psi_star_psi: (SuperDad)
Elli had an overnight stay with [livejournal.com profile] aelfie's parents this weekend. Instead of meeting in between San Jose and Concord this afternoon, we instead skipped church to get up to Concord by 1pm. We picked up Elli and Jen's dad in exchange for Gray, then went to WaterWorld. (I expected to see a Colossus of Rhodes-sized likeness of Kevin Costner astride the entryway taking a leak into a giant drinking glass, but this was not the case.)

WaterWorld is a water slide and such-like park. There were at least a half dozen major slides, plus a lazy river, wave pool, and assorted smaller kids areas. Ike is tall enough to ride all of the slides, so he headed off with his grandpa as soon as he could. Jen and I stuck with the girls for the first few hours. After snack time, we traded around a bit, so both Jen and I got to ride one of the bigger slides with Ike. We finished up by riding the biggest slide, which uses circular rafts holding up to four people. After the second trip through that line, the park closed up.

The trip back to the car involved tears because the candy shop closed at the same time. The kids were exhausted, overstimulated, and starving. Fortunately, my wife is very wise and planned ahead. Some Pirate Booty shared around during the ride home helped patch the kids' moods. We stayed for dinner at Jen's gram's place, then loaded up for home. All four were out cold well before our return.
psi_star_psi: (KBZ)
[livejournal.com profile] aelfie has her three-day class down in Big Sur, so I'm off work to take care of the kids. After helping her set off, I took the kids to the gym. After the gym, we went to the standard kid-exchange Macdonalds to transfer Ike to Jen's mom. We all had lunch, then I returned home with the remaining kids.

While I was wandering around the house deciding how to spend the afternoon, I looked into the garage and saw the power pack we bought for camping. The one Jen had just charged up so she could run her CPAP this weekend while sleeping in a tent in the middle of nowhere. The very same power pack which was supposed to be in Big Sur with her.

Well, crap.

And so an unanticipated side quest is undertaken )
psi_star_psi: (SuperDad)
On Thursday, Jen planned to take the kids to the outdoor pool at the San Jose Main YMCA after lunch. Ike, however, misbehaved so much while they were eating out at lunch that she refused to take them anywhere else that afternoon. They didn't know where they were going, but they knew they had missed out on an "adventure" and were quite disappointed.

Yesterday, Ike wanted to go to the pool in the afternoon. In the morning, I'd taken Ike, Elli, and Gwen to HazMat dropoff, swept out the truck bed of the shards of the florescent bulb that didn't survive the trip, and taken the three older kids to a park for biking and playing in the water feature. I was already well exercised for the day, but I was up for trying a trip to the pool since the previous attempt had failed.

Our mistake was in getting the kids sunscreened and suited up before we finished packing. Ike, Elli, and Gwen were so anxious to go that they would not let us finish preparing the other supplies we needed. Finally, we gave up from too much stress. They were again bitterly disappointed, but we suggested that there was still one more afternoon available to the weekend if they moderated their behavior. The rest of the day went pretty well once they calmed down.

Today, Gray was not feeling well (either a cold or an immunization recieved a few days ago), so Jen stayed home while I took the others to church. Ike, out of his leg cast for less than a week, resumed one of his favorite post-church games of running on the 1.5 foot terrace wall in the playground and leaping the gap with the stairs. He didn't check that the path was clear and collided with an adult on the stairs. I verified that she was alright (thought the coffee mug she'd held was not), but Ike was moaning about his ankle. Crap, not again. He's handling this injury much better, though, so it's probably just a light sprain.

After lunch, he was out running around on it, with a slight limp. He still wanted to go swimming, so Jen and I started packing. The kids knew what was up and still bugged us incessantly, but we didn't put on the swimwear until we were ready to go. Off to the Main Y at last!

Upon arrival, Jen took the girls and Gray straight through to the pool. Ike and I stopped in the locker room so I could take off my outer layer of clothes and stash stuff in a locker. Sadly, the locker hole gauge was less than that of my new lock. Hurm. So I just took our stuff out to the poolside like Jen did with her bag.

On the way out, I saw signs describing the new pool rules. Uh, oh. A summary:

1) Non-swimmers must be within arm's reach of an accompanying adult at all times.
2) No adult may be responsible for more than two non-swimmers.
3) Non-swimmers are any kids who have not passed the swim test, thus do not get a green wrist band marking them "Swimmers".
4) To go down the slide (the slide that Ike has looked upon with longing for 3-4 years of our intermittent visits to this pool), you must be 48" or taller and have a Swimmers wrist band.

