TheraPLEASE!

Daphne has had speech/development therapy every day this week because they’re trying to fit in the required sessions before Thanksgiving break.

And this morning, when her teacher arrived, she was over it.

Fortunately my BumbleSense alerted me that this was about to happen, so, just before the teacher arrived, we did some light mood reading. We cracked open one of her long-time favorites, “I Love My Bunny.”

“I love this story, Daddy!”

This is her sign for “more!

And then, her teacher arrived…

“Hey, who’s that?”

“Oh. It’s you. Again.”

Obviously she had to warm up to getting some work done, but after a quick crying jag she was identifying animals, pointing at Old Mac Donald’s eyes/hat/feet, and pushing the lot of them around in a tractor like a champ. So by the time I had to leave for work, it had been a pretty good session.

It didn’t stop us from sneaking in a little cuddle time here and there, though…

In other news, we’ve been trying to work our way through Stranger Things 2 on Netflix and it’s been…  “Disappointment” is too strong a word.
It’s been fine.

Just fine.

It feels a bit like watching weak episodes of Mad Men, where they hid the lack of plot substance behind a bunch of time period kitsch.

That said, It didn’t stop me from having several beers and playing around with the Stranger Things Facebook filters at No Label last Friday…

Old Things

Okay, see you next week.

j.s.

Cleaning Up

Hi there.

Things have been steady, in situationally adjusted terms, over this past week. Obviously there’s a very loud ticking clock in the background of my life right now, as I have just 5  weeks left of a job that I’ve held for the past 14 years.

I’ve been pushing out resumes everywhere, and have gotten several “no, thank you“s in response, and a lot of radio silence from the others.

I’m not panicking yet…
Yet.

I did, however, receive a minor admonishment from my mother that I needed to clean myself up the other day. It seems that in my stress, I’d forgotten to groom/manscape myself, and I was starting to look like I’d been trapped in a board game for 20 years.

What. Year. Is. It?

And so last night, after work, I drove over to the Boardroom Salon in Katy for their “Benchmark” service, with an additional beard/brow grooming ordered off their a la cheveux menu.

They offered me a scotch while I waited, but since the only thing I’d eaten all day was an apple and a tin of almonds, I thought better of it.

The entire process took roughly an hour of washing, trimming, shaving, plucking and waxing, but I seem to  have emerged on the other side slightly less unkempt.

Albeit still very, very grey… Sheesh.

So big thanks to Xenia there at Boardroom, who took care of me from start to finish. Including that whole bizarre paraffin dip thing, where my hands were submerged in in hot wax, wrapped in Ziploc baggies and then stuffed into oven mitts for 10 minutes while she washed my beard and scalp.

I get the concept, but unfortunately my hands/fingers were torn to shreds by schooner halyards long ago. I appreciate the effort, though.

Anyway, it was a nice, relaxing respite and while they are a bit pricey, I do recommend them. (And no, they have not compensated me in any way for saying all this.)

So Daphne is doing fine. I picked up some 3T jeans for her last week from The Gap (before I knew I was going to be laid off) assuming that she’d grow into them. However I tried them on her this morning and they fit perfectly. Her doctor visit last week did inform us that she’s still in the 91st percentile in length (clearly), however she’s only 33rd in weight.
Some of that was likely due to having that stomach bug and being unable to eat anything but rice and crackers for a week. But she’s been absolutely ravenous since then, so we’re not too worried about it.

Speaking of eating, it’s Friday! So I’m going to bounce out of here as soon as I possibly can and perhaps even swing by No Label for a beer or two with Jen, if she can escape early enough.

I’ll leave you all with the following. A BumbleDad Simulator that covers pretty much what my mornings look like, prior to getting Daphne out of bed.

See you next week.

j.s.

Timelines

Hi.

I don’t know where this post is going to go, so you’ll have to bear with my meandering. There’s a lot to cover.

First, we had a bit of cool weather last week, which was a wonderful respite from the disgusting, humid heat that we’ve endured long after the summer should have been over. The low was in the high 30’s, which totally counts as “cold weather,” even for someone who spent a long time living in a very cold clime.

 

Dust off the coat!

And now, let’s talk about Halloween…

Rock the Spectrum was throwing their Halloween party on Saturday evening, and so we headed there right after little Snow White here had her nap.

