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March 02, 2004

True Love and Tivo

What do you get the pregnant wife that is having problems staying awake for her favorite television shows?


It's like a VCR but with a more intuitive interface and a hard drive instead of video tape. If you want to learn more check it out here.

The Racetrack neighbors bought one of these gizmos a little while ago and loved it. While they were talking about it Fabulous Babe kept getting more and more interested. By the time we were driving home she kept talking about it.

The irony of this is that I had tried to talk her into Tivo before Christmas with no luck. I guess it's the source of the idea. *chuckles*

When FB melted down Saturday night I headed out for a while. I ended up in Best Buy staring face to face with one of the 80 hour Tivo's. I had my cell so I gave the house a ring.

"You ok?"


"Would a Tivo make you feel better?"



And with that I bought a Tivo and headed home to try and bring some small comfort to the woman that I love in a thousand ways that I never knew existed.

Posted by Jim at 12:54 AM | Comments (0)

"It's alive! It's ALIVE!"

Not 20 minutes ago:

"Put your hand right here and you might feel the baby kick."

"Zip. Nothing."

"Just wait. Don't tickle me either."



That's it. The final proof. It isn't a trick. She really IS pregnant. I actually felt Junior kick.

Either that or it was gas.

Posted by Jim at 08:30 PM | Comments (0)

Cowboy or Ballerina?

To me it has never mattered what we wound up with.

Whenever I get asked that question I always think of a pair of pictures hanging in my Dad's home.

When he was a little boy my Dad had a cowboy outfit that he used to wear. Complete with hat and holsters he was the 6 shot sheriff of Johnson Ave.

I know to some of the politically correct the next part may seem barbaric so brace yourselves: He used to play cowboys and indians.

At some point my grandfather snapped a picture of my dad in full Cowboy attire drawing his pistol. My dad might be 4 or 5 in the picture and the smile on his face tells the whole story.

At some point after they were married my dad got in touch with my step-Mom's mom. Through some clever work he got a picture of her at a similar age in a full ballerina costume doing her best "on pointe" with arms overhead.

The two pictures sit side by side on a wall in their living room. For being taken hundreds of miles apart they look a matched set.

So when people ask that's what I think. It's one or the other.

Sixguns or slippers.

Posted by Jim at 09:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2004



I'll going to be 36 when Junior is born. What does that mean in the grand scheme of things?

When Junior is 6 I'll be 43.

At 50 I'll be dealing a 13 year old as we go to the 40th anniversary showing of Star Wars.

At 55 I'll we watching Junior graduate as a part of the class of (gulp) 2022.

Anything beyond that is beyond me. The fields available to Junior in college alone stagger the imagination.

Here's to the next 50 years.

Posted by Jim at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

Marching orders

I was pretty busy with work today. At one point I bumped into FB's Gym Partner.

"I saw Fabulous Babe today. She was really sick."

"Excuse me?"

"She was really pale. She looked like she didn't feel very well."

This as I was headed to a meeting I couldn't escape. Finally I got a chance to talk to FB. "Everythings fine. I feel better."

FB got her hair cut tonight after work. I beat her home by about a half an hour. When she came through the door her eyes were already having a hard time staying open.

After she ate she struggled to stay awake. Finally around 9:00 I laid out her marching orders:

"Go to bed. You're tired and you need your sleep. I'll be up in a bit."

"Ok. Can you bring me a glass of water?"


Posted by Jim at 09:47 PM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2004

"We haff ways of making you talk!"

Fabulous Babe gave the the third degree this morning about her Birthday surprise coming up in a week and a half. She asked a lot of questions and wasn't particularly pleased at my responses.

Despite the lights and the rubber hoses she still doesn't know all of the particulars.

Posted by Jim at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2004

"We're from the government. We're here to help."

I'm alive.

That may not seem like big news but after today those words actually mean a bit more.

This was going to be a typical Saturday for the two of us. Fabulous Babe went to the gym and I was going to run some errands. We would meet back up at the house and then go shopping for some warm weather clothes for FB for her surprise in a couple of weeks. One of the things that I had to do today was mail a package to an Ebay customer.

