I have just discovered that not only am I solo-parenting for the week after I get back from this vacation, but that daycare will be closed for two of those days, the Thursday and Friday before Labor Day. (Chad gets back probably mid-day the Sunday just before Labor Day, assuming no delays.)

Yeah. See the subject line (half-day trips! Extended projects! Lots of time at the swimming pool! Comprehensively getting over missing them a lot now!), with an addition of "think of the motivation to be stunningly efficient at work!"

. . . right?
Hello, DW. I had a very busy weekend, all of it lovely, which is nice since Thursday was, oh, let's say top three in worst courtroom experiences ever.

Friday: the kids went off to Chad's parents, and we went to see the Hold Steady in a little tiny restaurant/bar in Albany. I was still really tired from the week and recovering from this cold, but I found a bar stool to perch on at the side of the room, which both kept me from having to stand and elevated me slightly so I could see somewhat. Unfortunately, this meant I had a really good view of the singer from the opening act, who cut for minor grossness )

Anyway. Chad has been a huge fan of the Hold Steady since the days of "Your Little Hoodrat Friend"; I like a few of their songs and can take or leave the rest, but I had a very good time anyway, because it's the kind of music that sounds best when played loud, live, and to an audience who knows all the words. Their lead singer has the weirdest version of rock star . . . stardom, I guess, though. I can't call it charisma, because I have seen rock star charisma, I have been to a Yes I Am-era Melissa Etheridge concert and two Bruce Springsteen concerts, okay, that is charisma, which (if you swing that way, and maybe even if you don't) obliterates the "or" in "everyone wants to do me or be me" (TM Tom and Lorenzo). What Craig Finn, the Hold Steady's vocalist, has, is neither do me or be me, but is kind of an infectious dorky joy at being there in the first place to have fun with everyone else (the last part is key). I just spent way too long looking for decent live videos of my favorite songs, without luck, so have a semi-random video of "Chips Ahoy" (the racing wagers song) from several years ago, to give you a sense of the idea. For more details, see Chad's post and the set list.

Then Saturday I had a routine endoscopy, just to make sure a decade of acid reflux hasn't caused significant damage; this was actually why we'd sent the kids off in the first place, since it involved anesthesia and someone else driving me home. The procedure was fine and I spent the afternoon asleep on the couch, just a little soreness that has passed. Even not eating after midnight or drinking after eight was perfectly tolerable when I didn't have to get up at five with a toddler, so hey, no complaints. Plus that night we got to watch the college where Chad works, Union College, win their first-ever NCAA championship in men's hockey, which was pretty great. (The NYT story does a good job of putting the game in context.)

Today I drove out to Massachusetts to have lunch with friends from high school and a selection of their kids, including an eleven-week-old that my friend was kind enough to let various of us snuggle. I do not want another baby, but there's just nothing like a tiny baby asleep on your shoulder, and that was a really lovely full-body trip down nostalgia lane. Plus I got to have a conversation with another kid who is a bit older than SteelyKid, and catch up with all the adults, and it was all very restorative, despite the drive.

And then tonight Chad and I went to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier, because he skipped it opening weekend to take SteelyKid to movie night at her school (he was much less interested than me, and SteelyKid was super-hyped to go to movie night). More on that (inevitably) in a moment.
Today I, the kids, and the babysitter (who comes on Sunday afternoons to play with SteelyKid while Chad/I get work done/nap with the Pip/go shopping/etc.) were outside blowing bubbles when a thunderstorm rolled in. SteelyKid was sad that I would not let her run around in the rain, but we did stay on our very small covered front porch for quite a while. (She consoled herself bathing her arms in the roof runoff.)

Which is how I learned that there's a point early in a summer thunderstorm where the cooler air coming down with the water is displacing all the hot air at ground level so fast that soap bubbles rocket upward. Which was pretty cool, so I thought I'd share it with you all.

The Pip, meanwhile, learned that the sound of thunder means that it's raining (okay, generally speaking), which he very proudly showed off tonight by grinning delightedly and saying "wa-wa" (which is his word for anything liquid [*]) as thunder crashed. This would have been even cuter if it had not signified that he was so very, very awake at his bedtime . . .

[*] In the same way that "dog" is any four-legged critter, including, as these pictures suggest, skeletons of mammoths.

Because there has been a sad lack of kid blogging here lately:

The Pip pulls on the handle of the front door

Hooray deadbolts.

In other news, I got my hair cut and cannot take self-portraits in the least: )

Yesterday afternoon, Chad's parents picked the kids up (both kids; their first overnight with the Pip without us there).

Last night, I stayed late at work, had a lovely dinner out, fought Quicken into admitting that my account was too reconciled, cleaned off my desk of a week's worth of mail, took all the ornaments off the tree and put them away, and then slept so soundly that my back is stiff this morning (apparently my body is no longer used to sleeping the night through and, I don't know, doesn't automatically move or something any more?).

