Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Egad, redux

Delia is super cute, but we already knew that. We call this "showoff arms," she does this and then races around in circles or some other show-offy behavior to elicit laughs from the peanut gallery. Note the trail of destruction through the house. I personally pick up each one of those myriad bits of plastic about forty times per day. As I am containing one pile, she gleefully runs over to some other bin of toys and up-ends it onto the rug. I understand we are doomed to repeat this until she goes away to college.

We leave on FRIDAY. Today is TUESDAY. Am I ready? God, no.

Today I will spend running errands such as purchasing a runner's hat (like a baseball cap only lighter and meshier and probably exponentially more expensive), an extra tube for the bike tire I'm sure to pop on the triathlon route, and some Gatorade. Also must make umpteenth trip to Homey's for chicken coop hardware. Julianna has been slaving away out there after work and on the weekend, building a really spiffy plywood Taj Mahal for the chicks which now look like miniature chickens and can flap their way out of the box we have been keeping them in. We still suspect that the frizzle is a rooster but it's still too soon to tell for us chicken-keeping noobs. He'll have to actually start crowing and then we'll still wait for him to do it a few times just to be sure.

Ordered some shorts from Mt. Borah and they sent men's instead of women's. They were swell about sending more out UPS 2nd day since I have an event, so be sure to visit them and heap effusive praise upon them as I am sure to do here shortly.

Kenny, our sidingwalla, has completed the siding. That's right, he has completed the siding. We can't believe it either. The patio roof is also complete, all the light fixtures are installed, and the doors are painted and touched-up. He has only to attach the downspouts, do a little touch-up in the eaves and bolster a bit of saggy siding in the gable. And clear all his crap out. Then you'd think he'd be done. Muwahahaha!!!

Funny story. Friend Jeff called (of The Jeffs) and told us how they'd replaced their sliding glass door with a set of French doors... um, but the condo rules state you can't do that, though not in so many words. So the HOA has agreed to replace the doors with a new slider for them. So this means there is a set of seven hundred dollar barely used French doors out there, just drifting aimlessly along, whistling a careless tune... Up for grabs... Yes, folks, just when you thought it was safe to go into the backyard, we're getting French doors!!! We had actually discussed getting some, but decided to do it later since we were already spending money we didn't have. What's another three hundred bucks?! You can't turn down free doors... So Kenny told us to give him a call when we have the doors, or he is perfectly happy to go pick them up for us (he'd do it for free, too, since he is just that kind of guy), and he and Bob will spend a weekend here putting them in and removing the other door. The existing backdoor faces west and heats up all afternoon such that you almost can't touch the doorknob from the outside by 4pm. He'll even fix the siding so you could never tell we removed the door. Included in the price. Wotta guy!

Well, must run. Off to the races. Baby should be up shortly and then it's zoom, zoom, zoom. At least it's not 90 today. Only supposed to be 80ish. Perfect!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


What have I done? Why would I sign up for a triathlon? Who am I anyway? Have I lost what little mind I ever possessed?

One and a half weeks to the big day. Let's see how we're doing, shall we:

Have I done a "brick"? (A brick is where you do two of the events in a row as if you are doing part of the triathlon, i.e. swim and then bike, or bike and then run) ...Erm, no.

Can I run 5k (3.1 miles or thereabouts) without stopping? ...Uh, not really, no.

Have I done a practice swim, or even a dip, into some open water? ... Um ...well ... No.

Do I even know what I'm wearing to the swim? ...Yeah, that'd be another "no."

On the positive side, am now slightly more physically fit than before. Can and do regularly swim 40 laps (36=1/2 mile) in the local pool. Have been known to run 8 whole minutes at a time. Also, have purchased jersey and bicycling shorts for the occasion, so will provide much amusement to those whippet-thin types as I struggle moistly into my togs for the ride, fresh out of the brisk yet refreshing waters of Lake Washington, pasty white thighs quivering with exertion and ... Okay, that's probably enough descriptive prose.

Am kicking into high gear, i.e. obsessing mightily over the details: What food to bring? Which ghastly fluorescent flavor of sports drink? Will probably go in search of appropriate swim gear, or else give up soon and just wear swimsuit with sports bra underneath, thus sealing fate as sporting Dorkiest Triathlon Ensemble Ever Worn. Also guaranteeing self painful welts on bottom from suit leg-holes which are quite, erm, enthusiastically elasticized. Very appropriate for staying in place in the pool, the suit much to its credit never rides up and so I am never required to tug it out of place (here I am thinking with distaste of that suction effect, where you pull on the suit and it just sticks harder to your butt so you have to "crack the seal" and let some air in, as if it wasn't embarrassing enough to have had it stuck up your wazoo in the first place, but now you have to rummage around the leg-hole in front of the whole pool) but I think sitting on it for an hour or so will be a bit uncomfortable. But, I will have sporty new padded bike shorts which will take some of the sting out of it, one hopes. Plus Julianna is lending me her gel seat which has to be cushier than my stock saddle.

Of course, there is no situation which my father cannot complicate further by planning a visit. At least this time he actually called ahead. He's coming on Saturday. I suppose it's time, he hasn't seen the baby since Christmas and has never seen the new house at all. I have decided to show him around the house, let him visit with the baby, then have him sift through the various photos of the baby contained within this computer and we'll make an order of them to get printed up at Costco. You just upload the photos and they print them up, you get to pick them up in an hour or so. This will keep him busy and out of J's hair as she is building the long-planned (talk about obsessing over the details, but that's okay, she's happiest doing so) chicken coop. She does not want "help." Remind me to tell you about how Dad "helped" with the baby's room at the Woodstock house...

