Sunday, December 09, 2007

Mommy kissing Sata Claus

We went and saw Santa on Saturday and Finn was not at all freaked out by ole St. Nick. He was pretty freaked out the night before when he saw Santa in Clatskanie but momma went up there with him so he was OK. He listened in to Santa and pointed out his Gaga and Papa in the crowd. I bit of a shout out to his posse. My work had a Santa Saturday for the employees and their kids and it was really great. You could create a naughty and nice list for Santa to refer to when talking to the kids and we got to wrap a toy for Santa to pass out. We didn't take advantage of all that but will next year for sure.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Storm Update

My Aunt Jamie works at Centrailia College in Central Washington and commutes from Oregon a couple times a week. Centrailia and neighboring Chehalis were two of the hardest hit towns by the most recent storms. Here are some pictures and a story about what my has had to deal with going back to work:
I'm in Centralia now. Silly me! I thought that Jackson Highway would be open and I could just sail in to work the "back way." Well, I forgot that Kresky floods as well and I would have to travel another 30 miles out of my way with all the other people. Then I had to witness first hand all the people cleaning out their flooded houses which really upsets me. I never should have come in. I was protecting my vacation hours when I could have just called in sick. "Hello this is Jamie, I'm home sick today, sick of this water devastation." Is that excusable? Anyway I'm here and it is much more ugly than depicted on the news. Isn't it always.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Bathroom Etiquette?

I need a ruling on a bathroom situation I ran into the other day. (feel free to click on the image to make it bigger if you need to) A and B are stalls, C and D are urinals with C being full sized and D being for people like Kyle. Here’s the situation: When I came into the bathroom there was someone in stall B but A, C, and D were open. I only needed to go numero uno so it was a choice between C and D. The thing is, the dude in B was taking a wide stance and it felt to me like he was pulling a Larry Craig. I don’t like using D when I can avoid it because I feel like it is too low and leads to sprayage. What is the right move in this case? Do I use the man size urinal roaming feet be damned or do I use the peewee weewee and risk backsplash?

Wet and thankful

Storm Watch 07 is back up and running in the Northwest. I’m sure you have either seen the news reports or experienced first hand that last couple of days but in case you are wondering we are just fine. In Beaverton we didn’t have much of the destructive wind of the coast or the saturating rain with the mud slides ad flooding that goes along with it. My parents town was hit hard and I have some family with flooded basements and muddy driveways and this blog’s top commenter, Aunt Jamie, can’t get back to her school in Centralia because !-5 is closed in Central Washington. It has been a good indoctrination into the Winter weather of this area and while it hasn’t been fun we have managed. We signed up for a covered parking spot and there was one right in front of our door. I parked there once and woke up to a note on my car threatening towing. Turns out the spot was promised to someone else and it hadn’t been marked in the ledger. We were given another spot farther away and when I saw the guys whose spot I had stolen I apologized. He understood the confusion and we chatted for a bit that night and the next day when I returned from an emergency diaper run. Later that evening we got a call from the Leasing office letting us know that we can have the good spot. The guy thought we could use it more then he could, even though he had been waiting for that spot to open up for a while. We will have him and his roommate over for dinner to thank him soon but my appreciation for his sacrifice won’t be satiated anytime soon. I am more thankful then I think is necessary and I don’t want to make him feel uncomfortable every time I see him. But the thing is it rains a lot, and getting Finn in and out of the car, plus any other things that need to get out is tough, and what he did made that much easier. I want to hug him and look into his eyes while holding both shoulder and say thank you as my eyes well up. But that’s creepy and unnecessary.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Though it be not written down

I am well aware of the fact that I am an idiot, I really don’t need daily reminders to help bring the fact home but I still got a big one today. I have been lamenting the lack of Internet access for a month now as I patiently wait for my DSL to get set up. I ordered phone and DSL service on 11/5 and expected it to be setup fairly quickly. The first due date I received had the start time of 11/8 and then I got an updated phone message telling me “Congratulations! Your updated connect date is 11/18.” While I appreciate the up beat can do attitude of the machine giving me this message it is more of a “We’re sorry” type message. Anyway I waited patiently checking the site for an updated note but there wasn’t one. I finally got so frustrated that I called in demanding to know why it takes a month to set up a phone line in an apartment! Turns out I was sent an email needing me to call in and verify my identity since I ordered on line. Once I did that they let me know my phone service would be set up the next day. Awesome! Had I just called in 3 weeks ago we might be having this conversation over the phone, or at least I would be posting this from home, but no, I’m an idiot. I feel like Doberry in Much Ado About Nothing

Dost thou not suspect my place? dost thou not
suspect my years? O that he were here to write me
down an ass! But, masters, remember that I am an
ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not
that I am an ass.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Very, that's how cute he is, very

It seems I am perpetually apologizing for not updating and that reeks a bit of arrogance. I guess I have this picture of people checking each day for new content and going away with a cloud over their day when they find nothing there. That is probably not the case but my apology comes also from a place of wanting to write more and not getting the chance to and so it ends up being an apology for me more then anything else. A blog is at heart a diary of sorts and our diaries are meant to be more personal. Most of the time that I am writing it is more to myself as the audience then anyone else but I am always aware of who may or may not be reading this and there fore tailor and smooth where rough edges might have done just fine. I am rambling and wandering and all I wanted to really say was that I don’t have a computer at home and work seems to be a poor place to update so I have been negligent in writing what I have wanted for that I am sorry. I apologize to any disappointed readers and I apologize to myself for not stoking the flames narcissism that have roared wildly despite my neglect.

Now that I have that out of the way I wanted to talk a bit about how freaking cute my son is. Finn is now 17 months and walking away like a champ. He took longer to get there then his contemporaries but he is going full board now. His vocabulary is increasing from Ball and Car to a wider palate of phrases and sounds to make sense of his world. He calls Kate ‘mama’ and he calls me ‘gaga’. It used to be ‘kaka’ but he found that word was closer to cracker and didn’t want to confuse us. He loves cars and points them out screaming ‘car, car, car’ until we say yes Finn that is indeed a car. You are a very astute young lad finding a car on this freeway at rush hour. He has also created some much more complicated language for trucks. For the trucks he says ‘papa’ and shakes his head no. This comes from the fact that his Papa Bing drives a truck but he is well aware that isn’t indeed papa or his truck. He has heard the word truck, he can say the word truck, but he chooses instead this complicated process of audible and physical action to convey the meaning because he is a complicated, complicated individual.

A couple of nights ago Kate and I were driving around to fill a Birthday/Thank you basket for my mom and Finn was in the back checking out the scene. We had a pop station on the radio and there was a non-descript pop princess song on that was catchy but empty. Finn started singing along in ‘Ba ba ba’s but doing so in such a condescending tone that there was no doubt he was my child. It was like he was making fun of the song while humming along in true Indie-rock snob fashion. His uncle John would have been so proud of him.

