2008 is Half Over

I wasn’t prepared for this year to speed by so quickly, and I failed to plan coherent thoughts to share just now, but found myself staring at an embarrassingly old last post. Let’s play catch up!

I have not broken our beautiful baby, Charlotte, though she keeps us busy and provides me plenty of opportunity.
I accepted a promotion to VP of Tech (2.0) as our previous leader relocated west.
Uhh… see above.
This site:
Pondering its fate, struggling with its lack of focus.

… seriously, what am I doing still awake?


US recent earthquakes 2008-04-18

A moderate earthquake near West Salem, IL, woke us up this morning at 4:30 CST. We might’ve slept through it had it not been for some glasses rattling and a delayed recognition of what we were experiencing. We live on the 3rd floor of a 7 story brick and steel building in downtown, St. Louis, about 127 miles away from the epicenter, and felt the vibration once we were awake. Charlotte remained asleep.

For validation, the Internet had instant response from friends via twitter and the USGS was quickly updated.

An hour later, we’re still awake, but since everything is fine, I think I’ll crawl back into bed.

Six Week Checkup

I’m just checking in, it’s been a little while since I’ve said “hi.”

Kelly’s been home with Charlotte since birth, I took off work that first week, and we’ve apparently been parents for about six months. Time has passed in a way that I can’t measurably define it – I’d believe you equally if you suggested we brought her home a week, or a year ago; it seems like she’s been part of our family for so long, but I still feel like I’m making it up as I go. I don’t think I’ve done anything to permanently screw her up, yet, though.

Charlotte is clearly recognizing and watching people and toys now, but only directly interacting with a little reaching and occasional cooing (or screaming). We’ve maybe seen a few smiles and face mimicry, which is really the most amazing thing right now to see the gears turning in her head. As for the screaming, she’s often fussy between feedings, and sleeping, and outings… but hopefully that’ll peak soon and she’ll calm a little as her body’s development catches up some. We’ve had some successes with each of the soothing approaches, but we’ve found it ends up about the 17th thing you try, regardless of order. Or just waiting until time passes until she’s tired of screaming because she’s exhausted, but doesn’t know how to sleep.

Kelly and I sleep mostly normal night hours, but of course have regular interruptions for feedings and soothing. I’m certainly getting less sleep, and with it goes alertness, dexterity, sanity… Fortunately everyone’s been very understanding. (e.g. I still have a job. And a family.) I don’t get to hang out with friends as often, so you all can appropriately pass judgement.

We’ve gone out fairly often past few weeks for errands and food as Charlotte is fortunately fairly tame in the carrier seat used for the car and stroller. Often at her worst I can rock or swing her to nearly put her to sleep, which has led to amusing sights such as Kelly pushing an empty stroller frame through the mall with me following and swinging Charlotte. Overall, she’s well behaved while in motion, so we’re usually found creaking floorboards at home, or we found another place where we can pace and escape cabin-fever.

Charlotte and Santa 2007Today, we visited the mall, and even did the Santa visit bit. Charlotte behaved well enough, but seemed extra uncomfortable upright in another’s arms as mom and dad ducked behind the camera’s shot. Still cute, though. This’ll be fun to bring out many years later.

As for the rest of the holiday, we’ll hit grandma’s on the 24th, and be home on the 25th with family in the early morning for a traditional strawberry waffle feast. Then the next weekend before the end of the year, we’re driving up to Chicago and maybe Madison to visit extended family, and we’ll experience a long car trip with Charlotte for the first time. Hopefully between family engagements we can do some overdue catchup with friends.

Update: I’m not sure when it started, but so many pronouns are now Charlotte-relative. I think the generation context change happened overnight sometime in the last few weeks.

Moved In!

Thanks to many friends’ assistance, Kelly and I are officially moved into our condo in the redeveloped Ely Walker building in Downtown, St. Louis. Many thanks to Sean, Jim, Steve, Amanda, Hans, Kurt, Amy, Henry, and Kelly (you’re probably the only people reading this anyway). I hope you’re not too sore, because you made the move go awfully quickly, and it is much appreciated! You’ve got dibs on the 2nd bedroom if you need a place to crash if you’re near.

We’re still looking at plenty of boxes to unpack and much stuff to sort and put away, but we were happy to sleep here for the first time Friday night. As for continuing to be in a multi-unit building (180ish in Ely I think), it’s generally much quieter than our past apartment at Terrace Lofts, so we had to run a fan for some white noise. I think we still woke several times as the AC kicked on since it’s a different sound. I’m so far pleased with the soundproofing, as neighbors provided no distraction last night, though the lobby offered a few audible creaks and conversations.

We’re going to have to clean our floors again. I already went through with the janitor’s mop, pushing dirt and dust off the floor, but I think we’ll have to do it again with a wetter mop to really pick up the tiny debris left from deliveries and moving. My socks still darken from these wooden floors. I’ll have to get the Roomba in here soon so it can make it’s daily rounds.

We’re currently mooching weak and inconsistent wireless Internet until the Telco and COVAD complete the circuitry for moving our Speakeasy DSL over, but I hope that comes quickly.