The only bad things about this are (a) look how adorable they are! and (b) I am worried about inflicting the Pip's variable sleeping ability on people not used to it . . .

But as changes of pace go, on the whole pretty nice. Now, pack and dress and off for a whirlwind vacation.

We have a Klutz facepaint kit that SteelyKid is a big fan of, and this is the kind of thing digital cameras were made for.

She painted a green star and red butterfly on my face, and a blue dog on my arm.

two pictures )

Also, coincidentally, I have new glasses, and since I posted a picture of them last time and I was taking pictures anyway, here's the equivalent, except without also holding SteelyKid, which I realize makes it much less interesting:

one picture )

Finally, much fuzzier, pictures of SteelyKid with the paintings I did for her. Also admire her rocketship shirt (it glows in the dark!).

two pictures )

The kit is quite nice, by the way, and we recommend it.

This was going to be a multiple-things post but it has languished for about a week waiting for the other two things, so:

Thing the first: I got a haircut recently and now have this persistent strong urge to cut all my hair off. Not boot camp short, but instead of all lengths falling to my hairline/mid-jaw, I don't know, shorter: close to my head in the back, and maybe bangs again in the front? Having stared in the mirror while pulling my hair back, I'm not sure I actually have the face for this, but I might try it anyway: I'm planning to get another cut as close to my due date as possible, so if I hate it, well, it grows fast; I won't be spending a lot of time thinking about my appearance then anyway; and it would be so much easier.

(Some reference pictures: freshly-cut, from the side/back, and longer, from the front.)

Thing the second: I think the Decemberists win the award for making songs that I want to sing along with but that are inordinately difficult. Take "Calamity Song," for instance (video; lyrics (click the song title)). Bouncy, starts out pretty simply, and I even got "Andalusian tribes," in the chorus, without too much trouble (well, I don't know why, but I understood what the words were). But then the start of the second verse? "Hetty Green / Queen of supply-side bonhomie bone-drab / (You know what I mean?)"

Supply-side bonhomie bone-drab? Seriously?

BTW: those of you who like Infinite Jest need to watch that video even if you don't like the song, because it's the Eschaton scene (NYT article with more detail). (It's understandable as a video even if you don't know the book.) Chad found the section for me in the book, and I read it (well, most of it; I skipped the math footnote). So very much not my kind of thing, but I can see the appeal.

(I see it is available as an ebook, and wow, I would not want to have been in charge of that conversion.)

Emmy and I just came back from a walk; it's stopped raining but is still windy. If it were a non-tropical-storm day, I would say "hey, wow, it's really windy!", but today it suffices that it's not "yikes, get inside!" Though since we saw two downed trees in two blocks (one uprooted, one simply broken a foot or two up the trunk; no apparent damage), I was still glad to come home without incident.

Power was out for about four hours, though it's been repeatedly glitching since it came back and so I don't trust it enough to do things like laundry or turning Chad's computer back on. And speaking of Chad, he's supposed to land in Albany in half an hour; hope for a brief period of calm air for him.

(ETA: Ten minutes until his scheduled arrival and it sounds like it is now as windy as it was at any point during the day. Nice timing, weather.)

Lot of soggy basements around here, but considering that nearby there are mudslides and road closures and, yeesh, several feet of water expected in the Stockade (Schenectady's historic district), it seems that our neighborhood isn't in too bad shape.

(Also, the dog thought the swirling circular pool where a sump pump outflow met a storm drain was a vicious threat to us and tried to bite it.)

Power's out but our backup generator is working (hurray! So worth it!) and the phone lines aren't down yet so I even have Internet. The awesome neighbors helped me move every damn thing in the backyard yesterday, I have backup water and plenty to eat, the sump pump is working, and now all I have to do is watch the wind and rain outside (so far, on the bad end of a normal summer storm, but our yard already looks like a swamp and it's only going to get worse), do periodic leak checks, and stay comfy. Chad's theoretically still on his way back from his trip tonight (we'll believe it when we see it, but he has backup plans), and SteelyKid was already visiting her grandparents a couple hours west. So all is well here and I hope you all are well too, wherever you are.

PS: does anyone have suggestions for trees that are shady but not as shady as maples? We can't get anything ground-cover-ish to grow in a large chunk of our backyard because a couple of maples cast really dense shade for most of the day. I have been resisting getting rid of them because I love shade, but I think it's really time we had drainage rather than packed mud for a backyard. Would it be possible to replace them with something that is only partly shady, that would still let grass grow while keeping the yard from completely baking? We're in zone 5 if the Internet can be believed, btw.

