Monday, June 30, 2008

Be careful what you pray for!

Ever since that fateful day two weeks ago when Steve Jobs announced the new iPhone, I've been praying--yes I do pray about some things... like Apple products, world peace... you know, things like that. Anyway, I've been praying for a reason to get the new phone, as I couldn't justify (which if you know me is practically an impossibility!) buying a new one after dropping $400 on one just last year. I prayed "[Insert name of diety you think I pray to here], please give me a reason to get the new iPhone so i can use it to bring good to the world and help solve the problem of homelessness with it." I didn't know how my prayer was going to be answered, but i had faith that things would just work out. Well, my prayers were answered yesterday night. The lid to Lucy's liquid vitamins didn't get screwed back on and they spilled all over my phone, getting the cherry-flavored, sticky liquid into the external speakers and microphone. (and don't blame me for sabotage--Margaret forgot to screw it back on, not me) now I can hardly hear the ringer and people can't hear me if I don't yell. I've become one of those annoying people who have to shout into their phones because the mike doesn't work right.

Now I have to wait patiently until July 11 to get my completely justified new phone. See prayers really ARE answered! (Although I should have added the caveat to the prayer that I wanted it answered on July 10 so I wouldn't have to be incovenienced--I hate that! Well, that and answer the prayer in a way that I could still sell my phone on eBay when I get my new one. Alas!)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Appropriate alerts

This weekend, while driving down the freeway, Margaret and I both almost had a heart attack when the very loud, very alarming alert came from our car. And I'm not talking about the nice, melodic alert to remind you to buckle your seat belt (which in a Volkswagen Jetta, by the way, sounds like 'La Cucaracha'). No, I'm talking an alert that sounds so intimidating, so threatening that it's as if the Jetta was telling us that the drive train was about to fall off, the fahrfegnugen generator was about to blow, or the flux capacitor accidentally created an unstable worm hole. It was THAT alarming! Of course Margaret and I both had that rush of adrenaline that comes from the feeling that "oh my gosh, the car is falling apart while we're doing freeway speeds... with a BABY ON BOARD!"

Now imagine my annoyance when I looked down to see that the alarm was for... wait for it... wait for it... the WINDSHIELD WIPER FLUID WAS LOW! Although I guess with German engineers' reputation for efficiency and order, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. But I mean really, is a dirty windshield REALLY a red alert emergency?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Krazee speling

What is up with all the creative name spelling that is sweeping the nation? I think there are two camps, people who name their kids with weird name spellings and those who think they're crazy. In this morning's newspaper, there was a woman whose daughter's name was Madalyn. Is a daughter with the name spelled 'Madeleine' really doomed to a life of stultifying sameness? Although from what I hear, it's REALLY bad in Utah. In fact, here are the twenty most popular girls names from Utah county last year: Haley, Hailey, Haylie, Hayli, Haylee, Halee, Halie, Hali, Haelie, Haeli, Hayle, Hale, Haile, Haily, Hayly, Haly, Haely, Haylei,Halei, and Hayley. Okay, it might not be THAT bad, but still the fact remains that all of those are actual names used in Utah in the past few years!

Now that I'm thinking about it, maybe I should be worrying for not naming Lucy 'Loosie.' Eh, now that I type it out, 'Loosie' looks more like a 30's-era hooch runner during Prohibition. (And coincidentally, her great-great aunt Lucy, who she was named after, was, you guessed it, a 30's-era hooch runner during Prohibition. And she didn't pass down any family recipes for corn mash, barley malt, or 'Reservation Cognac©' so don't ask.)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Search for shorts

Today, we went to the.. ugh, I'm ashamed to admit it... the mall. (Don't judge me. We needed, um something for Lucy... yeah, that's it!) Anyway, while we were there, I looked for a new pair of cargo pants. I wore my last pair so much that the seat wore through and I tended to look a little too slutty walking around exposing myself like that. (It's okay here in Portland, but we're going to Utah next week and I'd be sure to get in trouble shortly after getting off the plane.) Well, during our mall travels, I only found two pairs that fit my parameters--namely they weren't too long (I swear most cargo shorts seem more like capri pants) and they have an easy-to-access pocket for my phone. The first pair was at Nordstrom and they were on a 50% off rack to boot! SCORE! Unfortunately I looked down and saw that the original price was $210!!! Yes, $210! For shorts! SHORTS! Even at half price, they better be woven from baby goats that had been given daily brushings by trained monkeys. Then I found the next great pair at Eddie Bauer. In fact they had a pocket that my iPhone fit in EXACTLY! And to make it even better, they were marked down to $19.99 from $60. It was a match made in heaven, which meant of course, that they didn't have my size.

Now I'm still on the look out for cargo shorts. I told Margaret I'd be willing to buy a pattern and fabric for her to sew me a pair and she said that wasn't going to happen. Jeesh!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

So sleepy

Okay, since Lucy was born (and for months prior for Margaret... something about getting up every 20 minutes to pee or something) we haven't gotten much sleep. In fact it has become a precious commodity more valuable than Diet Pepsi our twice-daily 2-hour scripture study. Given that we're both home on new baby leave, we eventually get around 8 hours of sleep, but instead of one long stretch, it's in fits and starts throughout the day. 2 hours here, 4 hours there, 3 minutes while I'm driving and realize I have no recollection of the previous 5 miles, the 40 minutes between getting the sacrament water and the closing prayer... you just find the time.

