Archive for August, 2008

Just a Sip, Dad!

Originally uploaded by Wandering Eyre

Last week, Ries and I took Gideon to happy hour at Boondoggles to wish some friends goodbye as they start a new life in sunny CA. Gideon, as always, was wonderful. He has started following things with his eyes. Ries and I got pints of St. Arnold’s Oktoberfest (it was delicious!) which was one of the seasonal taps.

Gideon was in love. In this picture, he follows Daddy’s beer, pleads, and even drools for a sip. Alas, we had to tell him he is a bit too young. He had to settle for second hand beer from Momma’s Milkies. Poor Baby.


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I have a lot of very cool library friends. A couple of them, David Lee King and Michael Porter, wrote a little diddy and made a video. I must warn you that the song gets in your head, but the geek factor is totally worth watching it.

For those that need another reason, Gideon and I are in it towards the end. Enjoy!

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Puppy Sick

The drama continues in the Smith household.  Michelle managed to get out of the house for some socializing with a friend today.  When she got back Pullo had accidents (poo or puke, I don’t know) all over the house.  It was on the new floor (easy to clean up), on the carpet (only 2 small rooms left with carpet), and on the bed.  Then he managed to track it to other places.  It was pretty disgusting and significant.

He had been having very “loose stools” (how do I right this post without sounding disgusting?) for a couple days now.  It has been hard to tell just how bad since it has been raining hard all week.  He has been going out frequently during the night, which is out of the norm.

Anyways, I know you don’t want to read about this but I had to run home for an hour to help Michelle clean it all up.  The problem is compounded because our washer is broken so we can’t just throw the sheets / comforter in there.  But I think I did an amazing job on the carpet and the mattress.  Michelle is in charge of the sheets now, we’ll see how that turns out.

A thought just occured to me, did my Mom feed Pullo something this weekend while they were watching him?  Mom?  That would be something you would do.

-Ries, hands still smell like bleach.

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I was pleased as punch to have my oven fixed, finally, after weeks of arguing with the repair people. It is a long sordid tale. I thought we were done with repair men for awhile.


This morning the washing machine door will not latch and thus it will not wash. Lovely. The repair man comes tomorrow. Let us hope that it can be fixed the same day and not take two months like the oven.

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I love the Olympics! I always have.

I really love sports in general. Sports of all kinds. I love playing, I love watching, I love competing. Nothing is better than the olympics. It takes events of varying popularity and pits nation against nation. Let me repeat that, nation against nation. Every time there is some politically charged atmosphere that brings an added level to each and every game. I love the different venues that you get to see and how each host country adds their own flavor. I love the pride I feel inside when I see the US dominate, come from behind, or even just give it their best shot against overwhelming odds.

What I hate is NBC’s coverage of the event. Every year I hope that they will have learned from the past and make the coverage better. Every year I am dissapointed. I understand the difficulty of providing coverage of all these events, especially when the time difference is so vast. But I also know it can be done. But NBC sports has to be the worst. Who else makes a contract with one and only one college football team to air their events and nobody elses. That creates imbalances in college football that … sorry I feel myself getting off topic.

This is a sporting event so I want to see sports showing.  I won’t even complain about the large amount of commercials showing in prime time because I know that is how they make this profitable.  I can’t stand all the stories about the athletes though.  I get that they want to bring in the casual fan (mostly women) by giving them the background and a feel good story but they don’t have to have long segments.  It would be okay if the commentators discussed during introduction but they show it when they could be showing other events.

There is also not near enough use of split screen.  I have seen them do a couple times so that we can hear the mad ravings of Bela Karolyi while the gymnastics is going on.  How about showing some rowing in the background while they show gymnastics.  A lot of these obscure sports can be relatively short in duration.  Heck, while watching soccer it would not be hard to put a screen with gymnastics in the corner.  Then you only have to pay attention to the gymnastics for one minute while the routine is happening.

It is bad enough the network feels that Americans have to be gold contenders for it to even be worth watching.  Like where’s the wrestling this year.  They showed a lot of wrestling when we had that guy who contended for the gold but I haven’t seen any this year.  But then there are sports where Americans are in contention but they still don’t show it.  What about that guy who one the gold in the double trap shoot (or something like that).  They didn’t show that.

Thank goodness for internet.  At least they are putting a good deal of their feeds online.  I have had some difficulties trying to watch some of the events (where was the much hyped women’s volleyball USA vs. China?) but in they only hold back a few live events so that they can show them later.  But it is really not the same.  Maybe if I had a second monitor that I could dedicate to Olympics while I do other stuff on the computer it would be good.  Sweety?  Second monitor?

