Monday, December 31, 2007

My Son the Prankster

I can already tell that my son will be the family prankster. He's not even out the womb yet, and he's already pulling stuff on his folks.

Saturday afternoon we were getting ready for my cousin's wedding when Olivia noticed none of her shoes fit anymore. She eventually found a pair of sandals that she could squeeze on and we headed off to the wedding. On the way, she contacted her health care professionals to inquire about her swollen appendages. About the same time we made it to the church, they told her she'd better get to the hospital to be checked out. So, she said hi/bye to the bride and we left before the ceremony even started.

At the hospital, they hooked her up to all the monitors and took some blood. While we waited for the test results, we learned that what Olivia thought were cramps were really contractions. What's more, they were somewhat strong and minutes apart. "Holy cow!" I thought, "This kid's gonna come on his own and 2 days before the end of the tax season!" The test results soon came back showing that Liv was fine. The Dr. didn't think there was any risk and the contractions were irregular enough that she sent us home about 3 or 4 hours after we got there. I was still very optimistic though. I thought for sure we'd be back in less than 24 hours and have that little rascal out of there.

Alas, here it is Monday the 31st and Nathan has yet to show his face. I can see his chubby little baby face right now, laughing hysterically at the prank pulled on his unwitting folks. He's still managed to torment his mother with contractions for 2 days, but nothing's moving. I can tell he's going to be quite the little stinker. So now we just wait for Thursday when we'll pry him out of there. I see that he'll be a formidable opponent to match wits with. It's go time, Nate. Let's get it on! T-minus 3 days and counting. I'll try to post his pictures by Friday sometime.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

All I Ever Needed to Know about Electronics Repair, I Learned in Kindergarten

A funny thing happened to me today. The CD/DVD drive on my computer has been acting funny for some time, and finally today it decided to quit opening all together. A DVD drive is pretty useless if you can't put a disk in it, so I figured I had nothing to lose by tearing into it and trying to find the problem. I somehow managed to get it out of the computer and get the guts out of it without breaking anything or injuring myself. Of course, once inside I saw nothing obviously wrong. So I blew the dust out of it, put it back together, and crossed my fingers that a good cleaning was all it needed. I got the computer all plugged back in, fired it up, and hit the eject button. It worked!!! ..... once. That's right, it opened once, closed once, and that was all she wrote.

So, I spent the next 5 minutes with a steak knife trying to find the proper combination of prying and button pushing to get the sucker open again. Eventually, I found that the necessary procedure included one push of the eject button followed immediately by a firm one finger smack right in the "DVD" emblem on the front of the CD tray. It then occurred to me that all I ever needed to know about electronics repair, I learned in kindergarten. I've been smacking electronic devices ever since I was a kid watching Bugs Bunny on a 13 inch black and white TV with rabbit ears. So, thanks are in order to dad for teaching me at an early age the fundamentals of electronics repair. He taught me that most electrical gizmos need to be reminded who's the boss from time to time. It's surprising how a quick sucker punch will make most of them fall in line instantly. Even if it doesn't, I still feel better after taking some aggression out. I guess the moral of the story is that sometimes even the most complicated of problems often has a simple solution. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Beginning of the End

Another trip to the baby Dr. today and now Nathan's days in the womb are numbered.... literally. 14 to be exact. The Dr. said that if he's not out by Jan. 3rd, she's going to induce labor. He's a little too comfy in there and since we want to meet him before it's time to send him off to kindergarten, we may have to force mother nature's hand a little. So, it looks like mom's birthday present will be a grandchild. It's not a 42" plasma screen HDTV, but it'll have to do. It also looks like dad has become the front-runner to win the umbillical cord for his guess in the birthing pool. He guessed Jan. 3rd at 2am. The contest isn't over yet though. Nate could still decide to make things interesting any time between now and the 3rd.

What I don't understand is why she couldn't induce him on the 31st. (Yes, I did have the gall to ask the Dr. if she could induce during the 2007 tax year.) He's been in there for 9 months. What difference is 3 more days of quality time with his mother really going to make? I wouldn't even call it quality time. Olivia's always fighting him and poking at him through her belly. I can't imagine it's very much fun for either of them. Is that what they teach you in med school, how to read a calendar? C'mon, I have to start buying diapers by the gross here pretty soon. Can't you slide your scale a couple days and get me a tax break here, doc? Ugh.

