Monday, April 30, 2007

CSI: Home Showing

Where do we go from here? This was supposed to be week 39. I was supposed to provide the regular report on the growth and development of the unborn child, based on the information provided by kindly old It would have said that "it's likely he already measures about 20 inches and weighs a bit over 7 pounds." Well, we don't need BabyCenter to tell us that, because we have doctors and nurses to give us a more accurate figure.

In hindsight, it is interesting to read what BabyCenter has to say about water breaking: "Membranes rupture before the beginning of labor in less than 15 percent of pregnancies" -- unlike most television shows. It looks like we beat the odds, because R's water broke in fairly spectacular fashion right at the beginning of labour, while we were lying in bed. This is where our lives begin to sound like an exciting TV drama/sitcom/infomercial/etc.

We were in such a rush to throw our hospital bag together and leave the house, we left the bed exactly how it was, complete with an oversize snoogle pillow hanging from the bed onto the floor. There were pregnancy books on the dresser in the bedroom and on the coffee table in the living room. There were two boxes of nursing pads on the bathroom counter as well as a baby stroller, half-wrapped in plastic, sitting in the basement.

The day Scott was born, we were still scheduled to have a realtor bring some clients in for a showing of our home. We assumed that because the house had sold, this appointment would have been canceled, but we found a business card sitting on our kitchen table upon our return, right next to the sale agreement that we'd signed Tuesday night and left there. I can't help but wonder what that realtor thought when she came through our home. Clearly, something was amiss, since everything was immaculate except for the bizarre scene in the bedroom and the pregnancy books all around. Had she watched enough episodes of shows like CSI to figure out that R's water broke in that bed and we had to rush off to the hospital?

Or did she just decide we were slobs? You wouldn't have to be a forensics specialist to figure that out about me.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Calm Before the Storm

Before I launch into another update on baby Scott's health and fitness, I thought I should also provide a short insight into the other, less baby-related areas of our life. I thought for a minute about what those things could possibly be, and came up with the following:

I watched the Ottawa Senators playoff game (while I was snuggling on the couch with Scott) and saw them lose in double overtime. It was depressing to see them lose, but it was great to look at this tiny parcel of humanity dozing on my chest.

So, not only did I fail at trying to talk about non-baby stuff, the only thing I could come up with was sad. Perhaps I shouldn't force it.

It's 4:30am and I'm sitting up with little Scott right now. He woke up for a feed about an hour ago, and fussed a little bit after R went back to bed, so I sat with him for a while. I think my new favourite thing in life is to recline on a chair and have Scott lie on my chest. We spent several hours this way today, including several minutes in the IKEA chair that my brother gave me for my birthday. That was a few months ago, but we only assembled it yesterday -- which happened to be his birthday.

My brother (T) is notorious for falling out of communication with people. If he's a friend of yours, I imagine you've already noticed that he can disappear for months (even years) without much in the way of correspondence. That's why I was impressed to get a phone call from him on my most recent birthday. He offered me a chair. Apparently, he'd ordered one for himself online and found out when it was delivered that he'd accidentally purchased two. Considering it too much hassle to cart the package back to IKEA on the New York subway, he decided to give it to us.

I asked, "Is this because it's my birthday?"

He paused and said, "Riiiiigggghhhhhht. That's today, isn't it?" He didn't do a very good job of hiding the fact that he'd forgotten, but I was grateful all the same. We picked up the chair from him the next time we went to New York, and decided to use it instead of a rocking chair, for times when you want to sit and rock the baby to sleep, etc.

Speaking of sleep, this little boy of ours pretty much does nothing else. He wakes up long enough to eat and then he just goes back to sleep. Sometimes he goes to sleep while he's eating. He's a sleepy kid. We've been warned that this is likely more of a newborn behaviour than it is part of his personality. Several nurses said that we should enjoy it while it lasts, because he won't be this sleepy for very long.

Basically, this is the calm before the storm. That means I should probably go back to bed and sleep while I can.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Ups and Downs of a Liquid Diet

You know how Oprah is always doing some sort of great diet and losing weight? I remember watching some random episode of Oprah with my mom a long time ago and saw how she lost something like 75 pounds on an all-liquid diet. At the end of the program, she pulled out a red wagon filled with 75 pounds of pig fat. It must have been an impressive program, because I've remembered it all these years.

Well, that's kind of what was going on with little Scott the last few days. We were supposed to get out of the hospital yesterday (Friday) morning at 10am, but they noticed last night that his weight had dropped considerably for the second night in a row. You see, when he was born, he weighed 3417 grams (7lbs-8.5oz), but he was down to about 3250 grams the first night (down 4.8%) and down to about 3100 grams last night (down 9.3%).

