Subsidized Swimming and Sleeping

Hi there.

I apologize for yet another lengthy delay in posting, but I’ve been updating the back-end of this site to help ensure that it, and everyone browsing it, is safe from the less-than-savory types that lurk in the darkened corners of the Interwebs. You know, the ones with neckbeards and meme t-shirts (in size “husky”), wearing fedoras and peering angrily through a haze of vape smoke.

And honestly, it’s been a bit of a hassle.

However! Chrome users should note that the dubious “NOT SECURE” tag next to the website URL above is now gone.  And at some point McAfee will get around to verifying the site and they should add a little footer at the bottom to reassure everyone that the site is secure.

So there you go. Safe as BumbleHouses. Moving on.

There have been a couple of developments with Daphne’s swim classes. The first is that she has completed her beginner “survival swim” lessons. And here is the moment where she graduated…

I won’t lie. There was a moment of concern when it took her a while to come back up…

And so, in a perceptibly proud moment, her teacher came over after this class and handed her a little t-shirt badge that allowed her to go to the front desk and collect her official Texas Swim Club t-shirt.

We’re very proud of our little fish. And Texas Swim Academy has been fantastic to us throughout the (nearly) 4 months that we’ve been going there. I can unquestionably recommend them if you’re looking for swim lessons for your little one, neurotypical or otherwise. (And no, they’re not subsidizing that comment in any way.)

But speaking of subsidies…

A while ago we were given an application for a “scholarship” from a program called KNOWAutism. The focus was to help kids with autism pursue extracurricular activities like horseback riding, adaptive yoga and…yes, swimming classes. 

So I filled out the paperwork, wrote a little letter to them about Daphne (you know, like I’m wont to do), and last week they emailed me back an approval for a scholarship for our favorite little one.

So Daphne’s swim classes are now completely paid for through the end of the year, thanks to KNOWAutism and the wonderful people who’ve donated to them.

Quick pause with a mouthful of Cheerios to celebrate.

So, from my entire family, thank you all very, very much. It’s been a pretty challenging year, and that money will help us more than you know.

Thank you.

But you know? This little girl has worked really hard at her swim lessons.

So I think she’s earned it.

Regardless, congratulations on both of these, Daphne. Mommy and Daddy are very, very proud of you and we’re so happy that other folks are getting to see what a wonderful little person you are.

Now, that being said, we need to talk a little about your sleeping habits…

Up until now, sleeping through the night has been one of the things that we thankfully didn’t concern ourselves with too much. Aside from the normal lack of rest that comes standard with a new baby, Daphne has always been a great sleeper.

But recently, she’s taken to waking up at around 3am and crying and/or playing for a couple hours before going back to sleep.

This has, quite obviously, wreaked havoc on our morning schedule.

“No juice. Coffee. Coffee now.”

To go from her usual 9-10 hours of rest, to suddenly getting less than 7 has clearly been rough.

“I think we need to call in a ‘snuggle day’ from school. Do they have those?”
Seriously Dad? I’m exhausted, and I’m just trying to get through this applesauce. No pictures.

It hasn’t been an every night affair, but I’d say it’s happening about twice a week? Enough to where we’ve gone back to the days of audibly instructing begging her to sleep through the night when she goes to bed.

And last night was a rough one too.

Hopefully this is just a phase or something and she’ll go back to her 9-hours-of-uninterrupted-sleep self soon.

Hopefully.

j.s.

After School Specials

Hi there.

So this is slightly awkward, as WordPress has created a new interface called “Gutenberg” (presumably Johannes and not Steve) which is making for a very strange text editor. I guess I’ll get used to it, but right now it feels like I’m tweeting or something…

Anyway, as I mentioned about a week ago, Daphne has started school again and is doing quite well. **knocks on wood**  Granted, there have been a few small bumps here and there, but they mostly involve the other children and their penchant for crying rather than eating their lunch. (This in turn causes Daphne to cover her ears rather than eat her own snack…) All in all, things are going well though.

That said, we think it’s really important that she continues her physical activities. And so we’re continuing to take her to swim class…

Her jumps are getting better and better

and I brought her with me to the rock gym for the first time last week.

