Life goes on, of course, and I’m trying to keep busy, which is a challenge when you’re exhausted. We’ve started watching the Read or Die TV series with Marc after rewatching the OVA, which is fun. In the attic, HRH and his dad have finished everything but the drywalling and laying the laminate floor, although we are still waiting on an electrician. The boy and I went up into the attic during the terrific thunderstorm we had Monday afternoon and delighted in hearing the rain pound the roof about three feet above our heads.
I sat down yesterday to gather all the info I needed for the QPIP application for maternity benefits for self-employed workers, and discovered that I hadn’t made the minimum income last year required to qualify for the program. This was really, really annoying. The programme didn’t exist for self-employed workers the last time I had a baby, so this was going to be a nice bonus, but now I can’t take advantage of it. Equally annoying in a different way is the fact that HRH can’t take paternity leave. Or rather, he could, but there are a couple of major obstacles. First, it would require him taking the weeks immediately before plus the first week of school off again, which did not go over well last year when we moved the week before school started; and it would also mean training someone else to do his job while he’s gone because the technician is essential personnel at this time of year. This is more trouble than it’s worth and very risky to do besides, because then they may not take him back but put him somewhere else instead (his permanency guarantees him *a* job, not necessarily the job he’s got at the moment if he goes on leave of whatever kind). And second, taking paternity leave means bringing home only 75% of his salary, which we cannot survive on if I’m not working, which I can’t because hello, I’ll be taking care of a baby. If he chose to take it he’d only get 3 weeks at 75% pay, or he could do 5 weeks at 70% but that would be even more financially suicidal for us.
It just sucks on so many levels. If it were any other time of year he could take, say, a week apart from his five days of compassionate leave (that’s at full pay, whew), and we might get by. If we’d had the baby last year, there wouldn’t be an issue because I made twice as much in 2009, which puts me well over the minimum. I’m cranky about it because the money would have been nice, as I can’t really take on freelance work again for at least two or three months when things have settled down to a point where I can start shoehorning a productive hour at the computer in here and there, which means the cheques won’t start arriving till the end of the year.
The good thing that came of this annoyance is that I was angry enough to pull out my cello for the first time in a month, physical awkwardness be damned, and I played the Prelude to the Bach G major solo cello suite the best I’d ever played it. Owlet was all “Whoa whoa whoa, what is this, no no, LOUD” so I had to stop after playing it twice and then noodling experimentally through more of the first two suites. But it made me feel fantastic. I haven’t played it in well over a year, so to just sit down and pull it off made me really appreciate all the hard work I’ve been putting in at lessons and orchestra. Also, it served to remind me that callouses fade when you don’t use them. Ow, my poor left hand fingers.
I’ve been slowly getting through A Dance With Dragons and I’m still not sure where I stand on it. There’s so much going on in the grand scheme of things that nothing feels like it’s moving, although that can often happen in a middle book of a series. People keep leaving Westeros so more and more of the action is taking place elsewhere, and the reader has to keep learning about new cultures. It’s all moving the story in a way, but it’s doing it slowly enough that it doesn’t feel as rewarding as it used to. I bought my first eBook, too, which is actually a Laurie R. King novella only available in electronic format, and I am saving that to read in hospital. No, I lie; that’s my second purchased eBook. I bought, read, and enjoyed Cate Polacek’s Tempus House in May (aha, I knew I missed something in my May booklist! eBooks are going to be harder to keep track of, I suspect, because I can’t pile them on my desk as I finish them).
I pulled out a braid of Louet Karaoke fibre (half wool, half soysilk) in the Parrotfish colourway on Saturday (more pale greens and purples, with touches of gold and blue) and finished spinning it today. I’m chain-plying it to preserve the colour changes and suspect I may use it to knit an Oriental Lily dress for Owlet, should she ever decide to make an appearance. The soysilk was finicky to draft, though, and made for an overall weird chunky , sticky drafting experience. Curiously, I had similar issues when drafting silk pencil roving from Ozark, so I had an idea of how to deal with it (hold it just less than a staple length apart and snap it between the hands); it just made drafting the blend tricky, because the soysilk would slide past the wool, muddling the colour changes a bit. I’d have preferred sharper colour changes, so if I ever use this fibre again I’ll split it by colour and spin from the fold or something.
I’ve knit three more inches of the back of the lace cardigan. It looks just like it did in the last post, only longer. Knitting lace to length is somewhat annoying, because you really have to pin it out to measure where it’s at in order to have a proper idea of what its actual length is since lace looks like a ramen noodle disaster while in progress on the needles. And I picked up a skein of brownish orange embroidery floss to embroider beaks on our mobile owls, I ordered a yard and a half of owl motif fabric for the coverlet the boy wanted me to make for the baby, and a stamp to use to make thank you cards. I’d almost decided on some Cluny lace to finish the short ends of the woven blanket, but I re-examined the edges and I might be able to live with them as they are after all. In fact, all they may need is a row or two of single crochet to secure them a bit more. Which means I have to look up how to do that, because I have forgotten how after my one use of the technique to finish something eighteen months ago. Something to do tomorrow while waiting for the Owlet…