Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I now work on the third floor of a building and the main office is on the second floor. There are several split levels as well. I am up and down stairs all day and I pace while I teach. Since our return from Wisconsin at the end of July – through all of the housework, remnants of moving and unpacking, my new third floor office, and a little dieting – I have now lost sixteen pounds off of my summer peak weight. My goal is to drop another fourteen. You can see it mostly in my face and hands at this point, but hopefully soon I’ll need to go shopping for some new pants.

Elliot is strongly responding to my voice now. We had quite the interaction last night. I asked him all sorts of questions about infinite space and eternal time. He responded through a series of punching motions, akin to Morse code, thwapped out on my wife's subcutaneous sounding surfaces (diaphragm, kidneys,interior rib surfaces, etc.). According to Elliot, the abbreviated version of existential absolutes can be aptly phrased as, "I like Jazz and Bop, but especially the cool sounds of 1956 Myles Davis and the Dave Brubeck Quartet." Apparently an eleven piece horn section can hit every dimension leaving your strings free for the strictly theoretical riffs a la Gillespie's paradox live at Lincoln Center. That's some Tao Pow and how!!!


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Last Friday these guys came over …

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

They brought tools and torches and beeswax (Oh My!)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I guess they really felt for us, because they worked for two hours

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And then they went as quickly as they had come…
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And I’m all broken up about it …

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Jes and I are on opposite schedules today. When she came to bed I woke up. I have a cold and am trying to push fluids to accelerate the course of it. I just don’t have time to be sick with all the grading and prep work on my plate. It is true that teachers only work nine months a year, but they work fifteen hour days and straight through the weekends. I have been pushing myself too hard, getting up at three and going to school at five a.m., which is why I am now sick. Schools are also Petri dishes. It’s going to be a challenge to balance doing everything I want to do at the house with everything that I have to do at school…and then, in six weeks or so, we add a baby.

This is Jes’s birthday weekend (Sunday) so we are going to her Illinois family’s to celebrate this afternoon. We aren’t doing a big friends party, what with the baby shower coming so soon, though in general she likes to keep things low key. Despite that “no fuss” preference, she’s getting flowers and Belgian waffles from scratch when she wakes up.

Jes shares the birthday with her nephew Brad and I imagine that will be the dominant note later today. He has asked for cash to help him save for a car (turning fourteen I think). I did that when I was his age. My father and I bought a VW from his friend Verly and we spent a year or so fixing it up on the weekends. We upgraded it from a six volt to a twelve volt system and changed out the 1300 for a 1600 engine. We had to build a bumper out of wood to make it street legal, it was a dune buggy.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Brad has a car in mind that he and his father can work on. It’s a good plan.

Wow, to use on of my father’s expressions, I really feel like whale manure. I guess I’ll sign off and go make some hot tea (yes, that's me in the picture - 1989).


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My feet hurt. I’ve lost seven pounds. I’m going to bed at nine. I must be working again.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

If this is true....

My blog is worth $9,032.64.
How much is your blog worth?

Can I sell it?


Sunday, August 12, 2007



I am out of the habit when it comes to blogging. Life has sped up for me to such a degree that it is difficult to find time and even more difficult to pick a topic. I told my coworkers the other day that in the past year I’ve gotten married, am starting my second new job, bought a house, and am expecting a baby. We are only missing one of life’s major stressors on that list – knock on wood – I just hope it’s not me.

You most want to know about the baby. We have ordered the crib and the infant car seat and are registering for the older kid car seat. Unpacking has gone well enough that we have finally found floor in the nursery and are thus able to begin set up. With an October 16th due date, we are in the home stretch for parenthood. Elliot has been quite interactive and responds to my voice and to music. His favorite song at the moment is “I’m Gonna Dig Myself a Hole” by Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup off the Atomic Platters box set. It’s a jumping song and he has the rhythm down.

He responds very actively to music he likes. I want him to like Jazz more than he does, but I’ll settle for the Blues. It goes against the conventional Rock & Roll wisdom on these things, which would presume him to be too young for the blues, but as he is yet to be in his first pair of shoes I think we may have a loophole. He is doing fine and all signs point to a healthy baby and birth. Again, knock on wood.

