Monday, April 13, 2015

The Fabled Tenth Month

I know this announcement deserves a bit more fanfare, for those who may only read the blog and don't follow us on social media, but our son was born a week ago. This first week has been filled with so many new things for both of us -- well, all of us, I suppose...

And while there are a hundred blog posts worth of thoughts in my head, I don't have the time or energy to put words to any of them. Instead, this is something I wrote the Friday before he was born, not even knowing if I would share it, but needing to get it out.


(Friday, April 3, 2015)

I can't remember when I first heard the myth that women are actually pregnant for 10 months, but it was from someone who was pregnant at the time, and I certainly wasn't going to argue with a pregnant woman. I've since heard the same argument multiple places, including blog posts from actual pregnancy websites.

Sorry, but no. Just because 4 x 10 = 40 doesn't mean that pregnancy lasts 10 months.

With one exception, a month isn't exactly four weeks. Those extra days add up, and three months together are almost exactly 13 weeks, depending on which months they are. If it's two 30-day months and one 31-, it is 13 weeks exactly. If it's two 31-day months and one 30-, it's a day longer. And even February-March-April, the shortest possible three-month span, is closer to 13 weeks than 12... 12 weeks and 5 days (6 in a leap year), to be precise.

So, 13 x 3... those 9 months are going to be almost exactly 39 weeks. (To look at it another way, 52 weeks in a year minus the 13 weeks of those other three months equals 39.) The magic number 40 is one week longer... except that the way the weeks are counted, you don't actually conceive until sometime during the 2nd or 3rd week. So, if you give birth on your due date, you've actually been carrying that baby for just under 9 months. It may seem like an eternity, but the math doesn't lie.

The term makes a little more sense (even though I've just proven it's not totally accurate) in my current situation: I'm now past my due date, which means that, according to some, I've started the tenth month. "Started" being the key word. I'm not ten months pregnant. I will never be ten months pregnant. But if we're going to fudge the numbers a bit and say that 40 weeks = 9 months, I'm now one day into that fabled tenth month.

I never thought I'd get to this point. I was convinced for several reasons (most of which aren't the slightest bit scientific, I'll admit) that the baby was going to come early. I didn't think I'd make it to April at all.

But even in that part of my mind that conceded the possibility that I'd get to my due date or beyond, I never thought I'd be making this decision -- the first of many I'll have to make on behalf of my child -- this early. Oh, sure, I've been making little decisions every day that affect us both... but this one feels very different.

How long do we wait for labor to happen on its own?

In my head, when I did let myself think about the pregnancy lasting that long, I figured it would be at least a week before we considered inducing.

In reality... three days.

Oh, we've been discussing it for longer. This was by no means a snap decision we made on the due date. Our OB first brought it up at my 39-week appointment, when he was concerned about my lack of progress from the week before. And at that point, the idea really freaked me out. It felt way too early to even be talking about it.

(Which is, of course, ridiculous. It's never too early to start discussing options, to be prepared. But it caught me completely off-guard.)

Just so you know where I'm coming from, I've never had a vision of having a completely natural birth. I have a pretty low threshold for pain, and I was expecting to use some sort of drugs to get through it. Breathing and focus points and massage may work great for some women... and I figured I'd start out using some of those methods, but at some point they'd stop being enough, and I was fine with that.

But even though I wasn't opposed to medical intervention, the idea of things starting on their own was apparently more important to me than I'd realized. I've been lucky this whole pregnancy. (I've been miserable, but lucky.) The baby's health was never at risk. My own health was never at risk. There was never any reason we would need to balance the two and get the baby out at that intersection of risk where it wasn't too dangerous for either of us.

