Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Stardate 59911.34 – Third-Party Observations on Breastfeeding

This picture is of Loren's Uncle Andy and Aunt Jen who visited the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

I’m only a passive participant in Cheryl’s
breastfeeding, but I can see why a lot of women toss in the towel. Loren has been gaining an ounce a day for the past 10 days and she seems to be eating all the time. Cheryl starts one feeding, and anywhere from 30-60 minutes later Loren falls asleep and stops eating. She will then sleep for 30 minutes or so (unless Cheryl tries to put her down, in which case she only sleeps for 5-10 minutes). As soon as she wakes up she is ready to eat again. It seems like Loren has been permanently attached to Cheryl for the past several days. (Not being about to put Loren down to sleep is a relatively new development. We hope she gets over this pretty quickly.)

Needless to say, this situation is pretty stressful for Cheryl. If Cheryl is awake, she has Loren. I can sometimes get Loren to come to me for 45 minutes or so if I move around the apartment and keep her entertained, which is long enough for Cheryl to eat or shower but not long enough to get a nap.

Anyway, what I am saying is that the whole breastfeeding gig is tough. Cheryl feels completely tied down to the apartment so she is available to feed and I think she is getting a little stir-crazy. She even took Loren out today for a 20 minute walk around the neighborhood. After watching Cheryl be “on call” 24x7 I can see why some people switch to the bottle pretty quickly…just to have some peace.

We’ll keep toughing it out, however. Our goal is to continue to breastfeed at least until Cheryl goes back to work in late February, and depending on where daycare ends up being maybe even later.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Stardate 59907.8 - Plug for The Chinese Music Ensemble

The Chinese Music Ensemble is a classical Chinese orchestra that the parents of our maid of honor (and long-time childhood friend of Cheryl's) run and perform in. For the first time, they have a full concert at Carnegie Hall this coming Sunday. Tickets are only $8.

Chinese Music Ensemble Carnegie Hall Family Concert Sunday, December 4, 2005
1 p.m.
Silk, Bamboo and Chinese Music
Zankel Hall (57th Street and 7th Ave)
Tickets available at:
Carnegie Hall Box Office: 57th Street and 7th Ave.
CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800

Additional information is available here and here.

Founded in 1961 by its late Director, Mr. Tsuan-nien Chang (1917-1997), The CHINESE MUSIC ENSEMBLE OF NEW YORK has grown from a few music lovers to becoming the oldest and largest Chinese orchestra in the United States. Its present membership of almost fifty musicians plays practically every type of Chinese musical instruments.

Recognized as the only full-scale Chinese orchestra in the Americas, the Ensemble maintains its standard of excellence through a program of musical exchanges with professional musicians from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. Many of its award-winning musicians come from the Conservatory of Music of Shanghai, Beijing, Sichuan, Tienjin and Shenyang, the College of Chinese Culture of Taipei as well as several renowned orchestras in China.

The Ensemble performances range from small ensemble groups of 3-12 musicians all the way to the full orchestra using a wide range of Chinese bowed and plucked strings, wind and percussion instruments. Its repertory ranges from ancient classical to modern compositions spanning some fifteen hundred years of history, as well as folk music of various regions or ethnic groups in China.

One of the main objectives of the CHINESE MUSIC ENSEMBLE is to introduce the music of China to western audiences. Towards this end, the Ensemble has performed at Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Town Hall, Asia Society, Carnegie Hall, Newport Music Festival, and Musikfest at Bethlehem, PA. It has appeared at numerous museums, libraries, colleges and schools throughout the Eastern seaboard. The Ensemble holds its Annual Concert in the spring at the Merkin Concert Hall in New York City and the fall Community Concert in Chinatown, free to the public as part of its social commitment.

Because of the importance of preserving and promoting Chinese musical heritage, the Ensemble gives lecture-demonstrations of Chinese music to schools and colleges, and gives free music instrument lessons to schoolchildren during the summer.

