& thinking about health

So how do you like the new banner? Yeah, I don’t really either. I’ll work on a better one later. For now, it’ll do. But that’s not what I came here for.

There are some things that Karli wants me to do that I generally don’t do. Shave. Go buy tampons. Turn into Dean Cain.

But now that she’s pregnant, there are a couple things she wants me to do that I’ll probably be a little better about doing. I’m guessing that they’re probably pretty common among people who are about to have a baby. Or among people planning on killing off their husbands. Let’s hope Karli’s just in the first group.

Annnnnd how bout we keep our hands to ourselves?

First, she wants me to call about life insurance. She checked on it already, but she wants me to be the one to actually go through and get the policy. (Fast fact: Did you know pregnant women can’t get a new life insurance policy? They told Karli to call again six weeks after the baby was born. Too many problem areas with pregnancy and post-partum depression, it seems.) I guess she just wants to make sure everything is squared away for her and Squatch in case something happens to me. Either that, or she’s planning an “accident.” Maybe I should hire one of my students to be my official taste-tester from here on out. You know—just in case.

Anyway, I’m sure that once I do call these people, it’ll involve a doctor’s appointment to get checked out. That’ll probably be the hardest part for me. I don’t do well at the doctor’s office at all. And I don’t mean I get a little uncomfortable. I flip out. Last February I had to go to the ER for some severe abdominal pains (turned out to be some swollen lymph nodes, so nothing serious—I know you were worried), and I almost fainted when they put the IV in. Last time I had to get a check-up, I almost fainted again because I knew I’d have to get my tetanus shot update. I haven’t had an actual, for-real, honest-to-god doctor’s exam in about 12 years. Karli’s counter is that if she has to get poked and prodded constantly till July, only to pass a watermelon out her hoo-hah (yes, that’s her actual words), then I can put up with a doctor’s appointment. Touché.

My younger days —ripping phone books and punching through walls. Ah, junior high...

On another health-related note, Karli also wants to make sure I’m eating healthier and exercising. And I can’t say that I blame her, either. I’m kinda chunky. Okay, I’m fat. Not like “I can’t see my feet” fat, but certainly “I’m in danger of heart attacks and diabetes” fat. So, I can see that. I’ve kinda let myself go since we started dating. I’m kind of ashamed of how out of shape I’ve gotten. I don’t know how I’ll keep up with a toddler when I get winded on the toilet.

So it appears I’ll be cooking a lot more so we cut down a lot on going out to eat. Should be kind of interesting since I teach three nights a week. Lots of frozen meals this semester. And this week I’ll head down to the only gym in town to see what it’s like. I’m a little wary—both because it’s a small town and because it’s the new year, so there will probably be a whole bunch of people trying to follow through on a new year’s resolution for the first month or so. I’ll have to try not to get lost in the gaggle of new people and wait them out.

Is this something normal? Does everyone go through this part in the lead-up to parenthood? I suppose it’s a need for safety and security on Karli’s part, and making sure I’m not going to keel over tomorrow is part of normal Squatch preparation. And do people actually follow through with this? Or, even more importantly, do you think she’s going to kill me?

& a manifesto: the idiot box

First, a brief preamble.

I’m completely aware that one of the silliest things a parent can hear is someone without kids talking about how they’re going to raise their kids. It’s still not going to stop me. In fact, I’m partly writing this to future me—probably about nine months to a year from now—who can look back over these in his free time (ha!) and laugh at the silly, naïve schmuck who’d say such silly, stupid things. He can look back and see exactly what went out the window and when. Maybe I’ll write something about it at that point. Future Me, you’re welcome—both for the laughs and the idea for a post.

And now:

A Manifesto of the Uninformed

Part 1: Television

We’ll start my foray into clueless soapboxing with an area of consternation for some people: television. Specifically, kids watching the television.

First off, this is an area where Karli and I agree as far as Squatch is concerned, so that helps. And it’s one of the first things we came to a quick agreement on as far as child-rearing. We want it off. As much as humanly possible, we want it off. If it means removing the television to our room so that it’s not a constant presence, then so be it.

