02-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
Travel day. Up and on the road at 7:30 this morning we made our way through traffic, returned our car, shuttled to the terminal, got Ouest’s baby food through the bomb sniffing mutts, and loaded on time for leg one of our day long journey to get back to Minnesota. Ouest was a dream child and earned the admiration of at least a dozen fellow flyers.
A stop in Denver just long enough to quaff a beer and feed the baby and we were back in the air. And wouldn’t you know it, the only empty seat on the plane was in our row. I can’t tell you the elation we felt. When we could tell they were just about done boarding we began chanting under our breath, “Close the door, close the door, close the door.” Ouest zonked out for half the flight and before we knew it we were in Minneapolis and on our way to see Grandma, Grandpa, and Auntie.
I have to say, because I rarely if ever have anything good to say about the airline industry, that Frontier was the best airline we’ve flown in ages. Comfortable seats with actual legroom, television, and fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. Seriously, top notch. Oh and Delta, if you’re listening, they even had baby changing stations in the bathrooms. Yeah, no crappy diaper changes on the seats. What a concept.
03-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
My father-in-law seems to me to spend most of his life trimming trees around his two homes. Or maybe it just seems like he spends so much time doing this because he times it so well that I always seem to be around. Smart guy.
04-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
Met with Ouest’s doctor today and confirmed that she’s going to have another laser treatment tomorrow. Not looking forward to it at all. With her closing in on the one year mark we are all hopeful that this may be the last one as these hemangiomas tend to only grow for the first twelve months.
05-Nov-2010 8:26 PM
Today Ouest had her eighth laser treatment to fight the hemangioma on her nose. This is more difficult than ever now that she is older and understanding more of what is going on around her. She is no longer deceived by a friendly nurse. She knows full well that nothing good can come of a lady in a blue smock.
The treatment went really well though. As always. The doctor was able to essentially turn down the laser machine, give her less pulses and at a lower power than at any time in the past. He reiterated that he is confident that we’ll be able to avoid the surgery that almost always accompanies this type of nasal tip hemangioma. Basically, because we were able to treat her aggressively early on, we’ve been able to stop the growth and the damage to the tissue that generally occurs when these are left untreated.
And again, though we will just continue to monitor and see how things go, this may have been the last one. We’ve got our fingers crossed. Those first few days in February, after realizing that the sore on her nose was a hemangioma, there didn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel with this thing. Now we can see it and it feels awfully good.
05-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
It didn’t take Ouest long to figure out how things work when there is a dog around.
06-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
Ouest’s aunt and cousins came over for a visit today. Ouest has never played so much in one day and so was completely knackered at least an hour before her normal bedtime. She continued her march towards independence today as well, taking a number of four or five stride strolls around the family room. She’s tentative but not the least bit nervous about it. She just turns, takes a few steps, drops, and crawls the rest of the way.
07-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
Ouest had a pretty big day of walking, making it up to six steps a couple of times. Of course when I had the camera in hand the best I could get was about two steps.
08-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
09-Nov-2010 7:32 PM
Today I went trap shooting for the first time. My father-in-law brought me along to his Geezer group’s (their name, not mine) gun club, gave me a few etiquette tips, a box of shells, and set me loose. It’s hard for me to believe, after the way I spent most of my life, that it has been nearly ten years since I picked up a gun. Turns out it’s like riding a bike. Trap shooting is where you stand there and call out, “Pull,” to get a clay pigeon released and slung out in front of you. Object is simply to hit that disc in one shot. Twenty-five times in a row. it’s a deceptively simple sport, like bowling, darts, or horseshoes. And for my father-in-law, Al, and me it is pretty much ideal. We are what could be described as ultra competitive towards each other, and any excuse to beat the other is excuse enough to play.
I shot a 15/25 on my first round, which considering I’d never shot trap before was good enough to not be embarrassed around all the old timers. Al shot a 21. And to his credit he didn’t gloat one bit. The second round I upped it to a 20, which was good enough for a tie with Al. Leaving both of us unable to gloat or lord our score over the other. Unfortunately those were the only two rounds today as the gang was more content to sit around and talk tree splitters and back surgeries instead of hoisting a shotgun to their shoulders. Al and I would have shot all day and into the night, but ’twas not to be on this day. Next time we will be in full competition mode and out for blood.
