Our House, in the Middle of Our Street

Madness – Our House
Found at skreemr.org

When we came home last night we had an invite to a meeting at city hall about a change to the busy intersection near our house … on Monday. Well it will probably mean that the government will take our land (hopefully all of it, we have a large garage that would definitely go but it would drop the price of the property significantly if it were gone.)

It was a big shock to get late at night, and it’s not certain. But I guess the true measure of living a principled life is whether or not you’d make a choice in a given scenario if it you were the one affected. Ultimately, as long as the benefit is clear and lasting, I would not mind … well, I’d try hard not to. I’m not completely sold on the benefit versus cost. I like this place, it’s my home, and it’ll really upset my worldview to have it taken away. For a long time after we moved in I’d just look around at my property and be overwhelmed at how far I’ve come … how far my family had come in about 7 years.

Well I’ve been here for 4 years now and it’s sad if we have to leave but I guess there was a negative to having Bangerter Highway as your back-fence: UDOT may decide that fossil fuels are here to stay and drop a chunk of the state’s money (which the state does not have) on a big project that will take away enjoyable years so some asshole driving an SUV shaves 3-5 minutes off his commute.

So yeah, mixed bag of emotions.

On the other hand, assuming the government buys our property at fair market value, I’ll be able to buy a house in a buyer’s market (which I did not have the benefit of 4 years ago) without having to wait until my house is sold.

So, technically it is a win win, but I think, overall, I’d rather not move.

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The Weekend III: No Pain Something Something

I have to apologize from breaking from my Weekend format: it was a brutal weekend.

My weekend started last Thursday, so my Thursday night was all about the baby, and this led to me being sleepy all day Friday. I actually did nap for about an hour or two with the baby, as well as dozing off while trying to care for the children. I was running well in the red but Shinobi, Guildilocks, and Shinobi’s father were working on some posh new floor for the living room and dining area. Since I’ve been on the receiving end of people helping me out with stuff at my house on so many occasions, the occasion called for some old fashioned karmic payback.

Wow though, that first night I was just useless mostly. I guess I helped some but at one point I was falling asleep on the bit of floor we’d already put down. As extreme fatigue set in it was hard to stand up from a sitting position and I left around 2:30 am, we’d made it half-way through the living room. That’s the lesson here: wide planks go down fast – and skinny planks go down slow. Technically they go down at the same speed, but you have to do more when they are skinny. The laminate used in this install is a nice thick laminate with the foam sub-floor on the bottom of the board already.

Well, home and talking with Sukie (she talked to me on the drive home and I’d worked myself up a bit so I wouldn’t fall asleep on the drive home – but it was a pretty scary prospect of falling asleep so I was ready to just get a power-nap in the car) and I was asleep around 3:30 or so (? though I remember feeding the baby so maybe It was like 4:30), and slept til about 9:30 or 10am on Saturday. I was freaking out that the floor just wouldn’t get done and Sukie drove me over there (her dad had come over to watch the baby) and it was a very long day but I was better rested and able to work on the floor a lot more. We finished up the living room (more or less), traveled to home depot to check on quarter-inch round (to cover the gap between the floor and the wall), we had to go through the landing area. Word to the wise, kids; when you have to cut EVERY piece of flooring just to put it down, it is a painful process. We had to recut one peice four times, then, when we were knocking it in to place, I noticed some chipping on the top part of the laminate, so we had to cut a whole new piece. That piece alone was probably like an hour of the day. Well, the good news is the quarter-round worked, so we bought that, made it through the landing, and split up and cut molding and worked on the floor at the same time. That was probably a really good idea, the molding when fast and we didn’t have to re-cut many pieces at all. Did I mention the weather was really nice that day? Sunny, but with a nice chill to the air that made working that day go much nicer than it would have if we had typical July weather.

