Baby Blues

I’ve noticed (probably ‘Ash has noticed’ is more approriate) that I’m not exactly jumping up and down about the baby yet.  I mean, I am excited, but you might not be able to tell that by looking at me.  Or listening to me.  Or having me around. She had me feel the baby kicking, and although I intellectually knew it was a baby, it felt like indigestion and I said “Cool”.  That was apparently it.

In reading my books, this is abolutely normal.  It’s even common.  But that doesn’t exactly make me feel better.  I want to just sit back and enjoy the baby but I’m too stressed about everything.  Finances primarily, but other things too – how good a father will I be if I’ve only held a kid below the age of 5 twice, and they were both in the last 3 months?  Why am I moving AGAIN (making the 7th move since 2001)?  Should I have really decided NOW to throw a birthday party, become involved with a massive Novel-On-CD project, compile the baby shower registry, plan a weddingish, and book myself another trip back east?

To top that off, my back got thrown out of wack this past weekend, my feet and chest got super sunburned, and my face problems have been acting up more this week than I can ever recall.

But mostly, it’s how the hell are we going to pay for everything?  It’s not as bad as it seems, I’m sure.  We’re better off than most young parents I have ever heard of, not to mention the countless single parents who have worse jobs than me, if they have a job at all.  And we still love each other, deeply.  More than before.  That’s pretty huge going into this.

But what bugs me out is to cope, I don’t go and play disc golf (it is 90 miles away, round trip), or go hiking (laziness I guess) or try to make new friends out here.  I play video games or read books.  Talk out retreating inwardly.

I try to assure Ash that she is kicking ass (and she really really is).  I try to assure myself this is normal, because apparently it is.  And possibly for the first time ever, I’m assuring all of you that I can whine on blogs too just like everyone else on Earth.

Final Fantasy V

So another one in the can.  This one took much longer, not in terms of playing hours, per se, but in terms of overall time.  It’s because it takes FOREVER to get interesting.  It does, mind you, but it certainly takes its time.  I think this one out of all others is either just way too hokey or didn’t translate well.  Example: there’s a pirate character you meet early on and two of the guys in the party are confused why they think the pirate is hot (it is assumed the pirate is a man).  When the pirate reveals herself finally to be a woman, everyone is shocked.  WHY!? Either you have latent homosexual tendencies or YOU ARE BEING STUPID!

Anyway, this was the closest I’ve come to total completion.  I used a 100% item walkthrough (because there are a few items that are incredibly difficult to find).  I ended up somehow getting 98% of the items, and I think there was one temple where you have 10 minutes to get out, and I think I missed a chest or two there.  It blows up and you can’t go back.  But because I had stolen a rare thing along the way, I saved assuming i had gotten everything.  Oops.

But I leveled every job to full, leveled the Chicken Knife to full, got every blue magic spell except one (I got tired of hunting it down), and killed the two ‘bonus’ bosses.

Playing these again makes me amazed at how LITTLE these games advanced each time.  I mean, from 1-6, not much progress.  They reuse storylines, plot points, character types, and I swear to God if I see any other people nobly sacrifice themselves to save the world, I will put someone’s face into a juicer.

45 hours or so down here.  Anyway, onto six.  Never really liked this one much, but maybe I’ll have a newfound appreciation, playing them in order.

D’oh!

So I snapped a beautiful photo of Lake Tahoe today when we got there, sending it in my camera phone to Mitch and Susan.  It was truly beautiful.  I tossed the phone in the pocket of my board shorts.  LESS THAN TWO MINUTES LATER, I started swimming.  In Tahoe.  For about a half hour.  Needless to say, my phone doesn’t exactly look so hot.

I might be sans phone for a month or so, as my new term won’t be coming up until October or November.  I gotta look into that.  Either way, crap!

Tahoe Mountain Sports Tournament

This may be one of the shortest tournament update I’ve ever done.  I truly enjoy this course, think it is fair, and one of the better ones I’ve played since moving west.  Aside from a hole or two (and a pin position or two) I really only have one gripe with the course – there is CRAP everywhere, especially within the 30′ putting circle.  I’m not talking about a guardian tree or two, I’m talking chest-high bushes, pine trees whose branches are 10′ around, brush… you could be literally ten feet from the basket and not have a possible shot.  Also as such, you rarely have a putt unimpeded by something; a root, a stump, rocks, full bushes…  If you have the ability to straddle putt, this becomes less of an issue.  I, unfortunately, do not have that ability.

Round 1: Sucked.  Nothing worked at all, except I was making many of my save-putts (normal, not straddle – I didn’t make one of those).  +4

Round 2: Sucked less, but scored worse.  A little more wind.  I had at least four staddle putts within the circle this round, and missed them all, so the +5 was actually considerably better, if I could straddle.