So I never pictured anything, or prepared myself for anything, other than going into labor naturally. I read all about that, because it terrified me... not the idea of the pain (at first, anyway), or the embarrassment of my water breaking at an inopportune time and place. No, for me it was the thought of not knowing what was going on, of not recognizing what it was when it came, that freaked me out the most. Especially the closer we got, and the more I started feeling things that could be signs that labor was near... or could be nothing at all. Hmm, my back hurts more than usual today, could that be back labor? What about that cramping that feels like PMS? And I knew I'd been having Braxton Hicks contractions for a while, but most of the time I couldn't differentiate between a contraction and the baby stretching out and making everything tight. It all felt so vague.

And nothing I read reassured me. The most common response was simply, "You'll know when it's the real thing." But then I'd find another story from someone who hadn't known, because it came on so gradually or was so similar to what had come before. Even if they're the minority, they still poke a big hole in the "you'll just know" argument.

(Of course, the upside of that would be a nice chunk of my labor going by with so little discomfort I didn't even realize it was happening. But it's still scary to not know what's going on with your own body.)

Even with all my uncertainty, though, I never imagined it happening any other way. So suddenly looking at induction as a real possibility... I sort of froze. Luckily, we had time to think about it and weigh our options... all the while hoping, of course, that nature would make the decision so we wouldn't have to. But when we got to our 40-week appointment and still nothing had changed... it was up to us. Wait and see, or take action?

We decided to take action, setting up my induction for just three days after my due date. But it wasn't easy.

I could weigh pros and cons forever, but what it ultimately came down to was my doctor's advice vs my own gut feeling. How committed was I to letting nature take its course (assuming that it would, before an elective induction became not-so-elective)? But also -- and perhaps the bigger issue -- did I trust that my doctor's recommendation to induce now was in my best interest? And in the end, that answer is yes.

One thing that makes me feel better about the situation is that, when I had my ultrasound, they estimated I was actually five days ahead of where we thought. They told us they won't actually change a due date unless there's a discrepancy of a week or more, but if we go by that estimate, I'd actually be over a week overdue by the time we induced... a time frame that felt more reasonable.

So... it may not be what I imagined, and I know other women would choose to do things differently. This isn't about defending or justifying my choice to anyone. It's about how I got here. It's about coming to terms with a decision I didn't think I'd have to make. It's about the realization that my pregnancy (which, despite the assurance of the calendar, felt like it would never end) is finally ending.

And maybe, somewhere in my reasoning, this is just a last-ditch effort to feel like I have control over something before I lose control over everything. I can't be 100% sure this is the right decision. I can't be 100% sure about any decision. But what I can be 100% sure of is that I'm doing the best I can with what I have.

Seems as good a way as any to start my journey as a parent.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Question of Faith

Faith is something I've been struggling with for a long time now. As I transitioned into adulthood, I became more accustomed to asking myself what I think about topics instead of what I think I should believe. That’s really the root of the following.

If someone asked me if I was a Christian and I were to be perfectly honest, I’d have to say no.

I've slowly come to terms with this. For a long time a lot of what I did or the decisions I made were based on what I thought I was “supposed to do.” One of those things was being a Christian. The best metaphor I can come up with is Santa Claus. When I was little, I believed in Santa because my parents told me he was real. As I got older I started to realize that some of the gifts from “Santa” I had seen in shopping bags or closets, but I still “believed” because I thought that if I didn't I wouldn't get as many presents. In the same way, my parents, friends, mentors, etc. told me that Jesus was God’s son and I believed it. Like so many other topics that I just assumed were true because others told me they were, I started to question it. Honestly, the doubt was there all the way back in high school when I was in Campus Life. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful organization and I don’t regret any of it. But every time someone shared their “moment they accepted Christ” story, I felt awkward. I didn't have that moment. I believed I was a Christian, but in reality, I had just never questioned it. For a long while now, I've known that I don’t really believe in Christ as the son of God. I think it’s just taken a while for me to come to terms with that.

I've also given a lot of thought to how I feel about Christianity in general. Specifically, I wanted to make sure that my beliefs weren't rooted in not wanting to be associated with certain "Christians." For example, I despise the Westboro Baptist Church. Those people are filled with so much hate towards everyone that I can't see how they even call themselves Christians. But, despite my feelings towards a group like that, it doesn't have an effect on my beliefs.