It has been tough going back to work and not being with him all day but I have come to really enjoy those final few steps on my walk home when I know that soon I will see Kate and Finn. I know that they will both smile at me and be excited that I am home and that feeling is intoxicating. I am not sure it makes up for missing so much but it definitely softens the blow.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Polling the hive

Where do you go to find out what is happening in a new city that you have moved to? What are the resources to take advantage of to get plugged in quicker? These are the two questions rolling around while I sit in class learning complex piece of software to support. In two days we will move into our new apartment in Beaverton and I have been trying to see what's what with our new neighborhood. I have located the library and will be heading there as soon as I get a piece of mail with our new address. I have also located the bank and closest bookstore and the bus route to the max. Most of the other stuff is going to come from getting out and about and meeting people who give you a few pieces of their tiles to add to your new mosaic but in the mean time where else should I look? What do you think is important to find out right away when you move to a new place?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sleepy shopper

This past Saturday Kate and I toured small fraction of the many many apartment complexes in the greater Beaverton area. We looked long and hard at a place in the city but could not find a 2 bedroom place in our price range within easy access to the max. It was a tough decision but off to the suburbs we went in search of a place for right now while we looked for the future. Through out the process we were in and out of the car, pulling Finn out of his seat and strapping him back in. Me entertaining him while Kate talked with the property managers, and trying to keep him happy and fed so we could see as many as possible and I have to say we have a great kid. He flirted with all the people that gave us the tours and looked with surprise at large closets or open kitchens. He would point and strain to see around corners and clap when we came into new rooms. He was picking up on our cues as we responded to different places and was mimicking us. It was too cute. After we toured about 8 places Finn hit a wall but instead of throwing a fit he just quietly fell asleep in his car seat as we drove the 2 miles to the next apartment. We decided to call off the search and go get some food, giving Finn some time to sleep. When we got to the Deli I grabbed Finn without him waking up. I carried him around a bit waiting for him to wake up but he never did. At the deli I laid him on the booth seat and he continued to sleep while we ate. I think we found the place we are going to live and through the whole process our boy was fantastic.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Consuming an empty mind

I have a hour and a half commute to and from work each morning that gives me a lot of time to think. I have been able to fill some of that time with a Book on tape and a number of podcasts but yesterday I was left with a dead iPod and no book. Left to my own mind I was think of how to compare stats in an upcoming match-up I had with my friend Adam in our Fantasy Basketball league. (Here is about the place 98% of the reader tune out I know but for the other 3 people I will continue) I wanted to see if I could project the stats that we would get based on the averages from last year plus my own little adjustment. Taking into account lineup changes, injuries, playing time and all that. I was thinking about this and going over it in my head the entire way home and talked at length about it with Kate when I arrived. She nodded and smiled, pretending she cared but I couldn't stop thinking about it. I had a hard time falling asleep and woke up with the scenarios still on my mind. This morning when I came into work I got started plotting out my projections during training classes at work. Since we were covering accounting stuff it looked like I was furiously taking notes and balancing ledgers when in fact I was trying to work on a deprecation curve for Quentin Richardson's stats now the Zach Randolph has joined the fold. After working on it for 4 hours this morning I have what I think is a pretty good projection for this week and a load off of my mind for at least the next 4 days.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Jobs abound

Well I finished my first week of work in over a year. Last Friday morning I got an offer from a software company in Beaverton to start work on Monday. It is a pretty great company with a strong product and the real beauty of the situation is the benefits. That I get them is no big deal but that they start Nov. 1 is huge. Most companies have a 3 to 6 month period before benefits start, at least they do at the pay-grade I operate at, but this one starts much sooner. That allowed us to set up an appointment with a Dr. and get a much needed ultra sound scheduled, in the end we were looked after better then we could have thought to pray for. It seems that is often the way God works in our life. He knows a bit more then we do and just wants a little participation on our end. Anyway I have been commuting for the last week, up at 4:45 AM and out the door at 5:20 AM only to be back home at about 5:30 PM. I have a 7-4 schedule right now that will change once training is finished. I will then have the 8-5 shift that will hopefully be aided by closer living and ample public transportation. We are looking for apartments in an area that is one train and one short bus trip away from work. I am looking forward to that time though I am not burnt out where I am at yet.

Kate is doing well readjusting to being at home with Finn and without me. What seemed like a long vacation is now transforming back into life with all the regular joys and trials. Kate has started a job of her own today in Portland. She is working part time at Anthroplogie for sanity and friendship. She is much too social to have only one person to talk to and the company is one that she has loved from afar and wants to see if it holds up when she peeks behind the veil.

Finn has had some interaction with other kids his age and has been found a solid sharer. He plays well with others and is adorable to more then just his relatives. Him and I went to church while Kate worked this morning and he was the only kid in his Wobbler class. There were 5 volunteers in the class and they went on and on about what a great, beautiful, funny, adorable, emotive kid he was. He smiled at me with a conspiratorial as they all told me how great he was. He is a charmer for sure.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

We really need to find some other kids

Lately Finn has been spending a lot of time in the house since the rains have come a bit early to the Northwest. All that inside time has been spent with my parents new Boxer Harper. Harper is a one year old female that my parents adopted after they lost their dog Scout. Two one year olds in the house makes for some fun and frustrating times as Harper and Finn start to take on the characteristics of the other. The most notable characteristic that Finn has taken on is carrying everything around in his mouth. This is the way the dog does it so for him it makes complete sense. He can still crawl around where ever he needs to go with his favorite toy safely tucked away in his teeth. I think we really need to find some other kids soon before Finn starts sniffing rear ends and humping peoples legs when they come over.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The fall air

I'm not going to lie to you yesterday was a tough day for me. I was pouty and overwhelmed by not getting a job yet after being here for over a month. These things take time I know but time has passed, we have experienced time, now I want these things to happen. Well anyway that is how I felt yesterday, today I feel better and OK with the time issue. I guess there are going to be tough days and hopeful days in any situations you face, but feeling responsible for Kate, Finn, and baby to be named later makes tough days really heavy.

Today we are cruisin around Longview checking out garage sales with a sleeping baby in the back. My dad found a free crib on Craigslist that we picked up just before someone else showed up to get it. Nothing like a little competition to get the blood going. It is a great cold and misty fall day with leaves blowing in the wind and scarfs wrapped tightly around necks. For some reason fall has hope in the air, it was fall three years ago when we got married and went to Vermont for our honeymoon. That was a real hopeful time.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Some bad news and some other news

I got an email yesterday from a company that I had three interviews with that told me they were going in another direction. I thought that I had the job and was really disappointed when I found out I didn't. I'm kinda down after that but I kept at the resumes and contacts to find some more opportunities. I am not sure where the job is going to come from but I really wish it would happen soon.

We finally got our car back from the shop after another two broken bolts and cracked pulley. We went in Tuesday to get it and waited around for two hours while the mechanics tried to finish up. The broke the pulley at 8 PM and the 12 year old yelled out a string of swears that would make a sailor blush. They got it figured out and we picked the car up late Wednesday night. Not having a car for the last couple of days and not getting a job I was hopeful about have left me a little less hopeful but today we went into Portland and my son fell asleep in the car with his fist balled up and his little feet crossed and I didn't feel so bad anymore.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Lazy Tuesday

While waiting for our car to be fixed and word from some promising interviews Finn and I had nap is Stumptown.

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Sunday at Sears

The rain is here and with it comes a little misfortune. Yesterday started nice enough with both Kate and sleeping in to unheard of times with a little one in the house. I got up first and got right into a football game, gotta love the West coast and the 10 AM start times, and Kate got up an hour later. We had some breakfast and after Finn woke up from his morning nap we headed out to Longview to get a birthday present for Finn's cousin Ethan.

Longview is where you go to get things like that and when you go to purchase it they ask you if your from Oregon or Washington because in Oregon there isn't a sales tax. Unfortunately our Indiana ID means we are paying the tax. Anyway as we are pulling into the parking lot of Target there is a great whistling noise under our hood then no more whistling and all the idiot lights come on in the dashboard. I looked under the hood and saw that one of the belts was loose, it was really broken but I didn't know that yet. We called my dad to find a place to take in the car at 1 PM on Sunday and Sears was our answer. It was on the other side of the mall we were already at so after getting the birthday present we drove the car over to the shop.

