Jul. 6th, 2010 01:31 am
juthwara: (Default)
We just got back from a week and a half in Michigan. We had a wonderful time, and are oh so very glad to be out of the car. Although going from temperatures in the 60s and 70s to a high of 99 tomorrow (!!!) is enough to make me tempted to get right back in the car and go back, even though both children spent the last 45 minutes of the trip crying inconsolably out of sheer car exhaustion.

I have lots and lots of news, both small and bigger. But I'm going to do the smarter thing and go imitate my children, who are passed out in their respective beds. More on the morrow.

Water baby

Jun. 19th, 2010 01:11 am
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We went to what was theoretically SCA archery practice on Sunday, but in reality was a bunch of people hanging out while the kids frolicked in the wading pool and under the sprinkler.

All of the kids had fun, but oh my, Alec is apparently part selkie. He splashed in the pool, he splashed in the water table. He climbed in and out of the pool through sheer force of will. Finally, he crawled over and just sat under the sprinkler, occasionally waving his arms in joy, too exhausted to play any more but utterly unwilling to leave all of the wonderful water.

Incidentally, I have to say that I'm very impressed with the waterproofness of Bumgenius pocket diapers. I had put one on him without any absorbent material as a swim diaper, and it would take on water when it gapped, but then wouldn't let it drain, so he routinely had a cup of water hanging off of his crotch. As I said, impressive water retention abilities there. I finally just took the diaper off and let him frolic naked. I figured everyone there knew what baby boys look like under their diapers and there's really such a short in your life that you're allowed to have no modesty at all.


It was K's last day of school today. They had a short ceremony to celebrate moving up to kindergarten with the parents looking on proudly (and brilliant people that we are, we remembered the camera but forgot that the battery was still in the charger). It was particularly nice that the teacher they had the longest this year came back to be part of the ceremony and say good bye to the kids. Her class had four teachers this year. The regular teacher had to take a leave of absence for health reasons, so they got a long-term sub who was a retired fifth grade teacher. He was pretty good, especially considering he wasn't used to being surrounded by four year olds every day. His training wasn't in preschool, but he tried hard. But then the school district informed him that if he taught past a certain point, he would start losing retirement benefits, so he had to leave six weeks before the end of the year. Then they got the sub who seemed entirely unprepared to deal with small children. My opinion of her was cemented the day she informed me that K had had a tantrum over something and I was supposed to talk to her to keep it from happening again. I see. 1, what on Earth are you doing teaching preschool if you can't handle a tantrum, and 2, if only I had realized the way to put an end to tantrums was to talk to her. And here I had been sending her memos, which didn't seem to work at all! Yeesh. But she left after a couple weeks, and they got the final teacher who thankfully seemed to actually know about preschool.

And now I need to figure out what to do with us for the next three months. We can't afford any sort of day camp (do they have camps based on the theme "Get this kid out of my hair for a few hours"?), but I'm thinking I need to figure out at least child care for Fridays. [livejournal.com profile] longstrider and I had been switching off working Fridays and Saturdays, which was tiring but at least we got one day a week off together the weeks I didn't work Sundays. But since the branch libraries have stopped Saturday hours for the summer, I'm only going to be able to work Saturdays and Sundays. And since he also managed to get a bunch of Sunday hours at the Central Library downtown, there's going to be something like a seven week period this summer that I will have to work every Saturday and we will switch off who works on Sunday. Meaning that we won't have a day off for nearly two months if I can't get some child care and work some Fridays. Yikes.

As for what to do with the other four days of the week, I foresee taking heavy advantage of museum memberships and trying to schedule a lot of playdates. I really want to get her in some swimming lessons, but that may have to wait depending on what our finances look like.

First, though, we have the kids' birthdays to get through next week and then a pilgrimage Midwestward. I'm looking forward to going home for a while.
juthwara: (Default)
K and I took two blessedly uneventful flights home yesterday and have gratefully settled back in at home. Our week in Michigan was really great, much to my surprise. Based on my previous experience of travelling alone with K, I thought adding having to work on top of that would smash me flat.