The CHINESE MUSIC ENSEMBLE OF NEW YORK is a non-profit organization partially funded by the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Stardate 59906.13 - No Pictures Today

I ended up working a half day today, much to my great annoyance. Therefore I have not had time to put anything up with respect to Loren. She has increasing periods of wakefulness where she is not hungry but instead is looking around and wanting to be entertained. I'll try to post more pictures later. Although I still have about 16 hours of parental leave left, I am going to resume working tomorrow, although I will have to duck out for Loren's doctor appointment. I am going to try to work only half days or so for the remainder of the month.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Stardate 59900.42– Reflections on Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving Loren crossed state lines for the first time and we went to NJ for Thanksgiving with Cheryl’s family (specifically her mother’s family). Loren slept most of the day, so she was starting to get a little cranky as we sat in a 15-minute backup for the Lincoln Tunnel on the return trip. We probably should have just stayed overnight in NJ rather than going out just for the day, but now we know for next time. As I was walking briskly back in the 15 degree weather (that was with the wind chill) from putting the car up, I saw a guy bundled up on First Avenue with a cup, begging for change. It sounds corny, but it made me realize that as much as I complain about things, I do have a tremendous amount to be thankful for. I have a terrific wife, a healthy and happy newborn, great family and friends, a nice place to live, fun hobbies and the time to indulge in them, and great health. It just made me appreciate what I have a little more. And now here are some Thanksgiving pictures for your enjoyment.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Stardate 59894.57 – Gearing up for Thanksgiving in NJ

I didn’t post anything yesterday, so I figured I’d better get something up today. Cheryl and Loren are taking a nap right now, and I have an appointment to get my hair cut in about an hour, so now is a great time to get something written. I tend to get my hair cut before holidays so that I look good for pictures. Or at least, as good as I can get. And that means short hair. In high school I had really long hair, and looking back at some of those pictures I look awful. But it was the 80s, so what can you do?

Loren did sleep 4 solid hours last night without waking, followed by 2 hours of being hungry and awake. Cheryl did not end up going to the breastfeeding group at NYU Medical Center yesterday because it was cold and rainy here in NYC and we don’t have a rain shield for the stroller yet. I think she is getting a little stir-crazy, however, so she may end up getting out today with Loren for some errands. Regardless, we’re off to NJ for the day tomorrow for Thanksgiving, so Cheryl will be able to get out of the apartment for the day.

I have quite a little set-up in the living room right now, so that I can check e-mail and do a little work while I am holding Loren (and the cats, as you can see from the picture). At my boss’ suggestion I purchased a program called NaturallySpeaking, which allows you to do voice-recognition for dictation and controlling programs under Microsoft Windows. It is pretty good, but I do have some complaints…mostly that learning all the commands takes a little time. And I think I am faster using the keyboard and mouse for pretty much every task other than perhaps writing. But it does permit me to have my hands full and still work the computer, albeit a little slowly.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Stardate 59889.16 – General Thoughts on Fatherhood

Now that Loren is 10 days old, I thought I’d post some general thoughts on the birth of our first child and the experiences of these first 10 days. While the last week has flown by, with the lack of sleep over the first few nights those first 3 days felt like an entire week. It was Monday, I believe, when Cheryl realized Loren had been home for only 2 days…although we both swore it was much longer than that. I knew that getting my normal 7-8 hours of sleep per night was going to be impossible with a newborn at home, but what I didn’t realize was how multiple days of sleep depravation wreck havoc with things like short-term memory. Those first few days I frequently found myself going into a room with no recollection of why I went there. Once things settled into a little bit of a pattern things were better, but it wasn’t really until Sunday (yesterday) morning (9 days after the birth) that I got up from bed and actually felt rested.

I greatly overestimated my ability to continue to get some work done during the first 10 days. I was able to skim e-mail, but the exhaustion made me not amenable to doing anything more than that simple task. I just could not focus – and still find that by lunchtime I am pretty much shot for the day. Yesterday I had to go to 4 stores before I could find newborn Pampers diapers, and once I got home it was like I had worked an 8-hour day…I was just useless for the rest of the afternoon.

I also find that I cannot read anything more deep than Entertainment Weekly. The Economist has been impossible to digest. So I have watched a lot of television. There is always a Law & Order on somewhere, so I have watched a lot of SVU and CI since I don’t regularly watch those shows (less chance of seeing one that I have already seen, although I am now starting to run into that with SVU). Even movies are tough…a 45 minute attention span is about all I can muster.

