Monday, December 31, 2007

2008 Goals

Now that the basement remodel is nearly done, I can put the treadmill back out. I'll start running again. And what goals do I have for the new year?

- Get back up to 3 runs a week, every week
- Increase my distance again, and maybe run that 10K in April
- Continue staying fit after baby is born

Everything beyond that is going to be gravy, honestly. I have so much to learn about being a dad. That really is going to be what 2008 is all about. If I can somehow manage to not become fat and lazy in the process, I'll proclaim victory.

See you on the flipside of midnight, folks.

Hi Dad

Finding out you're going to be a parent is one way to force change in your life. For me, the most recent change is reconnecting with my father.

My parents divorced when I was 8, and things were a bit rocky from that point on. My mom did her best to raise my brother and me, but had her own problems. My dad was in his own world, which from what I understand included drugs, booze, and women. We visited him once or twice a week for a couple hours at a shot, but we never really got close.

Once I got married, I drifted even further from my dad, who had in the intervening years stabilized his life quite a bit and married again (they've been married over 20 years now). But we visited yesterday for the first time in several years, and just spent some time reconnecting.

No heavy conversation, nothing big, just catching up on life's little things.

He's going to be a grandfather soon. When I look at how big a part of my life my grandfather was, I can't deny him the chance to do that for my child.

I don't know where this will all go, but for now, it was nice to sit down and chat with my Dad.

Farewell to 2007

What happened this year? "Not much," tends to be what you say in casual conversation. But the truth is always more complicated. Here are the things I wrote about in my blog this year:

In March, I started running again after a long break.
In April, we hosted family Easter and weren't sure we wanted to have kids.
In June, I fell in love with running outside all over again.
In July, I shaved off my beard and immediately regretted it.
In August, I exercised every day and turned 34.
In September, I hit a major weight goal and went on vacation to Newport. Somewhere in there, my wife and I had a magic moment (ahem) and a tiny baby started growing inside her. Looking back at April, we obviously changed our minds.
In October, I ran a 5K.
In November, I went on vacation to ice-cold Vermont and didn't run.
In December, I told the world I was going to be a Dad, and hosted Christmas.

Friday, December 28, 2007

I bought myself a present

I bought myself a present today ... a domain name.

Yes, I finally got onboard and grabbed I would have bought it a while back but someone else had it and was hosting a rarely-updated blog on it (oddly enough, a blog they created via, which wasn't named eager feet .... ).

Anyway, on a whim I checked, and it was available again. For ten bucks, why not?

I may or may not get hosting at some point. For now, you can find this blog here at, and I'll tinker with the rest of in other non-disruptive ways.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How Brenda saved Christmas

So we made it through Christmas alive and well, with our joy mostly intact.

The plumbers finished their work on Wednesday the 19th, so we had two full days prior to our party on the 21st. Of course, I was working full days both those days, so a lot of prep work fell on poor Jessica (who did manage to snag from help from her parents on Thursday), and then on me in the evening. So, 3 very busy days in a row leading up Saturday's party.

Saturday, I dragged out the snowblower (only used once so far) to clear away parking spaces (about ten cars, in two driveways, means you need to clear some space on the lawn). It had a flat tire! Now, if you aren't snowblower-savvy, a flat tire may not sound like a huge deal. But putting air in a tubeless tire with no seal on it is kind of very difficult. I went into full-blown panic mode while Jess got the house ready. Our first guests were set to arrive at noon and the morning was disappearing fast.

I ran to the store, bought an air pump, and struggled further. Finally, I gave up on it and decided to wait until Steve and Brenda and the kids arrived (they were coming first, a good hour before anybody else) before doing more. I ran inside and started helping Jess, the whole time picturing the three of us (myself and the other two non-pregnant adults) shoveling this 18 inches of cold snow. Ugh.

Finally, they arrived, and the three of us struggled with the "put vaseline on the rim, tie a rope around the tire method" which they independently confirmed. We ended up using some A+D Ointment because we had no vaseline, and an old extension cord because we had no rope. It took us a few tries, but we finally got it going. (I say "us" and "we" but it was really "they" who got it going. I mostly watched and ran and got things. I'm really a lousy homeowner.)