What do I believe in? I do believe in God or at least that there is a god. Some scientists will say that the Earth is just the place where the right random circumstances came to be to create life. I believe that there’s still something to life itself that science will never explain. Bodies are basically just machines. Wonderful, amazing, growing, self-repairing machines, but still just machines. That spark that makes something more than just a machine, the self-awareness that has no reason to be there and sometimes no reason to go is something entirely different.

Just because I’m not a Christian doesn't mean that I've lost all of my morals. There are two phrases that come to mind. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It doesn't get much simpler than that. They’re basically saying the same thing just in different ways. Do what you feel is right to make yourself happy, but don’t do something that takes away other people’s right to do the same. Obviously the world is not black and white, but that provides a pretty solid starting point.

My point? Please don’t take this as me saying that every Christian out there is wrong. That’s not what I’m saying at all. Basically I just wanted to share this with my friends and family because when topics of religion come up, I feel like I’m hiding or lying to them. That shouldn't be the case in the relationships that matter most in my life.

P.S. I've closed comments on this particular post because I don’t want this to become a place where my friends or family will have an argument. If anyone wants to have a reasonable discussion with me about any of the above, you are more than welcome to contact me about it. I always try to be open to new information challenging my views or the way I think.

Monday, March 16, 2015

It's the Final Countdown

Well, it feels like it's taken forever to get here, but we're in the final weeks of these awkward living arrangements. 17 days until my due date. Snickerdoodle can leave these cramped quarters behind, and I can get my body back. Even if Snickerdoodle comes late, the end is in sight. And that makes me very, very happy.

Of course, I've been so focused on getting to the end of the pregnancy that the idea of bringing home a baby is still rather abstract. I mean, we've been preparing for this. We know, in our heads, that it's going to happen. But at least for me, it still doesn't feel real... and probably won't until we're getting ready to leave the hospital.

You might think it would feel real once the baby's born... and who knows, maybe it will, I have no way of knowing. But I just have this feeling that as long as we're in the hospital, we're removed enough from our daily lives that it's still going to be a bit like a dream. (Not to mention the exhaustion of just having gone through labor. I doubt anything's going to feel real at that point.).

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Year of the Baby

Happy 2015!

We're less than three months now from my due date (even though my third trimester doesn't officially start till next week? *shrugs*) and... well, I'm pretty miserable, to be perfectly honest. Of course that's not what I say when people ask how I'm doing. I say I'm doing fine. Because I sort of am. I mean, for all I know, this is a super-easy pregnancy (minus that pesky morning sickness that still hasn't completely gone away). At the worst, it's probably average. But I've never done it before. And I feel big. And awkward. And like my insides are all jumbled up. I'm incredibly uncomfortable. I haven't had a really good night's sleep in at least a month, and I'm not likely to have one for... I don't know, a year?

So that's how I really am. But I'll continue to say "fine" when people ask. It's just easier.

Anyway, when I woke up on Thursday morning, it just sort of hit me that this is it. Nothing changed from one day to the next, except that now it was 2015... and that just made this whole thing feel more real.

So, in a last-ditch effort to hold onto my identity (and not that of this pregnant lady who's completely taken over my life), here's a little survey reflecting over the last year. Let's see how much of this can NOT focus on the baby.

What did you do in 2014 that you’ve never done before?
Stood up in a wedding (that wasn't mine).

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I'm not much of a resolution person. My main goal for 2015 is survive... hopefully with my sanity somewhat intact.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
A couple good friends had a baby in March.

Did anyone close to you die?
Yes... and quite unexpectedly.

What other countries did you visit?
I haven't had a valid passport since I changed my name almost eight years ago.

What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
More discipline.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Actually applying for a job that would have been perfect for me instead of chickening out, and making it most of the way through the interview process.

