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Best knitting project EVER.


Halloween at our house. Not pictured: 438 pieces of candy + exactly 3 knocks at the door = chocolate coma by 9 PM.







Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Recently, JB has become interested in model rockets. Not the small kind you remember as a kid, but big ones that shoot thousands of feet into the air and attract a certain kind of male following; usually bearded engineers who dressed as a Sith Lord at Halloween.

As far as personal hobbies are concerned, JB's always enjoyed things that involve some kind of dangerous propulsion method and make loud noises while doing so (woe unto to me in future years when JB's prowess with the potato gun is bestowed upon young Riley), so I guess rocketry's right up his alley, but I had to raise an eyebrow at the amount of fussing he did over the thing: lovingly spray-painting it, affixing custom decals on it, and stickering his last name on its side so his rocket essentially sported VANITY PLATES.

He talked about the rocket nonstop for at least a week solid. About engines and parachutes and ignition thingies and trajectories and launch pads and - oh god. "Please stop talking about the rocket," I said to him finally. "Remember us, your family? We miss you." He cast a distracted eye in my direction while fiddling with some electronic gizmos and asked if I thought black and yellow would be the best color combination for the rocket because that's like a killer bee, yeah, cool, or would red be better, because red is for action?

After several days of gauging the weather, last Sunday JB decided it was launch time. We drove to an old Boeing airfield nearby, and JB set up the rocket while I stood nearby and jiggled Riley nervously in the baby carrier. "Are you ready?" JB yelled. "Are you pressing the button?" Button? "Um," I said in return, or something equally descriptive, and then SSSSSHHHHHHHHHZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZWSHHHHH! - the rocket took off, screaming 3200 feet into the sky and no doubt violating all kinds of Bellevue city ordinances.

"Oh man," JB said. "Wow, that was actually really cool," I said. "Did you get it?" he asked me. "Did you get video of it taking off?" Videeooooo....button.....oh. Oops.

By the way, in this sort of situation, don't bother arguing over whether or not it was clear what your directive was, and whether communications could have maybe been improved upon, because you? Have failed in your duty.

[Note that loudly singing "Rocket Man" is not appreciated in tense rocketry setup moments such as this.]


[Photos taken seconds before I was supposed to switch to video. Pretend you can see its dramatic liftoff, okay?]

We caught sight of the rocket coming back down, winging in arcs and connected to its parachute, but it was too far away to land in the field. In the surrounding area are sparse patches of woods, a couple ponds, and many residential homes, so JB's rocket could be snagged in a tree, buried in mud, or, ha ha, halfway through someone's plate glass front window. "I should have bought the GPS locator," he grumbled as we drove slowly through nearby neighborhoods and I stifled the urge to ask passersby if they had seen a rocket go by, it kind of looked like a killer bee?

The rocket has not turned up yet, but JB remains hopeful - his phone number was printed on the side, next to the fancy decals, so maybe someone will find it and give us a call. In the meantime, he's talking about getting a new one, maybe using a smaller engine so it doesn't go as high, and this time, someone better press the damn video button.


Some random pictures from our neighborhood walk:

Hornet nest, refreshingly hornet-free. I never see any insects coming out of it, but I guess I wouldn't pick it up and poke my fingers in that hole.


This turtle belongs to a neighbor a few blocks from us, he takes her out for walks and picks up her poop. When I took this picture I couldn't help making some retarded joke about how I would make sure the speed setting was on, ha ha, because she's so fast, haaaaaaaaa, and he was totally unamused. "You'd be surprised," he said mysteriously.


Duck, duck, duck, goose! Oh I mean duck. Duck.


JB and I use the hospital's method of heating up formula for Riley, which just involves submerging a filled bottle in a glass of hot water. None of this namby-pamby boiling business for us - sterilization's for wusses.

(I can't even make a formula sterilization joke [man, and who doesn't love those?] without worrying that someone's going to freak out. For the record, I believe sterilization is necessary when you're mixing powdered formula, but we use the expensive lazy ass liquid brand.)

(Now I'm a bad person for buying pre-mixed formula. Listen, I have only dumped it into my coffee once so far, and I totally realized my mistake before drinking it.)


For at least two weeks after Riley was born, we would fill a glass from the kitchen tap, waiting for minutes on end with the water turned on high until it ran hot. Two weeks, we stood there, knuckles dragging on the floor, mouth-breathing, our sloped foreheads crumpled. Occasionally we groomed each other for nits.

I don't remember which one of us (fine, it was JB) finally looked six inches to the left one day and realized that hey! We have a microwave! Which can be used for....heating stuff! Instead of wasting gallons of water and delaying the process of corking up a wailing baby, we could just stick the glass in the microwave for 30 seconds! And with that broad stroke of innovation, we've increased our formula-warming efficiency rating by at least 500 percent.

(Yes, I know that it's not okay to heat the actual formula in a microwave.)

(Also, weirdly defensive parentheticals = literary gold. What?)

My point here, in case it's not incredibly obvious, is that sleep deprivation makes you stupid. Sleep deprivation makes you mealy-mouthed and blinky and you overcompensate with caffeine and I don't care what Starbucks tells you, more than three lattes a day will eat a hole in your stomach.

Everyone says that you won't get any sleep with a new baby, but it's hard to describe what it's really been like. I did sleep, but in short stretches between feedings. JB took care of Riley last thing at night and first thing in the morning, so it was never too bad, but the wee-hour shift was pretty sucky - just about the time I'd finally relax, stop listening to Riley snortling and sighing, and fall into a deep, restorative state, I'd be jolted upright by cries of hunger. The house would be pitch black and lonely, and the kitchen light would be too bright, and after feeding him and burping him and getting him to go back down, I'd lie in bed for maybe another two hours, fairly wide awake in anticipation of the next cry, before going through a repeat performance at 4 AM.

As the weeks have gone by, Riley has slept longer and longer between night feedings, and I am going to whisper this very very quietly so as to not disturb the gods of karma: in the last week, he's slept for at least seven hours at a time. He goes to bed around 11 or so, and wakes up around 6 or 7. He eats, issues a loud, wet belch, and crashes again until late morning.

My elation over this turn of events deserves to be published in all caps or at the very least surrounded by multiple exclamation points, but in the interest of pursuing austere Quaker-esque journaling simplicity I'll limit it to this: yay.

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