With a floor you get all kinds of nice areas that you don’t normally think about – strange corners and transitions and stair pieces: you don’t notice it til you have to figure out a way to make it look pretty. Well, we did a great job, with some of the finest work I’ve turned in on a home improvement project. I finally went home at 4:00am. I was dead tired, and it was 99.9% complete.

On Sunday we went and bought a lot of fireworks. It is the first time I’ve let Sukie buy as many as she wants. I partially blame the fatigue. We also marvelled at the bulk foods section at WinCo.

We went to my sister’s house for a BBQ – my niece has turned 1 year old.

We went home and fed the baby, and then headed over to Guildy and Shinobi’s – we debated on bringing our fireworks but it is a good thing we did because their other friend did not bring his fireworks and that would have completely ruined the Fourth of July.

So the next day I was completely determined to do absolutely nothing and enjoy my last day of the weekend that had 4 days, but Amy’s friend came over to work on Amy’s dad’s car, so I helped out with that and it burned up a large chunk of the day.

A lot of long hours this weekend, but that’s just how it goes sometimes.

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The Weekend II

Highlights from this weekend:
– Oral Surgery went well, Wisdom teeth gone, no crazy bleeding / zombie like-ness. I still have moments of poor coordination but I think that’s mostly because I haven’t eaten really good solid food in a while now.
– Jamba Juice is still good when you eat it with a spoon.
– Peanut Butter and Banana shakes from Arctic Circle are awesome. So awesome, that when I picked up the cup to empty it I spilled a lot on my shirt.
– BBQ: cleaned up Sukie’s Grill. It’s a lot fancier than my grill, being both Stainless Steel and Propane.
– BBQ: picked up a Coal ‘Caddy’ which I swear you could just use a garbage can for this. It’s just a plastic bin for your coals. However, after 6 years of grilling I can tell you that I think coals go stale when exposed to air. And it’ll be cool to have a place to put my coals.
– BBQ: Now that we have two grills, it heightens the need for an outdoor eating / lounging area. Time to start planning and sketching.
– Leftover from last week: A highlight I forgot to mention, Striker’s proposal of ‘Mega-Yard’ should he rent the house next door. It was hilarious.
– PS3: Finished Modern Warfare 2. The ending was insane. I actually finished it on Thursday but played many levels over again during the weekend looking for Enemy Intel items scattered throughout the game. Strange though, but I don’t know if you actually get any kind of bonus stuff for collecting them, and after finishing the game, it is also strange there’s no cutscene replay option. It’s actually pretty disappointing. Now that the two heads of that studio have been fired, I can’t imagine you can expect much from the series.
– Sleeping: slept from about 7am til 1pm on Sunday. I have no idea what happened but they tell me it’s exhaustion. But I did get up with Pepper from like 3:30am til 7:00am.

It’s strange when nobody comes over all weekend and your parents are out of town. It was like I was on an island.

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Marvel vs Capcom 3

Ok, so I’m not sure I like the style. I guess maybe after Street Fighter IV they dropped the disproportionate bodies, but I don’t like the toned down less muscular look of the fighters. I like the attempt at a better-than-cel-shading style, but the lighting is off, it looks like there’s somebody on your side of the screen, shining a flashlight on the fighters. I like the ultra-combos though, especially Chris’ at the end, but I guess when I hear ‘Marvel versus Capcom’ I expect my eye balls to melt and for seizures to begin.

Oh, I also got a new 24″ monitor. I just haven’t got a really good PC to match it, lol.

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The Weekend I

So I am going to try to start a fairly regular update weekly about how the weekend goes. I’ll list my favorite moments and things that went down, but without resorting to getting too in to the writing about it, unless I feel like it.

