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the day my life changed and onwards - 235
today marks the end of the blog series about how my life changed and onwards. today my wonderful wife gives birth to our son, travis john carlin wirtz. below you can see how we got to the point where we are today:

it is still a possibility that the c-section that is scheduled for today at 2pm is cancelled in favor for a normal, vaginal birth. this will happen if travis has turned the right way, and yesterday evening he did shift a lot, causing denise quite a bit of pain. since our preference has been to have a normal birth it would be great if travis turned the right way. if not, no big deal, we'll just cut denise open and drag him out. either way, he's gonna have his first birthday real soon :-)
saturday, may 30, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 234 v3

the rest of the day was pretty relaxed. denise took a nap, pepper played outside, campion watched tv, the new neighbourette dropped in and we ate pizza. after dinner i took campion out for a drive in his car and this time he only almost crashed us once, but it was at very low speed. there is something else going on, though, something mecanical, which i think we should look into fairly soon. campion dropped himself off at the movies and when i got back home i helped pepper start a load of her wash and spent some time at the computer and basically getting all our electronics ready to go to the hospital tomorrow. since tomorrow, hopefully, denise is going to deliver travis to the world, i thought that i get one last profile shot in:

more news tomorrow, from the hospital :-)
friday, may 29, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 234 v2
the doctor called 30 minutes ago, as i was punching in the number to call him :P denise is scheduled for a c-section on saturday, may 30, at 2pm. she is not allowed to eat and drink after midnight tonight and at noon we have to be at labor & delivery intake at the hospital to go over the paperwork. then before performing the c-section they are going to do an ultrasound again. if it so happens that travis has turned the correct way, she will be moved to a normal l&d room where she will be induced for a vaginal birth. if travis is still in breech, the c-section will be performed and he should be out in about 30 minutes after that. more news at 11 …
friday, may 29, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 234 v1
we're waiting for the doctor to call to tell us if and when we are scheduled for a c-section. we did the non-stress test and there were no abnormalities, other than the second he could get away from the heart monitors, he did. travis does not like to be restricted, not by a seat belt, not by being strapped into a set of heart monitors. the doctor did an ultrasound again and confirmed that he is still in breech, and on top of that, he is facing outward from the belly. this means that doing a manual version is going to be complex, because he needs to flip completely. with the placenta being alterior, we think that doing this would not be the ideal choice. so that pretty much ruled out vaginal birth. the other risk, combined with the breech position, is that if denise's water breaks there is a possibility for his feet and/or the umbilical chord to slip out with all the risks of that. couple that with the possibility of a gbs infection, a quick birth would be beneficial, also since the baby is, supposedly, about 37 weeks now and measuring 38 weeks and 4 days. so yeah, the doctor is seeing about scheduling a c-section for saturday. more news later today :-)
friday, may 29, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 233

i managed to sleep in today, but denise was up at the asscrack of dawn, as per the norm lately. we didn't have anything planned, but since we have an important doctor's appointment on friday we decided to do grocery shopping today, as to not have to worry about that anymore. after putting away all the groceries denise laid down to take a nap and an hour later pepper called me from casey's house to ask if i could help them load some heavy items into the moving truck (tomorrow they're moving back to west virginia). it's been a while since i did some heavy phyiscal labor and boy, will i feel this tomorrow! we had dinner relatively late at 8pm and then i heard for the first time that campion cut himself on a piece of sheet metal.it was bandaged but he couldn't use his hand very much, so we decided to keep safety first and we all hopped in the car to go to the er. so we spent about an hour there, to have him get 5 stitches in his hand. the dork. came back home, i took a shower and started a load of wash (now waiting for the dryer to finish so i can fold it away) and watched the last half of the cavaliers-magic game (go cavs!). it's close to bedtime now and hopefully tomorrow we'll have a better idea where we stand with travis.
thursday, may 28, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 232

denise called the ob/gyn herself this morning to find out what the result was of his night of sleeping this over. and the result was a little shocking: denise has to come in on friday morning to do a non-stress test and then he wants to see her at the regular weekly appointment next tuesday …! yesterday there was a mild panic all around and today we're back to the waiting game. i'm sure he will have his reasons for this sudden change of heart, but not even time will make all risks go away. of course, denise has not been feeling comfortable at all, all day. some moments she was less uncomfortable, other moments she was in pain. travis is trying to turn, she thinks, but i think he can't make the turn to get his head down, so now he's pretty much laying sideways, kicking and punching frequently. and there's times that denise's belly is rock hard, and not because she is having a contraction, because she only had a few of those today. we're gonna see if we can get through the night as comfortable as we can and if she is still feeling as she does now, denise is gonna call the ob/gyn and see if we can check in to the hospital and then do the following: - if he's face down, induce and have a vaginal birth - if he's face up or sideways (not face down), schedule a c-section the ob/gyn wants to take this pregnancy into week 37, but i can feel travis pretty much occupies all of denise's abdomen, so there's no real need to wait till he's ready … he's ready. that is probably a reason he is making such a fuss in there, he wants out as well, poor kid. more news tomorrow, i guess …
wednesday, may 27, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 231 v2

in the end, the doctor never called today. i think he wants us to sleep on it for a night … we had dinner without campion, because he was picked up by his (soon-to-be) girlfriend to go the graduation spectacle of his highschool; he would eat somewhere prior to the party. pepper and i made dinner with verbal direction from denise and we did pretty good. after dinner, pepper cleaned the stove and the countertops, while i stocked the dishwasher for its nocturnal spin. all this time, we were (on & off) watching my name is earl. denise spent a lot of time researching the pros and cons of vaginal birth vs. caesarean birth. and there is lot of things that don't make us very happy when reading through it. all the more reason, i guess, to sleep on it. the one non-travis related thing that i did today was apply for my license plate. i decided a few months ago that if i would get my desired cx-9 i would get a vanity plate. no sooner said than done, i ordered me one, should be ready in about 3 months … oh yeah, everything here works lightning fast …
tuesday, may 26, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 231 v1
this morning we had an appointment with the ob/gyn. denise did the normal rigamarole of peeing in a cup, weighing and taking her blood pressure. after that the doctor took us to the ultrasound room where he did, yes really, an ultrasound. from this ultrasound the following became clear:

this leaves us with the following options:

the pros of c-section:

the cons of c-section:

the pros of vaginal birth:

the cons of vaginal birth:

a lot of things to think about. our doctor was going to call the hospital to see what his options would be and also to give us time to figure out our preferred approach. as we're waiting for the call, denise is on the couch resting, because she keeps getting more and more uncomfortable, which doesn't surprise me with that huge baby in the wrong side up in her belly. travis, if you hear this, turn over already, or you are grounded!
tuesday, may 26, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 230

after a relatively short night of sleeping in i got up to learn that denise had been up for hours already, again. she made us breakfast and after i got dressed i started on organizing the filing cabinet. during the whole time i was working on that (over 3 hours) denise was on the phone with her mother and by the time we were both done it was ready to get dinner going. it's funny how time flies … … speaking of which, this time it really has been a long time since I last wrote travis, so here goes:
"Dear Travis, I'm sorry it took me this long to tell you more about your mom and me, but like I said last time, life can sometimes take over and life can be quite hectic. I left you with the promise of telling you more about the whole visa and green card procedures I had to go (and still is going) through. The company I work for graciously offered to have me transfer from the Dutch payroll onto the US Payroll and they would get me in touch with an immigration lawyer they use frequently, but I had to pay for it all myself. This I could understand, since it was me requesting the transfer, not them. And I figured I could use the help for the work visa, since I had already been looking into it and the forms the United States government uses are not exactly easy to read. I filled out all the forms the lawyer told me to and after answering the few questions they had, they submitted the paperwork after which the first period of waiting started. The work visa application got approved, so the next step was to get the visa at the Consulate in Amsterdam and I could do that in combination with my last trip to Poland for one of my clients. Of course, when I went to the Consulate on one day, they actually confiscated my Dutch passport (which is illegal as hell, but I didn't mention anything, because I was afraid that they would then refuse me my visa) to put in the visa. And I had to wait a couple of business days for the passport to be mailed back. But, it all turned out fine, so one large step was taken and I was able to work and live in the USA until October 2010. Since it is my plan (and desire) to stay here we knew we also had to go through the Green Card application process. It took us a while to get to that point, but a few months ago we were able to fill out all the paperwork, or so we thought, and send it to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (although that is pretty much an oxymoron). It didn't take long for them to request a few additional forms, and have those returned to them within 87 days. I needed a medical exam, have some immunizations and send a birth certificate. Luckily I was able to get those things arranged in a little over 3 weeks, so now the ball is back in USCIS' court. When I was at my medical exam, the doctor said that once the medical exam was sent in I would have my green card in 90 days. Still, seeing is believing, because from what I gather it typically usually still takes anywhere between 1 and 2 years. Yes, Travis, red tape cogs here turn really really slow, nothing happens fast and you will see that for yourself when we apply for your Social Security Number. There is still one thing that I need to research and that is what your citizenship is going to be, Travis. By birth, you will be a US citizen, but because I am still, and probably always will stay, a Dutch citizen, you may get dual citizenship. Whenever I have a free moment I will see what I can find out on that count. What is more important now is that you will have a loving home with caring family members. Tomorrow your mother has an appointment again with the doctor who is going to deliver you into this world, and he is going to do an ultrasound to see how long you are measuring and how heavy you are weighing, in the hopes to better determine when you will be born. Since you have been ahead of the growth curve for the best 3 months now, we may decide to come and get you before the chosen date of inception (June 10/11) and well before the original due date (June 21), but I guess we will know more tomorrow, so until then stay tuned for more :-)
Always, your loving father."
… to be continued. after memorial day dinner, cheeseburgers and fries, we loitered around the internet for a bit, moreover because there wasn't really anything else pressing to do. all day long, denise had been having contractions, but just like before they are not consistent. after dinner, the contractions got worse and she also had some pain in her pubic bone and the inside of her thighs, since that is where all the pressure rests. while i took a shower, denise laid down on the couch and right now she is happily snoring away and happily igooring the contractions. i really hope that tomorrow the ob/gyn will see that travis is well past 36 weeks, so we can take appropriate measures. so, more on that in tomorrow's blog. good night y'all!
monday, may 25, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 229

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda (updated) …
last time i post this link, because it looks like i ain't going nowhere in the near future … :P sunday, lazy sunday … slept in, had brunch, did a couple of laundry cycles, twiddled on the computer, tried out video calling with my sister, but the connection broke before we could actually talk, talked to my mom on the phone, had dinner, re-made our bed, had dessert and watched a movie, the curious case of benjamin button. tomorrow is memorial day, a holiday, so another sunday, lazy sunday …
sunday, may 24, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 228
first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda (updated) …
didn't do much exciting today. got up, drove the pt cruiser to walmart to get it inspected by the manager, who then told me to get an estimate on the oil pan and the gasket from the chrysler dealer, so i got that and after i got back i moved the car seat (for travis) from the pt to the mazda. it took me a minute to figure out the LATCH system, but once i did it was a piece of cake. denise tried to take a nap, because she woke up too early, routinely, but she could also not find the peace at that time, because campion was frustrating her. so instead, she decided to go for a wax and a mani-pedi and she took pepper with her. campion and me went for a drive in his car, so he could deliver the job applications he collected, while doing some driving in busy stop and go traffic. all in all that went pretty well, didn't almost kill me once this time … when we got back, campion did his chores and i post-processed about a 150 pictures i hadn't done yet, half of them from the graduation yesterday. as promised, here's a few shots.
this is pepper entering the cafetaria/auditorium:

this is her teacher looking straight into my lens:

pepper on stage with the principal, and you can tell she is about to cry, that's how nervous she was:

but luckily her nerves subsided fast, so in this shot you can almost see a genuine smile:

and right afterwards she was goofing off, showing her medal to us:

when the ceremony was over, pepper agreed to pose, but i told her that she didn't have to smile (because if she poses she breaks out the "retard look") and this is the wonderful result:

as part of their legacy all 5th graders made an artwork that was done in a glazed tile, which will be forever part of the walls of the elementary school; this is pepper's self-portrait:

and last but not least, this is pepper checking out her chik-fil-a lunch bag:

like i said yesterday, i thought the whole thing was pointless, but she did have a good day and denise and i were glad to be there for her. when denise and pepper got back from their "spa" afternoon, we had dinner and not long after dinner campion went to the movies again and this time he drove himself. and this time around, he managed to almost wreck the car twice before even leaving the sub-division. but he got his act together and got us to the theater in one piece. i drove back home and watched some tv, while denise was writing thank you cards and doing her homework, and pepper was on the computer. and this was pretty much my day … denise is getting more and more uncomfortable by the day, since travis has got less and less room to maneuver. but like i said yesterday also, we are ready for him …
saturday, may 23, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 227

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda (updated) …
as i am typing this i am tired as hell and i didn't even do much today. i got up too early (meaning i could have slept longer), but we had to go to pepper's elementary school, because there was a graduating ceremony at 9am, and the parking lot being a zoo it meant getting there in time. we got there, signed in and then received preferential treatment of account of denise being out-to-there pregnant, so we chose seats that were closest to the podium, right behing the seats of all the graduating 5th graders. and we chose good, because pepper's class was sitting pretty much right in front of us. of course the ceremony itself was too pompous and to self-important, but the two speeches by middle schoolers were cute. and the medal ceremony was cute too, all 5th graders were called up the principal, by class, and they got a nice medal and a photo op with the principal. naturally i took a few pictures as well and tomorrow i will post a few in this here blog, because honestly, today i couldn't be bothered post-processing them. after the procession, the graduates sang a song and denise recognized the song from pepper practicing it in the bathroom for the past few weeks. then we had to wait for a little while because we would also be having lunch, catered by chick-fil-a. of course that turned into a logistic nightmare, because the weather wasn't cooperating. but the food got there and we made our way to the playground and ate our lunch together with pepper, who proudly wore here medal of graduation: a set of books with a genie lamp on top. when we were done eating, we sent pepper off to play in the aircastle and we went grocery shopping. after coming back home, we put all the groceries away and then while denise was going to take a nap, i had to go back to the mazda dealership to sign some more warranty papers. by that time it started to rain and traffic was bad as it is (memorial weekend and summer vacation traffic), so it took me over an hour and a half to get back again. and when i came back denise was on the couch happily snoring away. campion was in his room with two of his (girl)friends and pepper was in her room playing with casey. so i let them be for a while, giving me time to get caught up on stuff: work email, finances, private email, internet social sites and so on. campion went to the movies, supposedly, at 6pm and we had pizza for dinner after which both me and denise pretty much crashed. denise took a warm bath and i slouched on the couch after setting up pepper on gmail, "so she can stay in touch with her friends over the summer" … and now i'm gonna type a period.
friday, may 22, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 226

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda (updated) …
today was supposed to be an interesting day at the client, office political speaking, but the expected and much anticipated fall-out did not happen. much to the frustration of our project coordinator. me? i didn't mind. whether they face the storm now or a couple of weeks down the road, it is not my problem and they are going to get wet and we will just soldier on in the project to bring it to a successful end. my meeting lasted only an hour and a half while it should have lasted two and a half hours, or more. after that i actually felt kinda deflated and i also didn't feel much like working anymore, but i still did a few things before my colleague drove me to the airport for the trip home. the flights were pretty uneventful and i was glad to arrive at atlanta airport before scheduled arrival time, even though it meant that denise had to scramble to come pick me up. but at least now she has a car she can safely do that in *grin* i drove us home, where i unpacked and then unpacked a couple of gifts we received from friends. since it was almost two weeks since the last progression shot i took a new one of denise's belly:

apparently, she gained a few pounds in the last week, but it's really hard to tell. all of the pregnancy weight is around her hips and forward in her belly. but still, ever so beautiful :-)
thursday, may 21, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 225

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda (updated) …
today was an interesting day at the client. finally the time has come around for office politics to creep to the surface. i am not bothered by the politics in and of itself, but i am a little worried how this is going to affect our project. that there may be people that are going to lose their job is not of my concern and while i don't feel there is a need to let go of people, they can always be re-assigned, but in the minds of the people affected that is the only forward and that kind of thinking is destructive by itself. tomorrow i have to present a pilot plan and as part of that i will have to talk about how they are going to deal with accounts payable. now, they have had a consulting firm in for about 4 months, mapping all their processes, doing change management and paving the way for us, but the only thing they could not do was the accounts payable process. so now it is up to me to open that can of worms and my stance is very simple: either you do all of it in our software or you don't do anything in our software. i will not allow half-baked solution that require exports to another system and re-import the same files into ours, because that will cost development time for the interface and they leave themselves open for error. but, the "my way or the highway" approach may cause a small tsunami of concern for the people involved in that process. and they will have to suck it up, or else the entire project may fail or get held up, so we are not able to meet our january 1, 2010 go live date. and the funniest part is that from the start this project was miscategorized and wrongly scoped and after today's pilot plan discussion on another part of the project we came to realize that this part, the original scope, may become redundant. we, as a company, have been asking the right questions from the beginning, but apparently we have not been given the correct answers to some of those questions. again, not really our problem, because we have done nothing wrong, so more billable hours for us, but this makes me feel so happy that i don't have to deal with office politics on a day-to-day basis *grin*
also today i got a question from the person that deals with the client satisfaction surveys about one client that was raving positive about me, but kinda sorta extremely negative on another part of their implementation. so, i just finished compiling a 35 page word document highlighting the most important emails, going back to february 2008, when they were the first client that was assigned to me after my official move from european operations to the us operations. yeah, all sorts of fun on the work front. almost makes me forget that i have a hopelessly pregnant wife at home. but she is doing alright, trying to take her rest whenever she can, because she has now gone into feeding schedule prepation mode, which means that sleeping through the night is not gonna happen anymore. all i hope is that travis is ready to come out so we finally know what we're up against, schedule-wise and also for relieving denise, because these last few weeks have been pretty hard on her; between her studies, the baby shower, the purchasing cars for campion and "me", some issues with her mother and normal day-to-day stuff, she's had a lot to deal with. especially, since most of those times i wasn't around to help her. tomorrow evening, late, i will be back in atlanta and so far i have managed to not schedule anything, so maybe on monday my "vacation" starts, right when denise goes into final stage labor … one can always hope …
wednesday, may 20, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 224

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda (updated) …
after almost 8 hours of sleep i woke up with a skull splitting headache, probably because i slept too deep. and i slept on my hand/fist as well, because one eye is slightly (luckily invisibly) bruised. got dressed and drove to the client's offices only to find that their summer schedule had started, so the parking spaces i had been claiming near the entrance were all gone. first order of business was to get myself some caffeine to stave off the headache and after two quick cups that worked. right after that i had a meeting, but it only lasted for 20 minutes and the rest of the day i was left alone, so i could actually do some work. around 5pm the office was pretty much empty so i left as well and back at the hotel i called denise for about an hour. she was tired, so i ragged on her and ragged on her and ragged on her some more to go to bed early and i think she actually listened … for once :-) this morning she had her weekly ob/gyn appointment and again nothing really changed; the doctor still thinks she is not at 36 weeks yet, but next week he's gonna do an ultrasound and from those measurements i'm sure we'll find out more. i went out to dinner at chili's, right next door to the marriott and after dinner i drove to the client's offices again to take pictures of the campus in the setting sun. after that i made my way to the airport, for i was going to pick up my colleague, who flew in from san diego. it was at the airport i took the picture that proudly heads this blog entry … we drove back to the hotel and instead of heading to the bar for a beer, i decided to go back to my room to do my evening routine and to go to bed early … it's 10.21pm now, so in bed by 10.30pm :-)
tuesday, may 19, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 223

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda (updated) …
once more i am typing this from a hotel room, as you can also see from the above picture. so yeah, today was another travel day. it started out nice & easy, though. i slept in till a little after 8, but denise got up way too early again, because she was battling with bouts of heartburn. campion had to get up early to finish a paper that was due today, but pepper got to sleep in because she had another orthodontist appointment this morning. and lucky her, she got to have rubber bands on her braces today, something she doesn't really like and will fight every second of every day. we must make sure she keeps the rubber bands in, otherwise it will only prolong her having braces. i hope her dad will watch for that, too, when she goes on vegetation in a couple of weeks. after denise got back from dropping pepper off at school and picking up a few items at the grocery store i took the car and went to the mazda dealership. drew, our sales guy, wanted to have the car detailed and the floor mats put in properly, so i knocked that out. when i came back, i took a couple of shots of my ride.
side view:

rear view:

taillight to mirror:

past mirror:

not too bad, if i say so myself :-) denise took a nap (too short) before the kids came home. since this is the last week of school they don't have homework anymore, so there is nothing they can do other than play outside (if it isn't raining or if it's not scalding hot) or watch tv … when campion came home, i got ready to leave. i probably must have acted aloof in denise's eyes, because i really didn't want to leave her. i hope that travis will not announce himself this week, but that he waits till this weekend, at least. maybe after tomorrow we'll know more, because in the morning denise has an ob/gyn appointment again. fingers crossed. the trip to cedar rapids was pretty uneventful and i got to my hotel just fine. upon getting in my room i immediately called room service, because i hadn't had a chance to eat yet. after dinner i took a shower, since i needed to shave and while my hair is air drying i am typing this blog up before retiring to bed.
monday, may 18, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 222
yesterday was quite hectic and full … today was quite relaxed …
sunday, may 17, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 221

