Category Archives: Updates

Work and School from Home: The Beginning

Wow. This month has been surreal.

On Monday, February 24 I woke up with a sore throat. By that evening, I had a feeling I was getting sick. I woke up in the night and took my temperature. It was 99 which is high for me1. I emailed my manager I was sick and went back to bed. Jaeger was gone to Mountain View. However, our au pair was already scheduled to start at 7:00, because that is usually when I leave for work, so I didn’t have to get up to get the kids ready for school. We knew there had been a case of COVID-19 in Washington but, at the time, they were saying only people who had contact with people from Wuhan were at risk. By the end of the day I was feeling better and didn’t have a fever anymore.

On Wednesday, February 25, my symptoms had morphed into coughing and a runny nose. However, I had no fever2 and believed my energy was back so I went to work. I also went to work on Thursday but at that point COVID-19 was starting to make a bigger splash and people were obviously nervous when I coughed. So, I requested working from home on Friday.

In general, my library is not supportive of working from home. However, the IT department is a little more flexible because it is very useful to do some things on off-hours and weekends and no one wants to spend time commuting on a weekend if they don’t have to. However, there are still rules. I can request to work from home for one day in the future. I cannot request to work from home for multiple days at a time. At the beginning of my day I have to send out what I’m planning to work on. At the end of the day, I have to send a detailed3 report of what I actually worked on. While the rules seem excessive and can sometimes be inconvenient, I’ve never had my work from home request declined. Though, I usually don’t request it more than one day a week.

Over the weekend, King County Health Department reported it’s first COVID-19 death. Library employees started expressing concerns about everyone getting together for staff day, which was planned for the following Tuesday.

On Monday, March 2, I was still coughing and people were getting even more worried about COVID-19. I once again requested to work from home and it was granted. The intranet thread about COVID-19 and staff day concerns had exploded. At the end of day, administration had posted that Staff Day was still on for Tuesday but anyone who felt sick should stay home. I was feeling fine but still coughing a lot which I did not think would go over well around large crowds of people. So, I requested to work from home and once again, it was granted.

My cough had become less noticeable, especially if I constantly sucked hard candy, so I went in to work on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, the King County Healthy department said that anyone who could work from home should. However, my work didn’t support working from home during the Seattle Squeeze so I doubted they’d pay attention this time either. As a result, I went to work on Thursday. On Thursday, the city sent out a memo saying that employees were encouraged to work from home following the alternative work arrangement process that had been put in place during the Seattle Squeeze the previous year. Also on Thursday, our IT manager became increasingly concerned about the COVID-19 situation and said that anyone who could work from home should consider it. Except, this wasn’t supported library-wide yet so we still needed go through the normal process of requesting to work from home. Thus I requested, and was granted, permission to work from home on Friday.

Late evening Wednesday Jaeger’s work had sent out an email saying that Seattle employees should strongly consider working from home. Except Jaeger didn’t see it till he arrived at work on Thursday. Before he left, his employer had increased the strength of their work from home recommendation and said that anyone who wanted to take their equipment, such as monitors, home could do so. That decided Jaeger so he packed his desk into his car to take home.

Thursday is our normal date night. I get off work before Jaeger and usually walk to his work which is about a 1/2 hour walk. There were already signs that the big tech employers were strongly encouraging their employees to stay home. While people were still on the street, there was significantly less traffic than usual and the closer I got to South Lake Union, the sparser traffic became. On my walk, I passed a Girl Scout trying to sell cookies. Almost no one was going past her table, which was completely full looking. I stopped and bought some Thin Mints, even though I almost never buy Girl Scout cookies. I continued on my way and passed an salon that did eyebrow waxings. Two employees were sitting with nothing to do. I had been thinking of getting my eyebrows waxed for a while but I haven’t found a regular place in Seattle yet. So, I popped in and got my eyebrows waxed.

I met Jaeger and we went to eat at a vegetarian Chinese restaurant. The fascinating thing about this restaurant is they didn’t appear SDA. However, they used Loma Linda and Worthington fake meats in their food. Nowadays there are so many fake meat options, including amazing choices from Taiwan4, that I don’t expect to see traditional SDA fake meat. While eating, we discussed the prospect of both of us working from home for an extended period of time. Jaeger almost always goes into work5 and I don’t normally telecommute more than once a week, if that. Fortunately, since Jaeger’s employer let him take his monitor home, we weren’t going to have a monitor crisis. However, we decided we did need some additional supplies and so headed to Fred Meyer.

The store was an interesting experience. They had most of what we were looking for but some weird gaps. I had groceries delivered the prior Monday and my shopper said he couldn’t find any frozen mangoes, so I decided to see if any were back in stock. The frozen vegetable/fruit aisle had been decimated. I knew people were hoarding toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and soap. I didn’t realize that frozen vegetables were also a thing. Interestingly, I did pass several bottles of soap6.

Once home, I started reconfiguring the office. Our office doubles as our guest bedroom, and up-till-now, may have gotten more use as a guest bedroom. I prefer working from our bedroom because there’s more natural light and the view is better. However, since Jaeger wakes up later than me, it made sense that he would work in the bedroom. The desk in the bedroom was too small for Jaeger’s two giant monitors so we swapped it with the larger desk that was in the kitchen. Both looked better in their new positions so we probably should have done that all along. I surveyed the downstairs office and decided additional lighting would improve it. However, we didn’t have any extra lighting. I tried stringing Christmas lights and it did improve the vibe, but didn’t offer much additional lighting. I tried to convince myself I didn’t need more light but that lasted only a day after which I ordered another light from Amazon7. We also only had one office chair, and I contemplated buying another, but eventually decided I didn’t want to spend even more money and settled on using a dining room chair.

I got permission to work from home Friday-Tuesday. On Wednesday, March 11, I went back into work because I had a couple of in-person meetings which hadn’t been cancelled yet. Plus, I had a couple of library holds to pick up which were going to expire soon. Truthfully, that may have been the main reason I went in. The IT office was empty. Eventually, some people drifted in. At around 10am, administration posted an announcement to our intranet saying that they realized people who could work from home should and so they were going to start determining who might be able to work from home.

Our IT manager sent out a link to the livestream of Governor Inslee’s press conference about COVID-19 so I listened to it with one ear while I continued to work. As expected, he announced that gatherings of more than 25 people were now prohibited in King County. However, he also said that schools should start making plans for what to do if they were shut down in the next couple of days. At that, I started paying more attention and messaged Jaeger that we should come up with a contingency plan for if schools were going to be closed. Jaeger was not listening to the press conference but forwarded me a tweet from the governor saying he was not currently calling for schools to close. However, listening to the actual speech, I was pretty convinced it was a matter of when, not if.

Two hours later, The Seattle Public Schools announced they were closing for at least two weeks. Right about the time Jaeger sent me the link to the announcement, I heard some loud exclamation from my supervisor’s office (my supervisor is parent to four school-aged kids). I went to my supervisor’s office, we exchanged stunned looks, and then I took my lunch break and went down to the children’s section of the library and checked out 25 books. I probably would have checked out more but that’s all I could fit in my backpack and spare grocery bag I had with me and I was taking the bus back home.

Our IT manager strongly recommended that anyone still in the office that could work from home go home. So, after checking out books, I headed back home and finished the day working from home. Though, I spent most of the rest of the afternoon in a daze.

  1. My normal temp is 97.9. The last time I had a fever was probably sometime before Julian was born.
  2. I’ve been trained to believe one should go to school/work unless one is vomiting or has a fever. Obviously, this is not the protocol I’m following now.
  3. As in, I can’t say I worked on tickets, I have to note the ticket numbers I worked on and say what I did.
  4. I know that Taiwan’s vegetarian history predates that of SDAs, but SDA is the one I grew up with.
  5. For being a tech employer with amazing conferencing tools, they’re weirdly antithetical to working from home.
  6. Which I did not get because I usually get the giant refill containers of soap which was still mostly full.
  7. A couple of months ago I bought a light for Julian’s room. He has an overhead light but it weirdly is in a corner of his room which makes for odd shadows. I like this light because it’s a warm LED and also has three brightness settings. Julian likes it on the lowest setting when he sleeps.

Westmoreland Park Nature Play, Portland, OR

A couple of weeks ago we decided to go down to Portland to visit my grandmother. We decided to stay at a hotel downtown near OMSI1. I was delight to discover that our Pacific Science Center membership included a reciprocal agreement with OMSI, along with other science center/museums, for free general admission. We all went our first day. However, on our second day Calvin wanted to go back but Julian wanted to go to a playground instead. Several years ago my mom sent me an article about a trend toward natural playgrounds in Portland. I had been wanting to visit one for years but the timing was never convenient. However, Julian’s wish to go to a playground seemed like a good time to try one out.
Natural Playground with slide, rock towers, and logs.
Julian and I hopped into the car and, trusting Google maps, successfully found the Westmoreland park. There didn’t seem to be a parking lot but street parking was adequate, at least for a drizzly day2. The first thing we saw was a grassy area with a bunch of picnic tables.
picnic tables
From the picnic area we crossed a bridge to get to the play area.
Bridge between picnic area and playground.

View from bridge

View from the bridge.

