Sunday, August 30, 2009

sweet corn

Dad picked a nice weekend for a visit--Urbana celebrated the Sweet Corn festival. We saw lots of babies pushed in strollers by their parents. Jill took note that basically none of the babies were wailing, so she's optimistic for our near future.

Here she models with the 6-4 Impala. Feels good to be a gangsta'. Thinking of our nephew Ricky, I voted for the 1948 Hudson as best in show.

Fereshteh's car arrived today from Idaho on this truck. Dave the driver was a jolly sort of guy. He worked as an engineer for Micron for many years before getting outsourced. His brother, also a former engineer, convinced him to haul cars across the country. He works 26 weeks per year and makes double his engineering salary. Strange times, I say.
I squeezed into Fereshteh's car and drove it off the truck. It's like a roller coaster, impossible to see the tracks while going up or down. No damage was done to the car.

This afternoon, Clint and Beth, our neighbors a few houses to the north, stopped by unannounced with a home-made blackberry pie. We first took note of them because they along with their 2 daughters very often ride bikes laden with gear or books past our house. Not long ago, Clint said hello while I was working on a bike in the garage, but we had not officially met Beth. We followed Clint's recommendation to eat the pie with ice cream. Fantastic! Those are good neighbors.
No baby yet. Jill is having lots of mild contractions, so we're a little bit on pins and needles.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

any day

We've had a spell of good news about the baby recently. Clara's noggin is where it needs to be for a natural birth, so the doctor is willing to give it a chance. The coolest part is that now we don't know her birthday. That seems much better than the previous plan, which was 'knowing' the date nearly a month in advance. We're at full term (37 1/2 weeks) so baby can come any day.

After a rainout last week, softball playoffs resumed last night. We came back late to win the first game at 6pm, then the residents of our house went to Za's before game 2. We were up 12-7 going to the bottom of the last inning, but the other guys came back to win with some timely hitting and a few walks. Have I mentioned that walks don't belong in softball? They don't, but I concede that our team drew its fair share this season.
The number of residents at our house is now 4+ (depending on how much Clara counts right now). Jill's mom is here, eagerly awaiting Clara's birth and predicting the birthday every few days. I called Sept 8. Anyone else care to venture a guess?
Our 4th resident is Fereshteh, a friend from the good ol' Los Alamos days. Unlike the rest of our friends, she became convinced that Urbana is THE place to live. She is staying with us while looking for a job, taking classes, and just enjoying the midwest lifestyle, which included watching her first and second softball games.

Our 2 bedroom, 1 bath home is working out fine for the 4+ of us to date. Easily the best part is that any number of people can cook up an excellent dinner.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

feeling the heat

The other local bike club in town put on its annual organized ride on Saturday. Since they had volunteered for the race that we put on, some of our guys decided to help. I was assigned the rest stop '65 mile', and since the longest ride was somewhere around 70 miles, I rode my bike to the start about 40 minutes before my shift. Oops, the rest stop was actually about 30 miles from the start, so I hitched a ride on the sag truck to the stop. Along the way, I doubt that we saw 20 riders. Granted, many riders started 2-3 hours before our journey, but I thought organized rides were really popular. What gives?

Bob, the sag driver, suggested that Kiehly and I take off since one person could easily handle the work. We recruited Alex, the sole remaining rider at the stop, to join us on ride back. He got terrible leg cramps; he nearly fell off his bike and couldn't stand up after sitting on the ground. Eventually, he got back on the bike and rode several more miles before calling a friend to pick him up. Kiehly told me about her company's attempts to build energy efficient houses. For 20% more $$, our shabby houses could have been nice. Alas.

After lunch today, Jill and I came across this unusual parked bike. It is not locked, but the saddle and seatpost are missing. Did the owner remove them to reduce the risk of theft? Did a very dull thief steal them rather than riding off with the whole thing? Maybe I'll check on it later.

A handful of people foretold that Jill would be so uncomfortable this summer from the heat/pregnancy double whammy. As it turns out, this has been one of your milder summers. Today was feeling rather warm until a big thunderstorm rolled through bringing some welcome cooler air.
But now it's hot again.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

some nesting

No less than two people asked this week if our baby had been born yet.  Nope, and I agree that time is slogging along.  On the other hand, there is a certain terror rising for my impending fatherhood that need not accelerate.  36 weeks today.  Jill is off the meds.

But that doesn't mean that I'm sitting around in a nervous pool of dread.  Oh no!  Baby equipment has been assembled, understood, and tested with Raggedy Ann.

My latent green thumb has slightly surfaced.  These flowers had been in planters on our porch until I got the gumption to dig up some grass and put them in some fine IL soil.  Mercifully, they are still alive after 3 days.

Softball playoffs started this week, and Jill made her glorious return to the stands on Monday.  We won our first round game, but I am sad to report my performance: 4 bad plays in the outfield and only one hit.  Had the 4th bad play been good, the game would have ended.  Instead, we scored 3 runs in the bottom of the inning to win, the winner resulting from an outfield error with 2 outs.  I know how you feel, friend.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

ahead of the curve

Today was another successful visit to the doctor. Clara's performance in the non-stress test absolutely dominated; people are now questioning her age. I'm not sure that I can handle the pressure of raising a prodigy, so I offer up a couple of possible explanations. First, we gave her steriods. Probably she would test negative since it happened nearly two months ago, but I'm coming out a la Fausto Coppi rather than, say, every other pro athlete. Second, she may actually be a week or so older than listed because we just don't keep accurate records of these things.

The upshot is that Jill doesn't have to visit the doctor next week.

The updated mixte is on the road. I traded the unwanted parts from the bike to the seller in exchange for the front basket and rear rack. The white stripe on the black fender was Jill's idea, spray paint by me. Eventually, we'll get some shopping panniers for the rear rack.

I harvested about 6 plum tomatoes from our tomato plants at Raisin and Kiwi's house. At the time, Matt was in the backyard talking to a home repairman, so there was much excitement happening outside. I saw bright, smily kids watching the action from the window. Here's what it looked like from inside.