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda (updated) …
today was the day of the (virtual) baby shower. after going to bed late last night (or, i should say early this morning), denise got up too early again, knowing that she probably would not have a chance to take a nap. but, she also didn't start cleaning the house, which is a good thing. pepper and campion were up early as well, so as i woke up and came downstairs, everyone was given tasks and we got at it. all the kids' stuff that was stacked on the table and on the floor around the dining table chairs needed to go in their rooms. campion cleaned the bathrooms, while pepper dusted. the kitchen floor was swept by denise and then mopped by campion. pepper cleaned the stove top and the kitchen counters. i vacuumed the downstairs, the staircase and the upstairs. right after i got up i also made our bed. a little after 11am we were done, so i took a shower, because i sweated, and because i needed to anyway and after i was done denise took her shower as well. our good friend sterling was gonna come over around noon, which is also the time that denise could pick up the cake from orna, so she took our new mazda cx-9 out, by herself. she liked it :-) sterling arrived at 12.30, late due to traffic congestion. so we talked, and even pepper engaged in our conversation. when denise was back with the gorgeous cake, we showed sterling the nursery (baby room) and also the kids' rooms, because he hasn't seen them since the last time we toured the house. when it got closer to 3pm, the start of travis' baby shower, sterling left for the long drive home and our only live guest arrived, carolyn, the mom of casey, the boy pepper babysits every day after school. a little before 3pm i opened up the broadcast and saw the people slowly log on to the stream and onto the chatroom. before that i had actually shot a few photographs of the scene prior to the shower, so below is a picture of the decorated table and the "it's a boy" banner:

lily resting in front of the enormous stack of baby shower gifts that had already arrived:

and a close-up of the table with the cake:

denise and i welcomed everyone to the virtual baby shower and after a short introduction, i took the camera and laptop and gave a short demonstration of the house on the outside, with the new ride in the driveway next to campion's vehicle. after that i showed the living room and kitchen, so donna got her props for the drawing she did of denise and me at our wedding. ele also got a mention for her rendition of the rocky year 2007. i showed the decorated table and the diaper cake. after that i followed denise upstairs where we showed the nursery: the dresser, the makeover walmart lamp, the sock monkey and the bracelet pepper made for travis. his bed and the stuffed animals in it and his changing table. then i showed the "spuuglelijke" recliner chair and the basinette next to our bed. from the bed i showed the room divider and i showed the imprinted leaves on the room divider. we went downstairs again and after putting the camera and laptop back onto the dresser in the living room it was time to open the presents. and as you can see above, there were a lot of presents to open. (we're lucky to have a nice circle of family and friends, that's for sure!) denise opened the presents and told the audience what it was and who it was from.
below a picture of denise unearthing a big teddy bear from carolyn's huge present bag:

once all present had been presented it was time to play the two games denise had come up with, two games that are customary for any baby shower, and right after she explained what the good folks on the other side of the internet would need to have handy, my laptop decided to crash. i didn't think it was possible, but vista showed me the Blue Screen Of Death. luckily denise was still logged in to the stream, so she could inform everyone that we were experiencing technical difficulties. the really good thing was, that even though my entire system crashed, the entire broadcast up until then had been saved on ustream.tv, which is pretty effing awesome. it didn't take long to get everything back up again, the only thing was that the camera didn't do video and audio anymore after starting the broadcast. but unplugging the camera's usb and replugging it fixed that problem,, so up and away we went. i started the broadcast and denise fired up the games. the first game was to guess the circumFErence of denise's belly. shauna won this game with guessing it correctly: 50 inches, or 127 centimeter, and her prize was chocolate! the next game was a memory game. denise had collected 11 items that are baby-related and everyone was given a 10 second viewing. of course, the camera couldn't handle the glare from the aluminum plate she put the items on, so i showed the internet visitors the items again, while those who played right here (carolyn, casey, campion and pepper) were not allowed to look. i think sean should have won, because his answers were too random to be dismissed, but in the end it was carolyn who guessed most of the items correct: 8 out of 11, while (chris)tina guessed 7 items correcly. the prize for carolyn was a bank shaped like a big baby bottle filled with mints and chocolates and other assorted stuff. after this, it was already 15 minutes after 5, so we ran over the projected time, so we said our goodbyes and our thank yous before closing the stream and the chat room.
below is what the living room looked like right after:

here, we moved to the kitchen table and cut the cake:

the cake tasted as good as it looked. we talked some more and when carolyn and casey left we took to cleaning again. we throw out all the packaging and distributed the gifts to where they would be used. i swept the kitchen floor and vacuumed the downstairs again. denise (re)viewed the two saved broadcasts and pepper and i drove campion to a bar/restaurant where he would hang out with friends for a couple of hours. when we came back, and i also officially have pepper's seal of approval on the new car, denise had dinner ready and we ate. after that nothing much happened anymore. we were all quite tired. i made sure that the pictures that i took were uploaded to my computer and postprocessed and all, so that i could include some of them in today's blog entry. a little before 11pm i left again to pick up campion and a friend, who we dropped off at his house and then came home. by now, i am really quite tired, so as soon as i'm done typing this and publishing it, we are off to bed. hopefully denise will have a really good night this night, because she didn't take a nap and all in all the entire day was pretty hard on all of us. but we're glad we did it and we're happy that so many people watched the broadcast and had so much fun in the chat room. and once more, thank you everyone for attending and thank you everyone for the generous gifts. travis is already a spoiled little boy ;-)
saturday, may 16, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 220

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda (updated)> …
today was electric (pun intended …). denise got up at 6am to get the kids off to school and i got up around 8am. before i even had breakfast (i had a mug o'coffee) we went to walmart* for our weekly grocery shopping and to drop off our car at their service station for an oil change. we had to wait a while till we got checked in, but after that we started our trek to the store. before we even got a quarter done we were called back to the reception. apparently they missed something during the last oil change and there was a slight issue with the oil pan; they could try to fix it (cheap part), but it may be stripped completely in which case the car wouldn't work at all anymore. they could claim it to their insurance, since they were the last to do the oil check and they should have caught the problem then. after that, slightly unsettling news (because we need a running car, for obvious reasons!), we continued our shopping spree. we needed to get our normal groceries but on top of that also some other, irregular items. so shopping took a little longer than normal. and after walmart* we went to check our mailbox (nothing), party city (for baby shower tomorrow), petsmart (for a carbon filter for the litterbox) and home depot (for lightbulbs); all in all it took us about 3 hours to and from. i logged into work, did some admin things while denise took a nice, 2.5 hour long nap, because even though she says she is not invalid, she was tired after shopping. after pepper and casey came home, denise took them out to plant new flowers/plants outside the front door. when she back in, she said she wanted to look at a car for me. so i told her which one i wanted and she called the dealer. and as it so happened he had 2 in stock: one brand new, one certified pre-owned. denise also called our bank to see if we would qualify for a loan, but they still denied us on account of insufficient credit (which is a load of fucking bullshit if you ask me, but whatever), but if we could get someone to co-apply it would not be a problem at all. i think they are also balking at my alien status, maybe even more so than the lack of credit history. but, the dealer already mentioned that it should not be much of a problem to have me approved through their lender, so would we mind coming over to talk things through. this was not long before dinner time and we planned dinner at 6pm, at which time campion should have been dropped off by a friend, but of course he called in a little before 6 asking me to come pick him up. so while the pizza was cooking in the oven i drove over to the avenue to pry him away from one of his many many girlfriends (*rolls eyes*). back at home, we quickly ate a few slices of pizza and then got into the car to drive to the dealership. the man we'd been talking to, drew, was an elderly gentleman, originally from 'bama, and he showed us the new car and then introduced us to the numbers man, who took all our info into his office to run the numbers. but, the numbers didn't add up and also here i think they stumbled over my alien status. however, there was also good news, he could get us approved for the certified pre-owned car, which is basically the same car, but with smaller rims (18 inch instead of 20), with black leather interior instead of sand, without silver trimming and without moonroof and bose stereo system. but the pre-owned didn't have a roof rack, which i didn't want/need, and it didn't have striping. we took this car for a short test drive during which time denise and drew struck up a conversation about chrysler and the current state of the auto industry, while i navigated the car around a few blocks. the car ran fine and we could tell that the previous owner had not been a private person, but rather this was a dealer car. so at least it had been in maintenance and it had been regularly cleaned. after coming back to the dealership, the numbers guy showed us the numbers and gave us the option to either purchase the car now without moonroof and we could install it at any given time at a later date (drew gave us a fixed price he'd hook us up with) or we could purchase the car as is or we could purchase the car and pay for the moonroof and stereo. we opted for the second. we figure, that in a year from now, we can either install the moonroof/stereo or trade the car up against a bigger and newer model. at that time, having done monthly payments on the car, my credit should be pretty good (if not pretty perfect), so we can then also refinance the car through our bank, because in a year from now i also hope to have my green card, so nothing stands in the way anymore. we filled out all the paperwork, i must have signed about a dozen forms, but about an hour and a half after we arrived i was handed the keys to my stormy blue mica mazda cx-9 touring awd with black leather interior and only 12,923 miles on the clock. i drove the new car and denise followed me home. a couple of times i was able to test the pick-up and i must say: impressive. when we arrived home denise opened the garage door and i tried to get in. the garage is wide enough (only barely, though), but there's still too much junk in there so the back was hanging out a little bit, so i had to back out and let denise park the pt in the garage while i parked it outside. campion came outside to check it out and all he could say was that he had to admit it is a nice car. and that it makes his car look like a piece of shit. i let him sit in the passenger's seat as well with the engine turned on and really all you can hear is the hiss of the air conditioning, which, by the way, is a dual system. this impressed campion too. we went inside, i made sure i scanned and emailed my latest pay stub to the numbers guy at the dealership after which i updated our budget with the new monthly payments. and still, financially we are not looking all that bad. (still wouldn't mind collecting the money denise's ex owes us for the kids' health care costs)(but i guess we'll deal with that later, amongst other things …) anyhoo, rene is kinda tired now, it's been a long day, and quite electric … and tomorrow is the baby shower, so another busy day … but it's all good … and travis, we are really ready for you now …
friday, may 15, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 219

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda (updated) …
denise had another pretty decent night's sleep before she got up to get the kids off to school. i woke up a little after 8am and dragged my ass downstairs. after eating my breakfast i took a shower, got dressed and went to the office. i mailed my expense reports and talked to my manager about the project in cedar rapids and about my time off prior/during/after travis' birth. around 2pm i drove back home and when i was home i made the envelope to uscis ready for denise to bring to the post office to send it with return signature required. she also picked up a few items for the baby shower, both presents and food items. i worked some more and attended a gotomeeting about our new internal functionality to log our time. since there were hardly any leftovers we decided to go out to pacific spice for dinner. denise and pepper rode in one car, campion drove me in his car to the restaurant. denise had crab rangoon for starters and glazed walnut mango prawn for an entree, campion and pepper shared an edamame starter and a full peking duck for entree and i had 2 curry rolls for a starter and as entree i had the fabulous land of tuna, consisting of 3x sashimi, 3xnigiri, 6 salmon & 8teriyaki rolls. yes, dinner was good. came home and i tried hooking up my logitech quickcam orbit/sphere to live streaming on ustream.tv. i needed to do this, because ustream.tv is where the virtual baby shower will be hosted and, after a lot of cursing and updating adobe flash player and opening 2 specific ports for I/O acces, i got it to work. both video and audio. as denise logged on to my stream we noticed that there is a delay of about 3-5 seconds, but the video and audio quality seemed very good. at 10pm i turned the tv to hbo and we watched another rerun of one of george carlin's shows, so i finally chilled down and joined denise in laughter …

thursday, may 14, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 218

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda (updated) …
i slept like the dead last night and for once, denise did too … even though she got up at 6 to get the kids off to school. i got up a little before 9 and had breakfast while working. at 11am i went to the doctor to get my paperwork in order to file with uscis. again, i was the only one in there. they checked the spot where they injected me for the tb test. i signed the first page of the form, they included the doctor's notes and the proof of immunization, put it all in an envelope that got sealed and stamped and i was out the door. when i got back we went out again, because we had promised to have lunch with pepper at her school. we picked up lunch at burger king and were a few minutes late, but pepper was waiting for us and probably never minded the time, because she was fawning over a couple of bunnies. we took the lunch to the cafeteria and made our way to one of the tables on the podium (yes, if we bring in lunch, we are supposed to not sit at the tables with the other kids). after lunch we headed back home and denise laid down for a nap. and she managed to squeeze in a 2 hour nap and right before campion came home i woke her up, so she wouldn't be totally cranky. not long after that a neighbor came over to pick up her son, the boy that pepper has been babysitting almost all school year now. she watched the dvd with the 3D and 4D video and when she left, pepper started making the meatloaf. about an hour later dinner was ready and we ate. when sitting down after dinner denise started to get a bit concerned about travis not moving. earlier in the day he didn't move either, but right after lunch he was kicking and screaming. but now she said he was hardly moving. she called the ob/gyn and he told denise to go to the hospital to get it checked out. so, i changed my facebook status, and drove her to the hospital. we didn't bring the bags she has ready to go in our bedroom, because she wasn't in labor. and if the nurse/doctor decided denise had to stay in the hospital i could always go home and pick up the bags, it's no more than a 15 minute drive to and from. denise signed in while i parked the car and we were sent to a room where a nurse would look denise and travis over. she attached two microphones to denise's belly to record the heartbeat. it was steady, although a little on the high rate side, but the nurse said that denise also had a higher heart rate and slightly elevated blood pressure. after a few minutes, denise calmed down and so did travis. the nurse called the ob/gyn and he remotely reviewed the heart monitor and discharged her. so we went back home and we arrived just in time to watch the season finale of lie to me. i again, changed my facebook status and thanked the friends, who commented on the previous status update, for their concern. i will, as will denise, bring my laptop to the hospital when it comes time to deliver travis. in the room where we were there were plenty of outlets, so i can bring all the necessary peripherals to geek out. anyways, it's time for bed, i guess. same time tomorrow … :-)
wednesday, may 13, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 217

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda (updated) …
another long day. got up early, and after i drove pepper to the bus stop i made my way to buckhead for another day with my client. things went pretty well and i finished at 3.15pm and i was back home by 4pm. tired and bothered by, most likely, allergic reactions (the weather is getting better, so more things are blooming) i talked with my dad, who wanted to touch base on a few things that aren't going very well with my cool downtown rotterdam apartment. after that i tried to unwind, dinner was served and we watched the season finale of fringe. another season finale … yesterday it was house's last episode for this season and tomorrow it's the last one of lie to me. summer is here, so yay, reruns … anyway, gonna keep this short, because i am tired and headache-y …
tuesday, may 12, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 216

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda (updated) …
got up at the asscrack of dawn this morning, but even at 5.30am denise beat me to the punch. today and tomorrow i have a client close to downtown atlanta, and they wanted to start at 8am, and it is actually a pretty good decision, because after i drop off pepper at the bus stop i can get onto the 400 and pretty much beat the morning rush hour traffic and cover the 30 miles an a hour. if i would leave 15 or 30 minutes later it would take me between 1.5 and 3 hours. the day at the client went very well. and it was nice having a small audience again, two people who could make split second decisions instead of having a to discuss and defend my arguments against 20 people who would want to table discussion and retrench when they can. since one of the two trainees needed to leave at 3pm, i left at that time as well and since i am not going to birmingham this week, i decided to drop by the doctor's office to get my tb test shot. i arrived there shortly before 4pm and even though the doctor's hours are from 9am to 5pm, the doctor was already gone. not that i needed him; his assistant gave me the shot and sent me on my way again. on wednesday i have to come by again, bring my vaccination reports and other paperwork and the doctor will, hopefully, send my clean bill of health in the direction of uscis. and i can send in my birth certificate and then i would have adhered to everything they asked for so far. then the waiting begins. great, more waiting! in regards to the more immediate waiting game, there are no new developments, other than denise seemingly feeling a little better. she has an ob/gyn appointment tomorrow morning, so hopefully her doctor can determine whether she is really 2-4 weeks further along, see if travis is in the correct birth position (face down) and if his lungs are close to be fully grown. no matter what the outcome of tomorrow's doctor's visit is, i think we're ready for travis, so come on boy, whatchu waiting for?
monday, may 11, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 215

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda (updated) …
i kinda slept in, while having had a good night, since denise managed to sleep on the "butt ugly" recliner chair, even though it wasn't as comfortable as denise had hoped. we had breakfast and after that i geared up to take campion for a driving lesson. we are required to take him for 40 hours of driving, going through all sorts of exercises before he can take a driving test for his driver's license. but first i mounted the car seat in the car, which was actually pretty easy since our car has the LATCH system, so all i needed to do was hook the seat up to three latch points and that was it. no messing around with seat belts. still easy to remove the seat too :-) at around 1.30pm, while denise laid down for a nap, campion mounted his new and trusted rust bucket:

and i took place next to him. we first drove to a large parking lot opposite of the fairgrounds, where i tried to determine the mirror dead zone, but since the car has pretty large windows that zone is actually pretty small. after that we drove through our little village to the 400, where we drove to the premium outlet malls of north georgia and even driving around at 15mph he didn't hit anyone. we drove back down the 400, where we did almost got into an accident, because pretty much everyone in front of us slammed on the brakes for a stop light. but he managed to avoid a collission, so we carried on, drove past our exit and went off the exit for the hotel where denise and i had our wedding ceremony. driving through the lovely suburbian sub-divisions we made our way back home again, but prior to actually going home i showed him how to get to the hospital. if i am not around in the next few weeks and he is at home when denise starts actual labor, then he will have to drive her to the hospital, so now he knows where that is. hopefully, he isn't too stressed out when that time comes. denise didn't feel like cooking dinner and i am not one to make her cook dinner, we decided to have breakfast for dinner: gotta love waffle house! after dinner we picked up some starbucks and then ventured back home, to settle in front of the tv to watch the season finale of the no 1 ladies' detective agency. at this time, denise is still not feeling all too well, and she is having contractions, but there still not rhytmic and they still come and go. we're gonna have to be patient on this one, which is hard, because it makes scheduling so hard. anyway, this covers pretty much all i did done do this
sunday. sunday, may 10, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 214
first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda (updated) …
i know, isn't it a shocker that i haven't posted a picture of myself? it's been a long time since i didn't do that. don't feel like it. not sure why … anyway, nothing that i planned to do today worked out, so i am a little frustrated about that. denise started feeling bad in the beginning of the afternoon, having contractions but they were still too far apart and not rhythmic and too weak. but still, i think it is the beginning. so, i didn't take campion out for a drive in his car, i didn't go out and buy our car, didn't test the webcam for streaming and i even didn't install the car seat in the car *sigh* tomorrow, i guess … at least, if denise doesn't go in to full blown labor. campion went to senior prom tonight. he went as the date of a friend of his, who was planning to go stag until she asked him, two weeks ago. this will be a nice reminder to him as to how to act, how to behave and how to dress when he has his own senior prom next year. since his date wasn't going to dress in formal dress, campion opted not to go for the quintessential tuxedo, instead he decided to dress down, while still looking the part.

and this is him checking his fine self out in the reflection of the driver's side window:

the prom group will be back at another friend's house around midnight and when he lets me know he's arrived i will go pick him up, which should be any moment now. hopefully tomorrow the weather will be nice, denise will have no early labor signs and i have the get-up-and-go to take campion for a drive in his own car. (un)fortunately, car dealerships are closed on sunday, so i will not have to shop for our car, but i will install the car seat. and i will take a look at getting my webcam to stream in preparation for the baby shower next saturday. so much to do, so little time, it seems …
saturday, may 9, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 213

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda (updated) …
a travel day, again. tiring. but good to be home. i wanted to be home, because i want to be with denise, moreover now she is starting to have contractions, but even though it can still be two weeks before she goes into labor. so, no long stories today, just two pictures of my beautiful, preggers wife:


yes, she is getting quite big now, which is no surprise, because the other day when she had the 4D ultrasound video made, travis measured 7 lbs and 6 ounces!
friday, may 8, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 212

