Letters to Holly

Friday, April 16

Grr. Mow. Grr.

The old lawnmower was still in the driveway nook when I got home, but Your Sister was missing. She had brought in the mail and put down her backpack, but she was not in the house. Or the yard. And she wasn't answering her phone again.

Tangent: Her phone stinks. It often fails to alert her when I call or when I leave messages. It pisses me off to no end. I think we need to upgrade phones before we venture forth into the world with Roo. I'm looking at the Droid phones from Verizon; the apps are free, and the pop-out Qwerty keyboards are nice. Back to our show.

I decided to clear out the lawn of sticks and debris before trying the new mower. I kept my phone on me in case she called. As I neared the street, I heard the neighbors talking. I peeped over their mailbox and saw Your Sister down their driveway, chatting it up. I joined her and subtly gave vibes that we needed to leave pronto, not because I was angry (which I was) but because they love to talk, and I was burning daylight.

Pregnant wife found, I fetched the new mower and crossed my fingers as I started it. Normally, you have to yank the ripcord a few times to get the engine going. This is standard procedure. The instructions, however, said to gently pull the cord back and replace it in the handle cradle. That sounded crazy. But by God that thing buzzed to life with the gentlest of arm movements. And it devoured the lawn. There wasn't much lawn to gobble; the yard is still recovering from the snows, but what tufts of grass it did eat, it did so quickly. I'm enamored with it.

Your Sister is trying to sneak me into the women-only shower this Sunday, and I won't hear of it. One of the attendees wants me to be there, and that's sweet, but this party has been for the ladies since it was first suggested. Your Sis needs a party without me or our parents around. I'll stay home and ink.

The theater sent out an email announcing a reverse telethon -- they're gonna call all their past volunteers and ask for money. The time and day they gave is when I'll be in another state at a baby shower. Darn. Dang. Shucks.

And as I left the house this morning, the old lawnmower was gone.

Picture of the Day
My new lawnmowing suit.

Thursday, April 15

Not Quite A Viking Funeral

Constant Reader writes:
What, no Jeffrey? Your own flesh and blood shall not carry the name of your arch enemy and doppelganger nemesis?
I did consider giving him all the wrong names I usually get -- Jeffrey, Eric, Andrew or combining them as JeffreyEric Andrew -- but those names have lost all charm. I resent people failing to get my name right. I mean, there's only one of me compared to the 6 billion of them. But it's so prevalent that the fault must lie with me. I do not exude the proper wavelength for my name.

Trivia: The name Drew is on the first batch of names. For either gender. But it's stock value drops significantly when put with my last name. A Double-D name is verboten.

+ + +

Our fish-wrapper has a fairly active classified section, and I check it for curiosity's sake. I noticed a graphic designer solicitation a few weeks back. I also recently read an ad for buying lawnmowers and motorcycles for what I assume is a backyard small-engine business. My grandfather did the same; he was the most popular small-engine repairman in town, and he went on to teach repair at the local technical college.

I didn't inherit any of this, you understand. I knew enough rudiments to keep my mower working a few years longer than it should have, but I knew the neighbors hated the racket (one offered to lend me his so he wouldn't put up with my rolling calamity) and I hated the constant smoke. I knew I was buying the new mower, and I called the ad number yesterday. I told the man he could have my old mower, that he would be doing me a favor by taking it. It couldn't be worth enough folding money to make much difference anyhow. Hopefully I'll go home tonight and find the old one gone. And I hope it serves him half as well as it did me.

+ + +

Your Sister now finds it painful to sneeze. Her diaphragm has no room to expand. It brings tears to her eyes, and I apply ice cream.

+ + +

The latest episode of House was weak. We watched it after Your Sister caught the rest of Lost, which was very not weak.

Picture of the Day
I started inking page 17 last night. I might finish inking it this weekend. FINISH THE INKING! RELEASE THE INKING KRAKEN!

Wednesday, April 14

Change of Plans

Before I got into town, Your Sis called to say the birthing class was postponed due to teacher illness. There's no word when it will be made up.

I took her out at Pescado's. While there I suggested a new name: Isaac. Two things work in its favor: 1) it's not common; b) it means "he laughed" in Hebrew, a reference to Abraham scoffing when God told him he'd bear a son at his old age. The Biblical allusion is a cute bonus (and that's all it is), but the sound of the name and its seeming rarity is the hook for me.

I've had a problem in suggesting names; Your Sister will veto them because she associates them with students of the same name. Isaac sounded safe, and I mentioned it over quesadillas. As we're commenting on this, she spied one of her students walking behind us and said hello.

"Hi, Isaac."
"... You're shitting me."
"Nope, that's his name."
"God dammit."

So I'm stopping with the names for a while. Unless a really great name leaps out at me.

My Mom, desperate to know the name right now, said S.C. hospitals fine parents who take a baby home without naming it first. I replied that we wouldn't rush into a name to avoid a fee. I'd rather behold the baby and realize he looks like a certain name than force a Jeremy to live as a Kevin.