What was your biggest failure?
Not getting said job. Not applying for more jobs. Letting my depression and anxiety get the best of me. (I know it asks for just one, but they're sort of all related.)

Did you suffer illness or injury?
I did spend most of late summer and early fall puking, though I'm not sure that counts as "illness."

Where did most of your money go?
Paying off student loans... completely!

What song will always remind you of 2014?
Billy Joel's "Lullabye." Thanks to my brother's wedding, his dance with his new two-year-old daughter, and my first real hormone-induced (or at least -enhanced) breakdown... I'll probably never be able to hear this song without bawling again.

What was your favorite TV show?
Without a doubt, Parks and Recreation. I can't remember if I started watching it early 2014 or late 2013, but it's a relatively new obsession.

What was the best book you read?
Impossible to pick just one. See my book blog for a more complete answer.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
Probably not what this question is really asking, but the fact that I can download music from Freegal through my library is pretty great.

What was your favorite film of the year?
Either Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Guardians of the Galaxy. What can I say, I'm a sucker for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. X-Men: Days of Future Past was pretty good too.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Just went out for dinner, nothing fancy. BWW, maybe? I turned 31... which was somehow way more depressing than turning 30.

What do you think would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Not sure, but it was definitely missing something. I can't remember anything significant happening in the first half of the year. Not sure if that's because nothing did, or if the latter half just overshadowed it.

Well, I'm not sure there's much in there to make me feel better... but I suppose the silver lining is that losing myself in this pregnancy isn't such a big deal, since it's not like I had much going on anyway.

2015, I have a feeling, is going to be a lot more interesting.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Whoooooaaa, We're Halfway There!

I've had Bon Jovi stuck in my head for about a week now, which can only mean one thing...

(Actually, it could mean anything. There's no wrong time for Bon Jovi.)

But THIS time it means that I'm halfway through my pregnancy! Which is crazy. Really, really crazy. There are some days, when I'm feeling especially uncomfortable, that I feel like it's dragging. (Like when you have a cold that just won't go away and after a couple weeks you forget that there was ever a time when you could actually breathe through your nose... like that, only for me, it's forgetting there was ever a time when I didn't feel like a stuffed turkey.) But on the whole, it feels like it's going so fast!

I'm finally starting to show... although it's not super obvious, mostly because I'm already so heavy. I can tell the difference, and Pat can, and my family probably will when we head back for Thanksgiving. But a stranger on the street? I don't think my belly quite says baby, unless you already know it's in there.

And it's definitely in there! A couple months ago when we heard the heartbeat for the first time, that was pretty cool... but we got our ultrasound today, and that was something else. Like... it's really a baby! Not just some hypothetical amorphous blob in there.

Sooo... yeah. That's where we're at. And especially with the holidays coming up, I feel like we'll be in the third trimester before we know it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

An Announcement 13 Weeks in the Making...

In April 2007, we got married.

In October 2009, we brought home Slider.

In January 2014, we adopted Sammy.

And in April 2015, our little family will be growing yet again.

Really, though, our new addition is already here, sort of... and has been making its presence known for the last couple months as it proceeded to torture me from the inside. In the words of Lily Aldrin, this kid better be real freakin' cute.

You may remember this from Pat's last post:

Later in the day we went out to dinner with my mom and Char’s parents to Red Lobster. My father-in-law’s birthday is today so we were celebrating both. Dinner was fantastic as always and we got a couple of free desserts for our birthdays. After that we went out to Roundheads, a pizza pub/bar to celebrate my birthday with some local friends. All in all a very good day.

What he didn't mention is that was also the day we told our families and most of our close friends that I'm pregnant. So, yeah, a very good day.

And now that we've heard the heartbeat for the first time (!!!) and I'm out of the first trimester (officially 14 weeks on Thursday), we're ready to tell the internet. Even though I'm not on Facebook anymore, I still think of things as being "Facebook official" when you're ready to share news with the whole world instead of just your little corner of it.

