Friday, November 30, 2007

Morning Ritual...Interrupted

We like to go to Starbucks. Tabitha goes everyday for her Chai. She doesn't have to order, they recognize her car. I generally only go on weekends when I have to go to work. We drive to Starbucks separately, enjoy our morning cuppa, and then I go to work. Last Saturday was a little different.

Tabitha was a little irritable as we were leaving the house, but it wasn't too far off of what could be considered normal. I was following her and she seemed to be driving slower than she usually does(I typically have trouble keeping up with her). The wheels in my brain started to turn.

When she pulled into the parking space she wasn't centered in the space. Abigail and I got out of my car and walked over to Tabitha's car; she was still sitting in the car. When we went inside, the barrista asked her "No foam, no water?" but she didn't reply. I answered for her as the wheels in my head started to turn at a furious pace.

We went out to the patio when we got our drinks. Tabitha sat at the table and blankly watched the kids play. As the wheels in my brain started to smoke, I went to her car and got her glucose meter. I pricked her finger and put a drop of blood on the test strip. The meter read "34." That is a little low.

Actually, it is extremely, potentially life-threateningly low. Normal range is between 80 and 120. I was once feeling hypoglycemic - I was shaking and couldn't concentrate. Out of curiosity we tested my blood sugar and I was at 79. So I had to do something. When Tabitha has low blood sugar like that, I usually attempt to get her to drink something for about ten minutes. If she still hasn't taken anything after ten minutes, I call the paramedics. I've called the paramedics about a dozen times in our married life.

Fortunately, Starbucks has juice. I went inside, grabbed a box of apple juice from the case, and told the barrista I would pay for it in a few minutes (it's nice when they know you). I put the straw in the box, held it to Tabitha's lips and told her to drink the juice.

Thankfully she did. I was able to coax her to drink the entire box and within about five minutes she made a comment about what the kids were doing. I knew she was going to be okay. I tested her again (54) and fed her a donut. She was back to normal. I recounted what she had done while she was low and we laughed about it. And then I went to work and Tabitha took the kids home.

Aidan threw up again today...

... so I stayed home from work to watch him. He was fine yesterday but he only had Gatorade to drink. This morning I gave him milk and he threw up in the car on the way to school. I'm not very smart but I used my puny powers of deduction and came up with a conclusion. It's the milk.

Or more precisely, the Lactaid. It was a new carton, but it smelled slightly sour so I dumped it out. I will give him some more milk this afternoon and see how he does. I'm hoping it was only a bad carton. He is acting fine. He is cheerful and playing with his toys. Maybe he just wanted to hang out with me today.

Our New Lake

It has finally come. We woke up this morning to the pitter-pat of rain. Of course the streets are flooded and cars are sliding off the road. Here is a picture of the intersection near our house. It's a nice little lake.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Why do we do this?

Aidan threw up three times today. I didn't know his stomach held quite so much.

Abigail didn't want to eat the stew I made for dinner. "I don't like it."

They had better do something cute tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

An Open Letter...

... To Aidan's Biological Mother,

We've never had a chance to meet you but you've given us a wonderful gift. He is almost two and we are so happy he is part of our lives. We look at him and wonder what traits he got from you.

He has strawberry blond hair with just a hint of a cowlick. It was curly in the back before he got his first haircut. He has big brown eyes and a little turned-up nose. He has a cleft on his chin.

He's very smart. He learns new words everyday. He loves trucks, tractors, motorcycles, airplanes, and helicopters. He is very mischievous. He loves to tease his sister but he also adores her. He is asserting his independence - he's started to say "no." He talks on the phone. He pretends to talk on the phone.

He loves to go to the park and swing on the swings and slide down the slides. He pushes himself around on his little bike. He loves to sweep and vacuum the floors. He loves it when we read to him. His favorite book is "Goodnight Moon" but he calls it "boon." He charms everyone he meets.

When he is hungry or tired he gets upset. He doesn't like bed time - he usually cries for at least five minutes before he goes to sleep. He always sleeps through the night, though. He loves cheese and bananas, but milk doesn't agree with him. He loves his "baba." When he used to see his picture he said "beebee" but now he says "Daidan."

We only know a little about you. We know you were young and already had a little boy when you found out you were pregnant. We know you hid your pregnancy from your family. You were very brave to go through that alone. We can't imagine what it must have been like for you to decide to give up your baby. Thank you. We will do our best to help him become the best man he can be.

