Sunday, October 25, 2015

It's The Final Countdown...

One month. 31 days. 744 hours. 44,640 minutes. That's all the time we have until the due date of our 4th child, otherwise known as the Fetus. One month until our house becomes even more chaotic. One month until we get even less sleep than we already do. One month to remember all of the stuff about babies that I have forgotten in the past 3-and-a-half years. One month to figure out where in the house we are actually going to have her sleep. In one of the other kids' room? In the living room? Definitely not in our room...

One month to finish renovating the master bathroom. One month to do all the other stuff on my Scotty-do list. One month to get all of the baby stuff out of storage and filled with batteries. One month to figure out where we stored all our bottles. One month to practice my diapering skills so I can quickly get back to my state-record level of speed. One month to stock up on diapers, and wet wipes. One month to teach the other kids to go get a diaper or the wet wipes on command, and not to lolly-gag while doing it, like they do whenever I ask them to do anything else. One month to figure out where we are going to store all of the baby clothes. One month to practice our swaddling techniques on the dogs. One month to decide if we want to unswaddle the dogs once they are swaddled (it will depend on the day and how annoying they have been...).

One month to find a new diaper bag, since the old one pretty much disintegrated when we retired it after our third, and what we thought was going to be our last, child. One month to buy a new SD card for our camera so we can take lots of photos. One month to empty that new SD card since the Girl will have filled it up with photos of the dogs' butts and other garbled images. One month to find all the bases for the baby car seat, oh and the car seat, too... we'll need that. One month to practice our breathing exercises so that they actually help and not just put me to sleep like they did when the Girl was born. One month to strengthen my hands so the Wife doesn't crush them during labor.

One month to choose a name. That's probably going to be the most difficult of all. Wish us luck.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Ice Age

Last week was what is known around these parts as "M.E.A. Weekend". I don't think anyone actually knows what "M.E.A." stands for, but we do all know that it always happens towards the middle of October, all the public-school kids in the state get that Thursday and Friday off from school, and that it is probably the last time to do anything meaningful as a family outdoors before the frigid and horrible Minnesota winter sinks its evil fangs into us all for the next 9 months.

Being the crazy folks that we are, we decided to make good use of the weekend by loading up all of our kids and most of their stuff, hitching the pop-up camper to the back of the minivan, and heading out into the Great Outdoors for one last camping trip as a family of five. First we thought about heading up into the northern part of the state to check out the headwaters of the Mighty Mississippi River at Itasca State Park, but when we checked to see if they had any open campsites available, we found out that most of the people in Minnesota had the same idea as us. So we checked at other state parks. Same thing. Finally we checked at a county park on the east side of the Twin Cities, the Lake Elmo Park Reserve. Apparently we were the first people to think of that park, because the nice lady on the phone said we could pretty much have our pick of any of their campsites. Hooray, a place to go!

The weather up here in the northland has been super nice this fall - unseasonably warm, very little rain, the leaves have been gorgeous. We were super excited to get outside and enjoy things for a couple of days. When we got to the park that Thursday, the sun was shining like it has been, but the wind had started to pick up, bringing a chill with it. That was OK, since we remembered to bring our jackets with us. By bedtime that night, the chill had gotten chillier, and the wind continued to blow, with a few howls thrown in for good measure.

We decided to try out the furnace in the camper, which fired right up and made everything inside toasty warm. I could get used to this type of camping! We settled in for a long, peaceful night. The next day got colder and windier. We went for a short hike, but otherwise we pretty much stayed around our campsite, playing games inside the camper, sitting outside by the fire, chipping the ice off of our eyelids, things like that. We were having a great time. And then it happened - the tank of propane on the camper went dry! Ahh, no more heat from the furnace! What would we do?!?! Thankfully we brought a little electric space heater with, which was able to keep us from freezing to death, barely...I decided there was only one thing to do: I drove the 4 minutes to the nearest gas station and got another tank of propane. It feels good to be such a capable provider for my family. I'm sure that's what Charles Ingalls felt like, too...
We found this crudely drawn face scratched into the ice on our windshield the last morning of our camping trip. Apparently one of our fellow campers, or the local sasquatch, is a fan of the blog...


Monday, October 12, 2015

Let's Rewind...

Remember my last blog post, where I wrote about being all sad and depressed because my family had left me and how I couldn't wait for them to come home and how all I was going to do while they were gone was sit around and eat pizzas and ice cream and how I was wallowing in self pity? I would like to redact that blog from the records and possibly even have it expunged, if anyone can actually tell me what "expunge" means...

Everyone got home safe and sound last night, and it was very exciting to see them all. We hugged, we gave high fives, we laughed... It was a very nice evening having everyone home.

Then, this morning happened. I woke up to much wailing and gnashing of teeth being performed by the Little One. Apparently she felt as though she had been wronged by one of her siblings. Things escalated from there. Both the wailing and the gnashing were multiplied at least a hundredfold, and moved from one child to the next to the next, and finally to Daddy. It was a rough morning for everyone involved, but finally they all got on their respective buses and headed off to school, most of them with tears and/or frowns still on their faces. I, now, am safe and sound, fully ensconced in my office at work, eating pizzas and ice cream. I wonder when their next weekend road trip will be...

Friday, October 9, 2015

Baching It, or Batching It, or However You Spell That...

My family left me. I am all alone. Mine is a sad and lonely life right now. All I can do is mope around the house in my underwear, trying not to cry into my tub of ice cream. I can tell the dogs feel sorry for me by the way they stand at the door, waiting for somebody, anybody, else to come home. That's OK. I don't need my dumb dogs to keep me company. I'll just curl up on the sofa and eat as many frozen pizzas as I can cram into my mouth. Pizzas are more loyal than dogs, any way...

Yup, everyone left. The Wife left, and she took with her the Girl, the Boy, the Little One, and the Fetus. They sped off in the Sister-in-law's car, and the Sister-in-law was behind the wheel at the time, so maybe I should blame her for my sadness. She took my family away...

If I still drank, I would probably be wallowing in beer right now, even though it's currently 9:33 in the AM as I am writing this. Since I don't drink any more, I'll just keep wallowing in ice cream and pizza and self pity. As George Costanza once said, "Pity is highly underrated", and I'll add "Self pity is just as good as other pity". I wonder how much ice cream and pizza I can eat in the next two days, you know, before they all come home from their weekend trip...
This is what happens to me when my family leaves. I sit around and get all depressed, my hair grows out, my glasses revert back to the 1990s, and I lose about 60 pounds despite cramming pizza and ice cream into my mouth all day. It's not a pretty sight...