Round 3: Quite good, but mediocre score.  VERY windy.  I threw hardly any bad shots altogether.  Some bad luck.  Oh, and did I mention 4 more straddle putts?  Missed every one.  Didn’t miss a normal putt the whole weekend. +3

Overall: 1 out of cash, but it was only even within 3 strokes because the guy blew up the last round.  I shouldn’t have been anywhere near the cash line.  Next up?  That might be it for a year or more.  We’ll see.

FFV Glitches

So my copy of Final Fantasy V has one known glitch: when I go to save it, the screen just becomes blue and purple and you can’t see anything anymore.  I’ve figured out how to save without knowing where the menu is (up, X, wait for the screen to change colors, X, wait, then O and then O to get out of the save screen, and then O to continue playing.)  It doesn’t affect the game, and it doesn’t happen every time I save (I’d guess 60%).  So it’s just a nuisance.

Then yesterday another glitch started happening, much more annoying.  Because of a silly request by Corey, I made a Thief, Thief, Thief, Dancer party.  The dancer wasn’t totally useless, but still not great.  I did the thing I was trying to do, then changed the party back.  Now my Ninja, when I choose ‘attack’, frickin’ DANCES like a dancer about half the time!  I changed the party to a different configuration, and a different character started dancing!  Seriously!?!?

I just maxed out the level of the ninja last night, so hopefully if I change to another job, I won’t keep dancing.  It’s annoying, because two of the dances don’t work against undead (and of course I’m in an undead place).  Grrrrr….

Smacky Has a Gender

So a few days ago, we went to the Xray Technician (not our normal OB) for the special 5-month ultrasound.  That’s right, we’ve already passed the halfway point.  And of course, we got some delightfully vague pictures as a result.  And I present them.  First, is Smacky’s upper body.  This picture really calmed my fears: many new parents will immediately count toes and fingers in a picture.  I don’t know why.  Are they going to abort a baby with 9 fingers?  I was much more concerned with a torso.  Our baby has a torso.  Observe:

I can see he has mommy’s… ummm, arms?  Browline?  Okay, I couldn’t tell much here.  Thank heavens our technician went further.

Ladies and gentleman, my son’s scrotum

During the whole procedure, Smacky was quite active, squirming, tumbling, and even giving Ash a good swift punch to the lung.  I got to see it.  He’s quite the boxer.  We also found out that he is a little large already – the technician assumed we mixed up the date of conception, but the date he assumed would have been impossible (I was in another time zone at the time – and seriously, no ‘is he yours’ jokes – they’re never funny), so we’re just having a large baby.  Maybe that means an early birth and a sweet tax break.

And before everyone asks, yes we have a few names we like, and no I won’t tell you what they are.  However, you can still get your entries in for baby names in our BABY NAMING CONTEST.  Feel free to pick a first and middle name (hell, even a last one if you want).  Be funny, be creative, be cute, be apropos… it doesn’t necessarily need to be male.  There’s a sweet prize for the winner.  And remember, Ash and I will be judging this contest.

Anyway, Smacky’s doing just fine.  And he’s a boy.

The Honeymoonish – ummm… everything else

So, yeah, about halfway through the honeymoonish, I became acutely aware that I was being chained by my connectivity. I was thinking about when I could blog, keeping my phone on to text people who had texted me first… I thought BAH! I don’t feel like any of this. It started out accidentally – we just never got around to having internet connection on Wednesday, and that freedom was refreshing. So I turned my phone off, didn’t check my mail or anything else electronically the rest of the week (much to my fantasy baseball team’s chagrin). It was wonderful.

We are pooped, so pics will have to wait. We’ll hopefully get them up in the next day or two. But here’s a summary or what went down:

Tuesday: After playing a rather enjoyable course in Portland with Alisha and Ashley (whose nicknames of Leash and Shley were very difficult to keep straight), we got a mini-tour of the area from Alisha.  Then we met two friends from OkCupid (the dating site we met on) and had dinner together.  It was very enjoyable, and it got Alisha and I practicing our sign, as the male husband was deaf.  Back home and to sleep after hanging some curtains, which leads us into…

Wednesday: We left Alisha’s early to head up towards Seattle. Unfortunately, there would not be enough time in the day to hit Tilamook (which Ash was hoping for) or Humptulips WA (sorry Jaymar). We got to Brian and Julie’s beautiful new place in early evening, and chilled. It was nice to not drive for a while. They took us on a tour of Seattle, and we had some delicious cheeseburgers. Then it was back home where we played Boom Blox on the Wii (which has made Ashley ravenously hungry for a Wii of her own). It was a late bedtime after that because of…

