Journal Entry: February 2, 2009

We ended last year with an honest-to-goodness blizzard that rolled in on Christmas Eve. Mom and Dad were here in town, staying at our place for the week before heading out to Germany on Christmas morning, and that ended up being quite an adventure. They made it, though.

Anyway, we had a repeat of that foul weather last week, when heavy ice started coming down on Thursday afternoon, followed by a thick coat of snow all Thursday night. I did end up going in to work on Thursday, but they let us out early and closed the offices on Friday.

That gave us a nice long weekend, trapped in the house. T– has been sick with a respiratory virus for nearly a week now, so it was a good thing I was home to take care of the kids (especially in the mornings). We had fun, though. AB and I played out in the snow for half an hour on Friday, we started testing out bedtime stories, and she learned how to control my warlock’s flying carpet in WoW.

XP and I worked on enunciation and word choice, motor control, and screaming unreservedly for no reason whatsoever. That was a little less fun.

We watched a bunch of Berenstain Bears cartoons with AB, and the first season of 30 Rock when she wasn’t looking. I also played a lot of WoW.

Saturday night, like Noah sending the dove out from the ark, we ordered a pizza and were delighted when it arrived in a reasonable amount of time. Sunday morning we finally ventured out, meeting my little sister and her family at IHOP for lunch.

We were not the only people in town with that idea. Alas.

Anyway, we had no real problems on the roads, and afterward T– dropped me and AB back at the house, and then went to do some grocery shopping. Sunday evening we had sandwiches, and finished off the second season of our show.

Then Monday morning it was AB’s turn to be sick, and she was hacking something awful when I had to head to work. T– seems to be on the mend, though, and it was only really bad for three days or so. So maybe AB will be better before the weekend.

Oh! On the drive home from work I had some serious drama, but that probably deserves a post of its own. I’ll get that up as soon as I can. I did end up running some errands in the evening, including a trip to Walgreens where I learned we might have another ice storm coming. Yay!

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: November 2009

I survived.

I’m tempted to make those two words my whole journal entry, but so much happened in November that I don’t want to forget. And so much happened in November that I’m going to forget it.

Even this post won’t get it all, but I want to grab the highlights.

I started the month with a NaNoWriMo kickoff party at IHOP with my writing group, and that actually is documented already. I’ve also talked a little bit about my NaNoWriMo progress, and my class sessions. I’ll do another post with a post mortem for NaNoWriMo, but here I wanted to talk about what else I did.

I finished a major manuscript for work on the 5th, and that freed up some of my attention and some of my creative energy, so I finally really got started writing on the 6th. I had a birthday lunch at P. F. Chang’s on the 8th, and then a holiday (Veteran’s Day) on the 11th that gave me a pretty easy work week, and a good opportunity to get caught up on my word count again. Then Saturday the 14th I had a great opportunity to get behind again.

Probably the big event of November (for me), T– threw a big birthday party for my 30th, inviting my mom and dad, and all my friends. D–, of course, B– and E–, K– and N–, my little sister and her family, as well as Courtney and Ed (who were a real hit). T– had everyone bring a bottle of wine, which was quite a treat, and she grilled up ribs for us as the main dish in a pretty extensive (and delicious) spread. We chatted and played Rock Band, and had a great time. Shawn and Liz showed up after most of the other guests had left, but stuck around to watch UHF with the Cantrells and me. That was fun. The whole night was incredible.

In WoW news, I got my Hunter to 80 (which marks the first time I’ve had a Hunter at the level cap). I also started a pair of Horde characters on Shawn’s server, so I can chat with him from time to time. He’s popped in on Dark Iron a time or two, too, and that’s been fun.

I had a conversation with T–, and a conversation with my writing group, and a conversation with my dad over the phone on a drive home from work, and the end result of all that is that I’m finally going to try to get some treatment for my social anxiety. That’s not really something I want to talk about in detail in this post, but it happened in November. So there you go.

