We make holes in teeth!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Our Child is Perfect

I know, I know. Every parent thinks this - that their child, more than any other child, is perfect. There are all sorts of metrics that people use to measure where their newborn/infant/child/kid/young adult/etc stands in the world. No matter where they rank in this or that activity, parents tend to find a reason to declare that their kid is ahead of the curve, or right on the curve where they should be, or behind the curve in an attempt to build up kinetic energy and slingshot past the other people on the curve.

But our child is different. It's uncanny. I never thought I would be like this but it's really true. Initially, the kid came out crying. I mean, before she opened her eyes she was screaming to the world. I assume the dialog - which I obviously couldn't understand - was something like this, "HOOOOOOLY FUUUUCKING SHIIIIIIIT." Then she opened her eyes.

I mean, credit her for knowing so early that this was a big bad world which she wasn't going to like. She only verified this when she opened her eyes, to the tune of, presumably, "HOOOOOOLY FUUUUCKING SHIIIIIIIT." Again, credit her for knowing what was coming and saying such when she took the time to actually look. From this, I assume she was working exactly as expected - the perfect little child.

The next clue was days 5 through 12, an 8 day span which saw her gain 24 ounces. Again, there are all sorts of spots on the curve but this meant that she was eating well, gaining well, and mommy was producing a lot of milk. Perfect, just perfect. A few days ago I went through the checklist of one month brain development and at 3 weeks she's got all the checkpoints down - the last of which being her being ability to follow daddy's big fat ugly head from side to side. It's pretty cool, actually. I assume the look of stark terror on her face is because she's not sure which expression goes with which mental state. Since she's not crying while she follows me I assume she can only be happy. The stark terror expression assuredly must be some sort of temporary cross-wiring in the cranial circuits that just haven't developed quite yet.

And then last night we hit another major milestone, something that most children never even manage to accomplish, let along do so within their first 23 days of life. Last night, much to my astonishment and amazement, she managed to repeatedly turn her head around 360 degrees while simultaneously spitting fire and brimstone out of her mouth, nose, eyes, and ears. While I admit that the decided lack of sleep was exhausting, and the fire engulfing the walls of our house was disconcerting, this particular feat ensured that we had a baby who is head and shoulders ahead of any of these developmental charts they tell you to track your newborn's progress against.

So anyway, I'm tired. We don't have a perfect baby. But in between the stark declarations of, "HOOOOOOLY FUUUUCKING SHIIIIIIIT" last night, she did kinda look cute every once in a while. When you're working with no sleep coupled with fire and brimstone, you really need to key in on the bright spots.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Weekly Linux Meeting

By the grace of good fortune the Weekly Linux Meeting is done with. For the better part of a year, the weekly Linux meeting would be held every Tuesday on the 4th floor, from 3:00 to 4:00. Initially, my boss went to the weekly Linux meeting, but then he got bored of it and started delegating it to me. For a few weeks I sat bemused, and then I got bored by it. Unfortunately, I have nobody to delegate things to. So I was stuck with it.

Week by week this meeting represented nothing more than a waste of time, which in itself isn't that bad a thing. The real bummer is that it meant I was never able to catch the early train on Tuesday. When you knock out 20% of the available early trains in any given week because of a stupid meeting you care little about, it then becomes more than a waste of time. It becomes a burden.

The real downer was that I had little to nothing in common with the other people there. By some obvious mistake, I was put in this meeting to represent our department, which is a joke since the title of the group is the Linux Center of Excellence. Why they would put me in it is beyond me. But hey, if they think I'm excellent who am I to argue? For the record, I did not offer a single useful contribution to the cause. But it did cause me to get home later every Tuesday.

In general, it was a management meeting, which explains why my manager was invited and not me, the decidedly non-excellent dope in the group. Aside from this small detail, everyone there has a different agenda than I have. These are people who want to strive for the top, to reach to pinnacle of the corporate ladder. I, on the other hand, want to catch the early train as often as possible. I am on no ladder; see no pinnacle. I have grass to cut, a bike to ride, and beer to drink. Climbing the corporate ladder will always take a back set to climbing a real ladder to remove the winter slop from the gutters.