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
today turned out to be quite the interesting day, although at first it didn't look like it. got up, went to the client and worked. only had one meeting today that went pretty well. but later in the afternoon my colleague took a call from our director on this project and as it turned out, the client doesn't get along with the new project manager and the reason why they have a new one is because they also couldn't get along with the previous one. but, the director, said, the client loves us, so we were both glad to still have a job, because 2 days ago we received an email from our project manager from which i had the gut feeling that we were on the brink of getting kicked to the curb. but, i'm glad that's not the case, so possibly i will be spending even more time in sub-tropical cedar rapids till well into the next year … then, after we got back to the hotel, i briefly talked to denise, who informed me that she was having contractions every 30 minutes. but she said that that didn't mean anything, yet. nevertheless, with her measuring ahead on the growth curve almost constantly and consistently, there may be a larger than small chance that travis will be rearing his head sooner than we anticipated. so in light of that i have sent out emails to the two account managers who are managing the two clients i have to go on-site with next week, to ask if they can provide a back-up plan just in case denise does go into labor. that call made me kinda thirsty, so my colleage and I had dinner in the hotel restaurant and for once we "splurged": we both had a starter, an entree and a dessert, washed down with two bottles of the excellent new belgium 1554 black ale. of course now i am slightly regretting this, because dear buddha, am i full! and tired, so i am going to turn in and tomorrow i will be going home. so all of y'all keep your fingers crossed for my return prior to denise going into labor!
thursday, may 7, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 211

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
a pretty uninteresting day for me: got up, went to the office, worked, had three one hour meetings, had lunch, worked some more, went back to the hotel, talked to denise, went out to dinner, hung out in the lounge for dessert, went back to my room, chatted with denise, took a shower and went to bed. denise, on the other hand, had a pretty cool exciting interesting day. well, maybe not an entire day, but certainly for the one thing she had an appointment for. i hoped to share this with you, dear reader, but technology is preventing me at this time, so you will have to wait for tomorrow. i know, isn't the suspense just killing you? ;-) or maybe not:

hopefully youtube is done processing by the time you get here, so clicking the play button does not result in a "The video you have requested is not available." if you happen to get this message, be patient, go do something else, come back in a couple of hours and try again. edit: processing is done, but the video is almost 30 minutes long and youtube only allows videos with a length of max 10 minutes, so we're SOL. unless i have a way of editing the file down to less.
wednesday, may 6, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 210

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
i had a hard time waking up today, even though i slept close to 8 hours, but once i got up i got dressed, texted with denise, and made my way over to the client's office to start a normal day. no meetings scheduled, just a few things to add to the database and some groundwork to have something added to the database. all in all we're making slow but good progress, so i am confident we're gonna bring this project to a successful end, even though the finish line is somewhere in the beginning of next year … after work i got back to the hotel and waited for denise to come home. she was out touring the facilities of the hospital where travis will be born. from what she told me it is all very nice, probably because the l&d part is only open for 9 months now. apparently they gave lots of tips for the daddies in the tour which makes me a little sad that i had to miss it, but denise divulged a great part of the info and i'm sure in the next few days more things will bubble up. in either case, i have a feeling we're gonna be alright :-) next to having the hospital tour, denise also managed to get campion's car, so the dude now has a car sitting in the driveway. of course, he's not getting the keys just yet, but the fact he is, he's got wheels. wheels he will need to get to and from his summer job, which we're still anxiously awaiting materialization. this weekend i will take campion out to drive out, because both denise and i are not comfortable with her taking him out for test driving, so he's gonna have to wait till saturday (or maybe friday evening). i had dinner in the hotel restaurant while denise was going to tank up campion's car and running it through the car wash (although the latter didn't happen, because they were closed - so much for 24h economy :P) and i drove to the airport to pick up a colleague. when i came back denise was still online, so i called her and we chatted for a while, basically till i mentioned, nicely, a couple of times, that she should be going to bed. and she did, and now that my blog for today is up, i'm gonna do the same.
tuesday, may 5, 2009
p.s. this blog may not have been as interesting as i led you to believe yesterday … so, maybe tomorrow?

the day my life changed and onwards - 209

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
today was another weird and hectic day. denise was feeling pretty bad since yesterday evening, having downward pressure from travis, resulting in braxton hicks, and she barely slept through the night, having to pee every other minute, or so it seemed. she called the mergency ob/gyn number last night and spoke to the doctor himself and he said to come in in the morning if things were still the same. and this morning they were, maybe a little less intense, so i made her go to the ob/gyn and since his office was not too far from the doctor i had to visit for my medical exam (as part of my green card application) we combined the two trips. so on a rainy monday morning we drove through rural atlanta … at the ob/gyn's, the doctor did an ultrasound and saw that travis is in breech and after a cervical exam he said that she wasn't really dilated yet, but that she was thinning. it is his educated guess that denise probably will not go full term. i hope that travis listens to me and does two things for us: turn out of breech position, so turn head down, and wait till at least may 23, please. from the ob/gyn we drove to my civil surgeon, where we arrived an hour prior to the appointment denise had set for me. filled out one form, waited a couple of minutes and was called in to wait in the exam room. maybe one minute after that the doctor came in and explained the process. he was going to ask me 20 or so questions to which there were no wrong answers, then he was going to draw blood and then he was going to give me a tb test. but, and here lied the problem, for the results of that tb test i would have had to come in on wednesday, and i told him that basically the next three weeks i was out of town. so we decided to do everything except the tb test for which i would be responsible to come in for. right, like i would forget something like that! the inoculation history i found while filing my box of paperwork was not sufficient and/or outdated, so i also had to get tdap (tetanus/difteria/pertussis) and mmr (mumps/measles/rubella) shots, but i could get that done at a 1 minute clinic and the good thing about that was that my insurance would cover (part of) it. so, the doctor proceeded to ask me questions, basic questions, very basic questions and that was it. he would do an official write-up and after the result of the tb test he would file my medical exam report and, according to him, 3 months after that i would have my green card. i have my doubts, so i'm still thinking that if i have my green card by the end of september next year, i'm good. the doctor left and a nurse came in to do the tb test, so explained to her that i would come back for the tb test, so she only needed to draw blood, which she did. after that, i was free to go … only to be called back in, because i had to pay for it. my retort that "i already gave you my blood, what more could you want" didn't sway them in waving the fee. we drove home again, denise was getting hungry and i really needed to go to the bathroom. when i got back i did just that and then set up my work computer, checked email, responded to a few and then got on my way to a cvs 1-minute clinic, while denise was going to lie down on the couch for a nap. the closest clinic was about 7 miles away down peachtree parkway, so i drove there, went to the pharmacy counter only to be told to go back to the front of the store to sign in. clearly i hadn't seen the sign for the 1-minute clinic, but anyway, i signed myself in and waited for about 10 minutes till the woman in front of me was helped. the doctor/nurse called me in, took my insurance information and asked what i was there for. i told her that i needed a tdap & mmr shot, so that prompted her to ask some questions in relation to side effects to these shots. i understood the risks (like i am going to be that 1 in a 1,000,000 who will have a seizure that results in permanent brain damage …) so she gave me the shots and i was out of there. when i pulled in to the garage, i must have woken up denise, because she was looking at me when i walked past the couch and even though i didn't want her to, and even though she said she was going to go lie back down after she stretched her legs, she didn't. she did get the mail out of the mailbox and the only real piece of mail was my birth certificate my dad mailed only a week ago. this means that whenever i go for my tb test, i have done everything that is required for the green card application. i love it when a plan comes together. i worked some more in the afternoon and right before pepper got home i packed my bag, so that it was ready to go. the kids were in high spirits for whatever reason (maybe ate a little too much sugar?!) so we had to get on their case a few times. when campion came home (in tight, teal (i still say bright green) girls' jeans, like he was auditioning for a job at the circus) denise and i got ready to leave. i drove myself to the marta station in north springs, so denise didn't have to fight rush hour traffic all through atlanta. we said our goodbyes and hugged and kissed. i told her to take good care of herself and i hope she will. i know she is stubborn and she insists that she is not invalid (:P), even though the ob/gyn said that she had to take her rest. i rode the train, listening to the shuffled playlist of my zune through my sennheiser noice cancelling headphones. at the airport i checked in and went through security as fast as i've ever done. i walked up to the gate and then walked back to buy this evening's dinner: krystal. i would have rather have eaten at home, or better, as pepper suggested, her taking us out to dinner at pacific spice … but we'll save that for later. i boarded the tiny plane that would fly us directly to cedar rapids and when the cabin door closed i was happy to find out i was alone in the two seats on the exit row, so i could spread out. the flight itself was pretty uneventful and we landed about 20 minutes early. the first thing i did was pick up the keys to my rental car, this time a white dodge avenger (it can't be always a black gmc acadio :D) and then called denise. by this time she had already closed down her computer, made the coffee for the next morning, made the kids' lunches and started the dishwasher. while we talked my bag appeared, so i picked it up and found my car. what i normally wouldn't do i did tonight: be on the phone while driving. but, i know cedar rapids traffic and it is very, very light, so i talked to denise until i parked at my hotel for the next 4 nights. for her it was close to 11pm, so we hung up, she went to bed and i checked in, got a coke from the vending machine, unpacked, started my computer, took a shower, shaved my 5 day beard and typed this long blog entry. i apologize for the length and the boringness of this … maybe tomorrow my blog will be extremely exciting, so be sure to check back …
monday, may 4, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 208

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
i managed to sleep in today and start my day quietly and slowly with a nice pancake breakfast prepared by pepper and cooked by denise. after breakfast i finally unpacked the last box i had still sitting in our bedroom, cleared/cleaned out the 6 drawer dresser in the living room and dispersed everything from the box that i wanted to keep in the drawers or in the file cabinet. everything that i had no use for anymore disappeared in the big garbage can. because of the fact i moved the box and a plastic bag full of electronics peripherals out of our bedroom there is now a little bit more room for the bassinet that was delivered earlier this week. so now we are really ready fort travis to come out. apart from me, because i don't want him to make his debut when i'm not here, so he needs to pace himself and patiently wait till we decide it is good for him to make his appearance. this week denise has an appointment with ob/gyn again, which unfortunately i cannot attend on account of me being in cedar rapids. she also has an appointment to get a tour of the l & d ward (labor and delivery) this week, which i sadly have to miss as well. tomorrow i will have to go for my medical exam, as done by a uscis approved surgeon, all as part of the green card application process, which is not a long-winded process at all … after all this activity we all just took it easy. we ate, we watched the number one ladies' detective agency, had some activity on the computers and i finally shot my zune, with my camera of course:

sunday, may 3, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 207

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
got fingerprinted today. was the first step in the green card process. had to drive 60 miles roundtrip to get fingerprinted. had to fill out forms with details i had already filled out a couple of times before. then i had to wait for close to half an hour. with nothing to do, because you are not allowed to bring anything else than your paperwork in. apparently the fingerprint place is top secret (although google maps doesn't have the building blurred!) and i can tell from having been inside that there is ab-so-lu-te-ly nothing of national importance in the building or near the building … in a 15 mile radius. but i smiled my way through and got myself fingerprinted. yes, travis, your dad has to jump a lot of hoops to become a legal alien. on monday i will have my medical exam, which next to costing me a small fortune, will also result in me having to get re-inoculated, because i don't have an immunization chart from when i was a kid. hopefully, they can do it fairly fast, because uscis didn't give me a lot of time to fulfil this requirement. so this monday is gonna be an even weirder monday than last week's, because in the late afternoon i am traveling to cedar rapids, once again. yes, travis, your dad has a hectic lifestyle. but i promise you that i will be there when you wanna come out. so listen to me: all is well, just as long as you wait till after may 22, ok? cool!
saturday, may 2, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 206

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
today was another travel day, so i got up, took a shower, packed my bags and started the two-legged travel home. the first flight was totally uneventful, maybe apart from the fact that it was a tiny tiny plane. the layover in cincinnati finally gave me a chance to get me my starbucks fill, but right around boarding time it was announced that the plane was sick. again. wtf is up with travel to cedar rapids? always something! but they fixed the plane and 35 minutes after scheduled departure time we left for atlanta, and in the air the pilots actually made up for 20 minutes of lost time. when i was at baggage claim i only had to wait for 5 minutes for my bag to show up and then it was onto marta to get to north springs where denise would come pick me up. i drove us home and when we pulled in she pointed out the new plants she bought and when i walked in the house i saw the enormous pile of boxes, all for travis' baby shower. already the kid is spoilt rotten and he's not even here yet! campion came in a little after us and we dangled a surprise in front of him (military school - which he thought wasn't all that funny *grin*) but over dinner, pizza, denise told him his grandma phyliss gave him a car for his birthday. perhaps tomorrow, or otherwise monday or tuesday, he will have a 1996 toyota camry 2d coupe. it will still be registered in our name until he is 18, because with having this large of a privilege there is quite a large set of responsibilities that he needs to live up to. there was a "present" for me too, a webcam, so today's picture is brought to you by logitech quickcam orbit af :-) and now i am ready to go to bed and go to sleep with my beautiful wife in my arms …
friday, may 1, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 205

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
presentation today went okay-ish. learnt that meetings with a large, mixed group of people is probably best held in the morning in a properly airconditioned room. nevertheless some good results and good discussions to follow up on. more importantly and more excitingly, i get to go home tomorrow and spend a weekend at home, before i return to cedar rapids, monday afternoon *sigh*
thursday, april 30, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 204

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
another pretty uneventful day. worked at the office from 8am to 5pm and only was in 2 meetings, so i was actually able to do something. tomorrow is going to be my big day, though, because i have to do a 3 hour demo/presentation/discovery session on financial transactioning for a group of about 20 people, something that would normally take about an entire working day. but since it is more a demo than a discussion meeting i don't see a reason why i can't make it happen. at 5pm we left the office and drove our project manager to the airport and me and a colleague headed back to the hotel, where we made sure that we had everything set up on our laptops to be able to remotely connect to the client database and webshares. now that we have that ability, it makes it very easy to work remotely, so when i take time off around travis' birth i can still log on and work for that client, instead of having my inbox inundated with requests that i somehow have to get through upon return. after we managed to do that, we dropped our bags in our rooms and headed for dinner, a mexican place in the neighboring village of marion. food wasn't bad, but it wasn't the greatest either and by the time we arrived there, close to 7pm, the place was slowly emptying out. people in this area start early and leave early. we had some interesting conversations again about parenthood and football (soccer for americans) and at around 8.30pm we drove back to the hotel where we went our separate ways. i had to call maintenance, because the light in the bathroom was flickering, about to die completely, but right after that i called denise and learnt how her day has been. we talked for little over an hour and then i took a quick shower, to shave myself to be presentable tomorrow, and after that i sent out a couple of emails, some work related, some related to upcoming "vacation" time. now that this is all typed up, i can publish this and go to bed and sleep. good night america …
wednesday, april 29, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 203

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
got up, picked my colleague, drove to the office and worked. had an early lunch and a lunch that lasted an hour, because we invited two client people over for casual discussions. had a meeting in the afternoon and after that i worked some more till it was 5.30 and the place was deserted (i always feel like i'm the last one leaving …). we went straight out to dinner at the microbrewery i went a couple of weeks ago, had a few beers and had pub grub. well, i did, my colleague had a cobb salad *gasp* after spending about an hour and a half talking about various things, work related and non-work related, i dropped him off at his hotel and got back to my room, where i called denise. but not for too long, because i had to pick up another colleague from the airport, so i went and did that and when he got checked in we pulled up to the bar to have some new belgian 1554. over beer we discussed the world's politics and lamented about teenage kids. it was interesting to learn how similar his 18 and 16 year old kids are to our almost 17 year old one … around 10pm i was back in my room and started chatting with denise. at close to midnight her time i told her it was going on midnight, suggesting she should go to bed, because she gets up between 5am and 6am every day, so not a whole lot of time left for sleep, but i got the impression she was upset about that, because she enjoyed chatting with me. and as much as i enjoy the hell out of chatting with her i also look out for her; i want her to rest as much as she can; i get on her case almost every day to take a nap, because even with one or more naps a day, she still doesn't sleep more than 8 hours a day. and with the baby coming soon, that won't change much in the next year. so denise, if you are upset, please know that i am merely looking out for you, i was not cutting you short because i had to take a shower and go to bed also. you need your rest and beyond that, i love you very very much! <3 i took a shower, laid out my clothes for tomorrow and right after i'm done typing this sentence i am going to publish it and lie down too.
tuesday, april 28, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 202

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
it is 11.05pm CST when i start typing this … today was another one of those weird days. got to sleep in, while denise got up way too ealry after a short night's sleep, but the kids need to be helped to school and she can't stay comfortable in bed anyway. in the morning worked from home, did a conference call and packed my bag. yes, today was another travel day and this time it is back to cedar rapids, for trip there in two weeks back to back at that iowa client. right after pepper came home from school denise and i drove to the airport and we arrived there pretty fast. check in and security were fast as well, so then i waited at the gate for boarding call. about 10 minutes before boarding began they announced that the plane was "sick" and that the pilots refused to risk our, the passengers, safety. a new plane would be arranged, but it was unsure at which gate and with what departure time. this was the second time i did not have a direct flight. the first time i ended up walking very fast to make my connection in detroit, which i managed to do with 10 minutes to spare. this time i had a 1 hour and 10 minute layover in cincinnati and when they announced that the new departure time was 50 minutes later than the original, i started to get a little nervous. i asked the gate steward about my connection and he said that we'd be arriving at a different concourse than what my next flight would be leaving from. so he would try to get me a seat closer the the front, but that didn't work out, because the plane was full. but we boarded a little late, but remarkably everyone was in his/her seat on time so we took off right on time. the captain said that he would fly the plane as fast as it could go to make up for a little lost time, because there were more passengers on board with a (short) connection. we arrived about 15 minutes earlier than anticipated, which left me with 15 minutes to get from the plane to the next gate. then, of course, deplaning took 9 minutes, and yes, i made it to my gate in 6 minutes, just in time for the final boarding call for the flight to cedar rapids. this struck me as odd, because it was only 25 minutes till departure … then, after checking in i knew why: this flight was leaving from a remote terminal, so all passengers had to be bussed there and sure enough, i was one of the last three passengers to get on board. but i made it and that is all that mattered :-) we also arrived about 20 minutes ahead of schedule in cedar rapids, which worked out fine for my project manager, because he was getting in late from toronto through chicago. so i picked up the keys to the rental car (a nice gmc acadia!), picked up my bag, which i was happy to see arrived with me, and then waited for about 10 minutes before my colleage showed up. when he got his bag i drive him to another hotel, because the marriott where i'm staying was fully booked, and then checked in to my feather free room. first thing i did there was order room service, because my initial plan to eat something at cincinnati airport got canned, and after that i called denise to catch up on things. before we rang off, right after my dinner was delivered, i promised her that i would be in bed before midnight and asleep by 0.01am. i ate my dinner and then took a shower to shave and after that i let my hair airdry while typing up this blog entry. it is 11.23pm CST when i end typing the above … and i will go to bed right after i press publish post :-)
monday, april 27, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 201

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
it wasn't a lazy sunday, but still relaxed enough. after breakfast, which was more of an early lunch, we all did our part in the chores: cleaning and vacuuming. after that we all went to supercuts to get our hairs cut, some more than the others. when we returned home we really didn't do much and also after dinner we didn't do much either. we watched the number 1 ladies' detective and as i am typing this out we're waiting for eddie izzard to come on on bbc america. during all of this the zune is syncing: 16,488 tracks from my external harddrives onto the zune 120GB … so far, 57% has been done … in a mere 7 hours … but tomorrow, when i sadly have to leave for cedar rapids, i can listen to my music :-)
sunday, april 26, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 200

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
today marks the day of my 200th post of the day my life changed!
time flies when you're having fun … … speaking of which, our bedroom that doubles as travis' baby room is finished. all the furniture that it needed has been bought, delivered and assembled. yesterday, fedex delivered the last piece: the room divider. (of course, they delivered it to the wrong address and since we are far cleverer than fedex is we know where to go to to retrieve. we have a call out to fedex, who has a call out to the driver who supposedly dropped the package off by our front door!)
below, this is what travis' and our room look like.
from our side:

travis' bedlamp and doylie:

our side from travis' point of view:

detail of the room divider:

looking alright, yeah? denise brought two pieces of art to the framer and in two weeks (or so) they'll be hanging in our living room again, but beautifully matted and framed. in the meantime i attached the zune to our tv, so we actually have music to listen to. now all i need to do is transfer the biggest portion of my mp3 files onto the zune and then we have a pretty nice playlist to go through. that is, when the zune is here of course, because it will come with me whenever i travel. since it has been a while, 3 weeks to be precise, it was time for another profile shot, the ninth already.

as you can see denise is getting bigger, but it is all in the front. of course she tacked on some weight on her hips and her breasts and everywhere else, but it is only minimal, because 95% of the weight gain seems to be going to where travis lives now, the belly:

she will grow some more, but i don't think she will be getting much bigger than this. and that will make denise somewhat happy as well, because that means that when she gives birth to travis she will lose a lot of that weight instantly. but no matter what, she has always been and will always be beautiful. i love you, denise! <3
saturday, april 25, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 199

