For those of you keeping score at home, today is one month from Baby Boy Darwin's due date. I've been going through a spurt of nesting energy (powered, no doubt, by Friday's impending 36-week deadline for having homebirth supplies in order). After five years here, we've replaced the disintegrating blinds in our bedroom. I've changed the a/c filters and vacuumed the fan blades, scrubbed the shower, and am eyeing the weekend sales for new towels. I have a washed stack of baby boy clothes that have nowhere to go. My baby shower is next weekend.
Oh, and after three fruitless attempts with the parish secretary, I finally went straight to Father, who had no problem in assuring me that we could count on our baptismal date. Lesson learned: following the rules is for schnooks; the only way to get things done is to pull strings. And for those who are feeling impeded, here are the relevant excerpts from canon law and the Catechism (my emphasis):
Can. 867 §1. Parents are obliged to take care that infants are baptized in the first few weeks; as soon as possible after the birth or even before it, they are to go to the pastor to request the sacrament for their child and to be prepared properly for it. (To the pastor, note; not to the secretary.)
1250 Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called.50 The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.51
The floor is also finished, and I'd love to post pictures except that in all the chaos we lost the cord to the digital camera. There are still some fiddly bits of trim to be nailed up, caulked, and painted (which means that there's still a stack of molding sitting on the living room floor), but overall, the house is getting back to usable condition. There's still some assorted furniture in random places. However, the important thing is that we have the couch back. One of the unexpectedly difficult parts of the flooring process was having nowhere to sit. And our books are slowly being reshelved, which means the bookcases look settled again and we can reclaim the bedroom floor space that the boxes occupied.
We've had a lot of people tell us, "Oh, we're thinking about putting down hardwood floor one day too!" Overall, we're quite glad we did it ourselves as we must have saved at least $4000 in labor costs, but here are some considerations for those thinking about undertaking the process.
1) How great a tolerance do you have for chaos? I don't mean clutter or even mess; I mean the house torn up for weeks on end, nothing accessible or where it should be, the dust and debris tracked all over, the bones of the house exposed. If you're one of those people who don't like their routine disrupted, this is not a job for you.
2) How well do you and your spouse work together? Darwin and I make a good team and find that we prefer to work on a huge job like this with each other rather than with outside help. We also don't carp and snipe at each other. However, if you and your spouse have even a mild tendency to pettiness, snapping, making biting remarks at each other's expense, or get moody, then don't jeopardize your marriage by throwing yourselves into a huge home renovation project from which you can't escape.
3) What about the children? Although our marriage didn't suffer, we did feel like our parenting slipped several notches. Although we tried to let the girls help with little tasks at their level, we were nervous and short-tempered with them underfoot. Although we had several generous friends take the girls for stretches, this kind of job goes much faster without the small fry getting into things. (Let's not even talk about my fears over the nail gun.) As neither of us have family living within a thousand miles, this was a more difficult and time-consuming job than it would have been with dedicated baby-sitting. Fortunately, the children are resilient and will probably remember this as a fun time when they got to play with scraps of wood and tear up the carpets with impunity.
4) Are you pregnant? Hey, I did my fair share, but moving around grew increasingly difficult -- not to mention the contraction scare at 30 weeks... The difficulty is not necessarily in getting down and doing the work, it's in getting up again. Some of my finishing work that involves dragging myself along the floor (caulking, painting) is looking rather onerous to me right now.
But! Although the floor ate our summer, we have a floor! And it looks pretty darn good. And I'd post pictures, but I can't find the cord to the camera...