Then last week was Thanksgiving week (which is always drama, and NaNoWriMo brings its own demons). T– headed up to Wichita early, on Tuesday afternoon, and I had dinner with D– at a new Mexican place downtown (Iguana Grill, and it’s awesome), then went by Bruce’s to borrow his ladder and ended up spending an hour and a half chatting with him, then went home and got started on Christmas preparations instead of going to bed.

I wanted to have the tree up (and ready for decoration) by the time T– came home from Wichita. I decided to get all the decorations down from the attic, too, and somewhere in there I decided I should hang Christmas lights outside. Wal-Mart had LED lights at a reasonable price, so I picked up 8 strings and spent Wednesday afternoon crawling around on the roof of the house, getting everything set up. It proved to be more work than I anticipated, but the end result is stunning. (I’m sure T– will have a photo up on her blog eventually.)

I’d barely gotten off the roof when D– showed up to take me down to Chicasha to pick up his grandma, and then we all headed to Wichita. With that extra trip, a two-and-a-half-hour drive became something perilously close to five, but I spent most of it sleeping in the back seat, so who’s complaining.

Then Thanksgiving was four straight days of Charboneaus. That’s an amazing family, and they really know how to have a good time when they get together. T– brought my XBox and Rock Band, and that was incredibly popular. The food was incredible. The Cowboys won convincingly, and then a disappointing Sooners team showed up on Saturday and totally shut out OSU in the Bedlam game, so that was pretty satisfying.

We got home Sunday afternoon, and as we turned the corner onto our street, AB called from the back seat, “Ooh, the house is ready for Christmas!” T–, of course, was thrilled. After watching her parents get all their Christmas decorations done Friday morning, she’d been left wondering when we could even get around to it, and here it was all ready for her.

AB couldn’t wait to get started, and she and her mom got the tree all decorated before bedtime.

Then yesterday was the 30th, the end of my wonderful, grueling November, and I capped it with a write-in at Courtney’s. We both made our official submissions to the NaNoWriMo website around 11:00, validated our winning word counts, and then stayed up far too late talking. All too often, in the midst of a conversation about this or that, one or the other of us would trail off, staring away into space, and then just say quietly, “I can’t believe it’s over.”

It’s over. And I survived.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: October 30, 2009

I’m not going to pretend any of you are surprised at the lack of updates. I’m also not going to pretend there will be any rectification of that issue in the next thirty-one days. NaNoWriMo is here, and it gets my words. What I have to spare will end up in emails and FaceBook Discussion Board posts encouraging my other writers to stick with it.

That’s what I’ve been busy with in the recent bloggish doldrums. Two years ago when I decided to bully Dad and Heather into writing their books, I put together a prewriting curriculum for them, and I’ve used some of those exercises with a couple other people since, but I never really nailed them down.

I’ve spent much of the last two weeks getting them sorted out, cleaned up, and properly annotated (the exercises are now two-parters: lessons on topics in story design, paired with specific assignments).

I also went through all the exercises and did them for my own NaNoWriMo project, to set a good example, but I ended up having to switch projects right in the middle of all that, so it was a real mess. As of yesterday I’m all done, though, and ready to get to work.

Of course, I’ve been playing a lot of WoW, and we’ve had several opportunities to get a whole group together, whether it was D– and me and the brothers-in-law, or Mom and Dad and a nephew, we’ve had a lot of fun.

The kids are doing well, and T– (as always) is a phenomenal wife and mother. It’s amazing how much she gets accomplished, on so little sleep….

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: October 19, 2009

Last Saturday was the big Charboneau family birthdays party for everyone with a birthday in October, and T– felt the itch to be a part of that, so she ended up packing up the kids Friday morning and heading to Wichita. That left me with a weekend of bachelor freedom. I mostly spent it practicing poor sleeping and eating habits.

I did get my lesson plan for next week done on Friday, and yesterday I took care of some stuff around the house, but apart from that it was movies, football, and lots of WoW. Amazingly relaxing, but before it was over I was really missing my family.

Friday night I was home alone, Saturday I went over to K– and N–‘s for lunch and the OU/Texas game. Lunch was some incredible cheeseburgers K– grilled. Then while I was there K– offered to help me track down an electrical problem I’d been having with my car, but that sort of tracked itself down as soon as I popped the hood and we saw the mountain of corrosion sitting on my battery’s positive terminal. So we cleaned that off, and I haven’t had any problems since.