Basically, like Oprah, Scott's liquid-only diet was producing dangerously dramatic weight loss. We decided to step up the rate of feeding and the night nurse (Tracey) noted that he should be weighed again Friday morning. Through the whole night it seemed that if we weren't feeding him, we were getting ready to feed him. We still managed to get a few hours of sleep, however. I was so glad that the Ottawa Hospitals allow dads to stay 24 hours a day, and even provide cots.

In the morning, Scott had lost another few grams, taking him down to 3066 (down 10.2% from his birth weight). Although this was a much less significant weight change, 10% is the limit of what is considered safe, so the day nurse (Jewell) called in a lactation consultant. The attending pediatrician also scheduled an appointment for Saturday morning to weigh Scott again. This was nice, because he also took Scott on as a patient -- we hadn't been able to find a doctor accepting new patients.

The lactation consultant determined that there weren't any technique problems, so she figured that he simply was not getting as many calories as he was expending in his efforts to feed. She arranged for us to stay in the hospital until the evening while we worked with Jewell to line up supplemental feeding (some pumping, then a formula top-up). She also arranged a follow-up appointment with the hospital lactation clinic for Saturday afternoon. It was comforting to know that they weren't going to let us get away without finding a solution to this problem. We had some great nurses (Sarah, Robyn, Tracey and Jewell).

We were still fairly worried. Even if it's a problem that can be addressed with a simple bottle formula, there's something in you that won't relax until the problem is solved.

I went downstairs to rent a pump and ending up buying one because their rentals were all out. We also supplemented Scott's next feeding with about 15 mL of formula. As I held him and watched him desperately suck back all he wanted from that bottle, a feeling of relief surged through me and nearly exploded as tears. This was probably the first time since his birth that he'd actually been full.

R's mom flew into town and came out to the hospital. We got in two good feedings during the afternoon and were discharged at 5:30pm. I put Scott into a "new-born" sleeper that we'd brought for him and was surprised to see that there was still room in there for a few of his friends. Since it was raining, we were told to put a hat on him. We didn't bring one, but we'd been given one (sized for 6 months) by some friends who visited. He looked so cute strapped into his car seat, with his tiny face poking out between a mound of fuzzy white sleeper fabric and an oversize toque.

Feedings have been stable since, and I'm confident that he will register an increase in his weight at the doctor's office this morning. Hopefully, litte Scott can put this kind of yo-yo weight problem behind him.

I wish the same for Oprah.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Transmitting From Soiled Room A457

If you are going to have a baby at the Ottawa Civic Hospital, and you are wondering about bringing your laptop, I can tell you that there is one "open" wireless internet network within range of the Post-Partum Unit on the 4th floor of A-wing. You can blog to your heart's content as long as you are in one of four rooms:
Patient Room A453
Patient Room A455
Supply Room A457
Soiled Room A459

I can't be certain if the signal is coming from another floor in A-wing or from the adjoining tower. To be safe, it's best to work close to the windows.

We started out in semi-private room A453, which had a great signal, but then we were moved to our private room in A458, which is across the hall and too far for a reliable connection. Whenever I wanted to make blog postings or check email, I had to go into one of these other rooms. Unfortunately, the patient rooms were usually occupied, so I ended up in one of the utility rooms most of the time. The nurses gave me some odd looks as they came and went from room A457 and A459 and saw me typing among the various carts and trays.

This information had value beyond simple blogging -- I was able to apply online for Scott's birth certificate and SIN number before leaving the hospital. If you are going to have a baby soon, keep all of these factors in mind when you go to the admitting desk.

PS: On my way out here to post this, I found a guy huddled over his computer doing some real work and I showed him my little internet cafe. He was thrilled because he desperately needs a connection.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Sleep Is Golden

Little Scott slept away most of his first day on earth. Then he stayed up most of the night -- perhaps to make up for lost time. I slept through neither. The first day, I was too giddy to waste time sleeping when I could be cooing over my wrinkly little progeny. Then when he started to fuss late that first evening, I quickly volunteered to take him out and walk the hallways for about two hours. He seemed to like it out there pretty well, but he refused to fall asleep. I finally tried bringing him back in the room, but he kept us awake for hours with his moody chirping -- sounding a short cry every 5 minutes with remarkable consistency.

Finally, at about 4:00am, we called for backup and the nurses took him back into the hall, whereupon he promptly fell asleep until 9:00am. I was disappointed that I hadn't been able to make him the absolute "Happiest Baby On the Block", but I was very happy to finally get some sleep. I had been up for nearly 48 hours straight.

