Nearly a quarter of all my DVDs start with the letter B.  That seems like an inordinately large amount.  88 movies, 20 start with one letter.  Hmmm……

These are the things you notice when you wait for your stupid kid to come.  I swear, he’s just toying with us.  The OB says we are as far along as we could possibly be without being in active labor, yet we’re just waiting around, [major] contractionless.  As of yesterday, she was positive this baby would be here in ’08.  Well, we’re down to 34 hours for that to happen…

False Alarm III: Clonetractions

So we were first told if we saw an excess of fluid that wasn’t normal, we need to go to the hospital to make sure the bag of waters didn’t break.  We went, it didn’t.

We were told if our contractions went to every five minutes, we needed to make sure that active labor hadn’t started.  They were every five minutes for several hours.  Turns out they were the WRONG contractions.

I swear, until I see an arm dangling out of her, we’re not going back.

False Alarm II: Revenge of Crappy Doctors

Before I even start this, I want to go on record as saying I LOVE our OB: Dr. Paul.  She is incredible and I will be sad if we ever have another child (we will be with another insurance and no longer able to use her.)  So this is not about her.  She kicks patoot.

Last night at around 8pm, Ash tells me she’s having an unusual amount of blood in her urine.  Unusual = any, really.  She was told to expect some spotting after our OB appointment on Tuesday where she was poked and prodded, but late Thursday seemed unlikely.  We wanted to speak to our OB before rushing off to the hospital again.

We call and get the answering service, who says Dr. Paul is out today, and they will page a different doctor.  We waited at least 40 minutes for a call back.  Finally, Ash calls back and they said “We’ve called you every five minutes.  Your phone must be off.”  We check it, it’s fine.  We even got an outside call during that time.  We wait another half hour, nothing.  We call, and they are still insisting that they have called every fifteen minutes and are not getting any response from us (BS!)  Finally, Ash is pretty angry and gets a supervisor on the phone – remember, lots of this pregnancy stuff is ‘time sensitive’, so we don’t know if we’re missing crucial windows of opportunity we need (and we’re 30 mins from the hospital and because of all the snow the roads are NOT good.)

The supervisor SWEARS we will get a call within 15 minutes.  25 minutes later (about two hours after our first call) we get a call from the other doctor.  Before Ashley even goes into it, he says “Oh, we’re not handling any OB calls.  Sorry.”  So Ash breaks down (I would have broken necks if I were on the phone) and hangs up.  She calls the original number back and really sorta cries through letting them have it.  They say they will get Dr. Paul on the phone.  Five minutes later, Paul’s OFFICE called (not her) saying they realize the mix-up and are very sorry and will get Dr. Paul on the phone.

Finally, a few minutes later, Dr. Paul calls us.  The short is that it’s likely the famed ‘bloody show’, one of the final puzzle pieces before active labor starts.  She also was PISSED at her agency and at the other doctor for the screwup, as she said she could have taken two minutes two hours ago to get us our answer.  She rocks.

So we still know NOTHING, but we seem to think we’re approaching nothing an awful lot faster than we ever expected.  We’ll see.

False Alarm

At around 6:30, Ash pointed out that she’s had above-average discharge every time she went to the bathroom.  Since THREE PM.  As you can imagine, that’s something I wanted to address.  She was waiting for a “GUSH” of the water breaking.  Well, what she forgot was that it can be a trickle over a period of time.  So we called the OB, and she told us to head on over to the hospital.  So with bags packed, we pretty much skipped dinner and headed out after a few choice expletives.

Realize that if it was full out labor, we would have had to start inducing.  At 7.  (We got to the hospital at around 7:30)  After about an hour, we got the tests done that we needed.  There is no evidence of a break, but our OB wanted us to do another ultrasound.  So another half hour goes and we do a sonogram.  Smacky is quite healthy and, like all times that he’s poked and prodded, wiggling like a mofo.  We got a few new grainy pictures of him sucking his thumb.  Hopefully we get them scanned tomorrow.