This is becoming an obsession. Thank God Lost is there to distract me. It's a great episode this week. Again.

Between dinner and Lost, I assembled my new lawnmower. It's my first in a decade, and it's clearly more advanced. It's simpler and beefier and prettier, and I honestly can't wait to mow my lawn. I'm completely domesticated.

I started page 16 last night of the comic, and I'm just under one month before the convention. I'm anxious about wrapping up everything, and I plow through with my nose inches away from the art boards and ink.

Picture of the Day
My Name-o-tron robot has given up.

Tuesday, April 13

All Baby Stuff

Roo's movement is quite obvious to Your Sister. Not so much for me. She will often put her hand on her stomach and ask me to watch it move as the baby kicks and adjusts. He tones it down considerably when I'm looking, and I only see her hand move when she burps or laughs.

When I put my hand on her belly, I mistake my pulse for his movement. She likes to sit between my legs and put my hands on her belly for a while to feel Roo wriggle around. But I feel very little. She'll move back to her seat for a few minutes before she practically stands up in shock as Roo does a Matrix move. To give me a show, she's now squishing her stomach to get him to respond. It unnerves me a bit.

"He's not spongecake."
"He's turned. I'm only squeezing his feet."
"How short do you want him to be?"

The student teacher who gave us some buckets of clothing gave us some more and two baby-seat boots and a toddler swing. It's a floor-standing seat with a mobile. The nursery is quickly filling up, and we're gonna have to clean out the shelves of non-baby items soon.

We have our first birthing class tonight, and I wish it wasn't the one night of the week Lost airs. Of course I'll watch it when I get home tonight, but still. It's the principal of the thing. We could have taken a later black of classes, but we'd literally deliver before the classes were over.

Picture of the Day
Quick, to the Am-I-Sure-I-Really-Be-A-Dad-Mobile!

Monday, April 12

If You Prick Us, Do We Not Bleed? In A Bag?

I gave blood Saturday morning at a local church. Three churches team up to host the blood drives on a rotating basis. I was supposed to do this last month, but it was snowed out. The church folks called me to ask that I not give blood until they could hold the session this month. I assume they're competing with other drive hosts for bragging rights. Maybe there's a commission involved. There's no danger of me going to another place to give blood; these people are the only ones who do it on the weekend.

They like to make appointments. They want to know when you will arrive, but it doesn't matter. It's still first-come, first-drain. You sign in, take a number, and sit. I've learned to take a book. As I sit there and wonder if I'll be hooked up within an hour, I imagine bringing my laptop and loudly accessing random porn to see how badly they want my blood. It might allow me to jump in line. The nurses practically glow when they see my big arm veins. It makes their job easier, and I fill a pint pouch within five minutes.

At each station, I asked about my book, Spook by Mary Roach. The volunteers thought it was fiction, and as I explained it was a series of essays investigating the scientific pursuit of theories on the afterlife, I cold see their eyelids droop with each word after "essay." If I had all my blood, I would have thought to spice it up by adding "and then she develops toe cancer and falls in love on a beach with her retired vampire chiropractor."It really is a great read. The second chapter, for instance, looks at how research into semen influenced the notions of the soul's physical whereabouts in the body. As technology improved, and the eye could see further into the cellular structure, the soul lost its status as a physical entity. No one could find it.

A few hours after the donation, I noticed everything I tasted was metallic. Otherwise I was fine. I called the Red Cross later in the day, and they suggested it was a low calcium level. I took one of Your Sister's calcium supplements. I also made note of the low blood pressure. When I gave blood in August, I measured 122/74. On Saturday, I'm at 112/61. I haven't ran nearly as often as I did last year yet Your Sister says Saturday's was a better reading. She also noted I haven't had nearly the amount of wings (slathered in ranch) and beer. I argue the food isn't unhealthy. It's the natural oils from my skin I take in as I lick my ranch-slathered fingers.

While we were out that afternoon, I bought m first new lawnmower in a decade. I held off on buying one for a few years. Dad and I had agreed to buy a new one before he got sick, and I always mentioned our deal when we would meet after his diagnosis. It was my good-luck charm; as long as he had one more thing to plan for, he wouldn't go away. I hoped. Mom declared she would see the deal through, but I wouldn't pick a new mower until she was settled. It sits in our storage room still boxed up. I wanted to wait until the hero comic was done to go mow, but the yard may not wait. Suddenly the show-flattened lawn is sprouting.

We drove down to Columbia Sunday for a shower thrown by her college pals. It was fun. They put on a great spread, and we traded pregnancy notes. Then I found myself siting on a couch opening shower gifts in baby wrapping paper. Never thought I'd be here. Your Sister drove the whole time both ways while I read her the Sunday New York Times. We got back just as the sun set and grabbed Mexican dinner before calling it a day. I woke up super early (for me) today to ink another page. I should be done with the pages by next weekend.

My Mom again asked to know the baby's name. She's antsy. We might tell her Voldemort Bismark just to stop that line of questioning.

Picture of the Day
I must see this.