In six months... I'm gonna be a mom.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

This Week in Illinois

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog post for an Illinois special. We are in Lombard for most of this week for my brother-in-law’s wedding. That is this Friday. As I’ve mentioned before, we’re all looking forward to welcoming his fiancĂ©e and her daughter into the family (even though they totally already are). I’m also looking forward to standing up in a wedding for the first time. It should be a fun evening.

Wednesday was also my birthday. It was a very good day. Wednesday morning I went out and played a round of disc golf over at Madison Meadows. I really enjoy this course. It’s got a lot of very long holes with wide open fields so you can just go all out and throw as far as you can without too much penalty for poor aim. It’s also a very nice course to look at around the well maintained pond pictured below.

Later in the day we went out to dinner with my mom and Char’s parents to Red Lobster. My father-in-law’s birthday is today so we were celebrating both. Dinner was fantastic as always and we got a couple of free desserts for our birthdays. After that we went out to Roundheads, a pizza pub/bar to celebrate my birthday with some local friends. All in all a very good day.

And today, I got to watch a couple of monarch butterflies hatch out of their cocoons. My mom finds the eggs on her plants and brings them inside to give them a better chance of survival. Once they hatch she releases them. Pretty cool to watch.

Friday, August 8, 2014

This week in Iowa - 2

Well, my favorite news this week is that I got my birthday present a little early! Char and my mom went in on getting me a disc golf basket. 

Yup, I've already been putting it to good use this evening. This will finally give me a chance to work on a couple of different putting styles to see what I really like. I foresee this thing getting a lot of use in the near future.

Chicago Bears football is back! Yes, it’s only the preseason, but it’s nice that the wait is finally over. I only watched the first quarter when the starters were playing (had to get back outside to enjoy the new basket). Dante Rosario was looking pretty good on a couple of catches and runs. It’ll be interesting to see if he can provide a good target opposite Martellus Bennett. Other than that…it’s the pre-season. It’s hard to really judge anything. Season opener is in less than 4 weeks.
My uncle’s wedding went very well. The new couple was absolutely beaming. I got to see family that I don’t get to very often. The cake was delicious. The champagne fountain was pretty cool.
I also found out that a couple of my cousins play disc golf. I’m hoping to head up towards their area to play what sounds like a very nice 36-hole disc golf course next weekend. I also might get to see their brother who is currently in the Marines. Depends on when his leave is.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

This week in Iowa - 1

Ok, so this blog has been sitting here unwritten for way too long. Char’s been posting like crazy on her other blog so it looks like it’s up to me to keep this one alive. I've decided I’m going to try to post at least once a week. It’ll probably be a bunch of random stuff that went on that week, but it’ll be nice to start posting and keeping people up on what’s been going on with us out in Dubuque.

So basically, I've been working a lot lately. Due to a couple of days off and some overtime that I was fortunate enough to get, I've been working 10 hour days for about the past 6 weeks. While I enjoy the extra money and I've always got more than enough to keep me busy for those extra hours, I’ll be looking forward to going back to 8 hour days next week.

I haven’t been playing nearly as much disc golf as I’d like, but I’m still getting out about once a week with some friends from work. I've also decided that I’m going to give a different putting style a try. It’s still probably the weakest part of my game so it’s worth a shot. It’s called push putting. I've tried practicing out behind the apt a bit and once I got the hang of the technique, I seem to be able to keep the disc on a relatively straight path (which is the idea). I want to get a portable basket so I can actually practice instead of throwing at an imaginary basket. I also still want to try to enter a tournament at some point this year. 

Exciting news on the cat front: Sammy is now fully trained to use his feeding box. 

He hasn't thrown up in months and now we can just leave his food out all the time for him to eat at his leisure. We decided to train him in slow steps since he’s an older cat and isn't the quickest to adapt to new situations. I’ll be honest, when we were only part way through and he didn't seem to like the tunnel with a wide open door, I was a little nervous that I’d spent money on the cat door. Sammy, however, pleasantly surprised me when he picked up on pushing the door open all on his own within a day of us adding the flap into the equation. So nice to be able to accommodate both of our cats’ eating habits.