I got home from Edmond in time for D– to pick me up for dinner at Belle Isle, then we went back to the house and played WoW until 3:30. We also watched a bunch of unwholesome movies, which was pretty fun.

Sunday D– and I went to lunch with my sister’s family up in Edmond, then came back to the house for more WoW (although, as I said, I also got some stuff accomplished). I had to call it a night a little bit earlier, so as to make it in to work this morning, but it was still a pretty similar night to the one before.

And now my family’s home safe, and I’m looking forward to seeing them tonight.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: October 14, 2009

No, there is too much. Let me sum up….

It’s terribly frustrating to me that, as times get more and more interesting, I write less and less about it on my blog. That’s been true of every NaNoWriMo I’ve been through (and how many birthday parties and Thanksgivings have been lost because of it?), and it’s been true of both of my babies.

Admittedly, XP isn’t doing anything terribly newsworthy. He’s adorable, but that doesn’t make for great plain-text updates. It’s a shame, though, that when I look back at now three years from now, I won’t have a very detailed record of the semester I decided to work full time and teach a college course while participating in two different writer’s groups, having a new baby, and maintaining a 30-hour-per-week WoW habit. Oh, and writing. A little bit.

It’s not going to get any better, either, because in the midst of all that, a NaNoWriMo is looming. All I’ll have to look back on are these occasional complaints, and a word count ticker. I guess that’s something….

Anyway, I’ve spent the last two weeks with “blog journal” as the longstanding not-marked-out item on my rolling Post-It Note To Do list, and I decided to shed the guilt and stress of that unwritten post getting longer and longer, and just write a quick post about yesterday.

I made that decision three days ago. And here we are.

There’s been lots worth mentioning in the recent past, but the most exciting among them is probably B–‘s new job and the party that went with it. That’s more than a week ago, though, so it’s lost to history. Last Friday night AB spent the evening with Diana, so T– and I could have a date night. We went to Texas Roadhouse and then watched some TV. It was awesome.

On Saturday D– and I went over to B– and E–‘s, because he had missed the previous weekend’s party with some vile disease. Conversation and martinis, and about seven minutes of The Empire Strikes Back with RiffTrax.

Sunday the Cowboys barely beat the miserable Chiefs, and that gave us our first winning weekend of the season — or at least the first one where I got to watch both games. It was exhilarating.

Monday was Columbus Day, which is actually a holiday for people like me, so I went to the Science Museum with T– and the kids, then spent the afternoon preparing materials for my class.

Yesterday I woke up sick, but I went to work anyway. I did end up canceling my class, though, which gives the students a full week off because Thursday is Fall Break. Wasn’t the flu, though — I was better by bedtime. And today I’m back at work.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: September 28, 2009

Wednesday after work we met K– and N– at Johnny’s Charcoal Broiler — carrying on a tradition started the first time T– took AB to church, and we ate there for lunch. The food was delicious, of course, and it was a fun time getting together with friends.

Afterward, everybody but K– and me walked over to church for Wednesday night classes. K– came over to my place to help me with T–‘s broken computer. He had a hard drive caddy handy, with connections for all manner of hard drive, and in no time at all he had the data from T–‘s laptop copied over to mine. That solved the biggest of T–‘s fears (lost photos and work documents), but of course the laptop was still broken.

After church the family came back home, and we spent the evening watching TV while I played WoW.

Thursday I had to prepare a tutorial/lecture for my students, and I spent a significant chunk of time after work reviewing it and getting it posted to the website. I also spent much of the day (and evening) reviewing the students’ submissions for the first document packet, and fielding questions from them (by email, of course).

Karla made us some incredible quesadillas for dinner. D– came over for that, and to play some WoW with me, but mostly to pick up T–‘s dead computer and take it home with him. He spent the evening getting it resurrected (with the help of a spare hard drive he had sitting around, which probably saved me a hundred bucks), and getting the OS back on it.

Apart from that, Thursday night was more TV, and more WoW. We chilled, and caught our breath.

