Friday, June 30, 2006

I've never been so stressed out in all my life

Germany beat Argentina 4:2 in PK's.

I hate when a game comes to that. Germany was definitely not playing their game today, and it hurt 'em in the first few minutes of the 2nd half, when Argentina put up the first goal.

The Germans looked lost for most of the game, the ball would fall between two players, and they would just look at it for a second before deciding what to do. It was weird and surreal, and I was very upset, certain that Germany wouldn't regain their footing.

Boy was I glad to be wrong, but I just don't like when a game comes down to a shoot-out. There's so little skill involved in PK's.

I'm glad that's over.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ferberizing, Stage III, and a brush with death

Last night was NOT tough. The little man is starting to get with the sleep program, although with the re-emergence of the pacifier. The first night took 2 hours, the second night took about an hour-and-a-half, and last night wasn't quite a full hour of crying. That's not to say the crying was any less intense, but it definitely took less time to get him to sleep.

During the heat of it, I went outside and stripped carpeting out of the Miata, to prep it for the rollbar installation. Nothing clears the head like good hard work in the outdoors, especially if it gets you away from a wailing baby.

I've been sending Amanda away every night this week, since she's more bothered by the crying (not angered: just bothered; she feels like she's neglecting him if she doesn't attend to him), and I'm hopeful that there won't be many more nights of sleeplessness for the little guy.

So my near brush with death...

Every morning I travel I-95 South through the city. There is one area where there are 2 exits and 2 entrances in a very short span, and this area is always congested. Usually, I fly by in the left lane, since that one's generally clear.

This morning, though, I was leisurely driving in the middle lane, when this guy just started merging on top of me. Unfortunately, because modern car-makers seem to believe that the horn is irrelevant, my horn buttons are so small that I couldn't find them in the panic, and I had to rely on a hearty shove of the brake pedal. Alastair's bottles, my lunch, and everything else that wasn't fastened down went shooting forward. By the time my thumbs found the horn button, the guy was fully in the lane.

I let him know what I thought of his maneuver, and he gave me a semi-apologetic wave before merging into the left lane. On top of a motorcycle.

This little stretch of highway bends to the right, and the cyclist was run off into the shoulder, where he hit the jersey-wall, bounced up in the air, hit the jersey wall again, bounced again, and regained his balance.

The merging madman swung back in front of me again, although I was expecting it this time. He gave another semi-apologetic wave, rubbed his head as if in disbelief of what he'd done, and vanished into the right lane.

I couldn't believe it: I'd just seen a motorcycle get airborne twice off a jersey wall, recover both times, and ride on as if nothing had happened. I caught up with the rider a little later and gave him a big thumbs-up for his composure. He gave me a nod and rode on, occasionally glancing at the side of his bike to make sure it was still intact.

The merging madman was an elderly fellow who was clearly not focused on driving his car.

Scary stuff. I was fully prepared to stop the car and start picking up pieces of motorcycle man, and was really disappointed that the cop I saw 1/4 miles ahead wasn't there to witness the mayhem. We might have had one less terrible driver off the road.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Ferberizing, Stage I

Last night was tough. Amanda fed the boy at 7pm, making sure not to let him fall asleep on the breast. We sat and chatted for a while, and after he ate, I sat with him and read to him for about 15 minutes.

At 7:45, I put him down, kissed him, told him "good night", and walked out. He didn't even give me 15 seconds before the wailing began.

In an effort to be resolute, I went outside for 5 minutes, so that I wouldn't have to hear the crying (actually, I could hear it just fine, even through the new insulated windows).

Then, every 5 minutes I went in, rubbed his belly, soothed him for a moment, and left. After about 4 or 5 times, I increased the time to 10 minutes, then to 15.

The wails got progressively worse through the evening, and eventually his voice was sounding quite broken, but short periods of silence began to intermingle with the crying.

At about 9:15 I went in for the last time. He was screaming with his eyes closed, basically trying as hard as he could not to fall asleep, but it was a losing battle. I loved on him for about a minute, rubbing his belly and whispering "I love you", and then walked out. He cried a couple of times, each for about 30 seconds, but loud and hard enough that I thought Amanda might crack, and then he fell asleep.

So after night 1: Parents 1, Alastair 0. He's like Switzerland on penalty kicks.