Yesterday was better than the day before. This morning, objectively speaking, isn't any worse than yesterday. It's just been a long week, what with the cold-turkey on the pacifiers on Monday (and I'm not even the one who's taking her to the pediatrician this morning).

Then in a week and a half, it's grandparents camp! Of course in-between that we're losing a full day to a dentist's visit (most likely), but still. And I even get a weekend all by my very self at the end of that.

Besides, if I ran away to the circus, who would write all these bloody briefs?

So let me enumerate good things to keep in mind.

  1. After much staring at my calendar, I believe I do not have to write a brief this weekend. Re-read things and put them in the back of my head to think about, yes, and maybe start writing, but I don't have to stay up until all hours making sure one gets finished.
  2. I finished the first draft of the brief that was requiring me to stay up until all hours this past week, then comprehensively revised it in less time than my boss expected, and now I don't have to think about it until Monday.
  3. Chad is home and planning to take SteelyKid out for their usual weekend morning excursions.
  4. FutureSibling is, by all indications, exuberantly healthy.
  5. I went to sleep at 9:45 last night.
  6. Readercon next weekend = responsibilities and preparation, but also fun times to look forward to.
  7. SteelyKid has an appointment with a highly-recommended pediatric dentist for just after Readercon, which I am not looking forward to, but if she is having teeth problems and they are contributing to the brittleness lately, then we have done something concrete that will help.
  8. ETA: it's a rare day when there isn't some small bright spot. For instance, this morning SteelyKid told me earnestly, "You can put it (the pacifier) in the kitchen. I will not freak out." Which made me laugh and laugh (and put it in the kitchen cabinet out of sight).
  9. Or, shorter version: less work, more co-parenting, good things ahead.

Your reaction to the 4th falling on a Monday is not, "Hey, long weekend!" but, "Crap, four-day work week!"

Meanwhile, the big version of this icon is my new favorite picture of SteelyKid.

One of the ways that hormones mess with your emotional state is that you forget that hormones mess with your emotional state.

(Also, you should really go to bed before midnight, no matter how much work you have to do. Especially on nights when you reasonably expect SteelyKid to sleep poorly because she's apparently coming down with something.)

I realize this is a bold thing to assert when, at 4 o'clock this morning, I had to ask Chad to go in to SteelyKid's room because I didn't think a sobbing Mommy would improve the situation (having been up for the immediately previous two hours while she competed for "squirmiest non-sleeping toddler on the East Coast"), but what the heck, these are the kind of days when a firm resolve might actually be useful, right?

(And possibly some loud music for the shower. *queues up "Acceleration" playlist*)

Minor occasions of nice or happy would be welcome.

DSL at home: back on (new modem does not work with router; fortunately old modem does). Computer monitor: replaced.

Work password: borked comprehensively until nearly 1:00 p.m., preventing me from logging on to the computer at all (not just the network), thereby wreaking havoc on my ability to get shit done. Typing ability: subpar, in that some time ago I noted a brief deadline as "6/13" when it should have been "5/13."

Steelypips and all my other domains: temporarily down for emergency maintenance, discovered just as I was about to go to bed when a kind soul pointed out that it had apparently expired.

Here, have some pictures of SteelyKid being super-cute as she tries to show us how it's done.

Home DSL down, can't imagine it will be fixed before tomorrow. And after being hard-powered off for the weekend, my monitor refuses to turn on.

So no email for me until tomorrow sometime, and much vexation in the meantime. Grump.

once again

Mar. 3rd, 2010 11:42 pm

It is nearly midnight and I have not accomplished everything I needed to today.

I wish I didn't require sleep. And was less distractab—ooh, shiny!

Dear fellow drivers in winter weather:

Despite what you may have been told, driving in winter weather is not actually that complicated. Keep these two simple rules in mind and you will be fine:

  1. You must change speed over a much longer distance than usual.
  2. You must change direction much more slowly than usual.

(The observant will note that these themselves are simply applications of the fundamental rule, "You will have much less traction than usual.")

Everything else follows from these rules. HTH. HAND.

ETA: here's a corollary that I really thought would go without saying: do not brush snow off your car in the middle of a residential street immediately after pulling out of your driveway.

SteelyKid and Chad have been away since Thursday afternoon. They return this afternoon.

Thursday and Friday I went to work. In the evenings, I walked the dog, did Christmas shopping (all done except for one thing!), wrote a badly-overdue LotR post, and worked on Yuletide beta stuff.

This morning so far I have walked the dog, had breakfast, and spent too much time reading the Internet. Now I'm going to pick up the house, shower, get a few groceries at the store, finish at least one of my Yuletide beta reads, and then work on a badly-overdue review of The Other Lands.

And the possibly-sad thing is? That all looks pretty good to me. I think it's the two nights of actual uninterrupted sleep, making me giddy . . .

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