The fluid level is a little low, but nothing to alarm anyone.  We got set home.  The worst part?  We still know nothing.  It could happen later tonight, it could still be a couple of weeks.  *sigh*

I guess it was good to do a trial run.

We’re not sleeping and the baby’s not even here

Last night was pretty definitively the worst night of sleep that Ash and I have ever gotten, and the baby is still in utero.  We went to bed early, around 10:30, after watching Be Kind, Rewind.  (I still love that movie despite the fact that it was advertising completely incorrectly.)  After chatting for about 45 mins, we try to sleep, and neither of us can.  Ash finally gets up to try to walk off some of the energy.  I drift off, but twice within a few minutes I have these weird visions of Ash looking at me as I sleep and then sorta being pulled away and everything going blurry.  The second time I woke with a start, just as I hear her run to the bathroom and throw up.  Alot.  I thought that was over!!!

Finally, she comes back to bed and we try to go to sleep again.  I wake up a few times in the night startled (which I NEVER do) and keep looking over there to make sure she’s okay.  And of course every time I jump, she wakes up (if she was even asleep.)

Then at some point, I wake up with this EXTREME sharp pain in my chest.  I roll over to my stomach and try to go to sleep while assuring Ash I don’t need her to call 911.  She uneasily goes back to sleep, but later confides that she was rolling over every once in a while to make sure I was still breathing.

I did manage to sleep for a while, but Ash said I was fidgety and looked like I was having nightmares (which I was.)  When Ash got up this morning, her hands were super sore, my stomach hurt, and my chest still feels a little off.  Not pain, but off.

Then I go out in the snowy ground to change the Jetta’s battery.

I imagine this is excellent training for having a baby.

Last Chance for the Baby-Naming Contest!

So this is your last chance to try to win a NIFTY PRIZE in our baby-naming contest.  All you have to do is submit a name for our as-of-now-unnamed baby.  NOTE: This does NOT mean the contest is based on who is “closest” to the chosen name.  Hogwash.  We ourselves don’t know what the judging criteria will be.  We’re just going to pick a name we like.  So use just first names, or first and middle.  Heck, make up a last name if you want and use three names (or more!)  Boys or girls’ names.  Silly, serious, meaningful, historical, stupid… whatever your little hearts desire.  I have all the entries logged down and we’re going to pick at the end of December based on whatever we happen to be feeling the day we pick one.

Note, as per Ashley’s blog, it will not be at all surprising is Smacky comes out early based on our OB’s predictions.  If he is born in 2008, the contest will end when he is born and we reveal the actual name.

But get your guesses in NOW!  Even if you have submitted ten names, submit more!  Here is the link to vote: Click here to submit your guess.  Good luck!

Pogonip II

Ash has lived in the Reno area her whole life, and has said she’d never actually seen a Pogonip up close (until the one we saw last January.)  Anyway, I moved out here in November 2007, and already I’ve seen this rare phenomenon twice, including this morning.  (It will likely hang around, since it’s not supposed to get above 32 degrees for another week or so.)  Here are some pics – click to enlarge.

2008 Christmas Poem

This was originally written as a Theme-mail to Will, but I figured I’d repost here.  I was also going to re-write it and take out the Will-personalizations, but I’m lazy.  So this is your Christmas card, ladies and gentlemen!  Enjoy!

‘Twas the weeks before Christmas and all throughout Reno,

The people were eager while sipping their vino.

The stockings were hung IN the chimney in haste,

The fire turned their glittery names into paste.

The child he was tucked up all snug like a druid,

With visions of nothing but amniotic fluid;

And mamma gave her ‘kerchief to ‘kerchiefless beggars,

While uncomfortably napping because she was preggers.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen crest,

Tee hee, titter titter, I just wrote down ‘breast.’

I saw in my inbox that something was the matter,

Because from Mr. Hickey arose no such clatter –

Away to Windows Vista I saw what it was about,

That Will had a Theme-mail-less 17 month drought.

My feelings of this offense I won’t belabor,

Instead let us turn our attention to labor.

When what to my eyes should suddenly appear,

But signs that the baby is imminently near.