09-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
While I was out horsing around with guns Ali and Ouest were out crawling around and enjoying what is sure to be the last seventy degree day of the season here in Minnesota. Thanks to Carol for Ouest’s new lid.
11-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
We finally ushered in a little technology today and made a video call to my mom. We told her a while back that we’d give this a try and told her to download Skype, not really expecting that she’d know what she was doing. Then today, out of the blue, we dialed her up for the first time and wouldn’t you know it, she actually answered. In a few seconds Grammy was watching her granddaughter crawl around the room. Pretty sweet. Traveling will never be the same.
12-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
As much as Ali and I agree on how we want to raise Ouest, there are still plenty of areas where we differ. She, to my surprise, tends to be a bit more averse to allowing Ouest to cry or to put herself in situations that are almost certain to end in crying. I thought I’d be a bit more of a coddler with my baby girl, but instead I find myself enjoying watching her test herself and her limits, even when it’s fairly obvious to me how whatever she is doing at the time is going to end. The past few days Ouest’s favorite pastime has become climbing in and out of a plastic basket we use to keep her wood blocks in. It’s not a sturdy toy, and her legs don’t really reach, but for now it’s what she wants to do. With me watching her, pain usually ensues. With Ali around Ouest still has fun but without the crying.
13-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
Ouest woke up this morning at six o’clock and proceeded to spend the next forty-five minutes talking to herself before finally letting out a wail announcing she was ready to get out of bed. She must have used every note in her vocabulary carrying on that conversation with herself. She was in the walk-in closet and I was in bed just listening and wondering what in the world could be going through a tiny little girl’s head as she lay on her back staring up at total darkness. Can she really be thinking about what she wants to do today or discussing the new toy she got yesterday?
When the two of us finally did roll out of bed and tromp downstairs to find Ali this is what greeted us. It is seventy-two and sunny at the boat.
13-Nov-2010 ouest lill. eleven months.
Your mama and I were watching videos of you from just three months ago and we cannot believe how much has changed. It doesn’t seem like things are moving so quickly day to day as we are by your side every minute of the way. But minute to minute is no way to see how you are developing.
You are very nearly walking now which is very exciting to all of us. All parents warn about the hell that life becomes for parents of new walkers, but we are anxiously awaiting this next level of independence. Now talking? That’s another thing entirely. Something I’ve not been pushing at all. I guess because it feels to me like you will be all grown up at that point. I mean, once you can ask for food what’s to stop you from packing a bag, walking to the corner, sticking out a thumb and asking for a ride to Nicaragua or some such destination?
Grammy still tells the story of me running away. I packed a bag, stomped down the hall, opened the front door, turned to her and said, “Call me a taxi!” Then I calmly walked out the door and down to the curb where I spent three minutes waiting for that taxi before giving up and coming back inside. I’m not ready for you to run away just yet.
So anyway, we’re back in Minnesota. Don’t ask me why. You could blame it on grandma and grandpa I guess. A couple of retirees who aren’t bright enough to leave this god forsaken place for warmer climes. Or you could blame your mama and me for not finding us a doctor somewhere tropical. I suppose the reason all the good doctors are in cold weather climates is because that’s where everyone gets sick. You? You’re not sick, but we did need to get you another laser on the nose this month. You were a trooper, but this one definitely upset you the worst of any of them. In the car on the way home you were sound asleep but still sniffling. We could not have felt any worse.
While we were on the boat this month we finally got a bit of work done. Including your bed. Which quickly opened up a whole new dimension to life on the boat. Floor space. Now you could crawl all around your room, stand up and play with your toys on the shelf, and then crawl right out of there into the living room. Pretty sweet. We were all much happier with life aboard with this small accomplishment.
So I don’t know, I guess that’s about it. Enjoy your time with all the family these next few weeks and then we’ll get you back to slightly sunnier skies and your floating home.
