Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Well, that's a relief

I had my annual physical yesterday. Fortunately, it appears I shall live at least another year. The only downside thus far is that now prostate exams are part of the routine. I have managed to lose a little weight since my efforts began earlier this year (I'm down one pants size), and hopefully that'll continue.

In other news, I played golf afterwards and somehow shot a 48. That's a little low for me on my home course, but the entire round pretty much teetered on the edge of disaster throughout. When I finished, it felt more like I shot a 58. Golf's odd like that, which is one of the reasons I enjoy playing it so much. Unlike most other sports, you can play poorly (like I did yesterday) and still get all the breaks in your favor - or you can play brilliantly (like I did last week) and have no luck at all. I played much better last week, but my score was actually 2 strokes worse. Go figure.

However, I still think that with a couple of exceptions (The Masters, the Skins Game, Ryder Cup), golf is high on the list of Most Tedious Things You Can Watch On Television.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Now he's getting a little cocky about it

Fortunately, he isn't allowed to go up and down unsupervised yet, though. What he's tried the last couple of days is holding onto the bannister and stepping down with one leg turned sideways. Generally, however, that results in not being quite able to reach the next step down and a sideways tumble into my waiting hands.

He'll learn.

Meanwhile, my folks visited this weekend, and we went out to the Gull in Gloucester for lunch yesterday before they went home. We all had lobster sandwiches for lunch - David included. He really liked it, too (he's had lobster a few times before). Unfortunately, he had a meltdown on our way home, and screamed from when we got onto Route 128 in Gloucester all the way thru Beverly. About 12 miles, to be nearly exact. That part wasn't fun.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

It turned out to be easy

Last night, after I came home from playing golf ("I don't think the heavy stuff's gonna come down for quite awhile."), I was playing with David upstairs while Jane was in the living room watching TV. As both my loyal readers know, David figured out climbing stairs about a month ago. We've been trying to teach him how to descend since shortly afterwards, but our chosen method (bring him up a few steps and try to demonstrate) had only resulted in getting him to climb.

We were playing on the bed, and I noticed that he could squirm to the edge and shimmy down backwards. So I tried something. I went down the hall to the gate, opened it, and got him to chase Gracie and I. I went around the corner and down a couple of steps. He went through the gate after me, came to the edge of the stairs, and then...

He turned around, butt-first, and shimmied down a step. And he followed me down the whole stairs that way. We were very happy, and expressed it to him with a few big hugs and some smooching - he was in a very good mood the rest of the evening and slept like a log all night. New skill - yay!

Friday, July 18, 2003

Quality Time

Jane was out most of the time after I came home yesterday (she had an appointment down the street, and then she was going out for dinner with a couple of her friends). So I got to spend an evening having quality time with David. For starters, he got sleepy after Jane had been gone a few minutes. So I put him down for a nap and prepared dinner.

Of course, halfway through my dinner he woke up. So I brought him down and we ate together. I had microwave lasagna. He had half a slice of American cheese and a tray full of Cheerios, with a cup of milk as a chaser. Then we played together for a while, I read him a book (as a compromise, I read to him from the book I was finishing - Back Story, the newest Spenser), and then he snuggled with me on the sofa while I watched some TV. He went to bed around 9:30 or so. It was a pleasant evening for all.

However, my original plan for the evening was for us to so out and do some errands (I have to pick up supplies at BJ's and Target), so that was postponed to today by virtue of the nap. It throws off timing.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

A new favorite game

David's discovered a new fun game - he plays tag with me. Basically, here's how the game works:

1 - I leave the room he's in downstairs. After a few seconds, I lean in and give him a loud "boo".

2 - He turns towards me, shrieks, giggles, and starts chasing me. I duck behind the next door after he gets me back in his field of vision.

3 - We repeat the process until he's done about 6 laps or so of our house's downstairs.

Not only does he love playing the game, but it tires him out nicely at bedtime. He also takes steps with me holding his hands, and can stand for short intervals. All fun developments.

