Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tax time joys

I sat down in front of the computer with a fist full of W-2's and 1099's and set about doing our taxes. I had heard that the first year doing taxes with a kid is usually pretty nice so there was some excitement in the air. As I as going through entering in the information I came to a road block, no social security number for Finn. The tax man says no sosh, no tax credit.

So today I set aside for getting Finny a SSN. First I forgot his birth certificate as I was taking Kate to work. I thought I was going to go straight over from dropping her off but I had to run home first. Car running, baby sleeping a ran inside with visions of Car Jackings running through my head. Finny and the car were both still there 15 seconds later when I came outside and breathed easier. It was 15* outside with a gale blowing putting my favorite weather index (windchill) at below 0. Sweet sassy molassy that is cold and as we walked form our parking spot to the government building Finn was doing his "My chest hurts and I can't breave" imitation over and over again. We waited for 30 minutes and got up to the counter only to find out that we need his shot records. Man I love these government agencies, no word of that in the phone call I made. Off we went to Finny's pediatrician to get his shot records but she wasn't there and the nurses sent me back and forth from one end of the building to the other a couple of times before 45 minutes later they handed me paper I needed. Back to the Social Security office with an even longer wait we finally got to the window with all the necessary documents to find out that Finn has a SSN already. The hospital filed the paper work for it but that information was never sent to us. I got the number, went back home and finished the taxes, getting one thing accomplished from my list of over twenty. On the bright side we are getting money back.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Edgar Allen Poe House

Can anyone tell me what the hell is coming out of my walls here. There is this brownish red sticky substance oozing down the walls where an old chimney has been closed in. My first thought was blood from a body stuffed in the chimney for not paying a gambling debt, but that is probably just an active imagination. It probably has more to do with a domestic disagreement brought on by a drunken husband stumbling back from the carry out bar on Shelby one too many times and his wife trying to set him straight with the frying pan. Kate thought it might be from the flashing around the chimney but that seems a little far fetched to me.

Relaxing Weekend

For a nice quiet weekend back from the Northwest we thought we would relax by driving 5 to 6 hours up to Madison Wisconsin. Well more riding then driving if the truth be told. We hopped in the McGrail RV and met up with Meg and Mike at the now familiar half way point hotel. It was a nice visit we a baby that travels like a champ. He slept well in his pack-n-play and Kate and I got to stretch out in a King Sized bed. A king sized bed is nice in theory but Kate cuddles up to me where ever I am in bed negating the roominess of the royal bed. Along with the pinochle and hanging out we made a stop off at the Disneyland of Habitat style, Ikea. FYI Sunday is a great day to stop off at Ikea in Chicago. You get a chance to see well over half of the residents of the city in one place, you can’t beat that! We made it out of there with a receipt under 3 bills an RV load rugs, frames, and bedding that will no doubt lead to hours of re-arranging at home.

Friday, January 26, 2007

An aesthetic experiment

I have changed the look of things around here because Finn was with Grandma all day and I am easily distracted from doing my house work. So the house is a mess and the bags of clothes and books are in the garage instead of at the Goodwill but there is a new look to my silly diary. If only Kate would see how much work I actually did do today!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Fishing for Rohls

I was born in the Pacific Northwest where fishing and logging are more part of your birthright then learned behavior. My parents met in a town between Portland and the coast on Highway 30 called Clatskanie. The town was named after the river that flows through town to the Columbia River and also the name of a Native American people that were wiped out by small pox, fever, and intermarriage. The town started to grow under the financial support of Simon Benson. Mills and the Benson Log Raft lead to growing logging industry in and around Clatskanie and that, combined with the Salmon Fishing on the River, brought the Finnish to the area.