This weekend:
– Got really sleepy
– Helped Shinobi get a bedframe. Learned the importance of having a crescent wrench handy.
– Sugarhouse area has awesome old homes
– Old homes door handles defeat tech-types (me, in specific)
– Exhaustion probably looks like inebriation, sorry friends.
– GRILL’D: Couldn’t find pre-mixed grilling powder. Mixed up abt 3 tbs in a desert dish and spread on burgers with teaspoon, not all of them evenly done, but pretty pleased with grilling, entire grill was abt same temperature thanks to combo of lump hardwood and competition briquettes. You know, if those are briquettes … where’s the briques … I should be grilling with briques.
– After grilling, took a shower but was still exhausted. Entire cadre of friends present (at the house, not in the shower), but wife cracked the whip and told me to take a power nap. I woke up as the last group was leaving.
– I received Super Street Fighter IV as a Father’s Day present. Aww. Since Marvel vs. Capcom 3 isn’t out for a long time, I’ve been jonesing for some classic SF action. Of course, it didn’t take me long to remember that I’m not good at these games – Akuma vs. Ryu will go down as one of the most difficult battles I’ve faced in a long time.
– SFIV ultra-combos are sweet. Akuma sends Ryu to hell.
– Over a decade after it’s release, I’m still pushing to finish Final Fantasy Tactics. I am researching power-leveling techniques, specifically to build up stats on my characters. I should probably just try to beat the game …
– Me: (watching Hell’s Kitchen) “It’s like I’m always saying, haste makes waste!” Boy: “I’ve never heard you say that.”
– The boy built a large platform affixed to his Lego base, reminds me of a deck, which means I like it.
– GRILL’D: Boneless ribs – to perfection, built a ‘hot alley’ in the coals for potatoes, and put them down there, did not rotate at all, and they were magnificent, put asparagus over that region, finished strong. In the hot half of the grill I did some fat ribs and they turned out great.
– TV: Wipeout is back. Hell’s yes, but nothing too funny last night.

Well, that’s what I can think of for now.

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The Arrival of Pepper

As you might know if you’ve been following facebook or Twitter, my wife’s water broke about a week and a half ago, and we’ve been in the hospital almost a week. Well, she has been, but I have only been away from her for a few hours out of the last week or so.

We’ve had a completely different experience from the last time we had a child, about 11 years ago. Then it felt like we were being cranked out of a machine, we went in pregnant and the rest is foggy, but we were out in 3 days with a baby who was so tiny.

Well, so we got here on Thursday night because of a change in my wife’s condition that prompted her to seek advice from her midwife and then they said that she should go in to the hospital. The hospital monitored her condition and Pepper’s condition, and everything was going great, except that usually when your water is broken you are in labor. We weren’t, but since we have so much time to go, it wasn’t a big deal. However, Sukie had to be on bed-rest and wouldn’t be leaving the hospital until after the baby was born. So, yeah, we got admitted to the hospital and on Friday morning we were cleared to move ‘upstairs’ which actually feels a lot less tense than ‘downstairs’ where people have babies. So we settled in, I went home and got some clothes and things after having a list dictated to me by Sukie.

So we spent the next couple of days having people visit, I’d go home about once a day to take care of business and clean up, all the while feeling horrible because Sukie can’t go anywhere. My sleeping schedule got all whacked out as well, I kept waking up around 2:30 am or so and staying up until 5 or 6:00 am and then sleeping until 10:00 am or so. So it was on Monday morning, but on Tuesday morning I was being woken up by Sukie telling me her contractions were getting regular.

I sat down in the rocking chair beside her and looked over at the couch / bed and asked if I could go back to sleep, but my brain already knew that wasn’t going to happen. So we were watching TV (Sukie had already let a nurse know of her regular contractions) and we watched an episode of Robot Chicken before there were a bunch of people swarming around Sukie and checking the situation out. We got moved back downstairs to what I’m pretty sure is the first room we were in when we got there, we talked to a doctor from the NICU, one from delivery, they called the mid-wives and it was on like Donkey Kong.

As for the contractions, they were getting more intense. I tried to help Sukie relax through them as much as possible, but you try telling someone who is going through pain that they need to relax, and you be careful as you get the death stare. I pretty much knew it would be like that going in, that Sukie would not always like my ‘Wudan-isms’ and I tried to keep it to a minimum. She let me know that she did like that I was telling her how far along the contraction has gone (pain destroys all accounting of time) and that she was almost out of it.