Lemme get this straight. I hold on to these things…
And use them to climb up there?
That. Is. Awesome!

At one point, after no small amount of coaxing and reassurance, she wandered over to the wall on her own and began her very first climb.

Okay. This is harder than it looks, Dad.

Not wanting to push a good thing too far, we left the kids’ climbing area after this and I let her just run around the bouldering area.

Yes, we had as much fun as it looks.

When we’re not at school, or the natatorium, or the climbing gym, we’re hiding inside from the brutal Texas weather. 

This is the part of the year where I start to get a little freaky about the heat, and desperation for a cold front begins to manifest. I start to eye my sweaters longingly, sigh when passing over my corduroys in favor of a pair of “dadcore” cargo shorts, and I start to organize my hoodies…you know, just in case.

Daphne seems to have a similar idea as well, as she’s been getting on her tricycle and into her wagon in the afternoons. And I have to sit her down and explain to her that, no sweetie, we can’t leave the house because the Earth has somehow shifted in orbit to 30 miles away from the Sun, and the climate outside has become demonic. 

She’s taken it in stride so far.

You are a strange and silly man, Daddy.

Sadly, we’re about 2 months removed from any serious change in the weather to allow such things. So, if you’re looking for us, until then we’ll be found anywhere there’s air-conditioning.

See you later.

j.s.

Elementary Elements

Hey there.

Yes, today was the first week of school.

Yeah, I know that isn’t exactly Annie Leibovitz material. Sorry. Daphne wasn’t exactly being cooperative with the sign.

Okay, now can you hold the sign up? Wait! Don’t get chalk on your jeans!

And I’m happy to say that she made it with a minimum of fuss, although there were indeed a few tears when I dropped her off. (Some were even hers.)

And after I drop Daphne off at school, I go directly to Momentum Rock Gym to work out, the membership to which was my birthday present. (From various sources, but the idea was Jen’s.)

This place.

Just between you and me, Internet? The BumbleDad has gotten more than a little beamy from being home all the time and generally eating terribly. So doing a bit of exercise/climbing has been a great way for me to start the day. And since I’m more than halfway to the gym when I leave Daph’s school, it works out pretty well.

After climbing I go back home, clean up (the carnage of a speedy breakfast is always rough) work on some proofreading/job hunting, and then it’s just about time to go get The Little Girl again.

One who seemed none the worse for wear when I picked her up after her first day…

This ‘Tom’s Diner‘ song is fire, Daddy!

Daph is still adjusting to the schedule though. I had She had gotten used to sleeping in until 8:30, and lounging around the house before a leisurely breakfast at around 10.

She comes home pretty tired in the afternoons, and has even started putting herself down for her nap.

No, I’ve no idea why the flash cards are in bed…

Yesterday we pushed it even further, and she had a swim class right after school.

She’s getting really good…

From there, she went to her grandparents’ place and played for the rest of the afternoon, sans nap. All of these things combined to make for a very tired little girl last night, and she was asleep a little after 9:00.

So the schedule slowly, methodically, gets whacked into some semblance of normalcy after the chaos of summer.

We’ll see if we can keep it up next week.

Until then!

j.s.

p.s. These were from this morning and were too adorable not to share. Even the teachers on door duty pointed and clasped their hands to their hearts as she walked by.

 

Where’ve You Been?

Hey.

Sorry about that. I’ve been pretty busy with a non-stop barrage of editing assignments, job hunting and sojourns throughout Texas.

The first I can’t really go into because of NDA stuff, but it’s been a goodly amount of work and I’ve another 2 projects that I’m in the midst of right now. Sadly it doesn’t quite pay the mortgage, but it’s been a not insignificant amount of money that I’ve earned with them the past 6 weeks. So it helps.

Speaking of which, the job hunting thing continues. I was actually quite close to accepting a job in Plano last week but Jen and I determined that uprooting isn’t the best move for Daphne right now. She’s doing so great in all of her therapy and classes that it just didn’t seem like the right choice..

I did, however, have a rather interesting stay at a hotel up there.