For most of our married life, we haven’t had cable. The only reason we have it now is because it’s supplied free with our rent. But we don’t watch it that much now as it is. So hopefully that’s a good step one toward our no TV goal. If we don’t have it on, then the kid won’t have it on, right?

“Oh, but you’ll want it on,” you say. “Your kid will want it on, and they’ll whine and cry, then you’ll want it on. You’ll be happy to hear Dora and Diego and those damn Wonder Pets if your kid is quiet and occupied.”

And maybe your right. Maybe this is the first thing I’ll look back on as a sleep-deprived parent and mock heartily. But this is where we’ve drawn a line in the sand. And not seeing Squatch staring slack-jawed and hazy-eyed at a colorful, manic buffoon (one that isn’t its father) will be a reward in itself.

One day, Squatch will return from visiting a friend, saying, “We watched this dimwit girl ask dumb questions that nobody answered for about 15 minutes before I got bored and we went outside to play. I think her name was Donna or something.” On that day, Karli and I will hold our heads high knowing we’ve done our jobs. Yeah, it’s a stupid dream, but it’s a dream. Stop laughing, it’s really gonna happen.

& grandparents are nuts

Today turned out to be rather interesting. We made it back to Wilburton a few hours ago after a longer-than-normal drive (longer, of course, because of the now numerous potty breaks needed for the pregnant lady). We detoured through Kansas City because Karli talked herself (and parents) into a quick trip to Nebraska Furniture Mart to look at a rocker for the Squatch Den (as I said before, we go shopping in spurts when we’re visiting civilization). She ended up finding the one she wanted, so we bought it and we were going to tie it to the roof of our car (a Pontiac Vibe) for the trip back to Oklahoma. Only, the box it came in was a little big (read: way too big) to go on top of our car and expect us to take fewer than five tanks of gas to get down here. Luckily, the in-laws drove their truck, so we threw it (and the box for the ottoman to go with it, of course) in with them, deciding that Karli’s mom would bring it down with her when she visited in a couple months.

As we drove away from the store, a thought crossed my mind. My father-in-law has the week off. They had the dog with them in their truck. They’d already driven to Kansas City. When we split off going different ways from Legends shopping center, I half expected them to call Karli and see if we wanted them to just bring that thing down to Wilburton now. Just caravan it. Actually, it was more than half expected. More like three-quarters expected.

We stopped off to buy a swing in Overland Park with Christmas money, a gift card, and a coupon, then squirted on over to grab some lunch. We hadn’t heard from them, so we just assumed they made it back home safely.

Fast forward past the drive and the pee breaks to about 7:00 this evening (I’d say I wish I could do that in real life but, unfortunately, I’ve seen Click). Karli texted her parents to tell them we made it back okay. A couple minutes later, she gets one back saying, “Delivery for Squatch. Open the door.”

Karli was floored. Me—not so surprised. I called it. Maybe not right on the money (they didn’t call), but I’ll take credit for it. So my father-in-law and I unloaded the chair and Karli invited them to stay the night. They said they had to get back. “This is the kind of stuff family legends are made of,” my father-in-law said. Family legends and daddy blogs.

So here it is, in its new home—the Chair of Legend. The cute-as-hell floppy bunny (which I wrote about yesterday, but didn’t have a picture of) is sitting in it, with a receiving blanket one of Karli’s friends gave us that she and her mom made. Forgive the terribleness of the picture. It’s been a long day.

A chair. A legend. A bunny.

& now i’m nerding out

A little after Christmas, but not too far that my burps have stopped tasting like ham, so it’s still cool to talk about this.

My mother-in-law made stockings for Karli and me, and she plans to keep making them for Squatch and kids-yet-to-come. They’re all the same theme so they fit in together. Very cute. Very festive. Love them—sincerely, love them. But a part of me wishes that 1) I’d have thought of this 8 years ago when she was making them, and 2) Karli would go for this as a theme:

Click on the picture for the Etsy listing. She also makes some Star Wars ones if you’re into that, and someone else has Avengers (and Deadpool & Spiderman) stockings. I want a Nightcrawler one. Karli will take Mystique. If someone can come up with those, that’d be awesome.

