Saturday, August 30, 2008

PICC Line, IV, And Hurricane. Oh My

Three days. Three days after getting the PICC line put in and it's not working. Not working in the sense that it's blocked so nothing can go in. To say it was frustrating and my wife wasn't in the mood for jokes is putting it mild. "Don't fiddle with it, you don't want to void the warranty." Went over about as well as telling her to relax. For some reason the word relax is like the attack command for her. Anyways, this little setback, coupled with the rather incompetent home care she got from the nurse they sent over the other day hasn't helped matters.

After a day of phone calls to try and get her supplies ordered (see above comment about incompetence) she got to make more calls today about getting this fixed. Any guesses how easy that is on the last long weekend of the summer? Yep, not very easy at all. We got someone in to check it out in the afternoon though. After trying a couple things with no success, it was time for an IV. So now she's got the PICC in her right arm and an IV in her left. If anyone asks I just tell them one is for hot and the other for cold. "And that's just the tubes you can see." The kids don't seem to put off by it all which is nice and the IV is working for the time being. She's dealing with the stress of it all as best she can but it piles up and there's only so much you can take. Add to everything her big fear lurking around the corner, going back to work next week. No matter what you do it's coming and there's no telling how bad it will be until you're into the thick of it.

That's a convenient segway into hurricane Gustav which is taking aim at the Gulf Coast. My parents spent the day boarding up their windows which proved difficult in the 95 degree weather. They're about two miles outside the mandatory evacuation area so their plan is to head out Sunday once they have a better idea which way the storm is heading. And just after Dad got a chance to try and sneak up on the first alligator that crawled up in the backyard last week. Isn't that always the way though? You finally get gators showing up for you to try catching and then you have to evacuate because of a hurricane. If I had a nickel for every time. I guess it's a good thing they have to leave for a while otherwise in the near future I'm sure I'd be writing about Dad getting bitten by a gator. Lord knows he'd get no sympathy from Mom if he did too.

I remember when I was a kid and we were living in BC. We went out in the woods to cut firewood. It was me, my sister, Mom, Dad, Dad's brother and his wife. I was like five or six. My sister and I were playing in the truck while they cut the logs. Apparently, while he's cutting a log Dad's chainsaw jumped and hit him right in the boot. Just past the steel toe part. He took the boot off expecting to see a bloody stump or something. The boot comes off and it looks ok so he's thinking maybe he got lucky. Once the sock came off though, he saw his foot was cut. My Uncle, who had studied to be a nurse at one point, came over, took one look at it and passed out. My Aunt sprang into action and said that she'd take him to the hospital. She jumped in her car and took off leaving Dad behind still bleeding and I'm sure more than a little confused. So mom walks over, takes one look at it and sympathetically says "What did you do now you idiot?" A fair question. Needless to say, as a nurse she doesn't impress easily when it comes to sickness or injuries. She wrapped up his foot with the sock and took him to the hospital where they patched him up. No permanent injury and a good story, sounds like a nice day to me.

Anyways, I seem to have done some topic hopping on this one. I guess my point is that between blocked PICC lines, peripheral IV's, and oncoming hurricanes I'm pretty much going to have to break a bone or something if I expect to get any attention the next few days. And not just a little bone either. It's going to have to be a big important one since people don't impress easily. Oh well, guess I can always count on attention from the kids. Considering how much they like to jump on me when I'm not looking, I might get some attention/sympathy after all.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

So I Married A Cyborg

Ok, that title was a cheap shot but I couldn't resist. You see, yesterday my wife got her PICC line. For anyone who isn't aware, it's a catheter that's inserted into her upper arm. Then they slide it into a vein until the tip is sitting in a large vein just above the heart. Add a pump and some IV bags with saline and meds and you're good to go. Yeah, the idea of it creeps me out at first too. Personally, if a doctor told me that's what they were going to do my first reaction would be "You're going to put what where?" Of course, if my wife was the sort of person who asked that question more often, we wouldn't be in this situation in the first place.

