Wednesday, June 30, 2010



Isn't this a fabulous pic? It's my son-in-law, Chris, proudly holding Wiggle and relaxing with a beer (well, no beer for Wiggle) at the venerable Jimmy's in Hyde Park shortly after successfully defending his dissertation at the University of Chicago.

Woo hoo! Way to go, Chris!

This means, in addition to being
  • a TERRIFIC son-in-law
  • a WONDERFUL son
  • a DEVOTED brother
  • a FANTASTIC brother-in-law
  • a LOVING husband
  • and a DOTING Dad
We can now officially call you DOCTOR!


Friday, June 25, 2010

Happiness is...


spending time with a sunny little boy...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Solstice 2010


I'm in Chicago watching Wiggle while his parents look for housing in Virginia. Not quite 17 months old, he's a total sweetheart. He's so sunny in the morning when he wakes, and he stays sunny all day long. I'm sleeping on a futon in his room, and I hear him talking to himself cheerfully the moment he wakes up, like a little bird, and the moment I roll over and he sees that I'm awake he smiles and gets to his feet in his crib and says brightly, "UP UP UP!" Of course I get up and pick him up. Then I change his diaper and we go out into the apartment for breakfast. While my cup of coffee is brewing he has a banana and a cup of milk, and he chatters away happily as he eats.

Today we read books, worked on puzzles, played games, watered plants, blew bubbles and drew, letters and objects and shapes. We went to the store twice, and he was terrific both times. This afternoon when we got home he ran into the apartment and looked around, and I know he was looking for Alex and Chris, but when he saw that they weren't there he accepted it and looked to me to get his dinner, which of course I did. He was a little reluctant to have his bath tonight, but I'm quite sure that's because he'd figured out that if I gave him his bath, the only reason for that is that his parents weren't here to do it. So he had a very quick bath; really just a rinse off. He didn't want to play, and he usually loves to play in his bath, but I think he was especially missing his mom and dad when it came time to have his bath, because that's part of his usual bedtime routine with them. He didn't want me to read any stories to him, either, although he relented and had me read Where The Wild Things Are a couple of times. We did a couple of puzzles before I put him to bed, then I started his music and leaned over his crib and rubbed his back for half an hour while he listened to Leonard Cohen songs. When I left his room he cried for a couple of minutes before he fell asleep.

All of which has left me reflecting, and I've decided that I'm amazed and humbled to be in the presence of Wiggle. He's too young to have any real sense of time, and also too young to ask or understand where his parents are, and when they'll be back. I know he must miss them terribly, and yet he's cheerful and makes the best of the situation, without any complaints. Most of the adults I know, myself included, could take a lesson from him.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

time for a new...HOT WATER HEATER!!!

Why do these things happen in the middle of the night, instead of in the middle of the afternoon? I guess I should say, why do we discover them at night? I discovered this because, walking barefoot across the saltillo tile, I hit a wet spot...which is not a good feeling. So I turned on the lights and thought, there's only one place I can think of that water might be coming from near that I opened the door of the closet that houses the main hot water heater and had an Aha! Oh, crap! moment....


This is not a good thing to see. And then there's this alarming Danger! sign:


It's 11:58 PM on Sunday night as I write this. I have to be up for work in a few hours but instead of going to bed, I'm draining the main hot water heater. I've shut off the gas (at least I hope I have...the valve is very counterintuitive) and I've shut off the least I think I have...following these instructions:


and I've gone into the back yard and detached the garden hose from its rightful place, and dragged it into the house and attached it to the hot water heater, which I've then turned on to drain into the flower beds outside the house, the water being only tepid because the heater has stopped working big time. I'd stay home tomorrow to have it replaced except I didn't bring my laptop home, a few hours I'll drive in to work; I'll call a plumber and make an appointment ASAP to have the old hot water heater removed and a new one installed...and one day later this week I hope I'll be able to telecommute while that happens. The floor that supports it will have to be replaced too; this is just a 30" x 30" piece of plywood, an improvement over the pressboard (!!!) that was used for the original hot water heater that came with the house. When that baby went, the heater fell through the pressboard (of course). Ah, the joys of home ownership...OK, I'm done whining (for NOW)...

more later though.