Thursday: We got out early and grabbed breakfast with Brian and Julie, and said a much-too-soon goodbye to them. Off to Leavenworth. We got there after some more scenic routes and the temperature was steadily climbing up near the 100s. We walked around the very delightful Bavarian-styled town and hit almost all of the shops. In all, aside from food, we only made three purchases in Leavenworth, a testament to our self-control: a new bucket hat for me, some chocolate for Ash, and a silly old-timey photo of us. Oh, and the down payment on our rings, which are AWESOME! You should all hit Ostling and Brooks when you are in Leavenworth. We stayed at the quaint and very-wonderful Autumn Pond B&B that night, waking up on…

Friday: After a dangerously good breakfast at the hands of owner John, we got on the road for the most boring part of the trip: SW Wash, Oregon, and Idaho. This is the part of the country where turns in the road create genuine feelings of anticipation. With little of interest to see, we made a beeline for Scott. After a long day of driving, we had a quiet evening of cribbage and Grand Theft Auto, which is surprisingly fun. What’s next?

Saturday: of course. We set out early before the temperature got downright silly to hit the Ann Morrison Park Disc Golf Course. This was a splendid course that’d I’d put up among my top 10 most beautiful courses (or at least my top 3 most beautiful courses with no elevation change in them). It wasn’t the most challenging (which you wouldn’t know with my 17 pars, 2 circle 4s, and 1 birdie), but it used the land perfectly. Then off to one of the best lunches I’ve ever had at Papa Joe’s. Mmmmmmm…… Then in the biggest surprise of the week, we got to go to the air force base, check out the tower, and even use the simulators. I learned that there is a phrase you can tell a pilot, and they then eject themselves and blow up the plane – needless to say, I blew up a number of planes, including one that was just taxi-ing on the runway. 😀 Then back home for more cribbage, GTA, and shenanigans that lasted until 4am (for Scott and me at any rate). Which is technically…

Sunday: Boy, we only were in the car maybe 7 hours today, but this was easily the most tedious and bland (despite one cool road name). It could also be the 5 hours of sleep I got. Oh well. But we are now home – actually, I”m home and Ash is with her folks for the night. Tomorrow we find out the gender of Smacky.

All in all, it was exactly what we wanted and needed – a week away from the worries and stress (Ash is more than happy to point out I have developed a few gray hairs), and just seeing some beautiful sights. And being together. If the honeymoonish was any indication, I like our chances…

Honeymoonish – Day 3.5

Pix or it didn’t happen:

http://s107.photobucket.com/albums/m313/ashsparks/Derek/Honeymoonish/

There are only 12 pics there, but you’ll see a couple of side-folders (Motel Trees and Washington Park Rose Garden) with some extra pics. We’ll hopefully get more up in a few days.

Other notes: Ash is kicking major patoot at disc golf now, the internet is NOT a scary place to meet people, roses are actually quite pretty, and the pacific northwest is much hotter than I had thought it would be.

Onto Seattle!

Honeymoonish – Day 2

We are safely at Alisha’s, having made a successful stop at old co-worker Scott’s place to remind us just how hard it will be having a young child.  Yeegads.  Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself…

We started off avoiding the TREES OF MYSTERY’s hefty $13.50 price tag to WALK AROUND.  Instead, we were told about a secret path to the Pacific coast – so we walk along the 1/2 mile path that is through Amazonian wilderness – I swear, if Lewis and Clark were on that path, they’d have given up, thinking there could be no ocean within time zones of that jungle.  We were within 200′ of the ocean before we heard it, that’s how dense it was.  But it was beautiful.

We were going to make tons of stops, but we realized we had more driving than we anticipated, so we basically made the long haul into Portland.

I really feel like I should have more to say.  Perhaps it’ll look good when we post pictures (hopefully tomorrow)  Ciao.

Honeymoonish – Day 1

Apparently, the “free wireless internet connection” at the curious Trees Motel is working through dial-up. Man, it’s slow. As such, this is gonna be short. First off, read Ash’s blog – she had incalculably more patience than me: http://theheartsfood.blogspot.com/

Highlights of today: starting off the day on time; me saying “Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if we got a speeding ticket, if I asked the cop to take a picture of him giving the ticket for the blog…” only to have it seem much less funny in the actual situation (no, we didn’t ask); watching Ashley completely park three holes in disc golf, giving her her first three 2s; and a couple of choice photos which might go up in a Photobucket soon. We’ll see.

Anyway, I’m off. More tomorrow, hopefully with infinitely faster loading speeds.

Honeymoonish

So we leave tomorrow for our Honeymoonish.  No, we have not secretly gotten married.  In fact, we won’t be legally getting married August, which will be 4 months after our small weddingish ceremony.  For our honeymoonish, we are going to be driving to WA, where will we be buying wedding bands.

I say all this to bring up one point: Ash and I clearly have no clue what we’re doing.

