that is tough to come by when a big dog and little baby are part of the family.
So, yes, on paper our current circumstances probably read as less than ideal for Baby R’s arrival. And, sometimes, thanks mostly to sporadic surges of pregnancy hormones, I was vulnerable to this perspective myself. A large amount of unknowns in anyone’s life is bound to be somewhat overwhelming, right? Thankfully, we have an amazing circle of support. And we are fortunate that a room became available at one of my all-time favorite places…
It is one place that will always feel like home, no matter how much time passes between visits. To top it off, the rent is free, home-cooked meals are prepared on site, the landlords are lovely, and the girl occupying the room next door isn’t bad either. There is plenty of parking, though assigned spots are subject to change on a nightly basis. The only expectations, as declared by our “neighbor” are that the shower curtain be closed after showers are taken and the bathroom counter be clear of clutter at all times. Mrs. Landlord only asks not to run the water while doing dishes, and to always store food products beyond the reach of the elderly Labrador Retriever that guards the property and demands to be pet by anyone occupying her couch, or any other piece of furniture in the house. Mr. Landlord asks that all garbage cans be lined with a plastic bag and silverware be loaded categorically into the dishwasher (after being thoroughly rinsed of course). Small requests for room and board in a home so full of love and memories…
I thought that moving back in with my parents at 26 and pregnant would make for some twilight-zone worthy adjustments. After all, I hadn’t lived in my hometown since the summer after my freshman year at UNH, nearly eight years before. And here I was going home with a husband, a dog, and a baby on the way. But as it turns out, it’s not so hard coming home. The transition has gone rather smoothly for me. I mean, beyond shutting the refrigerator door between visits and turning down the heat during the day, there’s not much I have to do to avoid eviction.
But just because the adjustment has gone so smoothly on my end doesn’t mean the same is true for all members of the household. There have been a couple “instances” that illuminate how the dynamics of a household change upon the introduction of a new roommate.
First, there was a medicinal mishap. When I was packing for my return to the States, I downsized my Calcium supplements from their BJ’s-sized bottle to a smaller, empty bottle of Ibuprofen. While unpacking, I placed them alongside my bottle of pre-natals in the vitamin cabinet in the kitchen. Nearly a month later, my dad learned why the “Ibuprofen” he’s been taken hasn’t been helping his headaches. He spotted me taking what would have been the largest dosage of Ibuprofen ever produced if it weren’t a calcium supplement, and he asked worriedly if painkillers were safe during pregnancy.
Then, there was a little mix-up in the bathroom closet. Storage space is tough to come by in any house. Somehow, my mother magically opened up an entire shelf in the bathroom for our use. I carefully arranged my products in bins, leaving space for the dog’s supplies as well as the husband’s. One evening, I noticed the dog brush on the bathroom counter when it is usually on the shelf in the bin with the frontline medications and heartworm pills. Strange, I thought, as I reached to put it back in it’s place. That’s when I noticed my youngest sister’s hair tangled in the bristles! As if the idea of my sister brushing her hair with a dog brush wasn’t funny enough, I told my dad the story and he admitted to using the brush too. What’s better is he seemed disappointed that the brush was for canines. “It’s got a great ergonomically-designed handle,” he said with a laugh.
I am sure that, when Kevin arrives, there will be a short period of adjustment while we rearrange to have another adult in the house. The residents will get used to odor of his hockey equipment in the garage and he will (eventually) adapt to the bathroom etiquette established by my sister. And then, the baby will come, and we will need to make even bigger changes. My live-in sister drew parallels between our impending housing situation and that of the family portrayed on Full House. She stopped with a laugh at her own parallels with “Uncle Joey”. Clearly entertained by the idea of our lives as a TV show, she later suggested that our youngest sister move back home so that we could turn this all into a reality TV opportunity.
All jokes aside, I am sure that we will think fondly of the time we shared with my family when we figure out our plans for the summer and make arrangements for living elsewhere. I am just hoping that they will view the craziness of our full house in the same light.