I rented a car through Expedia (I didn’t want to put 500 miles on the Juke in 105° heat) and they gave me a really good deal on a room at the NYLO Plano.

Looks nice, right?

I checked in, got my room, and upon opening the door I found that it was nearly identical in size and shape to a freight container.

Replete with water-stained concrete ceilings!

Which, you know, was fine. Not great, but I just needed to stay the one night and then head home after my interview. Who cares if I’m sleeping in a Cinder Block Simulator?

I got settled atop the comforter, and worked on my proofreading until I was so tired that I’d read the same paragraph 5 times on a loop without realizing it. At which point I pulled the comforter and sheet back and found…a mattress pad.

Now I was pretty tired, so it took me a second to figure it out, but it seems that the maid service skipped the whole “fitted sheet” step, and just tucked a flat sheet in over the mattress. I stood there confused for a moment, then gave the equivalent of a mental shrug and climbed between the sheet and comforter.

And I’ll tell you, fitted sheets are a thing for a reason.

Without them, the flat sheet and mattress pad combo tends to bunch up as you move in your sleep, and you’ll subsequently awake at various points in the night contorted around a strange topography of bedding. This, in turn, prompts what I’ve called the “Smoothy Bounce.” That’s where you bounce your whole body up off the bed (while still laying prone), grab the sheets with both hands, and shoot your arms out sideways mid-air in an effort to create a small flat area for you to go back to sleep on. I did this several times that night…

The next morning, tired from lack of sleep, I slowly padded over to my personal Keurig machine for some “coffee” (I’m decidedly anti-Keurig, but that’s a post for another time), popped the lid, and was confronted by another man’s used Keurig pod, still sitting in the hopper.

Again, this is not a huge deal. But it’s not the way you want to start a day. Particularly when you have an interview in a few hours and you’re already tired from performing the equivalent of a Gabby Douglas floor routine all night in an effort to smooth your bedding.

So I (gingerly) removed the expended plastic caffeine nugget, replaced it with a fresh caffeine nugget, and went about my day.

When I mentioned these issues to the front desk as I was checking out, the young man just stared blankly at me for a few moments, then said “okay, I’ll make a note for housekeeping.”

Fantastic, Gustave. That’s very helpful at this point, since I’m checking out and all…
Wunderbar.

Okay, that’s enough complaining about my temporary accommodations; let’s talk about Daph.

Yeah, I guess that hotel story did go a bit long…

Daph is doing great. There were minor hiccups in her speech class this week, but her swim classes are still going, er, swimmingly.

She’s able to float on her back by herself now, and is starting to get the hang of doggy paddling. Her teacher even allowed me to take a quick video last week, since there weren’t any other kids around:

Awesome, right?

Shortly after we took this, we packed up the Juke and headed to Seguin to visit the grandparents. (Leg two of the earlier referenced “sojourns.”)

There was the requisite amount of relaxing there (I actually got a lot of work done, as I had a deadline looming) but Daphne did her usual swimming and swinging thing.

We also dropped in on my brother- and sister-in-law in Georgetown while we were nearby (leg 3), who both seem to be doing fantastically well. Was great to catch up with them.

And today, Daphne is wrapping up a quick speech therapy session before we hit her last swim class for the week. Actually this is a make-up day, as the pool was ominously closed yesterday for “decontamination.”

And given my squeamishness about handling a used Keurig pod, I really don’t think I want to know what that means.

Talk to you soon.

j.s.

Just Ask the StoryBots

Hey there.

So it seems Little Baby Bum has finally met its match, and is slowly being replaced by the StoryBots. (And there was much rejoicing.)

In essence, StoryBots are little automations that live inside computers and do nothing but help answer questions for inquisitive kids. Things like “Why does night happen?” and “Where do french fries come from?” are standard fare.

The best part about this is that Jen and I have become fans of StoryBots too; the songs are catchy, and the dialogue and animations are often quite clever.

Strangely enough, we actually heard about StoryBots at a “Gamer Parenting Strategy Guide” panel back at the Pregnancy PAX. (I even wrote about it HERE.) After which, Jen and I both forgot about it completely for over 3 years…until last week, when we happened to catch them on Netflix.