Char and I have gotten out and done a lot of bike riding the past 2 weeks. It took us a little bit to get going with all the traveling and extra work I've been doing, but we've finally got our momentum going. Hopefully it continues for the rest of the year. I’m also hoping to bike to work a little more often starting next week when I’m back to shorter hours. (trying to be ready to leave at 5 AM to bike in was just not going to happen)

This has been a summer of weddings. We were out in Dublin, Ohio two and a half weeks ago to celebrate my friend Andromeda getting married. I was afforded the honor of giving a reading in the ceremony, and I couldn't be happier for her and Jacob. They are an excellent pair and will take good care of each other. This weekend, my Uncle Ed (godfather) is getting married. It's supposed to be a small ceremony, but like any wedding seems to have gotten bigger as we get closer to the date. In any case, he and Jan seem to make each other very happy and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to meet some of her family. In just over three weeks, my brother-in-law, Marcus, is getting married. Char and I are standing up in the wedding, a first for both of us. I’m pretty sure Marc’s still only fifteen, but we’re excited about welcoming Molly and her two-year-old daughter, Sophie, into the family.

Well that’s enough for now, but this is the type of post I’m going to try to put out once a week. Just little blurbs about what’s going on. I pretty much stole the idea from Char’s updates that she posts on Fridays, but as the saying goes, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Have a great week!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

So, the bike theft

As promised, here is the full story about our bikes being stolen.

For the last 3 years, we have kept our bikes locked up at the bottom of the stairwell here.

It's a very convenient spot for 2 bikes since our apartment isn't really that big. Even though the building itself isn't locked, the bikes are out of sight from the door and there are only 2 apartments downstairs (including ours) so we don't get a lot of traffic coming by them. We also always have them locked to the stair railing.

Last Saturday, I left at around 1 to run some errands. On my way out, the bikes were there. On my way back, I didn't notice if they were there or not. I did notice that the door to our hallway was open, but with my attention focused on that and carrying stuff, I didn't look back in the direction of the bikes. Charleen mentioned that she had heard a bunch of banging around earlier, but it's an apartment building, that's nothing out of the ordinary. On our way out to dinner, however, we were shocked to walk out and see our bikes missing. That night an officer came by to record what was stolen. He left his card and we were going to call him back once we confirmed the serial numbers with the bike shop the next day. We also called our landlord right away on the off chance that someone had complained about them and maintenance took them.

The next day, we confirmed which numbers on our receipt were the serial numbers at the bike shop and called the officer to add those numbers to the police report so that they could flag them if the bikes showed up at a pawn shop. Our landlord also called me back to let me know that she hadn't told anyone to take the bikes, but our next door neighbor had skipped out on her and it was possible that one of the maintenance guys thought the bikes belonged to them and might have moved them. She'd have to check the next day when they were in.

Well, on Monday, I called her back and she confirmed that none of her guys had moved them. They had definitely been stolen. Thankfully, we do have renter's insurance, but I didn't want to call them right away. Even though the weather was getting nicer, I didn't want to start with the insurance since I still wanted to give it a couple of days on the off chance that the police got a hit on the serial numbers. I figured I'd rather not go through the process of paying our deductible $500 and getting new bikes only to recover the old ones. Well, on Thursday we still hadn't heard anything so I called up to start the insurance process. A rep got back to me on Friday and I had some paperwork to fill out over the weekend. Yay...

On Sunday, one of the maintenance guys knocked on the door to tell me that he knows where the bikes are. He happened to see them the day before in the pawn shop downtown where he pays his bills. He was one of the guys that was in the building the previous week to clean up some of the mess with the sewer backing up so he was pretty familiar with what they looked like. He also mentioned that one of them had a light on it and the other one didn't. I was pretty excited to have possibly found the bikes, but there was a problem. The pawn shop wasn't open on Sunday. The maintenance guy, Wayne, wanted to meet up with me and the land lord the next morning to tell her what he had found out. The pawn shop wasn't open until 10 AM the next day so I called in to work to make sure I could take the morning off to get this resolved. Thankfully I have a pretty understanding boss who knows I'll make up the time later in the week.