Julian immediately headed for a group of logs installed horizontal to the ground.
Julian crawling on logs.
He was so proud when he was able to stand up and walk on them.
Julian walking on the log.
These logs led to a tower of rocks for kids to climb.
Julian climbing rocks.
There were a variety of other wood climbing options but they were too big for Julian. I think Calvin would have enjoyed them if he had been there.
Wood climbing tower.
Another wood climbing option.
They also had some logs propped against a small hill. Julian seemed to enjoy climbing them but they didn’t keep his attention as much as the horizontal logs did.
Julian climbing up logs.

There was also a sand area which Julian enjoyed.
Sand pit with toys and stumps.
It looks like in summer there may be an option to play with water in the sand which would be fantastic.
Water Spouts.

Overall, it was a fun playground and a lovely park to visit. However, I’m not convinced the “natural” play area has any innate advantage over the more traditional playground.


Features Many climbing opportunities on logs, stumps, and stone, small slide, sand area, water area (I think) in summer.
Surface Material Wood chips
Restrooms Yes
Water fountain Yes
Shade Lovely mature trees that look like they might provide a nice amount of shade.
Picnic area Yes, though main picnic area isn’t within site of the play area.
Parking Street parking.
Coffee None.
  • Natural aesthetic makes for a nice change.
  • Large sand area
  • Not much for really small kids.

View Random Parks and Playgrounds in a larger map

  1. Still my favorite science museum.
  2. Contrary to what the pictures show, the park had a lot of people in it. I was just trying to avoid taking pictures of other people. This is one reason I haven’t done a post about Gas Works Playground yet. It’s always mobbed and impossible to avoid pictures of other children.

Taking a Break

The beginning of last week was a bit much for me. I woke up exhausted Monday and the day didn’t get better. I stayed awake just long enough to shepherd Calvin to bed and then went to bed myself. Tuesday morning didn’t start much better. I emailed Jaeger and told him I wanted to go off by myself that weekend. Then, I realized I had scheduled Willow’s vet appointment for the weekend which initially derailed my plans until Jaeger offered to take both the kids and Willow to the vets office. I was ecstatic.

I didn’t have a plan when I emailed Jaeger, I just needed to be by myself. I would have preferred to stay home and have everyone else leave. My favorite vacation in recent memory was when Jaeger took Calvin to New York City. However, I didn’t feel like I could kick everyone else out on a whim.

After considering several scenarios, I settled on renting an Airbnb in Edmonds, which is about 30 minutes north of Seattle. The Thursday before I left I got groceries delivered. It topped up the basics for Jaeger and the kids. However, I also ordered prepackaged meals to take on my vacation so I wouldn’t have to leave the Airbnb if I didn’t want to. Friday, I came home, made supper, ate, and then put Julian to bed. Then, I was off on my adventure.

The adventure did not start auspiciously as I had to jump start the van in the dark. Jump starting the van is actually not very hard, we have a portable battery to do that. However, getting the van’s hood open is an art form. It involves jamming the handle of a screwdriver in at just the right angle to force the catch to release. Eventually, the hood did concede and I was able to start the van. I piled my stuff in, started my new audiobook, and drove off. About one block away I remembered I had forgotten to put the screwdriver back in the van. Not wishing to be stranded in Edmonds with a car I couldn’t start, I circled around and picked up the screwdriver. Then, I was really off on my vacation.

It was a lovely drive. I left late enough there wasn’t a significant amount of traffic to worry about. It was raining as I pulled into the driveway. The place I had rented was a loft attached to a main house. My Airbnb host met me and made sure I was able to get in ok and then left. It was so quiet. The loft was really cute. I puttered around and arranged my stuff. Then, I watched an episode of The Doctor Blake Mysteries before going to sleep.

I woke up around 7:30 on Saturday, reveled in not having to do anything, and went back to sleep for an hour. I eventually got up, made breakfast, and showered while contemplating my day. The Airbnb I picked was not close to downtown Edmonds. I was loathe to exert myself enough to drive anywhere so eventually decided I would take the bus into town. To be clear, the bus was not a remotely efficient way to get to downtown but since I was on vacation I decided I didn’t have to be efficient. I put on my raincoat, started up my audiobook, and took a 20 minute walk to the bus. The bus runs only once an hour so I got there about 20 minutes early. I spread my rain skirt on the grass, sat down, and continued enjoying my audiobook. It was very relaxing.

Eventually the bus showed up and, after a transfer, I successfully made it to the touristy downtown. I was amused to see that the downtown association had green communal umbrellas for shoppers. I wandered around and naturally ended up in a used bookstore. Among other things, I ended up with a physical copy of Home Comforts. It is one of my aspirational books I read when I want to pretend I have the time to perfectly organize my life.

The books were heavy and it was nearly lunchtime. I decided I had enough of people for the day so I took the bus back to the loft. The rest of the day I alternated between eating, reading, and watching movies. It was a glorious day.


The new school year has started and I’m finally back on a consistent routine.

Mountain View is still a long commute but, other than that, I do enjoy my job. Back in February I started taking BART/Caltrain to work instead of driving. Mass transit does take a little bit longer than driving1 but it’s fantastic to be able to work on other stuff while I commute. On the way down I usually work on paying bills, balancing bank accounts, and other misc household stuff I can do online. On my trip home I usually read a book which is the only consistent reading time I’ve had since Julian was born2.

When I get home I make supper, we eat, and then I start Julian’s nighttime routine. Currently, this involves him taking a bath while I clean the bathroom3. After bath I read him several stories and then pop him into bed. Then, it’s time to start Calvin’s bedtime routine.

For years I read to Calvin ever night. However, Jaeger was gone for a couple of weeks in the summer and I decided I needed to find a way to relax and have bonding time with Calvin at the same time. I strongly believe in reading to kids, even after they can read to themselves. However, while Jaeger was gone, I decided to try watching Star Trek: The Next Generation with Calvin instead. This ended up working really well. Even if I was running behind in my schedule I could start the episode for him and then join him as soon as I could. This also resulted in him going to bed at a more consistent time every night. After Jaeger got back I considered going back to reading. However, Jaeger started joining us so we end up with more “family” time watching TV than we did when Jaeger or I read to Calvin. For now, we’re sticking with the nightly TV time. It seems to work for our family.

After months of waiting, I got approved to telecommute on most Fridays. Getting approved for telecommuting was a fascinating, and terrifying, peak into city bureaucracy. I had to take workplace safety and ergonomics training so I could make sure that my home house was up to spec. Then I had pages of checkboxes. I had to check to certify that I had a first aid box in the house, I had fire extinguishers, I didn’t have tripping hazards, etc. Then there were all the agreements I had to sign stating I understood that telecommuting was not a right and MV could revoke the option any time they wanted4, along with other stuff. After I filled out my paperwork, my manager, and her manager needed to approve it. Then it wended it way through IT, the assistant manager, and finally landed at HR. I applied in May and in August learned I had official approval to telecommute.

It’s amazing how much difference just having one telecommute day makes in my weekly schedule. A couple of weeks ago our au pair needed Friday off in order to attend a class. Being able to work from home that day meant I only need to find an afternoon babysitter instead of also figuring out dropoff/pickup logistics for daycare and school. It still requires thought and planning but isn’t as overwhelming as if I were gone 6:30am-6:00pm like I am on a normal day.

I’m still trying to figure out what I want to get out of the weekend. Julian has almost dropped his afternoon nap which makes it harder for me to take an afternoon nap but also opens up more afternoon activities.

  1. Though not as much as one would think because of the abysmal traffic coming back at nights.
  2. I did listen to audiobooks when driving but I don’t like listening to the same stuff that I read. Plus, it was really hard for me to switch books mid-commute on the occasions when I discovered mid-way the book was terrible.
  3. This house has a lot of bathrooms, which is one of the most expensive parts when paying for house cleaning. To cut costs, I rotate which bathroom Julian takes his bath in and use the time to clean it. Much cheaper than paying a house cleaner and it’s also very efficient πŸ™‚
  4. And of course, my silent whispering back, “and I can quit anytime I want.”

Eleven Months Later

It’s been eleven months since we moved our entire family to San Francisco. The year has been incredibly hectic but I think things are starting to settle down, just in time for an insane summer.

May, 2016
The kids and I finally joined Ted in San Francisco. Moving wasn’t too bad since the movers packed us. However, it was challenging to fit all our stuff in our rental house.

June, 2016
Our first au pair hated San Francisco and transitioned to another family. Fortunately, I didn’t have a job yet so I had a little bit of time to find a new au pair. However, it was stressful to find my original childcare plans disrupted. Eventually, we found a wonderful au pair who worked really well with both of our kids. In addition to looking for a new au pair, I spent the month unpacking and trying to organize everything. I also started learning my way around our neighborhood. However, the lack of an intellectually stimulating job started to make me depressed.

July, 2016
Mountain View offered me a job as soon as my background check cleared. I accepted, which took care of the depression problem. However, my next challenge was finding enough childcare. Au Pairs are only allowed to work 45 hours a week. In principle, I agree with this rule. I personally think the au pair program doesn’t have enough safeguards for young people who may not speak enough English to get around in our country by themselves. However, having a job down in Mountain View meant I was gone from the house 10-11 hours every day, depending on traffic. So I needed to find additional childcare. In Colorado I had a lot of success finding good caregivers from However, I discovered it doesn’t work as well in California. I don’t know why but a huge percentage of the applicants in the price range I could afford ($20-25/hr) were very flaky. I spent the next several months trying to nail down enough reliable childcare and I think it caused everyone in the family a lot of stress.