Our Post Office is pretty typical of small town America. It's an institution where the staff get to meet and interact with everyone that is a part of our community. One of the women that works there at the counter lives on my street. (She became a grandmother last month.) Another decided last summer that I looked like Barbie's now jilted boyfriend Ken and decided to always call me Ken from that moment on. (I now call her Barbie in turn.) A third helped me when I was sending school supplies to Iraqi schools a few months ago. They live in my town and I live in theirs. We're neighbors even though we may not live on each others streets.

I walked into our Post Office today and the usual Saturday line was 5 deep. Peeking through the glass I saw two of the regulars were manning the counter. It looked like things would move at the usual brisk pace so I walked into the doorway that leads to the counter area. (5 women were ahead of me.)

Right off the bat I noticed the women behind the counter were coughing and sneezing. Barbie was rubbing her eyes. A couple of other women in line were coughing as well. Thinking it was odd I said "You're all sick! I'm not sure I want to be in this line." I got a few chuckles and took my place in the que.

One of the women in line turned and said "It only started when I came in here." Another agreed and said her throat was burning. Another woman in line began coughing. The next person in line walked up to Barbie?s counter. I walked through the door and into line.

I remember thinking that I felt fine and that I was glad I wasn't sick. I also remember wondering what it was that had the other people coughing. Then I took a breath and instantly knew.

The best way I can describe it is like my throat and lungs were instantly irritated. It was like standing next to someone who wears too much perfume or that awful microwave popcorn butter effect that causes the air to burn when you breathe. I instantly ?tasted? a burning scent. My eyes started to water and my throat felt like it was raw and "on fire". Everyone in line was now coughing.

I looked straight at Barbie who was looking at me. I think I said something like "There's something in the air" but my expression must have been enough. She said "I'm calling _______ our supervisor. We're closing. Get everyone out" and dove for the phone.

I turned around and told the people behind me that they were closing the Post Office. I got a mix of questions but by that point the women in front of me were now running out as fast as they could. A young woman with a small child ran past me saying "Something is causing us to choke!" and that cleared the place instantly.

I stood in the doorway holding the door open for air while another woman from line was telling people the office was closed. Barbie and the other woman behind the counter were trying to secure everything while coughing. As they got out they ran to the door and we closed it behind us.

We stood outside the doors for a few minutes getting fresh air and turning people away. A few minutes later the first of our local police cruisers showed up and blocked off the entrance to parking lot. The police asked us to get in our separate vehicles and wait while they checked things out.

My first interview was with an officer of our local police department. We went through what happened. What I saw. Who I was and what I was doing there. He asked for my symptoms and wanted to know how I was feeling. (My throat and lungs were still burning.) After the questions he asked me to sit tight.

At this point I started making a few phone calls. FB?s parents were first up. I explained that I didn't know what had happened but that I would update them. My Dad, who served in the Army Medical Corps, was next on the list: "Dad. I hope you've had your first cup of coffee. I need you sharp."

I walked through what had happened. We both agreed if it was serious stuff the odds were I wouldn't have made it out. (Comforting isn't it?) Most of the deadly nerve agents like sarin or ricin are pretty effective if manufactured correctly. We were also of the same mind that sticking around was probably the best thing.

I sat in my car far for a while longer. Soon a Postal Inspector arrived and began asking some questions. A fire truck arrived with an ambulance in tow. I spoke to my friend the Astronomer and we made some nervous jokes. He asked if I was hearing circus calliope music yet and I said it was working up to that. The burning in my throat and lungs hadn't stopped but it wasn't getting worse. I remarked that if I was smart I would have left when everyone else did. (Everyone else from the lobby had driven off.) He reminded me that by sticking around they wouldn?t have to track me down. I finally got a hold of FB, explained the situation and told her not to worry. (Ha.)

The police officer who had interviewed me came over. He asked if I wanted to go to the hospital for my symptoms and I said that I didn?t think that was necessary. He then said I could go home and wait there, that they had been in the building and they didn?t think it was anything serious. Puzzled but relieved I started to drive home.

Sure enough I was almost home and my cell rang. The police officer asked me to turn around and NOT go home. "Don't come in direct contact with your wife. She's pregnant right?"

I turned around.

I got back and was asked to park and wait. About then is when the circus music started.