I don't think I've ever been so delirious from sleep deprivation in my life.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Baby Scott

It is a big day when you sell your first house. The day is even bigger if you have your first child a few hours later. Take away the epidural and add in a Posterior birth and you could argue that your big day was nothing short of harrowing.With so much going on, there are only two ways to provide an adequate account:
1) A chronology
2) A non-linear storyline laden with flash-backs and dream sequences

If this blog becomes a Broadway Musical, I vote for #2. Until then, we'll stick with #1.

Our house goes on the market in the afternoon.

R goes to the baby shower held by several of her friends.

We sort through all the baby clothes that we've been given, putting the newborn-size clothes in a dresser, and packing the remaining sizes into three boxes for easy access.

We get calls from the realty office about two showings to take place in the evening. D takes the afternoon off from work to help R get the place ready to show, and we head off to the cheap theatre to watch a film (Night at the Museum) during the appointments. There are nine people in the theatre for the show.

We get another two calls from the realty office about upcoming appointments -- one for Tuesday night, one for Wednesday night. We decide to go out to "The Greek Souvlaki House" for the Tuesday-night special while the appointment takes place. We come back to the house to see our realtor coming out of it with a pair of prospective buyers. Later that evening we sign the agreement for a conditional sale on our house, returning home by about 9:30pm

We sit up until midnight hammering out a budget plan in Excel, basically plotting how to buy and sustain a house in Calgary worth double our current home while cutting our income down to almost nil. R spends most of the time prostrate on the couch because she is experiencing some "abdominal discomfort".

By 12:30am D has fallen asleep, but the stomach pains are keeping R awake. She suspects Braxton Hicks contractions, since it is still 2 weeks until the due date.

D snaps from his slumber at 2:00am when he hears, "I think my water just broke."

For the next hour, D times R's contractions and consults with the triage desk at the Civic Hospital to decide whether it's time to come in. Between contractions (which are now coming 3-4 minutes apart, R directs him to items that still need to be packed into their hospital bag. The toiletries get lost in the bedsheets and never make it into the bag.

D runs exactly one red light on his way to a 3:45am arrival at the hospital, trouncing Google and MapQuest one more time with a new record of 4 minutes, 19 seconds (since he is already timing the length of the contractions, it is no real stretch to check his travel time). He will leave the car parked in the fire lane for the next two hours.

By 5:00am, the on-duty resident has determined that R is dialated to 6 or 7 centimeters. R is promptly moved to a delivery room, whereupon she is seized with an urge to push. She is progressing too quickly for an epidural, so she grits her teeth and pounds through the worst of the contractions with the aid of some laughing gas. A beautiful sunrise gradually floods the delivery room with lavender hues.

By 6:00am, she is fully dilated and has begun pushing with coaching from a nurse named Regina. D is right in the thick of it, helping as much as his inexperience will permit.

By 7:00am, the delivery seems to have hit a bottleneck. R is pushing well, but the baby is not progressing any further. The doctor is summoned when some bleeding begins. He immediately identifies the problem -- the child is coming face down instead of face up. He tries to turn the baby but it is too late in the game. With our permission, he carries out an episiotomy and the impasse is overcome.

Baby Scott is born at 7:34am with a cone-shaped head the likes of which D has never seen.

The doctor spends the next hour carefully stitching R back up, with D and Baby Scott sitting close at hand. When it's all over and done with, the nurse provides R with a dose of Morphine to dull the pain. Mother and son hit it off quite well with a successful initial attempt at feeding. Baby Scott spends the rest of the day between sleep and quiet introspection (his first night is another matter).

[Fade to Dream Sequence with ballerina nurses and cone-headed leprechauns...]

April 25, 2007; 7:34 am

Meet baby Scott

He came 12 days earlier than anyone expected, and weighed 7lbs - 8 ounces. Both mom and baby are doing well. She's on morphine and he's asleep.

Details to follow.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Keep Voting For Famous Kage

In an unforeseen plot twist, the competition for the host of Real Savvy Moms has been narrowed down to 5 finalists for another round of voting, which will run all this week (April 24-29). My cousin Kristy Glass is one of the finalists, and will probably win if you vote for her once a day until Sunday.

If you read the previous post and voted before, you should definitely get out there and vote for her again to make sure your earlier efforts were not in vain. The hopes of the free world are riding on your shoulders, etc.

See democracy at work. Vote for Kristy.

Monday, April 23, 2007

One Fortnight

38 was down this evening, so the facts and figures are coming to you from The information is probably much the same, but with a lot more Metric. I suspect the Dot-C-A folks probably won't have the same issues with the Metric System that we saw with Babies Online back around Christmastime.

As suspected, says that this week the baby should be about 6.8 to 7 pounds / 3 to 3.2 kilograms. According to them, the baby starts to get fatter as he waits for the big day to arrive. Lazy, I guess.