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
again i just had the hardest time waking up today, so i didn't manage to get out of bed till 9, stumbled downstairs and reluctantly turned the computers on. in the end i managed to work for a few hours and i could do so pretty much undisturbed, because denise went grocery shopping while i was still in bed, much to my dismay. but she keeps telling me she's not an invalid, but i'm not gritching because i thinks she is one. not long after i got up denise went upstairs to take a nap and i left her alone for a good 2 and a half hours. in the meantime i worked and at my lunch yoghurt with sadie begging and pleading on the chair next to me. and she is so adorable. she was fast asleep in the corner of the living room when i got up and took a bowl out of the cabinet and placed on the countertop. just that sound woke her up and had her running toward the kitchen. i hadn't even opened the fridge door yet. when i opened the fridge and took out the tub of yoghurt she started meowing and the meowing became louder and more frequent when i wasn't getting it ready fast enough. when i sat down at the kitchen table with my bowl she jumped on the chair next to me, so i was able to to give her small little finger licks and when i'm done i let her clean out the bowl. it is no wonder that she was voted atlanta's cutest cat :P speaking of which. courtesy of atlanta magazine denise and i went on our last date for the next couple of years. because sadie won the cutest cat contest we had a $100 voucher we decided to redeem at fogo de chao, a brazilian churrascaria. this is one of those red light green light restaurants where gauchos come to your table with large skewers with all sorts of meat and they cut a piece off right at the table. even though i thought i was going there on an empty stomach i was full pretty quick, but that may have been because of the cheese and the bread and the mashed potatoes and the polenta and the fried bananas i ate on the side. and the meats were to die for: prime steak, tasty marinated chicken, excellent sausage, bacon wrapped filet and much more. travis also didn't like the amount of food either, because at the end of the dinner he started acting up by fighting for his space in the womb. so we paid the remainder of the check and left. of course, travis also doesn't like the seat belt and denise had on a new pair of pants with a cut that probably also wasn't much to his liking, so she was pretty uncomfortable for a while. but once home she could change into more comfortable and relaxed fit clothes. coming home we found pepper asleep on the couch while campion most likely was playing his xbox in his room. denise returned a call to aunt laurie and i typed up this blog. and i am thinking we'll be going to bed soon … tomorrow marks the day of my 200th post of the day my life changed!
friday, april 24, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 198

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
i so didn't want to get up this morning and i actually didn't till 7.15, even though my alarm started going at 6. but i had to go to the office to overnight my expenses and to participate in a conference call. i got my act together and left a little before 9am, and only a few minutes before the ashley furniture people delivered the recliner chair. (as a side note to my sister: this chair is not spuuglelijk … it is not a really beautiful chair, but it is also not that ugly … really … and it is wonderfully comfortable!) after my conference call, where a colleague and me updated the new project manager on the large cedar rapids client, i did my expenses and after that i planned some more trips … be on the lookout for a new scheduling agenda soon … at 2 i started the drive back home, where i was hoping to play with my zune, but i had to postpone that to do the household finances (american banks are a nightmare to reconcile!), have dinner (yummy jambalaya) and loan the computer to pepper so she could do the homework she was supposed to have handed in today. then, finally, after all that i was able to plug in my zune and synch it with the small library on my laptop (only 263 tracks). this weekend i will synch it with the 12,000 track library on my external harddrive :-) as i am typing this i am actually shuffling through the playlist and i must say that the sound quality is pretty damn good. and it looks very spiffy too. yeah, i'm quite pleased with ny new toy. business travel will never be the same …
thursday, april 23, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 197

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
i was able to sleep in relatively, since i didn't need to be at the client till 9am for a 9.30am start, which was nice. i packed my bags and rolled on out and was in the client's office a little before 9 to set up my stuff. this morning turned out to be the hardest part of the 3 days, because i had to train an older, jewish woman new tricks on a newfangled piece of machinery called a computer through the means of the interwebs, but after 3 long hours i thought that she had the idea. time for lunch break. after lunch it was a little easier and we managed to finish well before scheduled end time, so around 4pm i said my goodbyes and left for the airport to turn in my rental car, a 2009 pontiac g6 that ran like a firetruck! it took a few minutes for them to produce a bill, but once i got that i walked over to the shuttle busstop, got in the bus and the bus drove away and the first stop happened to be the delta terminal. got checked in (no line!) and went through security (no line!) and went to the only "real" food place and got in line to get a pizza and a drink. i ate while checking messages online and doing a little work (preparing expense reports for tomorrow) and then just waited for my flight … the flight itself was uneventful and we even landed 15 minutes early which caused denise to have to speed to the airport to come pick me up. but it was mild outside and there's always things to see at the airport, so i didn't really mind the wait. eventually we got home, i unpacked and now i am finishing off this blog so we can go to bed. catch ya tomorrow :-)
wednesday, april 22, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 196

(and before you make a comment about today's picture, just be glad i didn't lift the toilet lid, okay?!)
first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
since i didn't need to be at the client's office till noon today i slept in till 9.30, got up, got dressed, packed my gear and drove over to ihop. there i had a nice big breakfast: chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream. i sloshed all that down with a small carafe of coffee. after paying i tried finding a starbucks, because according to there online store locator there should have been one not too far from the ihop. but i drove around, but didn't find it. a little saddened i went to the client, got there at 11.15 and immediately i was asked if i could show them something i was going to show them from noon on. so i did. client left for lunch at noon, leaving me to prep the afternoon's session and to email back and forth with a colleage who is now at my client in cedar rapids. apparently, our project manager for this client was let go of yesterday, so today there was a mild panic amongst the ranks. this means that in addition to next week's visit i will have to go there the week after too, then have a break to deal with 2 other clients, and then return to cedar rapids again the week after that. after that week i will not be traveling anymore, because it is within 2 weeks of denise's (or actually travis') due date. (once the dates are set in stone i will update my scheduling agenda again) this morning denise went to her ob/gyn again and the doctor confirmed that travis is in breech (he's already head down ready to take the plunge) with once more confirms denise's assumption that she and travis are measuring two weeks ahead of the curve. after the ob/gyn appointment she went over to the hospital and she arranged a tour of the facilities two weeks from now. sadly i won't be there, because either i am traveling to cedar rapids or i already in cedar rapids. you see, more and more things are coming to a close and even for me it is getting more and more exciting. i will be seriously bummed out if travis decides to slide out when i'm away from home … travis, if you're reading this, wait till at least june 10, ok, otherwise you're grounded! ;-) anyways, i'm gonna go to bed now. tomorrow is a long day: full day at the client and travel back home in the evening. one upside is that i have already been upgraded to first class, so i will have a nice big seat where i can easily fall asleep in …
tuesday, april 21, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 195

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
had trouble getting to sleep last night, but that was probably caused by me snoozing on the plane for the bigger part of 2 hours. when i woke up, though, i wasn't tired, just immediately not liking the florida humidity: at 8am it was 76 fahrenheit and around a 100% humidity already, so that bugged me a little. i arrived at the client at 8.30am, but there was no-one there yet, since most people start between 9 and 9.30, but i settled in in the conference room only to find out that we really couldn't use the projector to project on any of the two walls, the other two walls were windows on the south. so we decided to squat the client's owner's office where there was a wall to project onto, but since it had wood paneling with a high gloss we still couldn't see the projection. they have a handiman on-site, so he was called upon and he found a white tarp that he tacked to the ceiling. and the tarp was the perfect size, just a little bigger than the projector could project. by this time it was 9.30 and everyone was there. then there were conflicts in people's agendas so i shuffled the demo/training agenda around. this resulted in me not having to be in the client's office tomorrow till 12 noon … which means i will sleep in, go out for breakfast and pick up a coffee before going over. the good thing is that the audience i have is small and they are making quick decisions, so i am actually moving faster than anticipated. even though i am free in the morning i sadly can't accompany denise to her ob/gyn's appointment tomorrow morning. this is only the second time i wasn't there with her. and of course, as time and her pregnancy go on i want to be there more and more, because now it is going to live more and more. i mean, travis can be felt easily when he is moving around or doing dance dance revolution or kicking the seatbelt, so it is a little less abstract than all the way in the beginning. also, with the baby room coming together i feel i am more valuable than i was in the beginning, too. and it is actually coming to a point where denise is ready to have the baby, because she is already kinda tired of being pregnant (which i don't have a hard time imagining why) and i am at a point where i am ready to have the baby, because we're ready for him. well, we're sort of ready … he's got a crib to sleep in, we have some clothes and we have some diapers. if he decides to jump out now (SURPRISE!) he doesn't have to spend the first few days in a drawer somewhere, rolling around nekkid *grin*
monday, april 20, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 194

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
i slept in till 10am, got up and crawled behind the computer. at approx 11.30am there was an incoming call from ashley: they had found the comforter set we wanted and even though it wasn't really on clearance they were going to sell it to us against the clearance price anyway, because that's what they quoted us yesterday. so denise jumped in the car (quite literally) and drove over to pick it up. when she came back campion and i dragged the headboard from under cobwebs in the garage to our bedroom, so our bed finally looks like the hotel bed we always wanted ;-)


then denise made us waffles for a late breakfast, actually a late lunch too and then it was time for me to pack my stuff and get ready for my trip to fort lauderdale. denise lucked out that i forgot to take a progression shot last night, so that will have to wait till wednesday or thursday night, so denise, start psyching up for it :P travel went pretty easy, i got upgraded to first class again, so that was nice. my bag came out pretty quickly as well, but getting a rental car took a little more time, finding the hotel went without a hitch, but then getting my room took some time and when i finally got in my room it took me about 15 minutes to get the wired or wireless internet to work. but, as you can see, i managed that as well. because i hadn't eaten dinner, yet, i quickly ran across the street and bought me a wendy's burger, fries and a coke and came back home, only to find the computer crashed, because on of the switches by the door, that i turned off, actually cut the power to my laptop and my "old" work laptop doesn't recover from going to sleep anymore. while my machine was booting up again, i called denise, got caught up and at 10pm we said our goodbyes. she was going to watch the no 1 ladies' detective agency and i was going to take a shower and shave. now i am actually air drying by the airconditioning unit, because i am in florida, baby: hot and humid! anyway, i think i'm ready for tomorrow, good night and sleep well and sweet dreams …
sunday, april 19, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 193

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
ladies and gentlepeople, the "oooohh…aaaahhh…":




how is that for coordination, i ask you?! this is what my wonderful, creative wife has been up to last thursday and friday, but it does look so cool. and today we bought travis a bed lamp, and denise is also going to paint that in brown and blue, so that will match as well. today in the afternoon we also shopped around for a recliner chair for our bedroom, one where denise can sit in when she is nursing travis. we went to 5 different stores and we have our eyes set on one we found at ashley furniture store, which is expensive, but the material looked solid and the chairs sat very comfortably. before going out, though, we bought a room divider at, indeed, room divider store. this is the one we ordered, 5 panels of it. it's nice and high, so travis can't look over it. as a matter of fact, no-one can look over it. after dinner denise wanted to go back to ashley and buy the chair, so that's what we did. the one that we both agreed one, was this nice leather recliner chair. while we were there we also saw a comforter set for our bed that we both liked. but the set was discontinued and according to their computer they had a king size set in stock, but we circled the store three times and we didn't find. now we hope that the sales associate finds it tomorrow morning. so, keep fingers crossed that we get the good news call.
saturday, april 18, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 192

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
got up, made my way over to the airport and started the long (in time) travel home. first leg was uneventful, apart from a really fat bloke sitting next to me in the exit row. i got him reseated, though. then i had a layover of 3.5 hours in cincinnati, because an earlier flight was fully booked. i charged my laptop, dealt with some work emails and chatted with denise. when it was time for boarding and i got on the plane, someone was sitting in my seat and the second i said to him that i thought he was in my seat i recognized him, vaguely. turns out to be scotty, who i hadn't seen for about 2 years now. this is the first time that someone i know was on the same flight. we caught up and during the flight we both actually slept *LOL* what else is there to do on a plane. we landed on time and my bag came out fairly quickly after i made it to baggage claim all the way from the farthest gate on the a concourse. because the modem was down denise didn't know how traffic was so i asked her to come pick me up at the marta station instead of at the airport. by 7.30-ish we were home and we were greeted by two curious cats. and pepper. campion was "hiding" in his room. we were planning to eat the rest of the pizza that the kids ate from earlier, but sticky fingers ate all the pepperoni from the pizza, so we ordered in some dominos. in the meantime i caught up with finances, mail and internet messages and by the time i am typing this i got the pictures i took in cedar rapids yesterday transferred to my other laptop, so i can post-process them tomrrow, or next week … now i am just glad to be home and tomorrow i will show you what all the "oooohh…aaaahhh…" over at facebook was all about *grin*
friday, april 17, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 191

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
last day at the client went very well and the trouble i anticipated never really materialized. i think, after three days of abstract thinking and high level decision making, all participants were "seeing the light". like i mentioned the first day, but then nobody believed me. it's nice to turn a room around :-) after the meeting i circulated the necessary documents to get ready for the next steps and then i decided to leave early and drive to downtown cedar rapids to take advantage of the semi nice weather for walking around to take some pictures. so … i churned out 160 pictures in 70 minutes … some of them pretty good. on the way back to the hotel i tanked up the car (a full $5 worth of gas) and cleared my online messages and my work email. with that out of the way i checked my options for dinner and since the obnoxious piano player was filling the atrium i decided to dine in. dinner came and i ate while watching friends reruns on tbs, very funny. with dinner in mah tummeh i called home and talked with my wife for a while, then let her go to bed as i took a shower. tomorrow i get to fly back home, which will make me happy and i am sure it will make denise happy too :-)
thursday, april 16, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 190

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
after a 2 and half hour phone conversation with denise i finally went to bed a little after midnight central time only to wake up 7 hours later and get ready to go to the client where i had the second presentation, in a series of three, starting at 8.30am. this time, as well as the last presentation tomorrow morning, i was presenting and moderating all by myself. with 20 people in the room throwing all sorts of questions at me. it's challenging, but i was able to more or less answer all their questions or assuage their concerns. the fact that the project manager did not sit in on today's meeting and is not even in town for tomorrow's gives me a great deal of satisfaction, because obviously he thinks i am able to handle it by myself. tomorrow is going to be exciting, though, because the subject tomorrow will most likely raise the most questions and the most difficult ones at that. but i have enough experience to field the questions and to make sure no-one panics. in the afternoon i will send out a number of documents that i need to have client input/decisions on so i can actually start the real work the next time i'm in cedar rapids, two weeks from now. as it looks i'm gonna be spending a whole lotta time in these here parts of iowa … once the weather gets a little better i will venture out into downtown cedar rapids to see if there's anything breathtaking i should take pictures of. around the hotel is absolutely nothing of interest. after work i went back to the lovely marriott, worked some more, checked my online messages and went for a quick dinner in the restaurant. full from dining i talked with denise on the phone, this time for just half an hour, so i am fully updated again on what's going on at the home front. as opposed to yesterday's events, today was biblically calm … i am not surprised. in any case, one more whole day at the client, one more night in the hotel and then i'm on my way home again. just for a day and half, though, because sunday afternoon i leave again for 3 days in fort lauderdale. but after that i am home for 4 whole days and a half day.
wednesday, april 15, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 189

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
after a night that was too short i got ready for a long day at the client and i must say that with the agenda i had, everything went pretty well, so professionally a pretty good. privately, it was a pretty good day too, even with the drama that is going on with campion at the moment. other than that, i have nothing else to share at this time, so please check back again tomorrow.
tuesday, april 14, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 188

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
sorry i had to backdate this blog post, but yesterday i wasn't in the mood much to post my daily blog, as you can probably tell from the picture above. my simple non-stop flight from atlanta to cedar rapids got delayed and instead of being in my hotel room at 9pm central, i was in my room a little after 11pm. the danger of me turning on the computer would be that i would get "bogged down" while i really needed my priorities straight: shower, shave, sleep, prepare for the harrowing day that would be today. so i did. besides all that, i was a little sad that i had to leave home …
monday, april 13, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 187

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
thought i'd only address travis today since it is mostly about him:
"Dear Travis, You'll be happy to know that your "room" is ready for you, so whenever you choose to come out, we're ready for you. Denise, Campion, Pepper and myself put your furniture together. During all this I made pictures of the progress, which shows you the various steps. First we started with the four drawer dresser.







Then we put together your crib. This crib is convertible, so once you start growing we can lower the mattress in two more stages and once you've almost grown out of the crib, we have long bed rails that turn your bed into kid's bed.






After the crib we put together the 3 drawer dresser slash changing table.







I hope you will like it, son!





Always, your loving father."
to be continued …
since we need more room to put in a recliner chair or rocking chair (at some point before travis arrives), we decided to also turn the bed from sitting with the headrest against the window to sitting with the headrest against the wall. the dynamic of our entire room changed but even with travis' furniture in our room it still is more than large enough.
sunday, april 12, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 186

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
apart from the 6 hour drive to south pittsburg, tennessee, and back, to pick up pepper, today was a pretty boring day. i had a short night and denise had an even shorter night; guess travis is not the gentlest of in-utero babies. and tomorrow, supposably, she will start her 30th week! tomorrow we'll also assemble the baby furniture, so perhaps there will be pictures of that here …
saturday, april 11, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 185

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
late last night i suddenly got a case of the running, which i assume could only have been caused by the mexican i had for dinner. no, not a mexican person, but a chicken burrito. i went to the bathroom several times, and by the time we went to bed (far too late, because we were glued to the tv watching a documentary on bbc america about people who love inanimate objects, like the eiffel tower or the berlin wall or the organ in a church) i had gone three times already and i still didn't feel all too well. i couldn't figure it out because there was more to come out or if it was because i was completely empty. when the alarm went off at 7.30am i knew it was the latter, but i was too tired to move. denise got up, naturally, and at about 9am i finally got up. turned on the computers, had breakfast and waited for my wife to return from doing grocery shopping (without me *grrrr*). i worked a bit and twiddled around on my own laptop and a little after 2pm the van with the arrow showed up, which meant the furniture for our baby room arrived. together with campion i hauled the 4 boxes upstairs, after which i needed a small break, because the first box was actually quite heavy (hence why i decided to do that one first). i worked some more and denise worked on the baby shower announcements. when she was ready to lie down for a nap i made her go to our bedroom and help me sort out a few things so that campion and i could move the dresser from one wall to the other. as you may or may not know, travis will share his first room with us. our bedroom is big enough for 2 separate big bedrooms, so once his furniture is assembled and put in the proper place, we will shop for a room divider. when denise lied down on the couch, campion and i emptied the boxes and laid the parts out against the wall. sunday is going to be assembly day, because tomorrow it is a travel day for denise and i, since we are going to pick up pepper from vegetation. it'll be nice to be a complete family again. and i hope that she had a good time at her dad's. dinner was pizza (omnomnomnom) and after dinner we all watched some movies before retiring to bed. movies of choice were doubt and seven pounds :-)
friday, april 10, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 184

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
another day with hardly any relevant news. sure, denise didn't sleep well, again, last night. she got up too early, again, but she did take a nice nap in the afternoon. i worked from home and in the late afternoon took my personal files that i was keeping in a moving box and put all the current and relevant documents in a hanging folder in the filing cabinet we bought a few months ago. for dinner i suggested take out, so we ordered some mexican food from a pretty good restaurant just up the road and gobbled that up. after dinner denise and i took a shower and no matter what she says or thinks, she is still beautiful, if not more beautiful :-)
thursday, april 9, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 183

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
whaddayaknow, no news today, maybe more news tomorrow …
wednesday, april 8, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 182

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
i bit the bullet today and finally went to the dmv to get my dutch license replaced with a georgia driver's license. i downloaded the drivers manual yesterday, read it (actually, it was more like leafing through it), did an online test test (the dmv website had a short one up) and this morning i read it again and thought i was up for it. my lovely wife accompanied me, even though from the outset it was a given that it was going to be a long affair, but it was a good thing she did, because i needed her as proof of residency. once the paperwork was filled in i waited to be called in the first time. this didn't take long, about 20 minutes, and the clerk went over the paperwork, did an vision test (ridiculously simple, unless you're practically blind) and then she pointed me to a computer where i could do the road rules general knowledge test and the road signs test. the first test was 20 question, with a maximum of 5 errors. i got 4 errors. the second test was 20 questions, again with a maximum of 5 errors. i got 1 error. so, i passed the tests. i let the clerk know and she said to wait in the waiting room for the examinator to come out and do a road test. this took a while, because there were only 2 testers, and i saw both of them go out twice. but then we hit lunch time and basically both testers stopped taking tests. wonderful. so about 2 and a half hours after we came in, i was called up. road tests are done in your own car (which i find bizarre, but whatever), so the examinator tested the blinkers, the lights and the horn. after he got in he explained the rules and that there were 4 things that would cause him to stop the test and fail me. that was a great confidence boost … but i know i am a good driver (probably better than the tester), so i wasn't phased, but i can imagine campion getting really worried about that. anyway, the first thing we did was do a couple of tests on a closed off parking lots, while all the time i had to pretend we were in heavy traffic. (what? am i taking a drama class?) i did a reverse straight, a sprint and stop, back-in parking and parallel parking (which i botched completely, because i am not used with looking over my shoulder, i can do it with just the mirrors). after that we took to the open road and we did a small circle, probably about 3 miles in total, came back to the dmv, parked the car and that was it. although he took a few points off it wasn't nearly enough to fail me (no shit, sherlock!). he told me to get in line a the photo counter. there already was a 10 person line, so that took another half hour before i was called up. it was then that i had to pay the fee (only $20, but that's because the driver's license is only valid until the end of my work visa, which is october 14, 2010). then i had to do a signature that would show on my license and lastly the clerk took a mug shot. had to wait a few minutes more, but then i had it in my hand:

on the way home we picked up some firehouse subs and starbucks coffee for lunch and while i started work we ate. after lunch denise laid down on the couch for a nap, which she needed, because like every night these days, she didn't sleep all too well and certainly too short. i had a conference call with my client in cedar rapids and after that call i did a little work for one of my clients in boston. and after that, really, i called it a day, because even though i didn't do much, my brain felt fried. we had dinner and watched a little tv. since denise is on a two week break from class, she felt underutilized, so she started on the baby shower registries (you've probably already seen her email). we're finally getting all our ducks in a row for the coming of baby travis. (about time, too *wink*) more of that tomorrow :-)
tuesday, april 7, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 181

