Saturday, June 12, 2004

About a Girl

I feel bad for Zoe because she doesn't get the same kind of attention and anticipation as Alex got when he was still in my wife's womb, and sometimes - often times, I don't really think about her that much. Huge part of it is of course, Alex's keeping me pretty busy. I try hard to pay attention to the fact that my wife is indeed pregnant - after a whole year of pregnancy, it's easy to forget that there was once a time when my wife was not pregnant. For a while after Alex was born, I would often freak out when I realized I was laying on my wife, and putting too much weight on my wife's stomach, until I realize that it's just my wife, and there was no baby inside. Well, obviously it didn't freak me out enough to get me off my wife, because she was pregnant three month after Alex was born.

But sometimes I do think about Zoe, if she'd be possibly cuter than Alex, and have the sweetest little voice. I'm glad I ended up with one of each, because I think both of them will be very influential in my life. I still fear the world we've created for our daughters, but I intend to keep her close and safe to us. I worry about her decked out in pink garb, looking like Barbie's wadrobe threw up on her. I worry about having to change her diapers and work around her girl parts. I can deal with boy parts, but girl parts will be different. Argh, I'm freaking out just thinking about it.

I worry that Alex would bully her, but I suppose that'll be part of life. Alex doesn't seem to display any violent or mean spirit, although he's might curious. Might wanna find out how squishy Zoe's eye can be. So, I worry about that. I worry a lot for my little girl, but I think she'll be different than Alex in a lot of ways. I imagine her being cuddly, and being the sweetest little thing.

I can't believe in two months, I'll be a father once again.

And then I'm keeping my hands off my wife. Damn sexy woman.

About a Boy

Loved the movie, by the way.

My son is growing so quickly that sometimes I forget to step back and think about what he's now capable of. I think he's growing so fast that sometimes, I feel like I've already missed a lot, and trust me, I try to be there a lot. Now he's taken a rather cute form of begging, much like cats and dogs do, whereby he'll see you eating some food, and then he'd crawl over (which he is now doing with hands and knees!), use your leg for support, stand up, and wait for food. It's really cute when he does that because he's got my taste buds. Everything and anything.

Except yesterday, when I gave him a piece of peppered chicken, and he proceeded to turn red. That was a little funny and irresponsible.

We're learning about his free-willness (is that a word?) and his exploratory nature. He's also quite independent, usually keeps himself pretty busy and starts to get a little fussy when you try to hold him and make him cuddle with you. Nope, he's off and running - there's a world out there to discover, and he's eager to do exactly that.

He's also venturing into more vocals, all of which are quite adorable. His voice is already distinctively male, or maybe it's just my impression of it. When he's excited, he'll either drool or wave his arms about like a madbaby, and emit a high-pitched squeal, or if you're fortunate, a scream.

I do miss my weekends with him, I'm glad I'm back to watching him on the weekends again while my wife's at work. I hate to admit it, but when my wife's home, I tend to focus on my own things, knowing that Alex is taken care of. I think that's a common practice of most fathers, something about lacking that nurturing gene in our pool, I guess. And yes, I do think many times about things I could be doing, life that I could be living. But I think that's normal and human, so I don't worry too much about it.

We've developed all these different tricks and techniques with him, and we'll have to find out what works for Zoe. That'll take some readjustment, for sure. For instance, if you wanna change him, do as much changing as you can with him standing up - that gives him the impression that he's got the freedom to move around. Lay him down, and get an earful of disagreement. If you do have to lay him down inevitably to change a diaper, stick a bottle in his hands and he'll not mind. Toys somethings work, but often times doesn't. It would have to be a fascinating toy that he can eat. Do not attempt to change his diaper with him standing up. You will need a lot of courage and equal amounts of stupidity to try that.

Even my wife and I play with him differently. She's into more vocal interaction, I'm the guy who shakes his ass for my son so that he'll laugh and bat at my butt. I'm the guy who would make animal growls and pummel him with my noggin so that he could use my head as a drum. I'm the rough and tumble parent, and my wife's the soft shoulder to fall asleep on, and the one to get close to.