But as it turns out, K has turned a major developmental corner recently and was happy to spend huge amounts of time playing on her own with my old Playmobil and Fisher Price figures, and spending time hanging out with my mother or her aides (her aides are almost universally middle aged women who have children of their own, so they were pretty good with her). She also took a good nap every day, so I was able to get enough work done during the day that I didn't have to stay up too late at night, before then having to get up with K in the morning. Between getting something resembling enough sleep and not having a preschooler velcroed to me (and being so freakin' cute and pleasant that it was a joy to be around her most of the time), it was a remarkably relaxing visit.

It's been a long time since I've felt like that visiting my parents. Before my mother's accident, going home was very relaxing - being the child of two introverts means that the atmosphere of their house tended to be very quiet and uncluttered. But then Dad got sick and Mom had her accident, and there were always strangers in the house and my mother always needed me to do things for her. Add a baby on top of that and visits home turned into a gigantic vortex of need, pulling me in twelve directions. But unlike Christmas, we weren't trying to shove six people into a two bedroom condo, my mother didn't seem to need anything from me and life was pretty calm.

That doesn't mean that I'm not really looking forward to tomorrow when I can ship K off to daycare and [livejournal.com profile] longstrider to work and have the whole house to myself for a few blissful hours though.


I went to work today and spent most of the day taming our new museum and library software, Past Perfect. So far, I've managed to figure out how to add books and perform searches, format everything so that our catalog cards and spine labels would print correctly and set up a file that can be imported into Past Perfect so we can catalog books the computer without the new software, put it on a disk and then import it into PP. If we're going to put the entire catalog on computer, we're going to have to clock a few million monkeys' worth of typing time, but my boss is being all picky and insisting that other people be able to use PP occasionally, so we have to figure out how to do some of the typing on our other computer. Stupid selfish museum workers grumble grumble.

Importing data into PP naturally is far more complicated than it needs to be. Part of it is PP's fault, since it's only willing to import either very specifically formatted text files or obscure or out of date programs like Excel 5 (for reference sake, Excel 5 is the one that came out with Windows 95, which of course we don't have. I mean, we're a Victorian museum and all, but that doesn't mean we keep around antiques that old). But mostly it's because Microsoft Excel was being a complete butthead, refusing to either maintain accurate formatting in an older version of itself or dancing around being willing to save the data in a format that PP would accept. "Well, I can do comma-delimited, but I'm not going to save it in a text file. I can do a text file, but it'll be tab delimited and I won't use the quotes around the data that PP wants. And if you want me to do any of this, you'll have to balance three teacups on your head while wearing roller skates and doing the hora. Now dance for me, monkey. Dance!"

As it turns out, the secret of getting the data in the right format is actually to use Access, a fact that is so secret that they were completely unwilling to include it in any of the PP documentation or training materials. It may be that it's available in a secret file that only becomes visible on the third Thursday of every month with a gibbous moon after the computer has been spun widdershins five times. However, I had to just apply my poor overheated brain to the problem to figure it out instead. On the plus side, I felt like a Sooper Computer Genius once I managed to successfully set up the Access database, add a couple books and then import the file successfully into PP. And even more on the plus side, an Access database means that I'll be able to set up a more user-friendly interface for inputting books for any suckersvolunteers willing to help with the project.


In a strange twist of events, we've seen Olwen twice in the past few days. I had truly thought that she had either been rescued or was dead. Finding her alive as a stray over a year after losing her was about the last thing we expected. She wouldn't let us get near her, but we put food out and found her eating it tonight. We're planning to buy a live trap tomorrow to see if we can catch her that way.

And then... we're not sure. This would have been a lot simpler before we added two more cats to the house. IF she is healthy or can be made healthy with vet care and TLC and IF she can be resocialized to us and the other cats, we have to then decide if we really want four cats. We like the kittens, but I haven't really fallen in love with them yet. I definitely don't love them the way I loved Olwen. Four cats starts to get into the realm of not being affordable.