So now her constant nausea and fatigue will be accompanied by the whirring of the pump she has attached to her all the time. Ideally, it'll lessen her nausea and keep her hydrated but we'll see. It worked pretty well on the last pregnancy but with each youngster running around the degree of difficulty seems to increase exponentially. It would be nice if it makes her into some sort of Robocop like super mom who can chase down the kids with ease. Realistically, I think she'll be more like Arnold at the end of the first Terminator. She keeps on going because her mission is the core of her being. She's been programmed to look after these kids and nothing will stop her from succeeding but as she drags what's left of herself across the factory floor we can see that she just doesn't have it in her anymore. The only question is will the kids take pity on her or push that button and crush her with that big old machine until the red light in her eye fades out?

Ok, so maybe I watch too many movies. The point is the PICC line is not a miracle cure. I like to think so because of how well she did on the last pregnancy with it as to opposed on the first one when she didn't have it. That's just wishful thinking though. It should hopefully help her get to a level where she can function but that's about it. Not to downplay that though. Her being able to participate in regular activities with me and the kids and not be totally wiped out afterwards would be extraordinary. Not sure how realistic that is since school starts up again next week and she'll be going back to work. As long as she's getting her fluids and not puking an insane number of times a day I'd call it a win though.

Honestly, I think it's awfully impressive what she puts herself through in order to have kids. No, I'm not talking about sleeping with me you jackass. Friggin' smartasses. It's impressive that she goes through being so sick for so long just to being a child into the world. I'm not sure I'd be able to do it. I know I wouldn't go through it three times. But she's done it knowing the sort of sickness she'd be dealing with. At least with the second two. The first time was just a fun surprise. So I'd say she is more ultra badass humanity saving cyborg than beaten down robot killing machine. Now if I can just find the right mother's day card to express that sentiment.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Compiling Evidence

We need to watch what we say around the kids, in particular the oldest. And I'm not talking about cursing. At this point, if she learns any new swear words she'll have to teach them to me because I think she's overheard me use just about everything in my expletive arsenal. She hasn't repeated much of them but I'm sure she's stored them all away for a special occasion. "That was a lovely baptism father. Sorry about the older one shouting out like that. We think she may have tourettes." No, I'm talking about how we need to be careful what we say around her because she's starting to use it against us.

A prime example would be the other day in the van. My wife was driving along with her mom in the passenger seat. They were going shopping and then she was coming over to the house to help out since I was working. During their trip, a series of questions came from the backseat.

"Mom, can you make Cameron's bottles?"

"Yes, I can do that."

"Can you change Cameron's diapers?"


"Can you make Cameron go to sleep?"

"Yes, I help Cameron fall asleep at bedtime."

Later, they got home and it soon became time for bed. We usually tell the oldest to lie down in her bed while we get her sister to sleep and then we'll come lie with her. Following the playbook, Nanny told her she was going to help mom get Cameron to sleep and then she'd come see her.

"Mom, doesn't need help. She knows how to do everything for Cameron."

Well played you little bastard. She went through all that trouble of getting the answers she needed hours before she needed the information. The questions just seemed cute and funny but in reality she was just compiling evidence for her case. I told me wife not to watch Law and Order or CSI when the baby was around. Obviously, she was paying more attention than it appeared. Makes me wonder how long before she starts using fingerprint analysis or DNA evidence to prove I ate the last cookie. By that point her little sister will be able to join in and they'll be pulling the whole good cop bad cop routine. "Look, just tell me what I want to hear. If you just cooperate it'll be a lot easier for you. My partner's nuts. The truth is going to come out sooner or later and I really don't think you want her to be the one to get it from you."

So now we have to pay attention to what she's saying and what we say to her. Any little thing can come back to bite us in the ass. The worst part is there's no telling what, when or how. I feel like she should start every conversation by reading us our rights. "Daddy, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you. Now, do you think the doll in this picture would look good in my room?"

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Day At The Fair

So we went to the Ex the other day. It's essentially a state fair, some livestock exhibits surrounded by a big carnival. As I've said before, I don't like carnivals. I don't like to go on rides. I don't enjoy big crowds of people. I'm not a fan of the games. The one thing I do enjoy is the food but that's overpriced which sucks. So all in all, I'm not the person you want to go with to one of these things. However, my wife and kids do enjoy that stuff so I got to try and pretend.