Anyway, after we got it started, I saw the gleam of pure envy and realized joy in Brenda's eyes. Evidently she's some kind of snowblower addict, and with theirs broken down she hasn't been able to snowblow for a while. So, yeah, that's the story of how my sister-in-law snowblowed out parking spaces while I showered and got ready for the party. I kid you not about the extent of her snowblowing -- she would have cleared out our whole property if I had let her, I think.

In the end, we were all safe inside by the time the rest of the guests arrived (well, except for Jess's parents, who came while Brenda was still snowblowing), and I had spent enough time catching my breath to be sane.

The rest of the day was what family Christmas always is. Gifts, food, drink, games, laughter, telling stories outside by the fire (started by Brenda, after we had decided that the weather wasn't nice enough to start one), and all that. It was a beautiful wonderful time, as it always is. And we were completely exhausted when it was over.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Chain Mails

Instead of a blog, my family uses chain mails. They will mail each other a touching news story, a funny picture, or a survey, just like some of us use blogs. Of course, every single one comes with directions to forward on, and as a longtime net user such things ignite me with the burning rage of a thousand suns.

Well, maybe not that bad. But I was on the Internet before AOL was. I remember when forwarding a chain mail got your account suspended and you had to go beg a sysadmin with a beard and hobbit feet for it back.

Anyway. So rather than answer their latest chain and forward it, I'm posting about it in my blog. Here goes.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Depends on the package. Since I love ripping open paper, I love giving gifts wrapped in paper, but some gifts just don't go that route easily.

2. Real tree or Artificial?

3. When do you put up the tree?
The weekend after Thanksgiving, or one week later.

4. When do you take the tree down?
Depending on how dead it is, between Dec 26 and Jan 1.

5. Do you like egg nog?
Sort of, mainly as a delivery vehicle for spiced rum. My stomach is sensitive to dairy though, so I can't drink most egg nogs.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
I only remember one Christmas as a child, and I remember getting cars that you pulled back and which launched forward when you let them go. So I guess that will default to my favorite.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
A small one, yes. I could write a whole blog post about this singular topic, and maybe I will when I have more time.

8. Hardest person to buy for?
Probably Andy (my wife's cousin's husband, a great guy who has few vices or money-wasting hobbies, and who buys himself things he needs)

9. Easiest person to buy for?
Steve Sr. (my father-in-law, who never complains if you ask what he wants, and in fact will give you a list including something he probably needs for his work as a general contractor)

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Snail mail all the way.

11.Worst Christmas gift you ever received
Nothing stands out. Off the top of my head I remember getting clothes that didn't fit, but that's about it. There are always gifts which don't get much use, but none of them stand out as "worst."

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
Probably Christmas Vacation, with Chevy Chase. It gets me laughing and puts me in the holiday mood.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Mid-November, online. I tend to put off last-minute stocking stuffers for the final week though. I still need to buy some and probably won't until Friday.

14. Ever recycled a Christmas present?

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Nuts & Bolts, my grandmother's recipe for homemade chex mix.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Both! No blinking, though, please.

17. Favorite Christmas song?
Carol of the Bells, instrumental, or (There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays as sung by Perry Como.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
I travel when I need to but enjoy staying home.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
Not without online assistance.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
It falls in Q4, which means work is usually crazy at the same time. I wish I had more time to relax and soak in season before the actual event.
That, and parking at stores. And driving near stores.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color?

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
To have a great party at our place, and to have zero traffic snags when we have to travel. Everything else is a bonus.

26. Who is most likely to respond to this?
Nobody reads my blog, so nobody.

27. Who is least likely to respond to this?
Jessica. Even if she read this, she would not have the patience to write one herself.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Major Announcement

So, 3 weeks ago I said I had more details on the other reasons things are hectic for me right now. And then I never updated.

Sorry about that. It's been, well, like I said, crazy.

And part of the reason is that by midyear 2008, my wife and I hope to be a family of three, not just two. That's right -- we're expecting. Due date: June 18.

As a teen, I was certain that I wouldn't want to have children. I was the angry rebel, looking down my nose at breeders filling the world with more kids to use up our scant resources.

Things have changed a bit over the intervening years. And now I keep looking ahead to the future, to being able to create a new life out of the building blocks of my own and Jess's, and shaping a mind into someone who can hopefully make the world better.

The changing diapers part, well, not so excited about that.