Sunday, April 28, 2013

Well, It's Been Awhile...

Where to begin?  It's been a while.  We have been busy.  Last weekend we bought a new vehicle.  We drove to town with the intent to buy some groceries and came home with a new (to us) car.

It all started when we saw that one of the local camp-trailer dealers was having a show at the local mall parking lot.  We have been discussing what we wanted to do to camp since our tent had issues last time we folded it up.  We have really been leaning toward some sort of RV trailer.  But we didn't have a tow rig.  My truck is a four cylinder and becomes asthmatic with a load, so it was obviously out of the question.  So we stopped in to see what the dealer recommended as a tow rig.

He said we should look for a V8.  About the time we were searching through several examples of trailers with all manner of luxuries, Chloe decided she needed to go pee.  So we left with the intention of returning and dreaming some more.  We went to lunch after she went potty and we discussed that maybe we should look for something that could tow a trailer first before we got the trailer.  Cora said it most aptly: perhaps we are putting the cart before the horse.  I giggled at that.

So we stopped by the Toyota dealership here in town.  I saw a Land Cruiser that looked pretty good.  It had a V8 and I got out to look.  That darned car salesman was crouched behind the fender of s nearby Tacoma, I swear!  I'm fairly certain he came out of nowhere.  He said want to test drive it!?  We said...ok, it was me..."sure!"  So, we all piled out.  We put the child seat in and drove away, after he had to jump start it. Well, he took a copy of my license and got my address and stuff.  Then we drove away.  I accelerated onto the freeway with no thought of whether this might actually be a car we'd buy.  It drove like a dream.

We pulled back in.  We both liked it.  We talked.  We drooled at the machine...okay, it was me again.  We discussed.  We talked.  We got numbers.  Cora's parents called.  She explained.  They were nearby, so they dropped in to offer an opinion.  My father-in-law test drove it.  On the second time driving past Costco, Chloe asked every ear in the car, "How many times are we gonna drive by Costco?  Not again!"  She was particularly entertaining.  My father-in-law parked it.  I could tell he approved.  All the figures came back and our calculations were made and we decided to go ahead and buy it.  So much for milk.

The grandparents bravely offered to take Chloe.  We accepted and they left.  We finished up all the paperwork and Cora drove away in the new vehicle.  I drove the car.  We went to Costco and got the milk we had been intending to purchase.

We took it down and showed my parents the next day.  We were itching to drive it some more, anyway.  HOLY COW!!  Talk about luxury!

So, we managed to get through the week.  Cora's Birthday saw us celebrate.

We had tickets to Sesame Street Live.  I had to get a sub...for me, the sub.  I made good plans and everything went well.  Knocked out my chances of getting long-term sub pay, but whatever.  Seeing how happy Chloe was seeing the Sesame Street Characters was worth all of that.  She got to give the Count a high five.  That made her morning.  We had a load of fun.

We then went to a memorial dinner for Cora's Ex-boss.  He was a neat guy.  His band opened for the Beatles when they were in Liverpool.  He liked photography.  He was a fascinating man.  I'd like to have known him better, but he was a private person.  It was sad, but it was good to know he had such quality friends.

Nana and Papa took Chloe to go fishing and camping with her cousin.  Cora and I had TWO WHOLE nights without interruption.  It was great, but I must admit it was difficult walking by her room and seeing it was empty.  It was hard walking by and not hearing her music going.  As much as I love having time to ourselves, I also love having our daughter with us.

Cora and I made use of the time without daughter, though.  We went RV hunting.  We think we have narrowed it down to what we want.  We also managed to go to dinner and a movie and even drove up on the hill to test out the four-wheel-drive capabilities of our new SUV.  It performed well.

We saw this fellow on the way back down the hill.

Unfortunately, the local plant population tried to kill Cora.  After a nice time, the pollen count overwhelmed Cora.  So we made our way back home.  Then back to town where we got groceries for dinner.  We got steaks and asparagus.  I grilled and it was awesome!!

Chloe came home this morning.  We are pleased to have our girl back.  And before us looms a new week.  With any luck, the end of it will see us with a new trailer.  You see, the guy at the camper place said they expect a trade-in this week and it is what we are looking for.  If they can give it to us for what we are asking we could be ready to camp in record time!  I think THAT would be cool.

Today we built some raised beds for gardens.  We bought cedar fence slats and then cobbled them together to form excellent beds.  I think we will get a load of soil brought in.  It would be cheaper than the bags we normally buy.  We picked up our shower kit, so I will be working on putting our bathroom back together.  We may get a new camper.  Chloe continues to grow and grow up.  I have a beautiful wife.  I think this is going to be an excellent summer!