We did manage to go camping in Yosemite and introduced our au pair to the US tradition of hot dogs and smores. I think she was amused by the experience though she did have a bit of trouble with there being no showers in the camp (we did have flush toilets though!).

August, 2016
In August Calvin started school which finally gave him a chance to meet other kids his age. We had sent him to a summer camp but the same kids didn’t always show up each day. In the future, if possible, it might be good to try to move right before school starts rather than right after school ends for the year. We also managed to go camping one more time near Lassen.

By this time Jaeger and I realized that we hated being renters. The rental we had was pretty good, for San Francisco. However, it drove us nuts that we couldn’t fix the small but glaring problems we had with the house, such as no light in a deep dark closet — we used flashlights. Also, while the property management company was very, very nice and came right away whenever we had problems, they rarely fixed the problem the way we would have. For instance, by the time we left we had four separate keys for the house. One was for the front door, one was for the back door, one was for the door at the bottom of the stairs and one was for the door at the top of the stairs (we think it use to be rented as two separate units). Anytime there was a problem with a lock they’d just go by another door knob from Home Depot.

We were very fortunate to have sold our Colorado house for a nice profit which gave us enough of a down payment for a house that would be considered obscenely expensive anywhere in the US but San Francisco or New York. In San Francisco, it was enough to comfortably get us 2 beds and 1 bath with “potential” in a moderately popular, but not trendy, neighborhood. Unfortunately, because we had an au pair, we needed a minimum of 3 bedrooms and 2 baths (at least if we wanted to maintain our sanity). Our rental lease wasn’t up until February but we started looking in August because we knew it was going to be hard to find something that met our bare minimum specifications.

September, 2016
We continued going to open houses looking for a house that would work for us. In the months we were house hunting we saw some pretty insane houses. Most of the houses in our part of San Francisco are on 25′ wide lots with varying depths. The houses almost always touch each other. The second floor of the house usually contains 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, and 1 bathroom. The first floor of the house will either have a huge garage area that covers the entire 2nd floor footprint or a 1 car garage with additional living space that 90% of the time was finished without permits. One house we saw had obviously been finished without permits and then, when they needed to sell, they just ripped out all the unpermitted walls leaving really weird spaces. While I wasn’t planning to insist on a permitted first floor, I did want assurances that it wouldn’t kill us, which was sometimes hard to obtain.

We found a house that looked promising but only had 2 bedrooms and 1 bath on the top floor. The first floor was unfinished. We considered the feasibility of finishing the first floor and had tentatively decided that we could probably afford it when the pest inspection came back. The estimate was enough more that I didn’t feel we could risk it.

October, 2016
One of my grandfathers died in October. I wasn’t expecting it but it sounds like others had been for a while. He died in his sleep at home. We loaded ourselves and our kids on a plane to Portland for the funeral. The night before we all met at my grandmother’s house for haystacks. It had the weird family funeral feel of being both sad but also a chance to see people you haven’t seen for years.

Also in October we found another house that looked promising. It was a 4 “bedroom”, 2 bath house with real permits for the bottom level. You had to go outside to get to the “bedrooms” on the first floor but it fit our basic needs (though we’re really not sure how they got permitted for those bedrooms). We submitted an offer but were outbid by a couple of thousand dollars. Our realtor seemed slightly miffed they didn’t even try to counter as this is rounding error with the prices of San Francisco homes.

November, 2016
It seems like in hot real estate markets open houses become a much bigger thing. A day or two before the weekend our realtor’s assistant would email us potential open houses with comments. Usually Jaeger and I would go together, though I went by myself for some of the less promising sounding houses. Then, if the house looked like it had actual potential we’d talk to our realtor about it. I walked to almost all of them from our rental. I’m firm believer in understanding the neighborhood by walking it. I walked a lot of miles and saw many houses. However, by November fewer houses were coming on the market and I was starting to worry that we’d have to extend our lease.

The first weekend in November there were only 2 houses that matched our bare minimal requirements. Most of the houses we’d been looking at were between 1200-1400 sq feet. However, one of the houses on this list was 3000+ sq feet. It was so much bigger than most of the houses in our price range that Jaeger and I weren’t convinced the square footage was correct. However, we went and saw it and it really was huge and had tons of bathrooms and bedrooms. Way more than the 3 bedrooms and 2 bath we were hoping for. On the upside, it was almost a brand new house. On the downside, it lacked any historical character. We contemplated.

Then the election happened. We saw the house for the second time the day after the election. Do you remember that big stock market crash when they realized Trump won? To afford San Francisco we have to supplement our normal income with stock. So far this strategy has worked out. However, I was worried about buying a house if suddenly we had a serious economic downturn. In Colorado we could live on my salary for brief amounts of time if we cut out the extras. This is not feasible in San Francisco. We waffled for a bit but finally decided the house was too good to pass up so we made another offer.

Given our experience with the last house, we went on the higher end of the range our realtor suggested. It turns out there was another potential buyer who was looking at the same comps and made almost the exact same offer. This time the realtor did come back to us and asked us to give us our last “best” offer. We were already on the edge of what I was comfortable with but we didn’t want to lose again with just a couple of thousand. So, we went up another 20k and called that good. I was not convinced that was enough to get us the house but I really, really didn’t want to go higher. As it was we would need to supplement our Colorado profits with Jaeger’s stock for the downpayment. Both our realtor and I were quite surprised to learn that the sellers accepted our offer. I tend to be a pessimist and don’t believe a house is mine until I move in. However, things were looking positive.

Thanksgiving this year was on the Logan side and corresponded with the biennial Logan family reunion which includes Jaeger’s grandfather and all his grandfather’s siblings. It’s at Leoni Meadows, near Grizzly Flats, CA as many of the Logans live in California. This was the very first time we were able to attend without flying and it was so much easier. We invited our au pair to go with us to experience the grand US Thanksgiving tradition. She later said that all we did was eat, cleanup, prepare food, and eat again which probably does cover Thanksgiving in a nutshell. Calvin and Julian had fun running around but there aren’t that many kids their age around. Most of Jaeger’s cousins have not managed to produce children of their own (though Jaeger is one of the oldest).

December, 2016
Our 2nd au pair’s term was up in January. We had hoped she would extend but she’s a software engineer and wanted to get back to a “real” job which made sense. So, we started interviewing au pairs again. However, unlike last time, we had enough time to consider au pairs that were still in their home country. I think interviewing au pairs is more an art than a science. We eventually narrowed down our choices to two au pairs who both sounded good. We decided to go with the au pair who really enjoyed reading as we felt it would probably help her mesh with our family better.

In addition to finding a new au pair, we had to find additional supplemental care for Julian. Because of the high babysitting turnover I decided to focus on daycares this time. Unfortunately, there were almost no daycares with openings. However, I did find one daycare that had a morning-only program that looked like it might have openings in January. I contacted the provider and arranged to go on a tour. It was a home daycare that aimed to have the children playing outside at least 90% of the time. Given how active Julian is I thought this would be a really good match for him. We applied and to my great relief we got the one “full-time” spot that was available (full-time in this case means 8:15-12:15).

Also in December we managed to close on our new house. Like all real estate transactions I have been involved in, there were tense moments. However, it all worked out in the end. In Colorado, at closing, the buyers and sellers actually sit down at the table together and sign the papers. However, in San Francisco these transactions are asynchronous, which I found pretty strange. We signed our papers and then needed to wait for the sellers to sign theirs later in the day. Eventually, we heard the house was officially ours. Though, the sellers were going to be “renting” from us for a month while waiting to move into their new house.

At the end of December we went out to visit my parents. While we were moving out to San Francisco, my parents were also busy moving. They lived in Longview for all but the first two years of my life so it was very weird to see them in an entirely different city. They’re now about a couple of hours north of Seattle, depending on traffic. One of the main reasons my parents moved up there was to be close to my brother, who also moved around the same time we did from Tennessee. My brother and sister-in-law have a kid who is about 6 months younger than Julian. They’re still a little young to play together but it was still cute to see them together. In addition to my immediate family, all remaining grandparents visited as well as Aunt Carolyn. Jaeger and I also managed to sneak away for a couple of days to have alone time in Seattle without the kids. It was amazing to be able to sleep through the entire night without having to go in and calm Julian down. We also filled our movie quota for the year by watching two movies in two nights πŸ™‚

January, 2017
In January Julian started his part-time daycare. Our second au pair was still with us for the first week so she helped him transition before she left. We had found another good au pair but she wasn’t scheduled to arrive till the end of January. We were also scheduled to move into our new house and I didn’t want our au pair to try to settle in to our rental only to be moved a week later into our new house. In the meantime, we used grandmothers to help fill in the childcare gap. My mom came out for two weeks, during which we moved into our new house. The she left and Jaeger’s mom came for another two weeks and hepled us settle in and helped our new au pair learn her duties.