St. Louis is in the middle of a heat wave right now and so we’ve tried to minimize our time outside. Jes gets tired very easily. I’ve bought a sprinkler and have been doing a little gardening in the morning or early evening. We only have one contiguous neighbor and he has erected a rather large fence. He told me they planned to build it when I first moved in and insists it’s not an anti-neighborly gesture. Good fences make good neighbors is my sentiment, though one of his posts is on my property sans request. As he did the work without a permit, I am guessing that an easement won’t be forthcoming. Ah well, tis the city indeed. In the bargain I’ve gained a nice fence that I didn’t have to pay for.

We’ve been spending a fair amount of money on getting all the systems working. We bought a half price AC unit from Lowe’s to cool the upstairs, as the central air unit hasn’t been able to keep up with the triple digit temperatures. My folks are in town for roughly a week for a Papua New Guinea Mission Society Meeting and to spend time with family. They are sleeping under the new AC and it seems to be working fine. It’s not a great time to be social with me as I am lost in the land of class planning. Over the next few weeks there is going to be no break in that action.

We have a guy coming Friday to recover the pool table and I found an amazing deal on Amazon for a package set of billiards accessories that should be here just in time for next weekend.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

It has everything we’ll need from the table cover to a bridge (pool balls and four two piece cues). The lounge is coming along nicely – we want it to be ready when Elliot is born since we won’t be leaving the house for at least three months.

To cement that locked in feeling, we’ve upgraded the security system to the point that the house at times feels more than a tad futuristic – ala Picard discoursing with his computer. We have a British woman embedded in our wall who announces the operation of all apertures. I can change her declarations to a simple tone, but for the time being I find her observations on transit to be amusing, “Front Door - beep beep - ”. We’ve agreed to be an advertising home for G.E. and got our upgraded equipment for free as a result.

Ah, well. I need to get back to work on my syllabi. More from the trenches at another time….


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Thoughts? (2)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Thoughts? ......

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This photo was taken at M. Schettl Freight in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.


Friday, August 03, 2007

I do wonder sometimes why I have a blog, what purpose it serves. I look at my statcounter list of readers and I know most of you, so I suppose the blog is a way of staying in touch as we see each other less and less (if I don’t know you and you’re a reader, please feel free to say hi in comments or via email). I started this blog years ago, with my friend Jenorama, to make myself write daily and to make my pointless job at the H.A.C. a little less painful. I was also trying to process a failed relationship, a series of personal losses of the death variety, and a general lack of direction in my life. I was in a navel gazing mood, and blogging is just the thing where belly lint is concerned.

Since then I have managed to depart from said pointless job and have reinvented myself in many ways – you could track the progress of those events in my archives if I hadn’t suppressed them for professional reasons. I am very blessed right now in home, family, and career, light years away from where I was. I wonder, as fatherhood looms will I fall into the trap of being a blogging daddy? Those parenting blogs are popular, but a popular blog is not my goal – too professionally risky. In a Cosmo like way, there seems to be an article in every issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education on why blogs can kill your career. Ah well, I’ve had several careers and I imagine I’ll have several more. The risk seems innocuous as long as I am topically selective.

I want to return to an earlier thread: my time at the H.A.C. I’m really not sure how to view the three years I spent in the land of the new age. D thinks I should use all of those experiences to write from, and perhaps he’s right. The story of the Buddhist nun attempting to repossess the PVC pipe meditation pyramid is just the sort of thing to land me in The New Yorker. It’s right up there with my Mrs. Claus story from when I was a Days Inn manager.

Have I piqued your interest? Which one should I write first? I’ve wanted to do a roll call so that the blog feels a little more interactive, so is it Jetty the Buddhist repo nun calling in the marker on mystic plastic or is it the racy but sad tale of the lonely custodian and Mrs. Clause? I’ve kept dinner parties in hysterics with both of these, but it’s been so long since I’ve told either of them that the details might be slipping. Perhaps I should write a meta narrative about the teller of these stories.

I am far less interesting than my pregnant wife. I would write more about her, but she has her own blog at which she never posts. She’s lost interest in being a blogger. She’s standing here saying, “I’m more interested in my baby than in my blog. I’m just not a blogger, I can’t help it.” She has now exited the room, as will I. We have a prenatal diabetes screening this morning with our doctor, strictly routine. Jes has to drink this super sugar solution exactly forty five minutes before the appointment so that they can draw her blood at peak sugar rush. “I have not exited the room. I am just bouncing around the edges of it. It’s a big room. Lies!!! You publish lies!!!!”