14-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
Good friends of ours had a baby girl, Taylor, just nine months before Ouest was born and today we got together for a play date. Meaning we hung out at their house and played with toys for an hour and then went out for pizza and beers where the kids could play on the floor of the restaurant. Upon meeting each other, again, Ouest began her greeting which consists of some very loud screams. It’s frighteningly loud, but really is nothing more than her way of saying hi. She then made her way towards Taylor’s toys which didn’t sit well at all with Taylor. Ouest was completely oblivious to what would be so upsetting to Taylor about her playing with her pull along puppy though and had a grand ol’ time.
15-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
16-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
Sort of a momentous day for the little runt. She is officially walking. She’s been toddling around the house a few steps at a time the past couple of weeks, but today walking went from a ten percent of the time mode of transportation to over fifty percent, which in our book qualifies her to elite status as a walker. We went out to the mall today and at one point spent about half an hour walking fifty yards. She decided she didn’t want to ride in the stroller but wanted instead to help push it. All the geriatric mall walkers got a big kick out of watching her. When we got home it was clear a transformation had occurred. She even went so far as to get up from a sitting position into a standing position without anything to hold onto. Ali and I clapped and cheered her every move today. As a parent this is pretty exciting stuff.
In this video please excuse Ali’s choice of beer. The beer budget has been cut back. Oh, and please excuse the fact that she bribed our daughter with the beer as well. Ouest doesn’t get to drink it just yet, but she does get to feel the cold can, which for her is enough incentive to walk across a room.
16-Nov-2010 7:58 PM
Out at the mall today we went on the merry-go-round. Something we thought Ouest would love. Instead she just sat frozen as we whizzed round and round. We can’t tell if she’s scared or just doesn’t know what the hell is going on.
We also went to the bookstore. Upon setting her on the floor in the children’s section she immediately stooped down and kissed Justin Bieber on the lips. Long enough that I was able to get out the camera and take a picture of it. She does this to the baby girl on the box of diapers too. I told her that in this case it probably wouldn’t work out for the two of them as she is at least a foot taller than Bieber already, but I could tell she still had the Bieber fever.
17-Nov-2010 9:28 AM
In case there was ever any doubt that Ali and I were always planning to have a baby. Here is Ouest playing with a horse we bought back in Colombia and then carried all over the world with us in our tiny VW bus. Then there is the pink rug we picked up in Greece, the doll from Mexico, the rocking horse from Indonesia, the doll from Peru, the…
17-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
Over just the past few days we’ve noticed that Ouest seems even happier than ever. She’s a baby so obviously she is always changing, and while she hasn’t been sleeping the greatest at night this week she has still been in an exceptionally good mood throughout the days.
She loves the cat, Simone, even though the rest of us are scared to death of her. This is the kind of cat that will turn on you in an instant. But somehow, with Ouest, she takes all the taunting and screaming in stride.
18-Nov-2010 7:48 PM
Not sure what happened to our perfect little night sleeper, but these past few nights have been pretty brutal. She’s been waking up at completely random times. Sometimes she goes right back to sleep, sometimes not. Sometimes there are two hours between wakings, and sometimes two minutes. It’s driving us crazy. No teeth, no fever, no sniffling, nothing. Just wake-up after wake-up.
18-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
Ouest’s hat collection is not fitting in very well with our stated goal of minimalism.
19-Nov-2010 9:51 AM
Of course the minute I comment on Ouest not sleeping very well she goes and sleeps right through the night. There is just no telling from day to day what we are going to get.
20-Nov-2010 8:40 PM
Not much happening around here. Visited Ouest’s great-grandma, who was thrilled to see her, and found her to be quite amusing. Ouest loved her too. There was none of that baby standoffishness. Grandma even got to give her some kisses on the cheek and get big smiles in return. Very nice.
Hung out with the cousins for a while as well. We got out their baby books to do some comparing. Lea, the first born, has a book that is absolutely overflowing with memories, stories, facts and figures. Curt, the second born, has a thin book filled with clean white pages. I’m guessing mom had some explaining to do tonight.