This has nothing really to do with Squatch at all, other than maybe it’d be cool if the kid has superpowers. Can amniocentesis test for that?

& independent is a good word

For those people around me frequently, I make no secret of my disdain (and frankly, distrust) of Wal-Mart. Don’t like the place. In fact, before moving down to Wilburton, I went about a year-and-a-half without setting foot in a Wal-Mart. I just found better options. Since moving down to Oklahoma, however, Wal-Mart is pretty much the only option within an hour’s drive. I’m there like three goddamn times a week. (Target, if you’re listening, please build a store in McAlester, Oklahoma. I beg you.) A wide variety of choices is not a feature of rural boondock living.

It might just be big box stores or chains in general (though I don’t seem to mind Target—go figure) that I don’t like because the entire experience seems so monolithic and disingenuous and prefabricated and fluorescent. I don’t really like shopping or eating at a chain very much. Given the choice, I’d pick a locally owned, independent business almost every time. If this makes me a snob, well, then pass the Grey Poupon.

Really, this was inspired by one local business in particular. Today, our last day in Topeka visiting family over our Christmas break, we spent some time at The Toy Store, a simply named, locally owned, independent store in town. Okay, to be more specific, we spent a little time and a lot of money at The Toy Store today. It’s not super expansive with the widest selection of everything you could possibly imagine, but the stuff they do carry is quality. In fact, we decided we had to go before we ended up blowing our next couple months’ paychecks there. I know most people reading this aren’t likely to be anywhere near Topeka (or Lawrence, their other location), so take this as encouragement to find your own local toy store, then thank me later—preferably in large bills.

Anyway, Karli ended up buying Squatch the softest, floppiest damn stuffed rabbit you’ll ever find. It’s put away somewhere for the trip back to Okie-land, so I don’t have a picture of it. But trust me, if I had one, you’d be all, “D’awwwwww. Look at the bunny.” You totally would. Don’t even try to play it off. We also bought these little shoes, which you also find adorable:

Puppies + baby + itty-bitty feet = Cute Bomb. Next step: world domination.

Then we bought books. Karli got one that’s for pregnant ladies. It’s kinda funny and seems pretty comforting to her already in a “Holy shit, I’m not crazy for thinking this stuff” kinda way that other pregnant ladies might appreciate. Though I’m not a pregnant lady, so I might not even be close. Anyway, the book:

It has something for every day of pregnancy. I'm not a math guy, but if I understand pregnant math, that's about 487 days.

Then I got a book that seems right up my alley. I picked it up because the design and layout is pretty awesome; I bought it because it uses terms like “Understanding and Installing Diapers.”

Now when Squatch comes, all I need to do is figure out where my flash drive plugs in, and I'll be set.

So there’s the rundown of our shopping trip that you didn’t ask for. But I’d love to find out more about other independent toy stores in different places. That way I’ll have some backup plans when we eventually take the baby on vacation and Squatch gets kinda fussy (which will totally never happen, right parents?).

& i feel like the guy from doom

Like Duck Hunt, only without the laughing asshole dog. This picture is also stolen from the internet. That is not my carefully manicured hand.

The best part of the baby registry for the dad-to-be is the scanner gun. Shooting lasers at things we need in the store is my job. I’m pretty good at it. Karli doesn’t really give me too much of a say on what we’re registering for, but she points and I zap those mofos. We do baby registries in spurts when we get out of Wilburton and into civilization, which means we usually go to one store right after another and kill an afternoon. It’s kind of like a video game where you get actual prizes at the end of it instead of putting vaguely dirty initials into the top scorers screen. Currently, I’m working my way toward the high score at the Kansas City Babies R Us.

Baby stuff is expensive. You knew that already, but it’s different when you look at the prices there in the store while you’re zapping them with your Buy-Me-Shit gun. By the time we left the other day, Karli said, “I feel like we just spent thousands of dollars.” We didn’t buy a damn thing. But it sure felt like it.

Maybe I’ve got a rich relative I didn’t know about and suddenly comes into the picture. Or, even better, a new rich internet friend who thinks I’m witty and charming and desperately in need of some Squatch stuff.