I really don’t have enough words (how can you tell by this post) or a strong enough comprehension of the english language (did you see my GRE verbal scores?) to express how frustrated I get watching the Olympics.  As much as I love the event I feel like it is being extremely hampered.  It is like a cheetah that has to run on one leg.

–Ries, still watching

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The subject of this post was supposed to happen in the last one but I took a wrong turn at the beginning.

My new role as a Father somehow leaves me with no time.  I don’t know where it goes.  It doesn’t help that my wife can’t say no to people and drags me somewhere anytime I get home.

The past few weekends have gone like this:

  • Last week: Baby shower in Dallas so we met up with college friends who live there.
  • Week before:  Weekend up at the lakehouse.  Why?  I am not sure, just because.
  • The week before that:  Gideon’s dedication, so that required hosting family and cleaning house.
  • And the week before that one:  Do you really expect me to remember this week, did you not read the weeks after it.  I am fried.

We have a wedding coming this weekend and then we have other assorted things coming up in the next month or two.  There will be like 3 weddings and one big family vacation.  I have school starting back up in a couple weeks and then there is college football also around the corner.

Work has been pretty busy recently.  In a good way.  There are budget concerns on the Orion project for both the government and contractor side.  That has by no means slowed down the amount of work that needs to be done.  In a suprising, and relatively sudden move, my office has moved to a “9/80” work schedule.  In this schedule we work 80 hours over a 9 day period instead of the 80 hours every 10 days.  This results in every other Friday off.

I am pretty excited about the new schedule but I haven’t been able to enjoy it yet.  Since my wife plans every weekend, I have to accomodate those plans by doing required house work when I get home in the evenings.  Since I am now working an extra hour every day that gives me that much less daylight to get it done.  Since the lawn needs mowing every 3 days (no exaggeration) there are a couple days every week where I don’t get to have down time until late, at which point my wife asks me to take care of Gideon (while he is fighting sleep) so that she can take a shower.

The first and only off-Friday that I have had was spent taking the GRE.  I don’t hate tests.  Tests are what get me through classes when I don’t do the homework (happens more often than not).  Of course, I am also slow at taking tests.  I am very methodical and give time to every detail, so I am not a big fan of these long 4 hour tests, because it is just draining.  I will be the first to tell you that I am a horrible writer and that I am terrible with the English language.  I am historically bad with the verbal sections so a 550 (out of 800) score did not dissapoint me.  We’ll see how the essay went but I am not hoping for much.  What does dissapoint me was my math score of 650.  Not so much the score (well yes, the score) but the fact that I mismanaged my time and did not get to the last quarter of the test.  That is a lot.  By my figuring that means I must have had to get all of the ones I answered correct.  Well, I should since none of the math is a higher level than what I took in the ninth grade.  I just hate these test takers methods of making the problems “hard” by putting in tricks.  It requires you to be diligent but doesn’t give you the time to do it.  Oh well, it is not like I really cared what I got or even studied much (did I mention that I don’t do homework).  Rant over.

–Ries, too busy to write any more, thank goodness for you.

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I am beginning to learn what it is like to be a father.  The word that comes to mind most of all is responsibility.  I feel very responsible for the well-being of my family.

Getting married is fun.  You don’t have the same sense of responsibility because your spouse is a capable human being who has (hopefully) learned how to take care of themselves.  My wife is very independent and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  So when you get married it is more like adding a partner in crime.  It is just someone you trust and love to accompany you on your misadventures.

Now that we have added Gideon to the family our roles have changed very much.  The change is obvious for Michelle who has had to change her life.  It is simplistic to compare it to a career change, it is really more than that.  There are no weekends, there is no down time, only little break times and even those can’t be planned.  Michelle’s role is clear.  Take care of that little treasure.  The goal is simple, see to all of his needs, but the execution takes a whole lot of effort and even some clever tricks.

I think the role changes for a father are often overlooked.  Since Michelle’s new “job” doesn’t provide an income, the sole responsibility for “bringing home the bacon” falls to my shoulders.  It is really quite sobering.  Luckily, the methods of execution don’t have to change.  We simply keep going to work to earn that money.  Before, my motivations were honestly selfish.  I earned money to feed myself, to put a roof over my head, to plan my future, to buy that new plasma TV.  But now, I feel different I would gladly eat bread & water, sleep outside, and watch free TV using an old fashion cathod ray tube (I have to have something) if I needed to in order to keep my family safe and healthy.

I don’t really have any mind blowing to say since this was supposed to be a post about other things.  I just felt it important to write about the changes in life that are expected but at the same time not truly understood until they actually hapen to yourself.  I am trying to step up to the plate in my new role but it is definitely more pressure than I expected.

–Ries, the greater the pressure, the greater the reward.

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