He also had his first bath in the regular bathtub on Monday (to wash him down after his swimming lesson). He really liked that - lots of water to splash around. Gracie sits on the edge of the tub to watch him.

Danny, on the other hand (the older, dumber cat), may not be able to stick around with us much longer. He really doesn't like David at all - when David gets close, Danny hisses and runs away. He pretty much avoids all of us now. We only see him at night when he sleeps on the foot of the bed. As far as Jane and I are concerned, though, as long as he's in decent health the only option is finding him another home - I can't put him in a shelter and I won't put him to sleep. It's going to take some work and creative thinking to figure this out.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Just thinking

There is an anti-SUV movement out there whose slogan is "What would Jesus drive?". Now, I'm the last person who can be accused of being intimate with religious values, but I was thinking of the logistics, Jesus' professed values, and what I'm sure would be his desire to minimally impact the environment, combined with the harsh realities of travel in the Middle East. I've come to the following conclusion.

I believe Jesus would have two cars. For the occasional solo trip, he'd have the most efficient car possible that would be able to handle the road conditions. Probably a Subaru Forester. He'd prefer a Toyota Prius, but it's just not a practical choice in a world without paved roads.

But I think Jesus would spend the bulk of his time in a Chevy Suburban. If Ford weren't phasing it out, he might even consider an Excursion. Why? Because they can go nearly anywhere, and most of the Apostles would fit comfortably inside. The fewer cars make the trip, the more efficient overall your trip is. And they often traveled in a group. This one is a no-brainer. They'd get a 15-passenger van, but it wouldn't stand up to the off-road conditions.

The big question is, would Jesus get either air conditioning or leather seats? I think he'd go for the A/C, but stick to cloth seats.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Today's news

Jane took David to the park for swimming both Tuesday and Wednesday - he seems to enjoy it so far. He also sleeps like a log afterwards.

Our house is famous now. Maybe that will help sell it. The actual print article (with photos) ran in last Friday's Salem News.

Ironically, it's a big fame week for us in general, because while Jane was at the park Monday, a Salem News photographer snapped a couple of pictures of her, one of which ran in yesterday's paper. Whoo.

We watched a movie last night, for the first time in a while. It was Heist, a David Mamet film from a couple of years ago with Gene Hackman and Danny DeVito, along with the usual Mamet gang. Really good stuff. I took State and Main out from the library this morning, so if I start writing this blog in Mametspeak next week, you'll know it was from the dialog overdose.

To balance all that good stuff, we've got some server problems at the office today. Grumble.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

What do you do with a tired toddler?

Well, we didn't throw him in the lifeboat or tie him to the yardarm. I can say that much.

He spent several hours playing at Forest River Park with his mom yesterday, and was all tuckered out when I came home before playing golf after work. We put him down to nap around 4:15 or so. He slept until 8.

Then he only got up long enough to have dinner and burn off a little steam - he was down for the night by 9:30. No midnight wake-up, either. Jane woke him up around 8:30 for his first swimming lesson.

I looked last night - there appear to be a couple more teeth on the way now. That'll make eight once they're in. We now hand him bigger pieces of food and he rips them and chews them without a problem. Fortunately, we've used up virtually all the baby food except for a small supply of applesauce that we keep in reserve for anytime he has an upset tummy. We have a few of the Graduates toddler meals in stock - the idea being that they're convenient for travel. We mainly feed him our food, torn up into manageable chunks.

A good idea that we do (I shared this with Woodge the other day) for quantity food at reasonable prices:

Glad makes mini-containers that hold 4 ounces each - 8 per package and they're microwaveable and reusable. We bought a couple of packs at about $2.50 each. Then I picked up some Ronzoni pasta - the Ditalini variety (it's a very small tube about as long as it is wide), and a couple of cans of Hunt's sauce with no salt added. The Hunt's is relatively bland so it goes over well with him. Cooking the box of pasta will produce enough to fill 16 of the containers easily, and you can add the sauce as-needed, or pre-cook it and put it in the containers with the cooked pasta. The completed dish keeps over a week if refrigerated well, and is well-suited to travel (throw it in an insulated bag with an icepak). Nuke the container for about 10-15 seconds to re-heat enough for a tiny mouth.