We haven't been lazing around -- no way. We've been up late every night getting our house ready to show. In fact, the first two showings were this evening. I got the calls this afternoon and I was a little freaked out because I knew that I'd ripped the front doorknob apart and still hadn't put it back together again. Everything was going fine until I discovered that the knob was set at 5-1/2 inches from the edge.

Your typical hardware store only sells door latches that are 5 inches or smaller. The doorknobs that I bought worked fine, but we spent most of the weekend without a latch. I got to the locksmith this afternoon and learned that I needed a whole different doorknob. That was fine, except that the Realtor had already put the lock box on the other doorknob. I got it all sorted out about an hour before the first showing.

Despite her advanced pregnant state, R has been working hard getting things organized around the house and in the garden. We can't tell if it's a direct consequence, but her hands and feet have suddenly started to swell a lot more. On Sunday she finally pulled her wedding ring off, just to be sure she doesn't have to cut it off later. Instead of being slightly loose, it had started making a noticeable indentation in her fingers. We figure it was a combination of the sudden warm weather, all the hard work, and being really pregnant.

The work in the garden has been pleasant and she's had the chance to enjoy the sunshine. I snapped a couple of photos of her on Sunday when she wasn't looking. Isn't she cute?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

April Showers

For someone so ambivalent about baby showers, R truly enjoyed herself yesterday. She had gone to some baby showers in the past, but for the last few years it became increasingly awkward to gather with such happy mothers and hear them talk about pregnancy and babies while she had none. Also, as you might be aware, she does not enjoy party games, and that is typical shower fare. Yesterday was a complete reversal: now she's the pregnant one, but she didn't have to play the games. It was beautiful. It was also somewhat emotional, as she saw how many people took the time and effort to come wish her well.

The event was organized by some of her close friends here in Ottawa, and I've heard reports that the food was excellent. After a warm-up game where grown women wrapped themselves in toilet-paper diapers for prizes, they sat down with refreshments to open the presents that people had brought. I remember the first time R was invited to a baby shower out here (held for JJ's first child), and we went to Sears to buy a gift. I think we were there for more than an hour, deliberating over different gifts. In the end, we got a blue outfit. I now imagine that everyone who buys a shower gift spends 2 hours agonizing over it, so I value them that much more.

Many of the gifts were clothing items. In fact, we still have not bought a single item of baby clothing (except for this cool bib that I bought online), and it doesn't look like we'll need to buy any for at least a year. Although a lot of the clothes are for the first 12 months, there were even some toddler items, like this t-shirt with a picture of an RCMP rider -- A nice keepsake for our time here in the capital.

We were totally blown away by the number of hand-made items, like quilts, blankets and sheets. Although R recently acquired a sewing machine, the bulk of our creative work takes place at a computer, editing videos and things like that. Making someone a quilt as a gift seems like a mammoth undertaking. One of the quilts, made by R's super-close friend S, had a bunch of cars on it (driven by various friendly monsters) and a little baby down in the corner with the name "Parkin" embroidered on his diaper. This particular gag has been going on for a long time (at least since December). S suggested we name the baby Parkin because it's a funny fit with our mysterious last name. She's so clever.

The people R works with downtown at Gillespie Reporting Services pitched in to buy us a Travel Playard (or playpen). It's made by Eddie Bauer and it has lots of bells and whistles and matches our beige Zooper stroller perfectly (as well as matching our curtains). It looks kind of like a tent (and it even has tent poles), so we'll make sure to take it out in the wild.

Long after the shower was over and she had come home, R was still in shock at the outpouring of generosity. Because we don't have any family out here, we always felt a bit like we were alone. We couldn't be more wrong. There are a lot of people who care about us, and many of them were dressed in toilet-paper diapers yesterday afternoon.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Guess Your Weight

According to BabyCenter's predictions, the baby should be just over 6 pounds this week, as noted in Monday's posting. On Thursday, R went in for her weekly doctor's appointment and he estimated the weight at about 7 pounds, 3 ounces. His prediction is that the baby will weigh close to 8.5 pounds at birth.

The doctor based his estimates on some very basic tests (ie: poking around the belly with his fingers), so he could be way off. However, since he's been delivering babies for more than 20 years, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Mutual Fund Stager

This afternoon the "For Sale" sign appeared in front of our house. R didn't see the stealthy person who staked it in. I don't know if anyone but our neighbours will ever see it, since our front door opens onto a walkway, not a roadway.

The house is supposed to hit the market tomorrow, so there are a few other last details in the works. The Realtor arranged for a photographer and a "stager" to come out to the place. The stager is a consultant who gives recommendations on the little things that will help make our home attractive.