Friday I met Toby for lunch, and we discussed (among other things) a document conversion project I’ve got to get done for work. He had volunteered to help with that when they came to visit at the hospital, and this was my first opportunity to provide him with more detailed information. He sounded optimistic that he could get it done, and we made arrangements to meet at his place Sunday evening.

Then in the afternoon I got home from work a little bit early, so I was there when D– brought T–‘s laptop by, and I installed a few more programs for her, and now it’s better than new.

D– had to go back to work, but he agreed to meet us for dinner. Half an hours after he left, Mom and Dad got in from Little Rock. We introduced them to Alexander (or XP, as he’ll be known hereabouts in the future), then spent some time socializing while we waited for my sister and her family to come over. A little after five we piled into a bunch of vehicles, and headed over to Mama Roja for dinner.

As we were waiting for our table, T– turned to me and said with some surprise, “Can you believe it’s been nine days since we’ve been here?” Her Mom rocked our world by pointing out it had actually been two whole weeks. Craziness.

Anyway, it was a crowded, busy table, but we all had delicious food and enjoyed the opportunity to talk. Afterward, T–‘s parents left from the restaurant to head home, and everyone else came over to our place.

I took Mom up to Homeland to pick up the necessary supplies, then when we got back to the house I mixed up a pitcher of rum margaritas. They went over pretty well, but T– and I had a hankering for the real thing, so as soon as the pitcher was empty I filled it up again, with tequila this time, and we had a grand ol’ time.

Saturday morning T– and Mom headed up to Edmond (with XP in tow) for pedicures with my sister, and Dad headed to Edmond for a conference at Memorial Road Church of Christ on an educational framework called Journeylands. That left me at home with AB. We played in her room, we spent half an hour or so on my laptop playing the Memory game, we read from her books, and we practiced telling each other stories.

Then T– called to tell me we were all supposed to meet Dad for lunch at Jason’s Deli, so I had AB watch some TV while I got ready, and then we rapidly got her dressed (and I made a humorous attempt at putting her hair in a ponytail), and headed north.

Lunch was awesome, and afterward T– and Mom took AB with them to go shopping for baby stuff. Dad headed back to his conference, so that left me alone. I ran home, took care of some stuff on my laptop, and then headed back out again for our monthly writer’s group at Courtney’s.

That probably deserves its own post (as it’s gotten in the past), but I’m feeling lazy now and I was sleepy and distracted then, so I couldn’t do it justice anyway. Shawn was missing, so it was just the three of us. We started out talking about dreams (and nightmares), and I told the story of my first nightmare (the killer shark in the apartment swimming pool), and my most recent (last week, when T– walked away from our marriage because I left her to fend for herself when we found ourselves caught in a swamp surrounded by killer snakes and spiders).

Then from there we talked more about our creative influences, how we come up with titles, and how we cope with the constant temptation to jump to new projects — leaving old ones unfinished. We also talked about another OKC writer’s group we might try to crash sometime, and a potential addition to our group, and traditional versus non-traditional publishers. I also dragged the conversation toward magic in the real world for a bit, and we each seized that opportunity to feel a little bit foolish.

Then it was 4:30, and time to split up. I got home just after Dad, and Mom was still there with AB (who was taking a nap). T– was already up at the church, getting ready for a crop, and she had XP with her.

So it was just me and Mom and Dad, and I took the opportunity to ask them for some advice and analysis on parenting. Specifically, I wanted to know how much change I should expect in AB in the coming years. I feel like we’ve weathered the differentiation called “the terrible twos” at this point — we’ve seen it, we’ve found ways to address it, and at this point, though her rebellion can be frustrating at times, it isn’t baffling. It’s predictable, and addressable, and I feel like we both know who she is.

So my question was, how many more major change events are there, in early childhood development? I was relieved when Mom and Dad both agreed there really aren’t any. We can reasonably expect AB to be pretty much the person she is now for most of the next nine years. I’m happy with that answer. I like the person she is.