20-Nov-2010 9:12 PM
I’ve been having some eye pain lately. All right, not lately, it’s actually been the past two years. Nonetheless today I went in to see an eye doctor. I finally got sick of hearing Ali say, on a near daily basis, “Your eyes look like shit.” They did of course. They were bloodshot and painful, but come one, a doctor? And break my twenty year streak?
Over time Ali and I had both quietly given in to the fact that I must be going blind. Or have some sort of eyeball infection that was slowly eating away my brain, explaining my complete lack of common sense. We knew what the doctor would say before I even saw him.
So I went to the doctor, got the full battery of eye tests, and braced myself for the news. When the nurse left and sent the doctor in I knew I was in trouble. When he seemed to take forever getting to the point I wondered how well Ali could sail the boat without my help. And then he said it. “Well, your eyesight is perfect. Better than 20/20. The problem, it seems, is that you have dry eyes.” Phew. Seems all I have to do is put some greasy drops on them at night for the rest of my life and I’ll be good to go.
“So what happened?” Ali asked as I walked through the door.
“Nothing. My eyes are dry. Otherwise they’re perfect.” The look of disappointment on her face was total. Never before in history has a wife been so upset to learn that her husband wasn’t, in fact, going blind.
“Dry? That’s it? You told him about all the sun you get, and that you don’t wear sunglasses, and that you’re in pain practically every day?”
“Yep, I told him everything. They’re just dry. Over the counter drops.” I said.
“And how much did this cost? Two-hundred and forty-seven dollars!” What she didn’t say then that she was really thinking was, “For that much you should be going blind.”
20-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
Ouest won’t leave the cat alone. But for some strange reason the cat won’t leave the room either. She’s like a hundred years old but has suddenly developed total patience with Ouest. It’s bizarre.
21-Nov-2010 3:00 PM
Ouest has started something new the past couple of days. Testing us. She never really did this before, but suddenly it’s as if a light bulb went on in her head and she thought, “It’s time to see just what I can and can’t get away with.”
Today she would take a book, look us right in the eyes, and slowly lift it to her mouth. “Not in the mouth,” we would say and she would quickly pull it away. Then she’d do it again almost immediately. “Not in the mouth Ouest.” This time she would give a half-hearted fake cry, wait a few seconds, and then try it again. Over and over again. It was hard not to laugh as it was so obvious what she was doing. Of course we expect her tests to become harder and harder as the days, months, and years go by.
22-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
Just a quiet day around the house while the snow and ice fell outside. I’m once again having a hard time comprehending why people choose to live in Minnesota. Have they just not heard of this magical place called California?
23-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
Went out to lunch with Grandpa today, which was nice and all, but really, it’s all about the horse ride in the end. As you can see in the picture, Ouest takes her equestrianism seriously.
24-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
Mother-in-law: “Oh come on Pat, there was a time when you would have loved this.”
Me: ”I was ten. I was stupid. I’d never even heard of a place called Mexico.”
Mother-in-law: “Oh come on, it’s pretty and you know it.”
Me: “No, not pretty. I’ve got no love left for snow.”
Ali: “Mom, stop. Please don’t get him started complaining about the weather again.”
25-Nov-2010 8:10 PM
Our friend Lara lost her battle with brain cancer today. She was an amazing woman, with a family equally so. I believe that instead of grieving today that they all still managed to give thanks for the life that she lived and the time that they were able to spend with her preparing for this day. Ali and I are going to miss her.
25-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
This was our first Thanksgiving since 2002 spent with family. So what did we have for dinner today? How about meatloaf. Turns out Ali’s sister’s family couldn’t be with us today so the whole shebang got moved to Saturday. We’ve been promised a turkey.
As for thanks, I’d say I’m pretty thankful each time I hear a little cry and look in the crib to find this.
26-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
It’s been a few months since Ouest saw her uncle JJ, but nothing has changed about the way she looks at him. She clearly thinks he’s every bit as strange as I, his much older brother, do.
