Letters to Holly

Friday, June 24

Retelling Retailing

I wonder sometimes if I'm ignored by so many store associates because they consider me too old to shop there. I hovered in American Eagle for about ten minutes, scouring the shelves for a shirt I saw on a mannequin. Finding only the one of those shirts in XXL (which I could use as a bedspread), I scanned the barcode with my scifi-future-magic phone and took pictures of the sales tag to track it down on the store's website. I can't believe none of the three associates who I spied failed to notice me.

When I worked retail, and granted this was literally decades ago, I preferred to help this kind of shopper -- someone who was actively, if not aggressively, looking. They were engaged. They knew what they wanted. They were the highlight of my dreary day, and the nightmare was type of shopper who walks into my department and stops dead still, staring blankly at the back wall of the store as if God will use the Force to levitate what they want through the very air and at their feet. That guy only knows what he doesn't want and can in no way articulate what they came to buy. That guy will devour hours of your time and complain the whole time.

I bought a similar shirt in a different color when I remembered I already had a blue striped shirt from AE. And much to my surprise I bought it a size smaller than I expected. I tried on a medium and a small, and the small is the better fit. Men's clothes used to be reliably consistent. Now I gotta treat every item of clothing like jeans.

Still, I got a shirt that looks decent during my lunch break. I think I shopped well.

  +   +   +

My Mom watched the sidekick yesterday, and today he is visiting the daycare for a few hours. He failed to sleep through the night, and he was oddly difficult to put down after supper. Maybe his system's still frizzed from cold medication.
  +   +   +

Your Sister and a coworker volunteered me to take her son to see Green Lantern this weekend. He's apparently dying to see it. I asked this morning if it's OK to catch a 2D viewing, and he said he wouldn't care. Good. I can't see the 3D stuff. To me, it looks like the last ten minutes of 2001.

  +   +   +

Your Sister is dismayed to learn that the transfer of power at the school is a muddle. She was asked to coordinate schedules for next year by the outgoing principal. Not only can't schedules be made until the school hires replacement teachers, she's not the person who should be doing this; the current department chair is. And the outgoing principal will have no oversight on whatever schedule is made. We suspect he asked Your Sister because she happened to be at the school yesterday, and making the request allowed him to check an item off his out-the-door to-do list. She's meeting Sunday with some teachers to straighten this mess out.

Moving Picture of the Day
The new trailer for the Captain America movie. It continues to look a little flat -- as in "those sets look like backlots" -- but the low-budget retro style harkens back to Rocketeer and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Hopefully it won't be as middling as The Shadow and Phantom. Those films couldn't elevate themselves beyond the stifling doldrums of b-movie cliches. I think Marvel will be happy if it makes $70 million, just as long as it properly prepares audiences for next year's giant Avengers film.

Thursday, June 23

Evolving Plans

He slept through the night. We're too exhausted to jump for joy. I suspect he tried to milk our willingness to attend to him in the night. We ran to the crib during his cold, but we slowly pulled back from that so he'd relearn to put himself back to sleep. It seems to have taken.

Your Sister decided to introduce him to daycare at a slower pace. Starting in a few weeks, he'll go three days a week instead of the five we agreed upon. She says he wants to enjoy the time with him before she goes back to work. He has been her primary (and secondary and tertiary and, um, fourth-erary) concern for a year now, and it's gotta be a hard habit to break. From a pragmatic POV, this affects me not. I'm at the office whether he's at home or in daycare. I have no reason to object to her schedule alterations. Also, come on, Your Sister makes about nine schedules and then changes them all before the big event, whatever it is. I think she proposed four snack options last night in a ten-minute period. I just answer "OK" and wait for the next change. This may be the secret of husbandry: Be a flow-goer.

The grandmothers are watching him on consecutive days to allow Your Sis to get some yardwork done. Although I dunno how much she can do during all this rain. I worry that the nationwide bee disease has hit our garden; the squash plants have not turned from blossoms to gourds yet. Although the tomatoes flowers have changed to cheery sprouts.

Picture of the Day
I usually never notice grafitti, but this is nice.