They also had some good information about how to handle the challenges of her differentiation events in her teenage years, but I really didn’t enjoy thinking about that. Not that I’m worried about the rebellion or family drama or anything…I just don’t like thinking about her being a teenager. It feels far too close, and that’s only a handful of years before she’s gone. Miserable thought, that.

Anyway, that took up most of an hour, and then I went and woke AB up so she could go to the church with Mom. A few minutes later K– came over, having dropped his baby off there, too. We ordered a couple pizzas and loaded up Beatles: Rock Band. An hour or so later, my brother-in-law called to ask if he could come join us, and we rocked out for two hours before he and K– had to go pick up their little ones.

Right around then Mom and my older sister came home with AB, and after she went down to bed the rest of us played some more Rock Band. I mixed up a pitcher of strawberry daiquiris for us, too, and we all had a good time. By the time T– got home my sister was gone (to stay at my little sister’s place), and Mom and Dad were in bed, so it was just me still awake, playing WoW.

I didn’t stay up too late, though. I was tired, so I went to bed around 11:30 with no regrets.

Sunday morning we had a full house getting ready for church, and all of us running a little bit late, but we managed to get ourselves together somehow and showed up no more than five minutes later for service.

The sermon was on the various social values of hymns in a congregation, and before Rob was done Dad leaned over and said, “I want you to introduce me to your preach after church.” Turned out that was a sermon Dad had been wanting to preach for years, and while he’d heard lots of sermons on the topic, he’d never heard anyone express the real benefits and perspective that Rob gave in his sermon.

So we caught Rob after church (after waiting through an impressive line), and Dad got to compliment and thanks Rob for his sermon, and Rob got invite Dad to come give a marriage and family seminar to Britton Road sometime — something he’s been wanting to talk with Dad about for a while. So that’s pretty cool.

Then afterward we all went over my sister’s place for an Italian-themed lunch of salad, chicken pasta, and cheesecake for dessert. Everyone agreed the food was incredibly good. AB and her older cousin weren’t getting along terribly well, though — probably because they were both in severe need of a nap — so we split up and went back home to put AB to bed. Mom and Dad decided to head home around the same time, too, so we got them packed up and said our goodbyes.

And then, suddenly and unexpectedly, the house was quiet. For the first time in ten days.

T– watched some Law and Order, I played some WoW, and then AB woke up from her nap and the spell was broken. We grabbed some McDonalds for dinner, and then all too soon it was time for me to head down to Norman for my meeting with Toby.

I didn’t want to go. I was tired and worn out, and it’s not a short drive, but I had made a commitment. And, after all, Toby was doing a favor for me. I showed up, and found out he had, in fact, finished it. He walked me through the code, teaching me what it did (so I could make little modifications on my own), and it’s one of those things where it’s fascinating in its simplicity. He did a really fantastic job. And after a quick test run (and double-checking how the output looked in Word), I was able to put the work stuff aside and we had some time to just talk. That was fun. He’s in the same boat I am — having to work with a new baby at home — but in spite of all the chaos, and petty problems at work, and weird happenings with rent houses in Tulsa…in spite of all that, we’re both doing pretty well. It was fun to get to hear that, and say that, and just to talk programming with my programming teacher for an hour or so.

Then I drove back home, in the weary dark, and crawled into bed and said good night to my weekend.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: September 21, 2009

I’ve gotten a little behind. Sorry about that.

Last Wednesday after work we got together with D–, K– and N–, and my sister’s family at Senor Tequila up in Edmond. I’m sure I’ve been to one before (the name is really familiar), but I don’t remember when. The food was really good, though (especially the salsa), and of course the fellowship was exceptional.

While we were there, I told a little story about two startlingly dramatic events in the lives of my students that have (in small ways) disrupted each of my last two classes. We wondered idly what would happen to disrupt my next class. We didn’t come up with anything.

After dinner T– took AB to church, and I went home to finish up some prep work for the Formatting Tutorial I needed to write for my students on Thursday. Got it outlined, got all my stuff together, and then spent the rest of the evening playing WoW.

Thursday morning I woke up early, got ready for work, then asked T– how she was doing before I headed out the door. Turned out, she was having a baby. So I spent a couple hours coaching her through contractions, making preparations, and alerting the internets that we were having a baby.