Trevor the 18 year old mechanic on duty took a look and saw that the belt was broken and said it would be an easy enough fix. He went to pick up a new belt from the auto parts store, stopped off a Mcy D's for a late lunch and came back to set about putting the new belt on. We sat in the Sears waiting room, Finn pushing his new car around the floor and telling everyone that came by that he in fact had a "Caaaahhhhhwwwww" in a voice much deeper and louder then you would expect from a arian baby of his size. Kate looked around at the sales and I read a month old NewsWeek magazine keeping an eye on Finn. Trevor, the 17 year old mechanic, came in to say that a bolt head broke off while he was trying to loosen it so he would need to bore the bolt out and it will take a little longer.

Kate was back from her shopping boasting of 90% off sale price finds that might not fit now but will be great after the baby and I asked her if she was hungry. At that Finn looks up from his caaahhhwww and starts pointing at his mouth. For emphasis he removes his plug and adds a grunting noise to the mix. Off we went to the food court for some over priced mall treats thinking that we would get a call any minute telling us the car was done. After an hour long lunch break we went back to Sears to hear that the bolt was out, the belt was on, and there was just some tightening to do.

Trevor, our 16 year old mechanic told us the car was ready and the news came none too soon. Finn was exploring the space with is high pitched scream and both Kate and I were tired of carrying him around. As a side note there should be a stroller in the trunk of the car always, always, always. We loaded up into the car and started it up to a screaching sound as smoke poured out from under the hood. Now my one semester of Auto in high school tells me that the smoke is clearly supposed to stay under the hood and if it comes out something is wrong. We popped the hood and sat and waited as Trevor, our 15 year old mechanic, tinkered away.

After about 30 minutes he told us we needed a new bolt because the one he used to replace the broken one was not holding. He was off to Home Depot to get a new bolt and we finally called Bing to come get Kate and Finn. It has now been 5 hours at the mall and Finn is getting delirious. I sat back down with my old Newsweek and did some more waiting while Trevor worked away. he got the new bolt, tightened everything up but found that the Power Steering belt was loose and would need to be replaced. That's fine I will do that myself on Monday just let me go home. I got back int he car, started it up to the terrible screeching and massive smoke coming out and then shut it down again. When we opened the hood the new belt had shredded and the Alternator had seized. The car was not going anywhere tonight and Trevor, our 14 year old mechanic, was near tears.

We pushed the car into the garage and they shut everything up now two hours after their regular closing time. I called my dad to come and get me as I waited out in the cold wet night shivering with my light sweater. A $20 belt has balloned into $200 alternator and the labor has gone way up. We should have just stayed home and given Ethan my iPod for the money that we will end up paying. The truth is the alternator was the problem from the get go but it just wasn't checked. My dad says a more seasoned mechanic would have looked at that right away and saved us the time of sitting around Sears all Sunday afternoon but Trevor was only 12 so he didn't know enough to check it.

It was a frustrating day but also really funny and great at the same time. Kate and I had a great time with eachother and Finn is fantastic in situations like that. He screeched some times but for not getting a nap, being hungry, not being home, and having to stay close to us all the time he was a champ. Shit happens as Forest Gump has taught us and it doesn't just happen when we're ready. Even with a broken laptop, a broken car, no job, no house of our own, and cold gray rain of the Northwest we are happy and hopeful.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

One Two Three Walk with me

Finn is now doing a little walking on his own.

Meeting the Neighbors

When we left the house today to run some errands we passed these two looking get connected back with two of their friends that had already crossed the road. We didn't see too many deer in FSQ. Today we looked at a couple of rental houses in the South East Neighborhood of Hawthorne and the North East Neighborhood of Mississippi with Jesse and Carly. It was great to see what was out there and what things cost it was hard not being able to snatch up any of those places. There needs to be a job before we can get an idea of what we can pay for rent so today was more research then anything else. No word on any jobs today other then some one calling me to tell me I not qualified for a job they were going to submit me for. Thanks for that.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mayger Generations

Today we went to Mayger beach to play in the water a little bit on what is supposed to be the last nice day for a bit. There is rain in the forecast for the next week so after Finn woke up from his nap we headed out. Mayger beach is a spot on the Columbia between Clatskanie and Rainer and has been hot spot for Rohl R&R for the last 50+ years. My dad grew up swimming there, my brother and I lived there for a couple of summers in my grandparents make shift shack attached to there travel trailer. There used to be a dock there that was a thriving bar/restaurant with the neighborhood post office when my dad was a kid, hollowed out and a storage place for gill nets when I was a kid, and is now gone. You can see some remains behind Finn and I in the picture. With or without the docks though the real fun is in playing in the mud, digging up clams, and watching ships heading up the river to Portland and Finn enjoyed all three of those events today.

Catching up

I am sorry for the gapes in posting here it is tough not having my computer up and running at all times. I have more messages in my Google reader then I know what to do with and my fantasy baseball team has gone the way of the Dodgers in this end of the season flurry. Kate and Finn are now here and doing well. Finn has slept in 4 different places in the last couple of weeks and he is adapting quite well. He sleeps through the night and seems happy and well adjusted. He takes a lot of step but doesn't walk and he makes a lot of noise but doesn't talk. He is thriving but in ways that aren't measured in the questions over coffee at the local cafe. Kate is doing well with the pregnancy and feeling kicks and movement in her ever growing belly. For the last couple of days we have had some visitors from Santa Barbara that are doing a fact finding vacation in the Northwest to see if this could be a place for them someday. I think it could but I also think they are miles away from a decision so I won't be making dinner plans with them anytime soon. Finn has had a couple chances to play with his cousins and he seems to love it. They are bigger then him and like to wrestle but he joins in and smacks the face of whoever is on the ground. Finn is a mercenary really with no strong allegiances to any one side. It has been beautiful here with warm sunny days and cool crisp fall nights. The rumbling of future rains are getting louder on the 5 o'clock news so I think we will be properly introduced to the typical Northwest weather soon enough.

As for the job searching it is moving along. I have resumes out to every corner of the greater Portland Metro area and have had a couple of interviews and thanks, but no thanks letters. I recently had a second interview with a company that would be great and it sounds like it is down to me and one other person. I have also hooked up with a recruiter that has helped me refine my resume and has recently forwarded on a great job opportunity with a small software company that sounds great. There are positive vibes a plenty but no offers yet, I have turned down 3 interviews because the money wasn't right as well. I am upbeat and positive and full of hope and promise. My Aunt Dee Dee called yesterday just because Kate and I were on her heart and prayed with me over the phone and it really helped fortify my faith. Well that is what is news worthy lately and I will get more updates up here soon, thanks for your thoughts and prayers for Kate and I, and thanks for keeping up with us.

Monday, September 17, 2007

She was delayed but she is coming

After a two and a half hour delay in Houston Kate and Finn are on their way here. As you can see they are above Colorado right now as I am writing this, but probably not as your reading. I am very very excited to have them back and couldn't sleep last night in anticipation. I headed to Portland a bit early this evening so I am sitting in a great coffee house on SE Stark and 79th in North East Portland. There are 10 other people on computers so the connection is not that great but the vibe can't be beat. Tomorrow Kate and I are going up to Seattle to see the king of all small businesses and that's kinda cool too. Just not as cool as my beautiful and my baby coming.