Let's go Nate. Make your daddy proud and your momma relieved. Wiggle your skinny little butt out of there next week while your Aunt Shauna and Uncle Tom are here to shower you with whatever kind of spoiling aunts and uncles do. Everybody wins here, Nate! Move towards the light!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Nathan the Giant

So I took Olivia to the baby Dr. today and get this... doc thinks we're going to have a long baby. Imagine that! She based her conclusion on how low his head was riding and the fact that his bony butt is practically suffocating Olivia since it's so far up under her ribs. I'm officially starting a pool to guess the arrival and size of the Teeny Little Super Guy. My guess is 7lb 12oz, 23" long, on January 2nd at 3:30 in the morning during an ice storm. I'm basing my time of arrival guess on the fact that he's been such a problem child so far. Why would he change now? I can't wait until he gets here so I can spank him for being so mean to his mother for the last 9 months. Just kidding. Feel free to respond to this post with your bets on his size and arrival date. You don't need to be as specific as I was. Just weight, length, and date will be sufficient. The winner's prize will be the shriveled up piece of umbilical cord that falls off his belly button after a couple weeks. :) Here's our most recent picture of Nathan...
The doctor said that things are starting to move along with Liv, so we are definitely in the home stretch now. We are both way past being ready to get this over with. Then I can get elbow deep in the endless parade of poopy diapers. T-minus 3 weeks and counting.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Maybe Al Gore Was Right

When I was a kid, it used to snow. Sometimes a lot. Now I'm approaching 30 and I realize that it doesn't snow anymore, it ices. I mean, it still snows sometimes, but now it seems that we're just as likely to get an ice storm as a snow storm. Like last night...
There's a little snow under there, but most of that is ice. Just for some perspective, I can usually walk underneath that tree that's scraping the ground. What's more, the forecast is calling for more freezing rain tonight, tomorrow, and Wednesday. Here's a shot of our skating rink, er, driveway...

I went out this afternoon to remove the 1/4 inch of ice coating my state truck so I wouldn't have to do it at 6am tomorrow. It was all I could do to walk 30 feet out to the truck without falling on my @$$. After a couple buckets of hot water and 30 minutes of scraping I had it cleared off enough to drive, thus ensuring that we will receive another coating of ice overnight undoubtedly. We had another big ice storm or two similar to this last year as well. So I'm left thinking, what's going on here? I mean, I can deal with snow. Just sweep or shovel it away, dig out the car, and move on. This ice is crazy though. It's an ordeal just to get the car door to open, let alone getting everything scraped off enough to drive.

I found myself pondering why ice is taking center stage now and snow seems to be a novelty. My only thought is that it's too cold to rain, but too warm to snow. Maybe Al Gore and his global warming nuts are on to something. Or not. I don't think I'm ready to throw in with that crowd yet. Maybe the earth is getting warmer, but I find it a bit far-fetched to think we little humans could cause it. And if things are warming up, I find it even more ludicrous to believe that we little humans could slow or stop it. Mother nature will adjust the thermostat as she sees fit. Remember the ice age? Anyway, I'm not entirely sure I even have a point to make here. I guess my point is ice sucks. There's something we can all agree on.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Oz for the 21st Century

I've never really been a fan of the Wizard of Oz. It always seemed a little too cutesy wootsy for me. No, scratch that. It seems downright dopey to me. I know it's supposed to be a classic, but a lot of the movies deemed classic by critics are worthless. I understand it was made in the 50's or whatever, and I'll cut it some slack because entertainment from that era was a bit simpler. Now that it's the new millennium, enter the Sci-Fi Channel. They just aired a mini-series named Tinman, that's loosely based on the Wizard.Normally I wouldn't even give something like this a second glance, but I noticed it had Neal McDonough starring as the Tinman. I've liked the stuff I've seen him in before (Band of Brothers, Minority Report, White Dwarf), so Olivia and I decided we'd give it a shot.

I'd be lying if I said I was completely blown away by this mini-series. However, I didn't hate it. I was actually impressed with the imagination that went into turning a smarmy musical into a sci-fi epic. (I use the term epic to describe the length, not necessarily the movie's historical impact.) As I said, Tinman is loosely based on the Wizard of Oz. The characters have different names, but similar traits. The plot strays from the yellow brick road after the first hour or two and winds up in totally uncharted territory when compared to the original. My favorite changes: The Wizard is a doped up old coot played by Richard Dreyfuss (think "What About Bob" after he goes nuts), the "scarecrow" character is really Nightcrawler from X2, and best of all, NO SINGING! Oh yeah, and Todo is a 60 year old overweight black man.