Monday, June 26, 2006

5 Months Old and Manipulative

Alastair hit 5 months on Thursday, the same day that Amanda gave notice at work. She's going to stay home with him and raise him. I can't tell you how much that excites me. He needs to have mom in his life, and he needs a huge dose of her.

Her last day will be on Bastille Day. Vive la revolution!

But along with the milestone of his 5th monthday came his first foray into parental manipulation: crying for attention at night. We've evidently been putting him to bed wrong. He tends to fall asleep on the breast, or rocking in my arms. I've then been putting him to bed, generally without incident. On Friday, though, he decided to be difficult, and refused to go to sleep until he had been rocked repeatedly.

Saturday was more of the same, as was Sunday. So we pulled out the books and dug through for restlessness, and found what I'd suspected: he was only crying because he knows we'll come in to comfort him. Sneaky little devil.

Tonight we start Ferberizing him. This is the process whereby we change his bed-time routine to putting him down awake but drowsy, rub his tummy, and say "good night, I love you," and walk out. We then let him cry for 5 minutes before going in and rubbing his tummy again, but we do not, under any circumstances, pick him up (unless he's somehow broken his arm). Throughout the night, and indeed over the next few days, the intervals between rubs increases by a few minutes, until he just gets bored with trying to call us.

I can't wait. Hopefully we can break this by the weekend, when we're due to make our 2nd overnight trip to Irvington. I can't imagine importuning my dad with Alastair's "hold me" wails all night.


I'm rocking out to Fiona Apple right now. I'd forgotten how much I love her music. It's edgy but relaxing, and I love what she's able to do vocally. It was really cool to discover that Johnny Cash was a fan, too (she sings with him on his version of "Bridge over Troubled Waters").


The Miata is coming on nicely. I have street-able tires on it right now (the Falkens), which I think will also be my track tires in July.

The roll-bar arrived on Thursday, a full two weeks before I expected it. I think I'll try to install it in the driveway, rather than taking the car anywhere. The bar is very large, and transporting it and the car separately seems like a huge hassle. If the weather clears (3 days of on/off torrential downpours, causing traffic delays, transportation shutdowns, and random evacuations on the east coast), I'm going to start stripping the interior parts necessary for the install today.

My harness came with the bar, and seems to be missing some hardware. The eye-bolts didn't come with anything to which they could be attached. There should have been some backing-plates to mount under the floor-board, and they're not even referenced in the instructions, so I'm guessing people fabricate their own. Weird. Hopefully someone mass-produces plates that I can order (and that are inexpensive); I'm not excited about getting someone to weld nuts onto strips of metal locally.

I also ordered a mount to affix the video camera to the roll-bar, so now I can continue filming my runs on the autocross and at the track.


I really love Amanda. She's my inspiration. That's all, just thought I'd put that out there.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Bumboseat is made in South Africa

So why doesn't it ship with a flame-thrower based theft-deterrent system?

We got Alastair some great stuff this past week. On Tuesday, his Bumboseat arrived. If you don't know what that is, check it out. This thing is awesome. It keeps him sitting upright, works on his back & tummy muscles, and allows him to interact with the world like a big boy. Plus, if he drops anything, it just lands on his feet, where he can reach down and pick it up.

We're planning on taking it out with us to dinner some time, as it's more comfortable for him than the Peg Perego car-seat ever was (and which he's out-growing).

Then, on Sunday, we pulled out his MacLaren Triumph stroller. We figured we'd see how (if) he liked it, and it was a hit. It has better sun-protection, turns easier, and it's more maneuverable in traffic. Plus, it makes us look super cool at the trendy malls, where everyone seems to be pushing MacLaren strollers around.

Also on Sunday, I figured I'd take a look at new car-seats, since Alastair's quickly out-growing the Peg Perego. I got a Britax Marathon seat, which will support him up to 65 lbs, so I should be all done with car seats. This seat not only sounds cool, it looks cool, too. It comes close to matching the interior of the MINI (w00t!). The anchors are far more substantial, too, so I don't need to worry about the seat wobbling around.

Today he took his first ride in the new seat, and I think he was happy. He didn't fall asleep immediately, like he usually does, but he didn't look particularly angry, either. He just looked around and occasionally muttered. I do so love that boy.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I love my boy!

Nothing else to see here; carry on.