At last, the winds of reality have struck and the waters of denial are getting choppy. With 10 weeks to go and no preparations made, D and I may be beginning to wake up to the fact that this is not just another shopping opportunity and that not only are we going to have to purchase one of those buggies we've been comparing but we may actually have to fill it with a baby.
Certain words are now guaranteed to bring me out in Braxton Hick's contractions... words such as 'nursery', 'antenatal', 'classes', 'car-seat' and 'layette' (not to mention 'taxes' another port on the long river of denial). I made the mistake of looking through a catalogue at the section devoted to babies the other day and the sheer weight of crap one is expected to buy is just mind-boggling. Bottles and sterilisers and travel bags and changing mats and nappy buckets and butt-cream and baby baths, night-lights and mobiles and sleep-bags and cushions and monitors and play mats and... well, basically, a long list of things that we've not got, we've not thought about and furthermore don't have room for either.
I have long been campaigning for the damp-proofing of our tiny little corridor of a cellar as I have this dream that I can convert it and have a box-sized, cosy little office down there. D has rightly ridiculed me for this however given the above, we do need a damp-proof storage space. So, I got a quote this week for the work and the resulting figure of £5000 has caused an enormous wave of reality to fling itself over our bow (ok this metaphor has had it) and we are suddenly in preparation mode.
What this means is that we have started scraping 100 years of damp and mortar accretions from the bricks in the cellar and painting them with a damp membrane. We do of course know that the effect of this will be that in about a years time this membrane will be hanging off the wet bricks like a rubber curtain but leave us to our dreams. The plan is to scrub everything, seal the bricks, paint the walls, concrete and seal the floor, install a de-humidifier and hope for the best. At worst, we'll have a dust-proof room down there and at best, somewhere to store all those things that once the blodger arrives will have no home.
So far, so good. It should take a couple of weeks, by the end of which we can celebrate with a fun-for-the-whole-family trip to Ikea to purchase some basement storage units, coat rails and other diversion tactics. After that, of course, we will have no excuse to put anything off anymore and will actually have to order that cot-bed, the car-seat and buy a few outfits (and some for the baby...).
That is, of course, if we don't end up in an episode of 'House' being diagnosed for some un-heard of disease that's been lying dormant in the old mortar of our bricks.
I've been having recurring dreams about 'House' recently - not, sadly, lascivious dreams about Hugh Laurie playing 'Doctor' - but dreams in which I'm strapped to a bed with loads of actors panicking around me, knowing that I'm about to die. Death seems to be appearing a lot in my dreams, I dreamed the other night that my corpse was being pulled out of a bog and before that, that I was dead and drifting alone in the void, surrounded by un-named horrors. I think this is like drawing the 'Death' card in tarot and, rather than some presage of disaster, is merely reality trying to get a look in and telling me that my old life is now coming to an end and a new one beginning.
And, before the bluebirds start twittering round my head and Louis Armstrong launches into 'What a Wonderful World', I have to add that I am terrified of this new life and only hope that when it arrives I will be able once again to drink vodka, play pool, ride my motorbike, have a conversation that does not center around the blob, bend over without running out of breath, sleep on my stomach without being surrounded by a nest of pillows, walk without my thighs rubbing together at the top or my feet swelling out of my Birkenstocks, drink real coffee, play poker without having to be two feet away from the table, stand up without my back aching, walk down the street without a hundred people staring at my belly, buy new clothes in a normal size, wear shoes with heels on them, eat yoghurt for pleasure not calcium and live my life without measuring it in weeks.
Because I tell you, I miss all those things a hell of a lot.