Sometimes when we see a young woman, we wonder if it might be you. We know you are out there, somewhere. We hope you are happy and healthy. Even though you may try to forget him, we will never forget you. Even though we don't know you, you will always be part of our lives.

We thank you so much for what you have done. Maybe someday, we can meet you and you can see him. If it never happens, know that we will always love you for this wonderful thing you did for us.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


It's rare that I spend a Thanksgiving at home. This year was no exception. I had to work. So I spent Thanksgiving at the hospital in the company of my coworkers. Tabitha and the kids went to Ma and Pa Herrity's to celebrate the day. Ma and Elizabeth roasted a turkey and Tabitha made some pies. I will have leftovers today at work for my (post)Thanksgiving meal. It's not really the same.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Before I Forget...

Happy 39th Anniversary Mom and Dad.

You Can Almost See My Teeth

Aidan and Daddy go to Montana

About three years ago my parents moved to Montana. A few months later, my sister Judy followed with her family. And then this summer my baby sister, Sara, moved to Montana with her family.

Is it something I said?

We talk on the phone but it's not the same. So I have travelled up there about once every six months or so. We've driven there a few times, we've flown up a few times and I've flown with just the kids once. Last Easter, we even interrupted a trip to Spokane with the In-laws to drive over for dinner.

In October I decided to drive up with Aidan. We took the Mini. We drove 800 miles the first day. We laughed, we cried, we ate Dairy Queen in the car. It was fun.

Here's What We Do For Fun

Brave Little Girl

Abigail has been taking swimming lessons every summer since she was an infant.

At the end of the week they let the kids go off the diving board at the pool. An instructor walks out to the end of the board with them and then drops them into the waiting arms of an instructor in the pool.

Last summer, she went off the three foot board with no protest. We clapped and cheered and then we lost sight of her. We thought she was in line for the three foot board again. Then we heard a collective gasp from the watching parents.

We looked up and saw our teeny-tiny daughter at the end of the ten foot board with her instructor. She was clearly scared, but we yelled encouragement to her. She didn't protest when the instructor dropped her into the pool but she was shaking when she came out of the water. She told us she was scared. We told her she was really brave and we were proud of her.

This year she took a class with one other little girl. Abigail started swimming independently and loved jumping into the pool from the side. After a few days the instructor started letting them jump off the three foot board. Abigail loved it. At the end of the week it was time for the big jump.

I asked Abigail if she was going to jump off the high dive. She said she would. She jumped off the three foot board a few times and then climbed the ladder to the high dive. She walked right out to the end of the board and jumped. She was not shaking when she climbed out of the water.

All I can say is that I never would have jumped off a high dive when I was five. No way, no how.


The nights when I am home I like to give the kids a bath. I am a clean freak after all. I will usually bathe Aidan first and then let Abigail have her bath. Apparently I am giving Aidan his bath when it is time for him to have his evening bowel movement. Twice in the last week he has pooped in the bath.

When it happens, I scoop all the toys out of the bath and put them in the sink to rinse off. I stand Aidan up and rinse him off. After drying him and putting him in his jammies, I clean out the tub.

Poop pretty much feels like you would imagine it feels.

Fortunately, the toilet is right next to the tub. I am not really very squeamish anymore. I have seen a lot of blood and other bodily fluids at work. But if you told me ten years ago that I would be scooping my son's poop out of the bath tub with my bare hands ... well... Can you really wash your hands enough after that?

Aidan's Birthday

Aidan was born on December 23, 2005. We finalized his adoption on November 7 last year. We thought it might be a little unfair for him to have to celebrate his birthday so close to Christmas so we decided to have a birthday party for him in November closer to his adoption day. Last Sunday, Ma and Pa Herrity, Elizabeth and Bill and Hillary Catling came over to celebrate Aidan's 2nd birthday with us.

I ordered a cake decorated with trucks from Stater Brothers (who has time to bake anymore?). Aidan loves trucks and tractors and motorcycles. He is turning into a little gearhead. He didn't understand how to blow out the candles so I had to help him. Next year he will probably do it himself. It was a good time.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I have a friend here at work who is from Scotland. We talk about football (soccer) on occasion. I like England, he doesn't. Scotland failed to qualify for the Euros when they lost to Italy. England needed only a draw against Croatia (at home, at Wembley) to go to the tournament. England lost 3-2.

My friend was disappointed Scotland didn't qualify but I don't think he really expected them to (his hopes have been dashed too many times). But he was really happy England failed to qualify. He was positively gleeful or at least as gleeful as Scottish people get.