I'm not going to suggest that everyone make a special effort to see this mini-series. However, if you're a sci-fi geek like I can be at times, you might find it at least somewhat interesting. If the Wizard of Oz had never existed and this was thrown out there today, it would be just another mini-series made by the Sci-Fi Channel. But, it's a huge improvement over the original and I think that's what I like about it. It's very original, yet still draws nostalgia from its predecessor. If you like quirky sci-fi stuff, check it out. If not, take a pass. I think it's still airing on Sci-Fi from time to time, and if not it's on One more thing... Hat's off once again to the Sci-Fi Channel for thinking outside the box and putting something other than cop dramas, lawyer shows, sit-coms, and reality show garbage on tv.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Racecar vs. Deer

I need to get me a car like this. I don't think the video is doctored because the camera follows the deer. I think the shape and speed of the car account for the unbelievable result.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Another Good Read

I just finished another great book yesterday. It's called Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell.

It's the true story of an ill-fated Navy SEAL mission in the mountains of Afghanistan in 2005. The author was part of a 4-man team dropped in to locate and neutralize a high ranking Taliban terrorist. The team members soon found themselves surrounded by hundreds of terrorists and fighting for their lives. The entire SEAL team was unfortunately lost, except for the author who managed to escape despite being seriously wounded and having lost most of his gear. The book chronicles his nearly week-long ordeal surviving in the rugged mountains while being wounded, lost, alone, and hunted by the Taliban. It also tells how the author was eventually able to make it out due to his intense training and with help from ancient Afghani tribal customs.

Although the main focus of the book is on this one event, 2 chapters of the book are devoted to how a SEAL becomes a SEAL. I always knew these guys were tough, but I had no idea just how tough until after reading this book. Their training really prepares them to survive an ordeal like this and not quit. A word of caution... The sailors in this book talk like, well, sailors. If you're easily offended by some swearing, you way want to skip this book. Otherwise, I highly recommend it. I found it hard to put down, and that's saying something for me.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Uncle Jay

Here's a video Shauna sent me. It reminds me why I loathe politicians so much.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

So Long, Holly

We came home from turkey with the Adamski side of the family Thursday evening around 6. I let Holly out of her kennel and she was a spaz as usual. She ran to the front yard, took a leak, and trotted off down the sidewalk. This isn't usual for her, but it's not the first time she's done it either. It really ticks me off when she does it, so I just threw my hands up in the air and went inside to cool off. After 10 or 15 minutes, I had calmed down enough to go get her. Olivia and I, leash in hand, jumped in the truck and headed off down the street looking for my dopey dog.

After 30-45 minutes we still hadn't found her, which is strange in a town as small as New Berlin. So we went home. By bedtime she still hadn't shown her face yet, so I left her kennel open for her and went to bed. My sleep was restless as I worried about my pup, and first thing Friday morning I hopped in the truck and drove the streets of New Berlin again. Still nothing. She has my phone number and address on her collar, so I fully expected to get a call sometime Friday. After another trip around town Friday afternoon and no phone calls, still nothing.

So, here it is Sunday evening and I've seen neither hide nor hair of the mutt (pardon the pun). Now, I've pretty much accepted the fact that she's not coming back. It's a bummer, but part of me is actually a little relieved. She's not super old, but over the past 6 months or so she's been getting more and more lazy or senile or both. She's mostly deaf, so she won't respond when called. She's been less and less concerned with her personal hygiene, which is an issue with a baby on the way. She's basically been just more and more unruly and harder to control. I've heard of dogs running away when mother nature tells them their time is coming to an end, so maybe she knew something I didn't. Or, maybe she just wanted to live somewhere else.

In light of her recent behavior and the impending arrival of Nate the great, I had already been stewing over how things would work with the dog and what kind of decisions I would have to make regarding her. It seems the decision has been made for me. Although sad, it has also been surprisingly liberating for me. I no longer have the constant worries about keeping her from making a mess in the house, or cleaning the mud off her on rainy days. I don't have to worry about how she will accept Nathan. I still miss her, but I'm really thinking this may all be for the best. Perhaps this is God's way of reducing my obligations, freeing me up to be a better father for my boy. My only hope through this all is that Holly hasn't suffered any and doesn't suffer whatever her fate ends up being.