But we can worry about that later. Right now, I'm just praying we can catch our poor wayward kitty.


May. 24th, 2008 08:36 pm
juthwara: (Default)
We arrived home last night around 8. We all slept horribly last night (between the cat and the child, there was nearly a double homicide at 5am in my bedroom) and we all have a cold in various stages of progression.

But we had a wonderful time. The convention went very well - our department is consistently one of the smoothest-running of the con and we all have fun working together, the food was pretty good and I actually got a decent amount of sleep, which I have discovered makes a huge difference in my ability to cope four hours into a work shift.

After the con, we drove back to Michigan with [livejournal.com profile] strephon and [livejournal.com profile] coeli in tow, to reunite with our no doubt grandparent-spoiled child and work on getting whatever we wanted out of my mother's house before it goes on the market. It is to my eternal regret that I wasn't able to get pictures of some of the better treasures from the basement Box of Horrifying Toys, such as the kangaroo puppet with half of its face rotted away and the doll that I think was a Christmas tree ornament, with its head pulled away from its neck and hanging disturbingly low to one side. An ornament for Jack Skellington's Christmas tree, maybe.

On the non-horrifying end, I pulled out my old large doll cradle (large enough to put a human baby in) and trunk full of doll clothes for K. I engaged in a ruthless washing machine Darwinism on the clothes by sending them through the washer and dryer and surprisingly, pretty much all of them made the cut. I discovered an astounding number of unmatched doll booties and socks - not a single pair in the bunch. K has adapted to this without blinking - currently her doll is wearing one white bootie and one blue bootie on its feet, and is doing her best to put a larger bootie on its head as a hat.

Eventually, we packed up a stupendous amount of stuff in our car and drove home, stopping in Champaign and Lafayette on the way. It was so good to see our friends. I miss them dreadfully.

I am astonishingly tired, so I will end this here so I can chase K to bed and collapse.
juthwara: (Default)
So did I mention we were going to be travelling this week? I meant to leave a more formal "We will be on the road and away from the Internet for the next two weeks" message up last Saturday, but I was too preoccupied with freaking out over our slowly dissolving carseat.

So yes, we're no longer on the East Coast, but instead back in the Land of Corn. At Acen as a matter of fact. We've fallen into the old familiar Video room groove, which makes it feel like I never took a two-year maternity leave from working here. Lots of work, not enough sleep, lots of anime, all while surrounded by hordes of exotically dressed anime geeks.* The main difference is that when we went over to the dealers' room, we spent most of our time looking for presents for K instead of things for ourselves.**

K is apparently doing pretty well without us, being thoroughly entertained by all three of her grandparants. I have enjoyed my first nights away from her in her life, but I'll be happy to see her tomorrow. She's been behaving pretty well this trip, despite or perhaps because of the frequent stops. We only went as far as Columbus last Sunday, and stayed until Tuesday to visit with [livejournal.com profile] fiddlefern as well as [livejournal.com profile] longstrider's cousin and her 10 month old. Then we had lunch in Yellow Springs with [livejournal.com profile] longstrider's uncle, dinner in Indianapolis with more college friends and were at my mother's in Michigan by 11 on Tuesday. It's almost restful to be here despite, since we get to stay for a whole three and a half days before we have to drive anywhere again.

Must go - due back on shift soon.

*When we arrive Thursday afternoon, we sat in the atrium before dinner, amusing ourselves by watching the crowd slowly turn from businesspeople in suits to people lugging swords, catgirl ears and Mountain Dew, obviously here for an anime convention.

**There's a tragic lack of Miyazaki things this year, which is annoying because K is a huge fan of Kiki's Delivery Service.