Let's see, that puts us at four kids and two adults. Could be ugly. But Ike can swim just fine, I thought, so I'll just get him the wrist band.

Swim test requirements:

1) Jump into water and recover
2) Swim 25 yards
3) Tread water for 1 minute

"Ike, do you know how to tread water? Did you learn that in swim class?" "Oh, yes!" OK, over to the swim test table. I waited five minutes, during which I saw the head lifeguard over hassling Jen about the girls' swim vests. A few minutes later, they had to take them off. Oh, joy, this was just getting better and better. Finally, someone came by to give the swim test.

She took us to the indoor pool, which is 9 feet deep. Ike paused a bit at this info. He jumped on in, though, and came back to the edge. Then it was time for the treading water. "What's tread water?" "Didn't you learn that in swim class?" "No, I didn't finish swim class because I broke my leg." Riiiight, that would have put a damper on things. I give him a lot of credit, he tried so hard to do it with his injured foot. I wasn't watching the clock because I was cheering him on, but I think he gave out at 45-50 seconds. So, no green band for today.

I rejoined Jen. Now we had two girls without swim vests, Elli in tears because she wanted her vest, Ike in tears because he couldn't ride the slide, and we had to keep exactly two kids next to each other at all times. It was like crossing the river with the fox, the chicken, and the bag of grain. This was all taking a turn toward the sucktastic.

Jen calmed everyone down by explaining that we could cry and whine about all of the rules and things we couldn't do, or we could enjoy the things we could do, since we were at the pool and we could swim and play under the mushroom waterfall and so forth. The afternoon went pretty well after that. (Even though one of the lifeguards stopped by to commit a state crime at Jen.)

We escorted all four around in a bunch until Gray was too cold. Jen took him to the locker room to change while I escorted two at a time with one sitting in a deck chair to the side. Upon Jen's return, Elli decided she was done, so I played with Ike and Gwen for another five minutes before we wrapped up and I took them to the locker room to change.

In the end, it was a very good thing Jen didn't make it to this pool on her own. She'd have had no choice but to leave immediately, with all of the tears and gnashing of teeth and misery that would cause. The dice don't lie.
psi_star_psi: (SuperDad)
I arranged to take today off from work at a time when it seemed like a reasonable thing to do. By now, it most certainly wasn't but I'll only work the weekend to make up for it. Eh.

I've claimed that some day I would take off a Friday and go on Ike's Forest Friday class with the Waldorf school, rather than just drop him off and head to work. Today was that day. The weather reports said it would probably rain in the afternoon, well after the hike ended. Not being a fool, Jen packed rain gear in Ike's backpack. I also packed several layers of clothes in the work schwag pack I broke out for the occasion.

I dropped the girls off at Kids Park on the way so Jen could have the morning with just Grayson. Ike and I continued on to the park. I convinced him to come on out of the car, we put on a layer of jackets each, and joined the line of kids and a few adults forming at the end of the parking lot.

It being Waldorf, we started with some warm-up songs and exercises. Next, off to the bathrooms for a pre-walk pit stop. Finally, we set forth on a trail and wandered in the woods for a bit. Around this point, a barely misting rain began. I now discovered the one item neglected from Ike's kit -- rain boots. Urk.

We returned from the woods earlier than the standard to meet up with a park ranger who would tell us about some of the wildlife and such in the park. OK, I could listen to a nature lecture, no prob. I might have to sit on Ike, though. When we arrived at the meeting point, the rain had kicked up a notch to light sprinkle. I saw the ranger approaching -- 8 months pregnant with a California king snake wrapped around her left arm as the sprinkling rain came down. My morning took a sharp turn into Does Not Suck. Fortunately, my drool was concealed by the combo of my beard and the rain.

We learned about the snake, Mort, then visited some ponds to look at newts, ducks, and bugs. Ike was starving for most of this. His mood got worse and worse. I asked the teacher if he was like this every week. Yes, pretty much, though the snack/lunch was late today due to the ranger session. Ike refused my repeated offers of an orange, so my sympathy for his plight was limited. In the future, I think we'll give him more protein for Friday breakfast.

We got to lunch at last. I had a couple of peanut butter sandwiches and a couple of oranges. Ike had his standard Friday Mac and Cheese, a tradition from his kindergarten days. After lunch, I looked in my backpack to find my water bottle, but I didn't see it in the pocket. Dang. Ike and I took a loop around the places we'd visited (maybe a 200 yard walk if that), but no luck.

