We Need a Potty!!

OK, I know I have not blogged much lately, but I thought this especially blogworthy!

Dahlia just used the toilet!! She has been telling me lately when she has to go to the bathroom (by signing “dirty diaper”) or when she has just gone. So the past few times she told me, I took her and held her on the toilet. This time she actually went. Wow.

This started just since we switched to cloth, so perhaps our time diapering is nearing an end. And just when I was getting a good cloth diaper stash going on!

And then again, maybe this won’t happen again for months. We shall see!

Got it!

Remember way back when I posted this? Well, believe it or not, after waiting roughly a year, and we finally get to move in this September! Some friends of ours nicknamed the place ‘The Kneels’ because of all the prayer that went into waiting for it. The owners never did find a job, but decided to move anyway, to be closer to family. Or maybe they just wanted to move to a place where walking outside doesn’t feel like pouring jalepano juice over your body. Unfortunately, we will probably not have as much need in September for the central A/C as we do now.

So, it is official! We have a new apt. here in Newark. It is nicer, bigger, and in a building full of tenants who are not as likely to fall down the stairs drunk in the middle of a Sunday afternoon. Even if they did, we would most likely not hear it. 

When we move in, pics will be on Flikr, and you locals will of course be invited to a house warming party. Heck, you may even be invited to help us move-lucky you!

Engage Indignant Fury

Dialed 800-528-4800 for American Express and spoke to Ash (ID#: 52899) about our account because I noticed finance charges in the hundreds.

Apparently, missing the payment deadline in January jumped our interest up from a 0% APR to _29.24%_.

Oh noes!

moar humorous pics

Engage indignant fury. Asked Ash to reverse it.

Hold music. Was told that he could submit a request to review the situation. Asked why we didn’t pay the bill on time last month.

Because your friggin’ website doesn’t have automatic bill pay.

Actually, we do offer electronic funds transfer by phone and online.

Yeah, I know: the EFT by phone costs $30, and the website is still not an automatic bill pay, right?


It’s not _scheduled_ bill payment, right?

Oh, yes, you’re right; will note on the account. Should hear back about the resolution and reversal of charges (if approved) in one to two billing cycles.

Can also note that we set up bill payment through our _own_ bank and you’ll receive payment in-full, on-time going forward.

Okay, sure.


Didn’t ask if it’s the 21st century and maybe have you heard of this thing called the internet?

Didn’t explain that every other bank we’ve had in the last five years has auto billpay, because at the end of the day, all I really want to do is just send you my money, will you please just let me send you my money?

Didn’t imply that an institution founded in 1850 might have the dignity of notifying customers of such a drastic account change and will you maybe consider the impact this might have on your brand?

Nope, saving that material for another round in four to eight weeks.

One More Straw

This past week has quickly brought me from the point of vaguely thinking about moving to wanting to move out. Now. At the end of the month.

It all started with one little bug . . . a bed bug that is. As nasty as these little critters are, I was thinking that we were done with them after dealing with an infestation in November ’05 (thank you, upstairs neighbors, for bringing that “bargain” mattress into the apartment). That was mere weeks after Ken and I had bought a gorgeous new mattress as an anniversary gift for each other. Anyway, after fighting a concurrent infestation of bedbugs and roaches (yes, they were havin’ a game of ball on the wall), we were finally rid of the nasty buggers! Until last Thursday.

Dahlia was hanging out in her bouncy seat in the middle of the bed, and I leaned over her to smile at her when I noticed a brown bug hide under one of the seat legs. I immediately recognized it and said some not-so-nice things about it. To confirm, though, I grabbed a tissue and killed it. Sure enough. The bed bugs were back.

I am done with this apartment. We have a nice-enough landlord who sort of gets around to things if you ask continually for a few days in a row. We certainly have a lot of space for the rent we are paying, but I am done. This is the last item on a list of problems with this apartment that have been slowly racking up: broken storm doors out front since we moved in (3 years ago), 18 wheelers up and down our block all day because of the industrial drum company next door, various toxic liquids poured onto our sidewalk daily from the same company, moldy ceiling tiles in the bathroom because of leaks above them (yes– a drop ceiling in the bathroom). Plus, the place is just plain old and ugly. I know that isn’t a very convincing argument, but I get weary of the shabby brown linoleum in the kitchen, the lumpy, thin carpet, and the dirty wallpaper throughout the apartment. To seal the deal, Monday night an entire cabinet fell off the wall in the kitchen. That was a good time had by all.