It turned out to be true. I’ve written up a detailed account of how the day went, but I feel like T– should get some of that attention, so I’ve given it to her. Watch her blog for more details.

Needless to say, though, we had a busy day. Alexander Lewis Pogue was born at 12:03 PM, and we all three spent the rest of the day recovering. We had a ton of visitors Thursday afternoon and evening, and every one of them asked, “Do you need us to bring anything?” before showing up. We were well taken care of.

Just like last time, I had my laptop and WoW to get me through the long, quiet hours at the hospital. So don’t feel too sorry for me. T–, of course, had a baby to serve the same purpose.

Friday morning I realized I had a bunch of unfinished work at work, so I slipped away around ten in the morning, when T– had a sister-in-law there to help her out and friends and parents on their way. I ran home to grab a shower and get cleaned up, then headed to work. I was only there for about an hour, but I got what I needed (to work on at home), signed my timesheet, and told Irene and Laveta a little bit about the baby.

Then I grabbed some lunch at Subway, picked up 17 Again so T– would have some entertainment for the afternoon, and headed back to the hospital. I spent some time in the afternoon writing up my account of Thursday for T– (see above), and then some more time agonizing over how to handle my class.

I’d told T– on Tuesday, “You have to wait at least two weeks before you have the baby.” The reason for that was a particular lecture I had scheduled for Tuesday, September 24: “Technical Writers as Subject Matter Experts.” The plan was to briefly lecture on the topic, then spend the rest of the class discussing their Semester Projects (which will require them to become Subject Matter Experts, but I’ll discuss that more tomorrow). Anyway, I’d always intended to have a work day sometime after the baby was born, so I could skip class and they could work on their projects. That doesn’t work if they don’t know anything about the project yet.

So I sent out a harried email Thursday afternoon warning them to expect a change to the schedule, then I sent out a new email Friday afternoon telling them to disregard their assignment for the week and instead read over a brief overview of the Semester Project assignment, and come to class Tuesday with three possible project topics.

I’m moving the S. M. E. speech up to tomorrow, and I’ll give them next Tuesday off. But, as I said, more on that tomorrow.

Friday evening was more like Thursday evening. My sister brought me Taco Bell for dinner, and John and Karla brought AB up to visit us. She’d spent twenty-four hours with her Nana and Papa, and she was sorely missing her Mommy and Daddy, so we kept her for a few hours, then I took her home at nine so we could go through her regular bedtime routine. I think that went pretty well.

And then I was back up at the hospital, and it was another night of talk shows and commercials and the gentle, soothing glow of WoW.

Saturday morning we got up early and got ready, then cooled our heels for hours and hours. Nurses and pediatricians made their visits, approving us to leave. They brought all manner of forms for us to sign, and lectured us on all sorts of terrors that could befall our baby, and then took him away for a discreet procedure that seemed to take forever. He seems to have come through it well, though.

Then, at last, around ten our nurse came by to discharge us. Except, she said that she wanted us to hang around another forty-five minutes after his procedure to make sure everything was okay. Forty-five minutes later she dropped by to say she was sorry, but another family needed to discharge too, and the father had tickets for the OU game, and he was frantic to get out. So we gave her permission to go take care of him, and waited some more.

I spent a lot of that waiting time moving all of our possessions out to the car. It took six or seven trips, not counting the one with the baby. When I wasn’t doing that, I was playing WoW while T– watched Food TV.

Then, at last, a little before noon our nurse came by to discharge us, and actually did. We got home to the delicious smells of a fresh-baked pizza, and with many helping hands got the car unloaded much, much faster than it was loaded. Then AB helped me put some stuff away (and got tickled for her efforts), and then we finally settled down to the serious business of lunch.

In the afternoon AB went down for a nap, and I settled down to get back to my real life — playing WoW — and turned on the OU game around three. Unfortunately, though my TiVo claimed to have access to the game, our cable package doesn’t actually include the channel it was on, so all I had was four hours of solid-black screen. In HD.