So back to my discussion on work – I have a fairly important couple of items that have to be taken care of by December 1 and I am finding it really, really hard to focus on them. I urge any new father to take at least a week if not two off from work after the birth of a child. I cannot help with the feeding, but I find that I am doing most of the other chores like kitchen cleaning, cooking, diaper changing, vacuuming, running errands, and taking out the trash. Cheryl really is tied down to Loren and her frequent feedings, so she just cannot do these other chores. People who know me know that I am happy to help out, but this past week would have been completely impossible if I had tried to work a regular day in addition to helping out Cheryl (and I have the advantage of working from home). The bottom line is that I am not getting the stuff done during my time off that I thought I’d be able to slip away and accomplish. Too many other things going on, and I’m just too tired.

We’ve also been doing a lot more laundry than I anticipated. We go through at least one changing pad cover a day, sometimes more. Loren seems to love to pee right after a poop when her diaper is off and I’m in the process of getting ready to get the new one on her. And yes, I do try to fold the old one under her as to absorb the pee, but it still runs down her back onto her clothes and the changing pad cover.

We also had a lot of visitors in the hospital and at home, which has been great. Our friends have been very supportive and all agree Loren is the cutest baby in this quadrant of the galaxy (until they go visit their next friend’s baby, I’m sure). But I’ve had to really work at not being overly protective of Loren, and specifically I have to force myself to realize that we’re not the only people who can hold her and won’t break her. I think you hear so much about all the low-percentage possibilities of harm that one tends to be paranoid. At least that is how I feel – a little paranoid.

We’re to a point now where Loren is eating a lot, and hopefully gaining weight as a result of all this eating. We’ll probably weigh her tomorrow to check on her progress. But this situation means that Cheryl is constantly feeding, or trying to nap when Loren naps. She is still quite exhausted, so I continue to try and help out where ever I can.

I guess the big adjustment for me is in realizing that things just do not go smoothly. We’ve had some worries about sleeping arrangements, breastfeeding, and number of dirty diapers (Cheryl has forbidden me from discussing dirty diapers in the blog, so this is as much as I can say). We seem to have lots of questions on things like humidifiers and air purifiers. Friends and family have been very supportive and helpful, and we have a great pediatrician whom Cheryl and I both like a lot, so we’re getting the answers and learning that we don’t have to panic at every little thing that seems to be a little out of sorts.

That is probably enough rambling. Right now I’m killing time while I wait for our groceries to arrive. Then I’m going to have to try and get a little progress made on some of this work, while Cheryl and Loren are napping.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Stardate 59886.96 - Nanna and Cracker Visit

The nights are getting a little easier, and we did have a quick visit from Mom and Judy this weekend. Loren and Cheryl continue to do well, and we continue to burn through diapers. Pretty much everything is normal. I have to get a grocery order placed, and we have more company coming any minute, so this is a short post. Enjoy the pictures.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Stardate 59881.06 - Check Up Good

Loren had her check-up today, and everything looks good. She is in the 75th percentile on height, but her weight and head circumference are something like 33rd percentile. So she'll be tall, thin, and have a small head, apparently.

We saw the glimmering of a schedule begin to form last night. She was up every two hours for feedings, we then would change her diaper, and she would then sleep until the next feeding. We went to bed last night at about 8 PM and this pattern continued until we got up this morning around 7 AM. So we got pretty good sleep last night, but with an interruption every two hours. Will it continue? We'll see. In the meantime, here are some additional pictures.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Captain's Log Supplemental - No, She's a Girl

It was very nice that the team I work for at the Consulting Firm where I am employed decided to send us flowers and a stuffed bear for our first child. I do appreciate the kindness of my fellow man (and woman). And while I don't want to appear ungrateful in any way, they did make a small strategic error in their purchase. As you can see from the little red wagon, "It's a Boy!".

Well...actually...no...it's not. Loren is a girl. Not sure how they got confused with Loren Marcia as her first and middle names...not many boys with Marcia as a middle name I would think. And while the name "Loren" may appear to be a bit masculine, I'm pretty sure the e-mail I sent to my team specified that we were proud to announce "the birth of our daughter". Oh, well. It is the thought that counts, and it will make for a funny story over the years.