Truthfully, I'd say I had an ok time this year. It wasn't very crowded the day we went so that certainly helped. Seeing the family having a good time makes it fun too. All the way there we got to hear from our oldest how she was going to be brave and go on the merry go round. She does not enjoy rides at all (no idea where she gets that from). Her determination to be brave and go on a ride was strong all the way to the entrance. We got her to the little kiddie car ride that goes around in circles and she actually sat in it before the tears started. I had gotten to the other side of the guard rail before it happened, which surprised me. So we got her out and watched as her little sister went on the ride. She's totally opposite from her sister when it comes to rides. She was all smiles and laughs when it started. After that wore off she did the final few laps with a smug self assured grin on her face as she focused on steering the car. She didn't cry until the ride ended and we had to pry her off of it. That little taste only made her hungry for more and she kept pointing to all the rides asking to go on them. Not just kiddie rides either. If she'd had her way she would have gone on the grown up roller coaster and that one that raises everyone straight up in the air and then plummets quickly. Since pregnant women aren't allowed to go on rides, that left me to go on some with her.

We went on some spinning strawberry thing that she didn't enjoy as much as the cars. For some reason being in an enclosed metal berry away from her mom that spun in circles didn't appeal to her. After that failure, I gave in to her demands to go on the kiddie roller coaster. Unfortunately, when we got to the entrance we found out she wasn't old enough to ride it. "Darn it. Just four little months standing preventing me from the chance to look like a big wuss on an infants roller coaster? Damn you carnival safety regulations." That left the merry go round, which I couldn't go on because of an unfortunate incident a couple years ago.

When our oldest was an infant we went to the Ex. Some parent of hers, not naming names but I think we all know I'm mothering about, thought she would enjoy going on rides. I played along and took her on the merry go round. I sat her on the horse and held onto her as it started. Immediately, she panicked and tried to get off. That left me trying to keep her from falling while holding on as we spun in circles. In order to do all that I had to go up and down as the horse did or risk dropping my infant. My sympathetic wife and sister who were watching all this just about wet themselves as they watched me, as the put it, "hump the horse on the merry go round". Needless to say, I didn't want to jog the memory of any carnie who may witnessed that so I've steered clear of that ride since.

As I said earlier though, the family enjoys carnivals so I go. The little one likes the rides. The big one like the games. And everyone likes the animals. Good thing because none of those appeal to me. Actually, that's not true. The one exception to the rule is skiball. That is far and away the best game in the history of midways. You just have to admire the kind of mind that sits and thinks "How can I combine bowling and basketball?" Friggin' genius. However, now that I think about it why stop there? Throw other sports into the mix. Put a guy at the end of the lane with a bat. Make it a little more interesting by throwing in some tackling or checking. Or if you really want to increase the degree of difficulty, light the ball on fire. I'm sure I've got some kinks to iron out but I think I've got the foundation for a fantastic sport. I hear the Olympics is looking at getting rid of taekwondo so they'll have an opening. I should really polish this little brain nugget of mine and who knows what could happen. Fingers crossed for 2012.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Need To "Pimp My Ride"

So I'm thinking about getting some soundproof glass installed in our new van. I'm picturing the sort of partition limos have so the drivers don't have to listen to a bunch of drunk teens on prom night. The one thing we didn't consider before buying it is that our car left an empty seat in between the girls. Now that they're side by side just about every trip, no matter how short, seems to involve some fighting and whining of some sort. Either someone isn't sharing their toys, or someone wants their sister's sippy cup, or my personal favourite "She's looking at me". Not sure what she expects me to do about that one. I mean does she actually expect me to pull over and blindfold her sister.

"There, keep that on and stop disturbing your sister with your troubling attention. And don't start smelling her either because I've got a couple tiny corks in the glove box for just such an occasion."

I suppose we could always set them up in the rear seats instead of the middle. That would give them back that buffer zone and they're cries would have further to travel to reach us up front. The downside is it'd be a huge pain in the ass to get them in and out of their seats plus I like having the extra storage space with that backseat flipped up. So I'm left with the soundproof glass option. Actually, I had another idea but I'm not sure how practical it is. If I travel at the speed of sound, would the kids whining and crying be able to keep up with us?