If you go easy on the sauce, the toddler will like it just as much, but make less of a mess. The Ditalini shape is well-suited to finger food and also small enough to serve with a baby spoon if need be.

Total cost of this meal: about $2.40 for all the software ($1 for the box of pasta, and about $.70 per can for two cans of Hunt's), and $5 for the hardware (two packs of Gladware mini-round containers) The hardware can be re-used for months before the microwave and dishwasher combine to beat it senseless (or shapeless). Making 16 meals each time, that comes out to about $.15 per meal less hardware depreciation. If you have some parmesan cheese in the fridge, sprinkle it on to bring a little more flavor to the party. As we've learned, babies don't usually like extreme flavors early on.

Gerber Graduates meals, OTOH, cost about $1.20 each typically, and don't bring much more to the table, nutritionally speaking. So make your own wherever possible, and use the savings to buy a house in Beverly!

Monday, July 07, 2003

Ahh, vacations (redux)

After a long weekend, it felt almost like we took another vacation (though we didn't go anywhere this time).

The weekend was spent unproductively, for a change. Friday was filled with glorious nothingness - I played golf in the morning, and then the three of us walked into town for a light lunch and a trip to the new Peabody Essex Museum. Wow. The new wing is spectacular. Unfortunately, we didn't have a chance to visit Yin Yu Tang - we'll have to do that on another visit. Saturday's nothing was interrupted by a trip to Beverly for a 3rd birthday party for one of our friends' son. After we went home, I went grocery shopping for the first time in weeks.

Then Sunday was a lazy day on which we slept in, did a couple of errands, then went to a graduation party in Manchester By-The-Sea. Manchester has a terrific harbor, and was one of the towns we considered when house-hunting this past winter.

David spent the wekend crawling around and climbing stairs. He now stands for about five seconds at a time - usually without realizing it. An interesting thing about his falls now is that he doesn't usually topple over sideways anymore (unless he's really tired). Now he falls straight back and lands on his butt, then he pops right back up. Kind of like sitting abruptly. he also cruises at a walking pace, just using a hand or two to steady himself as he goes.

This week's new safety innovation for us was toilet seat locks - but they kinda suck. I have to install a cabinet lock on our bathroom vanity tonight. We've been avoiding as much childproofing as possible because we figure it hurts the appearance in the sales process (no buyer yet), we just do it on an as-needed basis and steer him away from trouble spots with a firm "no". It usually works. We've taken care of the electric sockets, the dangerous cabinets downstairs, the toilet seats, and all the areas that need to be gated (the nerd room, the top of the stairs, the bottom of the stairs, and the doorway to the cellar stairs). We've also moved a lot of the fragile things out of the way. So far, he's caused no critical damage to any objects or to himself, so it seems to be working.

Jane will be starting mother/toddler swimming lessons with him tomorrow morning at the Salem town pool - it's over at Forest River Park near our house.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Ahh, vacations...

This one was far too short.

We went to Cape May, New Jersey with my wife's family. Left Friday, drove to my family in Connecticut, made it to Cape May mid-day Saturday, left Tuesday afternoon, stayed in Connecticut again last night and arrived home this afternoon. A whirlwind tour.

Notes from the trip:

First of all, GPRS may be the absolute huevos, but I couldn't tell you for sure because I couldn't get it working. So much for that.

David made big strides towards standing - he can now stay up for a few seconds before he topples over. I think being around his cousins helped. Something with peer pressure.

He's climbing all sorts of stairs, including those at the condo we stayed at in Cape May. We're still trying to teach him about descending, though.

I have a ton of photos and some video from the trip - all should be posted this weekend. If not, I'm lazy.

We discovered a great new game last night. It's called Swing The Door. David crawls up to a door, swings it shut, and then opens it again to see if anyone is there to play peekaboo. Assuming there is, hilarity ensues. That's the topic of one of the video clips I plan to post.

That's all the update for now. We're off to a dinner on the Rockmore again. Neither of us feel like cooking...