Anyway, the biggest problem during the night was waking up to feed Lucy. She's been going on a mid-night feeding, then an early morning feeding, then a breakfast-time feeding since she was born. Well last night, what we had been dreaming of finally occurred: she (FINALLY) fell asleep at 10:30 and slept a LOOOONG time. Margaret was planning on a 3:00 feeding, but Lucy wasn't awake. Then at 4:00; still sound asleep. Then at 5:00; still not awake. At this point, I'm going in to check on her to make sure she's still breathing. Finally at 5:30, I turn off the white noise machine hoping to get her to start to wake up, which it does. Phew! I swear, we still didn't get much sleep, as we were up worried that she was sleeping too long. So to recap: we don't get any sleep when she wakes up all the time; and we don't get any sleep when she DOESN'T wake up all the time!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fresh out of the oven

Here she is, fresh out of the oven. You just combine 2 lbs. of sugar, 2 tablespoons spice, and 80 lbs. of panic, worry, anxiety, and frantic nursery remodeling everything nice, bake at 98.6ยบ for nine months, and voila! you got yourself a little girl.

Actually, the picture is of a recent weigh-in we did on Lucy, who we just KNEW had gotten bigger. I mean some of her onesies we could only snap the middle button at the crotch. (And fortunately her bulky diapers prevented them from turning into a baby thong--and that look is so 2005.) Anyway, the most accurate scale we have is a digital kitchen scale, but the scale part is too small to balance a baby on, but when we put a baking sheet down to support her, the readout turned out to be too close to the actual scale part to be able to read the weight. Well, with a glass casserole, our problem was solved! And despite the fact that it looks like we're prepping her to put into the oven, we got a weight on our little not-so-little girl.

On another note, we've officially gotten used to having Ikea close to us. Yesterday we went there for, wait for it... wait for it... JAM. Yes, the store that we once planned meticulously for, pouring over the catalog for weeks, renting vehicles to accommodate our purchases, taking an entire day to drive to Seattle and back for, has now been reduced to a quick stop in to buy a couple jars of food. (Although we did get some meatballs for lunch, so it wasn't JUST for jam.) I guess it's like that old adage that people will travel 1,500 miles to go to the temple when that's the closest one, but they build one in their hometown and they just take it for granted and never go.

And finally, speaking of Ikea, I still feel like I'm in Norway with the embarrassingly long paternity leave that my work offers. I got the first month after Lucy was born completely off, will work one day per week through July, and then three-day-workweeks for another two months. While not EXACTLY Scandinavian-benefits length (Sweden gets 18 months off), it's WAY more than the other guys in our childbirth education class got--most of whom got 2 to three weeks off. And boy let me tell you, I could get used to this one-day work week REAL FAST! (Although not so used to it to have another baby anytime soon.)

Monday, June 09, 2008


Over the weekend, Margaret and I were watching brain candy a serious documentary on The Learning Channel called "I Didn't Even Know I Was Pregnant." It was with both horror and fascination that we watched these stories of women (who were all overweight... how else would you not know?) who had either thought they were infertile so stopped taking birth control, were so obese they stopped menstruating, or had taken antibiotics while on the Pill. One couple in particular (the antibiotic woman) struck me as amazing. They said they weren't even thinking about kids on the distant horizon. They went out of town to their cabin and on the way up, she started feeling sick, getting worse through the night, and had such a severe backache by the next morning that her husband took her to the small clinic in town. Imagine their surprise when they found out she was in active labor. Can you even IMAGINE?!? Going away on vacation and coming home with an unexpected baby? They had literally NOTHING prepared. We had 9 months to get ready and still didn't feel prepared. I can't even imagine the feeling of panic at looking in the back seat at a hastily purchased car seat with a baby on that drive home from what was supposed to be a relaxing weekend. YIKES!

And of course, following that show, there was a special on that gigantic family with 16 kids. And guess what, the mom's pregnant AGAIN! Jeesh. That couple is WAY too represented in the gene pool as it is!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

If I Could Hie to Utah in the Twinkling of an Eye...

I'm sure it would be considerably cheaper than our other prospects! Jeesh! We're now at the threshold of driving possibly costing us more than FLYING to Utah. Who could have seen a time when driving was decadent and flying was for the budget-class.

Our Jetta takes diesel, which is currently $4.859 here in Portland. $4.859!!! Can you BELIEVE that? And my grandfather said he would never move to Alaska because their gas cost TWENTY-FIVE CENTS! I can't believe that I'm reminiscing about those halcyon days of 2007 when gas was around $2 per gallon. Now we have to second-guess all our separate trips to the farmers' market, Babies R Us, our therapists, and IKEA and just go to Costco for all those things.