In the 5 minutes I had been gone hazard tape had gone up. The local Police Department was no longer in charge. New guys were on the scene wearing orange vests with "Incident Commander" and "Safety Officer" on them. More police had arrived and were blocking the street. More fire equipment as well. I sat and waited. A truck near me now had a whiteboard that detailed the raw numbers and names. It was unnerving to see my own name in red ink with my symptoms.

After waiting for another hour I had an interview with the postal inspector. It was mostly a rehash of what I had answered before. Our interview was cut short by the next batch of arrivals: The Minnesota National Guard response team had arrived.

There are a lot of accusations of pork spending with our Department of Homeland Defense. You read the stories in magazines and newspapers about small towns getting their more than fair share of funding and equipment. As a taxpayer I now had an unnerving view of my tax dollars at work. An appreciative view that didn't fault anything they spent. Quite the contrary. I now have a much greater appreciation for Tom Ridge, the work he's accomplished so far and the work ahead of him.

Three huge trucks pulling massive trailers pulled into the lot. The man in charge, still in the jeans he had been wearing on his day off, quickly called a huddle among the current "leaders" that were already there. As trailers opened and equipment cases began hitting the pavement I settled in for a longer wait. The local police were now being assisted by a lot of Guard in full uniform. It was an interesting mix of uniforms and civilian attire as the entry team began donning their Class A environment suits. (The airtight suits with their own oxygen supplies.) In a surreal fashion I watched them erect a decontamination shower that I prayed I wasn?t going to have an appointment with.

I had a couple of people compliment me on holding the door and waiting for the postal workers when everyone else ran. I know it?s a survival instinct but isn?t the whole thing supposed to be about our standing together?

The police had now tracked down all but one of the people who had been in the Post Office when things had hit the fan. All of our throats and lungs were getting better but one woman was sitting in an ambulance. The inspector came by to tell us that the team was going in soon and that the results wouldn?t take much time. He felt certain that we would be fine.

The Postal Employee Union Reps were standing with us and remarked that the last time a postal inspector said everything was ?ok? two people had died.

We saw two TV news cameras earlier shooting footage of the building. The local amateur hour cable access buffoon now arrived and began bumping cars with his tripod trying to find a good shot. At one point he focused on us as a group looking for a ?victim? shot. I turned around and gave him some demonstrative sign language that caused him to quickly focus his efforts somewhere else. The local police officer I had first talked to remarked that the buffoon WAS an idiot and applauded my effort. It was the first real laugh of the afternoon.

Fabulous Babe's friend, Mrs. Lost Control, had come over to sit with her while all of this was going on. Thank God for good friends.

The team went in and took the samples. It was another long 45 minutes before the results and finally they called us into a huddle to reveal the results. At this point the mayor, a delightful older woman, was walking around the lot hugging people.

The odds are it was CS gas of some kind. (Good call dad.) Pepper spray or Mace that had gone off accidentally. (No one called it in so they don't think it was malicious.) If it was in someone's purse and went off it would have released as a cloud and affected the group the way it did. We may never know what really happened. We were all just sort of got "lucky" if you want to call it that. Teenagers had pulled a similar stunt over the summer but had been kind enough to call to "take claim" of the event.

I'm leaving some stuff out that they asked us not to talk about and a few of the people who wanted to remain out of the "spotlight" due to what they do. (I do have a lot of interesting business cards now.) The last thing these people need is my making their life difficult.

I got home after almost 5 hours. I walked in and hugged my wife. I thanked her childhood friend and then tried to let all the tension melt away. I showered and kept trying to put those horrible ?what if?s? in the back of my mind.

FB is asleep now but I'm wide awake.

I don't think I'm going to sleep any time soon.

Posted by Jim at 12:13 AM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2004

Follow up...

Here's what our free, published once a week, local paper had to say about Saturday.

Click here.

As far as the quality of reporting goes I guess we get what we pay for.

Posted by Jim at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

Mail Call...

I get some interesting questions every once in a while. Time to share:

"Why do you call her Fabulous Babe?"
Um. Because she is one? I realize it sounds sexist but she's my wife and "Fabulous Babe" seems leagues of improvement over "The Old Ball and Chain".