Well, must go clean up and get cracking on that list of stuff to bring to the tri. At least then I can forget stuff instead of not knowing I needed it in the first place.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Sad news

My friends Graham and Liz called today from Juneau. Her brother just died in the Persian Gulf, he was in the Navy and he died of a heat-related heart attack. Only 41, and leaves a wife and three little boys behind.

I am so sad for Liz. I have a brother just that age, who also has three little boys, and although he was nearly killed in an accident at 21 and has had three bouts of Bell's Palsy (which ordinarily you get only once in a lifetime) his health is good overall. I can't imagine losing him all of a sudden, out of the blue. I remember how breathtakingly horrible it was to almost lose him twenty years ago -- almost to the day, as it turns out.

Not to bring religion into this but the thought of my cat eventually dying is what made me believe there must be an afterlife, because it seemed impossible that we should be parted forever. It happened to be my cat that started this dialogue in my head because he was the first living being really close to me that I thought might die sooner than later. This was some time ago when he got really thin and I thought he was not long for this world. Turned out he had hyperthyroid and we had him a good while longer. But my point is that it could just as easily have been a person, say Julianna or my grandmother or someone else human and close to me, who had a brush with death and got me on this topic. I want to make it clear that although I felt a strong bond with Beany, I am not the sort of person who doesn't also have strong bonds with humans. For some reason I feel that it is important to differentiate myself from those weird folk who think humans are all crap and animals are where it's at. You know the kind, who have houses full of cats and dogs and treat them like people in little fur suits.

Anyway what I decided about it all at that time, and this has served me well since, was that what harm would it do to believe that we would be reunited one day? If it comes true, yay! My heart's desire, to see and pet my beloved cat, or be with my grandma, or whatever, comes true. Nice thought. And if not, if when we die our eyes just close and our bodies cease function and we don't exist anymore, like a light going out, well, would I ever know the difference? A light turned off doesn't think about anything.

It gives me comfort to think that somewhere my cat is happy, he doesn't feel sick anymore, he has a mouth full of teeth and a healthy heart and he sits in a lap and purrs, and chases bugs, and is content. It gives me comfort to think that when I die all my loved ones will be there, and I can sit in a chair with my cat in my lap and my dog leaning on my leg and just be happy.

There's certainly nothing wrong with that. Call it what you will. But I believe it, and that makes it so.

Of course there's that other possibility that something entirely different happens to us, but since we don't carry around memories and tortured longings from past lives (though I'm sure there are those who would argue about that, to whom I say get a job and buy some real beliefs), whatever it might be would be something outside of our ability to know. I like to think that there's some kind of purpose to all this, so the thought that we would be born into this bittersweet existence only to exit it into an eternity of torment or similar just doesn't jive. Balance in all things... Perhaps in heaven (or whatever you'd like to call it, it's just a word after all) there's happy things like being reunited with your family and friends and pets, and there's also things that suck, like here on earth. I'll take it, whatever it is. What choice do I have?

So Liz, if you read this, I don't know if it's any comfort to you that I think your brother is okay, and one day his family will see him again. It comforts me a little although I did not know him. Hopefully he was doing something that was important to him. And although there's no way for me or anyone to fathom the pain of losing him, I feel for you and your mom and his wife and kids. I'll be thinking of you all.

Calmly terrified

Or is it terrifiedly calm?

Have been obsessing about the triathlon. It's on the 21st. That's less than three weeks.

Am I ready? Uh, no. Am I doing it anyway? Yes. Am I crazy? Oh, most certainly.

So I got road tires put on my mountain bike, will oil it up real good tomorrow, got a rear-view mirror for my helmet -- been meaning to, always had one when I commuted by bike, just too lazy to get me to a bike store. Ordered some bike clothing. Still haven't decided what to wear. Swimsuit? Then when you get out of the water you put on your bike shorts and jersey or shirt or whatever, and wear that when you run. Or there's tri clothes you can get but I don't know that I'm ready for that. I want the clothes to be something I'd actually wear in public later. Tri clothes are like a sleeveless top and bike shorts with a somewhat thinner pad in them so you don't feel so diaper-y when you run. Bike shorts which show off the whole back porch to the world at large.

So I'm thinking, swimsuit, despite concerns about chafing, then baggy bike shorts and a rather unflashy non-descript jersey. But that doesn't address the jogbra thing. I wear this superstrappy industrial strength jogbra. It keeps things where they belong which once you've breastfed for a while is somewhat more meaningful than when you were, for instance, a nubile 21-year-old. But I digress. Anyway, like I want to put that on under my swimsuit or (shudder) over it, and when wet to boot. Humph. Have to think some more. I guess some people swim in just their jogbra and bike shorts but that's way too much exposure of my mayonnaise-white flesh. No, as a courtesy to others I must find another way. I'm taking a poll of the tri club although I don't particularly expect an answer since there have been something like three postings in the past four months.

What else is new? J sprained her wrist opening a jar of caramel sauce. How's that for a sad tale to tell others? "How'd you hurt yourself?" "Um, opening a jar of caramel sauce." To give her some credit, that jar really put up a fight. Then it got worse this morning after she smacked the dog for attacking the cat (the cat was not injured though she was pretty pissed off for most of the day) so she had it looked at and now has a strappy little splint. Delia is quite intrigued by the velcro.

Delia spent her day happily diving onto a filthy dog bed that I had carelessly tossed into the living room while I cleaned the bedroom rug in preparation for the shiny new dog bed I got at Costco yesterday. She is obsessed with pillows, piles of dirty (or clean) clothes, etc -- anything she can throw herself onto. If it's clothing, she also likes to put things over her head as if putting on a shirt, so it's not unusual to see her come tearing out of the bedroom with a bra or some underpants around her neck. Hence my caution around giving her access to dirty clothing.

Back to the salt mines. Must clean kitchen. Argh. And run. Double argh. :)