Anyway, what prompted this post was this solution that Deb just sent me: the Verdier! It drove here straight from the 60's by way of the Jetsons. It's retro. It's futuristic. It's solar. It's cool. It comes with a secret compartment to stash your marijuana. It's got it all! Check out their website here.

But since I don't have time to get that van before we want to go to Utah, I'm going to check Expedia and Travelocity to see if they offer last-minute rates for "Twinkling of an Eye"*. Unfortunately I have a nagging feeling that it costs 10% of my income.

*and for all the non-Mormons (and bad Mormons... you know who you are!) out there, this is a mangling of the LDS hymn "If You Could Hie to Kolob." If you want to know more about it, the process is quite involved. Click here to start. (But don't tell me I didn't warn you.)

Bagel adventures

Being that this morning was... the morning, I somehow found myself at Noah's Bagels. After yesterday's disappointing visit (they were plumb out of chocolate chip bagels and fountain Diet Coke! We had to make do with a measly 20 oz. bottle instead of 96 oz. worth of refills from the fountain machine. I don't know how I stayed awake the rest of the day.)

Anyway, while savoring my bagel and caffeine beverage, a homeless guy came in, rummaged in the trash for an empty coffee cup, and helped himself to a free refill. Evidently he's a problem on the street and has been banned from Noah's, Starbucks, and some other stores because of doing stuff like that. Well, the manager got aggravated when he took the coffee cup and asked for a refill of his whole milk macchiato with almond. That was pushing it a little too far. All of this happened without me even noticing, until the cops showed up to escort him off the premises. I got the rest of the story from the manager. I was relieved to find out that I wasn't in danger of being thrown out for the fit I threw yesterday when my order wasn't EXACTLY what I wanted.

Monday, June 02, 2008

An outing with Lucy

Today we finally had the wherewithal to go see the new Indiana Jones movie. I KNOW! Prior to this, the highlight of our coordinating trips has been getting her to her doctor's appointment with 2 minutes to spare!

Since Lucy sleeps something like 20 hours a day, we thought we'd better take advantage of it before she shifts into the sleeping only when it's inconvenient and staying awake the other 23 hours of the day mode. Since we were already pushing our time (how is it possible that just getting out the door with a pack mule's worth of supplies for a three-week-old infant could increase our departure time 400%?), we went to the Taco Bell near the theatre and quickly regretted opting to wait to get Lucy's hepatitis B shot until her 2-month checkup. Yikes! Fortunately I got a corner seat, which allowed me the opportunity to throw myself between her and any oncoming riff-raff. Speaking of which, while at the Taco Bell, I spotted what is surely the rarest of all the mullets: the two-tone! A woman with black hair had a mullet in which all the short hair had been dyed blonde. She looked like she was wearing a possum-skin cap... and not an attractive possum, at that! I'm talking about the kind of possum that looks all grizzled because it only digs in the dumpsters at Taco Bell. I couldn't take my eyes off it, and since I was sitting in a position to casually look in her direction, I was able to steal glances, and eventually this photo, of her the whole time we were eating.

We made it out of the restaurant without any communicable diseases (that we know of) and saw the movie. Lucy was pretty good, but of course during the loud parts, she tended to wake up, so I spent half the movie bouncing her in my arms. Still it was worth it. It felt like our lives weren't completely and irrevocable altered beyond recognition, just completely and irrevocable altered yet recognizable. Our next milestone in that department is to brave a trip to Costco with her.

(On a related note, what is up with businesses putting changing stations right next to the bathroom door rather than in an actual stall? Several people came into the men's room, opening the door to the jarring sight of a naked baby bottom and poopy diaper. I'm sure they weren't interested in getting nachos after THAT!)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Relief Society v2.0

Being outside of Zion©, most of our friends aren't Mormon. While this has its definite advantages, it also has its share of drawbacks. And I'm not just talking about having to be the designated driver 100% of the time. Back in Utah, when someone has a baby, the Relief Society steps in and provides meals for the new family for a couple of weeks. Knowing this, one of our friends organized a similar meal drive for us and boy has it exceeded anything that our prior experience would have prepared us for. Growing up, when the Relief Society brought by food, it was basics like lasagna, meatloaf, or the like. Well, imagine our surprise when we started getting meals like the following:
  • Lamb stew with braised fingerling potatoes, creamy fennel soup, and sourdough bread

  • Falafel, tabouli, fresh pita bread, and roasted vegetables

  • Southern-style beans and rice with fresh-from-the-farmers'-market green salad

  • Salmon steaks with fresh green beans, garden salad, and ambrosia salad

  • Meatballs stewed in a cranberry sauce and GIGANTIC brownies

  • Grilled turbot with harvest grains, heirloom tomatoes, and fresh apricots and cherries

And I'm not exaggerating. In fact, I'm erring on the side of NOT exaggerating. I swear, at the end of this paternity leave, I'm going to be 15 lbs. heavier. I can't believe how fortunate we've been with great friends here in town. (And if you're one of the providers of this bounty, THANK YOU!)