After lunch, we walked up another trail to the "fairy ring". Upon arrival, everyone took off their backpacks to rest. I took another look in the backpack and discovered that the pocket in which I'd put my water bottle was three times larger than I thought. The bottle was simply at the bottom, tipped over sideways. I enjoyed a refreshing swig.

By this point, the rain had ratcheted up to a solid shower. Everybody was wet. The "fairy ring" was a circle of trees about 15-20 feet across. Ike wanted me to chase him around as a big scary bear [heh, semi-truth in labeling], so I ran about after him. Eventually, about 2/3 of the 17 kids were playing also, and the teacher even joined in himself after a nice rest.

On the return trip to the parking lot, the rain moved up the last notch to full-fledged rainstorm. w00t. Ike got in the car and stripped off his wet shoes, socks, and jackets. I gave up on the fine warm knitted gnome hat, since it was thoroughly soaked, and removed my outermost layer of water-resistant jacket. We headed back home, singing along to tunes on the radio.

It was awesome.
psi_star_psi: (SuperDad)
Saturday morning, I took Ike, Elli, and Gwen to the gym. I kept off my toe, which has healed pretty much, but did arm-based weight machines. w00t. The afternoon we played out in the backyard a lot until our friends S&M ([livejournal.com profile] uaskeeve & [livejournal.com profile] mollygm) and their daughter M arrived. They came down to visit us overnight, just as they did last year. After the month we've had on the go, I just wasn't up to the trip to Sacramento to visit them. We owe them a nice visit.

The kids played and played and drove us nuts until dinner. After food, we dressed everyone up for the night. Ike had a pumpkin costume he's played with for years. [livejournal.com profile] aelfie got him a pumpkin hat with a light-up face to go with the costume. She also patched it up and re-stuffed it, since it's been well-used. The girls had Flamenco dresses their grandma brought back from her trip to Europe. Gray had a dinosaur suit. M had a mermaid costume. Charlie went as himself.

We all set forth for a trip around the block. By the last quarter, Elli complained that her candy holder was too heavy. We returned home after the loop, then S and I set out again with Ike, who was not yet done. We went down the street and turned down another long block before returning. Early in the evening, Jen saw a truck go by with goats in the back. On this second expedition we saw a goat staked out in front of a house. "Feel free to pet Lucy the goat!" said the sign. By then, even Ike decided his candy bag was heavy enough, so we returned home.

There followed a 24-hour sugar orgy. Ooooof. Jen and M did some shopping the next day, and S and I went to OSH with Gwen to pick up a socket wrench set and some bristly doormats. I needed the wrenches to tighten up the playset bolts and the doormats for the house entrances. With all of the new sand and tanbark, we need to train the kids to wipe their feet properly. I worked over the playset and removed the railing panel that blocked the monkey bars' access to the support tower platform. Mucho sugar was consumed throughout.

S&M&M set out around dinner time, and we needed to keep the kids up "late" due to the end of DST. (I will spare you my venomous DST rant at this time. Grrrr.) Between the sugar, the extra hour, and my exhaustion, I only made it to 6:30 before I gave up and put them in their PJ's. We made them brush their teeth particularly well and let them collapse in front of the TV. All out by 7pm. Score!

All of the remaining candy was packed up and taken to my work. They don't need to spend the rest of the week swimming in sugar. Between everyone, we'd wiped out 2/3rds of it anyway. Urk.
psi_star_psi: (Default)
4:09am, 9 lbs, 22 in. Just dandy. More details later. I'm going to crash for a while.
psi_star_psi: (SuperDad)
[livejournal.com profile] aelfie worked today, so I made Mac & Cheese for the kids. Of course, Gwen doesn't like M&C, but I figured she could eat what Jen had when she got home. Just as I finished the M&C, Jen called to ask if I minded if she went grocery shopping after work. No, not really. Oh, and I did realize that she didn't get off work for another two hours? Umm, no, that I hadn't realized. I thought she'd be off at 5, since that's when the libraries closed before Sunday hours were eliminated. But she didn't get off until 7, since she was working at the Main Library. Hurgh.

Gwen wanted scrambled eggs. I don't know how to make scrambled eggs. (At least, not in the past 10-12 years, since I've had Jen cooking for me.) I stared at the skillet, which I had just washed an hour before, and thought about giving it a try. But I didn't even know what setting to use for the heat. Bah, not worth the trouble.