Wikipedia defines Schadenfreude as "pleasure taken from someone else's misfortune." The Scots are very happy right now.

Studio Space

One of the things we liked about our new house was the three car garage. I was excited to have a garage big enough to actually park a car in and Tabitha was thinking about a place to work on her art. But fate and a canoe kit intervened.

About a year ago I got a Pygmy Taiga wilderness tripper canoe kit. I was going to build a boat. My friend Brett (who got a kit of his own) and I built a table out of 2 sheets of plywood in the garage. This, as you might imagine, took up a lot of space. I started working on the canoe, gluing panels of okoume plywood together, drilling tiny holes, wiring the panels together into a canoe shape, and epoxying all the seams. It was beautiful. There was a 17 foot long canoe in my garage. And then I stopped working on it. There the canoe sat, unfinished, while I spent my free time napping and watching all the soccer games I recorded.

Time passed.

The garage collected more detritus. The canoe rested on sawhorses waiting for my gentle caress. Tabitha asked if she was ever going to get a place to work on her art. I foolishly suggested she could could use the "guest bedroom." She suggested that we could clean and reorganize the garage to free up space for her art. I am many things, but organized is not one of them. Finally, things came to a head.

Tabitha attended an art educators conference last weekend in Pasadena. While at the conference, she bought a portable pottery wheel. The conversation went something like this: Tabitha:"I did a bad thing." Tim (visions of car accidents flashing through his mind): "What?" Tabitha: "I bought a pottery wheel." Tim (relief): "Oh, cool."

So we cleaned and reorganized the garage. Tabitha has space to work on her art. I might finish the canoe in time for next summer, if I can only turn off the TV.

Low Brow Humor

I used to be a little bit of a movie snob. I watched indie flicks that were notable mostly for their lack of plot and slow pacing. I fancied myself an intellectual. Who needs entertainment? Not me.

And then I saw "Dumb and Dumber." It was a watershed event in my life. I laughed so hard I almost wet myself. When Jeff Daniels was on the toilet I just about died. I mean, who hasn't had explosive diarrhea. And the bird with his head taped on... and the hot sauce... and the beer bottle. I'm laughing just thinking about it.

I've got no time for the horror/slasher/Gore genre. Why would I want to fill my head with that kind of stuff. "Saw(II,III,...XIII)" and "An Inconvenient Truth." Puhlease. The same with all the gratuitously violent action adventure flicks like "Die Hard" or "Bad Boys." Guns, explosions, car crashes, and suspended physical laws!!???!? I live that every day.

But "The 40 year Old Virgin." I've got all the time in the world for that.


About three years ago we bought a new home. We traded our 100-year-old two bedroom house for a brand new four bedroom house. And then we started to fill up the empty space. Our old furniture didn't really go, so we bought a bunch of new stuff.

Our queen size bed was dwarfed by the vast expanse of our bedroom so we got a king size. We moved the queen size bed downstairs to the "guest bedroom." Now Tabitha and I can sleep in the same bed and not even touch each other.

We had another queen size bed which we put in Abigail's room. What 3-year-old wouldn't want a queen size bed of her own? That would be Abigail. She slept in our bed for the next 2 years. Now she has a twin size bed like a normal little girl. Or a little girl with normal parents.

We still had an extra bedroom upstairs so we got another kid, Aidan. Fortunately he can't climb out of the crib yet, so we don't have to worry about him wandering around the house in the middle of the night. He might get lost.

So now we are a family of four in a 2800 square foot mansion with a three car garage and cupboards in the kitchen that are still empty. We need to buy more stuff just to fill the empty space.


We could get rid of stuff and live in a smaller house.


I have a 12 inch cast iron skillet. My Mother-in-law gave it to me because she was not using it. It is my favorite tool in the kitchen. It is heavy, black, grimy, and greasy. It is not pretty. But I love cooking with it. I use it for everything: spaghetti, bacon, chicken, pancakes, hamburger. It is naturally non-stick and heats evenly. I love my skillet.

You can't put it in the dishwasher. I run it under hot water and scrub it out with a brush. To dry it, I put it on the stove with a burner turned on low. Every once in a while I rub some oil on it to keep it seasoned. I love my skillet.

But there's a problem. Sometimes, I forget that the fire is on underneath the skillet. I put it on the stove to dry and then I get distracted. I will find it later when I smell the faint tinge of hot iron. I decided a while back that I would only dry the skillet using the lowest setting on the stove. It takes longer but it doesn't seem to get hot enough to set the skillet on fire.

I don't want my skillet to kill me.