Turns out the show was nominated for six Emmys. Who knew?

Anyway, if you have small kids, definitely check out StoryBots. There’s a ton of content on their site, and they even have an app.

Here’s the link to Apple’s App Store

In other news, we’ve been trying to expand Daphne’s gastronomic palate a bit. These past few weeks we’ve successfully added things like nectarines, peanut butter on toast, tortilla chips, and bananas to her diet.

I had had zero success, however, with my attempt to get her to try “hamburoni,” which is an old family recipe.

“Hambi-what? Sure, I’ll try it…”

“Um…on second thought, I’m not really hungry.”

“No. No thank you. Really.”


“Didn’t get the hint, Dad? Fine. Get that hideous gruel away from me before I throw up in it. Not that anyone would notice.”

We’ll work on it.

See you guys next week.

j.s.

In Dependents

Hey there.

So I realize it’s been a while, but honestly there hasn’t been a whole lot new to divulge.

Daph is still doing her swim classes…


She’s getting really good at floating on her back.

and she still has her speech therapy on Mondays and Thursdays which, I’m happy to say, have improved.
I think we’ve all noticed a few more words and/or repetition of sounds from her lately, albeit randomly, which is a wonderful and disorienting shock each time it occurs.
Whether that’s attributable to the lessons or not is up for debate, but they certainly aren’t hurting.

Yesterday was Independence Day, and we had a good part of the family over to grill hot dogs and corn on the cob. The weather, however, had other plans…


This city… Seriously…

And so we boiled the dogs and corn on the stove instead. Regardless, it’s always nice to have family in one place for a while.

Stuck inside on the 4th…

Later, after Daph went to bed, Jen and I eschewed my semi-traditional Independence Day viewing and reading of the Declaration of Independence, and replaced them with a late-night showing of Jaws, which is a vastly superior holiday film on all counts. (Although the editing of that movie is really, really bad…)

And now we have the rest of the week, sans swimming/speech, in which we must come up with clever ways to entertain our daughter while trying to stay cool. We still have another 3 months of 90-100° heat coming, so we’ll be A/C hopping until Octoberish.

I don’t know how long Jen will be able to keep up those monkey sounds..

Okay, see you guys soon.

j.s.

The Life Aquatic

Hey there.

So Daphne is in full swing with her summer regimen. On Mondays she has speech therapy, and I wish there was more to report on that front. Sadly, there hasn’t been a whole lot in the way of movement there. In fact, yesterday was one of the worst vocal stimming days we’ve heard in a while. (For those unaware, kids with autism often make a constant noise while playing/handling things. In Daphne’s case, it sounds like a sustained “uhhhhhhhhh, uhhhhhhhhhh.” This is referred to as “stimming,” a derivative of “stimulus.”)

However, in entirely brighter news, she’s also started swimming lessons.

She goes 4 days a week to the local Texas Swim Academy and she’s doing fantastically. She loves going underwater, she’s getting to the point where she can float on her back by herself, and today she actually kicked and moved her arms underwater for a short way to reach the side of the pool. And all this after just 2 weeks.

The Texas Swim Academy itself is a great little facility, although if we’re being totally honest here I do find the biblical graffiti that’s scrawled all over the walls (in paint pen) a little unsettling. But that’s a tiny issue; the instructors there have been really great.

Honestly, the hardest parts about these swim lessons have been:

1. Getting her to wait in the lobby beforehand. She takes my hand, walks me over to the glass door that leads into the natatorium, and points forcefully at the pool as if to say “Dad. Seriously. What are we doing just standing here? The pool is right there. I’m already in my swimsuit. Do I have to spell this out for you?”

“Come ON! Let’s do this!”

2. Consoling her once they’re over. Each daily session is only 15 minutes long, which goes by in a blink. And when her instructor tells her what a great job she did and that it’s time to get out of the pool, there are often a few tears and protestations. Hey, the little girl loves to swim.

Not today though. Today she wanted to dole out the wet pool hugs.

And better that than the howling shrieks of the other little ones we’ve encountered there, who have ZERO interest in being dunked underwater.