I have not gotten to take a picture of Loren yet from today as every time I grab the camera Cheryl is feeding, and it seems like every time Cheryl is not feeding I am changing a diaper today. But I did put her down on the floor to play a little this afternoon, and once we were done Magic decided that it was his turn.

It sounds like Cheryl is finished in the other room so I should go see if she needs anything.

Stardate 59876.05 - Better Night Last Night

Last night was a bit better. I probably got 5 hours of sleep or so, and was able to take a nap this afternoon for about 90 minutes. Cheryl, of course, got a bit less. I did sit outside in the living room for about 2 hours last night holding Loren so that Cheryl could get a couple of hours of solid sleep. Cheryl and I, as usual, have split the duties into roles. Whereas Cheryl is the cook and I clean up the kitchen, Cheryl provides food for the Baby and I tend to change most of the diapers. And I bring things to Cheryl once she has settled in to feed and cannot reach/get to things like burp cloths, water, magazines, pillows, baby blankets, and food.

We put her in a little PJ outfit this afternoon and she looks quite adorable, if I do say so myself. I'll try to take a picture later tonight once Cheryl is done feeding and get it posted. (The picture of me changing her above is actually from yesterday...we have not actually taken any pictures today.)

The big news in NY is the weather. It was 65 or so today as the high, but by 7 AM it will be 39 degrees. Almost a 30 degree drop in 12 hours is pretty significant. And I think the high the rest of the week will only be in the 40s. So when we take her for her check-up at the end of the week we'll have to bundle her up!

One thing that has been great is having the car closer. We used to keep it out on Roosevelt Island where it was cheaper, but we keep it about 5 blocks away now and it only takes 15 minutes to go get the car and get back to the building now, whereas it used to take 45-60 minutes to get it. If it is too cold for her appointment we can easily just get the car and drive there now.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Stardate 59873.28 - Post from Cheryl Sawyer

Curt is catching up on some sleep. For the first time since we’ve been home, I am simultaneously baby-free and conscious enough to sit at the computer – not sure how, since I’ve had about an hour of sleep in the past 24. We had another long night last night. Loren had her first bout of intensive crying, likely due to the feeding difficulties we were having from my instant boob job (i.e. engorgement) yesterday. Today she and I went back down to NYU Med for the breastfeeding support group, and the lactation consultant straightened us out. With any luck things will go better tonight!

Yesterday we took advantage of the 70 degree weather to try our first outing: 3 blocks to the Children’s Place store at 68th and 3rd to pick up some long sleeve onesies. Loren is not yet doing well with clothes that have legs, rendering about 90% of her wardrobe – the footie pajama section – useless. If anyone is pondering a gift purchase from the Children’s Place, I recommend against it. Apparently all gifts bought from there are required to be returned by the receiver in a very laborious and time-consuming process. We got stuck behind two people returning gifts and buying new stuff, with only one person working the register. Meanwhile, it was about 90 degrees in the store and we had to listen to the two women in line behind us kvetching in typical Manhattan fashion about how the lack of cashiers was absolutely scandalous – only to then hear, as we were leaving, both start their transactions with “First, I need to return this one.” Here is a picture of Curt in Manhattan dad mode.

Finally, my sister-in-law pointed out that we have yet to post a picture of Loren with her eyes open. Here’s my mom holding Loren during their visit Sunday afternoon. As you can see, they carefully coordinated their outfits.

---Envoy-General Cheryl Sawyer

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Stardate 59867.63 - Rough Night

We got home from the hospital around 1800 on Saturday, but it was a sleepless night. Loren wanted to eat, eat, eat and so Cheryl got only a couple of hours of sleep. Loren refused to go to sleep unless one of us was holding her (preferably Cheryl), so after each feeding I took her so Cheryl could sleep and I walked with her, rocked her, sang to her, watched Romey and Michelle’s High School Reunion with her on Starz!...anything to try and get her to sleep. I was only moderately successful, but since I cannot help too much with the breastfeeding (other than helping to arrange pillows and bringing drinks and magazines and stuff) I got probably 4-5 hours of sleep last night.

Regardless, we were both pretty tired this morning at 0630 when we finally got up for good. She has been sleeping for a couple of hours after her major feedings today (I think she has had 2 of these naps so far). Hopefully she will sleep a bit better tonight. And I tried everything…singing, wrapping her up tightly like they showed me in the hospital, letting her fall asleep on Cheryl after the feedings. But she just kept waking up. Hopefully tonight will be a bit better. (I know, I know, “Hope is not a strategy”, but I think strategies don’t work in the face of the assault of she who will not sleep.

