blarg?

Oblique

“So, how does it feel to be back at the office?”

“Well, in truth, some of the time it’s quiet, some of the time it’s noisy. Now and then there’s a lot of screaming from people who don’t really understand what’s going on, and every now and then something shits itself and needs changing. It’s really not that different, now that I think about it. Not as cute, I think.”

“So, we’re all a bunch of babies?”

“Did I say that? No, I couldn’t possibly have.”

Who's Scruffy Lookin'

So, I scoffed about installing a carseat, but it turns out that it’s more challenging than I thought; I was told this unequivocally by the person who inspected it for us. The gauge on the side, telling you how straight it should be? It’s crap, it’s inaccurate. And you need way more tension on those cables than I had. And I had to buy some cut-down pool noodles to lift up one end, so it was level.

I was told all this, in this very terse manner, by a fellow named Michael who installs carseats professionally. Michael is a black man, about six foot nine and maybe two hundred and eighty tightly-strung pounds.

You wouldn’t think this would qualify or disqualify him from installing childrens’ carseats, and aside from the fact that there’s a noticeable pause between when he starts climbing into your car and when the last part of him makes it all the way through the door, I don’t either. But a few weeks ago here we were in a lonely corner of a Toronto industrial park, getting lectured on the finer details of child automotive safety by a man who clearly cared intensely about the subject, and who was coincidentally the largest man I’ve ever seen who wasn’t involved in pro sports.

It was a little surreal, but only because of some shameful preconceptions, so I’m not sure if there’s a word for that? Something that means “surreal if you’re ignorant”? Screw you, negative stereotypes, you’re never right about anything.

But after he tightened those belts down, the day I need to get that thing out of there I’m going to need a saw.

This has been in my drafts forever. I am a very bad cult leader, not sharing my wisdom; I will endeavor to do better.

So, it turns out that once you’ve got a good recipe to start with it’s pretty trivial to make your own pickles; they come out far better than you’ll get off the shelf, and unless you’ve got some mad Rabbi, crafty Slav or elderly Mennonite brewing them up in a kitchen near you, you’re unlikely to find better.

The vinegar in that recipe is enough; you should skip the boil-the-jars-with-pickles-in step since it softens them up, but that recipe scales right down if you want to make a small batch to try it out. And the eight-week waiting period is unnecessary – they improve, but a week or two is fine. Small batches in Mason jars are easily done, and pretty great.

But this point is key: Dill pickles? Old news, boring. What you want are basil pickles. They’re awesome. Not as awesome on their own, arguably, but when used as, say, a hamburger topping? A huge improvement. Use more garlic than they recommend and a quantity of fresh basil instead of the dill (maybe even throw in a hot pepper, if you’re so inclined) and you will not be disappointed.

This Animal Chair Is Dissatisfying

A: “Why do you think Maya was fussy last night?”

M: “Maybe because of the storm. The big change in pressure might have upset her.”

A: “How does she feel pressure changes? I don’t feel them.”

M: “I sure do.”

A: “But that’s because you’re old.”

10:28 <mhoye> Hm, baby still asleep. Is six days old too soon for Baby's First Espresso?
10:28 * humph tries to find capital letters large enough for this
10:28 <@humph> YES

What You Say?

A few disconnected thoughts that I’ve been meaning to jot down.

When we were in maternity triage at the start of this, there was a misguided young woman there who had apparently slept with some meatbag named “Keegan” whose intellectual degeneracy was discernible three beds away. Whenever she had a contraction, she punctuated it with a whiny, drawn-out “Keeeeegaaaaan…”, at which point he’d try to shush the woman in labor, a conversation that was roughly like having somebody drag their nails down a chalkboard that was hanging on a wall that’s just fallen on you. The moral here is manyfold, but my takeaway points are: don’t name your kids “Keegan” and don’t let your daughter sleep with anyone named “Keegan”, because jeebus.

Toes & Wires

Things that could plausibly be argued to be brilliant in hindsight but were in fact merely lucky:

  • Learning what time the hospital cafeteria is open early on: key. Managing jello-related expectations is important, a man who is sent for Jello and returns empty-handed is less of a man for it.
  • Packing a cell charger in the jump bag; the duration of our stay turned out to be a bit of a surprise, and being able to bridge a laptop to the net with a phone is gold.
  • Toothbrush, change of underwear, change of socks likewise. “Packing in the jump bag”-likewise, I should specify; I can’t bridge a network connection through my underpants, though I’m sure that day’s coming.
  • Buying baby an extra life: disturbingly prescient.
  • Dimmer switches in the rooms on the baby’s floor. Yes, this has proven to be the biggest win of them all.

Feets

The first two weeks are supposed to be super-difficult, but so far it looks like that pain has been heavily front-loaded. Maya is well-behaved,  sociable and mom is already cautioning her against listening Crazy Dad, which is heartwarming but won’t work. We’ve managed to work out a way to take shifts at night so both of us get at least one uninterrupted shot at five hours of consecutive sleep, which is awesome. Boy, it’s gone by fast, though.

Two things which are surprisingly adorable:

  • Baby hiccups
  • Baby sneezes

I’ve picked up an extra controller just now, and got upsold to a package deal with Viva Pinata 2 and the latest Banjo Kazooie, both of which seem more like the sort of games you can play in front of an infant than Bioshock, Mass Effect or Halo 3. Eventually (like most responsible parents in this day and age) I’ll expect Maya to know how to beat somebody down with the butt end of a sniper rifle, but I think I should teach her how to walk and read first.

I haven’t played VP2 yet, but Banjo Kazooie is well, it’s Donkey Kong 64 in HD. Same physics, same knuckle-dragging-gorilla character loping about in precisely the same way. Bananas are now musical notes, golden bananas are now golden puzzle pieces, so forth. The environments are larger and far more more lush, as befits this wondrous age of modern hardware, but as far as I can tell I’ve played through this game before.

We’ll see how Viva plays out.

A friend in a different forum notes:

“Online gaming is great, but it’s really taken the wind out of same-couch’s sails.”

So, that’s my question. What two-player-co-op games can you play on the same couch, with with a child involved or with one in the room? Ideally, quest games, but preferably no shooters if that can be managed.

Thug Life

“How do you think we’re doing so far?”

“Ok. I wish Maya made a little less poop, honestly.”

“No.”

“What? No?”

“No. Do not.”

“You want more?”

“No. The last time you wished for something, you wished for smallish, kind of aerodynamic baby and a quick, reasonably painless birth. What we got was a seven pound, ten ounce kid by crash C-section and a terrifying four-day hospital stay.”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Please do not make any wishes about poop.”

Her name is Maya Alexander Hoye, and she’s had a very exciting first two days.

First Impressions

The Bubble

Recuperating

Held

Feet And Toes

Hello There

Enter The Fist

One Red Toe

Toqued

I’m glad we’re at the wrapped-up-and-toqued point in this process.