February, 2017
Most of February was filled with getting settled in our new house. This house is way better than I was expecting but there still were, and still are, lots of minor projects to work on. We have spent much money at Home Depot and Amazon.

March, 2017
March continued the trend of being busy. We took a long weekend and went to Tahoe. We enrolled Calvin and our au pair in ski lessons, while Ted indulged in skiing more interesting routes. I stayed with Julian. I had intended to find a babysitter for him so I could relax but delayed too long so no one I had been recommended was available. However, it was still interesting to see a new town. It reminded me a fair amount of Colorado ski resorts, right down to the lack of vegetarian food options.

A few weeks after that Yanthor and Anya came to visit us and we had a lot of fun playing games together. It was so good to see them again. That’s one of the biggest problems with living way out in San Francisco. At the very end of the month Jaeger’s mother flew out to help take care of the kids while I went to a conference in Maryland.

The conference was like being back in college. I had signed up for a pre-conference “hackathon” on Sunday. I had been meaning to learn how to use the ILS’s APIs for a while but never had time so I figured signing up for the hackathon would force me to learn them. It turns out that most of the others who signed up hadn’t really played with the APIs either and had varying levels of coding experience. The leader asked how many developers there were and only 3 people raised there hands, I was not one of them because I consider myself a librarian, not a developer. However, it turns out what he really was asking was who knew how to code which was a larger number of people (though still less than half the people there). We formed into three (too large) teams and then spent most of the rest of the conference working on our projects to have something to present at the end. I got to bed before midnight every day but it was really close some nights. My team won 2nd prize, my share was $21, which would have been more impressive if there had been more than three teams πŸ™‚ However, I did learn a ton, including finally getting a github account. In addition, to the hackathon I did a presentation on using Python to automate reports in the library. I was targeting this toward people with no programming experience but with an interest in learning. I was surprised at the wide variety of people who turned up. In spite of the wide range, it seemed to go really well.

April, 2017
Fortunately, April has been a little less frantic. Though, I don’t know how it is already almost over. We did have some excitement last week. While I was gone to my conference Calvin had chipped one of his front teeth. Last Thursday I took him in to get it filled and then dropped him off to school. Less than an hour later, and as I was almost walking out the door to go back to work, I got a call from the school saying he had a cut on his knee and needed to see the doctor. I reserved judgement till I got there but it was indeed a pretty decent gash that obviously required stitches. I wasn’t sure where the nearest urgent care was with parking (I don’t go anywhere in San Francisco without parking if I can possibly avoid it) and so I instead went to the nearest hospital. 3 hours and 7 stitches later we were back on our way home.

One reason Jaeger and I decided to move to San Francisco, apart from it being more convenient to fly to Asia, was for the culture opportunities. I don’t think we’re really taking advantage of that yet. However, Jaeger and I did manage to see Hamilton this week which was pretty amazing. This was also a very pretty good month for authors. We went to Borderlands and got Yoon Ha Lee to sign Ninefox Gambit and then just yesterday we saw John Scalzi and Cory Doctorow at a Google Talk in Mountain View.

Now that we’re in our own house I feel like we’re finally starting to settle down and start enjoying San Francisco. Though, summer is looking very busy so maybe I just need to give up on boring and enjoy the couple of weeks of calm I have left.

Crazy Winter

Jaeger has now been in San Francisco since the beginning of February. For the most part, I have been in Colorado. My prior schedule ended up being a bit optimistic. With job hunting, house selling, and figuring out San Francisco, my evenings have been overflowing. Most nights I pretend listening to an audio book as I drift off to sleep counts as “me time.” However, this is ok. It’s only temporary.

At the end of February Calvin and I took a “preview” trip to San Francisco. Jaeger’s mom watched Julian while we were gone. The original plan was to use one day for rental hunting and the other day to convince Calvin that San Francisco would be a fun place to live. However, Ted was able to find a rental ahead of time. Instead, I spent most of one day measuring the rental for my SketchUp model while Jaeger entertained Calvin. Then, on Sunday, we visited Alcatraz and the Exploratorium.

Coincidentally, the major user conference for our ILS was in San Francisco this year. I abandoned the kids back in Colorado to Jaeger’s mom and stayed with Jaeger during the conference. Back in the fall I had volunteered to present two presentations. At the time, it had seemed like a good idea. However, with everything else going on in our lives it was a challenge to find time to properly prepare. I finished the prep for my last presentation on the flight to SF. The conference turned out really good. In addition, I enjoyed spending time alone with Jaeger, the first since Julian was born.

After the conference Jaeger flew home with me and we immediately left for a spring break ski vacation near Breckenridge.

Originally, my work thought they could continue to employee me once I moved to San Francisco. However, after more research, they realized I would be considered a California employee which would have awkward tax complications. So, I’ve been job hunting. Wednesday, during the ski vacation, I was invited to interview the following Monday. Jaeger and I made some quick flight adjustments so he could stay with the kids while I went back to California.

The interview went very well. It was very strange having our rental house to myself. The last time I was by myself was at the Computers in Libraries conference back in 2012. (Which, now that I think about it, was the last time we were selling our house.) It was really lovely being by myself and it sounds like Jaeger survived and did a fantastic job with the kids.

As soon as I got back home it was time to get the house ready to sell. This last weekend our house went on the market. At our realtor’s suggestion I rented an Airbnb place for the weekend so we wouldn’t have to constantly be leaving the house for showings. This turned out to be excellent advice because we had 25 showings Friday-Saturday with an additional 3 showings first thing Monday morning. Offers were due to our realtor by noon on Monday and we received good ones. We picked our two favorites and now are under contract with a backup if the first one falls through.

As our realtor was leaving, after discussing the offers, she told me, “now the hard part is over and you can sit back and relax.” Unfortunately, getting ready for the house showing meant I neglected many other things so now I’m desperately trying to catch-up before something else shows up that needs attention.

Jaeger is coming for a visit this weekend. I’m hoping to get some quality relaxing time tomorrow, in between taking care of Julian, before starting to mark off items from my to-do list. It’ll be interesting to see what next week brings.

Interesting Times

When this year started we expected that our major event of the year would be Julian’s birth. That did indeed happen. However, a bit more has also happened.

Towards the end of July Jaeger’s employer announced they were going to layoff about 15% of its workforce. Unfortunately, while they announced they were going to do layoffs, they didn’t actually decide who was going to get laid off until September. Thus, we had several months of uncertainty. I do not do well with uncertainty and dealt with the situation by trying to avoid thinking about it. This mostly worked but did leave a little gear in my head spinning without giving it the ability to do anything useful.

A Google recruited contacted Jaeger on the same day layoffs were announced. We’re not sure if it was coincidence or not (they have been contacting him a couple of times a year for a while now). However, possibly mostly to kill time, Jaeger decided to start the Google interview process. The job he was being recruited for was in San Francisco.

September came and Jaeger was told he was getting laid off. While we always knew it was a possibility it was still a bit of a shock. However, his last day wasn’t going to be till January and the severance package was pretty decent. So while it wasn’t the best news it wasn’t a big problem either.

By October Jaeger had progressed to an on-site interview with Google. He survived the interview only to hear they wanted another follow-up interview but could do this one in Boulder.

In November Google offered Jaeger a job. Of course this was exciting but it also meant this stopped being playing and meant we had to actually seriously think about moving our household. There were a number of drawbacks to the proposal. First, our original plan was to move to Asia at the end of the school year. If Jaeger accepted the Google offer this would put that plan on hold for at least two years. Second, San Francisco is fun but also really, really expensive. The Google salary would be extremely generous for most locations in the country but once you adjust for cost of living and taxes, our family will be earning less in San Francisco than we do in Colorado1. However, I did get permission from my employer to telecommute from California so at least I wouldn’t have to go hunting for another job.

Eventually, Jaeger decided to accept the Google offer. He got his current employer to pull in his last day so he’ll finish working at his current employer in December, take a break, and start work at Google in February. The rest of us will move to San Francisco at the end of the school year. I’ve started mapping out plans in my head for how to handle being the sole parent in Colorado. I’m also looking at our house and making a list of everything that needs to be done before it’s ready to go on the market to be sold.

Well, that’s pretty much all the facts. As to how I feel, the answer is complicated.

I’ve always enjoyed moving. I had a great deal of fun moving to different colleges and kept a fantastic spreadsheet that allowed me to graduate on time even though I changed majors and colleges many times. I’ve now been in Colorado for 13 years and am ready to move on. At this point we’ve accumulated a lot of stuff and it makes moving harder. One of the downsides of San Francisco is we’ll probably be living in a much smaller house. However, I’m hoping to use this opportunity to really reduce the amount of useless stuff we have floating around. My biggest fear centers around never living in a big city before. While I do ok with people, I much prefer being surrounded by trees. Even so, I’m relieved that my brain finally has a problem that has been refined enough I can start working on solutions.

In other news, Julian continues to develop. He can now crawl rapidly, stand, and looks like he might be getting ready to walk any day now. He has taken one or two very shaky steps but still has a way to go before he’s actually walking. Of course, Julian is still only 8 months old so he has a lot of time left before we would expect him to walk. Julian has also recently starting playing with solid food. Given Calvin’s extreme slowness in learning how to eat solid foods, I still had to puree foods when Calvin was 1-year-old, I was also expecting Julian to be slow. However, just this week he has started enjoying soft potato, sweet potato, Cheerios, and Asian pear. He hasn’t got the chewing/swallowing thing down completely but is shoveling food enthusiastically into his month.