"Where did you meet?"
The Fox & Fiddle in Mississauga, Ontario. As you walk in go all the way to the back and sit in the booth on the far right that is against the wall. If you want to complete the experience order a Strongbow, have a beautiful woman make fun of you all night.

"Do you have a song?"
Sort of. Bobcaygeon by the Tragically Hip was big when we met. It was on our wedding CD that we handed out as favors. (I'll post the list if you are interested.) That's as close as it gets.

"Are you/is she Canadian?"
No. We were Americans living and working in Canada when we met. We miss our Canadian friends, the Maple Leafs and Canadian beer very much. Roots too. (Not sure about Rabba though.) The Senators? Not at all.

"When is she due?"
Late June. The date is currently hovering around the 25th. FB is an overachiever however so who knows. She may just decide to evict Junior early.

"Do you have any names picked out?"
Only one that keeps coming up as a middle name. We'll have to see what the baby is first.

"Do you really know the sex of the baby?"
Yes. Within a 80% chance.

"What is it? I have to know!"
Forget it. Not a chance.

"Do you give husband lessons? Can you talk to my husband?"
Dangerous water and I'm not going in. I'm not sure any man is going to want to talk to me after the birthday surprise. It's going to be similar to the 3 dozen rose incident where all the men in FB's office tried to lynch me.

"Where do you get all of this stuff?"
I was frequently hit in the head with a Whammo Frisbee as a child when my grandfather tried to teach me to catch it with one hand. (Thanks Granddaddy.) Really I just always try to notice things. The end result is what you read here.

"Boxers or briefs?"
Pre-Special Project: Briefs.
Production phase: Boxers.
Since production was successful? Commando!

More later....

Posted by Jim at 10:51 PM | Comments (0)

Dreams Vol. 2

This time Junior was a boy and about 10 years old.

"What's this? "John Carter: Warlord of Mars" by Edgar Rice Burroughs?"

"I was your age when your grandfather bought me a copy of that book. I think you'll like it."


All I could think about was how vividly I remember the day my dad gave me that book. He bought it at the now defunct Book Rack in Ashland, KY and gave it to me when he, my stepmom and I were having lunch at the Long John Silvers. He told me all about the book while I was absorbing the cover artwork with it's image of a swooning princess in the arms of the hero and 8 foot tall green martians on the cover. (One of the first Michael Whalen covers I can remember seeing.)

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better my stepmother leaned over and whispered that there were 10 other books in the series.

I was on cloud nine.

Posted by Jim at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2004

Post Office Redux

Went back to the Post Office on Saturday morning.

Maid Marion, my postal worker neighbor, was working today. Back from her vacation. She had her luggage lost on the first day and returned on the last. When she got back she thought she had the story of all stories.


We traded notes on the whole thing. Turns out they did find Pepper Spray residue during the surface tests. That was all they could say. Officially they are under a gag order. The Man is putting them down.

I still hope it was an accident. I hate to think someone did this for cheap laughs out of boredom. Oh well.

Posted by Jim at 10:57 PM | Comments (0)


Our current guest quarters are Fabulous Babe's old bedroom furniture.

The bed is a full size and only sees occasional use from when family visits. Aida mostly uses it for clandestine naps on warm laundry waiting to be sorted and folded. Sunbeams make it a pretty sweet spot for Tosca as well.

The whole bedroom set is somewhere between 50-65 years old. It needs refinishing but neither of us have the time with Junior on the way. FB has said that we need to replace the whole shooting match by summer so odds are it will find its way to Goodwill sooner than later.

In anticipation of that I went and bought a new mattress and springs today. My mother in law will be glad to know I found what I thought was a reasonably comfortable mattress. I tried several out and it was the best of all worlds.

I also went hog wild and bought all the trimmings for the bed with no consultation from FB. (What was I thinking.) I bought the duvet, sheets, comforter, pillow cases, blanket, etc. in a glorious display of my fashion sense. I topped it off with 5 new pillows.

On the way home, moderately pleased with the results, I called to see how FB was feeling. (She's been cranky all day.)

'You bought what?"

When I got home I showed off the pillows first. When it got to the rest I slowly displayed my selection in the same order I had picked it. I demonstrated my contrasting colors, my ideas for how it would look and laid it all out bracing for the explosion.