May all go smooth and well!


Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Little Photo Shoot

Cora, and Chloe, and I went on a photo shoot with a family that we have known for so long we may as well be family.  This family has a new addition and it was my pleasure to photograph their new family and their new member!  Below we see the proud older sister and little sister!

 With my new set up, I am happy to say I can take some pretty darned good photos all studio-like!
It was a good weekend!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Spring Break Broken

 It is Tuesday and I sit here at 5am writing on the computer because my eyes have strained to remain open since three.  before that I tossed and turned.  I awoke for a glass of milk and noted that Chloe was also afflicted by movement and apparent discomfort.  I inquired whether her pull-up was full.  She said it was and we changed it.  She then asked to sleep in our room.  Since she asked nicely and I figured I wasn't going to bed soon, I figured one of us ought to be able to sleep, so we made the quiet transfer.

What happened to Spring Break, AKA Jim Week?  Well, it began with my birthday, which is among the more excellent on record.  I got some Lensbaby Lenses and my studio lighting kit...which means my lovely wife spoils me or she thinks I might have possibility...either way: SCORE!!
 Here are a few of my first studio shots...I think I might have a chance.

 Cousin Leah came by for the Easter egg hunt here in Moxee and we had a blast.  It was great seeing the two girls play together.  Both have a Doc Mcstuffins affliction, which is OK by me since I know there are worse things out there and the show usually has a very good message.
 I attempted to cajole a few smiles out of the girls, using my usual reasonable humor.  Chloe would not buy it, but Leah seemed to get a kick out of it.

 For the rest of Spring Break, I had great plans:

* get groceries and other necessary items
*get the oil changed on Cora's car
*get the car in for a visor repair
*change the snow tires
*work on the bathroom, with a view toward getting almost done by week's end

Well, the first four took up Monday and Tuesday.  Chloe and I spent nearly the whole day in town both days.  At least with the car stuff we got to go for a walk.  We visited Petco (where they have carts her size) and the toy store.  Then we visited Cabela's where I learned that because of the threat of gun laws and or gun regulation that .22 ammunition is now being rationed (one box per person per day).  Come on people, you don't seriously think they will take all of your guns away, do you?  Well, apparently some of you do...otherwise there would not be a rationing of .22 ammunition.

We finished that off (no, I declined to buy any ammo) with a walk to Yakima's famous Miner's Restaurant, in business since 1948.  We bought and shared an ice cream sundae.  Did I mention that that particular weekend and those first couple days were unseasonably warm?  in the 70s!!  It wasn't a horrible day, but nothing got done.  So, I planned to make up for that at the end of the week.

On Wednesday, I got serious and took out the bathroom sink and the toilet and tore up the vinyl floor.  I made some decent progress and planned to start sheet rock on Thursday.

Thursday dawned and we sent Cora off to work where she would be enduring an audit.  Then Chloe and I went to Lowes for supplies.

I admit I was not feeling particularly ambitious, but I was going to start nonetheless.  When, from the other room came a gagging sound.  Followed by Chloe running in to me gagging.  I offered her a garbage can to throw up into, thinking she was getting sick.  She then informed me she had swallowed money.  I asked if she could breathe, she said she could and appeared to be ok, other than trying to get it out of her throat.  I immediately called 911 and ended up speaking to their on call nurse.  She said either the emergency room or our pediatrician would be the best bet.  I called the pediatrician since Chloe seemed in no immediate danger.

The pediatrician said to go to the emergency room.  I bundled Chloe up and off we went, with a partial plan in mind...I even asked the iphone which was the best hospital in town and then promptly drove to the other one.  Of course, I may have been slightly distracted, since Chloe was not being herself.  She was quiet in the carseat drooling slightly...DROOLING!!  WHAT"S WRONG WITH MY KID!!!

She swallowed it at about 11:30AM, and by noon we were at the hospital.  By 12:30 they had us in getting X-rays.  From that point on we sat.  I had let Cora know, in the middle of her audit, what had happened.  And attempted to keep her appraised through texts...problem is, despite all the signs around me, I thought I was at the other hospital.

The doc finally came in and said they were going to send her to Seattle Children's Hospital because no one in Yakima could put her under.  "No one in Yakima?"  No one.  This was pretty interesting information since I knew for a fact that they had put her under anesthetic when she got the tube in her ear...HERE IN YAKIMA.  But, who am I to argue with a doctor, who surely has more experience with local doctory.  Still, I kept Cora and now an ever widening swath of family tuned in.