"Yes officer, I know I was speeding. I was just trying to test out a theory I have."

I do think having a couple kids freaking out in the backseat should be an acceptable reason for speeding. You should be able to blaze down the highway at top speed with a baby on board sticker in the back window without anyone batting an eye. It's the least they can do since the province has completely ignored my letters asking to have a separate "My kids are freaking out" lane added to the roads. A big yellow diamond with a pissed off youngster in it right in the middle of the lane. Odds are that would backfire and just create a giant convoy of minivans as far as the eye can see. Nothing but the sound of kids music and crying coming from every vehicle as the parents inside give the finger to all the childless people in the other lanes. Perhaps they're right to ignore my requests.

I guess I'll have to head back to the drawing board on some of these ideas. I think they have some potential once I iron out all the kinks. For the time being, I'll have to use the age old parental fallback of threatening to turn the car around. I'm not sure how effective that one will be either though. At least until I can pull off some sort of movie style handbrake 180. So it's either stunt driving school for me or I'll have to do some actual parenting.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Back To Work

I love not having to go to work. It doesn't matter that we didn't travel on this vacation; it was just nice to not have to work. We were able to get a lot of the stuff done I'd wanted to (the bedroom is painted except for the trim). Unfortunately, that little dreamland known as vacation came to an end today. I had to go back to work today because, for some strange reason, I'm required to show up in order to get paid. "You sure that's what we agreed to when you hired me? I'm pretty sure I remember it differently."

It's not that my job is horrible. It's not very strenuous or challenging. I can't even say the people I work with are bastards, mostly because I don't want to take a chance on one of them reading this. Going to work just is not quite as much fun as staying home. I don't like going back after a long weekend, let alone after two weeks off. No matter how hard I tried though it was inevitable. If you believe Freud's view that there are no accidents then on Saturday I stubbed my pinkie toe in an attempt to avoid having to go back. Personally, I don't much attention to a lot of what he said. All I know is I tried to hop over the baby gate instead of taking the time to open it. I cleared it easily but slammed my toe into the handrail that sticks out from the wall. I contend that's proof positive that we don't need either a handrail or baby gate downstairs. I don't recall either preventing more injuries than they've caused. My wife just thinks that we should just keep them and I should just do less stupid jumping on the stairs. Either way my pinkie toe and surrounding foot area being swollen and purple wasn't enough of an injury to warrant an extended vacation.

It's a shame though since our oldest had some big plans. We went to a local zoo the other day. It's not a big one but has enough animals to keep the kids happy. They had some lions, some tigers, and a couple bears. So did you all say "Oh my" after the lions, tigers, and bears line? Good times. Anyways, they had animals like that and several different kinds of monkeys. The monkeys actually put on a good show. Lots of swinging and jumping as well as some running around. Monkeys running looks like some oddly proportioned little hairy fella running around which in and of itself would make a pretty good zoo exhibit, in my opinion. There were no big animals like giraffes or elephants though. A point my daughter would later bring up.

That night we put them to bed and she wanted me to lie down with her for a bit. Since I'm a big pushover I did. We were chatting about the fun we'd had that day. I was asking her what she thought about the zoo and which animals she liked the most. That's when she told me that her favourite animal was a giraffe. "I like giraffes but there weren't any giraffes there. Tomorrow we got to the giraffe zoo?" She has three terms for referencing time, today, yesterday, and tomorrow. Today is obvious. Yesterday is anything that's happened in the past and tomorrow is anything in the future. We just have to be careful with the tomorrow thing because she'll often play the "you said we'd do that tomorrow" card the day after we agree to something.

So she's telling me about how we're going to go to the "giraffe zoo". "We go to the giraffe zoo tomorrow. They have big giraffes with long necks and baby giraffes with little bit short necks. And there'll be elephants. And the baby elephant will lick me."


"The baby elephant. The baby elephant is going to come over and lick me like this." And then she licked my arm to demonstrate.