We have to bring the stager in before the photographer, to make sure the home is in prime form for the photos. Unfortunately, she could not come until today because she was studying for "a mutual fund exam". I did not realize that such exams were required to become a credentialed stager.

Her visit this afternoon only took 20 minutes. She said that we'd done a good job getting things ready, so her advice focused mainly on removing knick knacks and various clutter from shelves and other furniture, as well as possibly rearranging the couches. That was great news, because we don't have a lot of time left to spend renovating the house.

This evening R will teach her last singing lessons with her students. It took her several years of work to finally build up her stable of students, so she had mixed feelings about seeing the end. With the move and the new baby, it may be a little while until she's ready to teach again. We'll see.

In the meantime, perhaps she could study up on mutual funds and look for a side job as a home stager.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wrecking Ball

For those of you interested in Giant Children's Garage Sales:

A friend of mine went to the Garage Sale at the Sportsplex on Saturday. He said they got there 15 minutes early, but there were already 100 people waiting in line. Apparently, the vendors get access to the other booths for a full hour before the public, so a lot of the best deals were gone before they got in the door.

That makes me wonder if you wouldn't be better off trying to get in early as a vendor instead of waiting around for the $1 general admission. You could throw a few stained bibs on a card table and then go off shopping at the other booths. However, I found out that it costs $40 to register as a vendor, so it probably isn't worth it.

For those of you interested in wrecking balls:

R's stomach has grown to the point where it has become hazardous. She frequently turns around and misjudges distances, giving me a good smack. She got a pretty good scratch on her tummy a while ago because she bumped into something sharp-ish.

The tummy has not only expanded outwards. It has also started pressing on the bladder to the point where every sneeze sends R rushing to the bathroom. It's inconvenient, but it's also kind of funny.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Recycling Admissions

I confess, I am not very good at recycling. This is an area where I could improve.

It is probably incorrect to say that I'm "not very good at recycling". A more accurate statement would be that "I'm not very good about recycling". It is more about attitute than it is about skill.

I can confidently admit that I am not very good at caulking bathtubs. My skills in this area are improving, however. Since I did such a horrible job several months ago, I had the opportunity tonight to do it over again and get some much needed practice. I think I may need to give it one last attempt soon. We'll see. I'd rather not, because scraping off the old silicone takes a really long time.

For some reason, fixing things around the house always takes longer than you anticipate. That was particularly evident when we replaced the flooring in the kitchen and front hallway last year. I thought it would only take a day or so to put the new floor in, since it appeared about as simple as using Legos. I just finished it off last weekend -- 12 months later.

Digital video editing is much the same as home renovation. We've done a lot of editing projects in the past few years and we've come up with this rule of thumb:

Something always goes wrong with a video project.

It not always the same thing. Actually, it rarely is. But without fail, some little problem crops up in the course of every video project. Early on, the most common event was a simple computer crash. Now we have all sorts of interesting challenges that vex us. Thankfully, we are getting better at dealing with them. Tonight we had to go back and redo a DVD of R's recital because I'd accidentally captured it at a lower setting and caused the whole project to turn out pretty hazy.

Now that I think about it, I don't understand why I don't spend more time on recycling. I doubt anyone has adopted a rule of thumb that "something always goes wrong with a trip to the recycling bin".

Monday, April 16, 2007

Baby Web Cam

Full term is today. The baby should be 6+ pounds and nearly 20 inches long, if you trust the figures that BabyCenter provides.

In case you were wondering about the weather here in Ottawa, I've provided a photograph of the scene that greeted us out our bedroom window this morning. I believe there is a saying about "April Showers". I wonder what you get from "April Sleet" -- May Heat, perhaps? This picture is so dismal. I should take one of these photos every morning at the same time to document the horrid spring we've been having. I could set it up like my cousin's site, which snaps a photo of him at his desk every day at noon from his webcam.

...Except this one wouldn't have pictures of my cousin.

Our camcorder is pretty good in video mode, but the still photos that go on the memory card aren't that great, so I don't usually bother. Today I found another use for it. As I was transferring some pictures of R's Saturday recital from the video camera to the computer, I noticed that I could use it as a web cam. I happened to get a great shot of R's tummy when I snapped a still photo from the computer.

This gave me an idea.

We still don't have a baby monitor, so we've been looking online and in catalogues a little bit. The latest gadget is a video baby monitor, which is much more expensive than the standard audio monitor. If I wanted to go through the hassle of setting up the laptop at my bedside, I could have a video baby monitor that would also double as a night light for me. I think it would be soothing to fill our bedroom with the cool glow of the computer screen.