The other great part about these lessons is that we decided to do this as a family. So all of us get in the car every day to drive over to the Swim Academy together. Not only is it huge amounts of fun to watch Daph in the pool, it forces us to get up, get dressed, and get out of the house each day. Whereas otherwise, there isn’t much of a call for such things right now…what with me unemployed and Jen on her summer break.

We’ve gone through enough school breaks to know that if you don’t get up, get going, and do something every day, the summer rockets right by and Jen feels like she missed it, or didn’t make the most of it. So having a daily errand/to-do is a really good thing.

And finally, I want to wish a happy 11th birthday to one Señor Jib.

It was 11 years ago today that I drove him from the cage at the SPCA, and brought him home to my little garage apartment in the Heights, where we became the bestest of friends.

I’d had him about 6 weeks when this picture was taken.

Happy birthday my Jibbous.

Okay, see you guys soon.

j.s.

Circling Around

Hi there.

Yeah, it’s been a bit. Last you saw me I was returning home after a long trek to California. One that, sadly, turned out to be a waste of time.

No, they didn’t hire me.

And just between you and me, internet…that one stung a little. I had mentally prepared myself for that to be my life. For my family to be Californians. To work with drones. I’d even started looking at school districts and commute distances. That’s how far I thought we’d gotten.

Turns out it was only me who thought that.

And it hit me really hard when they did eventually tell me they weren’t “moving forward.” (Which took 10 days of agonizing waiting.) It still does, actually. Moreso now that I’m back to grinding job sites, and getting slapped with several rejection letters a day. It’s hard not to be a little bitter.

But listening to me feel sorry for myself is not what you’re here for. So let’s get to that instead.

Daph, Jen and I have indeed started our summer together. And one of our first major outings was to Comicpalooza at the George R. Brown downtown.

Sadly, the convention was not worth even talking about. Except to lament that it was $100 that I really wish I hadn’t spent. Not even close to being worth it. It looked like a giant flea market with a celebrity bazaar next door.

What was worth the price of admission, however, were the fountains in the park nearby.

This picture says a lot. I’m happy (and saddened) with how it came out.

Anyway, that part was a good time, and totally worth the trip downtown.

There’s also been quite a bit of snuggle/nap time while the job hunt ensues.

Jib is happy about all this time we get to spend together as well.

The dog who isn’t happy with us, however, is Alex.

We’d become increasingly concerned about the mass that had grown on his forehead. It was a huge pink lump that had tripled in size in as many months, occasionally bled, and it was not far from growing into his eye.

And so, we took him to the vet to have it removed.

And I’ll tell you, when I picked him up after his surgery, I wasn’t sure if I’d made the right decision.

Look how miserable this poor little guy is…

“Perhaps” I thought, “he’s old enough to where I should’ve just let it be.”

He had to wear that cone for almost 2 weeks, and in all that time he never got used to it. This very morning, just before we went back in to have his stitches removed, he was still walking into walls and accidentally flipping his food bowl over with it.

But, as I said, today he got his stitches out and was finally emancipated from the cone of shame.

Happy puppies make all of it worthwhile.

Okay, I’m off. Have a great week everyone.

j.s.

 

BumbleDadventure – California: The End

Time to begin the trek back to Texas.

The Treksas.

But first, because hope springs eternal, I did some circuits to various little towns that are near the flight facility, just in case they do hire me. (Have I mentioned I wasn’t all that enthralled with Davis?) And I found a couple, with the help of one of the guys at the company, that I believe might fit my little family perfectly.

Highest on my list would be the town of Winters, CA.

Center of town.

This is a brand new, huge playground area that Daphne would love. (The dedication for it is actually today.)


The Preserve is part of the farm-to-table paradigm that seems to be very big in this area. And I gotta say, my turkey pesto sandwich was the best I’ve ever had…and this was after it’d been catered out to us on the work site.

This walking bridge spans “Arroyo Putah.” (I guess “Whore Creek” didn’t quite have the ring they were looking for.)

Anyway, I really liked Winters. Should these things come to pass, this will undoubtedly be my first stop for potential places for us to move.

