Live from Tampa, FL

Yes, we are alive — although we’ve been healthier! We’re leaving Florida shortly, so more news later…

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In Green Bay, WI

Green Bay folks are quite proud of this place. I gather other people like it too. Apparently the Packers are quite popular — although I looked them up on Google, and they’ve only won one Super Bowl since like 1912 or something, so they can’t be that great. Nonetheless, I went there with the gang from work and ate lunch. No football was being played, but it was impressive anyway.

I’ve also played Wii with SuperJason and ObiShawn, gotten mad at the Albany people, ate numerous meals paid for by someone else, gone swimming pretty much every day, followed by a soak in the hot tub, and purposefully gotten lost in the rental car, just to see if the GPS could get me back to the hotel…

Some parts of the trip haven’t been as productive as I would have liked, other parts have been more useful than I expected. One more day, and then another day of traveling. I miss my family!

Calm Down. Release Your Cares. The Stale Taste of Recycled Air.

It starts pretty mundane: you and a hundred other people shuffle down a hallway and load onto a cramped metal tube, jamming your possessions into tiny bins and taking your seat next to two strangers who are no more comfortable than you. After a seemingly pointless wait the tube begins to move — like a rickety old city bus, except on only 3 sets of tiny wheels. You roll along quietly for a few minutes while a bored voice drones some instructions that no one listens to…

But then things change.

Suddenly the metal tube jumps to life. Like a race horse jumping free from the gate at the sound of a gunshot, giant engines spin until you can feel the vibrations in your chest. The whole machine surges unstoppably forward, mechanical gears whir as flaps extend and the docile ‘bus’ adapts itself for a totally different purpose.

Then, just when you think the vehicle won’t be able to sustain its own incredible power, something magical happens. You and your travelling companions leap into the air… and you don’t come down. In fact, you keep climbing higher. The whole world begins to shrink as you watch. You are flying!

Sure there are annoying parts of the experience. As I tap this out on my iPhone’s poor excuse for a keyboard, my legs are longing to stretch out straight, and I can’t get to the bathroom without squeezing my butt past the face of two strangers who probably don’t deserve such a close-up. But those things are inconsequential, because I’m in the air! In under 2 hours I’ll have traveled from New York to Chicago.

And despite the draconian security in this country, and the horror stories you hear of violated rights by airport security, I’ve always found that a genuine smile and a polite and pleasant demeanor have made the process of getting on the plane very simple. And its easy for me to come up with a genuine smile, because this is fun! I’m soaring through the air in a jet plane, sipping a tomato juice (with ice) while my iPhone reads me a book… This is a much nicer morning than one spent in my cubicle!

Leaving on a jet plane

I’m just realising that its SO much hard to go away on a business trip now that we have a baby boy at home! Not that it’s not hard to leave Nic, but I know she’s not going to change much while I’m gone. Benjamin, on the other hand, seems to learn something new every day.
Oh well, hopefully he doesn’t say his first word or something while I’m gone… Green Bay here I come!

Also, Aunt Pammy was here to visit this weekend. We had a picnic and went pumpkin picking. Pictures coming in the sidebar shortly…

The Social Stages of Young Adult Humans

I’ve observed the following steps in social development among myself, my peers and our younger friends…

Stage 1 – Bar Hopping
In this stage most of the social circle is single. By some tortured logic, they somehow believe that they’ll find a mate in a bar, so they spend their weekends going from bar to club, hoping for a random encounter that will provide a long-term relationship. This rarely works, but they convince themselves that they’re having fun, so they do it every weekend.

Stage 2 – Board Games
Eventually members of the circle begin to pair off. They find a relationship (probably somewhere other than a bar) and the bar scene looses its appeal. Suddenly sitting around at home with one or two other couples playing board games sounds inexplicably enjoyable. Its at this stage that they begin to understand how distasteful bar hopping really is, and those in the circle who are still clubbing, hoping to find a mate, are considered pathetic. However, the self-delusion continues, cause everyone knows board games aren’t really that fun either.