Wednesday, June 22

New Digs

The new Heygregory.com is active.

I adore GoDaddy's tech support (a top-quality service in no way mentioned in the cheesecake ads), but the very limited web-building software made updating my site a chore. A big chore. A chorezilla. So it's gone.

Hopefully the new site will spur more sketching. I've noticed a number of comic people have gone this route for their sites, and it makes all kinds of sense. Your Sister noted how bizarre it is to now live in a world where websites -- distinct from blogs -- are considered obsolete. GoDaddy is probably great for big businesses, but for me and my modest product field, it doesn't make financial or practical sense to invest in a giant web presence like they offer. Also, because of GoDaddy's weak folder and shop systems, I was driven to Flickr and PayPal for the crucial elements of my website.

+  +  +

Again, the sidekick didn't make it through the night. He clearly has the all-or-nothing sleep cycle of a sick kid. I got him at midnight, and he was oddly quiet, with eyes wide open and body still, before shutting down completely within minutes. He switched off. Powered down. Out out out.
He's gotten so cocky about walking that he's pushing himself into running, and he's falling. He busted his gums yesterday on a faceplant. He bled and cried for ten minutes and then ran off, forgetting that anything happened. 

Picture of the Day
Helen Mirren in a championship belt. Wowsers. It's eMMA in 40 years.

Tuesday, June 21

Reaping What Was Sown

The fever broke, and the boy seems to have avoided hand-and-mouth. He has a sore throat made obvious by coughing and some difficulty eating, and we continue with Tylenol and ice water. He didn't sleep through the night, but it was a much better block of hours than Sunday night. I like to think he fought off a worse infection due to his homebrewed diet, but I don't know what the other kids are eating. Maybe I just want some credit for his immune system, ironic considering I was convinced last year that my inherited immune system would practically cripple him.

+  +  +

I made a simple support fence for the pea vines (a term my inner fourth-grader continues to laugh at). It's made of six-foot tomato stakes and string running horizontally and vertically. It's not pretty, but I can bolster the fencing if the vines need a sturdier scaffold. The squash plants have not yet sprouted gourds, and I suspect the continuing nationwide bee disease has affected our garden.The tomato plants look OK, so I dunno. There's still time to plant more squash plants before fall's frost is a factor.

Picture of the Day
My grandfather's work was doo-doo!

Monday, June 20

A Wobbly Weekend

The boy may have picked up the hand and foot and mouth virus. A playmate was diagnosed with it last week only after they had rendezvoused. He hasn't developed the tell-tale hand and mouth blisters yet, so he may have only a cold. Or the signs may emerge within the next few days. Either way, he has a moderate fever (101-104), and he didn't sleep last night, and we are the walking dead. We gave him baby Tylenol and called the local nurse hotline. We were told to continue what we were doing and take him into a doctor only if he didn't develop new symptoms. When I cuddled him at 3 am, he didn't fell like the ball of fire he had on Sunday, so I'm thinking the fever is gone. I took some Vitamin C when my throat got scratchy, but that may have been psychosomatic.

We didn't know he was developing a cold/virus earlier in the weekend. He got a babysitter Friday night while we met up with some English teacherfolk, and we drove to a nearby-ish celebrity-animal zoo Saturday. He took it mostly in stride, panicking slightly when some animals got a bit close (a goat licked his foot). He seemed most taken with the occasional truck that zoomed by. The heat and travel zapped him, and we left before trying the safari bus ride. Just as well, I think; a mob of screaming kids in a hot bus surrounded by water buffalo might have been a disaster. He'll get more out of the zoo as he gets older. I didn't see any elephants, but we did hear the lion roar.

We got home just in time to meet the local crew pressure wash the house. I've felt crummy for not keeping the siding clean, and Your Sister hired them as an early Father's Day present.

My first Father's Day was low key as we watched the boy and stayed indoors. I've started a daily sketch exercise, and I'll use those scans to fuel a new version of the website. I'm going to move it to a blog on this service, as I've seen other artists do, and that will encourage me to make with the scratchings and more easily maintain online updates and art stuff. I'll link to the new site when it's active.

Picture of the Day
Brush brush brush.