I hope this isn’t a case of “the grass is greener . . . ” but we are officially apartment shopping.

Rule #3

We’ve been attending newborn classes in anticipation of our little bundle of -sleeplessness- joy. I think I’ve said it before here, but if you’re having a baby in the NYC area and need classes, definitely check out “realbirth”:http://realbirth.com. Sharp, witty New Yorkers delivering the straight dope on pain management, breastfeeding, and swaddling: there are few better ways to spend an evening in the city.

Last Tuesday’s class revealed that a father’s testosterone levels drop sharply after childbirth. Our instructor Erica explained that this was an evolutionary feature — so fathers don’t eat the baby. I wrote down dutifully, “Rule #3: do not eat the baby.”

Google never fails to impress when you’re looking for a topic that you’ve never in your life thought of before. I just stumbled over “this Guardian article”:http://observer.guardian.co.uk/woman/story/0,,1792138,00.html about fatherhood and the demands of the global marketplace. Money quote (of which there are _many_):

That is another thing no one told me before my daughter was born – looking after a baby is stress-relief. The mythology of fatherhood says that responsibility for a fragile young life will grey your hair overnight. But the urgent simplicity of a child’s needs insulates you from the complex demands of the outside world. When I first went back to work I felt agoraphobia for the first time. My reassuringly narrowed horizons were forced back open. The idea that you are expected, after a few hearty pats on the back, to get on with business as usual struck me as grotesque. I sat in meetings struggling to care. I now live in fear of missing some minuscule step my daughter might have taken down the road of infant development, a newly articulate gurgle or a very prolific poo. Fathering is addictive like that.

Rule #3 (which really was another version of Rule #1, anyway) has now been replaced: “Don’t work too much.”


My “brother-in-law”:http://posegate.blogspot.com would like to write about his addiction to Guitar Hero II, but he’s still too busy trying to master that solo in “Psychobilly Freakout” at the Expert level, thankyouverymuch. We got a chance to develop some repetitive stress injury on their new wireless fender during our last trip into the frozen Ithaca tundra. It was a lot of fun, but what I’m really waiting for is Bluegrass Hero — I’ve already got my 37-button wireless mandolin on order at Amazon.

“Danny and Kim Iverson”:http://www.dannyiverson.com came over last weekend with their son DJ. They’re working on growing a church in one of the more impoverished areas of Newark, not more than a couple miles from our place: real, front lines, give away everything you’ve got and come follow me ministry work. Danny lit up when he saw the guitar case in our living room. “You play?” he beamed at me. “I hack,” I said, admitting that I had learned some chords to lead worship at our college Bible study.

I opened up the case and showed him the axe; the strings were embarrassingly old and the guitar out of tune. I toyed with it for a minute or two before handing it to him, watched him place the capo at the second fret _backwards_ leaving open the top E, B and bottom E strings (“for that alternate tuning, but open sound”, he explained), and noodle through a few things he had written. He held us captivated for a few minutes before handing it back.

Later that night I went back to my to-do list and added, “practice guitar more often”.

Kay Jay

It starts with a glance at the crackberry a little after six. Usually my favorite time of the day to spend reading, thinking and soaking in anything I can find that has nothing to do with web 2.0.

It’s always a one-liner, maybe two. They haven’t yet begun with the words “Where’s my … ?” (opting instead for “I need”), for which I’m thankful. But it means getting on the VPN and spending a little time in Excel or Word or Acrobat. And delivering. Soon.

We call them KJs, short for knee-jerk assignments. There’s little time to think and less time to second-guess. Adam calls them “hero or goat” moments, which I think is funny, since I recently learned that “few animals walk taller than the he-goat”:http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/search/?q=proverbs+30%3A29-31. But I think he rather meant “the stupid kind”:http://www.theonion.com/content/node/40091 instead.