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
nothing special happened today. this morning we took sadie to the vet for a shot and to have the vet look at her left arm (front leg?). he said her shoulder may be bruised, but she never limped or not used it at all, so it isn't broken and it will heal by itself. we also got some eye drops with cortisteroids to use on both out cats' eyes, because some time it seems like they're oozing, which probably is an allergic reaction. (maybe they are allergic to me, wouldn't that be messed up?!) i went into the office, for one to make sure my expense reports were fedexed to headquarters in santa barbara and two to give denise some room to work on her class assignment and to give her a chance to take a nap while it was quiet in the house. because, again, she didn't sleep all too well and it's really starting to bug me that i can't do anything about it. after working in my corporate cubicle for a couple of hours i came back home, worked some more, had dinner, worked some more, watched a shocking episode of house, took a shower and now i should be studying for the driver's license tests i want to take tomorrow. i will gloss over the driver's manual and i will see if i can find some online samples of the written test … which is really not a written test, but done at a computer. no luck with the online samples, though, unless i am willing to pay for it. which i'm not, of course …
monday, april 6, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 180

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
i thought today i'd do only 2 things: 1. a list with shortcuts to "important" blog entries 2. (continue with the) letter to my unborn son it is cool to see the progression, if i may say so myself, so here goes:

there! and now for part 2 of this blog:
"Dear Travis, It's been a while since I last wrote you, two weeks exactly actually, but one day when you're a little older you will understand that sometimes life can get in the way. As promised to you the last time I will tell you more about the honeymoon. Since I had to return to Europe only a couple of days after the wedding ceremony (a client wanted and needed me in Poland and they were willing to pay for the airfare!) we planned our honeymoon to be around Christmas time. This would serve a twofold purpose, because by doing that we could ensure that the kids were not left at their own devices (because they had winter vegetation with their dad) and we didn't have to take them along on OUR romantic getaway. From the start we were shooting for a honeymoon in Hawaii, preferrably the island Kauai, and even though I made a few hotel reservations I had to cancel those because the airfare to and from would be $2000 per person. And let me tell you, the hotels were not cheap either. So, since Denise had never been to New York City (I know, right?!) we decided to go there and of course I knew the perfect place to stay: the chambers hotel, an upscale, uptown boutique hotel that already had stolen my heart and after our short vacation it also stole your mother's heart. For the first Valentine's Day Denise and I shared I made her a photobook/journal from pictures I took and the journal she kept throughout the honeymoon, and when you're old enough we will share this with you. Suffice to say we had a great time in the Big Apple; we saw a lot of things, ate in OK to very very nice restaurants, visited the MoMA and Ground Zero, strolled through Central Park, "celebrated" Xmas, and much much more. Even though the honeymoon only lasted for 6 days (including travel) we made the most of it. I'm positive we will not forget these days for as long as we live. Of course, it was also a very tiring holiday, because, as you will find out when you go to NYC, six days is not enough to see the city, it is nowhere near enough, but we saw it and we had a wonderful time. And it goes without saying that, although we were enjoying the alone-time, we also missed Campion and Pepper lots and lots. They didn't know where we would be going, because they would not have liked it, especially Campion, since he (desperately) wanted, and still wants, to go there. It was better to have them hear it after the fact, because otherwise getting them to go to their dad for Christmas had been near to impossible. Anyway, one day, we will take you to New York so you can see for yourself this great and grand city. But first you have some growing up to do … hell, you even need to get out of your mom's uterus. And trust me, she wouldn't mind "getting rid" of you, because you are quite the active little baby, dancing and rolling around like nobody's business. I keep saying to Denise that you'll be grounded for the fist year of your life, just for principle's sake, but of course I only say that jokingly. Right after our honeymoon it was New Year's and a few days after that I, again, left for Europe (same client needed me some more in Poland), but this time I also got my work visum sorted out, which I will tell you more about next time, so until then, try and give your mother a break and stay tuned for more :-)
Always, your loving father."
to be continued …
other than that i also want to share that we have bought travis' first furniture :-)
sunday, april 5, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 179

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
i finally came around to researching if my dutch giant genes have something to do with travis seemingly being two weeks ahead of the curve.

so yeah, i don't know what to make of this, because all the dutch stats actually show a slightly smaller size and lighter weight at 29 weeks. and today is the mark of the start of the 29th week of pregnancy, judge for yourself:

saturday, april 4, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 178

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
because denise couldn't get comfortable, probably for most of the night, she got up too early for my taste, so when i got up at 8am we did breakfast and then headed out to do grocery shopping. while getting our normal groceries we also bought a new phone set and some baby stuff (diapers, onesies, things like that). on the way back denise practically schlepped me to this hole in the wall that sells gyros (you gotta know, denise loves her gyros!) and we had to get some for lunch, even though it was only 11am. after we got back, we ate lunch and then denise laid down for a nap, before it was time to head out to take pepper to vegetation. in the meantime, i did a conference call with a client (mostly listening) and i talked with my mom, which was nice. at 2pm i woke up denise, told pepper to get dressed and at 2.30 we started the drive to south pittsburg. since this weekend is the start of spring break we anticipated heavy traffic, but we only hit a rough spot in chattanooga. it maybe was a good thing that the kids were off today, so we could leave a little earlier, so maybe we beat the spring break and weekend traffic. in any case, we were at the drop off point way too early, so we lounged around, got pepper a snack and before the scheduled meeting time, pepper's dad drove up. she shuttled her stuff over to his car and came back for hugs and then we went our separate ways. the drive there and back were not as charged and anxious as previous times, mostly because denise spent a lot of time on the phone trying to sort something out for her mom. for dinner we decided on firehouse subs (omnomnomnom) and after scarfing down a footlong sub i installed the new phones downstairs and upstairs, so they are charging as i type this. tomorrow i will RTFM and configure the thing, because, really, all i want to do is go to bed and sleep …

friday, april 3, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 177

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
got up, got packed, my colleague drove me to the airport, and thus i began a long journey home from cedar rapids, iowa. the first flight, to cincinatti, left a few minutes before scheduled departure time and i think we landed about 15 minutes before scheduled arrival time. went from one concourse to the other to wait for my flight to atlanta, but not before getting myself a venti cappuccino. the plane came in on time, so everything looked to be fine. forty minutes before departure time they started the boarding process: first class passengers first … a pause … and then elite members. that was my cue, so i got in line and got checked in. i found my seat, a middle seat, but at the exit row, so plenty of leg room and after i sat down i noticed not a whole lot of people followed me. and nobody came on board again. then the captain announced that because of inclement weather (a little fucking rain!) our slot time was delayed with an hour and fifty minutes and we had a choice: either go back out and wait in the terminal building or stay in the plane. we were told not to wander off to far, because the captain had put in a request with atlanta air traffic control for an earlier departure. i decided to stay in the plane, because i had no-one sitting next to me yet, so i could spread out. after a little while the stewardess asked the people still on the plane if they wanted anything to drink and the extremely gay steward in first class handed out first class snacks to the people on the plane. in the meantime i read the rest of the april issue wallpaper and talked with a fellow passenger. the request for earlier departure was never granted. 30 minutes before the allotted slot time the re-boarding process again and we almost got delayed, because one passenger didn't want to check her huge bag, even though all the overhead bins were full. (gotta love the duplicity in delta's approach: charge passengers for checked bags but at the same time complain about delays caused by everyone not checking their bags anymore, so it takes longer to board a plane.) with the help of 2 stewardesses and 2 other passengers the dumb bitch got her huge bag in an overhead bin, so we barely made our departure time. the flight itself was only an hour and 10 minutes, but there was loads of turbulence, which meant there was no beverage service. we arrived "on time" and i texted denise that i landed, by which time she was already on her way to the airport. of course, if it rains atlanta drivers are even worse than they usually are, so it took her a long time to reach the airport. once she arrived i was glad to hold her and hug her (now i still can ;-)) and i took the driver's seat and got us home in 45 minutes. pepper had made most of tonight's dinner that she and her brother ate while denise was on her way to pick me up. when we got home all we needed to do was reheat the meatload, garlic mashed potatoes and cauliflower. and it was delish! after dinner i got caught up on finances, a few work emails and my stuffs on the internet. tomorrow we get to sleep in, unexpectedly, because the kids have no school due to compensation for a missed inclement weather day (back when i was in school …). still, we have lots to do tomorrow, like our weekly groceries, and in the afternoon we drive pepper off to spring break vegetation with her dad. other than that, my lovely wife looks as beautiful as ever, and i am happy to be home!
thursday, april 2, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 176

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
i have nothing much to say today, really. work was work, though a little taxing because of sitting in meetings for most of the day without getting anything concrete out of it. so now, after dinner i feel really tired, so the work i sorta planned to do tonight will have to wait till tomorrow or friday. the good news is that tomorrow i return home and get to stay home for little over a week … maybe my body can finally catch up with the timezone it is supposed to be in ;-) and because i am home for a longer period of time i will get to see travis bouncing around in denise. travis, i haven't forgotten about you or the letter i am still writing to you, i promise i will write some more in the coming days, when i will have a little more time to expand.
wednesday, april 1, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 175

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
for me today was another uneventful day, really. made some good progress at the client and they and my colleagues seem to be appreciative of my approach, so i think this project can be a lot of fun. it will also be challenging, though, because we have to do a lot of things in a relatively short span of time and we need to juggle time and map out the most logical and efficient timeline. luckily i am not the project manager, so all i do is input whatever i think is the best course and leave it to him to map it all out. yeah, the project plan is not something i would enjoy working on … let me do stuff, harrass people, force them to make decisions. denise had a much tougher day. she had to get up at the usual time to get the kids off the school, even though she went to bed after midnight due to having to post this week's class assignment. on top of that she was not allowed to eat or drink anything until she was done with her 3-hour test for gestational diabetes, which she had to be in the ob/gyn's office for at 8am. the results will be ready either tomorrow or the day after, but if by friday we haven't heard anything we are allowed to assume that denise nor the baby have any form of diabetes, but denise will call the ob/gyn office on friday to confirm that this is the case. so yeah, she had a short night, followed by a rough morning, so i'm glad she was able to take a nap after she got back and ate something. and i know that tonight she went to bed early, so that gives me a little peace of mind. not that it keeps me awake at night, but i do care about the mother of our baby getting enough rest. and i will stay on her case for that, no matter how she bitches and moans about it. while denise was winding down for the day, i went out to dinner with one of my colleagues. our project manager stayed behind at the hotel because he wasn't feeling well and he needed to do some preparation work for tomorrow. the two of us went to third base brewery and had us some good beer and pretty decent pub grub, while enjoying civilized conversation. well, actually it was more of an interrogation, because my colleague is fascinated by the fact that i am a foreigner living and working in the usa and he constantly probes me for my (or the European) take on everything. i'm just glad he is open minded and doesn't think that america is the best. he told me about something i hadn't heard of before, maybe denise has, and it is a 521k plan, which is similar to 401k (een combinatie van pensioen en een spaarloon regeling) in which i can deposit a tax free amount per paycheck that will grow towards travis' college fund. the limitation is that there is a maximum amount that i can deposit into it, but even so, $50 every two weeks for a period of 18 years will total into quite a substantial amount ($23,400 without interest!). we will definitely be looking into that :-) after we got back, i went up to my room, took a shower, shaved and now i am ready for bed, but i won't climb in till i made the rounds on the internet.
tuesday, march 31, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 174

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
nothing earth shattering today. spent the day mostly by myself at the client. only had one meeting that turned into an almost 2 hour long think tank session with me being the captain on a ship in treacherous waters making sure to stay off the cliffs. and i did, so that was pretty successful. now we're gonna make another meeting happen tomorrow, so we can close to finalizing the first milestone item in the project plan. on the homefront there is also nothing earth shattering, but tomorrow there might be, because denise has to go to the ob/gyn in the morning to do a 3-hour gestational diabetes test. more on that tomorrow, even though she probably won't have the results for a couple of days. other than that, nothing earth shattering.
monday, march 30, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 173

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
after a grueling afternoon and evening getting the green card paperwork done we both were so tired we barely made it past midnight. but then, as usual these days, i slept fine while my wife slept less than fine. so she got up before me, but i got up maybe an hour later, because i still had things to do. like get another set of passport photos taken. and pack. but first, denise made breakfast … actually, it was more like breakfast and lunch and afternoon snack in one for me. and she did it with forethought, but without malice of course, because we had to leave at 12.30pm to get me to the airport for my trip to cedar rapids. so we got to the airport on time, easily, said our goodbyes, i checked in, got through security and went to my gate. there, everything still looked for on-time departure, but then the plane came in a little late, so the scheduled departure time was delayed with 10 minutes. the boarding process started on time for a 10 minute late start, but once we were all seated the captain announced that (something on) the plane was broken and maintenance had to fix it and it was going to take about 45 minutes.i knew i had a 1 hour and 50 minute layover in detroit, so time was getting tight. after about 45 minutes the captain announced that the plane had been fixed and that they would start the departure process. they closed the cabin door, but then there was a knock on the door, so it had to be opened again. the passenger paperwork had not been exchanged, yet. that delayed everything with another 15 mins before the door was closed and we were actually pushed off the gate. then we found ourselves in a traffic jam to the beginning (or is it the end?) of the runway, which took another 15 minutes. by this time it meant that i had about 35 minutes left on my layover … and detroit is a big airport … the flight itself was uneventful (no, we obviously didn't crash!) and when we started the landing process and ducked beneat the cloud cover i saw snow flurries zooming by. of course, we landed away from the terminal buildings so taxiing took forever. and then we stopped short of our gate. for about 5 mins and from the looks of it we weren't even at a gate. when the door finally opened i saw we were at a gate, just at the very last gate of the b concourse. by this time i had about 5 minutes before my next flight started boarding, so i sped out the plane, looked for terminals and saw that my flight to cedar rapids was clear at the other end of the c concourse. on the b and c concourse there is no tram/train/whatchamacallit, just moving walkways. walking as fast as i could without going into a full blown sprint i made my way to the gate and i arrived there right when the boarding process would have started. but they weren't yet. it was a small plane, so the boarding wouldn't take longer than 10 minutes anyway, but still. to my dismay i saw that right opposite my gate there was a ruddfuckers … had i not been delayed, that would have made for an excellent dinner location … maybe 10 minutes later we boarded the canadair regional jet and at the correct departure time we pushed off and then started taxiing around. because it was snowing, and it was snowing pretty badly, we had to have the plane de-iced, which took about 20 minutes. at this time i wasn't worried anymore, because at least i would make it to cedar rapids, where i had a car reservation and a hotel reservation, so all was going to be well. with a slight delay we took off, but we landed right on schedule. and 45 minutes after landing i was able to call denise from my hotel room :-) we kept the call short, though, because i hadn't eaten yet, so i was gonna go to the hotel restaurant for a quick bite, which i did. a quick burger and a new belgian 1554 beer later i was back in my hotel room typing out this blog, before jumping in the shower to get clean and to get a clean shave. never a dull moment … ;-)
sunday, march 29, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 172

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
we went to bed last night, both pretty exhausted from our respective days. unfortunately, denise got up too early again today, because of discomfort. i slept in a little bit and actually managed to get denise back in bed, where we just held each other and talked. after getting up denise made breakfast and i started the arduous task of filling and printing out the green card application forms and making copies of all the required attachments. we also needed to provide passport photos so we ran to the pharmacy on the corner to get those taken, so i could also pick up my prescription and denise could get some more tylenol. on the way back home i thought it would be a good idea to do a practice run to the hospital, for when the baby wants to be delivered. i know where the hospital is, but i didn't know where the women's center and/or the labor/delivery entrance is, but i do now. depending on traffic the trip should take a minumum of 5 minutes and a maximum of 10 minutes. good info to have. upon return i continued getting all the green card documents in order, in the meantime eating dinner and once i was done i made copies of all the signed forms and put them in an envelope. that's when i took a look at the uscis website again (no link provided, because really don't want to give anyone a headache!) and decided that maybe i should file another form as well, so with denise's help i filled that out and made some more copies. the only thing left to do now is to get another passport photo and then the envelope (which you can see behind me on my right, your left) can be sealed and sent out, registered. because i want to know if and when uscis has received it. the next steps will be fingerprinting, possibly an interview and possibly a medical examination. hopefully, after a lot of money and time, the us government allows me to become a legal alien … keep your fingers crossed for me. please. it goes without saying that after all this forking convoluted, forking legalese, forking bureaucratic, red forking tape i am quite tired!
saturday, march 28, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 171

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
today was a short day at the client. got through most of my agenda in the previous 2 days, so this morning i had about 2 hours worth of stuff to share. but after that i did my on-site write-up and called it good. of course, this meant i was at dfw airport at a little after 1pm while my scheduled flight would depart at 6.50pm. but i was able to change flight at no cost, so i got on the 3.45pm flight. which was delayed because of bad weather in atlanta. and i had a seat assignment and once i was cleared, of course, i had my self a middle seat *sigh* but at least i was home 2.5 hours earlier than anticipated, and that counts for a whole lot. on the way back from the airport i nearly crashed the car into a median, because i wasn't paying attention to where i was going, and not long after going over the curb we started to smell something. i don't think i hit something with the car and i'm pretty sure the underside of the car didn't hit anything either. but a few minutes later we figured where the smell was coming from: a truck with an engine problem was crawling along leaving a huge thick trail of smoke. once we bypassed the truck, the smell was gone too … *phew* once at home, i unloaded my backpack, while denise warmed up pizza and during my dinner i got caught up with finances. now all that is left is messages in storm, facebook and email. but that can wait till tomorrow … or, looking at the clock, moments from now … i'm home, and that's what matters, so tonight i can fall asleep with my lovely wife in my arms … i love you, denise! <3
friday, march 27, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 170

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
gonna keep it short and sweet today: i had a good day. denise had not such a good day, even though it was better than yesterday. an interesting development regarding travis, but i'll share more in a couple of days. nothing to worryu about, though, it's all good. even though, like half an hour, denise mentioned he more or less jumped out of her belly. guess he is keen on seeing the world, or he feels like he's a man trapped in woman's body … the real good news is that i am going back home tomorrow; looking forward to holding denise in my arms again … that is, if i can still reach all the way around ;-)
thursday, march 26, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 169