Friday Night Lights to Sunday night lows

This past Friday night I went to the local high school football game with my dad. It was really great being in the crowd watching the people who loved the game and the great majority who were just there because everyone else was. It was small town football at it's best and the home team dominated from opening kick off to the final ear drum shattering horn. I was told how great my dad was when he played ball for the Tigers and chastised for not having enough spirit by the biggest fan there Calvin. We walked over to the game, through the woods, down the hill and into the field that wasn't there when my dad played. His games were in the park in the middle of town. There are about as many people in the town of Clatskanie as went to my high school so things were on a much smaller scale but the same Friday night Football dynamics endure just as strong in the northwest as they do in Southern California. The little kids are playing in the grass behind the goal posts, the middle schoolers are watching the high schoolers and the high schoolers are fighting the mostly losing battle to be cool. The game was not good, but since the hated rivals Rainer blew out this team Clatskanie was obligated to do the same and they obliged.

Saturday morning I went to breakfast and then a short garage sale seesion with my lovely cousin Crystal and then parked my self in front of the TV for a long day of college football. Having a TV that gets those extra channels and being back in the Pacific time zone allowed me to watch the 9 AM ESPN game all the way through to the Hawaii game that ended around 11 PM. There was a lot of great football in there and one terrible car wreck of a game. My parents worked feverishly all day to get the house ready for Kate and Finn while I pinned for them in front of the TV with a bag of chips and a fantastic channel that should all the games in tiny little screens so you could flip around at will. We all have our own way of preparing!

I would like to say that I got more done on Sunday but really how could I with all those pro games on. I had to watch the Indy game so I could text Nathan, something I am afraid is going to be a tradition for me for years to come. Then the Raiders came on and it's been years since I have seen them play. The Raiders didn't disappoint either snatching defeat from the claws of victory in typical Raider fashion. I did get a bunch done to get Finn's room set up and all of Kate's clothes up in the closet so it wasn't all vegging. It has been a great weekend of football watching at almost every level but it really isn't the treat that it once was for me. I would have traded all those games, well maybe not the high school game, for a chance to be in the Aalsma's backyard with all of these beautiful people.

Friday, September 14, 2007

It's not allowed

Did you know that in Oregon your not allowed to pump your own gas. I guess you can also say you don't have to but I choose to see it as not being allowed to. It's literally against the law to pump your own gas. The same is true for New Jersey but no where else in the entire U.S. I have included a graphic for those of you who can't picture the rest of the U.S. without a little help. It is really hard to get used to pulling up to the filling station and waiting for someone to come up to me so I can tell them what I need and give them my card to pay for it. The pumps still have the card reader on each of them so I can easily get out and start the process for them but if I do I can be arrested! Well maybe not arrested but at least a stern talking to. When they are done and give my the receipt I feel like I should tip them but nobody does. I haven't tipped anyone yet and from what I have read it is not part of the deal, written or unwritten. I do slap them on the bottom and tell them good work though so they know how grateful I am.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Jobs and the longing

The job search is going, though I am not sure how it is going. I mean until you have a job it really isn't going that well is it? There seems to be some interest in my silly list of accomplishments but not enough for an interview or job offer. I have started to hear from companies in Portland instead of Indy, Waco, and Phoenix so that is plus. My spirits are still high because I know that this is a process that will take some time. I'm trying not to think about my wife at her appointment, 18 weeks along and all is well, wondering where and when we will find a Dr. here. Trying not to worry about where we will live and if Finn will be OK until we get insurance again. That stuff is out of my control for right now so it is relegated to back burner concerns. I miss my wife and boy terribly. It is first thing in the morning when I feel it most. That time in the morning where you first wake up but don't need to get up yet. When I would find Kate in the sea of covers and curl up to her and wait for Finn to wake up. If I was lucky I would be pulled into sleep with her hair in my face and my arm around her. That's the way it feels, like being pulled into, falling almost and I miss that. I wake up now and reach out to find her, for a second forgetting that she isn't there, and longing is heavy on my chest and I catch my breath.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Waiting for it while writing

I am in Santa Barbara for the weekend so I can attend my friends' wedding. Both the bride and the groom are my friends so I put the little mark at the end. That isn't right is it? Irregardless I did it and I used a word I have no idea what it's meaning is. My wife has never been less attracted to me then when reading this post. Anyway it is nice being here, I will always love Santa Barbara and the people. I am staying with Jesse and Carly in their great place and at dinner tonight I ran into a couple of old friends that themselves were just back in SB after a year in Taiwan. That is part of the beauty of this place much like Indy in that I often run into someone I know and haven't seen for years. Tomorrow is a busy day that includes a harbor cruise so I must get to sleep. I don't really have much to say lately but want to write so I do. I think that soon I will be able to get at something that I want to say just by taking the time to get back int he habit of writing. That may or may not be true but I think I'll just play it out to see. In the mean time enjoy Finn getting super pumped about getting a balloon.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Wapping it

I am getting to know some of the finer Wireless access points in the greater Clatskanie area. A town that boasts a population of 1850 has a good number of open networks to attach to. Today I am in Flotano's Pizza parlor checking email and sending out resumes en mass. Thank you Tonya and Carly for the encouragement today and great notes, I really appreciate your words and value them a lot because of who you both are. I thought I would put up a travel photo from the epic drive. Enjoy

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

From plans to reality

Writing this I am sitting in a coffee-tanning-ice cream place in Clatskanie, OR tweaking my resume and scouring the online job posting while trying not to think about how much I miss Kate, Finn, John, Tonya, Cosi, Carrie, ......... My brother Mark, and friend Jesse flew out to Indy to drive with me cross country to Oregon last week and we made the trip in 38 hours. We left Indy at 11 AM and made it to my parent's house at 10:30 PM the next day. It was an epic road trip that we dominated from start to finish. Three iPods full of music and a mix CD that encapsulated the mood of the trip perfectly, moving from excitement and hope to sadness searching and then back really helped the time go by. We had a rotation of 2-4 hours of driving with the other two taking the bulk of the midnight to sunrise driving time.

Now that Mark and Jesse are back home and I am left here to start the job search it's hard not to think back to what I have left behind. There are great pictures up on Flickr of Sunday night dinners and Labor Day beach outings that left tears on my keyboard. There was this line in a book I recently read where the woman was looking back at a time in her life where she was having some minor problems compared to the hell her life had become and she says "How were we supposed to know we were happy then?" There is a big part of me that fears we will do the same. This move to Portland seems like the right decision but I don't have any certainty to it, it very well could be the worse decision we have made and I would be lying if I said I didn't worry about that. Worry is no good here though, I am here, Kate and Finn are coming and so I look for a job. Then we look for a place to live. Then we look for all the other things we will need to make it in our new home.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Plans (written by Kate)

With a baby on the way and a job I hate, a change is in order. Occupational options are limited in Indianapolis, I'm in love with an MFA program in Seattle and James has a family friend highly connected in the computer industry in Portland. So to the Pacific Northwest we go. In a very short amount of time, we have weighed the options, prayed for a clear and peaceful direction and then been caught up in the momentum of all things falling into place. In one week I will give notice. In two weeks we drive to Iowa for my cousin's wedding. In three weeks we will pack up a trailer and send James and his parents off with our stuff. And shortly after, Finn and I will fly to Portland to meet up with James, find a place to live and generally begin the process of making our acquaintance with a new city, a bigger, more hippie-friendly, mass transitted, rainy city.

