Wednesday, February 26, 2003

SAMUEL OWEN SHAW Born 5:54PM, 9 lbs even, february 23rd, 2003



Hade a bit of a scare with this one. He was born with some respiratory distress. He is still in the NICU, although we expect him to leave soon. He had a pneumothorax, an air bubble in his lungs usually caused by aspirating fluid before being born. I held him for a while yesterday. He is no longer on the IV and is eating solid food. Thanks to evryone who has been of such great help during this time.

I'm at my limit here people. I need a to get a vasectomy!

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

TROUT FISHING CONTINUED

This past Sunday we got one of the top 5 snowstorms in recorded history for the DC metro area. But we're all snowed in, and I get a phone call. Its my brother Mike, calling from a shanty in the middle of Lake George.

Me: "Hey Mike, we are really getting some bad weather down here."

Mike: "Wow, I'm ice fishing today."

Me: "You're going ice fishing?"

Mike: "No, I'm out on Lake George right now about one mile south of Dollar Island. Aren't cell phones great?"

Me: "What, are you in you're shanty?"

Mike: "Yeah, I've got the heater cranked but its still pretty cold. The wind comes in through some of the tiny holes."

Me: "How cold is it outside?"

Mike: "Well, its about minus seventeen, but its supposed to warm up."

Pete: "Its minus seventeen, and you hiked a mile out onto a lake by yourself to go ice fishing?"

Mike: "Yeah! And I've been reading my ice fishing magazine."

Then a few hours later I get another phone call.

Me: "Hello?"

Mike: "Hey, I caught one!"

Friday, February 14, 2003

TROUT FISHING IN AMERICA
(IN THE WINTER, IN THE ADIRONDACKS)


Back in January we were visting my family up in Glens Falls. This is the kind of place you want to be in the case of any terrorist activities, not down here near DC. Out in the boonies. Foothills of the Adirondacks. Lots of mountains anbd trees. My mom, and my brother and his family still live up there, in the town where I grew up. So its nice to go and visit, to see the long cold winters that I remember so fondly. But its a jaded memory-- when I am up there I spend most of the time going "holy fricken shit its cold up here."

So anyway, my brother mike was bugging me go ice fishing. He used to ski all the time, but that ended up being too much work, now he jut sits on the ice and waits for fish to strike.

Its oddly entertaining. We went out on New Years day. Lake George wasn't frozen acrosss yet so wwe drove up to Schroon lake, parked at the access, and hauled out our gear out on the ice.

"Its a pretty nice day. I don't think we'll need the shanty" Mike said as I recall. Chris Thompson, an old freind of ours just started laughing. Meanwhile, my blood that has been thinnned from too many hot summers and old fashioned, was not ready for it.

We soldier out on the ice. Mike and Chris each drill there 5 hole sin the ice. Its kind of crowded, there are 5 or 6 other groups within eyesight. What you do is you make you're ice holes in a straight line, so you can always identify you're tip-ups. Tip-ups are the gizmos you use to fish; you attach the spring loaded flag to your fishing reel which sits on a cross made of wodden sticks. You place the contrapion across the hole in the ice, and when the flag pops up, Presto! Dinner.

So we wen tout and sat in lawn chairs in our heavy clothing for what seemedd like a while. It was cool. Chris brought some homemade smoked salmon that he made from salmon he caught on a recent trip to Alaska. And then we got a strike.

It was a 27 inch lake trough, literally the one that got away. It had a leader and fishing line trailing from his but, which we figure was from the last time someone tried to catch him. So we took some pictures with our first and only catch of the day, and eventually packed up and headed in. Some eight hours later my feet finally thawed out.

But I forgot to mention about the other fish, the one we caught but couldn't fit through the whole. I think it was some kind of mutant walleye. It had three eyes, and teeth that were so long you could use them sew with. I had tried to pull him out, but he sunk those teeth into my arm. Luckily it was so cold I couldn't bleed, so it didn't hurt none. I wanted to pull him off my arm, but Mike didn't want to risk loosing the fish. So he drove his car out on the ice and tied a rope around my chest, and started to drag me across the ice. Just then the car fell in the water, with Chris inside it. Of couse this was back when they made cars well, ya know so running a car underwater wasn't any big deal. But of course that is a whole nother story.

Friday, February 07, 2003

DOG REMAINS MAN'S BEST FRIEND

...despite my many failings as a dog owner. I know Patra has an easy life. We feed her twice a day, plus what the kids give her. She isn't left alone much. The kids are pretty gentle with her and so as dogs go she has a pretty good lie-about-the-house lot in life.

But she loves, she just loves to go for a ride in that car. She knows when we are packing for a trip. She'll sit next to the car and whimper, and if the door is open even the slightest bit she'll lunge into the car and curl into a little knot and refuse to vluntarily leave.