I pondered briefly. Jen doesn't know how to make all of the things she does with innate knowledge. How does she do it? Oh, right, she uses a cookbook. I pulled down the ATK cookbook and looked up "Eggs -- Scrambled". Eggs, half & half, salt, pepper, and butter to grease the skillet. Hey, I can do this!

I mixed up the stuff, replacing the half & half with whipping cream since that's what was on the fridge door. I used the whisk! ("If you want it All, you have to take the Wisk!" -- Rich Hall) I figured it was the correct implement, since it also was part of the recently washed dishes. Finally, I took the similarly-grouped spatula and cooked up the eggs. w00t! Phear mi l33t kukin skillz!

Gwen chowed down on the eggs, and I enjoyed the remainder. Not bad, I thought.

Of course, I realize that this tactical success comes at an enormous strategic cost. While I have proven that the kids won't starve if Jen is ever abducted by aliens, I will be required to cook scrambled eggs on rushed mornings for the rest of my life. I failed to maintain my Cosby-like air of paternal incompetence. (Yesterday's donuts and chocolate cake breakfast was much more appropriate.)

Edit:
Just for [livejournal.com profile] ross_teneyck -- The recipe in the cookbook was for 8 eggs. I used only 3, halved the amount of half and half, and just randomly tossed in some salt and pepper. This is for contrast with the 3/8 conversion I would have applied to all ingredients if I'd done this back in college. (Of course I just eyeballed the M&C water.)
psi_star_psi: (SuperDad)
The Universe Is Laughing Behind Your Back.

Thursday morning, I was awakened by [livejournal.com profile] aelfie coming in to where I lay in Ike's bed (my own got too full of kids, as usual) and blithering at me, "There are two lines!" My instinct was to respond "There are four lights!" After some effort, I woke up enough to understand what she was going on about.

Thus, she scheduled a blood test for the afternoon, and we got the results back from Kaiser in email the next morning: Positive. Standard result: Negative. Well then, that settles it.

Jen's pregnant. All that stuff about needing infertility treatments or else her body will not perform the requisite steps? Turns out that now her several other medical issues are addressed, she does just fine. To our mutual surprise.

So, here I am, newly 40 years old today, and I'm going to reset the child-raising clock back to zero. Just when we were getting to the point where we can occasionally do things without the kids.

Totally worth it. She promised me three pregnancies or five children, whichever came first. She is a woman of her word.

IGtBtJTM
psi_star_psi: (SuperDad)
I forgot this one last night. All three kids were on the swings last night, and I usually sing to then while I'm pushing. Selections include Shoe/Boot/Foot Man/Girl/Big Boy (Soul Man, Blues Bros. variant, child choses the precise words), Pinky & the Brain or Freakazoid themes, or random Wiggles songs. This time, Ike wanted to sing Old Macdonald as a group effort. Each kid took turns deciding the animal on the farm for the verse. The results:

Cow (Ike), Duck (Elli), Pig (Gwen), Dog (I), another Duck (E), Sheep (G), Rooster (I) ["With a Cock-a-Doodle here, and a Cock-a-Doodle there. Here a Cock-a, there a Doodle, everywhere a Quack-Quack-Cock-a-Doodle-Doo. Hey, Captain Feathersword is visiting the farm!"], yet another Duck (E), Pig (G), Cthulu (Dad) ["With a Nyarlethotep here, and a Nyarlethotep there. Here a Deep One, there a Deep One, every where you look a Deep One"].

I do so amuse myself sometimes.
psi_star_psi: (SuperDad)
[livejournal.com profile] aelfie was working today, so I got to make dinner. She left all of the components for pizza, and (verbally) described in detail the steps I should use to assemble the food. I took out the gluten-free shell for her and the larger wheat shell for the rest of us, split the sauce between the two and went to work on the toppings.

Ike has been refusing to eat pepperoni on pizza, so I asked him if he would prefer salami. He said yes, so I chopped up some salami and put it on half. On the other half, I put pepperoni and some more salami. On Jen's I just put salami, per her request.

Some cooking and cooling time later, I sliced away and served it to the kids. Ike started picking off the salami pieces. Why? "I don't like salami on my pizza." Man, he needs some protein in there somewhere. He can't just eat crust and tomato sauce. Maybe next time I'll throw some cheese on th--

Doh!



"A meal so simple, even Joe can't screw it up!" -Jen

Ha, ha! I disagree! Yes, I forgot to put the cheese on the "pizza". It was right there in the fridge, just like the meat, so it's not like I have an excuse or anything. I'm simply that incompetent.