Turns out she was pleasantly surprised. I hadn't screwed up as badly as she thought. *whew*

Posted by Jim at 11:11 PM | Comments (0)

Progress report

So far everything seems on track. We're 23-24 weeks along at this point and the little monster is kicking every once in a while. Mostly in the evenings.

Fabulous Babe gets pretty tired between work and Junior. Asking Mrs. Overachiever to take it easy would probably work better if I had one of those dart guns that will drop a full grown African Bull Elephant:

"Shouldn't you go to bed?"

"I'm not tired!"



She's also starting to show now which is causing a chuckle or two. Someone today just had to see which makes FB all oogy. The last thing ANYONE wants is to have you point at your stomach and demand to see it.

We're almost at 6 months now.

Posted by Jim at 11:27 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2004

"Only three more sleeps."

Fabulous Babe was talking in her sleep last night. For once it wasn't her usual talk of punching cattle. Instead I got this:

"Only three more sleeps until my surprise."

I laughed out loud when I heard her say that. (Which caused her to roll over and complain.) I wasn't sure which was sweeter: The fact that she's playing it cool when she's awake and counting it down on the sly or the fact that she refers to nights as "sleeps" in her dreams.

Fear not gentle reader. All will be revealed in time.


Posted by Jim at 11:52 PM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2004


Was at work yesterday from 6:20 in the morning to 7:00 at night. Ugh.

We both had a pretty long days yesterday. Fabulous Babe was as beat as I was. We sat in an exhausted stupor in front of the idiot box. FB needs a 12 step program for reality television. She ended up watching "America's Top Anorexic Stick Figure" and I was too tired to move away.

At one point FB had me place my hand on her stomach to feel Junior move. Everytime I did Junior would just stop moving. Eventually it just looked like some sort of silly game of Twister so I quit. I was so tired I didn't even think of trying to put my hands on some of the spots that I wasn't supposed to.

FB announced this morning that there are only two more days until her surprise.

Sure thing hon. :)

Posted by Jim at 07:07 AM | Comments (0)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today is the 5th anniversary of meeting my wife.

We met at my favorite pub in Mississauga, the Fox & Fiddle. I was out with some co-workers and she was with a group of girlfriends. Fabulous Babe and her posse weren't able to get into the ritzy Irish pub, Failte, because the line was too long so they came to the English pub that was just a couple of blocks away.

If 5 years ago you would have said that we would be married, expecting and living in Minnesota I would never have believed you. Fabulous Babe would have laughed out loud at the very idea. Life works in strange ways.

She made fun of me that night and we traded phone numbers before we all split up and made our separate journeys home. I remember getting home, looking at her card and thinking she was really cute. I also thought there might be some hope since for all the teasing she ended up giving me her work AND home phone numbers. As it was she was headed out of town for the weekend so it was a few days before we spoke again.

Here's to a Happy St. Patrick's Day for all of you everywhere. I hope that whatever your dreams are this day (and night) they come true beyond your wildest expectations. Maybe this sums it up better:

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.



P.S. If you're inclined, raise a Strongbow for us tonight while you are at it.

Posted by Jim at 07:26 AM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2004

"Surprise!" Part One.

What do you get for the stressed out, pregnant, overworked woman you love?

Easy. Import Canadians!

For months now I've been working with Fabulous Babe's friends in Toronto to come in for a visit so that she could have a stress free weekend with just the girls. To that end I conspired with my Canadian Sister and Mrs. Canadian Hotness to come for a surprise visit.

At the same time I've been dropping hints to FB that "travel" was involved with "our" weekend. I've let her believe that involved someplace "warm" and went so far as to take her shopping for shorts and sunglasses. She took the bait and I ended up running out of line she went so far with it.

Last wednesday I said "you once mentioned this to me" and that eventually brought out a guess of "Savannah?" which prompted me to put on the greatest piece of acting in my career as I choked on the glass of water I was drinking, shot water through my nose and pretended to be in a sour mood for two days. (She then gloated to all who would listen that she had figured it out.) All was falling into place.

Yesterday I finished cleaning the house and got the bedding changed for our spare bed. I also inflated our queen sized air mattress. Despite all of this FB was completely oblivious and left for work today convinced we were heading "Due South" as it were.