With cramping, fatigue and insomnia too,

And sixty-two thousand more trips to the loo;

The once-foretold date, that of January 13

Seems late, we think he’ll pop out somewhere between.

But back to the lawn, and outside there’s that ruckus,

I saw in the dim light a fat jolly tuckus,

He standing so tall so the better to view us,

I knew from his arches it must be St. Louis.

He travelled by seahorses, eighty in all,

He bellowed their names in a noisy roll-call.

“On Jethro, on Pickles, on Lemmy, on Druthers,

On Dancer, on Stripper, on Naked Schlong Brothers,

On Poophouse, on Cancer, on Uecker, on Strimed,

It’s such a convenience that all their names rhymed;

On Lars and on Sheeppeeler, Buttcheecks, Credenza,

On Beeflick on Sodhump on Mild Influenza,

On Jefferson Airplane, En Garde, on Ikea,

On Horshack, on Beebop, you get the idea…

To the top of the houses, to the top of the wall,

Now move however seahorses move, move that way all!”

As five million fidgety flounders set baking

And the gesticulations that they would be making,

So flolloped the seahorses with all of their might,

And somehow defied physics and took off in flight.

When all of the sudden, up there on the shingles,

I heard, like a shatter of ten cans of Pringles,

The cracking of bones of St. Louis’ seahorses,

As the fat man had landed on his flight resources.

I drew back my hand and drew forth my derringer,

In case it was a thief or, worse yet, Tom Berringer.

But to my surprise plopped St. Louiston himself,

With traces of whisky I smelled – top shelf.

Half man, half myth, half arch, half fraction,

I near soiled myself as I leapt into action.

I gave him my list which was admittedly sparse:

A healthy new child, please no pre-labor farce.

And also some CDs as money is tight,

While Ashley is having to put up a fight

Against her school district about keeping her job,

She’s dealing with her principal, who is a nob.

Her district enacted a hiring freeze,

So after her [possibly shortened] maternity leave,

Her job may be gone, the Fates they must hate her:

So much is uncertain; we’ll deal with it later.

St. Louis he jumped, duly filling the stockings,

Despite that we left him diet pills as a mocking.

He filled up my stocking, obtrusive and tacky,

And even gave booties and Quaaludes to Smacky.

But since we’ve no tree (none grow in our escarpment,

And not enough room in our new two-bedroom apartment,)

He doled out our gifts, tossing them on the ground,

Amidst all the baby stuff littered around;

It seems overwhelming, but now in summation,

You can’t have enough of helpful preparation.

Now Louis laid finger on the side of his nose,

I think as a clue that he scored me some blow.

He glanced up the chimney, and said “This is moronic,”

And, leaving the front door, disappeared like the Bubonic.

He sprang to his sleigh and surveyed all the chaos;

The sight was more chilling than twenty Scott Baios.

He shrugged as he lifted his sleigh in the air,

While pointing out westward, he said “Over there,

The snowfall is coming, the first of the year,

A White Christmas could happen!” and let out a cheer.

He took off; immediately he crashed and burned,

I had hoped after two DUI’s, his lesson had been learned.

I donned some new sweatpants and Ash donned her cap,

At least we still got all our gifts first and crap.

I whispered to Ash as I held her hands steady,

“There’s not much time left, you think that we’re ready?

We’ve taken the classes, we’ve read all the books,

We’ll soon see what happens when you merge both our looks.

I love you today as much as I can ever recall,

I’m about to be a father, God help us all!”

Random goins on

So Ash has been having some cramping lately, which is at the very least heart-pumping.  We’re not sure if it’s the baby dropping or Ash beginning contractions (which can last a month without being ‘weird’) or if she just should lay off the brattwurst.  It at least kicked my butt enough to pack my hospital bag.  Sure we’re almost a month off from the projected date, but Ash and I know our luck: nothing EVER happens as planned. I’m beginning my realistic expectations of labor as of Christmas Eve (which is technically only week 37)  Here’s a couple of pics of her.

You know we’re getting close when her belly almost passes the wall.