She's worth it, however.

Today's pictures are of her in her bouncy chair from this morning and me holding her.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Stardate 59865.44 - Loren and Cheryl are Home

Since Cheryl and Loren checked out fine medically today, we were permitted to leave the hospital a day early. After a brief but intense struggle with the sizing of the car seat straps, the Sawyers left the hospital around 6 PM on Saturday. Cheryl is trying to do a feeding and then I think Loren, Cheryl, and I will all crash...at least until her next feeding in 3 hours or so.

Cheryl's parents are going to come tomorrow for the day, and we had Chris & Lisa and Su Ming & Kathy visit us in the hospital around lunch.
Speaking of lunch...we never really got any. This whole baby thing has really thrown off our eating patterns.

Too tired to write much (and I haven't really done much over the past 2 days compared to Cheryl), so I've posted a couple of pictures and then I am going to finish my celebratory Bass Ale and then I am going to bed.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Stardate 59861.86 - Loren Marcia Sawyer is Born

Cheryl's water broke at 0445 Friday morning, November 11, 2005. We were at the hospital by 0540, and since her labor was not progressing as rapidly as they like in this circumstance (they like you to deliver pretty soon after your water breaks and no longer than 24 hours afterwards) they administered Oxytocin to speed things up. By 1015 Cheryl decided that the epidural was a good idea, and they finally got it administered by 1145. At 1300 they checked her condition and she was 8 cm, 100% effaced, and at station 0 (8-100-0). They summoned her doctor, and he did not even have time to change his clothes...the child (and Cheryl) were ready!

Loren Marcia Sawyer was born at 1357. She is 20.5 inches long and weighs 7 pounds 8.2 oz (3.445 kg). Mother and baby are doing well. Her parents and grandmother arrived at around 2000 and visited for an hour before heading back to NJ. I left around 2230 and after getting some sleep will return tomorrow morning.

We are both very tired and very excited. Please enjoy this small selection of pictures.

Captain's Log Supplemental - Cheryl's Parents Visit the Hospital

Stardate 59860.86 - YELLOW ALERT - WATER BROKEN

Cheryl's water broke at 0445 Friday morning, 11 NOV 05. We are getting ready to leave for the hospital per doctor's orders.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Captain's Log Supplemental - T-3 Days to Due Date

Cheryl is still showing no signs of being ready to deliver on Sunday. "John" was unaware until I told him that 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after the due date is still considered "on-time". He said, "That's like how the Government is...".

Anyway, no signs that labor has begun. I'll keep everyone posted.


Stardate 59858.76 - Away Missions and Pregnancy Update

I have a friend, lets call him "John". Lets pretend that I have a link on this site to his blog. He called me yesterday and asked an interesting question - had I left the apartment all day. Now bear in mind that I telecommute from our apartment, so unlike most people I don't have to go further than our second bedroom (soon to be our child's room) to go to "work". And yesterday I decided to skip the gym in the morning, so I didn't go out to go to the gym. And it was raining yesterday evening so I didn't go out. So the answer was "No, I did not leave the apartment all day, and probably will not leave the apartment until tomorrow morning when I go to the gym." He was amazed, and commented that I was reverting to my country life and was wasting my time living in the city.

OK, couple of items of note. One, Cheryl is 9 months pregnant. She is due Sunday. So she is not terribly mobile right now, and as she is on maternity leave she is usually getting an hour or so nap in each afternoon. She is not exactly in the mood to paint the town red. Two, we cook a lot. We eat out a lot more now then when we lived in Virginia, but we still cook 3+ nights per week, and once you factor in left-overs we usually only eat out a couple of times per week. Last night we made a fantastic salsa and a pasta sauce that was out-of-this-world. Three, we have a 1,200 sq ft apartment, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths. We have comfortable furniture, we are on a high floor with nice windows. We have a tiny balcony. I don't have to go "out" to see what is happening in the world, and there are many times I would prefer a quiet evening with Cheryl reading or watching TV to going out...especially on worknights. And we have enough room I don't feel trapped or penned in.

