It's no secret that I was lagging at the back of the line when they dealt out 'organisation'. I pack at the last minute. I arrive at the last minute. I understand not the list or the timetable. These are strange and foreign beasts.
In a pivotal moment in my early schooling career, my third grade teacher Miss Morrison (from Minnesota, USA but slumming it for the year in Werribee, Australia) discovered that I had somehow failed to get my looseleaf binder into any form of useful system.
Instead of neat cardboard dividers separating my subjects, each nicely decorated with a hand drawn picture depicting SOCIETY or MATHS I had a haphazard sheaf of paper and cardboard all flung in together. They probably weren't even sitting on their rings properly and I distinctly remember that on the GEOGRAPHY divider I had drawn a duck.
But why? she asked me, distinct crossness in her voice. Why would you throw all your papers into your folder like this when I asked you all to organise your work and I even showed you how to do it.
I was speechless. I felt my face grow red even as I racked my brains to remember when we had studied FOLDER ORGANISATION.
Luckily, one of my desk neighbours was able to recall that I had not been at school that day, that I had been off sick and so had missed all the crucial tips for keeping my folder nice.
I burst into tears with sheer relief.
Miss Morrison was instantly all smiles. There's no need to be upset, she said. I wasn't angry. Did you think I was a bear?
I laughed, as required, through my tears but inside I thought, a bear no, a fascist bullying cow, yes.
Having been in Sydney for the last week C has gone back to the country town where he is setting up a new arts project. The launch is on Wednesday and the plan is for him to come back on the Thursday or Friday. During that time I will finish a couple of writing deadlines. Then, the week after next I will be free to pack hospital bag, place rubber sheet over mattress, wash barrels of baby clothes I have been given and find the time for C and I to get away, on our own, just the two of us. And, tommorrow, I'm meant to be having a baby shower.
Cue outrageous laughter at Plan and pathetic postponement of organisation.
Last night I was woken with nasty period like pains. Every fifteen minutes. They were so unpleasant I had to get out of bed. Each time they hit I would do a little belly dancing which seemed to help.
I also spent a lot of time on the loo. It was as I hadn't been constipated for the past month. Surely that's just last night's gnochi I kept telling myself. After all it was a month over the useby date.
But the pains kept coming.
This morning I rang the birth centre. I'm having these pains, I told the midwife. Every ten to fifteen minutes. And...I'm just on 36 weeks.
That's fantastic, she said cheerfully. Although, if you are in labour you have to go to the labour ward, you can't come to the birth centre until you're 37 weeks.
Bugger, I said.
I rang C to let him know that we might have to go to Plan B. Not there was ever a proper Plan A.
It's alright, he said. It might not be It. Some people keep having contractions for weeks before they go into labour.
Oh goody, I said.
So here I am, perched over my computer, standing, because sitting hurts a bit too much. N went out this morning and got me some Panadeine (midwife wants me to take 2 and call in a couple of hours after resting) some new born nappies (because the only ones I have are the freebies I was given at a baby expo) wipes, jelly beans and barley sugars.
I started packing my bag. I started writing my blog.
Good lord, is this really how it's going to go?
The thing is, C said, we can't control this. It doesn't matter about the washing, or the packing or the deadlines. If this is going to happen there's nothing we can do about it.
And of course he's right.
Miss Morrison ended up being one of my favourite teachers. She was bright and cheery and she helped me organise my folder. I delighted in seeing my subjects set out neatly, my precisely placed dividers with appropriate pictures (the duck deemed more suited for NATURE). I enjoyed clicking the metal rings shut and doctoring the little holes in my work sheets with stick on plastic reinforcement rings.
It was a short lived pleasure. But I think back to those organised days with sweet nostalgia. And If I haven't retained her planning skills I did retain Miss Morrison's university theme song, some thirty years later...rah for the U of M!
While I've been writing this the pains have been coming quite regularly. The baby's moving about which is quite reassuring. Nothing like a kick in the guts to say: it's ok, we can do it!
Keep me posted, said the midwife when I spoke to her this morning.
I've put it on my list. It's right before...hold on for a week.