So when I go to the store or run some kind of errand I bring the dog with me. Patra just loves it. (allright! I'm in the car! We're going somehwere! I love being a dog!) Last night I made a brief run to the 7-11 around 9pm to get milk. It snowed last night. The next morning I go to warm the car up. My first thought. Man, this car smells like dog. Them, there is Patra in the back seat, wagging her tail. (You came back! I am so happy to see you! That was a long stop!)

Despite spendinng 12 hours in the car, the old pooch was none the worse fro wear, did not pee or chew or poop on anything. And she is still as willing and inistant on getting in the car as ever. I of course feel like a rat, a forgetful thoughtless rat. But at least someone loves me. (I do! I do! Can I have some dog food! Lets go in the car!)

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

FIXING THE TOILET SATURDAY NIGHT

My daughter has a nearly religeous belief that her dad can fix anything known to mankind using only my Nebo 13 in one screwdriver and a collection of different kinds of tape that I keep in a bin in the basement. "Daddy can fix it with tape" is what she'll say, and point at some shattered porcelain dish, or maybe a remote control that was left in the dog's water dish. It's touching, but also it can be an onerous burden, becomes sometimes I feel as though I must try and fix all these things with my trusty Nebo, and the rolls of clear and duct tape.

So on Saturday I need to fix the toilet. I used to hate having to do stuff like that, but now, in order for me to fix the toilet uyou see, I need to left alone and in peace and quiet. So I don't mind as much now that solitude and quiet have become hot commodities in our household of late.

The first crack. The toilet had been leaking. No problem, I said, we'll just go to the trusty walmart and pick up a replacement 'guts' part kit for the toilet. Only, the flush valve wasn't included. So I go back to the walmart, and this time I get a flush valve, and then go home.

Second crack. At this point I realize that I didn't have some thing called a 'spud wrench', which is needed to remove this thing called a flush valve. The valve extends through the bottom of the tank you see, and on the bottom the flush valve is secured by a nut about 5 inches across. You need a special wrench to remove it. No problem, I said, and just banged at it witha pair of channel locks for a about 20 minutes. I tried it to swear it open. Here's me, holding the toilet tank sideways in my lap, and reaching around the bottoe trying to get this damnable thing off. Bang! Fuck! Bang! Shit!

Kathleen yelled up the stairs "everything all right?"

I said "No problem honey. Everythings fine!" Bang! Shit! Bang! Fuck!

Finally, I get the flush valve off. The fix is no problem. I actually read the directions, clearly printed in 16 languages all on a piece of paper the size of a coke can. I put the tank back on. Success! I test the toilet, and it works. Yeah!

An hour later I notice the toilet tank is leaking. I start swearing at it again, with no effect. It is the water supply pipe, a small metal pipe that connects the water supply to the toilet. It must have gotten bent and now it is leaking. No problem, I'll just tighten up this little plastic nut with my trusty channel locks. CRACK! I split the plastic nut into two pieces, which fall on the floor. Water also starts to stream out onto the floor. Fuck! Bang! Shit! Bang! I bang on it with my channel lock plyers. Its not working. I turn off the water supply, and head out to Home Depot.

The third crack. You know, when I go into home depot I feel like I have been marked with some kind of ultraviolet paint which tells all the employees that I am a dumb ass. They can tell because they are all equipped with special glasses. That would explain why every time I ask an employee there I get the eyes rolling, and the heavy sigh, before any sort of verbal response.

Me: "Excuse me! I need that thingy that connects the toliet to the water supply? Do you know where I can find one?"

Guy: (Rolling his eyes) "You mean a water supply pipe?" (heavy sigh)

Me: "Yeah. Do you have them?"

Guy: "Sure, we have these flexible pipes, they are a universal fit and install in 2 minutes." Then he pauses, and for effect, rolls his eyes again. "If You don't care what it looks like."

Okay, now here I am and its 9:45 on a Saturday night by now and I just want to be able to fix this toilet before I go to sleep. I have not in my entire life looked behind a toilet nor do I anticipate doing this. But now, this guy is making me feel guilty about the shoddy look and feel of my freaking toilet. But I go on.

Me: "So what is the proper way?"

Guy: "Well, you can use a straight pipe and bend it to fit."

Me: "How do you get the proper length?"

Guy: "Well, you have to cut the pipe to fit. and then..."

Well, he lost me right there. All I could do was picture myself with a welding mask on in my bathroom, and large piles of parts, trying to assemble a a proper piece of straight metal pipe so that the backside of my toilet would look all stylish. I went home, and I fixed the toilet with that stupid piece of braided pipe, and it works fine and I am happy and it looks great if you think my toilet doesn't look okay well screw you, you can go take a shit at the exxon down the road. You take a left on Market street and its half a mile ahead on the left.