Unfortunately, Julian still wakes up during the night. Calvin was sleeping through the night by 3 months but Julian still requires at least one bottle, and sometimes two. However, just within this last week he’s finally started eating better during the day so I’m hoping his nighttime eating might taper off soon.

Calvin excels at being a great big brother and is doing well at school. He finally seems to have gotten over the reading hump problem we were having last year and now reads for fun when we find the right (i.e. interesting) books for him.

Overall, it’s been a very exciting year so far and next year will also be full of new experiences for our family.

  1. At least for the first year. Their bonuses and stock do look generous but our family has always preferred to live on the guaranteed base salary and use bonuses for fun stuff but we’re going to need to adjust that somewhat for Google.

Hugos, Au Pairs, Babies, and Neil Gaiman

Yes, I’ve been very bad at posting. Also, I’ve read almost no books since Christmas. The exceptions are a couple of baby-related non-fiction books. Most of this is because I’ve been going to bed about the same time as Calvin. This is proving problematic for Hugo nominations.

Speaking of Hugo nominations, at the moment there are three novels I’m going to nominate: Ancillary Sword, The Martian (which may or may not be eligible??), and Lock In. My thoughts on these three novels mostly mirror Jaeger’s but I suspect I liked Lock In better than he did just because I read mysteries more than he does. There are several more I feel like I should read before nominations close but I’m not sure what the odds are.

I have been listening to audiobooks but mainly as a way to go back to sleep in the middle of the night. There’s so much stuff going around in my head about baby that it would be very easy to spend the whole night panicking/planning. Fortunately, the audiobooks are working out wonderfully. I start the audiobook and within about 10 minutes I’m out. Unfortunately, the audiobook keeps going. I really wish I could hook it up to some sort of wearable that would shut it off after I was obviously sleeping. I’ve only been listing to old favorites, mainly books by Bujold and Pratchett.

So, what has actually happened in my life for the past month? The most exciting thing really is what hasn’t happened. I’ve passed the infamous 32 week and 2 day mark without going into preterm labor with this baby. I’m now well into week 33 and still feeling pretty optimistic about my chances of making it to full term.

Since I did not go into preterm labor at the 32 week mark, I did make it to my church baby shower this time. Heidi, who hosted the shower, did a huge amount of work and it was a spectacular shower. We also got a lot of much-needed items. This week I’ve been going through the list and figuring out the remaining items we know we’ll need and the best place to get them. Things are coming together. The one thing I’m stuck on is the changing table. You will find countless websites saying that changing tables are useless. I beg to differ. While it is true I ended up changing Calvin on all sorts of surfaces, in the middle of the night it’s really nice to have a changing table next to the crib where you know everything you need is in a specific place. My first thought was to go for Ikea’s Sniglar changing table. It’s very basic and doesn’t cost too much. The downside is it has very little storage and, for some reason, Ikea is no longer selling the changing pad that fits it. It is very small so standard changing pads don’t fit. My next thought was to repurpose some of the cubicle pieces we have lying around the house. We could use a standard changing pad on the desk and could fit diaper pails and garbage underneath the desk. In addition, we could hang additional storage baskets from the cubicle. However, Jaeger seems dubious about this solution. So, that’s one item I’m still wrestling with.

Jaeger and I are also seriously looking at getting an au pair. We’ve had two interviews with potential candidates so far. I think we can see the clear advantages but we also find the concept a bit intimidating. On the other hand, it’s less intimidating than actually moving to China/Taiwan so it might be good practice for us. I think what’s particularly hard for us at the moment is trying to bridge language, culture, and time zone issues to figure out exactly how to properly screen and select an au pair from China. We’re still working on that.

Back to baby, he’s been head down and in perfect labor position since at least week 28. This is good but a bit uncomfortable as he was firmly planted against my bladder. I went to the dentist’s office a week ago Friday for my annual six month checkup. The dental hygienist leaned me back in the chair and I actually felt baby detach and float “down” toward my ribs. When I went to my OB appointment last Tuesday she confirmed that he had moved and was now in breech position. My next appointment will be at 36 weeks at which point my OB will check and see if he’s still in the breech position. If so, I’m looking at a scheduled cesarean. My OB says she won’t try an external cephalic version (where the OB tries to change the baby’s position from the outside) because of my prior cesarean due to worries that it could result in a uterine rupture1. After my latest ultrasound and the comprehensive Boulder hospital tour I had been strongly leaning toward attempting a VBAC. However, this changes things again so I guess I’ll just get to wait and see.

Yesterday, Jaeger and I went to a Neil Gaiman signing in Fort Collins. We’ve been to two Neil Gaiman events before. The first one was back in 2005 at the Tattered Cover. Gaiman spoke a bit and then started signing books. We had to wait a couple of hours but were able to wander around the bookstore in the mean time. The second time we went to a Gaiman event was 2008 in Boulder. He wasn’t doing any personal signing but had pre-signed books available to buy. This time was only going to be a signing, no speaking. The Old Firehouse Bookstore had won a contest to have him do a signing of his new book, Trigger Warning, due to selling the most copies of his last book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. My understanding is this is the only promotional stop he is making for this book.

Neil Gaiman is a fantastic author and an amazing library supporter but his adult fiction isn’t my favorite. I much prefer his juvenile books. However, both Jaeger and I bought copies of the newest book explicitly so we could each have 3 additional books we brought from home signed. I was particularly interested in getting The Sleeper and the Spindle autographed which has both Gaiman’s great storytelling and Chris Riddell’s fantastic art.

The signing started at 4pm and Jaeger and I left home a little after 2:00pm. I arranged for Jaeger’s mother to watch Calvin while we were gone. I did tell her I didn’t know how long the signing would last but we’d probably be back a little late. We arrived at the bookstore about 3:30pm and the zooish situation we were walking into quickly became apparent. I mean, we knew it was going to be a zoo but I think you had to be there for the reality to sink in. At 3:30pm, the line already snaked around several alleys and streets. We ended around 300 meters from the front of the line. The line continued to grow for at least the first several hours. I don’t know how long it ended up. Not surprisingly, the line did not progress particularly fast. Fortunately, the weather was amazingly good for February. Possibly it was too good. Jaeger didn’t bring a coat and I only brought a thin coat. This was fine for the first couple of hours. As I was standing in line, it occurred to me that standing for several hours in line while pregnant can be problematic. For instance, there isn’t a large quantity of bathrooms facilities available.

About an hour and a half from when we first joined the line I took a hiatus and went to a cafe. I bought some coffee cake for Jaeger and myself (I wanted to avoid liquids) and used their restroom. As it got darker, it got colder. Jaeger had it worse at first due to having no coat. I think about 3 hours in Jaeger left to get coffee and try to warm up a bit. It kept getting colder. Another hour or two later Jaeger left line to go get food from Chipotle to bring back for supper. By this point it appeared we were nearing the “home stretch.” That is, we finally were in the parking lot next to the bookstore. However, the line slowed down so we made very little progress over the next hour. By that point I was also shivering and the shivering was bringing on constant contractions. I was starting to wonder if I was going to need to bail due to baby reasons. I had a horrendous vision of almost making it to Neil Gaiman and having to abandon the whole thing due to my water breaking or something. There was a Starbucks within a block so I took a break. I went there, ordered some hot chocolate, and sat down inside a somewhat warm store for a while. When I got back the line had barely moved. Jaeger and I tried to huddle together for warmth but the size of my belly made that extremely hard. Eventually, we got to the door and then the line stalled again, within sight of the warmth within the store.

We finally got into the store and met a bookstore employee about 7 hours after we first joined the signing line. It was a little before 10:30pm when we were greeted by the first bookstore employee. He went through the standard spiel about how many books could be signed and then he noticed I was pregnant. He looked somewhat aghast and called over another employee to shepherd us to the front of the line. The second employee apologized continuously for not spotting me earlier in the outside line. Jaeger had explicitly told me to wear something that made me look pregnant but just the prior week someone had told me it looked like I was harboring triplets so I didn’t think there was any way to avoid looking pregnant. Jaeger suggested, as the employee herded us outside and around to the back entrance, that next time I needed a t-shirt that said “I’m pregnant” in large letters with a couple of neon signs to emphasize that point. The store employee agreed that would be helpful for “next time.” You may think that skipping line at that point was fairly pointless. However, the line in the store would have taken at least another half hour, quite possibly more. While I would not have asked to skip to the front of the line, I was extremely grateful they let us.

Jaeger and I had each brought three books from home as well as the new book we got at the store. So Gaiman was signing four books each but due to time constraints he was only personalizing one. I decided to get Fortunately, the Milk personalized for Calvin. I had explained the concept of author signings to Calvin and he seemed fascinated by the idea. Neil Gaiman was amazingly coherent when I got to him. I really have no idea how he does it. At that point I was almost completely incoherent but he still was able to make excellent small talk and mentioned that Chu’s Day at the Beach was going to be out in a couple of months and the plot was “starting to get complex”2.