I like to kiss him. His skin is soft and warm, and sometimes he'll turn and slobber on me, but I like to kiss him. There was a time I told my wife that I probably wouldn't be kissing him a lot because it wasn't part of my childhood, but I guess I must've been an ugly baby or something, because I love to kiss my baby...

Following the cookie trail lead me to this.

Everything you put on the web is common property, I suppose. Kinda weird that someone actually put in the word, "Monkey" in the search engine.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Instead of listing all the movies I've watched in the past two weeks (a lot, what with the Blockbuster pass), we'll talk a little about a certain little boy who's gotten bigger, and acting older.

He's finally found a new way to disagree, by vocalizing, "Na Na Na Na Na...", and then doing his little cry. My wife thinks it's cute and cool, I think it's an excellent opportunity for him to do some backup vocals for some local Motown group.

Alright, jokes aren't that great.

He's also crawling around, hands and knees, and pulling himself up at record speeds, and beginning to dance to music and other tunes that he digs. Well, bounce around anyway.

I'm obviously distracted, so more later.

So the van's in the shop, and after they looked over everything, it looks like it's gonna cost an extra $800 to make it safe for the road and the family again. My father-in-law said that it wasn't a problem to loan us the extra money, being how it's "deferred spending" anyway. We're still quite happy with the van no matter, it's quite neat to have all that room. The other day, the moment before it's demise, I put Alex in the van, and then just crawled to the front of the van to get into the driver's seat. I may never have to open the driver's door, ever.

So, that's been the bulk of our week, just wondering about the van, borrowing money for the van, taking the van into the shop and feeling that general sense of intimidation and suspicion about auto shops that non-mechanical types like me always do. I'm starting to wonder if I went into the wrong profession, what with all the mad money these guys make. Sure, they're greasy, but they've got money. And they don't even have to give it away to auto mechanics because they can fix their own cars.

I'm thinking about shifting my work days around so that I could be even more of a slacker. Instead of four days in a row, perhaps I could work two days, have a day off, work another two days, and have the weekend off. Ha ha ha. It's good to be me sometimes...

Now if only I could change the nature of my job...

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Although it was inevitable, it was still a little disappointing when it did happen. I ran the minivan out to Freddy's tonight, the first official outing that wasn't related to showing it off or driving it back home, and when I returned, the engine didn't turn. Just plain dead. So later, I'm going to jump start the puppy, and hope that I don't get electrocuted or something. Or blow my car up.

My wife has been back to work for a few days now, and I must say I'm a little spoilt because I was so used to her being home with a broken toe. Her toe's still broken, but it hurts less for her now. She's still limping a little, but it's okay to stand on. Getting back on the old schedule was a little sad, it is nice when I can see her everynight, and spend so much time with her. I guess that's motivation to get a better job perhaps.

It feels a little weird that Trench and Syrinx are moving over to Japan. I mean, I'm very happy for them, but it does feel strange nonetheless. Don't know why, being how they only lived a few blocks from us but we never hung out that much. After Alex, any free time is basically our time to do normal things like chores, and doing weird jigs for our loved ones.

Alex is acting more of a toddler than before, just being louder when he doesn't get his way. We're trying to invoke a little discipline - there's nothing more grinding to me than seeing a parent being steamrolled by his or her kid. I'm not down with that at all. Call me old fashioned, I suppose.

Well, that's all I have for now. Still thinking about the minivan, sitting in the cold of the night, being dead.


Sunday, June 06, 2004

By the way, if anyone wanted to run their VIN number through CARFAX, email it to me. I'll run it for you for free. Even if you already own your car but bought it from someone else, run it by me. I'm getting my damn money's worth!

Adventures in Car Buying

First of all, Happy Birthday to Trench - This was actually a few days ago, and I left a goofy ass message on his phone, but hope it was good. I was racking my brains about what to get him, and then I lost all my money, so it was all moot anyhow. It's hard to think about buying something for someone who's getting rid of everything. Happy Belated Birthday anyhow!