 

Halloween itself, however, was a bit of a bust.
It poured for most of the afternoon and continued to drizzle long into the evening. Couple that with a doctor visit earlier that day for a flu shot (which happened to conflict with naptime) and Daph was in no mood for trick or treating…or anything at all for that matter. So she went to bed at around 8.

Which means we have all these Snickers and Reese’s that weren’t passed out to children. And each one of those little Fun-Sized bastards screams my name from the depths of their candy bowl the moment I get home from work.

Work…
Okay, let’s talk about work.

Let’s see…I suppose I can dress this up in several different outfits, can’t I?

CorpSpeak: Due to fluctuations in the healthcare market the parent company has decided to consolidate its interests and reassess its risk priorities.
Accountants: Assets and FTEs in the satellite office are not cost-effective.
Motivational Poster: When one door closes, another one opens.

Real Talk: I’ve been laid off.

Yes, they’re closing our office next month and they’re throwing all of us out.

I’m not allowed to discuss the particulars of this because of the litigious tenets involved in my severance package. Suffice to say: I’m disappointed. I’m angry. And I’m scared.

I’d actually already been looking for a new job, but that’s been slow going and, naturally, I don’t know how long that will take. Or if we’ll still be able to afford our house when I do find one. And finally, any new position would undoubtedly carry a different work schedule than the one I’ve had for the past 3 years, so my mornings with Daphne will be a thing of the past.

I guess I’m just lucky I had them at all.

See you soon.

j.s.

Fluids. Fluids Everywhere…

The stomach flu dropped by to say hi and to see if we’d been diligent about stocking up on Lysol.

At around 1am early Saturday morning, I heard some coughing and crying coming from the baby monitor, each interspersed with light gagging/choking sounds. So I leapt out of bed and bolted upstairs to Daph’s room where I could just barely make out in the dark that she was sitting up in her crib and crying.

I reached down, put my hands under her arms to lift her up, and was met with a squish. The unmistakable sour cheese + chocolate bubble gum smell of vomit whirled up and caused a quick retch.

The first natural reaction is to recoil.
But then you downshift into Dad, and up she came…slathered in semi-digested blueberry yogurt that squelched against my t-shirt and lovingly transferred its scent to my chest as we headed to the bathroom.

In the light, however, it quickly became apparent that this was going to be a three-player game. Her pajamas, arms, legs, face, and hair were all covered in puke. And so I called for Jen to come upstairs and help as I turned on the bath water.

We dropped her in the tub and Jen began cleaning her off as best she could while I stripped Daph’s crib and carried the soiled sheets to the washer.

We had just gotten her out of the tub, sat her on the changing table, and put some clean pajamas on her when…

*heave*

“Whoa. Daph, you okay?”

*heave* 

“Daph?”

*buuuurp*

“Wow…that was…”

*retch*

This time she threw up all over her changing table and her fresh pjs. I scooped her up and ran back into the bathroom where she deposited the rest of the vomit into the tub.

Jen headed back downstairs to clean herself up and I stayed upstairs with Daphne, wiping her down and trying to console her. We headed into the guest bedroom where I put her down on the bed next to me and held her. She almost instantly fell asleep.

Then, 10 minutes later, her eyes suddenly opened and she groaned.

“Hey…you okay?”

*heave*

“Oh no…”

*heave*

“No, no, sweetie…in the tub!” I scooped her back up and began to make my way to the bathroom.

*retch*

This time on my shoulder and into my beard.

And it went on like this most of the night.

I swapped with Jen at about 2am and went downstairs to bed. She’d pretty much thrown up everything in her stomach by that point, but was still waking up every 20 minutes to dry heave and cry.

And so went our very first night with a vomitous toddler. Yes, this was the first time this had happened. And yes, it’s remarkable that we’d gone so long…

Saturday she threw up a couple more times after her “meals” (in quotes because we were sticking to the CRAG diet, Cheerios, Rice, Applesauce, and Goldfish, along with a whole lot of apple juice.), once onto the living room rug and another onto the couch. She was never running a serious fever throughout this ordeal, though, and so I didn’t think it necessary to involve a doctor.

