Letters to Holly

Friday, July 30


On two consecutive days, Your Sister and Nephew have ventured beyond the driveway. She visited the OB/GYN to acquire the equipment to prevent another deputy. She's planning a trip to the airport shopping center Saturday as we fill in the missing items for the lone sidekick. He's become more frenzied lately, and a struggle has blossomed to get him to sleep. He now needs to be fully swaddled or he keeps himself awake by moving his arms. He hates having his arms bundled, and he protests mightily. He burns himself out crying and falls asleep. It's a little cruel, but it's for his benefit. And ours. If we try to placate him by sending him into a food coma, he plows through too much milk and encourages him to only sleep full. That will make a fat baby and will empty our stores of precious mom water.

I do worry about developing behaviors that we'll have to fight later on. If he would lose the stump, we'd have more options for exercise, and he can wear himself out that way. My trick now is to bundle him up and wander through the house. Within a half hours, he's usually out cold. But it does a number on my back. Carrying around nine pounds of hot infant is a toil. Doing this for nine months sounds abysmal.

I haven't heard anything about people going to roller derby. I think I'm flying solo. If so, I'm sitting on the floor near the rink.

The garden is exploding with tomatoes, requiring me to find more recipes to use them up. I don't want to be the guy who foists produce on the neighbors -- it smacks of ad planning -- but I don't want them to go to waste. maybe I can set up a curbside tomato juice stand.

Picture of the Day
Southern lights seen from the space station.

Wednesday, July 28


Another day, another free meal. This was a giant salad with chicken, and we inhaled it as soon as the benefactor departed. She also delivered a bag of toys and a new baby bath with instructions to donate some items if they're unwanted. We sorted the toys that evening. We saved one electronic noise-maker, a stack of floppy book, and a maraca.

The boy handled the babysitter well, but his appetite has exploded. He slept last night only after a two-hour feeding session, and it knocked him out for almost six hours.

I investigated ceiling fans for the workshop which is now roasting since I fixed the wonky fluorescent. I think I figured the dimensions right to install a fan, and it will just miss clipping one of the lights. It will require some attic work, and I think I can handle that.

Picture of the Day
The strategies of Rock Paper Scissors.

Tuesday, July 27

Check Up

The Deputy is just fine, according to the doctor. He is in the 25-50 percentile for height, and he's gained two pounds in two weeks. The remaining umbilical stump is no cause for alarm, we were told, and it will fling itself to the ground at any time. He got a vaccine booster shot that left him groggy and cranky the rest of the day. We fed him a little earlier in the evening than normal and put him down, and I stayed up assuming he'd wake up before midnight. No. He slept for five hours, and I should have slept when he did. I am dead today.

We received another teacher meal, and it was fabulous. We inhaled it. The teacher came by with her two kids, and they were eager to see (and pet) the baby. My Mom asked me over the phone if our relatively happy experience with Your Nephew encouraged us to have another. My blunt answer made her laugh aloud. We may have changed our minds on having a child, but we won't reconsider having more than that. Every time we hang out with people who have more than one child, we're confident we can only handle the Deputy.

I spent the afternoon after the doctor's visit fixing a light in my workshop. It required two trips to the hardware store to buy a wire cutter, lamp clips, wire caps, and a light battery, which is confusingly called a ballast. I'm thinking of putting a ceiling fan in my workshop, and that will require more electrical homework.

Picture of the Day
Awesome costumes from last weekend's Comic Con.

Monday, July 26

Saying Little

Teacher buddies are using a message board to schedule who will bring us meals. It's a nice gesture, and sometimes it's a lifesaver. If Your Sister is dead dog tired, and I need to watch Your Nephew for a few hours, dinner might be whatever we find in the pantry. We planned for this. We bought some quick-heat meals. One was a Stouffer's lasagna that uses the sweet tomato sauce Your Sister despises. She mentioned that she prefers my recipe, and I noted that for a near-future meal. The garden has just delivered the first ripe tomatoes, and there are enough to make lasagna. I'll make it Monday evening after the baby's doctor visit.

But back to teacher meals. Another was dropped off Friday, and the teacher who provided it stayed for the meal and chat.

But first a confession: This teacher is a nice, friendly family man. I've met him. I like him. Still, he was alone with Your Sister when I got home, and that made me uncomfortable. I'm ashamed to say this. I trust her completely. I especially trust her completely when she's still gingerly walking. And yet, there it was: a flood of stupid feelings. I tried to counter them by remembering the times I was alone with someone's gal as she prepared a party or something and came up blank. I'm sure it's happened, but I can't remember. Still, I'm confident I did the same as he and was likewise a gentleman. I think maturity is a crafted filter that checks our dumbest thoughts and actions, and I chalk up my silence on the matter to whatever I have that approximates maturity.

Anyway, we all had a great talk about past jobs and art and Washington DC attractions. We drank Newcastle. He brought cupcakes. But he also brought quiche, a dish I don't enjoy because it is spinach and eggs. Never my favorite ingredients. But as we've done whenever someone has taken the time to prepare and deliver a meal, I ate it with a smile. Again, my pseudo-maturity was put to work.

Your Sister went out Saturday night to see a local musical, and I watched the Deputy. He slept most of the time. I spent the afternoon researching fluorescent lighting. One light in my workshop is wonky, and I hoped it would be an easy fix. It is, if you know how these lights work, and I didn't. But after reverse-engineering the wiring and talking to a guy at Lowe's (countering the bad experience with that store over the new dryer), I think I know how to fix it, and it will involve only a little scary electrical work. I hope to have it done by the weekend.

I've put out invites for roller derby without telling anyone about the contest. I'd like to have small posse hang out for the bout (And watch me win? Yes. See, it's only pseudo-maturity.).

We took him out again for groceries and lunch and he stayed comatose for it all. We have gonna up a size in diapers and onesies, but he appears to be a small boy. Maybe he takes after Your Mother's family.

Picture of the Day
I found deputy clothing at Gymboree, but I won't buy them. I don't want to brand the child with a gimmick. The nickname is good enough.