We are overwhelmed by this decision and generally feeling in equally powerful levels: really sad to be leaving Indianapolis and the people we love here, a place and time that we will likely look back on as Utopian communal living with beautiful and talented people, leaving my parents who have been both generous and overwhelmingly loving and a short drive away; and feeling really excited to be starting over and finding a new city and community to be connected to and love. We know that this is what we are supposed to be doing right now, a supernatural sense of direction. But we are fully aware of what we are leaving behind and hope that we are half as lucky again.

We are city people, James and I are. Every time we go to New York or Chicago or even smaller cities like Cincinnati or Louisville, we are energized and inspired. I picture us riding the subway, taking Finny to school and stopping at the flower market to pick up some daisies for the front hall table. We will look to be around people and activity and cultural centers always and this move feels like the realization of that part of us. Not that Indianapolis does not have its appeal, it does. We have certainly been surprised by the cultural, artistic and athletic thriving we have found here. But with Indianapolis, there is the sense that we know or will know soon all that there is to know about the city, that everyone is connected enough that if you know five key people, you know them all, which is great in a lot of ways. Being connected is a thrilling sense of belonging in overlapping relationships. But we both have a sense of more things to see, more book shops, cafes on corners, art galleries and boutiques to know. We are perhaps instilled with that very American manifest destiny, of exploration and discovery—not of anything new or uncharted—but new to us. And we are thrilled at the prospect.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Tree Killers

The tree in our front yard was dying and branches would fall during every storm. Before mowing the lawn I would have to pick up the bigger pieces of limbs and bark out of the grass so as not to totally trash the lawn mower. Worried about some of the bigger branches falling on cars or people on the sidewalk we decided the tree needed to come down. We went to the local Home Depot and rented a chainsaw for the day and got started. My dad is an iron worker and has all the necessary safety gear so it made sense that he would be the one climbing around like a monkey on the tree cutting it down. Well that and the fact that he is 20 times the man I am. It really is tough being as a man being part of this family. Mark is an electrician and knows his way around a job site, Bing is an Iron worker and all around handy man who my wife is now giving jobs to instead of giving them to me. As if it isn't hard enough getting man points as a stay-at-home dad I have my dad and brother setting high scores like two stoners at the arcade tilting the pinball machine while the numbers pile up. But I digress, we got a ladder from Jerry and set to making the big tree disappear chunk by chunk. The neighbors gathered on their porches to watch and sometimes spot for cars as my dad sent limbs falling into the street with little regard for traffic. I worked down below breaking up the branches and loading them into the truck. We hauled off the brush to the landfill and put the logs in the back with a sign that said free wood. It took about 4 hours for the tree to disappear and another 3 hours to clean up the yard but the tree is gone now and not in any danger of hitting a passer-by. You can see more pictures of the process on Flickr

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

In Loving Memory

This past weekend my parents dog Scout had to be put down due to advanced cancer in his stomach. He was not looking well the past couple of days and when they took him into the vet they found out about the cancer. It was a shock to all of us who suspected it was something he ate. My parents had Scout for a year and it was here in Indianapolis last year, shortly after Finn was born, that my dad answered an ad in his local paper for a free boxer. He called and set up a meeting when they got back home and from that meeting they took Scout home. For a year Scout was a part of the family, well loved and capable of giving such love as well. When Finn and I visited in January Scout took it upon himself to guard Finn's room while he slept. Finn would shake his lips and pull the bones Scout was chewing on right out of his mouth without Scout coming close to biting him. Scout would lay while Finn crawled all over him and it was incredibly sweet to see. He was a great dog with such a fantastic disposition and my parents are heart broken. Please remember them in your prayers and your thoughts as they go through this sad time. And if you ever met Scout and have a story please share it in the comments, I think they would like that.

Monday, July 23, 2007

When's that BABY due?

Above is the odd picture of the new baby that is growing in Kate's Stomach. It is an inch and a third long and has a wicked fast heart beat so it is doing well. Kate is 10 weeks along and due February 17th. We had our first appointment today and the Dr. couldn't find a heartbeat with the little boom box mic so she sent us to have an ultrasound, something our previous Dr. didn't do, instead of just guessing on a due date. We would normally wait until the 12 or 14 week point to tell everyone because the early miscarriage has made us gun shy but it is hard to wait when you have heard the heart beat, seen the hands and legs and little insect face. Congratulations us!

(title comes from the 2 minute mark of this)

Brokeback Potter Weekend

This past weekend I was fully caught up in Potter-mania. My good friend John and I met some other friends at the local big box book store just before midnight to stand in line for the eagerly awaited 7th book in the Harry Potter series. It was quite a scene at the store but the best part was talking to this dude in line that was at least 6 shades of crazy. He started the conversation by turning around and saying "I told my wife to put the Miracle Grow on the tomato's hello!" I first thought he had confused me for someone else he had been talking to but that wasn't the case. He told me all about his garden and his desire for purple peppers. He told me about his dream of going to AZ to a cooking school to be a chef but how he can't leave Indy because of some legal reasons. He talked about his medication and how it caused him to flip out and try to kill a security guard. He told me about his bogus diagnosis of schizophrenia and how he'd like to see that court appointed Dr. again to show him what he thought of that. I was never so glad to hear "Next!" and see him go to one register to buy his book while I went to another to buy mine. Actually if you click on the picture up top you will see my crazy friend under the white board with the grey shirt and Gallagher haircut.

After John and I had purchased our book we headed down to Bloomington to hole away in a cheap hotel and read our books. We had been planning this for months now and one time or another there where other readers that were going to be joining us but it ended up just being the two of us. We had to endure countless gay jokes from friends and family but we also talked to plenty of people who envied the chance to get away and do nothing but read. We got to the hotel pretty late and laid out our plan for the reading. We would read a chapter tonight to start and then starting Saturday morning we would read 3 chapters and then stop and discuss.

We had breakfast at a local favorite and walked on to the campus of IU and read away. It was a great day weather wise and we stayed pretty well on pace with each other. After a couple of stopping points to chat and remember who was who we went to a coffee shop and found a couple more readers lounging in the comfy chairs reading and we nodded at them. A stop for lunch to have falafels and then back to the hotel for more reading. John is a much faster reader when there are no distractions, like he reads 2 pages to my 1, but when there were distractions we read at the same pace.

We stopped for a nap and then read some more before a dinner of Thai food. After dinner we went back to the hotel to read the night away but soon needed snacks. John had a friend in town taking a class in Polish so he invited him over and we stopped to chat with him. When we got back to reading John's friend joined us reading his book on Polish Foreign Policy in the 1930's. Basically the same story as The Deathly Hallows. When we would stop to discuss he listened intently and participated in the guesses as to the fate of the different characters. Micah left and John and I went to sleep late again and slept in until 10 when we had to check out.

I had been sick with a cold during the last couple of days but was not feeling to bad until Sunday morning. I woke up with what felt like a hang over worthy of world class night of drinking. The like of which I have not seen since leaving SB and the poor influences of Troy, Ben, Jesse, and Jimbo. We went to have bagels with Micah and read on campus again but I felt awful and looked worse. With 200 pages left we headed back home. It was disappointing not finish before coming home and to feel like I let John down but nice to be back home. We both finished the book Sunday night and had a chance to talk a little about it this morning. It was a great weekend with a great friend. There will continue to be jokes amongst our friends but I don't care. They missed out on a fantastic time and I think most of them know it.