So, our weekend was more exciting than we expected it to be! We had planned on going to the car auction just to get a feel of how it operates, and what the selection is like. Even when my father-in-law offered to loan us some money to get a car, we were half-way expecting not to get anything. I overprepared by getting a used car guide and reading it up on the internet, even enrolling in Carfax, which goes through databases and tells you every specific car's history. So, that was about 30 bucks plunked just on research, which in all reality, did nothing much in the end. It was like reading up a bunch of Nancy Drew novels and then trying to be a detective - completely irrelevant.

We did get our first wish - it was a rainy day and therefore, the assumption would be that people would not turn up as much. Well, let's just say that I would hate to be at the car auction on a sunny day. My wife and I also had our little guy in tow, and he was generally tolerant of all the ruckus, though the auctioneer's spotters (I'm creating lingo because I don't know what else they would be called.), folks who yell out a indistinct, " YEAP!" when they see a bidder that the auctioneer doesn't immediately spot, scared Alex quite a bit because they would just go, "YEAP!" and I'd feel him leap out of his skin.

We had our eyes on some newer minivans, but they were really nice and we'd expect them to bid top dollar. To our surprise, they didn't really go for that much. A 98 Town and Country with leather interior and two sliders ended up with the winning bid of just $4600, or something like that. That is definitely a place to go if you're looking for a used vehicle. So anyway, my pessimistic nature told me to move on, because those were just too new for our pocketbooks.

We finally found some older minivans, and we checked out the interiors, exteriors, etc, and pretended we knew what we were doing. After jotting down the VIN numbers, I ran home and ran the numbers on Carfax, and then ran back. In my mind I was thinking, "I hope my wife bids if she has to in my absence." My wife told B, who was along to observe and offer moral support, that she wasn't going to bid until I came back.

Well, I came back in plenty of time, and we all gasp at the amazing giveaways the cars were bidding for. I observed how it was done, and came to the conclusion that waving and jumping around wasn't an option. After about an hour or an hour and a half (time actually flew, the auctions are actually quite exciting in a weird way.) or standing around in the rain, we had to narrow it down to one vehicle. A Ford Windstar, which was a couple years younger, and our choice, the Toyota Previa. It was a tough decision, because The Windstar was up for bidding before the Toyota, so if we passed up the Windstar, we wouldn't get a second chance. The Toyota was it.

I have to say, I intellectualized the process a bit. A trick I learned from Ebay was that if you wanted the item, don't bid on it till the last minute. Early bidding only boosts up the price, and last minute bidding will be closer to what you're budgeting for. But all that thinking didn't help with other unaccounted people. The auctioneers usually start off high, like $2000 or so. Then when there's no response, they drop it down to $1500, and then even less. Another person who was interested jumped at the $1500, and sealed it at that. It was going to start from there.

I'm proud of myself because I stuck to my plan - it got bumped up to 1600, and I waited. And waited. Once the auctioneer said, "Last call," my arm shot up. The other person bid. I bid again. The other person bid. I bid again. It was slowly approaching our budget of $2000 - that was quitting point no matter what.

"2000. We're looking for 2000... 1950. 1950. Last call. And sold, to the gentleman for 1900."

It all happened in less than in instant, and my adrenaline was going through the top of my rain-soaked cap. My butt cheeks were sweaty, and my heart was pounding. And we had a brand new old ass minivan. And the feeling was sensational. The fact that we didn't spend more than 10 minutes looking at that car didn't matter, and the fact that with everything, it was actually costing us $2300 didn't matter, it just mattered that I had rocked the house with my little victory. The fact that my wife was so thoroughly impressed with me didn't help. I felt like the king of the used car lot.

Driving it home was interesting. Barely any gas in it, no wiper fluid, and it died on me once. I cleaned the interior today and Frebrezed the hell out of it, and sure enough, it had 12 years of dirt all nestled in the minivan. But overall, it is in good shape. We're pretty proud of ourselves. Alex really digs the minivan too because now he can look out the window. He was all smiles yesterday when we drove around town in our victory ride.

Now watch it not start tomorrow.

We're truly American now! We have our own mass transit for our family.

An exterior pic.

These are photos of our new minivan, a 1992 Toyota Previa. Pretty roomy for all those babies that we're planning on having.

A friendly dolphin!

We're training our boy to be a trick dolphin.