That theory seemed to hold up on Sunday, as she wasn’t sick at all and held down some pasta. So we thought we’d rounded a corner and she was on the mend.

Laying on Beatrice helps…

I stayed home to take care of her on Monday, however, and she quickly disproved that little hypothesis.

When I went upstairs to get her in the morning, there was another puddle of vomit in her crib as well as on her pajamas. So I cleaned her up and brought her downstairs to lay in bed and watch some Little Baby Bum. Then, about an hour later, she began gagging again and I pulled her little head over so she would throw up on me instead of on our bed.

Which worked like a Swiss watch except, now I have a puddle of vomit on my sternum…
How do I get out of bed?

I eventually slid my way off without spilling on our sheets and comforter by kangaroo pouching the puke in my t-shirt, then stripped out of my clothes and carried Daph upstairs to clean her up again.

At which point she fired hot diarrhea into her diaper.

Poor kid…

So, a massive daughter reclamation project later, I carried her back downstairs and put her on the living room floor to lie on Beatrice again and relax.

This is a good spot, I guess.

And we stayed there for most of the day.

She ate 12 goldfish and a few bites of applesauce, along with 3 Nalgene bottles full of apple juice. Fortunately her appetite came back a bit by dinnertime, and she ate a decent amount of rice which, while it clearly put up a struggle, did manage to stay down. I don’t believe she’s thrown up since.

Her mom, however? That’s a different story.

Once again I awoke last night to the sounds of retching and coughing at 1am, and I came tromping upstairs to help Jen clean up Daph again. (She was staying upstairs in case Daphne got sick.) Then…I heard the toilet flush. And Jen walked out of the bathroom, wiping her mouth.

“Oh no…”

Oh yes. it seems that Daph imparted her little stomach virus onto her mother, and Jen spent the entire night being sick. She’s home right now, hopefully napping.

Which means, more than likely, I’m next on the hurl parade. At which point we might need to hermetically seal our house in plastic like in E.T. and wait for this thing to flush its way out of all of us.

So…I’ll see you from the bubble.

j.s.

Reaping Grains

Hey.

We had a really great family weekend. Saturday we spent the morning lounging around the house (well, pseudo-lounging…we were both technically working) and playing with Daphne.

On Sunday we took our annual trip to the Rice Harvest Festival in downtown Katy. Although these days it’s less of a “festival” per se, and more of a “we shut down the roads and rented that space to hundreds of vendors who mercilessly hawk their wares at you for as long as you wander the street…oh, and there are a few rides in the corner somewhere too.

I’m a little sad at what it’s become, honestly. Back in the day it was almost entirely rides, games, and sugary carnival treats with a few local handicrafts here and there. Now you’re assaulted by regional sales associates trying to convince you to switch electrical companies by spinning their Wheel o’ Swag…

$ ruins all, I suppose.

Anyway,  the carnival part was a good time. And the pumpkin patch at the nearby church is always awesome.

For reference, here are of a couple of last year’s photos:

  

And Sunday’s photos…

What a difference a year makes…

After the pumpkin patch, we headed back over to the carnival area with the express intent of embarking on The Daphne Equine Experience.

Where Daphne did, indeed, go on her very first pony ride.

Thanks to Gramps for snagging this video…

And she handled it like a champ.

This is baby stuff… Chute the bull, y’all; I’m ready.

j.s.

Playing Everywhere

Hi there.

We’ve been very busy.

Last Friday we met up with the speech therapist at We Rock the Spectrum in Katy, where Daphne just played and played and played…

This one was actually taken on a different visit, but it’s fine for getting the idea of the place…

They also have a zip line, which she wasn’t too sure about at first but, once I got her on there, she didn’t want to come off. Sadly, since I was the one holding her to the “zip” bit, I was a little busy to get pictures.

I did, however, get some footage of the trampoline jogging that went down for about 15 minutes straight…

Saturday we dropped Daph off with her grandparents since Jen and I had separate baby showers to attend, hers at a residence in Rice Village and mine at Spindletap Brewery.

This would be BumbleBrother, correctly beginning his Journey into Daddyhood by wearing strange things on his head.

Good times had by all, and we swung through No Label Brewery afterward for their Oktoberfest party, where Daphne ran and ran and ran some more…  Until, after it got dark and she’d been sprinting for about 30 minutes straight, we began to get concerned that we’d end the evening in the ER.