Friday, July 20, 2007

White Washed

Last year shortly after Finn was born my parents, brother, and sister in-law came to see the baby and help out with some home improvement. The back porch creation was the biggest of these projects as can be seen in this old post. Well over a year later and we still haven't painted that porch so my dad is doing that as well. I really should be helping but I am feeling really sick. I don't have an excuse for the other 365 plus days though

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bath time with Papa

My dad is pretty funny to watch with Finn. He will not pick him up if he is dirty or in any way sticky, needing first to wipe him down thoroughly. He also doesn't like getting splashed during bath time but Finn just doesn't seem to cooperate with him. When he is covered in sticky bananas and has a full diaper he wants his Papa to pick him up right now. In the bath he splashes and laughs the whole time while Bing is with him. It's as if Finn knows hows particular he is and is doing everything he can think of to get him. Last night while giving him a bath Bing had Finn laughing so hard he could barely breath. There are few things in life so rewarding as making kids laugh and last night my dad was richly rewarded.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Merry Marriage Day

On Sunday afternoon Kate, Finn, and I got to be a part of Lisa and Eric Bentson's wedding. Kate was the most beautiful bridesmaid of the bunch though a head cold and stuffy, humid church almost got the best of her. The ceremony was held in a quaint church on Culver lake followed by a reception in the Poconos at the Skytop Lodge. It was a very fancy shindig from beginning to end and really a lot of fun to be part of, the only problem was that it directly preceded a 12 hour drive back home. We tackled the first 4 hours that Sunday night and stayed in a cheap hotel just West of the midway point of PA on I-80. Kate and I were both too tired to care about the crappy hotel and Finn slept in his port-cage so for him it didn't matter. The next day of driving was great until we were just coming to the Ohio-Indiana border. That was the time that Finn decided he no longer wanted to be in his chair and instead wanted to scream a high pitched tune. We couldn't get home soon enough.

Friday, July 13, 2007

On the Road

We left Wednesday night to go to the East coast for a wedding. Kate's friend Lisa is getting married and Kate is part of the festivities. Since Finn has a 6 hour traveling tolerance we thought leaving later in the evening and driving while he slept would be a good idea but Finn didn't sleep. After we stopped and checked into a hotel he still didn't sleep. He was like chipmunk on uppers he was so hyper. Like he chased his espresso with some redbull. He was throwing himself around the bed, getting up on his knees and waving his arms like crazy and then throwing himself down again. We put him in his crib and he screamed for 30 minutes, which is OK at home where we can hide him away in his room, but in a hotel room it really sucks. Not much sleep was had that night but he was a happy baby for the rest of the trip. We arrived in Sparta, NJ at 8:00 PM Thursday and today Kate is off with Lisa, Finn is with Grandma Kris and Heather to the Jersey Shore, and I am left to read in the shade on the back porch. I think we are all pretty happy with our respective days. Since there are no pictures taken left I give you Finn offering scout a drink from his sippy cup.

Monday, July 09, 2007

4th of July with the Gnomes

We were meant to go to the lake to have a much more suburban 4th but rumors of thunder storms and tornadoes kept us close to home. While sitting in the front yard watching the neighbors across the street shoot bottle rockets from the end of an ax handle Junior came over with A.J. to invite us over to their BBQ and we went. The whole scene could have been on Mayger beach and these could have been my uncles so I felt fairly at home. For Kate though this was a completely foreign experience akin to meeting a remote tribe in the Amazon. We tried to put Finn down for a nap and walk over there but they would have none of it. They wanted to see that baby and sent me back to get him up. We chatted, played horeshoes and basketball, and ate and had a great time. Our neighbors from down the block heard about it and made their jokes about eating racoon and blowing up the neighborhood with $600 worth of fireworks while other bills go unpaid, but they accepted us as we were and made us feel like we belonged and that's more then I can say for us and our friends.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The watermelon incident

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sales, sights, and sunny dispositions

In an effort to both clean out unused items and to raise a few extra coins we have listed a few items on Craigslist in the last couple of days. We sold a desk, bookshelf, and my Mac to some very nice people. One of the great byproducts of selling on Craigslist is meeting the prospective buyers. The desk was bought by a Carmel Mom which is the equivalent of saying a Montecito Mom in a previous life. She didn't seem to need a deal on a shabby chic desk but she really appreciated the desk and went on and on about it's charms even with the defects plainly seen. She was someone who saw the beauty in an otherwise broken thing the way that Kate sees it, and for that she was a good buyer. A man and his son bought the Mac and the 8 year old boy was so excited his grin was contagious. I passed on some comics that were given to me along with the computer because the kid was so excited. Those interactions, and the extra money, illustrate how great something like craigslist is when both parties are on the up and up. I know that isn't always the case with online ventures but I am a newly minted optimist so I will celebrate the positives.

Friday, June 22, 2007

He can stand, even when he's half naked

This morning Finn had destroyed his crib and sleeper with an epic pooh the night before and so a diaper change was preceeded by a bit of a bath, hence the half naked baby. Also it's hot here in the Square and that's how we roll!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

News and Weather at the top of the hour

It has been hot and sweaty here lately and I am not enjoying it at all. Hot is fine it is the freaking humidity that is killing me. I know, I know, every year at this time with the humidity whining. What can I say I got nothing interesting to say lately. Finn is growing well if a little soft. He gets picked on by Asher, which is fine since Ash-man is beast, but he also gets picked on by impish Cosi. Finn cries when Asher picks on him but smiles the whole time he is around Cosi. He gets as excited to see her as he does when Kate or I come home. I am not sure where the three of us rank in his hierarchy. I think it goes Me, Cosi, then Kate but don't tell Kate that. Finn also screamed like he was being tortured in CIA secret prison when we brought him out into the Lake up at Kate's parent's house. I tried to reassure him he was OK but he would have none of it and cuddled with Grandma while he tried to calm himself. Next time we will try to introduce him to the lake from the shore instead of the middle.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

He's a bit of a Screamer

Finn has started this screaming phase and he is not letting it go. When he wants something he is not getting he screeches at high pitch in short piercing bursts until you give him what he wants. When we know what it is we can ignore him and not give in so we can try to teach him that we do not respond to this frequency and I think I am better at this than Kate is only because I face it more then she does. It is when we have no idea what he is trying to communicate that it gets really tough to handle. For some reason the scream for the unknown reason makes me go crazy and want to ring his little neck. Why is that? It's not a different sound. It is just as piercing and peace shattering but one has no effect on me, and the other sends me into a Bruce Banner-Hulk metamorphosis. I try and smile at Finn and ask him what he wants and give him some options that I think it might be, but all he does is point and scream. He could be pointing at the wall, or beyond the wall to outside, or to high chair meaning he's hungry or to any number of things that I';m sure make perfect sense to him. We have friends that assure us this phase will end and I know it will too, but in the mean time I need a translation book that translates point-scream to English, I would settle for Spanish even.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Reason # 237 why I love Kate

After I have been out a little to late drinking on a neighbor's porch and talking neighborhood politics with some inebriated friends there is a tooth brush waiting at home in the bathroom with some toothpaste on it. Some times love is mint flavored.

Monday, June 04, 2007

May Reads

Books Read

Books Bought

A Widow for One Year – John Irving

Our Man in Havana – Graham Green

Our Man in Havana – Graham Green

Gilead – Marilynne Robinson

Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys – Chris Furhman

Second Hand – Michael Zadoorian

The Road – Cormac McCarthy

The Final Solution – Michael Chabon

The Reader – Bernhard Schlink

The Handmaid's Tale – Margaret Atwood

Holes - Louis Sachar

Monkey Bridge – Lan Cao

Month two in this great experiment that is me reading and I think I am hitting my stride. I read seven books this month including the longest book I think I have ever read and a devasting novel that I am still thinking about daily. So I will get right to it.