She was feeling them pretty bad and feeling the pressure to push. She had them check her and she was dilated at 8 cm which, if you don’t know, is just about showtime for delivering babies. Well, she decided she wanted an epidural so the anesthesiologist came in and did his thing. Anesthesiologists always seem like they are rock-stars. Some things never change. So we had a pretty late epidural. It really took the edge of the contractions but there were only 3 or 4 until we were in the delivery room, which was actually an O.R. since there’s a window for passing the baby through to the NICU.

It seemed like that O.R. in particular was just crammed with stuff, and we sort of just parked the bed in there and delivered a baby on the bed. I did let the midwife know that I wasn’t going to cut the cord before the baby came out, which I didn’t do for my son.

So, remember how late we had the epidural? Yeah, takes the edge off the contractions, but Sukie really felt the delivery. It was painful but she stuck with it. They offered to get the anesthesiologist back in but we all knew that by the time any more pain meds were introduced we’d have a baby. So she pushed through it like a rock-star.

Pepper was put on Sukie’s stomach and she cried right away and we saw her for a second before she was passed off to the NICU. We wouldn’t know for about 40 minutes or so how Pepper was, but as I told Sukie, the midwife, and the nurse, “In my completely uneducated opinion she seemed really awesome” which the nurse and the midwife conceded was a pretty good estimate. The image of baby Pepper on Sukie’s stomach, crying, to let us know she was golden will forever be emblazoned in my memory, just as well as I remember seeing my son for the first time, before he was passed through a magic window to the NICU.

Unlike my son, she is staying in the NICU, but she was breathing ‘room air’ right away, and she has an IV and tons of monitors, and will need to be able to keep her body temp up and eat before we can take her home, but waiting is the easy part. It is only a matter of time until baby Pepper comes to live at home with the rest of the family.

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Return of the Parents

So Sukie and I went to a Lamaze class last night. It was an interesting experience, to take a class on having a baby when we’d already done it before. But that was last century, and we have a plan this time … to have a plan is our plan. We plan on it going well.

I was the only guy there that had already had a kid, and I was probably one of the youngest guys there. It was strange to hear how excited they are to feel their babies kicking away in utero while that hasn’t been my experience. It is awesome, mind you, but I’ve spent time with my son playing Modern Warfare 2 and Batman: Arkham Asylum. I’m still excited for a new member of the family, don’t get me wrong, but I think the entire experience of planning to have a child and the execution of said plan won’t mean the same to me as it does to other guys who are following a more traditional path. Pfffft, lightweights.

But the whole description of labor and the daunting task of being the chief supporter has me remembering what a traumatic experience it was last time, and how ill prepared I was for it. I feel like I have matured by leaps and bounds since, but I still have kept away for an entire decade. Well, I’m back, and I’m much more comfortable with myself now.

I digress, you’ve probably heard enough.

I was trying to blog daily, but the weekend came, and that was busy, and I changed my schedule, so that was busy. You know what happens when you go to work early and everyone is used to you working later? You end up working really really long days. But the bonus is that I get to see my family for more time at night.

Tonight we made the rounds with our delicious cheesecake and strawberries. A good time was had by all.

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Some Sunny Day

So tonight I bought a new jacket at Old Navy. Old Navy was, about 10 years ago, where I would have bought everything. It is affordable, though not as high of quality as GAP, and I like affordable. The styles are upbeat, though too much of their stock says their name on it, which is fine, to a degree, but about 10 years ago you could tell that EVERYONE shopped at Old Navy. 10 years have passed and I think everyone would rather not advertise that they shop at GAP’s younger bargain brother.