In the end we'll probably just get an audio monitor. According to a BabyCenter poll, that's what 74% of parents use. I just want to fit in.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Super Disco Sportsplex

Yesterday there was a Giant Children's Garage Sale in Ottawa. Actually, it was in Nepean, at the Nepean Sportsplex Curling Rink. Nepean was one of ten municipalities that were almagamated together in 2001 to form the current City of Ottawa. Before it was founded in 1792 and named for the British Under-Secretary of State (Evan Nepean), Nepean was first called "Township D". What a peculiar name for a township.

So the Nepean Sportsplex is now in the city of Ottawa, and that's where the Giant Children's Garage Sale was, where you pay $1 to get in and load up on all sorts baby and toddler gear. A friend of ours told us that the serious shoppers get there early and work quickly to find the good deals.

We didn't go.

We'd thought about going, but we had the Realtor coming over in the morning. He was here for several hours, because there is a lot of paperwork associated with putting your house up for sale. By the time he left, there wasn't much time for the Nepean Sportsplex, and we weren't in the mood to battle for the leftovers. Plus, it was only a few hours until the vocal recital for R's students -- the big disco event.

Being a classically training soloist, R encourages her students (mainly teenage girls) to try singing pieces that are somewhat beyond their immediate musical horizon. Usually, the recitals are in a nice hall at the University of Ottawa, where R accompanies her students on an elegant grand piano. To save her the stress of learning to play 28 songs (14 students @ 2 songs each), she opted to use recorded backing tracks this time around, much like a karoake track. This meant that the girls were free to sing their favourite pop hits, ringtones, etc.

Since the university did not have the right equipment, she found a suitable alternative venue called The Ottawa Conservatory Vocal & Dance Performance Academy -- a place with a very long name in Westboro (which is another way of saying "west of downtown Ottawa and trendy").

In addition to the large name, the Conservatory-Academy also has a large disco ball. It's in the dance studio, which doubles as the concert hall. The students lived out their "Canadian Idol" dreams with cordless microphones and flashing lights. Best of all, R was able to enjoy the show from the comfort of the front row, letting other people take care of the technical details. After 5 years of teaching, it was a very rewarding send-off, since she is going to take a break for a little while after the baby comes.

With some of these things behind us, we'll try to make it to the next Giant Children's Garage Sale, whether it be in Ottawa, Nepean, Westboro or wherever.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

After Midnight

I was going to make a post last night, but it was long after midnight, so I skipped it and just went to bed. Perhaps I skipped it because of what my dad always says:

"Nothing good ever happens after midnight."

This saying was actually passed down to him from his dad, whenever Grandpa reminded him of his midnight curfew. Along with the saying, we also inherited the curfew. Until I moved out of the house at the age of 19, I had a strict 12:00 curfew. It was somewhat inconvenient, as I recall. Most times, things didn't ever really get rolling on a Saturday night until 10 or 11 o'clock, so I ended up seeing the first half of a lot of movies.

You might argue that there are some good things that happen after midnight. Lots of babies are born in the middle of the night. Lots of university term papers are written after midnight. Of course, some of those babies could be ill-tempered, and some of those term papers could be poorly constructed.

Last night we were up late organizing the basement because we are having a Realtor come and look at the house to talk about helping us sell it. The basement was a total disaster area, and we worked on it until 1:30am. I was quite pleased with the results, which made me wonder about the "midnight" maxim. Would things have looked better if I'd finished earlier?

I decided not to push my luck, and put off making this blog posting until this morning. I've written plenty of poorly-constructed essays in the past, and I didn't want to risk another incident.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Racing Against Google

(Alternate Title: Civic To Civic Under Seven)

Google thinks I'm a slow driver.
MapQuest also underestimates me.
They are both wrong,
And I have proof.

Even though we live fairly close to the hospital (4 km or 2.5 miles), I thought it would be interesting to see what the recommended fastest route to the hospital would be. The route was just what I expected, but I was surprised at the time estimates from the various programs:

Google: 10 minutes
MapQuest: 8 minutes

I figured that I could easily beat either of these estimates, since the Civic Hospital is pretty much a straight shot from here with only a few lights. I understand that normally there are several hours of early labour to give you plenty of warning, but my mind seems to latch onto those few stories you hear about a last-minute dash (ie: cab driver breaking the sound barrier with a police escort while the local paperboy helps the husband deliver twins in the back seat, etc). I couldn't stop wondering how quickly we could make the trip. So, last night we did a time trial.

We started in our parking spot with the car running, so this doesn't include any walking to or from the car. I figured that Google and MapQuest don't count the distance to the maternity ward either.

To Hospital: 6 minutes, 30 seconds
From Hospital: 6 minutes, 50 seconds

Not only did we destroy their estimates by as much as 35 percent, we did it without breaking any traffic laws in our stock Honda Civic sedan (no nitros). In fact, nearly the whole way there I was stuck behind a green Pontiac Grand Am that was out for a pleasure cruise. We also only managed to hit 2 green lights out of 6.