The month started with Lan Cao's Monkey Bridge, a book that I got for a dollar at a garage sale last month. It was a short novel that would have been better as a memoir but was still ok. The story focused on a young girl from Vietnam that comes to Amercia during that last airlift as the war was being abandoned. The whole book was more of a history lesson than anything else.

Next I read the highly recommended Holes by Louis Sachar. I know it's a kid's book but since it was suggested by a 10 year old that has read 3 to 4 times more books then I have so I had to read it. I watched the movie and the book was exactly like the movie and I really enjoyed both of them. Thanks for the suggest Ad!

The Reader is a German book translated into English about a young man's relationship with an older woman who just happened to be responsible for the deaths of numerous Jews during WWII. The story is really a book about a generation dealing with the shame of the holucost. You can either have some sort of understanding for what would lead people to such atrocities or you can have rightrous indignation but you can't do both. Some passion is lost if you try to understand.

After three quick books I picked up The Road by Cormac McCarthy. This book had come recommended by two guys whose opinons I think very highly of and after reading the book I thin even more of them. There is a lot of hype around this book right now because Oprah choose it for her book club and it is a bit different from her normal faire. I read the last 20 pages in the car, out loud to Kate, as we drove to pick Finn up from a day with Grandma. The last two pages were read between tears and sobs. No book has affected me this deeply before and I think I started this reading thing for a book like this. The story of a man and his boy in a burned out America trying to make it against all odds hit me hard and when we arived to get Finn I grabbed him up and squeezed him and kissed him until he got both hands on my face and pushed me away. I wouldn't recommend this book to many people, actually I can't think of anyone I would recommend it to because it is intense and hard. But if you read it I want to hear about it. I want to talk about it, but I don't recommend it.

After such an intense book The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys was a nice change of pace. It is a coming of age story about a couple weeks in these boy's lives that change their tracjectory forever. Even though there is some tough stuff in this book as well it was easier to take. More of a Stand By Me story.

While wandering through Half Price books I found a Graham Green book and had to get it and read it. Kate's sister is a huge fan and so I had to read at least one of his books. This was a fun entry into the wolrd of Graham Green with the madcap espianoge tale of a spy who makes up his contacts and information. Poking fun at the spy game while entertaining as well.

The last book of this month was the longest book I have read in my life. It was one of two books suggested by the fantastic Tonya and apart from the outrageous amounts of sex in this book, I liked it a lot. It was a nice way to end a busy week of reading following the lives of 4 novel writers as they try to navigate the waters of love, loss, and pages and pages of sex. There should be a lot fewer books next month, summer is heating up and I should get outside more.

Happy Birthday my boy

This past Thursday was Finn's first birthday. We didn't have a party for him because we don't think he knows his birthday from any other day of the year at this stage, but I did tell him the story of his birth like my mom still does for me each year. I told him about the Dr.'s appointment the day before when we found out that he was coming the next day whether he was ready or not. I told him about getting up early and the middle Eastern couple in the waiting room with the two girls. I told him about the room we had and how tough his mom was. He laughed when I told him how I had to leave when she got her shots and smiled big when ever I told him about TomTom and grandma Kris. I told him about the horrible Dr. we had and the great nurses. I told him about watching him being born how I held mommy's hand and changed the wash cloth on her forehead between each contraction. I told him how I cried when he was born and how nervous we were when he wasn't breathing right. Some Dr.'s wanted to take him but another told them not to, he told them to give the baby to his mommy and he would be OK, and I told him that he was OK once he was in mommy's arms. I wonder how the story will change over the years and what will be important in 10 years and what will be forgotten. I will tell him the story for as long as he wants to hear it, and probably for a couple years after that.

Birthday Flip out time!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Happy Fantastic Four Day

This past Sunday we had a BBQ for the Fantastic Four as they finish up their first year. Cosi is already one and Atlas is next in line to reach the milestone. Cosi is North, Ashur East, Atlas is South, and Finn is West.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Finn can crawl now

Here is the proof!

Happy Birthday CosiBear!

The first of the Fantastic Four are turning one, and we went to the International BBQ festival in Owensboro, KY to celebrate. The meat of choice at this BBQ is Mutton and it was tasty but the best BBQ was at Cosi's grandmas house where we had some fantastic beef ribs. I got to camp under the stars, ate myself sick with BBQ, and hung out with some great friends. It may have been Cosi's birthday but I think I may have enjoyed it a bit more then she did but she had a good time as well.

Birthday Weekend

Last Friday was my 33 birthday and Kate made it maybe the best birthday I have ever had. Since I have one of the worst memories of a none Alzheimer's patient I can't be totally sure but I did have a fantastic time. It started Friday morning with a trip to the post office to pick up my gift from my family: a new iPod. I loaded that bad boy up as soon as we got back and we now had traveling tunes for the trip. Thank you so much Mom, Bing, Mark, and Kendra. We then headed to Best Buy to get a stereo put into the Civic since the last two were removed from the car by a neighborhood service. They come around at night and take anything you aren't using. We dropped Finn off with Kris and made our way to Cincinnati to watch a baseball game.

The whole weekend was meant to be a surprise but Jessica ruined the surprise on Thursday afternoon while Kate and I were having a State Fair dog at King David's. I had to make sure I put that in here to properly chastise Jessica.

Tom and Kris had booked a room across the river from the stadium and we walked across a cool old bridge to head to the game. Rockies vs. Reds in what turned out to be a pretty good game, though just being at the park, having a hot dog and watered down beer was fantastic no matter who played. After the game we walked around Covington, KY and once again found ourselves really enjoying the Cincinnati area.

The next morning we had the hotel breakfast and then headed to Louisville, KY to go to the Kentucky Derby! Fan-freaking-tastic! I was so excited when I got up knowing that later that day I was going to one of the premier events in America. I am not a Horse racing guy at all but I love the spectacle of the big events and the Derby did not disappoint. We had mint Juleps, bet some ponies, fought through crowds, and gawked at all the beautiful people. Kate picked the winner of one of the races but I didn't get to the window in time to make the bet. We lost out on $10 but Kate could care less. She picked the winner, the money was secondary. We spent a lot of the time on the rail of the paddock watching the horses and important people parade around for the adoring public. For the 10th race, the actual Derby, we were in a throng of people staring up at the screen. It was electric being part of that crowd all yelling for their pony and jumping around. Absolutely everyone had money on that race from the paramedics to the bus drivers. None of the three horses I had even finished in the top four so I got to tear up my tickets and throw them in the air in mock disgust. The day was so much fun and Kate and I definitely want to do it again. Next time though we want to do it right, Kate in her sun dress and hat and me in my Seersucker suit and bow tie.

When we got back home I had birthday wishes from friends and family in all manor of places. Aaron sent me a video, Dylan and Linsey left a message on Facebook, Crystal and PJ on Myspace, Tonya left a gmail status note, Jeff sent an eCard, Mark, Debbie, and Jaime called, Jesse and Carly sent a card, LaDonna sent an email, and Kate gave me a kiss.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

April Reads

Books Read

  • The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion
  • Murder of the Orient Express – Agatha Christie
  • New York Trilogy – Paul Austre
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith
  • Lucky Dog - Mark Barrowcliffe

Here is the first in what will be a recapping of the books I read each month. I want to include the books I picked up as well but this month there are too many to list so I'm skipping that bit. Thank you Kate, John, Eric, Matt A., Ben, David, and Matt M. for the suggestion that you sent me, they really helped me get started on this goal of more fiction, though the fist book I read turned out to be a Memoir so not technically fiction. Please email me any of your favorites if you haven't already done so, I love being able to chat with folks who sent in suggestions because the book ends up being infinitely better with the conversation afterwards.