27-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
Today, November 27th, we celebrated two holidays. Yes, Thanksgiving was two days ago and Ouest’s birthday is two weeks away, but that mattered not today. Giving a one-year-old a birthday party has always seemed a little silly to us, and our family all knew that, so they pulled a sneak attack on us. But to their credit they didn’t go overboard with it and we had a good time with it. Of course, as one would expect, Ouest’s favorite part was the box, bags, and tissue paper. But she did love her balloons too, and spent the afternoon hauling them around and tripping over them wherever she went.
Ali and I hadn’t had a turkey dinner in eight years, so a big Thanksgiving feast with family was a nice change for us. Ali even got into it and made the potatos. Will wonders never cease?
28-Nov-2010 11:35 AM
I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to exactly what we need to buy for the boat before we set off. One of the things we know well is that you don’t want to buy anything for a boat unless you are absolutely certain that it is something that you truly need. Or at least something that you’ve wanted for a very long time. There’s no room for impulse buys. Meaning things like the latest tech gadgets, which one look at a sailing magazine or West Marine catalog will show there are plenty of.
So for this next adventure of ours, with a boat starting essentially from scratch, I’m trying to really weigh the pros and cons of everything.
What’s definitely on the list? A watermaker is on there. We loved ours last time and swore we’d never go cruising without one.
Electronic charts of course, though this time I’m setting it up with free software. No fancy chartplotter for us. Our computer running our charts last time sat down inside completely out of view of the outside helm and that fact never bothered us once. I suspect we’ll feel the same this time around.
A radar? Not a chance. I virtually never used ours last time. Ali did at night, but only to keep an eye on ships. This time we’ll hook up an AIS receiver to track the ships overlayed on our charts. Aside from that we’ll just have to make do in the event a radar would actually come in handy. Though once outside the Golden Gates, and without any plans to sail the northeast US, I can’t see that happening.
SSB Radio? Not this time out. At least I’m hoping not. There must be a better, more cost effective way to download e-mail one minute per day on the boat. The SSB, with the tuner and Pactor modem just seems like way too much expense for something so simple. Fine if you use the radio for other things, but we never once used ours for anything but downloading e-mail. In fact we even stored the microphone in a drawer. At least if we don’t have an SSB we’ll have an excuse to tell other cruisers when they inquire as to why we’re not joining in on their group radio nets.
A nice big RIB dinghy is on the list. Ours was a leaky sieve last time around, but I still liked the fact that it was so big and comfortable when plowing through the chop. And a 15hp engine will run it. Ali wanted something a little more, well a lot more actually, stylish to hang on the back of this boat. Meaning a matching fiberglass dinghy. And I was amenable to that. I like a little style to our modes of transport, but after my research I couldn’t find anything that seemed worth it. They don’t plane well and they can only handle rinky dink engines. They might look nice, but they sound like a pain in the butt when trying to cruise a couple of miles to a distant beach with waves breaking on the shore.
The list goes on, both for and against, but these are a few that I’m actively working on at the moment.
28-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
Ouest has molars breaking through at the moment. Which means she walks around with her hands in her mouth all day and wakes up at all sorts of odd times at night, Motrin or no Motrin.
Dinghy has been purchased. This marks the second boat we’ve purchased sight unseen from Minnesota in the past six months. This one was a bit less expensive however. It is a 2009 Mercury Ocean Runner 330. Still new in the box but discounted to $1995 because of the year. Different brand, but otherwise nearly the same as our last dinghy. Except that this one is made of Hypalon and hopefully will not disintegrate in the sun within the next couple of years like our PVC RIB did. Now we need to find a 15hp engine to go along with it. I really liked my two-stroke Yamaha and wouldn’t mind finding another one of those.
30-Nov-2010 our life. daily.
Last day in Minnesota for a while. The whole family “celebrated” with a big pizza dinner. Ouest skipped pizza today and instead stuck to her Gerber Wagon Wheels before her dinner. She loves these little cracker things, and even if she isn’t all that hungry she’ll just happily carry it around as long as she can. Today, feeling generous, she even insisted that her cousin Curt try a taste.