I also looked at Woodland, which was…also nice.  But very suburban. Lots of strip malls, fast food and mass market stores. All of which are part of what I’d like to leave behind in Texas.

At around noon it occurred to me that I was actually 2 hours farther away from LA than I was on the trip up, and so it was time to make my way back to the train station.

A VERY long drive ensues down I-5 (and there’s absolutely nothing to see but farmland and/or brown grass along the way) and, many podcasts later, I arrived at Union Station in LA. At which point I drive in circles for 15 minutes looking for the Hertz Rent-a-Car drop off, until I’m told by an attendant that you have to drive up to a plastic barrier (that has no signs), and tell a police officer (who is hidden in a chair) there that you want to return a rental car, at which point he’ll part the barriers so you can drive down a very small ramp into the parking garage.

Of course. How foolish of me. Such a tourist moment.

Who wouldn’t drive straight for the nearest cop and demand entry through a blockaded area and down into an impossibly obscured pit?
This is L.A., after all.

Speaking of L.A., Union Station is pretty sketchy at night. I had 2 homeless guys demand bites of my pretzel as soon as I bought it, and a jacked up crackhead pooped her sweatpants while passed out in a corner outside. But the pictures I took in there make it look really nice…

Like a trendy coffee shop.

It isn’t. Trust me.

I boarded my train at 9:30pm, and we were on our way back to Tejas by 10.

At which point, this became the scenery once again…

And as I’m writing this, we just passed over the Colorado River, and are about an hour and a half away from Houston.

I have yet to hear back from the company I interviewed with, but should anything come of that gamble I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say about it here.

Still has me a little nervous, though.

I mean, does the lack of correspondence mean they’ve decided they DO want to hire me and have to begin pushing it through the proper channels before calling me back and officially offering me a position?
Or maybe it means they’re undecided, and need time to sleep on it?
Or does it mean I was so not even close to what they were looking for that they’re not worried about getting back to me, and they’ll shoot me a “thank you but no” email next week?
Maybe more people interviewing/doing site visits?

Clearly I’ve had a lot of time to sit on the train, stare out the window, and ruminate on this.

Although, while I’ve been waiting, one Mr. Musk reopened the same position in McGregor that I already applied for once…so I just rang that bell again.

Can’t hurt.

So anyway… Here endeth the BumbleDadventure – California series.Thanks for coming along with me. And I’ll see you guys soon.

j.s.

BumbleDadventure – California: Day Six

The day has arrived. The on-site interview. The reason I did this whole thing in the first place.

I’m up at about 5:30 and get ready,  choke down a couple terrible cups of in-room Best Western coffee, and my ride picks me up at 7:30.

Sadly, there are no pictures of any of my time there because it was against the NDA I signed. In fact, I can’t really talk a whole lot about any of it without jeopardizing my chances at getting hired. Suffice to say I did really enjoy it, and it was like no vocation I’ve ever had in my life.

It wasn’t like anything I’ve ever done in my life, nevermind as a job.

And yes, I very much liked it. I was there for almost 8 hours, and not a single moment felt like work. Learning an entirely new nomenclature, technology, and rudimentary aeronautical physics was daunting, a little frustrating, and really exciting…all at once.

Generally speaking, I think it went well. And I’m contenting myself with the belief that they got an excellent picture of who I am, what I’m like to work with, my endlessly inquisitive nature (I must’ve asked what 3/4 of the things on their whiteboard meant), and where many of my strengths and weakness lie.

They drove me back to the hotel at around 4, and informed me that they would all convene about me that evening or the following day (Friday) and they would get back to me after they’d made a collective decision.

And yes, before you ask, that’s a little nerve wracking.

Anyway, after the day I was pretty tired. So I grabbed another quick bite at the pub and then headed back to my room to finish proofreading, and try to replay everything that I’d learned on the site that day, in an effort to actually store it all.

I didn’t get far in the proofreading before my eyes got heavy, and I crashed out at around 10, which ended a very, very interesting day in my life.

And, regardless of the outcome, it’s one I’ll never forget.

j.s.