Waiting for Labor to Begin

We were given a due date of January 11 — the date that labor would begin.  But January 11 came and went and there were no signs of labor.

Let me explain.  As you know if you’ve read any of my “kitchen” articles, Victor and I are going through something akin to a pregnancy.  We are waiting for our new kitchen to be birthed.  For the past couple of months we have been camping out in our living room, a room that is now filled with everything that once resided in the kitchen making navigation through it something of a maze. Fortunately, we have a downstairs bathroom with a small sink that we have been using to wash dishes.  For the past few weeks there has been no progress made. Our kitchen remains an unusable empty shell with a huge hole in the floor that exposes the crawl space beneath the house.

Like a pregnancy, the doctor tells the expectant mother a due date — a date she can expect labor to begin.  And like a pregnancy that due date is not engraved in stone.  We were told that labor on our kitchen was to begin yesterday at 8 AM.  By 10 AM when no signs of labor were visible, Victor made a call and was told apologetically that there would be a short delay. The workmen will arrive tomorrow.

It was when he told me that news that this familiar feeling came over me — an old feeling that I remembered from my distant past. At first I couldn’t put my finger on it and then it hit me.  It was the feeling I had had over 40 years ago when I was pregnant with my first child and went two weeks past the due date.  With a first pregnancy you really are not sure what to expect, so when I was given that due date, I truly expected that was when the baby was going to be born.  The due date came and went, and then the next day came and went, and then the next.

At that stage of pregnancy I was so uncomfortable and our living conditions were less than ideal. We were living in Japan at the time in a small Japanese house that had only a camp stove, a mini refrigerator and a tiny sink in an kitchen that was just big enough for one person. The bedroom had a Japanese style bed that was 6 inches from the ground. You can imagine how difficult it was for me to actually get out of bed during those last few weeks of pregnancy. As my due date evaporated into memory, this strange feeling came over me — actually a feeling of horror.  What if I was never going to give birth and I would be this large and uncomfortable the rest of my life.  Intellectually I knew at the time that this wasn’t really true– that eventually the baby would be born.  But I couldn’t shake the feeling.

I’m relating this story because that is the familiar feeling that I got when Victor gave me the news that there was going to be a delay. What if the kitchen never “gets birthed” and we have to live this way forever.  Intellectually, of course, I know that’s not going to happen, but that was the feeling I was remembering.

The crew is supposed to arrive today to begin their work… and I’m just waiting for labor to begin.

Update 8:19AM: Labor hasn’t yet begun, but there is a good sign. The first workman arrived to assess the situation and see what materials will be needed to start the process.

Update: 10:00AM: Three workmen arrive with lumber and sheetrock. Labor has begun. 🙂

Update: 10:20AM: Labor often involves loud sounds. The LOUD sound associated with the beginning of this labor is the screech of the saw. I’ve borrowed Victor’s silencing headphones — they help a lot!!

Update: 5:00PM: The workmen just left. It’s such a pleasure to be able to walk into the room that will once again be our kitchen without skirting a hole in the floor. They installed all new floor joists and new sub-flooring. The kitchen floor is now the strongest floor in the house! They will be back tomorrow to install the rest of the sheet rock and get everything ready for painting that will happen on Monday. All in all, a very good day!!

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