So here I am for the rest of the day Sunday looking up what goes into the process of getting stolen property back from a pawn shop. The good news was that pawn shops due to their nature, typically take down a driver's license and sometimes even finger prints of the people who sell things to them. Also, as long as the serial numbers hadn't been scratched off, I knew I could prove that the bikes were ours. One would think that that would be that. Buying or selling stolen property is illegal, and the property should still belong to the original owner. The pawn shop didn't do anything wrong since they didn't know the bikes were stolen when they bought them, but it should be like counterfeit money. Whoever ends up with it last after discovering it's fake is out the money. turns out that different states have different rules. Many victims of theft have to pay the pawn shops what they paid to get their stuff back. In other cases, the police will take the property as evidence until everything is processed through. The more I read, the more I realized that we might not be getting our bikes back the next day. Yeah, I didn't sleep well that night.

So Monday morning at 8 I met up with the landlord. She wanted to know right away who took the bikes because if they had anything to do with the apt complex, they were going to be either evicted or fired. So, she was going to meet me over at the shop at 10 when they opened. I also contacted the police to see what they wanted me to do, as expected, they told me to verify that the bikes were indeed there and if they were, call them back and they'd have an officer over to get the information from the shop on who sold them. So after I had been home for about an hour twiddling my thumbs until it was time to head over to the shop, there was a knock at the door. It was my landlord telling me that she knew who had taken the bikes. It was one of her maintenance guys. He had thought that the bikes belonged to the neighbors that skipped out and had taken them without her permission to pawn them. As a result, he was now fired and would be going to the pawn shop to get the bikes back. I was a little uneasy about this and was wondering if I should meet him down there to take the bikes back myself, but it ended up not mattering. The pawn shop wouldn't give them back to him anyway after finding out they were stolen. They needed my permission to sell them back to him.

So, I threw the bike rack in the car and headed over to the pawn shop. On the way over to the shop I was thinking about what I would say to the guy who had stolen our bikes. The landlord had told me that he was very upset when he confessed to her that he had taken the bikes. Apparently he couldn't afford to lose this job. Well, there wasn't anything I could do about that now. That was the landlord's decision, not that I didn't agree with her. I decided that in this case, less was probably more. Besides, my main priority was getting the bikes back in one piece.

I walk in and there they are, both bikes, undamaged with sale stickers on them. And there was Jeff, the guy who had stolen them. Quite honestly, he looked pretty pathetic. I was glad I had decided not to say much. I pretty much just didn't want to talk to him. I just wanted to get in, get my bikes back, take them home, and not have to think about him again. He on the other hand apparently needed my acknowledgement that what he did was "just an honest mistake". He kept repeating that phrase. I'm not sure if he was trying to convince me or himself. Anyway, one of the guys in the pawn shop said that he needed to take the money directly from me. This is the one plus that I will give to Jeff, he had the money ready to go and handed it to me without any fuss. So, I gave the money to the pawn shop and they started the process of getting their paperwork straightened out. Jeff once again was still trying to get me to acknowledge his "honest mistake" and now that the bikes were mine again I responded that if it was an honest mistake, why didn't he fess up as soon as the landlord asked him and the rest of the maintenance guys about taking the bikes a week ago. He then started muttering something about trying to figure out how and I turned back to the pawn shop clerk. After another minute, Jeff asked if I wanted his help out with the bikes or transporting them back to the apartment. I simply told him, "I think you've done enough." He left, one of the clerks helped me take the bikes out to the car, and I loaded them up and took them home.

Now instead of feeling a bit depressed when I walk past where the empty spot where the bikes used to be, I smile every time I walk into our kitchen.