So bottom line is, yes...there are days sometimes when I don't leave the apartment, but I don't think that is a bad thing. Rarely, if ever, do I not leave on a weekend or a day off. But staying in on a weekday does not bother me.

Next Topic - T-3 Days to Due Date
Cheryl is at the doctor right now for her weekly checkup. We don't think things have progressed at all, and I'm expecting a late delivery (later than her due date of Sunday). If anything has changed (she'll call me after the appointment) then I'll post an update.

We did pack the hospital bag last night and pulled all the paperwork together that we need to take to the hospital with us, so that was one thing I could check off of the "to-do" list.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Stardate 59855.86 - T-4 Days to Due Date

We are now just four days away from Cheryl's due date. She has a doctor's appointment tomorrow for a check up and we'll see if there is any progress towards an on-time delivery (if it is even possible to tell such things...I guess they can tell if dilation has started).

I felt like we were ready, but we still haven't updated my life insurance, finalized day care, or even packed a bag for the hospital yet. Guess we better get on it...maybe right after Lost tonight...they are killing off a main character again.

I'd be getting a lot more done if TV was in repeats right now... :-)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Stardate 59853.16 - Pride & Prejudice

I have subscribed to Entertainment Weekly for years. I frequently get e-mails from them where the first X number of people who respond in their respective cities can get a free advance screening pass for two to a movie. I am always either too slow or I am not on-line at all when the e-mails arrive. Years have passed and I have never won anything from them. A lesser may would have given up hope, but not me! I continued to put forth the massive amount of effort required to click on the link in their e-mail, select my city from the web page, and click “submit”. It is a difficult effort, requiring approximately 10 seconds and three clicks, but I continued to persevere. Finally, however, I responded quickly enough…or perhaps I found a movie no-one else wanted to see…and I was rewarded with the pass you see above.

So last night Cheryl and I went to see Pride & Prejudice, starring Keria Knightley (who I’ve had a crush on since Bend It Like Beckham, even though she is way too young for me). It was at the Loews on 34th street on the West Side. Overall, we both gave it a thumbs up. I liked it better than Cheryl, who was somewhat uncomfortable in her 9th month of pregnancy and was squirming by the end. At many points in the movie the audience laughed out loud, and as we exited we overheard one moviegoer exclaim into her cell phone, “I was bawling my eyes out at the end!”

I don’t know if it was all that, but we enjoyed ourselves, and we thought Keria did a fine job. Cheryl thought there were a couple of places were it got slow and things could have been trimmed to help the pacing. I was surprised at how small Donald Sutherland’s role was, for while he appears in lots of scenes he has relatively few lines.

Afterwards I told Cheryl that I think we need to bow more in today’s society, and we need to talk like the people in the movie did. She told me I was free to do that, but I’d be doing it by myself and I’d be the freak who was bowing at parties.

Overall, the movie was very entertaining. We recommend it, and give it two thumbs up. The running time is around 2 hours without previews.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Stardate 59850.4 - T-6 Days to Due Date

Cheryl and I went to Bear Mountain on Saturday and packed a picnic lunch, planning on enjoying the mild weather and nature. Apparently about 2 million other people from the city had the same idea.

After our brief stay, we then took a leisurely drive up to New Paltz, where we ate at the Gilded Otter. The Gilded Otter has fantastic beer. I had an Indian Pale Ale and a Hefeweizen Dunkles. The beer never disappoints. The food, however, seems to have taken a down-turn. I know you don'’t go here for the food, but rather for the beer, but I had very disappointing Fish -n- Chips with a paltry number of "“chips", and Cheryl had a disappointing broccoli pizza with about 4 tiny pieces of broccoli on it (but too much cheese). We first went to this place about 3 years ago and I remember the food being much, much better. Maybe it was because that time we had been hiking all day and were really, really hungry...but I don'’t think so. To add insult to injury, we ordered a slice of peanut butter pie to split for dessert, and the size of the slice was miniscule! It was the smallest slice of pie I have ever received restauranturant. It was so small, Cheryl even made a smart-ass comment to the waiter, who seemed nonplussed. Very annoying. Probably will not go back for food again. We then swung by Denise and Greg'’s to visit with them and their child Alison.