I didn’t feel like leaving the house, though, so I abandoned all hope of watching the game. Instead we turned on an episode of Lie to Me. A little while later AB woke up from her nap, and then T–, AB, Karla, and John all went for a shopping trip to Wal-Mart. Alexander was forbidden from going by his pediatrician, so I had the arduous task of watching him sleep while I played WoW. He was delightful.

Karla made us dinner, and we spent the evening watching TV and (me) playing WoW. The only difference from last weekend was the squeaky little baby in the room, and T– complaining less. It was a pretty pleasant day.

Overnight, the baby woke up a few times for feedings, and T– (of course) woke up with him, but the experience was radically different from our first night home with AB. Then we’d both been wide awake, all the lights on, frantically checking to make sure she was okay, any time she made the smallest noise in the night. This time T– waited until he was actually ready to eat, fed him, then put him back to bed and went back to sleep. Most of the time she didn’t even wake me up when that happened. It was, altogether, significantly less stressful.

Even so, at pretty much everyone’s recommendation, we skipped church on Sunday. John and Karla took AB, so T– and I had a pretty quiet morning at home. Then the in-laws brought us lunch from Taco Cabana, and afterward we watched an episode of Dinosaur Train with AB before her nap. Once she was down, we switched the TV to the Vikings game, which was awesome.

Then around 4:30 we had an accidental repeat of Saturday. AB got up from her nap, then went with T– and her parents up to the mall to do some shopping, leaving me home with the baby. I got a visit from B– (generously bringing us a lasagna to dine on sometime this week), and called up K– and N– to see if they could join us for the Cowboys game at eight.

When T– et alia got home, we had some incredible stew for dinner (beef broth, carrot, potatoes, and cubed brisket leftover from last weekend’s birthday party). I had a little bit of an argument with AB over that, because she didn’t want to sit in her chair — she wanted to sit on the floor and stare at Baby Alexander. After much discussion, we reached a compromise that essentially consisted of her sitting on the floor and staring at Baby Alexander. She’s a very persuasive orator.

Then we had guests, and we watched the disappointing first half of what turned out to be an even more disappointing football game. It was fun to have K– and N– over, though. We also made a start on a cheesecake and pumpkin pie that had come into our possession, but there is still much more work to be done on that front. So give us a call, and drop by for a visit. You won’t leave disappointed.

I went to bed pretty quickly after the game was over, though, because I had work in the morning.

More on that tomorrow. Everything’s going well, though. Mother and baby are both happy and healthy, and the rest of the family is ticking along nicely.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: September 15, 2009

Yesterday sucked.

I mean, actually, I had a pretty pleasant chat with Julie, and one with N–, too. That was nice. And I got a call from B– that was news-packed, and at least half of it was good! That was nice.

But really I wasted most of the day (and significant parts of each of those conversations) feeling sick about my class today. I’ve got to get over that.

On the drive home from work, I cranked up some inspirational music, and made plans to work out when I got home. AB wanted to play with her daddy, though, and that wasn’t something I could turn down. So we talked and read a book and watched TV for a while.

Then D– brought over leftover brisket from last Saturday’s birthday party. T– made up some homemade mashed potatoes for a side, and it was a phenomenal dinner. After that I moved to the couch and played WoW for three hours, hoping to distract myself. It didn’t really work, but I got a lot done in WoW. We also watched a new Leverage and a new Psych, both of which were great.

Then around ten D– went home, and I went to the office to do a little more prep work for my class. I spent about half an hour on that, then headed to bed.

And lay there. And did not fall asleep. My mind was racing, fixated on class and everything that could go wrong.

So after about half an hour of that I jumped up and went back to the office. I read through all my students’ business letters again, I watched Gail Nash’s online lecture on document layout and design again, I reworked my class notes extensively, and I prepped some exercise materials for class today. All told, it was well after midnight when I went back to bed.

And lay there. And did not fall asleep. I wasn’t really worried by that point — over the course of that last hour in the office, I’d completely worked through every minute of today’s class, and I knew I was thoroughly prepared. I’d go so far as to say scripted. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it — about which words to put with certain ideas, which ideas to cut if I ran out of time, and which ones to abbreviate, what sections of the discussion could (and should) be moved around and where, whether I’d captured all the necessary changes to the syllabus, and how to get that information across clearly.