I picked up the ladies at the airport this afternoon and as it turned out barely beat FB home. (I was told they knew as much about Minnesota as most Americans know about Canada.) We had just enough time to drop coats and shoes and then the garage door started to go up. They hid, I got out the borrowed video camera.

FB walked into the kitchen and as she started to look at me the fearsome Canadian duo sat up and said "Surprise!" She shrieked and then stammered and began crying as she realized who was sitting in front of her. The look of happiness on her tear streaked face was worth every penny.

I've sold off some of my electric trains to pay for this weekend. Watching the tape tonight as my wife cried and hugged two of her most dearest friends in the world for the first time in two years I didn't miss those trains one bit.

This is the start of a weekend with a LOT of surprises.

Posted by Jim at 10:36 PM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2004

"Surprise!" Part Two.

Friday morning found me outnumbered 3 to 1. With those kinds of odds I fell back on the only solution possible: make breakfast.

Fabulous Babe was the last to tumble out of bed. By the time she wandered down my Canadian Sister and Mrs. Canadian Hotness had been munching on the blueberry muffins I made and were having their first cup of joe.

They had a pretty lazy morning while I ran around doing things that needed to be done. (I took the time to hang both the U.S. and Canadian flags out front since we had guests in residence.) While they sat around chatting I went hither and yon getting the last things I needed for the rest of the day.

By noon the ladies had decided to go shopping. A quick run to the local Target was just the precursor. They picked me back up and then we went to the Mall of America so our guests could shop the stores that they don't have in Canada.

For the next 4 hours we wandered the mall. I was a silent observer to one purchase after another from Bed, Bath & Beyond to Macy's to Victoria's Secret ("They have the BEST bras!") to all the rest. I offered to carry packages but was rebuffed with "Please. We're experienced shoppers." After an exhausting day we headed on to dinner.

I had put reservations in advance at the glorious La Grolla in St. Paul. (452 Selby Ave. 651-221-1061) The food was extraordinary and by the time dinner arrived we were ready to head home.

FB walked through the door first when we got home and got her second big surprise in as many days: a surprise party! (Again caught on video tape.) All the women in the neighborhood, her friends from work, etc. were lying in wait. (I had tipped them to the two minute warning with a discrete cell phone call.) As FB reeled from the shock the neighbors walked her through a forest of balloons, streamers, signs and food. (They spent 30 minutes looking for a crock-pot in our cabinets only to discover we are the only home in Minnesota without one.) FB was stunned.

I got to work as soon as I walked through the door. I handed out the gift bags I made the attendees. (Lots of trinkets, 2 CD's of music I had made for the occasion, chocolate and Magic 8 Balls.) Then I made sure that Wonder Woman's husband, hiding from the whole mess in our basement, had enough beer. I then had to run out to get more Light Beer for the womenfolk. By the time I got back FB was sitting on a chair opening gifts.

FB got a lot of girly items. (We're set for candles and bath oil for a while.) Roots apparel for FB and Junior, earrings, maternity tops, nifty lamps and other things that I can't remember.

At the end I gave her my present: a new Mini Ipod. It's pink and already loaded with some of her favorite music. I also had it inscribed: "Happy Birthday Fabulous Babe I love you!" (I had to tear into Apple on Monday. I ordered the darn thing almost 8 weeks ago. Shows what loyalty buying an II+ will get you.)

Then the cats gave her THEIR present.

It seems that Aida and Tosca decided to go hog wild this year. They got FB a bag with 4 shirts from "Life is Good" of a woman in a bubble bath with a smile on her face and a towell around her head. I then helped them announce that FB, my Canadian Sister, Mrs. Canadian Hotness and Mrs. Lost Control were going to be going to Spalon Montage Saturday for a full day at the spa. Cat's treat. (Again with help.)

By the reaction the cats did ok.

By parties end fun was had, some of my neighbors were suspiciously tipsy and Wonder Woman's husband had a case of beer and some souvenir glasses. (It was the least I could do.) FB and our guests headed to bed and I cleaned up a bit before hitting the sack.

Posted by Jim at 07:50 PM | Comments (0)

"Surprise!" Part Three.

Saturday saw me waking the ladies up early for the day at the spa. As the sandman's efforts were gradually rubbed away Fabulous Babe and her friends started moving around.