This was probably our last trip out as we are now very close to Cheryl'’s due date.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Captain's Log Supplemental - Aidmheil

Just noticed that Jessica has added a little something to entice you into purchasing her book:

The individuals who order the first and last pre-order books will receive something extra with their Aidmheil, as will the person who orders a secret pre-order number that I have tagged.

I, by the way, am that first person who pre-ordered her book so I'm just sittin' back here, waiting for my something special! As I posted to her site:

"Yeah, that's right, I snagged book #1. I'm the man! I rock!

Or...I lucked out and happened to be on-line when the announcement came out, and I don't rock.

I think I prefer rock'n."

Now I need to guess as to what my special prize is. Maybe it is a pair of x-ray glasses. Or a genuine faux gold chain. Or maybe, just maybe, it's my own Ninja!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Stardate 59842.49 - T-9 Days to Due Date

Looks like our daughter may have decided to be a little late. Cheryl had a quick doctor's exam yesterday and there is no indication that anything has started yet.

Today she took all of the baby clothes we received or purchased and removed all the tags, wrapping, cardboard inserts, tape, etc. in preparation for a giant laundry day to get everything washed. We also received an 80-ton box of hand-me-down baby clothes from Steve (her brother) and Rachel (his wife). Cheryl sorted those yesterday and got them into the dresser we are using for the child.

Exciting activities over the next couple of days will include getting day care taken care of, changing my life insurance and setting up a dependent child care account, updating W-4s, and the purchase of a nursing bra. Excitement abounds!!!


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Stardate 59839.65 - freecyclenewyorkcity

I don't know if you are aware of this service known as "freecycle". Essentially, if you have stuff you don't want but you also don't want to just throw it away (e.g. old computer monitors, telephones, bikes, printers, furniture) you can post to the freecycle site for your geographic area and then people who want your discarded stuff will contact you and arrange to come pick it up. It was recently mentioned in a Time Out New York (TONY) magazine article, and Cheryl remembered the name as I was lamenting that I had a large, non-flatscreen, 17" monitor taking up a lot of space in the closet and the baby was going to need that space for baby stuff.

So I decided to take the plunge and on October 17th I placed the following post on their NYC site:

> Upgraded my computer a couple of years ago and I've been keeping my
> old 17" Color Monitor in a closet. Baby on the way and I need more
> space. It hasn't been turned on in more than 2 years, but I don't
> know why it wouldn't still work fine. If you are interested please
> let me know and I'll drag it out and test it before we schedule a time
> for you to come pick it up.

I had 10 people respond that day, and another 2 the following day. I started with the first person to respond. She apparently forgot to check with her husband before saying she wanted it, because she turned it down when I told her that she had won the "who can be first to take my crap" contest. I moved on to the second person. He also turned it down, so I moved on to the third person. All this activity took two days. The third person did not get back to me (ever), so after 48 hours had passed I moved on to the fourth person on the list.

The fourth person arranged a time to pick it up, and I gave him my cell and told him to call me when he was 10 minutes away from my building and that I'd come down to meet him. He never called, and he never showed. I tried to reach him a couple of time over the next 48 hours, but never heard back. Maybe he died on the way to get my monitor, but I'll never know.

I then was away for a few days on a business trip, and decided to re-engage upon my return. At this point it had been 10 days from my initial post, so after such a positive response and a list of 12 interested people, I was beginning to think that I would run through all 12 names and still have the monitor.

Finally, number 5 on the list wanted the monitor. We scheduled a time on Saturday for pick up, and he was told to call me when he got close to the building. About 30 minutes after he was supposed to show up he called to say he was running late and would be there in 30 minutes. 45 minutes later I got the call that he was downstairs. I took the monitor down, loaded it into his car, he shook my hand, and drove into the sunset. Well, actually the noonish sun. And I went to the gym.