And that's why I have to keep going to work. We're going to have to set aside some money for a trip to the giraffe zoo at some point. On top of that I'm going to need a few extra bucks to bribe a zookeeper into bringing over a baby elephant to lick the girls. Good thing they're worth it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kids Say The Darnedest Things

So we had our second doctor's appointment today. I got to keep the kids occupied while the ultrasound was going on. Thankfully, it didn't take long because there wasn't a lot of things around to keep them occupied. "Let's go look at the flowers outside. Ok, now let's go look at those flowers. Let's see if mom's done." All the vomiting, nausea and general sickness made us pretty much forget about the whole heart rate issue from last time. Happy to say everything was good this time. Heart rate was good and the other measurements were normal. Yay for us. Now we just have to deal with this whole 24/7 nauseous puking thing. No big deal but then again, I'm not the one who's sick.

Since there was some concern on the last visit, we held off telling our oldest about her future sibling. Now that our worries were lessened today we told her. Funny part is on the ride over, she asked from the backseat, in a super quiet voice, "Can we have another baby?" I guess we haven't kept it as secret from her as we'd thought. Or perhaps it was just really weird timing. Either way it was just another in a string of cute things she's been throwing at us lately.

For instance, there was bedtime last week. Some nights she gets out of her bed a lot before finally going to sleep. I'll hear a noise from the hallway and find her laying on the floor covered in her blanket. Of course we all know that children become invisible when covered like that. So time after time, I'll pick her up, march her back into her room, and tuck her back in. After repeating that process a few times my patience starts to wear thin. So I heard her on the monitor and went up to check. She's in the hallway as usual and I'm not impressed. "What are you doing out of bed now?!"

"Daddy, I just love you so much I was trying to find you."

"Damnit. Give me a second. I've got to sit down to recover from that cuteness."

Another night, I find he in the hallway at about 3 in the morning. This time she's asleep outside our doorway. "Why are you sleeping out here?"

"I, I don't know what's going on with me today."

"Damn, now your sister's up because I laughed too loud."

Then this morning I decide to take the girls to the park. I'm loading them into the stroller when the mail lady pulls up in front of the house. By mail lady I mean letter carrier, not some sort of transgendered person. Just wanted to make sure there was no confusion. Anyways, she walks on over and hands me a package. I see the return address is from my parents to I assume it's clothes for the girls. We took it inside so they could open it with their mom. Turns out the clothes inside were for their mom. That left the oldest pathetically asking "There's nothing in there for me?"

"I'm sure the next package will have something for you." That seemed to make her happy and we went back to the stroller. I get them mostly buckled in when the mail lady pulls up again. She hands me another package that she'd forgotten to give me the last time. It's addressed to my wife and I don't recognise the return address. "Are you friggin' kidding me? Three minutes after what I told her and I get screwed like this?" I've never flipped off a postal worker before but I was damn close today. It turns out the package, which I tossed into the car until after we got back from the park, was a very nice blanket one of my wife's friends had made for her. If you ask my oldest though it's a blanket that grandma sent her. She actually called her and said thank you. She took it with her to the doctor's office. She's held onto it all evening and is using it in bed right now.

When I tucked her in I told her how much I like the blanket. How soft and warm it looked. How nice it would be to sleep with it on. "I sure wish I had a nice blanket like that."

"Well, grandma didn't have enough blankets for you. She only have enough blankets for me."

"Oh man, I gotta lie down. You're wearing me out with the stuff you come up with. I'll enjoy it while I can though because I'm sure by the time you're a teenager the stuff you say will wear me out, just in a totally different way."

Friday, August 8, 2008

Paint By Numbers

A combination of grace and endurance, military precision and athletic excellence. The pinnacle of artistic achievement. No, I'm not talking about today's opening ceremonies of the Olympics, which were awesome. I'm talking about painting the spare room so our oldest daughter can move into it. Since we're unable to really go anywhere during my two week vacation that started last Sunday, we're getting some stuff down around here. Painting her room is the project I started today.