FB's life long friend Mrs. Lost Control arrived around 7:30 and we soon piled into the suv and were off to the races. When we arrived the women disappeared into the changing room and I left to run errands. Several hours later I returned to see what the spa had wrought.

FB used to go to St. Catherines the Aveda spa in Canada with her friends from time to time. (You can look at it here.) They would go and relax as the tension and stress of their careers was slowly stripped away like the layers of an onion. By the end of the trip all that was left was a feeling of being whole.

One of the first things I had thought of for this weekend was trying to recreate that experience for FB. She's had a rough 6 months with the pregnancy and having a day where she didn't have to do anything seemed right. It would give her a chance to feel human before entering the hardest months of the pregnancy.

It was also important to me to send her with friends to try and recreate that bond that comes from doing this sort of thing with other women. My experience has always been that women enjoy these things as a group even more than they do alone. It's a familial activity that I'm not certain most men understand. Surprising them with it was almost as much fun as surprising FB with it.

When I arrived they were finishing up their hair and topping off the day. When I settled up the bill with the staff and covered the tips I got to sit and enjoy bustle and activity while waiting. (I'm always amazed at the dichotomy of the staff and the patrons.) From my vantage point I was able to see the four being fussed over by a bevy of beauticians.

Eventually they trickled out of the double doors and into the area where I was waiting. Each had that expression that lies somewhere between bliss and disappointment as they roamed among the nail polish and skin care products with their $10 gift cards.

Finally we walked out of the spa and into the sunlight. A cold wind whipped through us as a harsh reminder that they were out of the spa. When we got into the car they were giggling and talking among themselves about things that had occurred to each of them. After a few miles they fell silent. I had the radio off and could hear them breathing. It was a stillness that was very soothing. Looking in the rear view mirror and glancing around I noticed all of them looking out the windows in deep thought. All of them had the same expression of noble serenity.

I?m pretty sure they had a good time?

Posted by Jim at 10:51 PM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2004

The REST of the weekend...

After the spa day Mrs. Lost Control headed home and Fabulous Babe and the ladies settled into a lazy Saturday afternoon and evening of movies, food and sofas.

They watched "Drop Dead Gorgeous" for its picture of rural Minnesota, "Pirates of the Caribbean" because my Canadian Sister hadn't seen it and finally "Mambo Italiano" which is set in Montreal.

At one point FB had them both holding their hands on her stomach to feel the baby kicking. Unfortunately I didn't have a camera available at the time.

It's safe to say that everyone slept like a rock.

Sunday saw that strange mix of "hating to leave but it won't be bad to get home" in play. We took our guests to the airport and saw them off. When we got back to the house I finally got a chance to catch up on some rest that I needed. FB settled into the March routine: NCAA Basketball.

Don't even talk to me about Kentucky. I'm now miserably camped out in the "Anyone but Duke" section of the bleachers.

When we went to bed last night one of the cats, who spent a great deal of time hiding under the bed Friday night, fell asleep next to my head snoring.

My sentiments exactly.

Posted by Jim at 09:24 PM | Comments (0)

Birthday CD Playlist...

Someone asked me what was on the CD's that I burned for the party favors. Here's the run down.

Fabulous Babe's Birthday Surprise 2004 Vol. 1 - Female Bonding Music
"Respect" Aretha Franklin
"Brown Eyed Girl" Van Morrison
"Ladies Night" Kool & The Gang
"Can't Get Enough Of Your Love" Barry White
"You Sexy Thing" Hot Chocolate
"Brick House" Commodores
"Lady (You Bring Me Up)" Commodores
"Stayin' Alive" Bee Gees
"I'm Coming Out" Diana Ross
"Y.M.C.A." Village People
"I Will Survive" Gloria Gaynor
"We Are Family" Sister Sledge
"Last Dance" Donna Summer
"The Grease Megamix" John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John
"Groove is in the Heart" DEELITE
"You Spin Me 'Round (Like a Record)" Dead or Alive
"Da Da Da" Trio
"Bizarre Love Triangle" New Order