Thursday, August 02, 2007

We started our Lamaze classes tonight. No, they are not just about breathing. We spent more time tonight on proper car seat purchase and installation than we did on breathing. The classes promise to be very helpful in how-to baby advice. There are six sessions over the next seven weeks and they are three hours each. The teacher is a high-risk pregnancy nurse, so we are getting lots of potential scenarios thrown at us. Our doctor required that we take these classes, and I’m glad that he did.

We have so many irons in the fire right now that I’m not sure what to write about. Unpacking is going well and it’s good to be finally done with the move that would not end. I have a lot of stuff. I moved into my wife’s existing apartment and she had a fair amount of stuff. For fun and for profit my wife makes stuff in both glass and ceramics. As long as we have been together there has been a steady stream of made stuff into the apartment. I used to junk shop for relaxation (um, used to Mr. Pool table?), but there is no room for anything. We got married and people bought us more stuff. We are stuffed. I feel bad that with so much stuff I have to buy more stuff for the house.

We borrowed David’s electric mower before we went to Wisconsin and we got home to an overgrown yard. Jes didn’t want me to buy a new mower yet. She said, “Let’s get one at an estate or garage sale.” The day after she said that I was on my lunch break from a work related in-service and I drove past a guy selling two older Snappers out of his front yard. I got a 1986 self propelled snapper, with a bag and an optional mulching deck, for a hundred bucks – with new belts and air filter. I think that was a fair price for an older rebuilt as a comparable new one would be around five hundred. David thinks it’s more machine than I need, but I like the overkill. His electric one just never made me feel like I might accidentally chop my own foot off, and I think that feeling is important to the gestalt of mowing.

We have been gardening. I have pictures of that somewhere. (By “we” I mean to include David and Mira as they have done most of the work.) We took out two barberry bushes and a mountain of weeds. We planted my two lavender bushes leftover for H’s greenhouse sale. We’ve also planted a butterfly bush, a hibiscus, a crape myrtle, and a small herb garden with sage, golden thyme, strawberries, mint, chamomile, and oregano. The mint got eaten, as did a small fern that I forgot to mention. I might have to fence that area until the herbs are established. The mint was in a pot so as to curtail its invasiveness, but that turned out to be more of a serving platter for area rabbits. I need to spend more time out there with the dog. We have a number of raised beds with steel boarders, so it’s more a matter of bringing the garden back then really starting fresh.

The pets LOVE the house. They are very happy to have all the space and Bastian loves the yard. I put a cat door into the furnace room to sequester the stink of the litter box and the cat has the door mastered. The exercise necessitated by all the stairs will be good for both of them, though it’s an eventual concern as Bastian’s hips worsen with age. He can’t jump into the back of the truck anymore and only rarely gets on the bed with us. If there are any baby jealousy issues Mira and David have offered to take the pets, but I certainly hope it doesn’t come to that. My sister Sandy gave us a cat tent for the crib to keep Ajax out. She and Steve actually put in a chicken wire door to keep their three cats away from Henry when he was first born.

My mind is full of details like that, as well as the planning of my new classes. It’s a full plate, but all the food is good. My new school is paying me early and my old school still has a check for me, so I am double on the bump this month; which is good since Jes has stopped working. We’re really in final count down mode – three months to parenthood.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Exciting news!!! We’ve had the first documented theft from the new house. I was doing some yard work this evening around the perimeter of the property and I had set a Peroini beer glass full of water on the steps into the backyard. Two thugs walked by the alley where I was working and I came back around the house to discover that one of them had stolen the glass – I’m making a presumption, but it was only them and me, and I didn’t steal it. After they passed, there was nothing on the step but the water ring from the recently sweating glass. I actually drove around the block out of curiosity and they had vanished, which means they live close!!! I think we can look forward to more theft from these two neighborly gents. My neighbor Kevin told me that two doors up, two days ago, all of another neighbor’s tools were stolen. They are putting in a new fence and security lights. We are installing a gun turret.