The folks who lived here before us painted Batman and Spiderman on the wall of that room since they had a little boy. We always thought it was pretty cool so we just left it. Now that we want to move her in there (the plan is for both of them to be in there when the baby comes) Batman would probably be a bit scary for her. Little three year old girl wakes up in the middle of the night and sees some pissed off dude in a black cape on her wall, the only question is whether I'd be woken up by her scream or by her diving headlong into our bed. I'm betting I'd be stirred awake by the scream and then jolted awake by her head slamming into my face, stomach, or groin. That's why we've decided to go with a princess theme. Some purple and pink on the walls to go along with some decals. It should be good. It reminds me of when I painted her nursery though.

I painted it while my wife was still pregnant with her. Remembering a time when we didn't have kids, hard to believe. Anyways, I decided to paint it secretly as her Christmas present. Pause while you go ah. I was working an overnight shift of 11 pm to 7 am back then. So when she'd go to work in the morning I'd get to work painting. I'd paint until about noon or so and then go to bed. She'd get home around 3:30 or 4 and I'd have to pretend I hadn't been up all morning. By 6 or 7 I usually dosed off on the couch though and she would get mad that I was sleeping on her time. I guess she figured I was up all day playing video games or something, not an unrealistic assumption. A month or so of that before Christmas morning and then she felt horribly guilty for getting mad. It does beg the question, how did she not know an entire room in her house was being painted?

Truthfully, I'm not sure why she wasn't suspicious. I made sure to put a lock on the door to that room and hide the keys. I expected that to require some explaining but it didn't. If anything I might have told her I was hiding presents in there I think. Ok, but what about the paint smell? There wasn't any. I kept the window open and that seemed to get rid of any smell, not to mention any heat that had been in the room. There were a few times I thought I'd get caught though. Like the time the dog came in and got some red paint on him. When she asked I just said he got into her craft stuff and it was finger paint. "Can you try to be more careful with that stuff?" Can't believe she bought it. Really can't believe she bought it the second time. The other big one was the time I spilled a little paint on myself. Ok, by a little I mean I dumped a large portion of a gallon of blue paint over my hands and arms. I was trying to mark out a circle on the wall so I used the can. I put it up against the wall and soon found out I hadn't secured the lid on tightly. I was left with friggin' smurf hands. After washing them for what seemed like forever I dodged another bullet. Paint mishaps run in the family though.

One time Mom was painting a room and fell of the stepladder she was on. She could have landed anywhere but she landed ass first onto the paint can. She just about crushed the can and was left with a huge welt on her buttcheek. That still doesn't win first place for paint injuries in our family though. Dad was working offshore on one of the rigs. He was doing some painting, a nice bright yellow, when the ladder he was on gave way. He crashed to the deck creaking his jaw. What makes it really funny though is the paint poured all over him. Yep, my bright yellow dad had to be helicoptered to the hospital for his broken jaw. The best part was he got an award for it. Every year someone at that company went accident free they got a safety award consisting of a little plaque. That year they gave him one that had yellow paint all over it and they called it an artistic achievement award. So thanks to them I've got a lot of leeway as far as what can go wrong.

This time it shouldn't be as tough as the nursery was. I don't have to do it in secret. I won't be sleep deprived. It won't take a month since it's not a mural this time. And I don't expect to wind up in a hospital covered in paint. Time will tell for sure though.

Nursery Pictures In Case You Wanted To See How It Turned Out

Not showing you the whole door because I didn't notice the J was backwards until after the picture was taken and my wife pointed that out.

How pissed was I when I read on the net about how you can just print the pictures on a transparent sheet and project them on the wall so you can trace them?

All the work of finding pictures of these characters to go by as I try to draw them out and paint them. The furthest tree from the crib is the troublemaker that caused me to paint my hands blue. Stupid tree.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

If It Was A Horse We'd Shoot It

So I'm leaving work the other night. I get out of the parking lot and notice the fuel gauge is on empty. It seemed kind of odd since I was pretty sure we'd filled up just that day. I pulled into a gas station just to make sure I didn't run out of gas on the way home. It was full after about three dollars went in. I took that as a bad sign since gas is not selling for a nickel a litre. "Kids, I remember when you could get gas for 65 cents a litre. Way back in the good ole days of 2003." So I got back in the car and it still read empty. In addition to the "you're almost out of gas you idiot" light, the service light and anti-theft light were on. "Super, I need this like I need a kick in the balls."