What, do you ask, has this got to do with anything? Nothing really, I just enjoy the beginnings of things and during my recent trip back to see my parents and whoever else we could find I was thinking of those beginnings. I was thinking about how I have had a number of different jobs and never really settled into a specific field of work. Then I thought of my dad and the different jobs he had. There is a thread of construction that he comes back to now and then but really he has spent as much time out of that industry as he has in it. Then I thought of my Grandfather and the stories my dad told of him never having a steady job to speak of. He made due with nine kids and took in whoever needed looking after like they were family, but not on a steady pay check. My uncles seem to have all embraced this sporadic approach to work as well and it makes me wonder if there is something hard wired in our DNA. We are all extremely hard workers and seem to really do well at what ever field we are currently tilling but it is a matter of time before we will be in a different field. That sporadic, nomadic nature makes my family tough to find at times and this recent trip had us on a trolling run for family.

We loaded Finny in his borrowed car seat (thanks Crystal) and my parents and I set out to see as many Rohls as we could. Heading West of 30, just out side of Westport we stopped to see Brett "Maverick" Rohl, the youngest of the 9 kids. He wasn't there of course, recently paid and with his on-again-off-again girlfriend. Seems the "paid" and "on-again" were linked. Undaunted we headed to the coast where my Grandfather "Papa" and uncle live. Papa wasn't home and his phone was off the hook all day. Stan "Skeeter" and Randy "Pablo" weren't around either so we headed to Astoria. Finally in Astoria we found my uncle Steve. Steve is an anomaly in the family in that he doesn't have a nickname that everyone knows him by. He isn't the only one but he is the one that my brother and I are closest with so it seems strange. We sat and talked to Steve and looked through old pictures and letter my dad and Tom sent from Vietnam. It was good to see Uncle Steve and reminisce about childhood fishing trips and killer bees. From Steve's we went and saw uncle Kelley "Beaver". Beaver has become the the uncle that we see the most because he seems to have the most stable life. Where some of my uncles seem more like strangers Beaver is family and I love him deeply. Last year my uncle Tony died and it sadly had no effect on me because I didn't know him. My uncle Tom is the same way, I can't remember the last time I saw him and I'm not sure I would recognize him if he walked by me.

We saw two out of the six remaining uncles before heading back to Clatskanie. We didn't see Papa, I really wanted him to meet Finn. It was a typical fishing trip though: a couple good catches dispersed around lots of disappointment.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Unexpected Visit

About a week before Christmas I was talking to my parents and really missing them. They were supposed to come for Thanksgiving but could not due time and finances. They both sounded sad when I talked to them as they wondered when they would get to see their Grandson again. After getting off the phone with them I called Kate and asked her if Finn and I could go out to Oregon to visit them. With that I started getting ready for the trip. I got a cheap ticket online, when your travel time is flexible you get great deals, and conspired with my Aunt to pick us up from the airport. The day we arrived Portland was just finishing up a surprise of it's own in the form of a big snow storm. The 45 minute trip to the airport took my aunt and uncle 2 hours in thier little car with no chains or snow tires. We slowly made our way back to Clatskanie and decided on the best way surprise them. We would leave Finn on the doorstep in his car seat, and hide after knocking on the door. With Finn set and the door banged, I hid around the corner. Both my mom and dad came to the door and looked down at the boy. Neither one recognized him as my dad said "hi there little guy". Then after about 20 seconds Bing says "That's Finn". My mom stood there stunned and disorientated as just last week a baby was left on a door step in Portland and it had been all over the news. The grin on my dad's face got bigger when I came around the corner and my aunt popped up from her hiding spot, my mom on the other hand just stood there, mouth open, stunned. I wentup and hugged her and she just started sobbing. They had been surprised indeed.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

New Phone

For christmas I got a new Motorola Q from my father-in-law Tom. This post is actually written from that new phone in an effort to see all of the wicked cool things I can do with it.