I apologize for the potato quality of this image. I didn’t realize the iPhone update turned the “Live” photo feature on.

Sunday was Jen’s first day not teaching Pure Barre, so BumbleDay has a new partner! We spent the morning having coffee and watching Daph play, then did our normal grocery run and called it a weekend.

The workweek has been…well, I’m not going to get into how it’s been. Let’s leave it with: it sucks. Moving on.

This morning, however, was the first nice day we’ve had in about 5 months (a cool front came through yesterday) and so Daph came out with us for our morning walk…on her tricycle choppah.

And she’s starting to get the idea…

Few more days (and perhaps some duct tape around those feet, adhering them to the pedals), and I think we’ll have it.

See you soon.

j.s.

Lost

Hi.

I know there hasn’t been a post in a bit, and I’m sorry. My work life has shuddered violently, and I find myself on very uneven footing.

The family-run business that I used to work for is now utterly gone, as they unceremoniously fired a family member (who made it what it was) last week, and I have no idea how to go forward without him here.

So there are a lot of difficult things ahead that I must face, not the least of which is somehow getting through this workweek.

“Be professional, Daddy.”

I’m trying, sweetie.

I’ll be back soon.

j.s.

Nibblenibblenibble…

We’ve started teaching Daphne how to take bites, rather than just cutting and/or breaking everything into bite-sized pieces.

This makes #4,592 on the list of things that never occurred to me you’d have to teach someone, but I suppose it is.

We started on BumbleDay last weekend with what I assumed would be a lay up, Saltines. But Daph had other plans.

She grabbed the cracker and immediately tried to jam the whole thing into her mouth, as she’d done with all other comestibles up to that point, and became confused when the process didn’t work. But, rather than break it, she just handed me the now partially soggy cracker, as if it were defective, and ran off.

Round 1: Defeat

So I herder her back over, snapped a new cracker in half, and tried again. She still didn’t get it, and ended up scurrying off again with the business end of a Saltine juttng out of her mouth.
Now I vaguely recall motherly admonishments about running whilst doing things (holding scissors, carrying soda, measuring pentaerythritol tetranitrate, etc.), and I’m pretty sure that there was a caveat in there somewhere about having crackers in your mouth. So we once again came to a slow, safe stop…and began skating in the opposite skating direction.

Round 2: Defeat

This time I took a fresh cracker out, broke it in half, stuck it in her mouth and said “nibblenibblenibblenibble-BITE!” and broke the cracker while it was still in her mouth on that last syllable.

Apparently, this is very funny.

So we did this same thing through 5 or 6 crackers before she pretty much had the whole thing down.

And now…

Round 3: Victory!

She’s totally got this.

j.s.

Metaphorically Underwater

Hey.

Yeah, it’s been a bit. Sorry. I’ve had a LOT going on these past couple of weeks.

I’ve actually had two different I.T. certification exams scheduled in just over 3 weeks. And, of course, there was a little storm there in between the two… I did pass my MCSA:

But I failed the N+ which, honestly, should’ve been the easier of the two exams. (I’m blaming that one on incorrect study materials.)

Why I would do something like that to myself, I couldn’t tell you…other than there’s a certain amount of inertia that gets built up as you’re spending the limited free time you have studying for exams, and I didn’t want to lose any momentum.
Also it’s hard to keep all this stuff at the forefront of your mind for very long. For example, this is an answer from the practice exam:

$Set-Mailbox "Rube Goldberg" -Type Shared -GrantSendOnBehalfTo Mousetrap Add-MailboxPermission -User Mousetrap -AccessRights FullAccess

Isn’t that awful?

And, God help me, I actually know what that string of gobbledegook means now…  It’s a PowerShell cmdlet (pronounced “commandlet,” which are way less adorable than they sound), that allows a user called “Mousetrap” to take over Rube Goldberg’s email box, but forces a “Sent on Behalf” alert to appear on every email they send as Mr. Goldberg.
Riveting stuff, I know.