I used to really like the styles, then I bought stuff at Target, and now I feel orphaned by Target as their style isn’t meeting mind like it used to. Where do people buy their clothes these days? I think I prefer GAP jeans over Old Navy, the last pair of GAP jeans I had literally fell to pieces but still was much more comfortable than any of my Old Navy jeans – but I’m not about to shell out for GAP jeans when I need jeans. Last pair I got was on sale and I think it was still more expensive than Old Navy jeans.

The blog title comes from the Lynyrd Skynyrd song ‘Simple Man’ that makes me think of the advice my mother has given me over the years. I think that I have strived for achievable goals in my life, I try to be fair in my dealings with my fellow man; at the same time I embrace the fact that this is not always possible.

There’s a way of dealing with things in life, economics and politics, that is certainly more correct than how it is being done by the two ruling political parties in America – a simple and straight-forwardness that maybe has never been practiced but perhaps we should step back from the age of confrontation and find a simpler way forward. Basically, like Ozzie Osborn said in Crazy Train: The media sells it and you live the role. How many of your opinions did you gain through careful thought and meditation upon the subject?

I’m not perfect, I get caught up; I rant, I get angry. That’s why it’s called ‘Crazy Train’, damnit: it’s out of control and it feels like there’s no way to steer the damn thing.

Maybe some sunny day we’ll find the way ahead that doesn’t rely on manipulation of the facts.

Maybe we’ll have a damn rad country again.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and remember, you are a wonderful person. Til next time!

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Under the Fair Weather

There’s a strange rash of kid-sickness that has ripped through our tiny community following a recent visit from my eldest brother and his rather sizeable family. My sister’s got strep, her daughter has Scarlet Fever (hope her family makes it to Oregon).

The boy has relapsed in to sore throatness for a second bout and this has canceled our weekend BBQ plans to have many friends over and enjoy the beautiful weather. After several days of snow the air is super clear and I am loving it. But, it wasn’t meant to be 🙁

My last post was too far down a dark corridor for the boy, who promptly felt bad for the ants. The point of it was that I feel bad for the ants to, after recently deciding to become a pacifist, if one can call themselves that after decimating an entire population.

So I’m ready to turn in, buckle up for the weekend, and maybe I’ll even get a working computer put together out of the mess in the basement.

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Post Apocalypse Ant

Recently at the manor we had an infestation of ants.

Because we can’t have invaders in the house, running about on their own business, we decided that intervention was necessary. They were just out of control.

So we used some kind of liquid that you put on a piece of cardboard that was actually like water in it’s clarity and consistency. They went apeshit for it, unaware that their feast (so close to their home, too) was actually going to be their doom. They partied, and they enjoyed it, and it was going to murder all of them.

Because I am, among many things, empathetic, I wished that I could have somehow conveyed to them that their place in this universe was not my home, but when you confront a force that is determined to impose, annihilation is the inevitable outcome. Anyone wishing to make themselves a nuisance at my abode would do well to note this.

So they frolicked, they rejoiced in their great find, an abundant source of food, but like one who buys cheap food from a street vendor, the joy was shortlived. I imagined the poor denizens of the ant-world in the unlooked-upon spaces of my home, bodies being torn apart by the great works of mankind’s chemical weapons; a poor disastrous fate. And all they wanted was to enjoy an abundant food source.

They were completely wiped out. Gone. It was like the Mayans, sucked in to the earth by whatever god was angry the week they were wiped clean from the earth.

Only, they were not wiped out.

Like survivors of an apocalypse, the ants who remain are in some sort of half-life, shocked to exist, half in denial, they seem to stumble forth in search of … who knows what survivors search for? Is it death that they seek? Do I have the heart to terminate one, I have already killed so many. So many of their corpses must litter their living space as it is, heaped high, these freshly spawned ants must live in a macabre twisted dungeon – so many of their aunts and uncles must haunt them, their rotten smirks offering a mock-comfort.

I pause, and I consider the survivor of the apocalypse that was my design and wrought by my hands, and I have no choice but to continue down my chosen path. I have empathy for the survivor; in this hell which I have brought down upon him, death is mercy.

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