Fabulous Babe's Birthday Surprise 2004 Vol. 2 - Dance! Dance! Dance!
"Hey Ya!" OutKast
"Start the Commotion" The Wiseguys
"Days Go By" Dirty Vegas
"Right Hear, Right Now" Fatboy Slim
"Who do you love now?" Riva Featuring Dani Minogue
"Red Alert" Basement Jaxx
"I See You Baby Shaking That Ass" Groove Armada
"Romeo" Basement Jaxx
"Love At First Sight" Kylie Minogue
"We Like The Party" Vengaboys
"Barbie Girl" Aqua
"Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom" Vengaboys
"Butterfly" Crazytown
"Starry Eyed Surprise" Paul Oakenfold
"Nobody's Supposed To Be Here" Deborah Cox
"Get Busy" Sean Paul
"In My Mind" Milky
"The Way You Move" OutKast & Sleepy Brown

I have a couple of extras so if anyone wants one drop me a line and I'll mail one off to you.

Posted by Jim at 09:37 PM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2004

Book Club

Fabulous Babe's book club was tonight. It was FB's turn to host which, with the house pretty straight from the cleaning last week, was not a problem.

When I got home tonight FB was in full party mode and the house was ready for all that womankind could throw at it. The wine was chilled, the grapes ready to eat and the crackers artfully laid out.

My role? Hide in the basement or office.

I staked my claim in the basement and rode out most of the evening fiddling with the train layout and clearing old shows off of the Tivo.

The only time I dared emerge from my Elba of choice I was greeted with a shocked, horrified and abrupt "There's a man here!" by one of the guests. I got my Coke and went back downstairs.

I'm still not sure what was the alarm at my presence. I know how these things work. Everyone tries to read the book but most don't get the time to finish it. There is usually a valiant attempt to discuss the book but that usually gives way to gossip and chatter. The wine dulls the edge of not actually completing the reading and everyone has a good time.

At heart I know that my wife is simply carrying on the same tradition that she learned from her mother: women must meet and talk about womanly things. (My father in law calls them coven meetings. A term I've grown to love dearly.) Whatever the name, home extension, book club, etc., doesn't matter. That women have a chance to get together and chat is the important part.

Fear not ladies. Men really don't have an interest in what you're talking about. We just want you to be happy because the odds are that if you aren't happy we aren't happy.

Posted by Jim at 10:06 PM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2004

Grand Ma Ma's 80th...

We went to IL this past weekend for Grand Ma Ma's 80th birthday. Like all of these sorts of trips it usually involves 2 days of driving that bracket a day of whatever the activity is.

The main event was on Saturday with a party for Grand Ma Ma. There was not shortage of family and friends and well over 100 people turned out for the event. It was really sweet seeing pictures of her in her teens and noting that she hasn't changed a bit.

Fabulous Babe really hit her stride a week or so ago and there is NO hiding her current condition. (The weekend marked the beginning of the third trimester.) Sure enough Saturday saw numerous people laying hands on my wife's stomach.

Sunday was the drive back. We detoured in Chicago to pick up the Miata and then we wagon trained our way back to MN. It was a long day for both of us and when we got home we were both bushed.

Posted by Jim at 11:15 PM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2004

*bonk bonk bonk*

Monday and Tuesday were both long days for the two of us. When we went to bed last night both of us were ready to get some serious rest.

FB woke up before me today and decided to go for a walk on the treadmill. I was peacefully snoozing with my head under a pillow until...

*bonk bonk bonk*

Tosca had crawled under the pillow to begin bashing her head against mine. I opened one eye to see her staring at me. Dutifully I began scratching her ears. Pretty soon she was laying next to me purring and yawning.

Must be nice to sleep all day.

Posted by Jim at 10:31 PM | Comments (0)

Victory in Overtime!

Too bad it's the first time all year AND the end of the season.

Mr. and Mrs. Minnesota let us buy their tickets to tonights Wild game and it was a doozy. Attendance was better than we expected and the Wild managed to pull off an overtime victory. (Something they haven't been able to do all year.) We beat Colorado which just gives me the warm fuzzies.

The entire game Junior was kicking and arm bashing causing FB to do a strange little jerking dance in her seat from time to time. It can only mean one thing: The kid is a pre-natal hockey fan.

Boy or Girl it's playing. (And taking lessons from Mrs. Canadian Hotness.)

Posted by Jim at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)