We left Fort Collins and I texted Jaeger’s mom to let her know we were finally on our way home. Sometime around 9 she had taken Calvin back to our home and put him to bed. We got home a bit after 11:30pm. We were lucky. Gaiman didn’t finish at the bookstore until 3:12am. His patience and endurance are amazing. In retrospect the whole thing feels like something only college kids would do. I can’t believe we actually stood in line that long. Possibly we were just trying to recapture the feel of freedom before 2.1 changes our life again πŸ™‚

UPDATE: Here’s the picture from Old Firehouse Books’ Flickr account proving I was actually there.

  1. I have found some people claiming the risk of a uterine rupture with ECV and a prior cesarean is unlikely. However, given I had such a good cesarean with Calvin, I’m not interested in the risk and am not going to push the issue with my OB.
  2. I had the 2nd Chu book in my stack of books to sign which is why he mentioned it.

Vacation-Related Ramblings

The peak of my ILS migration has passed. On November 11 we successfully finished migrating from our old ILS to our new one. I ended up working 50 hrs that week which isn’t a lot for some people but it is for me. The project isn’t finished yet, there’s still a lot of mopping up to do. However, I’m back to working straight 32 hr weeks. Overall, I’d give the migration a B+. Things went wrong but the two relatively major things that went wrong were things that we couldn’t have tested easily ahead of time.

Now comes the part of customizing the new system as fast as I can to replace all the customization I already did for the old system. I always find it a bit amusing when staff lament a feature that our old system had when the old system really didn’t have the feature, I just messily hacked another application in to compensate. I’ve been reminding staff I had ten years to customize the old system and the new system will get there too, it’ll just take some time.


Last Sunday, Jaeger and Calvin flew out to California and left me by myself. The Logans have a family reunion every-other-year in northern California (at least, I think it’s considered northern California, my California geography is bit incomplete). Normally, I would go but the location is up in the mountains, off main roads, and I was nervous about the possibly of getting snowed in and then having a pregnancy-related emergency of some sort. So, I decided not to travel this year for the holidays. This was also a great opportunity for me to be by myself. Calvin was out of school for the whole weak so Jaeger got ambitious and decided to go early and swing by Legoland prior to heading up north for the reunion. From all accounts (and pictures) Calvin had a blast.

I dropped Jaeger and Calvin off at the airport on Sunday and then went back home and contemplated the family room. Overall, we do a fairly good job of keeping Calvin’s stuff limited to the family room or his room. However, it still can get a bit overwhelming. So, I spent most of the rest of the day Sunday watching TV while re-organizing the family room. I took apart the many, many lego structures that had accumulated over the past months and deposited their components into the appropriately colored bins12. I don’t insist that Calvin take apart his (or Jaeger’s) structures immediately so they tend to hang around on the entertainment cabinet for weeks. This makes it hard to clean around. So, after evaluating the situation, I removed my china from 2 of the 3 shelves in the china cabinet and have them reserved for new Lego structures. After that, I moved Calvin’s desk from the corner where it usually resides to instead jut out by the entertainment cabinet. This left the corner available for the tree that I planned to put up later in the week. It doesn’t sound like much but I got through 4 TV episodes before it was all done.


I didn’t take Monday off from work. However, without Calvin to get ready I could sleep in and still start working early. I quit at my scheduled time of 2:30 and contemplated what I wanted to do for the rest of the day. Even though I was working, it was already like I was on a mini-vacation. I decided to do a bit of research on pregnancy-related exercise options in the area.

Up till I was pregnant, I exercised almost every day3. However, when I was only a few weeks pregnant, I started feeling a lot of cramping when I walked. Being perhaps overly paranoid, I stopped exercising almost entirely. Once the morning sickness set in, I wouldn’t have been exercising anyway. I think I basically just laid down on the couch for about 2 months hunched up in a ball of misery4. The morning sickness was way worse this time than it was last time.

Second trimester arrived and, like magic, most of the morning sickness disappeared and I started feeling pretty good again5. However, anytime I walked more than 5-10 minutes my uterus would tighten up and stay tight until I sat down. Given our fun with Calvin, I’ve been taking the paranoid approach and continued not exercising. However, not exercising has its own health risks. Walking isn’t very comfortable but I decided I should try to find something I could do.

When I was in preterm labor with Calvin I was flown down to PSL. A lot of that experience was very stressful. However, the one thing I really enjoyed was PSL’s therapy pool. Twice a day many of the pregnant patients were allowed to go down to the therapy pool to just sit in the water or paddle around. It felt really good having a temporary release from all the extra weight I was carrying around. Given my past positive experience with a therapy pool, I decided to see if something similar existed around Boulder. Boulder hospital does have a therapy pool and they use to have prenatal water aerobics but that class no longer exists. I contemplated checking out their regular water aerobics class but it’s smack in the middle of my working day, starting at 11:30am. If I was a normal worker, I could just take a long lunch break but to get my 6 1/2 hrs in every day, I eat while I work. Going to a mid-day class would mean I’d have to make up the work time either early in the morning or after Calvin is already out of school. I kept looking around for other alternatives. After some browsing I noticed that the Boulder rec center closest to us offered prenatal water aerobics Monday nights at 7pm. Since my evening was completely free, I decided to give it a try.

A bit before 7 I wandered down to the North Boulder Rec center and figured out what it took to gain entrance to the class (it’s just a drop-in class but that was only the 2nd time I’ve been to that rec center). After finding the locker rooms and changing I headed out to the lap pool. A random staff member greeted me and noted that she was subbing for the regular teacher. I wasn’t sure what to expect. At PSL, we didn’t do any exercising, we mainly just floated, and I’d never been in a water aerobics class before. We got in the pool which was quite cool. The instructor had us grab kickboards and do several laps the length of the pool. By the second lap I was warm enough the pool’s coolness no longer bothered me. After the kickboard laps, she had us change to using pool noodles. They were curved and we straddled them so one end of the pool noodle was in front of us and the other was behind and we were in kind of a seated position. Then, using our arms, we did a couple more laps. We spent most of the time in the deeper part of the pool with the pool noodles and doing various exercises. It drove home to me how very out of shape I am. However, even though the exercising got my heart rate up, I didn’t contract at all which seemed like a good sign. Towards the end of the class we transitioned into the leisure pool (which is much warmer) and finished with stretching. The next day my arms ached really bad but presumably that will lesson as they start getting back in shape. Overall, I was quite pleased with the class and am going to try it again.

Tuesday, I again worked but took a break for a prenatal appointment with my OB. I was suppose to have this appointment on Thursday but the OB had to cancel, after I was already there, due to an emergency c-section. I know they didn’t have any warning to call me because the assisting doctor was leaving as I was walking in (I hoped she was going to assist another OB but no such luck). Anyway, I showed up on Tuesday and this time there wasn’t any emergency to delay my appointment. The nurse took all the normal readings and everything seemed good (my weight is probably a bit much but she didn’t comment). She told me to schedule another gestational diabetes test with the lab between 24-28 weeks 6. The doctor arrived and noted that she’d had yet another successful VBAC the previous day. She knows one reason I switched from Longmont to Boulder is because I wanted the option of a VBAC so every visit she makes a point of telling me about the successes they’ve had recently. I’m not going to be heartbroken if I end up with a c-section, I mainly didn’t want to commit to one at the beginning of my pregnancy, but I do appreciate the doctor remembering VBACs are something I’m possibly interested in. The doctor listened for 2.1’s heartbeat which was nice and clear. Then she sat down and asked if I had any questions. I talked to her about my concerns of preterm labor (I think I mention this every visit) and she said unless I start feeling a lot of pain or pressure I shouldn’t worry too much. Then I asked her about exercise options. She was quite enthusiastic about water aerobics. She was also of the opinion that I didn’t need to worry about the tightening while walking as it was probably just braxton hicks contractions. I’m not quite as sanguine but I have started taking short walks around the neighborhood because I do think it’s healthy to get outside more than I have been. Lastly I asked about prenatal yoga which she also endorsed as a good thing to try. I do appreciate how the OB sat down and answered all my questions thoroughly then went on to ask about holiday plans and stuff. Most prenatal visits tend to be fairly short but I feel good that the doctor didn’t feel rushed and sat down to talk. Small things but it makes a difference in my emotional comfort πŸ™‚

On Monday, while researching prenatal exercising, I ran across Yo Mama’s website which is a yoga studio (and more) that specializes in pregnancy and early motherhood classes. I was already aware of it because I had gotten several prenatal massages from Faith Davis who works there7. I looked at their schedule and they had a 6pm prenatal yoga class on Tuesday. Given Calvin was away, I figured this was a great time to experiment and see if it worked out for me.

After work I decided I’d go thrift store shopping, eat an early lunch, and then go to the yoga class. Unfortunately, Savers, which was my preferred thrift store, closed unexpectedly in Boulder. However, I heard there was a fairly new Goodwill which I figured was worth checking out. Well . . . I wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t nearly as nice as Savers was. It wasn’t a bad thrift store, just not great. I wandered around for a while then decided to go to the Greenwood Wildlife Thrift Shop. It’s a smaller thrift store, I rarely find any clothes I want, but last year I found several nice Christmas decorations there. I wandered around and found a couple small things I wanted. Just as I was getting ready to leave, I noticed a small sign noting they had maternity clothes. I asked the volunteer about it and she said they did, but didn’t have room for them in the main store area. So, she went out to the back and brought out three fairly large bins full of maternity clothes. They were really nice quality, mostly brand name clothes, and were going for $3.50 a piece. I sat down on the floor, sifted through the bins, and came up with a stack to try on. As expected, quite a few of the clothes didn’t work but I still ended up with quite a few items that fit with room to grow. I walked out of the store with a stack of clothes and a couple of ornaments for $19.