Let it snow let it snow

We finaly have some snow here in the midwest. This morning we awoke to a light dusting of snow covering all the eye can see. I got Finn in his snow suit and we went outside to see what he thought of the whole business. He was not impressed. The snow blowing on his face made him gasp like all the oxeygen had left his lungs. He does that when ever the wind blows on his face as well. He scrunched his hands in the snow but quickly tucked them back into his suit. We took Kate to work and Finny was worn out from the whole experience, he's now sleeping peacefully in his car seat, still in his snow suit.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Long Nights with a sick baby

Last night I was up with Finn for most of the night. The little monkey has a bad cough and last night he could not sleep for more then 30 minutes at a time. After searching online for what to do with the cough that he had I ran the shower and Finn and I played in the bathroom for 30 minutes while the steam filled the room. Here is the thing, I had a baby that was coughing so much he could barely breath yet he was still happy. He wouls start laughing at me as I tried to move in the close confines of our bathroom. It was a difficult night but such a great time. When he wasn't coughing he was laying his head on my shoulder and scrunching his hands in my beard. I loved him so much last night.

Friday, January 05, 2007

7 Months of Finn

Probably better to start at the bottom but either way is cool.

Finn at 7 Months

Finn at 6 months

Finn at 5 months

Finn at 4 months

Finn at three months with Cosi

Finn at two months

Finn at one month

Finn at two days

Finn 3 Days before he was born

Finn Doing his thing on the Jumperoo

Crazy or just being a baby

Lately Finn has taken on some odd behaviors while bouncing in his Jumperoo. He bounces a bit and then will lay his head to the right on his shoulder for a couple of seconds and then shake his head back and forth about 10 times. Then he will lay his head on the other shoulder and then shake his head again. Finally he lays his head straight back and then shakes it. He will go through this routine about 3 or 4 times throughout a jumperoo session. It is cute, funny, and a little disconcerting. Does anyone know if this is normal baby behavior?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A period on the Holidays

We are now into the new year and it has already been a significant time for Kate and I. We are three days into what will start as a diet and continue on as a way of life. We are following the South Beach Diet and so far it is going well. My first day with out sugar or caffeine was awful so the caffeine is back. One step at a time here, one step at a time. It is nice to be on the other side of the holiday season despite the wonderful time with family and friends. The holidays are exhausting and they wreak havoc on any type of routine for little monkeys. Finn's schedule was based on some form of Chaos theory that only Linsey could keep up with. Already though we are back to the slower, more reliable pace of things and Finn is getting the message.

This year we had Christmas with Kate's family and all of the sisters were in town. Mandy and Scott came in from Hawaii and Meg and Mike came down from the twin cities. Christmas was on the Friday after to accommodate the travelers and it was a classic McGrail Christmas. We had presents galore and took turns throwing our wrapping paper at Heather in an attempt to get it into that fire place. I don't want to brag or anything but I'm kinda of a big deal when it comes to throwing paper into the fire. Heather, if I hit you it wasn't cause I missed! Just kidding, I would never intentionally throw at anyone for any reason, no matter how wide they have their legs. Finn slept through the presents and Mandy was so efficient at cleaning up that we didn't get the chance to see the miracle that is babies and wrapping paper. After presents was french toast fondue and then copious amounts of pinochle. We got outside to play some basketball and had a great turkey dinner. After dinner the boys cleaned up and we played some more pinochle while the girls played some far more interesting and cerebral game whose title eludes me.

Jesse and Carly made a spur of the moment decision to come and spend time with us here in Indy and I have to say it could be one of the best decision of their young married lives. It was so great to hang out and play Wii together. While we were having Christmas up north Jesse and Carly spent a day in the city. I can't think of many other friends that I could abandon for a day while they were visiting and they would not only not have a problem with it, but have a great time.

New Years eve was spent watching Football at Kate's parents and then dinner at PF Changs with Jesse and Carly. We met up with Meg, Mike, Heather, and Andy (just friends for those of you wondering) at The Cheese Cake Factory. We had a toast at midnight and had a wonderful time enjoying the cake and conversation.

Everyone is back home now and the quiet is good. There is a restorative nature to quiet that I am really enjoying right now. Finn is cranky pants at the moment though so I will go, I hope your holidays were filled with Friends, Family, and warm memories like ours were.