We made it through the rest of the holiday weekend without any trouble, other than those warning lights. They go well with the check engine light and ABS light that have been on forever. We haven't worried about those since they told us they weren't major issues. Personally, I kind of want to see how many lights we can have on before the car will just stop working altogether. I imagine that last light will be an exasperated little mechanic throwing his tools down in disgust. My wife figured it better to take the car in to get looked at though. So first thing Tuesday morning she took it in. After finding out it was an electrical problem with the gauges that would cost $500 or $600 to fix, she started looking at used minivans. I tended to agree with that decision. I think we'd have been better served using that money to buy a gun and just shoot the stupid car. Of course, that's complicated by the laws regarding firearms. "What do you mean waiting period? I'm mad now." (I try to follow the teachings of Homer Simpson wherever possible.)

So after a little looking she found a descent 2004 model. It had air conditioning which is something we've always wanted. Anyone see where we may have gone wrong by buying a black car without air conditioning? The extra heat does tend to make the kids sleepy though which is a plus. Anyways, she took it for a test drive back to our house so we could all check it out. The kids loved it. Ever since the first time they got to ride in a minivan and realized they could see out the windows they've been lobbying for us to get one. The big one's been lobbying, the other one just sort of makes a lot of noise in the background to punctuate her sister's points. So after taking the van back to the dealership we got to wait to hear if the financing would be approved. That meant all afternoon I got to hear "Did they say we could get it? Can we get the van? Can we, can we, can we?"

Got to the point I just had to say "Erin, they'll call when they know. Now just be patient; you're worst than the kids."

Eventually, we did get the call and found out we were approved. "Really? Are you sure the bank knew it was for us? Someone must have typed in the wrong name or something. All I know is I'm taking my money out of that bank because they obviously have no idea what they're doing." It was no mistake though so now we're waiting to pick it up this afternoon. Once we get it there will be no turning back. I think it will officially make us parents as opposed to just a couple fools too dumb to operate birth control effectively. I guess considering how easily we seem to get pregnant it's a good thing it seats eight. I just hope my wife doesn't hurt herself rolling her eyes when she reads that.

Monday, August 4, 2008

My Girls Like To Party All The Time

In the kid world birthday parties are right up there with the best possible thing on earth. If it's your birthday then it's pretty much tied with Christmas at the apex of childhood. Even if it's not your birthday it's still pretty awesome. There's plenty of friends to play with since as we all know all young kids are friends. "You're four? I'm three, let's play." Add to that birthday cake, the excitement of presents being opened, and loot bags at the end. What you get is little kid nirvana.

From the point of view of a parent, birthday parties for little kids are disasters waiting to happen. Having a bunch of kids running around in your house all hopped up on frosting can leave you with a bit to clean up in the end. There's also the hassle of getting ready beforehand and trying to make sure everything runs smoothly during the party. It's tougher than I remember it seeming when I was a kid. We've avoided those problems a few times by having the parties outside of the house. The downside there of course is the increased cost. That's why I was impressed with the solution we were treated to yesterday.

Have the birthday party at a park. You don't have to pay and who cares if there's a mess when you leave. Friggin' brilliant. Makes me curse the fact both of our kids, and the third one too, have birthdays in winter. Well, the oldest's is in March but this is Canada so who knows what kind of weather will be like. I'm willing to try it but my wife doesn't want to have to try and convince our friends it's a good idea for their kids to be outside in thirty below temperatures. "Just give them the cake right away and they'll stay warm by running around. That's not frostbite, it's the numb discolouration of pure joy."