Not just that, but I also found myself cutting material from today’s lecture and moving it forward to future lectures, and when I was working on how to adapt that material to the other lecture’s topic, I started working on those lectures, building them up. It was all useful work, but not at one thirty in the morning.

By that point, I wasn’t worrying about today’s class anymore. I was just wishing I could go ahead and give the class so I could get on with my life. Instead, I kept on obsessing.

I knew it, too. I kept trying to put it away, to stop thinking about it, and I kept failing at that. At two o’clock, AB cried out in her sleep and I went to check on her, thinking she’d woken up. At three, frustrated, I sat up in bed just to see how late it really was, and then lay back down. My alarm went off at seven, and I was already awake, but I got up and turned it off and went back to bed. Not to sleep, just to get a few more minutes of rest. Soon enough AB came to jump on the bed, and T– was getting ready to leave for a doctor’s appointment, and I was late enough for work that I couldn’t justify waiting any longer. So I got up, and I went to work.

I’ll let you guess what I’ve been thinking about all morning.

Other than that, though, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: September 14, 2009

Friday night T–‘s parents came in from Wichita, and after unloading the newly refurbished dining table and chairs that John had brought down, we took them out to dinner at Mama Roja (of course). It was delicious. Other than that, it was just WoW.

Saturday around noon we went to Mayfair Church of Christ for D–‘s grandma’s birthday party. It was about forty people, mostly D–‘s family, and only a couple people I knew, but for some reason (and completely unexpectedly) that place hit my social anxiety something awful. We were there for two hours. The brisket was good.

Afterward we went home, and brought my niece Lola with us. We watched her for a couple hours, then when my sister came to pick her up, T– and her family went up to Hobby Lobby for some fabric shopping.

John and I had talked about going out to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner to catch the OU game (since it was only showing on pay per view), but I still felt bad from the afternoon’s activity so I stayed home and made us all chili instead. Then I played WoW for the rest of the night while John watched the race and the rest of us watched an episode of Lie to Me.

Sunday morning I skipped church, and spent some time coming up with a list of adjectives to describe little Alexander. That…didn’t turn out to be useful. I had fun with it, though.

T– made barbecue sandwiches for lunch, then she and her parents headed to my sister’s place for a baby shower while my brother-in-law brought his two girls over to play. They watched Word World with AB while Jeff and I talked for an hour or so. Then I took AB up to the shower.

Now, T– had told me she wasn’t expecting much of a turnout at the shower, since all of my family had all canceled and several of the ladies from church had said they wouldn’t be there. So I was somewhat astonished to walk into my sister’s house and find it packed full of people.

They had brought so many gifts, and while I was there the guests read out blessings for Alexander and T– and me, that they’d written earlier. That was precious.

Afterward, we came home and said goodbyes to T–‘s parents, then I played WoW and waited for D– to become available. He called around six, and we both headed up to Edmond to watch the Cowboys game with K– and N–.

It was an excellent game. I left at half time so I could watch some of the game with T– (who’d been too exhausted to go with me). We enjoyed that so much that we watched the end of the Bears / Packers game, too.

Sort of an erratic weekend, and exhausting, but a lot of fun. And, y’know, the Cowboys won. Awesome.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: September 10, 2009

Yesterday was relatively quiet — at least, the way my life goes now. A year ago, yesterday’s events would have seemed positively newsworthy.

Anyway, I had a busy day at work, I wrote 600 words on Restraint over my lunch break, I got a call from my mom and we talked about teaching, I wrote a detailed blog post about Tuesday’s experience, I played some WoW, and then I mixed up some of my famous salsa to go with the fantastic quesadillas T– made for dinner.

And all of that was before D– showed up with his own copy of the new The Beatles: Rock Band. We got the instruments set up, figured out how T– and D– could both do vocals (and me playing Ringo front and center), and then we played that for two hours. Then AB went to bed to sleep, T– went to bed to read, and D– sang all his favorite songs while I logged back into WoW to play a couple battlegrounds before bed.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.