I also have a ton of proofreading to do and I’m way, WAY behind on getting that wrapped up. Partly because of the storm, partly because of the aforementioned studying I’ve had to do for the day job, and partly because, instead of proofing the game instruction book like I was supposed to be doing, I instead spent the weekend hanging out with my wife and daughter…who are the reasons why I work so hard to begin with.

We went to No Label Brewery on Friday after work. Well, way after work. It actually took me 2½ hours to get from my office to my house…a 27 mile commute.  (That’s right. I averaged 10 mph the entire way home. Envy my life.)

But it was nice to sit outside and have a beer with Jen. And Daphne had a great time running around on their playground.

Yes, that’s a “Goonies Never Say Die” t-shirt. Envy my wardrobe, too.

On Saturday we drove out to Dragon’s Lair after naptime, where I picked up Whitehall Mystery, a game that has just been released and is proving difficult to order online.

I got lucky and nabbed their only copy.

It’s a slightly unsettling game, as one of you plays as Jack the Ripper, on the run from detectives and leaving dismembered pieces of your victim scattered around London, as per the real Whitehall murder of 1888.
Macabre, I know, but Jen and I had a really good time playing it on Saturday night after Daphne went to bed. I’m also trying not to be too concerned that she was very, very good at it. So, FYI: if she ever decides to hack me into pieces and scatter them around Houston…good luck finding her.

And on BumbleDay, after breakfast, I gave Daphne a pretty wide berth and let her play by herself for most of the morning. And she seemed fine by that. Every so often she’d careen out of her playroom, book in hand, and have me read to her for a bit.  Then she’d sprint back in to play by herself some more. Was good for her, I think.

We did our usual grocery thing (which was already significantly less expensive, thanks Mr. Bezos!) albeit without the grilled cheese. Turns out they stopped making grilled cheeses, and now they’re just a beer/wine bar. Disappointing, but if it means we save $$$ on our groceries I guess that’s fine…

And now we’re all back to work for our first full week in almost a month.

And on that note, I’m going to get back to it.

But, because I can’t possibly go a full post without a picture of my daughter, here’s another one I found of Daph reading while Harvey did his thing in the background.

See you soon.

j.s.

Periscope Up

Hi.

We’re all okay.

**exhales deeply**

That said, not everyone around us is. There are a lot of rivers and bayous that have yet to crest, so please continue to keep Houston in your thoughts…

Now, let’s go back to Friday.

I left work around 3 and headed home, stopping for gas once more at my Super Secret Petrol Station. (It’s not really a secret…it’s the Exxon at the north corner of I-10 and 1463. Last I checked they still have gas and there are no lines, for anyone who’s in need.)

Once home, I battened everything down, reefed the main, and settled in for a blow.

“Are you SURE you know what you’re doing, Dad?”

As Harvey began to punch The Body of Christ Corpus Christi, I watched the tracking (or lack thereof) of the storm very closely. My hope was that, because it had spun up to a Category 4 hurricane before making landfall, that spin might pull the eye directly inland, and we would be spared the worst-case scenario that I mentioned last week.

Yeah, wrong about that one, Jer…

The models became more and more in sync, and began to paint an increasingly worrisome picture. By Sunday I’d become concerned enough to inflate a spare mattress we’d used for a friend’s visit a few months ago, with the express intention of using it as a failsafe flotation device for Jen and Daphne (with yours truly acting as the propeller), should we need to sail to safety.

“Are you SURE you know what you’re doing, Dad?”

And I’m happy to report that it never came to that.

On Monday, the call to evacuate Jen’s parent’s place was made. They packed up what they could and came to our house to ride out the rest of the storm. They actually went back home yesterday afternoon, and from what we’ve heard their house is doing okay.

You’ve all seen countless images and videos of this stuff, so I don’t need to add too many more here. But here are a few shots and videos of our local Flewellen Creek, which is about 200 yards from my front door.

Yeah, on Friday night I was still having a beer or two. That stopped once things became a bit more dire…

 

For reference, it’s supposed to look like this:

But by Wednesday morning we’d turned a corner, and the skies started to clear. We took Daphne out in her wagon for a change of scenery. (Honestly it was for all of us; we were all pretty sick of being stuck in the house…)

Finally, Jen and I would like to thank all of you for your concern for us. We really appreciated the messages and check-ins on Facebook. You’re awesome people.

Talk to you soon,

j.s.