So what is the point of this long story? Well, here are the lessons I have learned from my very small data sample of using freecycle once to get rid of one item:

  1. People respond quickly so they can be at the top of your list, but then either have second thoughts or spousal conflict. So be sure to have a large list of interested people because it may be the fifth or sixth or seventh person who actually gets the item.
  2. People are quite insistent at times. One person, when informed he was down the list a-ways, said, "But I can be there NOW!" I, however, stuck to a strict first in first out stack.
  3. Courtesy is lacking. People did not respond at all, set up appointments they didn't make, and were already late before they called. People were not as schedule driven, nor as courteous as I am. I may be a lot of things, but I'm on time and I'm responsive. The general public, or at least people who want free things, are not.
  4. In the end, I did get rid of my item with some confidence it will be used and not trashed.
So I give the service a restrained thumbs-up. I met my end goal, but not without a little bit of pain along the way. And I feel better having given a perfectly working piece of electronics equipment to someone who will probably use it, rather than donating it to an organization that will just dump it in a third-world country.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Stardate 59836.6 - T-11 Days to Baby Due Date

We are currently at T-11 days until Cheryl'’s due date. Things are going very well and I think we have all the essential items needed for the first few days back from the hospital. I'll post early pictures and information here, but once we'’re home from the hospital we'’ll set up a web site or another blog site where we will post exclusive baby content. We'll try not to be too cute and adorable. :-)

P.S. And no, Cheryl is not drinking beer while pregnant. This picture is from 2002 when I spent 4 weeks in England on business. Cheryl flew over for a long weekend. This is in a pub near Cambridge, I believe. I wanted to put some type of picture of the two of us up here and this is the first one I stumbled upon.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Captain's Log Supplemental - Star Trek Nerd

You are not a real Star Trek nerd unless you actually have been on the bridge of the Enterprise.

Just don't be in Engineering when they have a problem.

In the interest of full disclosure, these images are from March 2003, and were taken in London, England at Star Trek:The Experience, which is as close as I have ever gotten to a Star Trek "convention".

Captain's Log Supplemental - Halloween

In our building, you have to sign up if you want to hand out candy at Halloween. Then all the kids in the building get together at 7 PM and go as a large group from apartment to apartment, visiting everyone who offered up themselves as a target...I mean host...for candy distribution. Cheryl and I have always been away or out on Halloween, except for this year. But we forgot to sign up. Which is alright, because we didn't have any candy anyway. Ah, life in the big city.

When I went out to take the picture above (the gourds are by the elevators down the hall from us), Magic ran out and posed with the neighbor's Halloween decorations. I think he is eyeing their bowl of candy and trying to figure out if he ate the entire bowl could he still get back into our apartment under his own power.

Stardate 59833.96 - T-12 Days to Delivery

We are now at T-12 days to Cheryl's due date. Here is a picture of her practicing with her nephew Ethan. (This picture is actually more than a year old now.) I was at the gym this morning as was listening to REM. Old REM. High School REM. It got me thinking about phases in life and change and age and things. Obviously, Cheryl and I are about to enter a whole new phase of our lives. After almost 10 years of marriage we are going to be having our first child (a girl) in a couple of weeks or so. This event will bring a profound change to our lives and our daily activities. I think no matter how many people you talk to or how many classes you attend you cannot be ready for an event of such magnitude. Having a wee one who is completely dependent upon you for everything will be a tremendous change from how we have lived these past 10 years.

Cheryl is home on maternity leave now (her office makes you take off 2 weeks before your due date, but since her office gives 16 weeks of paid maternity leave that is not too bad). I am taking 2 weeks paid parental leave (that's all I get, which is pretty standard for US companies I believe) once the birth occurs. By March Cheryl will be back at work and the baby will be in day care.

I do telecommute from home, but I work when I am home working. A few people have said things like, "You don't need daycare, Curt is home all day." Yes, I am home (when not traveling...remember that when we first moved to NY I was about 75% on travel...that is 3 weeks out of every month). But I am working. I am answering the business phone line, I am making calls, I am writing reports, I am managing staff and finances for a $7M program, I am busy. I am not sitting around watching TV. And I have to bill my time. The time spend writing this blog entry is time I have to make up. So if I am constantly stopping work to change a diaper or to feed our infant, that is all time that does not count as work and I cannot bill it. Therefore I don't get paid. And if I don't get paid we're moving into a smaller place.

Anyway, I got off point here (or "off message" as they say in West Wing). The point is, change is coming. Countdown has begun. Crib, diapers, and clothes are purchased. Stroller and car seat are ready. Things are becoming real. Soon I will go from being "Curt" to being "Dad".