When checking out at the library based on the Amazon recommendation I was sure it was a novel but 10 pages in realized my mistake. The book details the year in which the Author loses her Husband and her daughter with in months of each other and my friend Carrie told me she couldn't get through it because of that. Last month I read this book called Love is a Mixtape in which the Author loses his young wife suddenly and I found myself having to read short sections at a time followed by long periods of holding Kate and trying to convince her not to die suddenly. It was much tougher to get through because of the context. I did not have a husband and daughter so reading about that lose was easier, detached from my own possiblities. I do, though, have a young wife and have often thought about what life would be like without her. I think I might just be done, check out completely but this guy didn't. He was able to move on, albeit after a good long time.

Next I read the classic Agatha Christie Mystery Murder on the Orient Express finally getting into some Fiction. It was a quick read and I really enjoyed it and then followed it up with Paul Austre's New York Triology. The pairing of the two books was really great as Christie's book was the classic mystery novel while Austre's tweaked the genre. My friend John called the New York Trilogy probably the most influential piece of fiction he had read so I was particularly eager to get it. I wanted to understand the subtext and be able to dialogue with him about it, but I'm not sure how succesful I was. We had a great talk about the book and the idea of identity and the meaninglessness of things but I fear I have a ways to go before I really understand what I am reading.

I picked up another book that John had recommended next and Kate asked how I liked A Tree grows in Brooklyn. I had not finished that book when she suggested it to me last year and she gave me a hard time about choosing my friends suggestins over hers. I'm not saying she guilted me into reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, I really did want to read and had forgoton about it, but she knew what she was doing with her little side comment. The book was difficult for me to read but the pay off was nice. There was a couple of interesting talks Kate and I had about communication in marriage. Anyone who knows Kate would find this shocking I'm sure. We watched the classic guys movie Diner and there was this scene where Shrevie laments his relationship with his wife. He can talk until sunrise with the guys at the Diner but can't talk for 5 minutes with his wife. In the book there is a bar owner that envied Johnny, a rather no-good fellow in most respects, because he could talk to his wife for hours. The book was mostly depressing and Kate admitted that she tended towards those books she thought, because her childhood was so great.

The last book of the month was the one for our book club called Lucky Dog. I am not sure what it is we are going to talk about with this book as it is not really thought provoking literature. The book centers around a dog that talks, though only our hero can hear him. There is a review on Amazon that says if you love Garfield then this is the book for you. Not exactly a strong case for reading this book but it was a fun beach type book anyway. I wonder where the Beach Type book came from, who first coined the term "Beach Read"? I don't ever go to the beach to read but I use the term as if I am constantly shaking sand from towel and marking my place with dried seaweed. The book was entertaining and lasted all of two days so next time you find yourself off to a beach bookless grab a copy and enjoy.

I am sure this whole thing comes off as "oh look at me, I am so smart, I read a lot and stuff" and that is ok with me. I mostly feel pretty dumb, especially amoung the PHD's and college grads in our hood, so I'm fine with pretending to be part of that crowd. I stay at home with Finn, don't have any other job, have only one kid who sleeps 6 hours a day, and a lot of free time on my hands. I can grab a book and some tasty beverage and lay on the over stuffed couch on the screened in front porch and read. That is the life I live these days, and the writing about reading is just something fun for me to do to mask the utter laziness of the whole business. I figure if I can fool you into thinking I'm smart you'll forget that I am really just a bum!

Friday, April 27, 2007

All Chores are not created equal

While Kate is working hard to put chicken on our grill and books on my shelves I am working hard to keep Finn alive and our house relatively clean. These are both easily measurable tasks that we have and since there are 10 new books and a perfectly healthy baby boy I'd say we are doing pretty good. Well Kate is definitely, but some of my daily house cleaning tasks sheets have been a few check marks shy of complete. The thing is that it's mostly Kate's fault not mine. I mean it is my fault for sure, I'm the one that is responsible for the tasks it's just that Kate is easily fooled into thinking I have done a full days work. Let me give you a little example with the list below. On the Left is the accomplished task and on the right is Kate's response to said accomplishment (or lack there of):

  • Not doing anything Highly agitated
  • Cleaning the front room only Agitated
  • Cleaning the front, library, dining Mildly agitated
  • Making the bed Happy
  • Doing the dishes Happy
  • Making bed and doing dishes Ecstatic
  • Cleaning the whole house+dishes+made bed Ecstatic
  • Doing the laundry What's better the ecstatic?
So as you can see by the list Kate's approval or disapproval of my house cleaning centers around the bed being made and the dishes being done. If I do those two things, and keep Finny alive then she is just as happy as if I cleaned the whole house. If I fail to do those two things then it does not matter what else I did during the day, she is not impressed. Makes me think of the Brian Regan comedy bit about half game-whole snow cone as seen here acted out by Simba from the Lion King. Why clean the whole house if I only get credit for the dishes and made bed. I'd rather play half game.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

His indifference is so cute!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The media loves the Campos Clan

My friends Kyle and Aaron Campos moved to Arizona shortly before I moved to Indiana. They were moving to start a business, to buy a home, and to join friends. They were moved because doing all that in Santa Barbara was beyond tough. Anyway since they have been out there they have been media darlings. Today they were featured in the LA Times, last week it was, before that it was here, and a story int he Wall Street Journal which is no longer online and then this one here as well. For whatever reason their story resonates with the people and keeps getting told in one way or another over and over again. I don't get it, I mean Melissa and Estrella are awesome and their kids are probably my favorite kids just slightly behind Finn, but Kyle and Aaron? Those two are trouble and if WSJ and LA Times are affraid to say it then I will. Those two are dangerous individuals that are not to be trusted. I heard Kyle didn't even go to college and I have it on good authority (his daughter CC) that Aaron can't even put together a bunk bead.

A Sunday Garden

Sunday was project day for us and we set about turning a section of the backyard into a flower cutting garden for Kate. We started off the day with a fresh pot of coffee and a sausage scramble with some of Farmer Brown's eggs. Fed and caffeinated we went to Menards and got some supplies. Back at home El Finno was ready for a nap and Kate and I got busy removing the grass from a Kidney bean shaped area next to the garage. The ground was fairly wet but it was still hard work and 6 blisters and 2 hours later we had the space cleared. I used a lot of the removed grass in dirt to fill in the sink hole behind the garage, it might not be a permanent fix but at least none of the drunks will fall in as they stumble down our alley. I'm always looking out for the stumbling drunk! On the dugout bean we then laid a mixture of manure, peat moss, and vermiculite for the plants. Apparently all that stuff is plant crack and they really dig it. We then laid down a weed barrier over the space and fed the now awake baby before heading out again to Home Depot for the plants. Kate had drawn out a plan for the house and listed the flowers and shrubs that she wanted to Finn and I just played in the cart as she went around loading it up. Back at the house we planted the newly purchased flowers, shrubs, and apple tree in our little space and then covered the area with mulch. It turned out nice but at the end of the day I was beat and my hands are all tore up. There are still some plants to go in but it does look great and it felt very good to get started on the yard this spring, and on earth day no less. Pictures to come once I mow the lawn.

Updated: with photo goodness