And the stockings were hung by Ash’s hands with care.

Our Christmas decorations have admittedly been pretty sparse.  We didn’t get a tree because we don’t know when Smacky will be here, whether we’ll have energy to put it up or take it down, and so forth.  We’ve each put our decorations on her folks’ tree.  However, it shouldn’t be said that we don’t have ANY sort of Christmas embellishment.  We have a ‘tree’ that puts Charlie Brown’s special on a pedestal.

Behold the festive Xmas Towel Rack

Speaking of styrofoam packing peanuts, we’re getting quite a bit of actual snow out here.  We’re in a snow warning for the remainder of the day.  Now, NV’s “warnings” aren’t quite like they are on the east coast.  We’re expected to get an additional 1-3 inches in that time.  However, we’ve already got a fair amount here (enough to keep Ash in from work) and it’s supposed to not hit above 30 degrees until this coming weekend.  So it looks like we’ll be having a White Christmas again.  I couldn’t seem to BUY those on the East Coast.  Move to a desert?  Bam, White Christmas.

Shiraz #4

Black Opal Shiraz 2007 – Like the last Shiraz I reviewed, this one is exemplary of what wine should be: liquid and alcoholic.  The comparisons do not stop there.  This is a splendid wine in all aspects: taste, smell, and a twist-cap.  Truthfully, I used to be leery about twist caps.  Actually, I still am.  However, after my last debacle with a real cork, I have found that I heartily embrace plastic corks, and will even reluctantly purchase wines with a screw-cap.  It doesn’t make them ‘ghetto’ as I once thought, it makes them ‘able to be imbibed without straining it through a paper towel first.’  That’s a major plus.

Having been on a red binge in 2008, I must say that, if this were my last wine of the year, I’d be happy to have left on such a good note.  From the first glass to the third, it was a joy throughout.  As for the proper matching, it goes exquisitely with microwaved popcorn, and (not surprisingly) it seems to partner well with an empty stomach.  Caution: not recommended for people under 80 lbs to drink on an empty stomach.  Or if you do, send me pictures.

I originally bought this wine because of the fashionable label and color scheme (something which I think may detract from my credibility), but I ended up stumbling on a gem.  It is, like most wines I purchase, a great idea for someone on a tight budget.  8/10.

June 2008

This one’s for Tater…

Our year takes us to June, where the temperatures finally started acting a little more Reno-ish (though there still was snow utop my backyard mountain).  With temperatures hitting the 90s and even touching into the 100s once or twice, Reno became, well, Reno.  I escaped some of the heat by going higher up in elevation to play some disc golf.  In fact, June was easily the most lucrative month of my life for disc golf.  Playing in poorly-attended but well-sponsored tournaments, I raked in my highest year-money total, all in one month, just throwing plastic at metal.  It included my first top-3 finish.  I unfortunately lost the playoff for the trophy which was an AMAZING trophy.  I wonder if I had known how cool the trophies were if I would have shot better or worse.

Finances were actually foremost on my mind, as I started actually tracking my spendings and making sure I could adequately provide for a child, and an eventual wife.  This became particularly pressing as Ashley stopped working because her school year was done.  What’s worse, she applied to be a lifeguard (as she did almost every summer for the last 6 years) and they said she couldn’t because she was [barely] pregnant.  That means my money was the only income we’d have for the duration of the summer, aside from some periodic house and dog-sitting she was doing.

In fact, the dogsitting was often interrupted by the beginning of a horrid first few months of pregnancy.  Among Ashley’s things she does exceptionally well is vomit.  She would rival Aaron at it.  It was an ugly couple of months, and she truly wins the trooper of the month award.  Not me, mostly because of my incessant bitching about money.

As if things weren’t dim enough, the fires in CA started.  And while that was a devestating tragedy for those in CA, it was, at best, a terrible inconvenience for us.  We were covered in a haze of ash a smoke for the better part of three months.  Late June and early July were the worst.  Nothing quite like trying to keep Ash healthy and having her breathe in bits of charred wood.