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
10:56pm - quick entry today, because i want to be in bed in 4 minutes … nothing spectacular happened today, other than a database error at the beginning of my client training session, which basically stopped us dead in out tracks. but i kept my cool and had it fixed within an hour and after that we just motored through the agenda and at the end of the day we were even ahead of schedule. while walking over to my restaurant of choice (daniele osteria) i snapped a couple of pictures, and also on my way back to the hotel after a satisfying italian meal. when i got back to my room i called denise, and found out she has been cranky all day. and that "upsets" me, because i can't do anything about it, not even if i would be right there. i hope tonight she will have a good night's sleep (long and uninterrupted) so that tomorrow she will feel better. and now i am going to get ready to get some shut-eye too … 11:02 - quick entry fail!
wednesday, march 25, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 168

first and foremost: link to latest scheduling agenda …
another weird day with quite a few mixed emotions. the day started off with our monthly visit to the ob/gyn. denise had to take a test for gestational diabetes and probably in 4 weeks we will know whether she has that or not. she never had it before so chances are she will not have it now either. when doing the ultrasound the doctor did notice that travis is about 2 weeks ahead of the growth curve, so instead of being 27 weeks into the pregnancy, she may be 29 weeks into it. but, everything looks good, his heartbeat is solid and strong at a 146bpm and his features look perfectly normal, as you can see below.
the first shot shows travis' head and his right hand, because as soon as the doctor put the ultrasound viewer in denise's belly, he started protesting:

another shot of his face, looking right at the "camera":

the third shot is his femur bone (so, not what you initially thought it was :P):

the fourth shot is a close-up profile shot of his face again:

and in the last shot you can see poor travis pout ("I object, I strenuously object!"):

after the doctor's visit denise took a nap and i worked for a few hours, mainly making travel arrangements for the next 6 weeks, as you can see in the link i provided at the top of this blog. i also packed my bag for today's trip to dallas. when the pepper came home, we all hopped in the car and drove to the airport. saying goodbye was a little harder than it was last time and seeing as i have quite a few trips planned prior to travis' birth, it will likely only get worse. the plane ride was uneventful, save for the fact that for an hour and half (three quarters) we had to endure pretty severe turbulence, but in the end the ride smoothed out and i was one of the last ones to get a drink … that was good, because all the moving around had made me thirsty. i got my bag pretty quickly and hopped in a cab to my hotel close to downtown dallas. it was there, while unpacking, that i noticed that my backpack was opened and that some items had disappeared … quite a shock, actually. all in all it was just a few items and none that i would have needed, but still, the fact that someone opened my bag, perused it, opened another bag to take out personal items … it's quite unsettling. so, i got online and dropped a complaint on delta's desk: "After arriving in my hotel in Dallas I noticed that the backpack I checked in in Atlanta was not only opened but there were items missing from my bag. One, it is unacceptable that ground personnel opens my bag for any reason. Two, it is unacceptable that ground personnel looks around in my bag and STEALS my personal belongings. Items that are STOLEN are: - 1 SanDisk Compact Flash Extreme IV 4 GB card $76.99 - 1 SanDisk Compact Flash Extreme III 2 GB card $38.99 - 1 Joby GP3 Gorillapod $54.95 - 1 Canon RS-80N3 Remote Switch $70.00 - 1 LensPen $12.95 Total value: $255.83. I want to be reimbursed immediately and I want to be reimbursed in full. This "incident" makes me want to rethink using Delta as my preferred air carrier from now on; it is not the first time I have noticed that my bag has been opened, but this is the first time something was actually taken and I am shocked and appalled by it. Your prompt reply is expected." let's see what comes of this. i ordered room service, while denise was calling her mother and now i am typing this blog while waiting for denise to ping me back so i can give her a call before i take my shower and shave.
tuesday, march 24, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 167

today was a pretty uneventful day. i woke up way too late to see the kids out (for some reason i my cell phone in my hand, which may have disabled the alarm). denise had to meet pepper's teacher and when she came back i could drive to the office. i worked there for a couple of hours, mostly admin stuff. yes, tomorrow i will post a new scheduling agenda, because my schedule is rapidly intensifying. when i came home from work the kids were home already and while denise went out to get some last minute groceries for today's dinner i caught up on the internet and kept an eye on my work email. dinner was good and both kids eat their steak like it was candy. for dessert we had red velvet cakem which also quickly disappeared in the respective tummies. in the evening we watched a (rerun) episode of house and i watched top gear after that and now we are both ready for bed.
monday, march 23, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 166

another lazy sunday. i slept in, relatively compared to denise, because she got up at least an hour and a half before me … or so she says … this morning we took a couple of pictures that we'll probably never show to anyone else and however bashful we may have felt prior to this the result is not bad at all :-) thanks for humoring me, my love (even though it really was your own idea *grin*) denise made me a big breakfast around noon-ish and at little after 2pm her and pepper were picked up by casey's mom for his birthday party at chuck e. cheese. i had opted not to come along, so instead i sweeped and mopped the hardwood floors of the kitchen and the hallway, while campion cleaned the bathrooms. before the cleaning mania we watched top gear for a little while and afterwards campion played a star wars game on the wii-rtz; i started writing this blog entry … because it was time to stop the procrastination and get on with the letter to travis:
"Dear Travis, After all the preparations were done your mother and I were able to focus on the day itself. Denise sequestered herself into her maid of honor's chamber to get into her wedding dress and to have her hair and make-up done. I went to our room to take a shower and to get myself shaved. This is when I discovered I forget to bring my razor. Whoops! So I called reception and asked if they could bring up a disposable, quickly, which they did, but the shave wasn't as close as with my own razor, hence the fact that on pictures of that day you will see a slight 5 o'clock shadow. But anyway, around 4pm I went to the conference room that we turned into a wedding banquet room. And I want you to know, I was NOT nervous. In the meantime our official photographer, Z, had arrived and he was taking pictures and portraits in the holiest of holies, the one room your father was barred from. I asked our good friend Eric to click the appropriate hyperlinks in the music column, hung around a bit, joked with family and friends and waited. And I want you to know once more, TJ, I still was not nervous. So, at 4.30pm Eric started the music leading up to the processional. Everyone slowly took their places and started looking around nervously. When 5pm came down and the processional song started (track 7), the giver awayer nor the maid of honor nor the kids nor the bride were in sight. Travis, let me tell you, at THAT point I started to get a little nervous. When the processional song was over, Eric restarted it, while my best man scurried to get the bridal party in the room. Apparently, something happened up there that made them forget the time just a little, but thanks to Z they managed to clamor down in haste; ask your mom about details *grin* At the second play of the processional song, the kids quickly walked in and took their seat, followed closely and more slowly by my beautiful bride and a proud-as-a-peacock Sean as giver awayer and followed by the maid of honor. While everyone was taking the correct place around the "altar" Z and our unofficial photographer, Sterling, were happily snapping away, the paparazzi ;-) The official ceremony started right at the beginning of track 8 with Alex, the best man, reading the introduction to Denise's vows. After that Denise said her vows. Then it was Angie's, the maid of honor, turn to read the introduction to my vows. Obviously, after that, I said my vows. Your mom and I kissed. Then Denise called up the kids who each received a necklace with the family symbol as hanger. After this official part the next part was the champagne toast and the cutting of the cake, as designed by Orna. During the toast, Alex speeched and surprisingly, so did your grandfather! And that was pretty much it. Apart from the one time I was not nervous throughout all of this, even though I seemingly had a hard time putting the necklace on your big sister … to my defense, the hook and clasp of said necklace were way too tiny for my big hands. Denise then announced that everybody could grab a piece of cake and/or dinner snacks and/or get a drink. That's where the party music started (at track 16) and at the bottom of this page you can see what was played; quite an eclectic list :-) Lots of fun and exciting things happened during the party, but what will be remembered most is that Pepper likes taking pictures. She likes it more than being in front of the camera; she smiled and laughed more in those few short hours than I have seen her do till then. When you're a little bit older your mom and I will show you all the pictures that were taken on December 1, 2007. Then we will also explain you that this wedding was nothing more than a token ceremony, because we couldn't get legally married yet: mom was not officially divorced, yet, and I was not a legal citizen in the USA, yet. Next time, though, I will tell you all about our honeymoon, so stay tuned for more :-)
Always, your loving father."
to be continued …
at 5.30pm denise and pepper returned and since they had already eaten at sucky cheese, denise prepared a quick dinner for the boys in the house: jambalaya! for dessert we had a couple of birthday cupcakes that they brought back from the party. i took a shower, pepper surged teh interwebs on my computer, campion played some more star wars and denise took a short nap. whether we want to or not, we should be ready for this week …
sunday, march 22, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 165

slept in again (lucky me), but again denise did not (unlucky her), and basically we all didn't do much all day. sure, denise got her homework/classwork done, i processed 171 pictures i took at the psg conference, but that was pretty much it. after dinner we watched a little tv and after pepper went to bed, campion, denise and me watch gus van sant's elephant. i realize i still need to tell my unborn son all the good stuff that happened on his parents' wedding day, but to be honest, travis, i feel kinda uninspired. maybe tomorrow … in the meantime, here's 2 shots of you (well, of you inside your mother):


saturday, march 21, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 164

tgif! slept in today, though me more than denise … *sigh* did work from the home office while denise did the weekly grocery shopping. we took it easy in the afternoon and after pizza for dinner we watched a movie denise bought at wally world: milk. pretty good movie, i must say, and sean penn deserves the oscar. robert de niro was right, though, "How, for so many years, did Sean Penn get all those straight roles?"
friday, march 20, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 163

today was a travel day. i was able to sleep in a little bit, got dressed, got packed and proceeded to wait for the shuttle. the shuttle that never showed up, so i had to get a cab. still, i was more than on time to check in for my flight back from the oc. unfortunately, i again could not be upgraded to business class, but i had the same seat as on the way over, only this time i had someone sitting next to me. even with the limited elbow room i managed to put in 2 hours of work, billable hours. we arrived about 15 minutes prior to estimated arrival and when denise wanted to leave to come pick me up she saw that traffic was bad, so i let denise know that she could come pick me up at the marta station in north springs. i made my way over to baggage claim and while i waited for my bag to show up on the carousel i purchased a ticket and not much longer i got my bag and went on my way. about 45 minutes later i give my wife a kiss through the car window, got in and drove us home. i noticed immediately that she has grown considerably in these last few days, so i am going to be making another profile shot again this weekend. when we got home, i unloaded my bag and denise put our dinner in the nukebox. after that, i got caught up on our financial status and that was basically my day. it's good to be home, though, and be with denise and the kids :-)
thursday, march 19, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 162

last day of the conference, thank buddha. as much as i like seeing my colleages, i don't like the fact that i am not productive. i am very much a roll-up-sleeves-and-get-down-to-it kinda guy and sitting on my ass for three days is just not doing it for me. nevertheless, it was also a fun three days, even though i am happy to return home tomorrow. I know it's not going to be for long, because on tuesday i am off to dallas for three days. and the week after i'll probably need to go to cedar rapids for 2 or 3 days. other than that, i am really looking forward to seeing denise and the kids (including the one in denise's belly) again. by the way, travis, probably tomorrow or the day after i will tell you more about our wedding day, so no need to panic ;-)
wednesday, march 18, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 161

happy st. patrick's day! i have actually typed up this blog prior to going out with a couple of irish colleagues. so, instead of foregoing my daily blog because of coming back late, or drunk, or not at all (*wink*) i scheduled it to post at a little over 11pm. today was an interesting day, because i had to present a class. i didn't tell anyone, except denise of course, so i could prepare quietly without feeling the need to bitch and moan. and i didn't bitch and moan or tell anyone i really didn't want to teach a class. and the presentation went well, so today mostly i was relieved. and ready to go out and celebrate me being irish …
tuesday, march 17, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 160

first day of the conference. good to see some familiar faces and re(connect) with people. lots of laughter, lots of stories and some interesting topics during the sessions. talked to the only (other) dutch guy at the conference, who joined after i left for atlanta. of course we talked about the differences between working in europe and working in north america and i found it interesting to see how our views lined up. this first day was also the day of the group's team event and as it turned out it was a scavenger hunt in disneyland. we were divided up in 9 teams and we each had a 12 question assignment to gather as quickly as possible. i think we were the only team that did not cheat by calling 3rd parties or using the crackberry to google the answers (*whistles innocently*). when we turned in our answers we were not the first ones, but once each team made it to the meeting location we heard that the winner would be announced tomorrow, so we all kinda went our own way in disappointment. we didn't get full access entry passes for disneyland, only the "fairy tale" part, so i didn't get to go on cool rides like california screaming. i ended up with 6 other consultants and we headed out the park to find some food (anything not sushi) and while on my way out and outside of the park entry i looked for the mickey mouse hat pepper demanded me to look for, but i didn't find any, but by that time it was already close to 9pm so a lot of the vending places were already closed down or closing down. so, sorry pepper … i will still look around for a mickey mouse hat. after a long discussion we settled on mexican, and although they had dos equis amber on tap, the food wasn't all that great as well as being overpriced, but i guess that's what it's all about in a tourist trap like disneyland. one of my colleages even found the steak label in his food *LOL* it was after 10pm when we started walking back to the hotel, because surely it wasn't more than 20 minutes away. fifty minutes later we saw the hotel and i think everybody was glad to back to his/her room and call it a night. (or, everybody is saving up for tomorrow: st. paddy's day!) got back to my room, downloaded the photos i took today (only 75) and jumped in the shower. and now i'm typing up this blog while ii'm air drying my hair, before turning in.
monday, march 16, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 159

so much for sunday being a lazy day. denise got up too early again (still back pain and frequent peeing), i slept in a little longer. after i got up we basically readied ourselves for a trip to supercuts to all have our hair cut. and mine was desperately in need of a trim, because i swear i could almost see my hair from the upper corners of my eyes. when we got back i started packing for my trip to anaheim and after talking with my mom on the phone denise and i decided that it didn't make sense to eat before driving me to the airport, so instead we "snuck out" early to have dinner at ruddfuckers. the dinner for the kids was pretty much prepared and ready to go, all campion needed to do was turn on the oven at 6pm and dinner would be ready 60-70 minutes later, by which time denise would be back home. she dropped me off at the airport, we said our goodbyes (it's getting harder each week) and i was on my way to california. the plane came in on time, but we left a little too late, because some people had trouble getting on. i lucked out, because not only was i sitting in an exit row, but the guy next to me left his seat for the only available business class seat, so i had two seats to myself. the 5 hour flight itself was pretty uneventful, save for the guy that collapsed in the aisle when he wanted to go to the lavatory (who calls it lavatory still?). we landed at orange county airport with a 6 minute delay and after waiting for my bag to come down the chute i made my way to the supershuttle. there i had to wait about 10 minutes till the van was full and 30 minutes later i checked in in the doubletree guest suites. so it's been a long day. and i miss my family. but i'll be back home in 4 days, so i guess we'll all survive …
sunday, march 15, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 158

i gloriously slept in today. denise didn't and that torques me. her back is acting up again, or still, so no matter what she tries, she can't stay comfortable for long in one position. and of course, the need to pee a couple times per night doesn't help much either to get through the night solidly. we had breakfast at noon and not much later i had to drive miss daisy to a friend 23 miles away. but 23 miles on back roads so almost a 45 minute drive. but a nice drive with some nice sceneries. when i got back i processed the pictures i took in cedar rapids. not too many, only 59, but perhaps one or two will eventually show up in my gallery on storm and in flickr. not long after that was done it was time already to go pick miss daisy from his playdate. the first thing i was told is that he had massive nosebleed from one of the dogs jumping in his face. and the sweater/jacket with blood is still sitting on a kitchen chair. ah well. dinner was jambalaya, yummy, and after dinner pepper started on her bead weaving loom, campion and i watched some led zeppelin before putting on dead poets' society. and now it's close to 1am already, so time for bed. hopefully tonight denise will get her rest.
saturday, march 14, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 157

another friday the thirteenth. and all i had to do today was travel back home, so i kept my fingers crossed for not falling out of the sky. got to cedar rapids/east iowa airport only an hour before departure, but that didn't matter, because there's nothing to do at that airport. flight was on time and even though i had an exit row, the seat was still uncomfortably small. then again the flight was only a little over an hour. that was because i could not book a non-stop flight back to atlanta, so i layed over in cincinnati. the cincinnati airport is a lot larger than i thought it would be. and very nice too. so i got myself a cappuccino and waited for my flight to atlanta. after we were pushed off the gate, the captain announced that we would have to wait 20 minutes before we could take off. apparently due to bad weather in atlanta (it was raining!). in the end we were only at the gate a few minutes after scheduled arrival time. not too bad. then the "bad luck" started. to get from concourse b to baggage claim i took the train. but there was a problem with it, because it didn't stop in the proper location for the doors, so it stopped at each concourse for a longer period of time. i saw my bag get loaded onto our plane from cincinnati, so i knew this would show up at a baggage carousel. of course, this took quite some time, but it arrived. made my way to the marta station to take the train to north springs, where denise would pick me up, instead of driving to and from the airport during weekend rush hour. everything went fine to a couple of stations before my end station. the driver thought he hit something so they needed to investigate. this meant that the train was taken out of service and we had to move to the other platform where the next train would stop and take us to the next stations. luckily, this happened quickly, so maybe i lost 15 minutes of time. denise was already at the kiss&ride parking place at the station. because of me being about 30 minutes later than i could have been if my bag would have come quicker and if the train hadn't hit anything, traffic driving home was a little heavier as well, but all in all it didn't take us all too long to get back home. home, sweet home. we had pizza for dinner and after that we just vegged out. each to their own abilities, especially denise, because she has put her back out and everything hurts now. she took a warm bath, but that didn't really alleviate the problem. hopefully it will go away soon. first let's sleep through the night and wake up on Pi Day (3.14).
friday, march 13, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 156

had another, interesting day at the client. i became a valid "employee" so i have a badge with a picture that lets me in everywhere (so now i can go pee without having to ask someone to escort me out and in). but, more importantly and more interestingly, yesterday i threw a bomb in a meeting that made everyone do a doubletake and this morning someone high up in the chain of command demanded a meeting with me and some other high rollers within the client to put me in charge of a change that is required to make this project a success and at the same time make a lot of other things down the line a little easier. something, the change management company who has been flowcharting they current and future state for the last 6 months now had not thought about. my colleague was pleasantly surprised. and my project manager was shocked, because he wasn't there, but he only got the email of how we are going to move forward. *grin* oddly, i'm a little bit proud of myself. *grin* dinner after work was pretty cool, too. my colleague decided to blow off his west coast client and "celebrate" with an early and long dinner. he says this is the best project he's been on, so far, and that things are shaping up to look very good. both for us and the client. we talked about all sorts of stuff: politics, religion, music, cultural differences, teenage kids, sports, germans … at the same time we had some good food and a couple of good (belgian) beers. we parted, but we will see each other again come monday at our conference in anaheim. (and as i've heard, we're going to disneyland on monday evening, whoopeee!!!). anyways, that is next week. for now i probably gotta go take a shower in a few minutes and get ready. tomorrow i get to fly home again, yay!
thursday, march 12, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 155

another hectic day at the client. it seems that my involvement will only increase over time, so i may have to spend quite some time over the next few months in wonderful cedar rapids, iowa. as long as it's not as cold as it was today, damn, it was cold. but at least the sun was out so it looked a lot better than the grey and rain of the day before. after going to the hotel after work, i worked some more before having dinner with a colleague in the hotel restaurant. afterwards i took a shower, shaved again and twiddled on the computer. now i'm thinking of going to bed early, just so i can have build a little credit in my sleep bank. my lovely wife went to bed early today. i guess the baby and the growing he does are having an effect on her. when i chatted with denise earlier this evening she said that he was busybusybusy in her belly. even though we'll take that as a good sign, i'm sure it is exhausting for denise. ah well, three more months and he's out :-)
wednesday, march 11, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 154

slept very well prior to my first day at my large new client. the day went well, but it was overwhelming in a way, just because of the sheer number of people i met, the intra-office politics, the high level discussions and the ping-pong agenda. but at the end of the day i think i got a good impression of where this is headed: i'm going to be busy for this client, very busy. when we got back to the hotel, we worked a little more in our hotel rooms before having dinner in the hotel restaurant. because my colleague only checked in after 1am last night, he went back to his room right after and so did i, to do a little more work. right after i called my beautiful wife i took a shower and then wrote up this blog, while listening to wind pounding against my hotel room window. luckily i have a suite and the bedroom window is on a side where the wind doesn't pound on it … :P
tuesday, march 10, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 153

today was a strange day because i had to leave again. this time to cedar rapids, iowa, for four days. we got up, denise slightly earlier than me, got the kids off to school and then we went back to bed for a bit. at the same time my alarm went off the phone rang, so we both got up and went about our day: i went to work (from the comfort of our kitchen table) and denise went to school (from the comfort of our love seat). from 1pm to 3pm i had a web training on new & improved functionality around inventory control and fixed assets and right at the end pepper came home. so i logged out of work and started packing for my trip to cedar rapids. a little after 4pm campion got home, driven by a friend of his, so instead of having to bring two kids to the marta station it was just going to be denise and me. little after 4.30pm i drove myself to the marta station in north springs where we said goodbye. i took the train to the airport and denise drove back home. even though it was rush hour i arrived at the airport fairly quickly, check-in was easy and there was hardly any wait time for security, so little after 6pm i was at my concourse scouring for dinner. i had to settle for wendy's and after that a cappuccino from seattle's best coffee (hint: not true!). my flight was on time and when we boarded i noticed how small the plane was and i had to squeeze myself into my seat and i had a slightly overweight woman next to me, so the the 2 hour flight was a little uncomfortable. when the plane landed i could see that the weather was nasty and the forecast said it would be so, so for once they had it right. i waited for my bag and after that found the shuttle driver who would drive me to the marriott hotel. i got there, checked in, unpacked my bags, fired up my computer and called my love to wish her sweet dreams and a good night's sleep. i took a shower to shave my 4 day beard and after that i checked the interwebs for messages. and of course to post this blog. more news tomorrow …
monday, march 9, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 152

while i actually managed to sleep in (minus 1 hour because of daylight savings time) denise got up early again, this time because of back pain, which made it hard to stay comfortable in bed. i'm sure her helping with the assembly of the coffee table has something to do with, although she says it is a normal side effect from being preggers, so from now on she will go through bouts of back pain. great! another thing i can't help with or do anything about *sigh* campion came home last night, exhausted from his deca meeting and, once he opened up his laptop only to find that his password had changed, pissed off at us. i'm sure he thinks it's so unfair that we treat him this way … ah well, dude needs to learn to get his priorities straight and his focus on the appropriate subjects. he got up not long after i did, but he already forgot that today was driving school from 1pm to 5pm, so the ride over to the place was cold … i almost had to turn on the heater :P after returning from that short drive i took to the second installment of ikea assembly: the file drawer. although less items and less steps than the table, it proved a little more complicated to get this done, but with the help of my tired, in-pain wife, i managed to get it all done. see proof below:

the colors are different from what we have, but we think it works well together. i don't know how much time i will have the next few weeks to continue writing my letter to travis john carlin, so here's another part:
"Dear Travis, Last time I left you at our wedding day. We chose December 1 as our wedding day because it was on that date, at that time, one year ago we declared our love. It had been my hope to get my work visa finalized before then, but government bodies are slow slow cogs. And it wasn't just the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), the American Consulate, but also SSA (Social Security Administration). But, since we couldn't know for sure when everything would be settled, we agreed to have wedding ceremony on December 1, 2007, regardless. If I would be a legal alien, fine, if not, it would become a token ceremony. We sent out the official wedding invitations mid October 2007, but we had informed the invitees already, because we had people coming from Holland (your grandparents, aunt and uncle, a close friend as my best man, and, surprisingly, another good friend), England (the giver awayer), Kansas (aunts), Pennsylvania (friend), Missouri (maid of honor) and North Carolina (uncle and friend), and those people needed a little more advanced planning than 6 weeks prior to the date. Your mom did most of the planning, because I was still overseas up intil mid November and my one client was occupying a lot of my time. Of course, wherever I could I helped out. And with limited resources and limited time we were able to get everything organized, and pretty well I might add. My parents and my best man were in the USA a week and two weeks prior to the wedding day for a vacation, since they were overseas anyways. Another friend came in a couple of days early and so did my sister and her fiancee. The rest flew and/or drove in a day or two days prior to the ceremony. We had accomodations arranged with Hyatt Place hotel for both the ceremony and all guest rooms. All that we needed to do was rent a couple of tables, get a flower or plant arrangement, sort out the wedding music and hire a photographer. For the latter, luckily, through the same website as I met your mother, we also knew two photographers. So we hired one guy, Z, while the other would be his assistent. And you will see, once you are old enough, those photos turned out great! I brought my camera as well and both myself and your older sister took tons of pictures. (This is where we noticed that Pepper is totally comfortable behind the camera :-)) On the night before our wedding day we took our family out to dinner at Cabernet, which was enjoyed by everyone, even though it was a little uncomfortable since this was the first time we got family together like this. And couple that with the language barrier, however small that was. On the wedding day itself there were very little things that needed be done. Campion needed to get his haircut and even though he was bitching and moaning about it, he was very happy with the result. Denise needed to have her hair done and her face done. All I needed to do was set up the conference room and get suited up and the wedding could commence … but more on that next time, so stay tuned for more :-)
Always, your loving father."
to be continued …
seeing that i am mostly going to be away from home the next few weeks (hopefully i can update my scheduling agenda tomorrow), today is also the day for another progression shot:

i don't know if you can see it, but denise has been growing quite a bit and i can tell that travis also has been growing quite a bit. next to that he makes his presence known whenever there is something not to his liking: lily's paws kneeding denise's belly, a full colon, certain types of food. i'm still thinking he needs to be apologizing for his behavior once he gets to an age where he has the ability to reason *grin*
sunday, march 8, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 151

i, for one, couldn't really sleep in today, because i had a dentist appointment at 10am. denise could, however, she got up at 7.30am already, because again she was having weird dreams. the dental was pretty uneventful, they had me waiting in the chair for half an hour due to double scheduling and since it is always cold in there and the fact the dental hygienist used a lof of cold water to do the cleaning i had to pee like a race horse after i was done. then we made our fourth trek to that wonderful swedish furniture store, ikea. we needed a new coffee table and a filing cabinet. we also looked and priced several items for the baby chamber, so we came back with some more stuff to research. what we also will research is if we are able to get a loft/townhouse in atlantic station as an alternative option for looking for a house in the area we're in. we got back to the house, not before going to the avenue, a new shopping center across highway 400, to have pepper spend some of the money that was burning a hole in her pocket, unloaded, have pepper clean up her room (again!) while denise was taking a nap. at 5.30 i woke her up, because i was getting anxious to put the coffee table together and also because i was getting a little bit hungry. we ordered dinner by phone (my wife is such a wonderful cook ;-)) and i started working on the coffee table. the table looked quite simple, but it was actually a little more elaborate than i thought it would be, but in the end i got it done (*grin*). almost entire by myself (*grin*). and only with making 1 mistake and making 1 omission … yeah, i have some parts left over … in the meantime, pepper was starting to feel feverish, so i guess she is coming down with the flu. hopefully it doesn't affect denise, because the last thing she needs right now is the flu. after all this i was kinda wiped, so i took a shower, came back down and enjoyed some george carlin on hbo and admiring the coffee table …
saturday, march 7, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 150

today i got up a little earlier to wish campion good luck with his deca state competition, where he will be most of today and most of tomorrow. and the lucky son of a gun is staying at the marriott marquis hotel in downtown atlanta. denise was up way before me, though, because she had another one of those nights with bad dreams. she's 6 months along now, so only 3 more months. after breakfast we headed out to do our weekly grocery shopping at walmart and today marks the day that we started purchasing baby supplies: one bag of huggies for 8-14 lbs (so to use right after travis is born( and one bag of huggies for 12-18 lbs (to be used whenever he outgrows the first one). we also did a little research on another item, or two, depending on which option we choose. after coming back and unloading denise took a nap and i went to work (from home). fairly soon, hopefully later today, i will have to update my scheduling agenda, because two more trips have (almost) been confirmed. it looks like things are heating up again, which is a good thing. later in the afternoon we got a call from atlanta magazine to say that the picture denise had submitted in the cutest pet of atlanta contest, is the winner. this means that the picture below is going to appear in the may issue of atlanta magazine:

and just to show how much miss sadie mae has changed since april 30 last year, below is a shot i took this afternoon, while she was napping on one of the dining room chairs:

exciting, i'm gonna be a published photographer (with a freaking cat shot *grin*)! then it came for dinner, pizza, and after that we just relaxed, chilled … it's weekend, woohoo! but no rest for the weary, because tomorrow we'll make the trek to ikea again to get two small pieces of furniture for the living room and to do some pricing on baby furniture.
friday, march 6, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 149

i think we bith had a decent sleep last night, although i did sleep a little longer than denise did, but she got a nap later in the morning after i went to the office. i was back home right before the kids got back from school, and i worked some more and right before dinner i drove campion to driving school for his second set of 2 hour driving with an instructor. he has one set of 2 hours to go, but those have been postponed till after he's off school, right before he is eligible for his driver's license (when he turns 17). came back home, had dinner, fiddlefarted around and then went to pick up campion. came home, watched some tv, twiddled on the computer and that's really all that happened today. not much, nothing special. all is good :-)
thursday, march 5, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 148
since denise went to bed early last night, she got up early this morning, real early, too early, although she claims she had a full night's sleep. yeah, that's a no. but at least after running all sorts of errands she was able to take a 2 hour nap early this afternoon, even though i'm sure her sleep was somewhat disturbed by pepper and casey (the boy she babysits), because there's just no way those two can keep still. campion had his first driving lesson today and he was just all kinds of proud that he drove the 400. tomorrow he has another 2 hours of driving. and he is all kinds of excited about that. it's gonna be interesting to see how he does in a car with a stick shift. but we'll save that till he learns how to behave in traffic, so he doesn't have to mind too many things all at once. and just because he called me a dick for putting up his glam shot yesterday, here it is again. this time it comes with clickable goodness *evil grin*

wednesday, march 4, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 147

denise had a rough night, between being uncomfortable and having bad dreams she got up too early. but she got the kids out the door and went to campion's highschool to attend a briefing of the deca meeting he is going to this friday and saturday. after she got back i got up and started work from the comfort of our kitchen table. not much later denise tried to take a nap, but again she was disturbed by bad dreams and sadie, who likes to snuggle with denise whenever she can. after her nap she got it in her head to change the filter of our central air system, which means climbing into the attic. she found the location where the filter is and the size of the filter, so she wnet to the corner store to get a few of them, because ideally they need to be replaced every 3 months (and this is the first time since she lives here - 18 months!). after she got back from the store we replaced the old filter with a new one, and yes, replacing was definitely needed. after that it was getting the kids to do their homework, dinner and after dinner activities, like showering. after dinner i started working on my dutch tax return, which i need to do by hand, because there is no software available for it. and boy, is it a lot of work, but i think i got most of the questions answered, now all i need is to know the value of my pension. this kept me busy for a couple of hours and around 9.30pm i noticed that denise slumped in the love seat; she looked tired and in fact, she was about to get up and smoke her last cigarette for the day to then go to bed. and she did. and i was happy for that. she needs the rest and hopefully tonight she will get a good night's sleep. at 10pm i made campion log off his computer and take a shower. after his (long) shower he came running down asking me to take a picture of his hair:

so i did …
tuesday, march 3, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 146

nothing special happened today. we got up, we worked, studied, napped (well, denise did), had dinner, watched tv and now we're ready for bed again. i hope denise will sleep tonight, because she didn't get a lot of sleep last night and on top of that after dinner tonight she was not feeling all too well. so i will keep my fingers crossed … until i fall asleep, of course …
"Dear Travis, Just for your mom's sake, and I know you can't read this, actually, you can't even read, yet, but, could you take it a little easier, please.
Always, your loving father."
monday, march 2, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 145

after our wonderful night out, denise and i went to bed satisfied and happy, but unfortunately denise didn't sleep well, on account of having bad dreams and having to pee multiple times. even so, we did manage to stay in bed till after 9am after which we got up and got going. denise made us breakfast, campion's driving school was cancelled (because of rain that potentially may have turned to snow) so he got assigned to do a number of chores. pepper mostly vegged out in front of the tv, apart for two hours when i changed the channel and watched 2 top gear shows. later in the afternoon, denise lied down to take a nap before getting dinner ready. in the meantime it had started snowing for real. maybe, if the temperature gets cold enough, there still may be snow on the ground tomorrow, and that will make the kids happy, because chances are that it then will be a snow day … yeah, back when i was in school we had no snow days ;-)

anyway, since it has been 10 days or so since i last wrote another instalment of the letter to my unborn son, this part is long overdue.
"Dear Travis, It's been a while since I wrote you, because things were a bit hectic, but today I found myself with a little bit of time, so here goes. You have been moving around quite a lot in mommy's belly and I have been feeling it too, from the outside. Guess you can't wait to come out and see the world?! To me it is still amazing that you are growing inside of your mom and because I have no attachment to that I also feel kinda weird about it, but I'm sure that will change once you are there. Anyway, back to the story of how your mother and me got together … So, we decided that Denise and the kids would move to the Atlanta area and that I would go there as soon as all the visa paperwork was done. The school year, in the school district we were looking for a house, started on August 6 and by that time we would have needed to find a house and moved Denise and the kids to that new house. Finding a house was not too difficult and we settled on renting a townhouse in a new development. In order for the lease to be activated, as well as signing for it, I needed a letter from my employer that they were happy with me and that they wouldn't fire me any time soon. Because I did not have any credit in the US and Denise's credit had been decimated because of the divorce and her ex-husband using her social security number to rack up credit card debts (thanks!), we had an aunt of your mom co-sign the lease. We secured the house, that was the first hurdle. The second hurdle was moving Denise and the kids. This sounded easier than it was. Denise filed for divorce somewhere in January 2007 and not long after that her ex-husband was taken out of the house by the Military Police on the military base where they lived at the time; threatening someone with a knife is frowned upon, even in the army. After that, Denise never really felt safe in that house anymore, moreover because the ex tried to get back in to the house several times, even though there was a restraining order against him. So, she and the kids lived with her next door neighbor for a while. but when the time came for the move in early August, she actually had to ask her cousin to fly in from San Antonio to help her move, but more importantly to protect her from her ex, because days before the move, your mother noticed that most lug nuts on the wheels of her car were loosened and the ex was spotted with a crow bar outside the house real early (nice!). Her cousin's best friend paid for the trip and John helped her move their stuff into our townhouse. That was the second hurdle. And yes, you read it correctly, your mom's cousin's name was John. John sadly passed away in December last year, so in his honor you are named after him. Wear that name with pride, TJ! The third hurdle was for me to get my work visa. Through my company I hired a law firm to do all the paperwork for me. And it's not easy, there's a lot of hoops I had to jump through to get it done. But finally, at the middle of November of 2007 I got the news that my visa would be approved. All I had to do was go through the American consulate in Amsterdam to get the visa in my passport. Me and Denise had hoped to have that done sooner, because we had planned for our wedding to be on December 1, 2007. Regardless, that was going to go through as planned, because there were people invited from all over the map. In the meantime I had already planned for two consecutive trips to the USA in September and October, the first for a little less than a week and the second one for about 10 days, to meet the kids and for them to get used to me. We also decided that in November I would move in. Luckily, I had a client in Warsaw that wanted me back in December and January (and they would even pay for the extra airfare) so I could take care of my visa while being billable. The whole visa thing turned out to be a red tape nightmare, but in the end all was alright, so on January 19 I legally entered the United States with a valid work visa. That was the third hurdle. The fourth hurdle was me trying to sublet my apartment and shipping all my personal belongings to my new house in America. The sublet actually went pretty smooth. I moved out of my apartment on November 14 and a tenant moved in the next day. All my personal belongings were picked up on Monday November 11 and it would take almost 2 months for the shipping crate to reach our house. This hurdle actually turned out to be the easiest of them all. Go figure … And yes, Travis, you noticed that your mom and I had our wedding ceremony on December 1, but I will tell you more about that wonderful day in the next letter, so stay tuned for more :-)
Always, your loving father."
to be continued …
we had chicken and red beans&rice for dinner (yummilicious!) and after dinner i took a shower, read my beloved wallpaper magazine, glanced sideways at the tv and watched travis move about in denise's womb. then at almost 10pm the cooler came on tv and i watched that. and then it was time for bed …
sunday, march 1, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 144

denise got up way earlier than me, but i was still up a little after 8am, just to make sure that campion was ready to go to his last driving school saturday. but after denise returned from dropping him off, we both went back to bed and only to my amazement and wonderment i woke up a little after 4pm. yes, you read it correctly, i woke up after 4pm. campion was home already and he got a 98 (out of 100) on his test and this wednesday at 3pm he will be driving, in a car, on the road, with an instructor, so good citizens of forsyth county: if you don't need to be on the road at 3pm, stay indoors ;-) today also marked the day, sort of, of denise and my marriage anniversary, since we got legally wed on february 29 last year. we celebrated with a more than wonderful dinner at sugo, a fine mediterranean restaurant just 20 minutes down the road. i made a reservation because denise loves greek food, but this place is actually a happy marriage between italian and greek cuisine, and i won't complain about that (i am not the biggest fan of greek, although i love feta cheese). i ordered a bottle of barolo, and sadly enough they didn't have the listed bottle, but they did have a more expensive and qualitative better bottle of barolo:

our waiter, steve, was as nice and forthcoming and accomodating as they come and he did his best to make our dining experience the way we wanted it. and that means a lot for a european in america: i don't need to be rushed out the door in less than 90 minutes having consumed a full 3-course meal. the bartender brought us a new mix drink they were testing and improving on the go. either the owner or the maitre d' came by to explain the choice of wine and to oversee the aerating of it. after we tasted our wine he came by again to bring us a plate of cheese compliments of the restaurant. our starters were wonderful. denise had the spanakopita, i had the greek lamb salad. both were very enjoyable. for entree denise had the cabrito carbonara and i had the moscatel filet and for me this steak landed on the #2 spot for best steaks ever. after the entrees steve brought us two small glasses of sweet champagne, probably because we asked him what date to enter as our anniversary date for their preferred guest invitation. for dessert denise had a spartan cheesecake and i stuck with tiramisu, accompanied by a cappuccino and a doppio respectively. even after the check came, the quality vs price ratio was still very good, because even with taking out the wine we had a really good 3-course meal for a little over $100, which is not bad, not bad at all. of course, afterwards we were both satisfied and a little full, but not too full so that it is unbearable. and i think this restaurant is going to be a staple in out dining experiences. and i put up a review on opentable … on another note, travis seemed to not mind the wine and the good food, because during dinner he was active and after dinner he chilled out.
saturday, february 28, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 143

i is home :-) after a long and draining day at the client i was happy to go back home again, moreso knowing that i would be parking my happy ass in seat 1D! amazing, both on the flight to and from satx i was bumped to first class. and i have requested klm flying blue to transfer my klm frequent flyer miles (a lot, since i am gold status) to nwa worldperks. and since nwa has merged with delta, i can transfer my worldperks to sky miles. after that i will might be able reach platinum status by the end of the year. remember, i is a princess traveler ;-) when i left san antonio the temperature there was 96 degrees and sunny, when i arrived in atlanta it was 55 and rainy … and there's more rain tomorrow. i guess that's good for lake lanier, because there's a nuclear plant in alabama and there's fishing grounds in florida that depend on the water that comes from lake lanier via the chattahoochee river! and tomorrow is the day that denise and i celebrate our true wedding anniversary, since we got legally married last leap year. we're going out to dinner @ sugo … i will tell you more about it tomorrow. for now, i is going to bed, because i is tired …
friday, february 27, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 142

slept like a log again, so had a hard time getting out of bed, but i actually only snoozed my alarm 2 times before i got up. got dressed and went to the hotel restaurant for breakfast and the short order chef actually made me a very decent omelet, so i think i will return tomorrow morning and have another one of those. after i brushed my teeth and gathered my stuff i tried walking to the client's office, but i kinda got lost quickly, so i double backed to the hotel and asked the shuttle driver for a lift and he dropped me off a little before 8.30am. we immediately dove into work only to be interrupted by the owner who all of a sudden needed the conference room we were in for an impromptu meeting, so we had to drag two desktops and a modem to the little conference room. once we set everything up we found that there was no internet connectivity and for what i do that really is the only requirement. instead we sat at one of the normal computers and proceeded with what we needed to do. it turned out to be quite a tough day because one of the property managers really didn't want to work with our product, saying she had zero faith in its capabilities. my main client contact, however, was a little more forgiving and open-minded, so hopefully she can erode her colleagues stubborness a little over the next few weeks while i facilitate all the issues being ironed out. i was back in my hotel room close to 6pm and continued working. i also finished preparing the presentation i have to give with a colleague during our upcoming psg conference in anaheim, ca. then i waited till my love would sign off and go to bed, because with her getting up and then not wanting to take a nap to see how yesterday's drama would unfold today, she was tired, very tired. i insisted she go bed at 9.30, but it was probably closer to 10.30 before she was asleep. still, that would mean a solid 7 hours before wake up tomorrow morning. so, yesterday's drama. pepper came home and after putting down her backpack and taking off her coat she started rummaging around. after turning over her backpack two times, she started sobbing. she noticed that she had lost/misplaced her wallet, or it may even had been stolen. probably proud as she was, she took her wallet to school, with $89 in cash (babysit earnings and grandpa pete's birthday gift), a $100 wally world gift card from grandma phyliss, and her military id. she remembered that she couldn't find her wallet anymore after recess when she wanted to buy a bottle of water. after a mild panic attack and some crying i comforted her and then took her out to walk the distance between our house and the bus stop to see if she had lost it there. no such luck and we looked thoroughly. when we got back home i asked denise to call transportation and after she did that she also emailed pepper's teacher, but both came back without result. pepper was told, again, to not bring so much money to school, actually leave her wallet at home, since it has her military id is in there, which is a bitch to replace. would she need to bring money to school to buy dessert or a drink or something she should bring just a couple of dollars, as not to risk her wallet being lost or stolen. when denise took pepper to the bus stop this morning she asked the bus driver if he had seen anything, but he hadn't. pepper's teacher said that she was going to talk to the class to see if that would yield any results, but that also did not brought back her wallet. but in the early afternoon, someone brought pepper's soaking wet pink happy bunny wallet in. you can imagine the sigh of relief, not so much for denise and me, but for pepper; having her wallet stolen at a relatively safe place as an elementary school would have impacted her trust. and she already is a very guarded little person. i'm glad that that drama was turned around. there was another piece of drama yesterday, too, but that had nothing to do with our happy family, so i'm not gonna go into that. all of this make me sorry for not being home and able to be of support. and i'm sorry i ain't home all the time to see travis slowly balloon up my beautiful wife ;-) but, gotta do something to earn my money *grin*
thursday, february 26, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 141

got up after denise got the kids off to school, again. these last few days i have been sleeping like a ton of rocks. i think it has to do with the start of the hayfever season, which, y'all know, lasts for about 8 months here in georgia; my nose is stuffed up when i wake up, my eyes are constantly watering and i am itching more than usual. good news for pfizer: sales of benadryl will go up! i worked from home and i tried with might to get denise back to bed, but that is almost as impossible to get the kids to stop watching tv and goof off at the computer. i wonder how stubborn our travis is going to be … *LOL* but she got her nap and not much later than she woke up pepper came home, in tears. there's a little drama going on, and maybe i will explain a little more tomorrow. then we went off to take me to the marta station, because i had to leave home for a couple of days to go to a client in good ole san antonio. in the end the flight was delayed and once we got pushed off the gate there was some more delay so it all added up to me being in my hotel almost an hour later than anticipated. which meant that i had to quickly order room service (a man's gotta eat), give denise a call, take a shower to shave my 5-day shadow and be in bed before midnight … i think i can do that … yes, i can.
wednesday, february 25, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 140