I also found it impossible to believe that anyone in that room rode a mountain bike. Sure, there were the stark differences in inter-personal skills that were obvious. And there was the fact that everyone there wore a tie and I often don't tuck in my shirt. But physically it was clear to me that nobody there rides a mountain bike, nor do they think of riding mountain bikes. These are also the kinds of people who schedule their next haircut at the end of the current haircut. I usually wait until my wife starts complaining or my hair obscures the view when I drive.

So today is Tuesday and I have no weekly Linux meeting, thankfully. I'll do my best to jet out of here at 3:45 and make the 4:32 to Gladstone out of Hoboken. This gets me in the door around 5:35, which sounds like a really long commute when you put it that way. I could probably leave at 4:00 and make it, most of the time. But why bother? I like to make sure I hit that 4:32, since it gives me the most time at home. Granted, the view at home is a lot louder these days with a crying daughter. But she doesn't wear a tie either. So I think I've got a lot more in common with her.

Monday, May 08, 2006

On the Road Again

By Willie Nelson. Usually when I get back on the bike after some time off I sing Back in the Saddle Again by Aerosmith. Yesterday, for whatever reason, I continued to cycle Willie Nelson's tune instead. Why that is, I have little more of an idea than you might. Perhaps as I get older, I tend to identify more with old Willie than with the never-say-die mediocrity of Aerosmith.

Regardless of the theme song, the point remains that I went for not 1 but 2 road bike rides this weekend. Sunday marked the 3 week point in my daughter Julia's life, which explains why I Was off the bike in the first place. Given the rigors of having a new screaming person who needs constant holding, feeding, and diaper changes, I think 20 days off isn't bad at all.

I did 2 of my common rides, the first being a short 14 mile loop out the township road and back through the swamp, and the other a nice 17 mile hill ride out route 512 and back through some of the side roads of Warren. Compared to my earlier rides this year, I'm not where I was before Julia was born. This can't be a surprise given that I'm sleeping little and eating like shit these days. But I am posting the same averages I was pulling in at the end of last season, which is saying something.

I don't think I can ride more than 90 minutes at this stage. By the end yesterday I was happy to be done. That came in just under an hour and 10 minutes. I could have done a little more but I had ridden enough, so was happy to be home. The last hill up and over to get back to the house hurt more than it should. So yeah, I pulled the same average as last year's end-of-season but I think adrenaline may have played a small part in that. But to be fair, I'm not exactly well rested.

You would think my first blog in three weeks would deal more with my new daughter, the experience in the hospital, and life at home. It's almost like there's too much to tell at this point, a blog entry can't really do justice. Also, I find it difficult to remember a lot of what happened in the past 3 weeks. Much of life has been a blur. This weekend's ride signifies a small step towards getting back into the swing of things. I did yardwork, went for bike rides, ran errands, drank a few beers - normal weekend life. Add to that the constant attention one needs to devote to a newborn and you have a pretty full weekend.

So the title of this post is meant to be a direct comment on my getting on the road bike again, but it's more than that. Saturday we had our very first day where Natalie, Julia, and myself had the whole day alone with nothing we needed to do. Sunday was more or less the same, but Woody came by with lunch and I got to play with Me-J a little bit. More importantly, this weekend serves as a milestone in getting back to our past habits, but with a new daughter in the mix.

A lot of the difficulty in having a kid is trying to do the things you like to do (maybe sleep, read, watch TV, hike, zone out, cook, clean, yardwork, exercise - you name it) but remain attentive to the crying child at hand. At this early age, they don't cry for attention so much as they can't cope with stimulation or slight discomfort. So you need to be on your toes 24/7 until they get a sense that everything is ok in the world. Basically, that means dropping the book immediately or not getting too attached to the idea that you can eat dinner at 6:00 every night. If you accept the idea that life is going to get cranked up a little bit for a few weeks or months, then it's really not that bad. You deal with it and pick the book back up when she goes to sleep.

Anyway, I'm on the road again.

Accommodation in aviemore