That was at about 7:30pm on a Tuesday, when traffic is pretty average. Imagine the possibilities if I hit all green lights early on a Saturday morning...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Vote For Famous Kage

If you've read most of my previous postings, you probably know about my famous New-York Cousin Kage (aka Kristy Glass). She's decided that she wants to add "TV host" to her long and varied list of jobs and responsibilities (ie: actor, singer, wife, mother, model, baby-wrangler, blogger, etc), so she sent in an audition tape for a new PBS show called Real Savvy Moms. She is one of the 10 finalists chosen by the producers, from which on-line voters get the final say on choosing the host.

This is where you come in.

People can vote once each day until April 20th, and then the votes will be tallied. You should vote every day by going to the link. This will automatically start playing her audition tape. You can find the vote button near the bottom of the page, just below this picture (right). I tried to watch some of the other audition tapes, but they either made me wince or seemed lifeless (no bias here). Save yourself the trouble and just vote for Kristy Glass.

Even if you don't think you would EVER watch a show called "Real Savvy Moms", it should give you a bit of a thrill to think that you helped choose a TV host. After all, if she's famous, then you can have a share in that fame.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Happiest Baby on the Block

By this time next week, we will be at the "full term" stage, where the baby has developed enough to brave the outside world. According to Week 36 of the BabyCenter Calendar, the baby is nearly 6 pounds and almost 19 inches long. It's just a waiting game from now on.

BabyCenter also points out that the baby will start dropping lower into the pelvis, which will cause pressure in the lower abdomen, and feel like "carrying a bowling ball between the legs." I suppose that was partially why we ended up going to the hospital last Sunday night.

At the recommendation of J&L in Calgary (knowlegeable parents of two children), we got a video from the library called "The Happiest Baby on the Block" and watched it this evening. It was great to have an instructional video on how to effectively calm a fussing newborn. Since I have nearly ZERO experience with babies, I generally panic if I'm holding a baby and it starts to cry. It's nice to know a few techniques that you can try. The maker of the DVD, Dr. Harvey Karp, gives "5 S's" for people to try:
1. Swaddling
2. Sideways/Stomach
3. Shushing
4. Swinging
5. Sucking

Look at that. I only saw the video once, but I was able to come up with the list in the right order. I think I'm almost ready to give this business a try. The people on the video made it work, so it is guaranteed to work for me. Not only that, the people who reviewed it on said they got it to work, too.

There is no way I can fail.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

One Moon More

Do you know what day it is today?
It's Easter.

Happy Easter. What day is Easter this year?
It is April 8th.

How do you know that it is supposed to be on the 8th?
It's the first Sunday after the earliest fourteenth day of a lunar month that occurs on or after March 21.

That's pretty complicated.
You could also say that it's the Sunday after the first full moon on or after the day of the vernal equinox, but Wikipedia says that "does not reflect the actual ecclesiastical rules precisely."

They say "The reason for this is that the full moon involved (called the Paschal full moon) is not an astronomical full moon, but an ecclesiastical moon. Determined from tables, it coincides more or less with the astronomical full moon."

I think "ecclesiastical moon" is a puzzling term.
An ecclesiastical new moon is the first day of a schematic lunar month in a computus.

Such months have a variable number of whole days, 29 or 30, whereas true synodic months can vary from about 29.27 to 29.83 days in length.

I've heard of people referring to months as moons before.
That's because months are based on the cycle of moon phases, which lasts (as I said) about 29-1/2 days. Instead of saying "one month from now", you could say "one moon from now" and it would mean about the same thing.

Well, one moon from yesterday we're due to have a baby.
Happy Easter.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Super Fix-It Handy Guy

Easter is a beautiful holiday, packed with meaning. It is wonderful to have a few days off to enjoy the renewal of the earth as you celebrate the resurrection of Christ. In Canada, we have a 4-day weekend, because we get Good Friday and Easter Monday off of work. It's great, because it's almost like having two Saturdays and Two Sundays. You get to enjoy the real Saturday that much more because you can get so much done on Friday and still have some time to relax. Because you've had such a super Saturday, you can really focus on the events of Easter Sunday, and think about the meaning of the holiday. You don't get those Sunday-evening blues because you still get the next day off.

Last year and this year, Easter Weekend has also meant repairs in our house. We undertook a significant renovation project in 2006, and we're still not quite done. Although we spent much of our May long-weekend last year working on it, several things have remained unfinished for the last 11 months. With the baby coming, and the likelihood that we'll sell our house this summer, we have already been working to get things finished.