Anyways, the weather wasn't an issue with yesterday's party. It was nice and sunny. The best part was that there was a little water park setup in the park. A handful of basically sprinklers cemented into the ground that spray for a few minutes when a button is pushed. Great fun for everyone, especially on a warm day like it was. The problem was we didn't bring swimsuits for the girls. They've never been interested in that sort of running through the sprinklers sort of thing. That is, of course, until the other kids started doing it. So that left us with a choice, let them get their clothes soaked or strip them down and let them play in their underwear. After a scan of the area for creepy looking characters, we stripped them down and let them into the water. Thankfully our kids weren't the only ones playing like that. It still didn't feel like our best parenting moment though. My wife made a point of telling the kids "This is only ok when you're little. You better not run around in your underpants when you get older." Fingers crossed. The craziest thing is when they were done the only dry part on them was their underpants. I can only assume that when they were running around in the water their underpants went all Matrix and avoided each individual droplet. Makes me wish we'd gotten video of it because I bet that would have looked awesome in slow motion.

All in all it was a heck of a party. Playing with friends, eating pizza and cake, watching presents being opened, and then stripping down and running through the sprinklers; who among us wouldn't enjoy a party like that? Then when it's all said and done, you just toss some garbage in the can and you're done. I think it's so great I'm going to try and convince my wife to keep this one in a few extra months so we can have at least one kid with a warm weather birthday. I'm pretty sure her response is going to be just two words and the second one will be you.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Some Assembly Required

I guess writing some assembly required on the box of toys is nice and concise but I think they should just be honest. In big bold letters it should just say Guess what you're doing this afternoon jackass. Honestly, if the manufacturer took one look at all those pieces and said "I'm not putting that together" then you know it's probably not going to be easy. I understand now what my parents went through. I remember one Christmas my Mom just about lost her mind trying to figure out my transformers. Dad couldn't help her either because he was busy putting decals on toys, just like in the picture on the box. I understand not putting stuff together but how lazy are these bastards at the toy company that they don't even put the stickers on.

Anyways, it all started this afternoon when Nanny pulled into the driveway with a huge box filling up the entire back of her car. The girls were so excited, especially when they saw the picture of a little playhouse on the side of the box. My reaction was a bit more subdued. Something along the lines of "oh crap" if I recall. The kids were losing their minds with joy so I got the box to the backyard with the help of a stroller, opened it up and got to work.

Generally the biggest problem with required assembly is the instructions (see anything from Ikea). I have to admit though that the instructions were pretty good on this one. No messing around with slot A tab B foolishness, or go get an allen key. It was just very straight forward step by step instructions in picture form. I mention the straight forward part because that isn't always the case with picture instructions. When my family was in Australia, Dad bought a didgeridoo. Yeah, I don't know what he was thinking either. We got it home and had a look at the instructions on how to play it. The only problem with that is that the instructions were in Indonesian and some Aboriginal language. It did have pictures though. Based on those I could only assume that in order to play it you had to first strip to the waist and paint some sort of weird markings on your body. Forty five minutes and lots of paint later, I still couldn't play the damn thing.

Getting back to the playhouse though, the instructions were nice and helpful. I was doing good all the way up to about step 4. After screwing the sink in and attaching two adjacent walls I realized I'd used the wrong size screws. I was supposed to use the really big screws, not the big screws. It does beg the question though, why have three different screw sizes when they're all doing the same basic thing? No, I've got to make sure there's 4 little ones, 22 big ones, 3 really big ones, and keep track of which one goes where. So I unscrewed them and fixed it. About ten steps later and I've got all the walls together. The kids are vibrating at the prospect of the roof going on. I put it on and then realise I now have nine big screws to put in to attach the roof to the base. About two screws in I realised a couple things. First, I wish my cordless drill had a charged battery so I didn't have to screw everything in by hand. And second, as much as putting stuff together sucks, putting something together inside what's essentially a plastic box that's outside on a hot sunny day really sucks. Here I am inside a playschool sauna sweating balls as I screw this thing together. The whole time I've got two little girls skipping around the outside of it repeatedly asking me if it's ready yet.

I did finally get it all put together. The void I left inside when I exited, easily a couple pounds lighter, was quickly filled by the kids. Their squeals and laughing as they played with it, for a couple hours easily, made the sweat and frustration worth it. The fact they played by themselves was nice too because it let me get a much needed drink. "No, you guys play by yourselves for a bit. Daddy's got to go rehydrate."