Tomorrow, we're off to a graduation celebration for Jen's cousin, so my Father's Day present is to have another fine legend of my extreme cluelessness promulgated to all. Yee-haw.
psi_star_psi: (SuperDad)
I came wandering down the hall a week or two ago with all three kids in the configuration you see in the icon. Jen snapped a picture, as I had hoped. This is now the official SuperDad icon. I fixed the relevant previous postings to match.

You can see the full picture here )
psi_star_psi: (SuperDad)
I came home from work tonight to find [livejournal.com profile] aelfie wiped out from the day. So I offered to make dinner. "Whatever..." Since it's my choice, I broke out the Kraft mac & cheese and tuna. Yum. While boiling up the water, Ike started to make a fuss. Jen said, "He wants to help." So we brought over one of the table chairs so he could stand by the stove and help. We opened up the M&C boxes, then I turned to the sink to open the tuna cans.

Now don't get ahead of my story.

Ike started crying, so I spun around to find him waving his right hand. I looked, and he had a smudge on his index finger. Wait, that's actually ash from the top layer of skin. Not good. I grabbed him and stuck his finger under the cold water at the sink. A quick look showed an ugly white blister all over the finger pad. I called to Jen for help while putting his finger back under the water. She got a cup of ice water for his finger, and we moved him over to the table. While I dealt with a controlled shutdown on dinner, she checked The Book (0 to 5 years medical issues). It seemed to match the description for a third degree burn, which indicates go directly to the doctor, do not pass Go. She called up for advice, and they said yup, come on in.

She always has to take the kids to the hospital, and she'd already had a bad afternoon, so I loaded Ike up in the van (which has a convenient cup holder for his ice water glass) and headed off to Urgent Care. Once there, I turned over his card and tried to distract him while he kept his hand in the glass. Eventually, I was called back to the counter to finish check in, though I misunderstood and wandered off to get more water for the cup in the middle. I returned to pay and sign. During all of this, I was holding Ike in one arm and the water cup in the other hand. Meanwhile, I'm supposed to sign a form, pay the copay, and get the form to the drop box across the waiting room. Right. I didn't feel horribly guilty about the water trail we left everywhere after that level of help. In addition, they scrambled Ike's paperwork with someone else, and they were trying to sort it out the whole time we were there. I didn't notice at the counter because, hey, hands a little full guys.

We got called to go back, and the first stop was the pulse monitor. To get to this point, I was juggling Ike in one hand, the cup in the other, and the paperwork in my mouth. On the way to the examining room, the nurse asks "What does he weigh?" Insert Peanuts-adult noises here. "Oh, let me take that paperwork for you, I want you able to talk. Wow, you're SuperDad handling all of this!" I replied, "Usually, I only get called SuperDad when I've also got his twin sisters."

We waited about 10 minutes for the doctor to see us, with most of the water from the cup transferred to the examining table. She said it was really only a first or second degree burn, but it should be kept dressed in antibiotic. She called in a prescription for liquid Tylenol with codeine for pain management. About another 10-15 minutes later, a nurse came in to dress Ike's finger. He was ready to go home after the doctor, but I kept telling him that we needed to wait to get his medicine. After the dressing, we headed off to the pharmacy.

After 15 minutes in the pharmacy, I went up to be certain they'd received his prescription, since he was running laps around the room. They had, so I corralled him when he started grabbing bottles from the shelves. After another 20-25 minutes of pacing with a tired, in pain, hungry, bored, cranky boy (Wheeee!), his medicine was ready. I fumbled some more one-handed nonsense with my wallet, did the consult, and off we went.

Upon our return, Jen had just finished putting the second girl to bed (the first passed out just as we left). Ike and I fell on the lukewarm M&C. He wasn't thrilled about his medicine, so we put it in a glass of milk. That worked reasonably, though he did spill about half of it. Then when Jen was cleaning that up, he sprayed the last of his dinner with Windex. And now she's putting him to bed as I complete this.

This was definitely a Wanda Sykes day: "Yeah, kids, they're a lot of work..." [breaking eye contact and looking away so as not to lie to your face] "but they're worth it."

And they are. Just not every second of every day. Like anything else.
psi_star_psi: (SuperDad)
Domesticity )

The fine state of the service industry )

An Evening of the Sick and Tired )

And now I remember why I haven't posted very much lately. According to the original time stamp, I started writing this entry at 12:53pm. It's now 9:35pm. It's been a busy afternoon.

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