By that point is was about 4:30, a little too early for supper but not a lot of time for thrift store browsing. So, I decided to go to a kids consignment store and see if they happened to have any Legos for sale at a decent price. No luck with the Legos. However, I had completely forgotten that they also carried maternity clothes. There wasn’t a lot that spoke to me but I found a maternity swim suit. The swim suit I had worn the day before barely stretched to fit me and I knew it wasn’t going to last my pregnancy. However, I hated the idea of paying real money for something that was only going to be good for a couple of months. The maternity swimsuit was not particularly flattering but it was only $6.50 and I figured there probably wasn’t much point in holding out for something really nice looking just for water aerobics.

I went and ate supper at Native Foods, which is my favorite fast casual restaurant in Boulder, and then headed off to try out the yoga class.

In general, I’ve always avoided paying money for exercise classes. Up to this point, I’ve gotten along fine with walking, a treadmill (recent addition), and exercise DVDs. I’ve also never really gotten into Yoga. A lot of it is a bit too . . . mystical for me (in fairness, it doesn’t take a lot to get too mystical for me). I’ve tried a couple Yoga DVDs and with the exception of one I’ve always lost patience with them. So, I was a bit nervous trying out a prenatal yoga class, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect.

Other than the instructor, I was the first person to arrive. It turns out she was a sub but she took in my deer-in-headlights expression and figured out this was my first time in the class. Then I got to explain that I had never actually been to a Yoga class either. She appeared delighted to have a complete newbie show up and showed me where everything was and what I needed to grab for the class.

The room itself was dimly lit, I assume this was to provide a calming atmosphere and it did work. There were only four other people besides myself and the instructor. I’m not sure if this is normal turnout, if it was light due to the holiday, or if evening classes are just less popular than mid-day classes. It started out with some stretching warmup. During the warmup we were all invited to talk about how our pregnancy was going that week, any issues we were running into (emotional, physical, anything), and also something positive that had happened that week. In many ways, it seemed like a mini group therapy session. The class was long, an hour and a half, but everything was slow and relaxed. If I had been doing this as a DVD at home I would have been bored out of my mind but somehow it wasn’t as boring doing it as a group. My arms, and my right leg, had been aching all day, probably due to the unaccustomed water exercising. By the end of the yoga class the aching had mostly disappeared and I felt very relaxed. So, this experiment was also a success.


Wednesday I worked and then organized some more. On Monday I had started organizing Calvin’s room but hadn’t finished. I finished up on Wednesday. I’ve now packed away all his 3T clothes, discretely recycled much of his artwork (something that’s hard to do when he’s around), and put all his Lego instructions into a binder. Calvin loves looking through the Lego instruction booklets but it’s hard to keep them from sprawling everywhere. I’m not sure if the binders will work but it seems worth a shot. Based on the instruction booklets I also took the opportunity to make a master list of what Lego sets he currently has so we don’t accidentally buy him duplicates.

I finished out the day by watching a movie and going to bed.

Thursday I woke up and made myself biscuits and scrambled tofu for breakfast. Then I prepared my Thanksgiving meal for later which was stuffed squash. I always love taking a squash or pumpkin, stuffing it with something, and then baking the whole thing in the oven. It always looks so festive to me. Afterwards, since I was now officially on vacation, I took a nap.

After the nap, I decided to start making Christmas candy. I got the coconut and peanut butter filling mixed together, put them in the fridge to chill, and then switched to pulling out Christmas ornaments. Technically, neither candy making nor Christmas decorating should be done till the day after Thanksgiving but I decided I could fudge it given I was alone. I got the tree up and decorated and then went back to roll the candy filling into balls and dipping them. That took most of the day.

I ate my stuffed squash, watched another movie, and went to bed.

Friday I continued with the Christmas decorating. In addition, I met with a lactation consultant. I believe my breastfeeding experience with Calvin could properly be described as a fiasco. Breastfeeding didn’t work and I didn’t give up pumping nearly as quickly as I should have. I’m stubborn and had trouble admitting this wasn’t something I could deal with. This time, I’m going try to be more realistic. However, I do want to try breastfeeding. I don’t believe formula is evil8 but breastmilk is ideal and is usually cheaper9. Anyway, this time around I realize that breastfeeding isn’t necessarily easy so I want to be more prepared ahead of time.

My therapist recommended a lactation consultant who she feels is very good. I decided to email her, explain that I had trouble last time, and ask when she thought would be a good time to do an initial consultation. A little bit to my surprise she suggested Friday on the basis that we could get all the history out of the way and so be more prepared regardless of when 2.1 decided to show up.

My experience with Calvin took a fair amount of time to explain so it probably was just as well we did this early. I keep forgetting how complicated everything was with him until I start trying to tell it to someone else. I was fascinated by the lactation consultants extremely negative reaction when she heard I had been on Reglan to increase milk production. She mentioned something about being amazed any doctor would prescribe that to a postpartum woman even five years ago. Yet, at the time, several lactation consultants and my OB seemed to think it was quite reasonable to try so I have to wonder if additional research has come out about it in the last five years. I’m not entirely sure what this lactation consultants reaction was due to but I suspect it’s probably related to Reglan’s known depression side effect (both therapists I have talked to since felt it is very bad for postpartum women to use Reglan because of an increased risk of postpartum depression, which I did get but I tend to blame on lack of sleep).

The lactation consultant took pages of notes while I talked and then asked me what my goals this time around are. I appreciated how tactful she was at asking what I was willing to try this time. I explained that while I didn’t mind pumping briefly at the beginning and while I work, I felt I made a bad trade off pumping so much while Calvin was present. I still remember being hooked up to the pump, with Calvin in a bassinet, while I tried reading to him to provide some sort of interaction. I don’t think that was good for me or Calvin.

After all the questions, she discussed and wrote down a plan with me. She even labeled it a plan. I like plans. Her initial thoughts are, given we can’t know for sure at this point, that probably most of the problem had something to do with Calvin’s inability to suck properly and if he had sucked properly, I probably wouldn’t have had low milk supply. Pumps aren’t as efficient at extracting milk as babies (or even husbands πŸ˜‰ ). She had a long list of suggestions, mainly on how to start things off with the best chance of success. She said to give her a call or email when I first go into labor so we could setup an in-home first visit with her. In addition, given Calvin’s problems, she suggest a fairly early oral-motor exam for 2.1 to make sure he doesn’t have any physical issues that would make breastfeeding harder.

Overall, I felt pretty good after talking to the lactation consultant. I have a plan. I always feel better with a plan. In most cases, I don’t get overly stressed when circumstances diverge from my official plan. However, I do tend to get stressed ahead of time if I don’t have a plan.

I spent most of the rest of the day puttering around the house either chatting with Jaeger online or finishing Christmas decorations.

I woke up this morning and decided to attend first service at church, which starts at 9am. First service is the contemporary service and, among other things, they have the lights dimmed. This turned out to not be particularly good for me. I got extremely sleepy during the sermon. After church, I skipped Sabbath School, headed home and took a nap. I slept for two hours before surfacing for lunch. I chatted with Jaeger a bit more, puttered around the house, read, watered our two delicate trees (one new and one that’s trying to die), and then decided to document my vacation. Naturally, the documenting took way longer than I expected.

  1. Though I did not destruct the castle set or his brand-new Lego Movie mech.
  2. Yes, I’m that mother, the one that feels a compulsion to keep her son’s lego’s organized by color. Type would probably be better but color is an easier concept to explain to Calvin at the moment. Plus, organizing by color makes it easier to explain to Calvin how to divide a large task into smaller pieces. Such as picking up Legos one color at a time.
  3. I adore eating so it seems prudent to balance that with a reasonable amount of exercise.
  4. Since I work from home, I also worked hunched up on the couch in a ball of misery. I can’t imagine how bad it would have been if I would have had to go work in an office constantly. Honestly, I keep being amazed people keep procreating given the fun of pregnancy and early infanthood. I’m also not always sure why I decided to attempt it a second time.
  5. Though I still have this weird quirk where brushing my teeth or coughing makes me throw up. No nausea, just suddenly I’m throwing up. When I told my OB this, she just looked at me for a moment and then noted pregnancy does weird things to people.
  6. I’ve already had one due to family history and the doctor wanting to be extra careful given my complications last time. On the upside, the nasty stuff they make you drink seems to have improved since my last pregnancy. It’s still vile but not as vile as last time.
  7. On the off chance anyone is looking for a prenatal massage in the Boulder area, I’ve been very happy with Faith. I keep meaning to write a review but I always have a hard time writing good reviews.
  8. Breastmilk is ideal but formula these days is a very acceptable substitute. There are a lot of studies talking about the benefits of breastmilk but the benefits are often exaggerated.
  9. I say usually because I’m pretty sure last time I spent a couple thousand dollars attempting to breastfeed once you add up the lactation consultants and hospital breast pump rentals (and that doesn’t even count the psychological cost I incurred).

