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2006-01-14 - 10:34 a.m.

You know the saying, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life?” That’s kind of how I feel today, or at least “Today is the first day of the rest of my year off.” Yesterday was my last day of work before my maternity leave. Since I’ve been taken off work with 3 ˝ weeks to go before my due date, so I’m using some sick leave as well as other types of leave up before officially dipping into my maternity leave, I won’t be back in the office until February 2007 – more than a whole year from now!

This feels both truly bizarre and intensely liberating at the same time. I almost never take my full allotment of vacation time off, preferring to take time when J can also take it, which isn’t very often. The result is I let it snowball until I’m sometimes cashed out of excess. Looking at my records from this fiscal year, for instance, I took a total of 5 days of vacation time off. Since I get 15, that leaves me with 10 extra that will roll over to the next year when I’m back. In fact, because I have others rolling from previous years, I have 38 days of vacation stored and I’m technically only allowed to roll 35 of them over so I may get cashed out of the extra three come the spring. I could live with that, but I think I’d prefer to save them if I can. I have a feeling that, with a little one in the house, once I go back to work I’m going to have a whole lot more reason to take time off than I did in the past.

Yesterday I had every intention of going in and only getting my electronic and paper files in order, packing my personal effects, signing papers with HR (who finally met with me on my last day… when I’ve been after them to meet with me since October) and saying goodbye to people. Of course, I got dragged into an “emergency” on a file that has been languishing for three months – literally absolutely nothing was done or needed doing on it – but suddenly is terrifically important and we must have a 2-day turnaround on updating it!

Towards the end of the day my big boss stopped by and expressed surprise that I was still there and said I should be going home soon. Of course, I had just finished the work she’d asked me to do and hadn’t touched my stuff to get ready to leave. I ended up leaving after 8 pm when J picked me up. I don’t really mind though – I had my blood pressure monitor with me and the readings were actually lower than they’d been the day before, and it was semi-satisfying to see some movement on a file I’d done a lot of work on before it was shelved in October. Also, one last big push seemed insignificant compared to the fact that I wouldn’t be coming back, and it was good to take the time to make sure I copied then wiped all my personal files, etc. from my work PC.

From this point until the birth my only job is to noodle through getting various boxes sorted through and out of Grommet’s future room, make sure the room has everything it needs to see us through the first while, pack my hospital bag, and take it easy so my feet don’t swell to the size of footballs. This week I have a midwife appointment, as well as a prenatal massage and prenatal yoga class in the cards. Today I’ve got a friend coming over for noon and we’re going for lunch and then to a couple of places to buy things for my labour and post-partum days, as well as maybe some baby-care stuff. Not only is she a good friend that loves babies, she’s a former labour and delivery nurse, so she’s the perfect person to be doing this sort of thing with.

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