Letters to Holly

Friday, April 23

Done Deal

She's buying the Rogue today. After seeing the near-identical trade-in offers three dealerships , she's getting a used Nissan over a new Toyota. The Nissan has a better warranty, and that sealed the deal. I'm sure she'll miss the sports car, but she still has the motorcycle. The warmer weather has lured the local bikers all around the mountains, and she's got the itch. She might be back out there as early as August. July, if Roo if colicky.

I sat down last night and drew three pages of the second comic. I did another one before work today. That's half the comic penciled. I might be finished by Wednesday, safely within my May 1 deadline. The secret here is larger images in a simpler style; I can crank them out quickly. It's exhilarating in the face of the near tedium of the hero comic effort. I am through working on the first one; I would never stop fidgeting with it unless I keep my hands off it.

The ant traps seemed to have worked. The area in front of my workshop's outside door looks like a scene from Ken Burns's Civil War documentary. My temp -- the hungry spider -- appears to have packed up his briefcase, donned his hat, and left for a fresher buffet. When the comic work is done, I'm a'cleaning the workshop from top to bottom. Then I need to go outside and jumpstart the garden.

Soul Destroyer of the Day

Thursday, April 22

Going Rogue

Your Sister is shopping around the sports car over her spring break. She met with two Nissan dealerships yesterday to hear their trade-in offers and scan their wares. She saw some decent offers and models, and she may close the deal before the weekend. She's leaning toward a used model, as there doesn't seem to be much difference in warranties for new or used. She has another appointment today.

I have very little to do with this. My name doesn't appear anywhere on the car, and she went through this when we bought the Matrix. We almost bought a used one back then, but the price difference was minimal, and the warranty was affected. Buying a car is like buying any other complex contraption: You do some homework, examine your finances, and shop around. I encouraged her to keep one hand on the ripcord if the salesmen were too pushy. Also, I suggested asking for the CarFax report for the used cars. Otherwise, she's flying solo by design, and she'll be fine.

She's looking at the Nissan Rogue, a parallel version of the Matrix, and that's if she doesn't simply get another Matrix. They've worked great for us. She took along the boot of the baby carseat to see how well it fits.

Your Mom is officially baby crazy. She's buying various baby implements when she finds a bargain. Yesterday she bought sheets, nail clippers, and diapers of various sizes. This was after she promised she would only buy items from the registry, and these things aren't there. She rationalized the purchases, and I can't fault her generosity, but I'd rather channel that initiative toward what we know we need. Also, storage room is a growing concern.

We are under another ant assault at home. Each spring, her bathroom and my workshop become ant clubhouses, and we set down traps on top of traps. Ants literally tumble onto me from a workshop lighting fixture. I put traps in the attic twice this month. Also we cultivate spiders, allowing them to have a corner and dine on whatever they can catch. I currently have a longlegged monster called Presley next to my serial-killer corkboard collage. Stay thirsty, my friend.

I have all but finished the hero comic. I'm tweaking design elements like sound-effect fonts and the cover frame. I may take it to the printer this weekend, one week earlier than I planned. I have just over one week to do the eight-pager, and that should be feasible.

Picture of the Day
This is a robot cutting a ribbon in Japan.

Wednesday, April 21

When Last We Met, I Was But the Learner.

After a quick Mexican supper, we arrived at the hospital for the first childbirth class. Last week's class was canceled due to illness. Three couples were signed up, but only two arrived. Your Sister suspects the missing couple is two of her students. I joked about her teaching at least one of the couples because she sees students everywhere, and so many local girls are knocked up. We have no confirmation. So we will continue to suspect.

The other couple was probably a little younger than us. The teacher has three kids and has worked in the birthing center for 11 years. She assured us upfront that, contrary to scuttlebutt, the local birthing center is top-notch and hands on. There's a better nurse-to-patient ratio, she said, and almost all of the employees are moms. That was nice to hear. She combined two classes into this night's time, and everyone was happy to only have two more class meetings.

She showed us posters of the pregnancy development, pointing out that heartburn and frequent peeing are due to squished innards. She listed the symptoms and responses to possible pre-term delivery. We saw a video of the various labor stages, and I learned later this was Your Sister's first delivery video. I think mine was in seventh grade.

We then did breathing and squatting exercises. Your Sister's back did not enjoy some positions, but almost all of them were positions from her pregnant-yoga book. The nurse urged the menfolk to constantly encourage the wives after contractions, and Your Sister threatened to clobber me if I did that. I will instead quote all the training montages from the Rocky films ("you're gonna eat thunder and crap lightning!").

We ended the evening with Lost which continues to be awesome.

Picture of the Day
Learn it. Live it. Love it.

Tuesday, April 20

Mixed Messages

I say this is a vague warning light. My car has it. Your car has it. When it lighted Friday afternoon, I didn't know what it was trying to tell me. I thought it might be the battery. I had been warned the battery was low during my last check-up. It came on about 20 miles from home, and I worried the car would die on me. And I didn't want to ask Your Sister to curl up in the Nissan to fetch me. I did get to town and pulled into a car shop to check the owner's manual. There I found this light has two meanings:
1) the brakes are gone; or
2) the tires are low.

The brakes felt fine, and I drove home (just over a mile away) and inspected the tires. The rear left tires was pudding. I've lost a couple of tires this way since moving from South Carolina. I'd say I've had three flats in six years, and that seems like a cornucopia. I put on the spare tire only after taking a hammer to the wrench to dislodge the lugnuts. The next morning, I drove to our favorite local tire place -- a sign of bad tire luck is that we have a favorite tire place -- and found it closed. On a Saturday morning, no less. This hamlet's service businesses are insane. The other tire place fixed me up within a half hour using a $5 tire patch. The dealership said a tire fix done somewhere else doesn't void the warranty. Double bonus.

After polishing off the last inked page, Your Sister demanded I celebrate with beer. We got an outdoor table at the pub, and I ordered a Bass. It arrived in a Samuel Adams glass, and I thought that name looked awfully good. She agreed. But a good friend of hers also as a boy named Sam, and we're trying to avoid that kind of parallelism.

Your Sister had quite the haul from the Sunday baby shower. We now have three copies of Goodnight Moon, and I got the baby owner manual book I've wanted for a few months. My baby knowledge is nil. The majority of my statements in the second half of 2010 will be "you can't do that? really?"

The nursery is filling up quickly, and both mothers had to be told that we can't accept a furniture suite. A crib and changing station, yes. But a chest of drawers will not fit, not with the wall of shelves we intend to keep and use. This upset Your Mother, who thought she could fix the problem by giving us one from her house, misunderstanding that we don't have room for ANY extra furniture piece. Now she's worried we won't have adequate storage space in the room. I called My Mom to warn her she may get a confused, frantic call from Your Mom about nursery furniture. And she wanted to know, foremost, if we had named the baby yet.

No. No, mom. Not yet.

Picture of the Day
To the Book Wheel!