Monthly Update

The past month has been very busy.

In late August we went camping and setup at Difficult Campground which is close to Aspen. It had fairly small campsites, our extra large family tent was difficult to fit, but was a nice campground. There was a small stream that ran behind our site which I thought Calvin would get into but he pretty much ignored it.

Saturday, we got up, ate breakfast, and then headed out to Crater Lake in the Maroon Bells Wilderness. We made good time since Jaeger carried Calvin most of the way. Calvin spent a good amount of time complaining about how exhausting it is to be carried. Then we let Calvin walk and ambled for another mile or so before stopping for lunch. Given how long it had taken Calvin to walk a mile, we decided to carry him back. We had taken the bus up and we didn’t want to miss the last pick-up at 5pm.

The bus took us back down to Aspen where we got a snack and wandered around a bit. It turns out none of us had been to Aspen before which was weird since I thought Jaeger had been everywhere in Colorado. I decided it was basically a snootier, smokier1 version of Boulder. I also took the opportunity to stop by their county library and quiz the local staff on how they liked their ILS (catalog system).

Sunday we ate and then went and visited a ghost town. When we arrived, we were the only people there but as we were leaving a lot more people stopped by. I don’t think Calvin understood what a ghost town is. Jaeger took Calvin up the gondola while I spent a couple of minutes working and then we ate lunch and headed back home.

This was our 2nd successful camping trip of the summer. The prior year we hadn’t gone camping at all due to moving and our fear Calvin would continue his trend of waking up screaming in the middle of the night. However, this trip, and the previous one, all turned out good without any nighttime scream (by Calvin anyway).

Basement Refresh
Since I’ve started working in the basement, its problems have been bothering me more and more. We had water stains on the ceiling tile and the paint was desperately in need of being refreshed. Jaeger was pretty ambivalent given he rarely goes into the basement but I got a bee in my bonnet to fix it up better.

The ceiling tiles were a problem. They’re drop ceiling but in a style that no one seems to carry anymore. After looking at a lot of options, I decided my best plan would be to try to get matching paint and paint over the old water stains. I stopped by Kwal Paint to drop off a ceiling tile for matching and to pick up sample paint colors for the walls.

Jaeger didn’t like the existing tannish color so I picked up two blues, a light yellow, and a light green. Then I got some foam core and painted each with the proposed color and took them down to the basement to look. The light green look dreadful, I thought the yellow was ok, but Jaeger didn’t like it, and the darker blue was too dark. So, we decided on a light blue that has very slight greenish hints in it.

Over Labor Day weekend I feverishly painted everything, including redoing the trim. I discovered many crimes against drywall during that weekend. There’s so many it’s hard to start. Among other things whoever had painted the tan color had decided to save time and just paint over nails instead of pulling them out, filling in, and then painting. Also, it turns out one of the color combinations had been a nice cream colored wall with purple trim. That must have been fascinating.

Eventually I got everything repainted and then I moved the furniture around. We had a cubicle area that had been working as a storage unit but I got most everything thrown away, given away, or stored in the garage or a large white garage-style cabinet we bought. In addition, I changed the layout so my treadmill desk faced the window directly. All-in-all, I was pretty happy with how it turned out. I finished cleaning up the room scant minutes before our Megafest visitors arrived.

Yanthor and Anya came over to our house last week and we took time off to fest. We played a lot of games, watched one movie, and ate good food. Saturday was Jaeger’s birthday so I made two types of ice cream and German Chocolate Cupcakes 2. It was lots of fun and very relaxing.

A Night Out
Jaeger convinced me to call our babysitter for her to take care of Calvin Wednesday night while we went out to a restaurant to celebrate Jaeger’s birthday. It was sprinkling when we left and I debated whether I should take my light rain coat or the Gore-Tex. I decide on the light rain coat, a bad choice as it turns out.

We went to eat at Moongate, which is located in downtown Boulder. I had hired the babysitter till 10pm so after dinner we decided to go out and walk to the other end of the Pearl Street Mall. By that time, it was pouring. Jaeger wanted to stop by GoLite to get another shirt and by the time we got there, our clothes were dripping. Little rivers were running down Pearl Street Mall, it was amazing. Jaeger bought a shirt and we continued on to the Boulder Bookstore where we picked up several used juvenile books and Jaeger bought a tour guide to Beijing and Shanghai.

We sloshed back to our car, getting even wetter, and arrived back home a bit earlier than we planned.

The rain continued to pour. In the middle of the night I groggily thought that maybe I should check the sump hole in the basement but couldn’t convince myself to get up. The next morning I woke up and padded downstairs to the basement to start work for the day 3. I started to walk to my desk and felt wet squishy carpet beneath my feet. I called Jaeger down and we started to assess the situation. Our sump hole does not have a pump, which I had been vaguely aware of and was on a list of things to deal with someday, and was overflowing. Jaeger bailed it out, into the nearby toilet, to a reasonable level and then we went up to have breakfast and consider the situation.

Sporadically checking the internet, I learned that we were pretty lucky with our very minor water problem. All the creeks and rivers in our area were completely out of control and real deep flooding was rampant in the rest of Boulder (Gunbarrel is slightly elevated and isn’t in the path of any major bodies of water). The sheriff requested that everyone stay home.

At first, one side of the room seemed dry so I was hoping we could just move the big stuff to that side and only dry out half of the room. However, after a deeper exploration it became obvious that everything was at least a little wet. Jaeger and I pulled everything out of the basement and piled it haphazardly in the living room, family room, and garage. I spent the rest of the day letting Calvin watch DVDs while I used our carpet cleaner to pull the water out of the carpet. Right before supper time I had gotten the carpets to where they were still damp but much dryer. Our next step was to roll the carpet up, pull out the carpet pad to discard it, and then drape the carpet to let it finish drying.

I went upstairs to make supper and just as I finished, the power went off. However, I already had supper cooked so we found our camping lanterns and had a pleasant meal. Then Jaeger went down into the basement. Our sump hole had overflowed again and all the work I had down during the day had be cancelled out. Jaeger and I spent probably a half hour bailing the sump hole till it was at what looked like a safe level. About in the middle of our bailing, the power came back on. We pulled the carpet up and draped it over random things in hopes it would start drying during the night. Jaeger and I took turns waking up every two hours to make sure the sump didn’t overflow again. Surprisingly, it started going down during the night. However, we did get woken up twice due to emergency flood warnings (that weren’t actually in our area).

Friday morning everything was complete chaos in the Boulder and large surrounding areas. Evacuations were being attempted all over the place and it was obvious that we were very, very lucky. We decided we needed a sump pump so I called a plumber and was put on a list to be called when they could start getting places. He told me I should probably get on a second list given the demand. I decided not to because at that point our sump hole looked reasonable and I decided there were probably other people that needed it more than we did.

I used the carpet cleaner to suck a good portion of the water out of the carpet pad and then ripped it out and put it by the trash to be thrown out later. During this process I had one of the basement mysteries revealed. The basement has uneven floor. However, in random spots it would have a weird bump in the carpet. Neither Jaeger nor I could figure out what the bumps were. We were half afraid they were rodents that somehow had gotten trapped under the carpet. Well, when I pulled up the carpet pad, it turned out they were loose remnants from a prior carpet pad. For some reason, when the newest carpet pad was put down, they didn’t bother to clean up the random pieces that were littering the floor. Really odd.

With the carpet pad gone and the carpet suspended and having fans blowing on it, there wasn’t much left for me to do other than occasionally make sure bad things weren’t happening with the sump hole. To my surprise, around 3pm, the plumbing company called back and told me someone would be there in 10 minutes to install a sump pump. That was way quicker than I expected. However, perhaps we were one of the few people they could actually get to.

The plumber arrived and told me a full install would take three hours, which he didn’t have. However, he could install a temporary solution and come back next week to finish up the job. The full job will cost around $1200 but we’re lucky because we already have a sump hole. The prior lady he had just visited didn’t have a sump hole so it was going to cost her $3000 to get a solution. Anyway, this type of scenario isn’t particularly common in Gunbarrel but Jaeger and I felt we should go ahead and get a pump anyway as insurance.

At this point, the carpet is mostly dry. However, I’m not sure yet whether or not it’s salvageable. I’m letting it dry today and we’ll see what the situation looks like tomorrow. I’ve been cooped up in the house since Wednesday evening and church was canceled today (the church is in a bad area) so I’m considering a visit to the library today. I haven’t heard what conditions the roads are in yet but I think a roundabout route should get me there without any problems. Worst case, if it starts raining, we head back immediately.

Anyway, it’s been very adventurous.

  1. Boulder is pretty rigid about allowing smoking in public so it was disconcerting to be sitting outside the cafes in Aspen and having to dodge the smoke.
  2. We had just finished a cake I had made a month prior so Jaeger didn’t want another full cake to deal with.
  3. I usually work a little bit before breakfast which allows me to get the prior day’s emails out of the way. Then I take a break to eat and take Calvin to preschool and then resume.