I've already gone to Rona (the main competitor with Home Depot in Eastern Canada) three times this week, including twice yesterday. I am very greatful for their liberal return policy, since I have purchased over $300 worth of bathroom fixtures, but I've only kept about $30 worth. We were trying to replace the control mechanism in our leaky shower, and hoping to avoid major plumbing work. I tried buying shiny new shower systems from the same company as the existing one (Moen), in the hope that I could use the new inner cartridge in the old pipe and have the benefit of a new handle as well. Unfortunately, things have changed and the new ones don't quite fit. I had to buy two different shower kits before I came to this conclusion. When I finally found a replacement cartridge just like the old one, I found out from the Rona plumbing guy that Moen cartridges have a lifetime warranty, so I got it for free -- so my only cost was buying a newer version of the old plastic handle and a new shower head. It all Looks pretty good.

Well, there are some baseboards in the hallway calling my name, so I'm going to have to leave now. I've only got two Saturdays to get all my Super Fix-It Handiwork done.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Fake n' Bake Trees

Recently, when I was making deliveries of ketchup-flavoured Old Dutch chips to a friend of mine, I noticed the "home improvements" someone had been making in the neighbourhood. I thought this particular item was irresistable:

A tiny tree out suntanning in the snow.

This tree was nicely bronzed and healthy-looking while all the other trees were still sporting their pasty-white winter-faces. The snow-fence was another nice touch. I suppose the winds were quite fierce in that area and this fence prevented excessive drifting -- which can be dangerous for local wildlife, etc.

If you're wondering about the snow, the picture is a few weeks old. Don't worry, Ottawa isn't quite that snowy in April.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Fill Your Man Purse With Games

Only five weeks left in our countdown. That's barely more than a month. I don't want to sound repetitive, but we are getting more and more excited/worried about the big day. Time rolls on, the belly grows, and anxiety builds. It's a wonderful time.

This week's BabyCenter update says that the baby is about 18 inches long and a bit over five pounds. They say that he's getting big enough that he can't roll around much anymore. No surprise there, since all indications are that the baby is larger than average. In fact, last night at the hospital, the nurse thought R was a few weeks further along than she is. She was surprised when R said she was one day short of 35 weeks.

Today's BabyCenter article also recommends a trial run to the hospital a few weeks ahead of time, and they tell you a bunch of things you should do when you visit, including the following:
- preregister
- scope out the best delivery room
- find out where to get food

They warned us 24 hours too late, so we missed all these things. Instead, we just wandered around and the nurse made fun of me for carrying a purse. It was R's purse, not mine -- I swear.

My brother carries a Man Purse. Here's a picture of it.

Going to the hospital was a bit of a reality check, especially for for me. R explained that not only does she need to have a bag of stuff packed for the hospital, but I am also supposed to have my own stuff packed in the bag. I thought I just had to bring the car keys and drive like crazy. Apparently, my department's responsibilities extend beyond transportation and ice chips into areas like entertainment (card games) and documentation (insurance forms).

I promise to carry out these duties to the best of my ability when called upon -- and to drive like mad.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Coming Home From the Hospital

We'll, I didn't get to this post until now because we've been at the hospital.

Did you think (if only for a second) that we'd had the baby today? I talked to my brother on the phone tonight and mentioned that we'd been at the hospital and he started getting excited. There's nothing to get excited about yet, but it is kind of fun to get people wound up, given that it's the first day of April and all.

Honestly, we did go to the hospital tonight, but not because R was going into labour. It was because she has been having some abdominal pains all weekend, and finally we figured she needed to get checked out. She is fine sitting down, but she has a lot of pain when she walks.

A lady we know who is a doula told her to call the Tele-Health hotline.
The Tele-Health nurse told her to go to the hospital.
The hospital nurse told her to sit in a chair and wait for the doctor.
The doctor told her that she's not in labour.

We knew that already, thanks.

He also said that the baby is fine and everything looks okay, so it's likely an issue of "broad ligament pain" or muscle pain. I believe that this is kind of like growing pains, but for pregnant ladies.

It was comforting to hear that there was nothing wrong. I think it's harder to deal with pain when you also have to deal with uncertainty. Now that we know everything's okay, it will be easier for R to deal with it. It was good that we went in.

It was also good that we went in a few weeks before labour, because it took us a while to find where we were supposed to go. Now that we have done a practice run, I think I can get her there quite quickly. I wanted to try a practice lap with one of the wheelchairs by the door, but R wasn't interested. That's fine, because she probably couldn't have pushed me fast enough to make it all that thrilling.

An eerie thought crossed my mind while we were getting ready to leave the house. I couldn't help but consider the possibility that we might come back from our hospital trip with a baby. I didn't say anything to R at the moment, because I didn't want to stress her out.