Stage 3 – Exhaustion
After being paired off for a few years, mates within the social circle will begin to reproduce. Children arrive, and when couples get together, its only to entertain their kids until they fall asleep. Social activity then consists of collapsing on the couch and staring blankly at whatever’s on TV. This is social only because no one has the energy to get up and go home.

"Because all the names and places I have taken from real life…"

Friends, family, ladies and gentlemen of the Internets… Wave hello back to Abigail Joan Wise, our daughter — who will arrive in March, or so.

Abi is 8oz, healthy and definitely not a boy. We can’t wait to meet her!

Those of you who guessed it would be a girl. Congratulations! There are no prizes, but you’re welcome to come visit her once she’s born 😉

We’re both very happy to have one of each. They’ll each present their own unique challenges, to be sure. I know full well that little girls grow up and break their daddy’s hearts. But I figure I’ll get at least 16 years or so with two beautiful kids — one of whom will probably look like a little Nicole — so its gonna be worth it.

If ingested, contact Poison Control immediately

Now that Benjamin can get around on his own, the requirements for our jobs as parents has gone up a notch. He’s been crawling for awhile, and its still his primary mode of transportation. But when he combines his crawling skills with his standing skills, he can suddenly get into a lot more trouble.

The other day I witnessed him adding another skill: the pull-up.

We have two sets of bookshelves in our living room. The bottom shelves have long since been cleared of their contents — we discovered quickly that he was fascinated by them — but the upper shelves haven’t been a problem. Even standing up at full height, and stretching his arms as high as they go, he still gets barely more than his fingers on the shelf. Turns out that’s all he needed.

As I watched, he crawled over to the first bookcase, and clambered to a standing position on the bottom shelf. Then he reached up with his hands, firmly grabbed hold of the next shelf up, and began to pull himself up into the air.

Fortunately his weight (which I believe is mostly in his giant head) was too much for him, and he was only able to get his feet about 2 inches off the ground, but I was still amazed as he dangled there, grunting and trying with all his might to get the fascinating books and baubles on the shelf just out-of-reach.

I digress though, because this is a story about Poison Control.

I’ve observed about women, that many of them have copious amounts of moisturizing lotions, skin creams, and other slimy substances that they lather themselves with regularly. When you’re pregnant, you also add “stretch mark” cream to your repertoire. Nic has a whole night stand full of these creams, which Benjamin previously had been unable to reach.

The other day we were in our room, looking over our finances on the computer, while Ben played happily on the floor. We took turns checking over our shoulder with enough frequency to be confident that he was alright. I saw him, on one of my turns, clambering toward the night stand, but I didn’t really think too much about it — until I heard a sucking sound.

I walked over to examine what he’d found (he sucks on everything, so this isn’t unusual) and realised he’d grabbed a tube of “Vaseline Intensive Care Skin Soothing Lotion” or something like it, twisted off the top, and started sucking out the contents.

I immediately grabbed it from him — noted to my relief that it was pretty much empty — and turned it over to read the warnings on the back.

If ingested, contact Poison Control immediately

While Nic looked up the number, I actually put the tube in my mouth and tried sucking on it. Sounds weird, but I wanted to know if he would have been able to suck out any of the tiny amount left in there. I got nearly nothing, except a slightly more moisturized mouth.

Poison Control turns out to be an incredibly friendly and soothing service. I explained very quickly that our 9 month old son had been sucking on a tube of Vaseline, and asked if we should take him to the hospital (Nic was already packing a bag, just in case.) The lady on the phone was very re-assuring, and knew exactly how to handle the situation. The worst case scenario might be some coughing and gagging, if he’d gotten any in his lungs, and if it got bad, we could take him to the hospital. But since it was empty, and he showed no signs of congestion, she assured us that there was no reason to worry.

We now have the Poison Control phone number saved in our cell phones — something tells me this won’t be the last time we need their services — and our night stands are clear of anything even remotely interesting!

I guess this only gets more fun as he gets taller and more mobile…