Finally, when he came back and said for sure they would be sending Chloe to Seattle, I texted Cora and told her I would deeply appreciate it if she could come home as soon as possible...if it weren't too much to ask...well, maybe not quite in those words, but close.  I tried to remain least on the outside.

Cora made it to Yakima and told me she'd be there soon(That seemed awful fast...was she speeding?)...then it dawned on me that the hospital I'd told her I was at was NOT WHERE I WAS...and then the all too finicky hospital cell phone reception turned cold and would not let me get a call out unless I was facing a certain direction next to a certain wall...the first three texts did not go through, so I called her.  She was at the doors of the other hospital.  She may have uttered some profanity.  I don't recall.  By this time Chloe had tired of all this commotion and had fallen asleep on my shoulder.

They kept coming in and telling me the Ambulance would come and take her to Seattle...I began to worry that Cora might not make it.  She walked in...record flight across town?  And all was well.  They kept saying the ambulance was coming.  I had put Chloe's lovey and bear in the wash before she had swallowed the coin.  It was a production with Chloe putting the offensive rag in the wash after hugging and kissing it.  She can live without it, but it is a miserable existence for all.  I opted to make a run for home and try to get back before the ambulance.

I opted for a creative driving tactic that may have confused and irritated other drivers, but I made it back to the hospital with time to spare.  Both of our phones were beginning to show effects of having been in use for a good part of the day.  I managed to throw a few items in just in case we spent more time in Seattle than expected.  As it turns out I am glad I did.

We finally saw the ambulance driver and his cohort and they bundled Chloe up on the gurney and Cora accompanied them to the Ambulance.  I got Chloe's princess blanket and made sure she had it for the drive.  We left Yakima about 4pm.  I drove behind.  A raw bundle of nerves hoping for a quick drive.  I was rewarded with a sedate drive across the one time attaining a speed about 5 miles an hour over the limit... I was disappointed and still brooding over my obvious unfitness as a parent.

We arrived in the general vicinity of Seattle at about 6pm.  Traffic was horrible.  The ambulance driver opted to use the carpool lane...I was not allowed to follow since I was driving solo.  They were worried I would not find my way.  I was worried I wouldn't get there until after she came out of anesthesia.

I did manage to throw in my camera...and I am glad I did.  I got some amazing photos of traffic.  the next photo is of the drive past the University District.  Children's is that large building that the crane seems to be pointing at.
 As it turns out, I arrived just ten minutes behind the ambulance.  Something about misuse of an emergency far as I was concerned it was an emergency, but no one really asked me much.  The good people at Children's treated us well,  They treated Chloe like a human rather than something to be worked upon.  They treated us well and explained that this was NOT uncommon and that they had seen a lot of similar things...a few of the people even sharing their own coin swallowing stories.  My favorite was that of the anesthesiologist who used a metal detector to verify that the coin was on its way through his son.

They must have explained the procedure 4 times to us.  We are not the slowest people in the room, so we caught on after the second or third explanation.

They explained what they needed Chloe to do, and as I was not allowed in, I have to go from what Cora said, apparently she walked right in and took the mask they thought they'd have to hold up to her face and she put it on her face and breathed in.  Unafraid and unconcerned.  That's my kid.

She came out of surgery quickly and we had just made it back from an interestingly convoluted walk to the car to obtain her valued Sully the Monster.  We waited another hour or so for her to wake up naturally.  We offered no complaint, as forcing Chloe to wake is not good for anyone.

She came out and we hugged her and loved her.  They gave us the coin, which turned out to be a penny, like she said.  They set me up on a computer so I could get us a room for the night, since the time was now well on to 11pm!  Good lord, we'd been at this for twelve hours!

We finally found a room...every hotel in the area was booked...across town.  Our friendly nurse or attending or whatever he was assured us it was a great place and his in-laws stayed there all the time.  He also hooked us up with a great place to have breakfast.  It was about midnight by the time we drove past the hotel a second time and I got a room.  Then we went off for a burger at Wendy's and came back.

Chloe ate more than the doctor recommended.  She and...well, all of us...had been on an involuntary fast since before noon!  We were all famished and it wasn't long until we fell into bed.

 We stayed at the Ballard Inn...a place I recommend for the friendly staff, the cozy atmosphere, and the lovely area around it.  I had about five minutes to snap some shots of the area and this is what I got.

We were going to try to go to the zoo, but the weather was too cold, and we had a limited wardrobe.  So, we went to the Science Center.

We got back home about 4 in the afternoon.  The week was a wash.

We had to order the shower kit and basically have given up on the bathroom until that comes in.  Still...we have each other.