There is still a chance that someone could call tomorrow and say they found her. We haven't got rid of her stuff yet. But, I'm honestly (and surprisingly) cool with whatever the outcome is. Realistically though, this is really a goodbye. So long, Holly. You were usually a good pup!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Nathan's Room

Well, we're finally almost done with Nathan's nursery. We spent a couple hours last night moving all his stuff in there and trying to find a place for it all. Here's the pix...
Olivia picked the "sea life" theme and went with a light green to match on the walls. It's not as manly as say "monster trucks" or "power tools", but this way we don't have to re-do the whole thing if the next kid is a girl. That's our fancy used crib there on the left.

The dresser/changing table that matches the crib is in the middle of this pic. The playpen is on the left. It won't really go there permanently. It will be in our room for the first couple months for Nate to sleep in until he graduates to the crib. On the right is Matt Espenshied's old dresser that he left when he moved out. Needless to say, this room looks quite a bit different from when Matt and Tony lived there back in my slum-lord days.

Here's the other end of the room. My old stereo is up on the dresser for momma to rock out with the boy. The stroller and car seat were shoved behind the door for the time being. The purple thing on the right is a fake chimney. I think there's a real chimney behind there, but it's got fake plastic brick around it now. It was a dark maroon at first, but we went with a light purple to match the rest of the decor. Talk about a pain in the butt to paint. We couldn't tape the edges up against the walls because of the irregular shaped bricks and the grout lines. Olivia had to do those corners meticuously by hand. Of course it all took 2 coats as well. While doing it we surmised that the previous owner probably used spray paint. Good idea, I think we'll go that route if we have to re-paint it someday.

So, we're pretty much done. We just need a crib mattress, a rocking chair, and a baby. The rocker has been pretty difficult. Olivia wants a glider, but we can't find a decent one for under $200. Ouch! If you have a used one you want to get rid of, let us know. Thanks again to everyone who gave us gifts at the baby shower. It was a tremendous help and we appreciate it a lot! T-minus 5 weeks til baby.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Yes, I can read

Anyone who knows me very well will probably be surprised to find out that I have begun reading books from time to time. I've even finished a few that don't have pictures! My brilliant wife has discovered this thing called the New Berlin Public Library. Apparently, they'll let you borrow books, and for free! It's amazing! Anyhow, a couple weeks ago I finished one that I actually enjoyed quite a bit. It's called 3 Nights in August by Buzz Bissinger.

It's an inside look at a 3 game series between the Cardinals and Cubs in August 2005 with special attention paid to the viewpoint of Tony LaRussa. There's really nothing noteworthy about the series itself, other than being a key series for both ball clubs during the 2005 playoff race. The real heart of the subject matter is just baseball and what goes through a manager's mind on a daily basis during the season. It was an interesting inside look at the nuances of the game and how complicated and simple it can be at the same time. I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to any fan of the sport. I'm sure being a Cardinal fan contributed to my interest in the book, but I think it could be enjoyed by anyone who cares about the game. If your town has one of these "libraries", go check it out!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A new take on the first Thanksgiving

A heartwarming Thanksgiving tale from the guys who brought you Chad Vader...

My First Post

Well here it is, my first ever blog posting. I kinda wish I had something profound to say, but I really don't. I'm really just putting this out there so I can see how it works and what the finished product is going to look like on my page. Since you bothered to come check out the site, I guess I'll include some of the latest happenenings in our household to bring you up to speed.

The baby is already taking over and he's not even here yet. We spent last night spending too much money on all sorts of baby crap. We found a nice used crib and matching dresser and managed to get it for about 1/3 to 1/4 of what it would have gone for new. (Thanks to Ma Dudley for scouting that one out for us.) We picked up the stroller/car seat combo and got it all put together last night too. The painting in the nursery is almost done. Once we get everything moved in there, I'll be sure to post some pictures for your viewing pleasure. Pretty much all we lack now is finding a glider for momma to rock jr in and we'll be good to go.

Liv and I are both ready for Nathan to get here. She's ready for him to stop torturing her from the inside and I'm ready to start teaching him some bad habits. He's due the first week of January, but we're both hoping he shows up earlier rather than later.

Well, there's my first post. I admit it's a little bland, but I'll have more exciting stuff to report in the months to come. Check in often!