Actually, I’ve been looking forward to a vacation for a while, and we know we won’t be able to do any traveling once Smacky is born (btw: PLENTY of time left for the baby-naming contest.  Jaymar might have an early lead so far, with some very interesting baby names).  So we’re taking off tomorrow, traveling to the coast of CA, up the coast of OR to Porland, through Seattle to a nearby town to buy the bling, and then down through Boise, wrapping it up after 8 days back home, much poorer.

We’ll be taking oodles of pictures and putting them up for people to see, I’m sure.  So stay tuned – there’s some very silly place names we are hoping to hit along the way, some friends to visit, and some B&B’s to enjoy.  Oh, and some us to love.

Baby Naming Contest!

All right, hades and lentilsoup, we’re happy to announce a BABY NAMING CONTEST.  This will run from now until December 31.  Since we haven’t determined the sex, there will be two separate contests: one for girl names and one for boys names.  (We’ll likely announce the gender beforehand, but you can still submit names until the final day for both genders.  You can just do first names, first and middle names, or all names, as it’s not absolutely sure who’s last names will be used where.

Prizes are a secret!  But submit as often as you like.  You can either post publicly, or you can use THIS FORM.  I’ll be re-announcing this periodically so nobody forgets about.  Get your entries in NOW!

“How is the mommy doing?”

My expectant father book warned me that at no point in this pregnancy will people ask me how I’m doing.  I initially laughed about that, and said “we’ll see”.  It also said that when I announce the pregnancy, many people (mostly male) will ask: “Is it yours?”  Well, as for the second thing, I probably had 40% of the men I told (generally the guys I’m not very close friends with) ask me that.  It’s kinda sad, actually.  It’s not even a funny joke.

But as for the first part, I’ve found it to be absolutely correct.  Nobody asks about me, they ask about Ash.  In mind, they’re doing it RIGHT – they SHOULD ask about the woman.  She’s got a sack of potatoes in her belly while I’m just a little nervous.  So I don’t mind it, actually.

The ironic part is it drives Ash nuts.  She keeps going out of her way when someone asks about her to also mention how I’m doing.  A silly, thoughtful girl, that’s what she is.

But I will also go on record as saying her family is constantly asking about me, my shows, my projects, my disc golf… her sister even asked if I was able to ask if I had time to finish recording demos of The Unusual Suspects for the Korean package.  They’re exceptionally sweet.

So I guess the point of this, if there is one, is you don’t need to ask me for my sake.  But Ash might kick your ass if you don’t.  😉

Nerves of Noodles

So I am at the point where I’m getting pretty nervous.  I have absolutely no experience with babies under 1 years old.  The number of times in my life I’ve held one of them in my own arms is 1, and that was done less than a month ago at a party.  I have always just assumed I’d be a good father, but I am not sure what I was basing that off of.  I know I’ll be loving, I’ll instill a good moral base, I’ll be fun (think a white Cliff Huxtable – yes, I plan on talking about pudding), and I’ll be stern if I have to be.

But nowhere in there did I ever take into account that I’d have to touch the baby.  I assumed I’d be changing him by bringing in a crane and a Hazmat team.  I might need to readjust my thinking.

Anyway, I suppose these nerves are typical, but they’re not exactly making me feel good.  On the bright side, the more I worry about the baby, the less I am thinking about finances.  So that’s a plus.

All Things Baby

So Ashley is in full-baby mode (full-mom mode?). She’s watching the TV shows about babies coming home and birthing, she’s making lists of things we need to buy, and almost every conversation we have comes back to the baby.

And gosh darn it, she is adorable the whole time she does it.

Oh yeah, does anyone have a spare $10,000 they want to give us? ‘Cause that would rule.

Also, for those who don’t know, Ashley has her own baby blog, which you can click HERE and get to, or look on the let side of this page and find for yourself.

Awesome gifts from awesome people

Jaymar, who is just happily married (CONGRATS JAY AND JEN) hooked both me and the gummy bear up. He hooked me up with a SWEET Vaughn Indians jersey (think Major League, not Mo), a hat, and a lucha libre mask. No pix of that – I’ll wait for Jon’s professional shots.

But he hooked up Smacky with some cool onesie-duds.

Nothin’ like a baby wearin’ an astronaut rockin’ a boombox. That’s STYLE.

And Jen, Ash’s sister, hooked her up with a number of things, one of which Ash is proudly displaying:

Our friends and family rock! Thank you!

Gummy Bear, pt. 2

So Ash went in for her next OB meeting, and they were trying to monitor the heartbeat.  The baby was tucked away in the darkest recesses, so they opted for another sonogram.  I think they just wanted to play with the fun picture machine….

Anyway, the baby is doing well.  Ashley is a bit dehydrated, due to the fact that she can’t even hold air down without throwing up.  🙁  But things are progressing.

Get ready to see Smacky 2.0: blurrier than before!