Apr. 28th, 2008 10:24 pm
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It has suddenly snuck up on me that we're leaving on a long road trip in TWO WEEKS. And how have we prepared so far? We've bought an 18 pack of Horizon vanilla milk boxes that are vacuum sealed so they'll be safe in the car. Clearly this is the sort of strategic planning and ruthless efficiency that let the pioneers of old conquer the west. Of course, we don't have the option of tethering a cow to the back of the car in case we need milk during the journey like they did, so the milk boxes were definitely a good purchase. But I don't think milk alone, organic or not, will carry us through 750 miles, so we should get on the stick (although milk will likely be cheaper than gas if the current trends continue).

So: renew AAA membership, get oil changed, attempt to find the perfect algorithm for packing as little as possible so we have plenty of room to carry stuff from my mother's house home yet enough to keep K thoroughly entertained and occupied while we're driving (and not just by the portable dvd player), attempt to find inflatable travel bed for K that doesn't have a Disney character on it, try not to go slowly mad on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, etc. We can get food for Acen once we're in Michigan. Yay Acen! I'm giddy with anticipation. I'm sure that most parents don't spend the first nights away from their child in nearly three years working at an anime convention while sharing a hotel room with two other people, but it's going to be fun for us, albeit in a slightly masochistic kind of way.
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We went to Center City today to have lunch with a friend. The company was good and the food was sublime - a neat little Ethiopian place. It always amuses me watching K eat Ethiopian - she took to it like a natural, grabbing her injera and dipping it in the nearest pile of stew.

Every time we venture into Center City, we keep saying we need to do it more, that we live in a big city with lots of stuff to do and we need to take advantage of it. Then we go back home and get caught up in our routine for another couple months. In our defense, it's really hard these days to make plans when both of us work alternating days on the weekends. January has been pretty easy in that regard, but next month [livejournal.com profile] longstrider has a couple Sunday shifts in addition to the two Saturdays he always works. So I think there will be only two weekend days next month where one of us isn't working. This doesn't lend itself to a devil-may-care, fancy-free museum-visiting lifestyle.

I realized last week that it's been a year since we moved to Philadelphia. Last year at this time, we were sitting in a new house, surrounded by half-unpacked boxes. And this year, we're, um, sitting in a new house, surrounded by half-unpacked boxes. Look how far we've come! If I move next December though, it will only be at gunpoint, so we will have made progress. And there certainly are signs that we've acclimated - we own Wawa travel mugs, we refer to Roosevelt Boulevard as "The Boulevard" and don't worry for a second that people won't understand us, we know to expect that as soon as the light turns green, someone will whip around and make a left turn in front of oncoming traffic. We haven't started saying "youse" yet though, so we haven't gone completely native.

We may have been here for a year, but most of our thoughts lately are plotting how often we can leave. Currently, our only firm vacation plans for the year are working at Acen again after a two-year absence. The current plan is to drive out to Michigan, drop K off to get thoroughly spoilerspend the weekend with her grandparents, drive down to Chicago for the convention, drive back to Michigan to pick up our spawn and drive home. It occasionally seems a bit masochistic of us to use a large amount of vacation time and drive 1000 miles for the privilege of working in the volunteering salt mines of an anime convention, but we've really missed it. And more importantly, all of our friends that will be there.

Other potential trips: I have a cousin getting married in Colorado this year, so my mother would like to go to the wedding and has suggested that K, my brother and I come along. We had discussed spreading Dad's ashes in Colorado, so this would be our opportunity. But we don't know when the wedding is yet, so that's largely up in the air. The other completely up in the air possibility is that my library is closed Easter weekend and [livejournal.com profile] longstrider has Good Friday off (way to go with the separation of church and state, city of Philadelphia!). Since I've already established that we won't have another weekend off together until the end of time, let alone a long weekend, I absolutely refuse to stay home and do nothing. Boston is a definite possibility, or even just Connecticut to visit my aunt and uncle. Or even just drive over the bridge to scenic New Jersey. Just so long as we don't waste the opportunity, dammit.


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