We’ve got our couch set up against the wall by the giant windows, which has my new favorite lounging place, but I’ve got to stand up to watch the people on the street. Street noise is also noticeably quieter, which is nice, though if someone’s decided they want to make noise outside, they’re typically heard. So it goes living on the trendy street.

Our next steps include finishing assembly of our bedroom furniture so we have places to put clothes and sleeping bodies; obtaining blinds for the Washington Avenue facing windows; organizing the remaining 12 kitchen boxes into fewer kitchen cabinets; wiring the TV for audio and video games, with cable/satellite to be decided soon; and again giving everything a cleaning once it’s where it’s supposed to be.

With so much to do, I don’t expect unpacking and re-settling to be a fast process.

New Home in Ely Walker

This morning Kelly and I closed on our loft condo in the redeveloped Ely Walker building in downtown St. Louis. We have a crew coming in to paint the place before we move in, and we’ll wait out the few last weeks of our apartment lease down the street. Moving should be pretty easy since we only have a few large items in the apartment now, and it should be straightforward moving a few loads of boxes 2 blocks away.

I’ll share some pictures soon; we hope to take a bunch of shots before and after painting while the place is empty, and get a few later in the year after we fill it with some new furniture. Once we get move in our couch, get some stools and chairs, and stock the fridge, we’ll have a gathering, so look for that hopefully soon.

Ely Walker Loft Walk-through

We had our walk-through today at Ely Walker, and the finishings look wonderful. We found some things to be touched up (paint, patching, and sanding), finished (missing two outlets), or fixed (hot water’s not yet running, and bathroom water isn’t all flowing), but nothing that makes me panic yet; they plan full completion prior to another walk-through we scheduled for a day before closing on June 7.

The rec room (hooray for the pool table I don’t have to buy), fitness room (to work off winter fat when not on the bike), and roof deck (excellent city views and some grills for…) all look great, and the basement is ginormous – every unit gets an already built storage locker, and while they don’t have the underground parking lines painted yet, it doesn’t look like it’ll involve dangerous navigation.

Of interesting note: English Living and the London Tea Room are anticipating a June 1 opening, a week before we close, and probably 3 before we move in (we’re trying to arrange painting prior to). We checked out their space and they’ve made quick progress. Nothing is currently committed to the east half of the retail space, but I’m excited that we’ll see the west retail space open and active prior to moving in.


I think we closed on our house tonight.

[update]closed as in sold, and not my problem anymore.[/update]

I’m skeptical because we seemed to get so close so many times, but something always interrupted the process. While we today signed the house away, received a check, and confirmation from the buyer of their transaction, I don’t feel done. I’m not excited like I expected. Hans suggested closure may better solidify when the previous mortgage company issues the “account closed” letter, but we’ll see.

I think I’m just experiencing a degree of relief that this process, which was long extended beyond reason, is finally over.

The Wild West

So, our homestead in one of the western counties is under contract to be sold, and since we’ve vacated the premises for less rugged pastures, we occasionally have to trek out to collect from the pony express. Recently, an ice storm responsible for bringing down trees and power lines for many residents thawed enough for us to brave the trail to check up on the property. We identified numerous damaged and uprooted trees; some neighbors still had freshly cut lumber out for collection, but we were fortunate as our own land was not adversely affected by the harsh winter.

It did appear that power was lost at one point, which puts the security system into “beeping” mode. Now, we never activated the service when we bought the house, so it no longer calls big brother when there’s an issue (don’t start getting ideas, we’ve got nosy neighbors watchin’), but it’s annoying, so I’ve learned to hit a button to switch it to the “not beeping” mode. However, this time, I noticed the word “chime” on the panel, and even though I kept hitting that button, it wasn’t going away, and every 15 seconds I’d hear another beep. So random button pressing ensued in attempt to discover the secret combination of the unknown security code + action sequence. I had not appeared successful to Kelly by the she found what I was up to, and pointed out that instead of the panel making noise, it was the smoke detector above me asking for a healthy replacement battery. After removing the inadequate 9-volt, I returned to my security panel … to discover I had succeeded in Arming (!) the alarm.

Knowing it would likely be worse if I pretended that wasn’t going to cause problems if we immediately left the house, I tried to replicate my random button mashing to disarm the alarm, but saw no change in display. So I opened the door to trip the alarm and force its hand. A few seconds later the panel and a second as-of-yet unidentified source began wailing so painfully I instinctively plugged my ears and tried to figure out how to stop the noise without removing my fingers. I sought out the louder second source first, as it was likely upsetting the previously mentioned neighbors, found the innocent looking box next to the house’s original door chime, popped open the housing and surgically separated tore the wires from that damned noisemaker. The security panel received a similar treatment (I’m sorry, house buyers).

As things have turned out, the buyers already switched utilities over to their name, and as soon as my ears stopped ringing enough to think straight, I tried to remember if they were activating the security service. So, I dialed them up hopefully before some service might, and fortunately found they did nothing of the sort, so the alarms would only have disturbed those within earshot.

But I was cautious leaving the house, keeping an eye open for any sharpshooters anyway.

I hear it’s going to storm again this Sunday.