today started a little different than i anticipated. i was planning to go to work and on the way there drive campion to school for his tuesdays' deca meeting. but, beknownst to me, denise had an 8.50 appointment at the ob/gyn; beknownst, because denise told me about it, but for some bizarre reason i thought the appointment was this friday … go figure. so instead, i slept in a little again, while denise got the kids off to school and then we went to the ob/gyn together. this time, when we were called in, i didn't follow her into the bathroom, but waited in the chair by the scale. which was where she would go after she deposited her pee. and i'm sure she's pleased to say that she is not heavier than me … yet :P the doctor did not do an ultrasound this time, but he did listen to the baby's heartbeat with a heart monitor. the second he pressed the thing in denise's belly, travis moved around. (frankly, i would be pissed off as well, constantly have someone or something poking you in the eye or the ribs!) denise got a fetal movement chart on which she should keep track of travis' movements for the next four weeks at three given times a day: 8am, noon and 7pm. in 4 weeks we go back and then the doctor will do an ultrasound and take some more measurements, all to make sure that the baby is not growing outside of the normal growth curves. this was a minor concern that the perinatal consultant had, since he thought/measured that denise was 1 to 2 weeks ahead in her pregnancy based on earlier calculations. and i wouldn't be surprised, because denise has been growing exponentially in the last few weeks. so much that i deemed it time again for another profile shot:

but she is still as beautiful as she was, if not more … <3
tuesday, february 24, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 139

today was the start of another full week. denise got up early to get the kids off to school and when i left for the office she had the time and the quietness to take a nap. her night was short and her sleep wasn't deep, because she had nightmares. must be "fun" having your hormones flare up all the time. unfortunately, during her nap time she again had nightmares. in the afternoon we battled with the kids; both monsters are being extremely stroppy and mouthy, refusing to do their chores, balking at dinner and only interested in what they wanna do: veg out in front of the tv or computer. at 8pm there was a new episode of house on so of course we watched. before turning, pepper was able to feel baby travis rummage around in denise's uterus, from the outside of course. she even announced herself to the baby, which i though was endearing. not long after that campion got himself in a lot of trouble for not having done his homework yet. as of now he is limited to 1 hour per day on the computer until he has earned our trust in him. and pretty soon we might be forced to do the same thing with pepper and the tv, because she has been slacking off with her homework, telling us she was done with it, but then not turning it in or getting a bad grade. great. and in 10 years from now we get to do this all over again … but i'm sure we'll be able to turn all kids around.
monday, february 23, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 138

when we went to bed early this morning we were both beat, but denise had a hard time getting comfortable, so that really disrupted her sleep. i was out and only at close to eleven my love woke up, saying that there was going to be a chocolate chip pancake and maple sausage breakfast ready in minutes. i don't know how long she was up already, but after breakfast and when it was time to drive campion to driving school she went back upstairs to take a nap. when i got back from driving miss daisy i started on post processing all 512 pictures that i took at the birthday party yesterday. yes, 512. those who follow me on facebook can see ho much time it took me to do them all! there's a couple of really cute shots of pepper and it is for that reason that i take pictures (of her). even though she is still known as sphynx or wednesday adams, she smiles and laughs more and more, which is a sign that she is very comfortable where she is. and i would like to take a little bit of credit for that :-) after a 3 hour nap i woke up denise. who said she actually did sleep, which made me feel glad, i picked up campion from driving school and not long after that it was time for dinner: pizza. again :D and then we watched the oscars until it was time to go to bed … long week ahead of us.
sunday, february 22, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 137
despite being weekend, we had to get up early today: campion went to driving school again (9am start) and denise, pepper and me prepared for pepper's 11th birthday party. we cleaned the house (sorta), ran some errands, got party foods, picked up the wonderful miffy cake made by orna and by the end of all that it was close to 6pm, the time pepper's guests should be arriving. in the end 4 of the 7 invitees showed up and unfortunately the two girlfriends that would also spend the night for the slumber party were a no-show. but, i think that pepper still did have a good time. and she got some nice gifts: an alarm clock, two wii games, a temporary tattoo set, a dvd player, a summer shirt, a tie-dye kit, a scarf, handmade mirror and picture frame and miscellaneous girlie girlie stuff. after the kids left we quickly did a bit of clean-up, while pepper watched tv. in the meantime i also uploaded the pictures that i took throughout the evening to my computer. tomorrow i will go through all 512 of them, but below are a few shots that came out really well, IMNSHO …






and with that i am going to leave you, because denise is tired and she needs to go to bed (and i am a little tired too, actually *giggle*).
saturday, february 21, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 136

had a pretty productive day at my client in birmingham, alabama. i was even to get a few shots of the hotel without almost getting arrested this time. you never really know what's gonna happen in alabama :P at about 4.30pm central time i started my drive back. on the way i stopped at a burger king for my second healthy meal in two evenings. also picked up some road kill food and after a long drive amongst very bad drivers i was home a little before 9pm est. on the table was an envelope with the official portrait was taken on the evening of the father/daughter dance two weeks ago. above is the scanned and resized version of it. i'm sure that denise will cut up the sheets and distribute the picture to respective family members. tomorrow is another long and exciting day, because we will celebrate pepper's birthday (her actual birthday is on sunday). there will be a party and there will be a sleepover, and of course there's gonna be pizza and presents and paint and cake (cake from orna, woohoo). so, i'm thinking we're going to go to bed real soon.
friday, february 20, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 135

so, here i am, in a hotel room in birmingham, alabama … what happened, you ask? i knew there was a possibility that i had to go to a client in birmingham, alabama, but they took very long to decide when. i went to the office this morning and not long after i set up i received an email that the training session for tomorrow was on … so, i scrambled a rental car and a hotel, made some arrangements for the client's database, called to confirm that i was coming by and to discuss the game plan … i went home at 1pm, had a bowl of yoghurt, packed my overnight backpack and at 3.30pm denise drove me to enterprise, where i picked up my car. i hit the road at 4pm exactly and i checked into my hotel at 5.45pm (alabama is in central time, so don't worry, i did not drive 150mph!). i unpacked, took some pictures of the room, turned on my laptop, checked email, briefly chatted with denise and then went next door for a glorious dinner from wendy's ;-) after eating dinner in my room i chatted with denise some more, before taking a shower to shave off my 5 day shadow. after the shower i prepped for tomorrow's client visit and twiddled around on the internet (courtesy of the hotel). one thing i will do after i post this blog is enter a new scheduling agenda, because finally some more trips have been finalized. but i'm gonna leave with the following message: i love you, denise! <3
thursday, february 19, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 134

hump day = meatloaf day. meatloaf is yummy, no matter what anybody says. another pretty uneventful day. finally i am getting some clients on my radar so look for a new scheduling agenda to appear on this here blog, soon-ish. i am most excited about the fact that i am assigned to an affiliate of a dutch client, so maybe i get to speak dutch at a client here in the ustated nights and thereby flabbergast my colleagues *grin* after denise took her shower this afternoon she showed me the line that is becoming more and more visible, the line that runs from the pubic bone up to the navel. of course, she thinks it's ugly, hideous, awful, etcetera etcetera, but i still think that everything to do with the pregnancy is adorable. at least she doesn't look like the mother of the octuplets.
"Dear Travis, Here's some observations I made about you so far:

Stay stuned for more :-)
Always, your loving father."
to be contined …
luckily today american idols did not interfere with my favorite wednesday tv show, lie to me. this show is going to be a keeper. then again, what's not to look about tim roth …
wednesday, february 18, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 133

got up, went to work, came back, denise was trying to find a document we need, we had dinner, denise searched some more, i'm pissed off because of all the crap that's on tv american idol is taking the place of my favorite tuesday show fringe, so now we have house on in the background, but hopefully not too long from now we'll go to bed. tomorrow is hump day :-)
tuesday, february 17, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 132

president's day today and i was one of those lucky few who had the day off. and apart from driving to south pittsburg, tennessee to pick up pepper from her vegetation, and back, we didn't (have time to) do much. we got back around 6pm so we had dinner and were ready to watch a new episode of house by 8pm. on the drive denise said that travis doesn't like seat belts; he definitely is my son *grin* apparently he is moving around quite a bit … when constrained, after dinner, pretty much anytime he's not asleep. 18 more weeks and then he should be out, so we are well past halfway … it's another countdown ;-)
monday, february 16, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 131

slept in today, relatively, because we didn't go to bed early. technically we did, because it was already early in the morning ;-) denise made a huge breakfast: ham & veggie omelet, hash browns and sausage! *omnomnomnom* campion had 4 hours of driving school again this afternoon and while denise was on the phone with various family members i twiddled around on the internet. i mainly spent time in the flickr deleteme uncensored group: it's brutal and potentially damaging to the ego, but i may just learn something about photography. either that or i am a sucker for punishment. anyhoo, back to the letter i am writing travis:
"Dear Travis, Like I said in the previous letter, after our coffee meeting it would be another 3 months before I would see your mom. In the meantime things were getting more serious, especially after she told her ex that she wanted a divorce, got him taken off the premises and actually filed for divorce. Slowly we started seriously talking about possibly getting together, but before either of us would make a firm decision we had to go out on a proper date. While you mother and I were both in Atlanta for the christening of our friend's baby boy we went on an official date to a publically recognized date restaurant on Friday March 9, 2007. Panos and Paul's was the establishment of choice. An upscale restaurant where it is almost impossible to secure a reservation, but I knew long enough in advance that this weekend was the weekend for our date, so I was able to get us in. With the hotel we stayed at I arranged for a car to transport us to and from the restaurant and I was pleasantly surprised by the car being a Lincoln Town Car and the driver was very nice, so i asked him to come pick us up. Even though we were both quite nervous, we had a great time just being with the two of us. No chaperone this time, like in Nashville. I ordered a good bottle of wine and told our waiter to take his time in between servings, so the attention of the wait staff was pretty good. Afterwards there was a funny incident, because when I paid with my Dutch credit card our waiter had to introduce me to another member of the wait staff, someone Dutch. We talked for a little while, much to the amusement of our waiter and Denise, but then we went outside, because being holed up inside for close to 3 hours she was dying for a cigarette. While she smoked I spotted our limo driver and a half hour later we were back in our hotel room, slightly drunk from the wine and our mutual impressions. Nonetheless, we made love for the second time; the first time was the day before. Later I learnt that next to being compatible on the levels of politics, humor, education, general outlook on life, we are also sexually compatible. This gave us both something to think about when we parted oceans again after that weekend. Denise had to go back to the army base where she and the kids were living, fighting with her hopefully soon-to-be ex-husband and me back to my flashy bachelor pad in good old Rotterdam. Since your mother started her divorce process I talked to my boss about the possibility to transfer to the US with my company. After a couple of months of intensive online and phone contact we were actually both clear on what we wanted to do. In a way I knew earlier what I wanted (and I am pretty sure your mother knew what she wanted earlier too), because on our way to the annual Christmas dinner I told my parents and my sister that I met someone and that I maybe possibly would be moving to America. But now things were getting serious and real. My employer had no objections to me moving to the US; they would even arrange the work visa for me (even though I still had to pay for it). Together with the same mutual friend in Atlanta we found a rental townhouse and with an aunt of your mom co-signing for the lease agreement Denise and the kids could be moving to the Atlanta area prior to the start of the upcoming school year. Of course, nothing did happen as fast as I describe it above, but more about that in the next letter, so stay stuned for more :-)
Always, your loving father."
to be continued …
after a late supper we kinda watched an interesting, but contrived movie: brick. and now it is closing in on midnight so i think it is time for all of us to go to bed, because denise and i have a long drive ahead again tomorrow.
sunday, february 15, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 130

today was valentine's day and i got the best gift ever from my beautiful and wonderful wife :-) i wish i could show it to you, but i can't. and i won't, because i want to keep it all for myself *grin* other than that we didn't do much at all. and the outlook for tomorrow is more of the same. it's gonna be a nice and relaxed weekend and it's all we need.
saturday, february 14, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 129

friday the 13th today. nothing bad happened, though. unless you think that dropping off pepper for vegetation is bad. at least she comes back on monday :-) on the long drive to and back from south pittsburg, tennessee, we did find out that denise is going to be uncomfortable no matter what if she's not able to move around. now you can actually see really well that she is preggers. and it is cute as hell … even though she thinks otherwise. even though it is friday we are going to bed early, because campion starts driving school tomorrow, so he needs to be there at 9am. the next 4 weekends, every saturday and sunday, he is in class for 6 hours. and after that he will have intense practical driving lessons. and he better do good!
friday, february 13, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 128

i don't know what happened to me last night but last night i slept like the dickens. and it took me about 4 hours to really wake up. i love nights like that. too bad they have to end, though. but, who knows, maybe tonight i will have a similar experience. actually, i wish that denise would be able to sleep like me, because she doesn't rest enough as far as i'm concerned. true, her nights may be short (in between 5 and hours) and she takes a nap on the couch almost every day, but i really wished she would be able to go to bed at a decent hour, sleep for at least 7, help the kids out the door to school and then back to bed for a couple hours more. but she's not really cooperating and there's nothing i can do about it either. anyway, apparently travis is kicking up a storm in his little sack, so in a little while when we go to bed, i will put my hand on denise's belly and see if he's gonna kick his daddy. he better not, because otherwise he's gonna get grounded the minute he decides to come out ;-)
thursday, february 12, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 127

decided to work from home today so i slept in till 9am. i tried to get denise to come back to bed around 7.30am, but it took her almost an hour to get upstairs and then she wasn't able to find sleep … instead we got up and she made breakfast while i was diving headlong into work. not long after a good mexican-like breakfast she laid down on the couch for a nap! and she napped for 3 hours! and then pepper and casey came home and we had to sequester them at the table to do their homework. yesterday they found themselves in a little bit of trouble and they'll be paying for the next couple of days. yeah, parenting is fun :P
"Dear Travis, After our mutual announcement of our feelings life went on, almost as usual, but not quite. I went back to Neverneverland and your mother was bracing herself for the imminent fallout. Even though she knew she had a family trip to her ex-husband's family in Pennsylvania over the Christmas period she decided to tell him that she wanted a divorce on December 16. Needless to say, he didn't take it well … and after all this time, he still doesn't. Luckily that doesn't effect you in any way, shape or form. The next time we would see each other would be in March, for the baptism of a baby of a friend of ours. During the time in between we chatted, texted and sometimes talked on the phone. While she was on Christmas break we didn't have much contact at all and for her those were the most difficult two weeks of her life, spending time with a man she didn't love anymore, maybe not even liked anymore, his family and her kids in a pretty hostile environment. But she got through it, because she is a strong woman. Yes, Travis, your mother is a tough cookie! The best part, I found, about the break-up is that she wanted it for herself and the kids. She didn't file for divorce because she met another guy and wanted to move in with him. She has been saying all along that I was not a factor in the divorce. Besides her motives, what were the practicalities if it were the case that she was going to live with me? I lived in a small, 2-bedroom apartment in a country 6,000 miles away! Denise couldn't just up, pack the kids and move countries and on the same account, I couldn't just leave my job, hop on a plane and move to the US! Besides, that would be jumping the gun a little bit, for the both of us, because up until that time we had seen other each other for a grand total of maybe 5 hours. Sure, we had pretty intensive contact online, but making that leap would be unwarranted and unfair. So it was never even in neither of our minds to make ending up with each other our goal. Naturally, the feelings we had for each other slowly intensified. I think that we both used our time to figure out whether we wanted to be together and if so, how to get that organized. The first thing was to find accommodation for your mother and her kids, who, apropos, I had yet to meet. The second thing was for me to get my employer to agree to let me come to the US and be on the US payroll. After that, the third step would be for me to obtain a work visa. When you see them listed like this you'd think that it's not all that hard, but trust me Travis, none of these were easy or quick. In the next part of this letter to my unborn son I will get a little more into the mechanics on how your mom and I physically got together, so stay tuned for more :-)
Always, your loving father."
to be continued …
earlier this evening we also had a nice little chat with our landlord. basically he was pitching that now is the time to buy a house. i knew that already and i'm sure that at some point we will, if possible, sooner than later. but first we need to get a loan approved and i don't know how quickly we can get that done; might be 2 months, might be another year. after a late dinner i got kinda upset and disappointed because fox didn't run the lie to me show today, in favor of american idol. instead we watched gordon ramsay's kitchen nightmares, which was a mouthful of fun.
wednesday, february 11, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 126
br> yet another pretty uninteresting day. pepper had her braces tightened and now she sports black and purple ones. i went to work, i came back and when i got home denise's laptop was back from dell, so i got that back up and running, while at the same time doing a windows update on 4 computers at the same time (i'm sure comcrap noticed a big spike in our internet usage *grin*). denise is happy she has her own laptop back with her software and all of her files and campion is happy because he got his laptop back. the cats were a bit aloof today, they've been sleeping a lot, possibly still traumatized by yesterday's spa day. then again, i don't know if there is such a thing as kitteh ptsd, maybe they are just what cats are: lazy *giggle* since denise didn't feel like cooking tonight, i came up with a brilliant plan, if i say so myself: dinner at ruddfuckers. after dinner it was back home to watch fringe and leverage. and tomorrow's hump day … :-)
tuesday, february 10, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 125

this monday was another relatively uneventful day. denise and i got up almost at the same time. i drove the kids to the bus stop and after that i went to work, so that denise could go back to bed in peace. little did i know that that didn't happen. instead she had kind of an, erm, intersting morning, so when i came home early in the afternoon i found her on the couch, asleep. so i let her sleep but by the time pepper came home she was awake again. after dinner denise decided to spice things up a bit and she went to the grocery store to get some cat shampoo … and below the results of kitteh grooming day *grin*
first it was lily's turn for a mani pedi and then a nice splashdown:



then it was sadie's turn:



when i was done processing the almost 50 shots i took of the kitteh evening spa pepper dragged me outside telling me to take pictures of the full moon. even though it wasn't full moon anymore (that was last friday evening) she wanted a picture of it, so i tried to take a couple.
i believe below is the best one:

monday, february 9, 2009
p.s. no animals were harmed while making these pictures … they do smell like coconut berry, though …

the day my life changed and onwards - 124

i really hoped that today would be a lazy sunday, just like yesterday was a lazy saturday. it started out good, but around 2pm it took an unexpected turn. denise was all of a sudden complaining about a massive headache. so, in my wisdom i started vacuuming the upstairs and starting a wash. then I got pepper to wipe and mop the kitchen floor and the hallway, while i vacuumed the living room. i had pepper take all of her stuff that she dragged downstairs back upstairs again and made her clean up her room, because once again, that looked like a bomb exploded in there. after the wash was done, i put all the kids' clothes in the dryer and loaded another tiny wash in preparation for pepper's birthday party in two weeks. during most of it denise was upstairs trying to sleep off her headache, but around 6pm i woke her up after i had asked campion to get back home. he took off earlier in the morning with one of his friends who was going to open houses of colleges to orientate and gather information. hopefully this sparked something in campion's mind, because lately his academics are severly lacking attention. all in favor of messing around on the interwebs and talking on the phone till the wee hours of the morning. he's got to curb that, otherwise his dad just might be right after all. and campion should not let that happen. denise got dinner started and 2 minutes after his deadline time campion and a girlfriend came to a hissing stop in our driveway: she was running a flat front left tire. so we got started on changing the flat out for the spare, but for some reason we couldn't even get the spare out of the trunk. till the neighbor came home and he is driving the same make car, so i asked for his help. he really turned out to be the best neighbor one could have because he basically took over and changed the tires. after that little bit of excitement we sat down for dinner and after dinner campion amd me fixed the dryer, because the tubing to the exaust was out of the wall, so instead of releasing the heat through a vent in the roof of the house it was releasing it right in the laundry room. campion duct taped the whole thing in place and i vacuumed the lint before putting everything back in its place. all this "exercise" had made me quite sweaty so i gave hugs & kisses to pepper, because it was close to her bedtime, and took a nice long shower. after that i folded the tiny wash away, and made campion say goodbye to our guest so he could get ready for bed too. denise is still having a headache and i am actually running a bit of headache as well, but i'm sure i will sleep it off. hopefully, by tomorrow, denise is all better again, because i believe her class starts again tomorrow.
sunday, february 8, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 123

i gotta admit, nothing spectacular happened today. got up, drove miss daisy (campion) to the mall, helped pepper buy a nintendo ds game, picked up miss daisy, had pizza for dinner, watched the third instalment of the blue collar comedy tour. sometimes doing nothing much is glorious.
saturday, february 7, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 122
contrary to the earlier part of the week, today was a busy day. i got up right after the kids were sent off to school to do our weekly grocery shopping at wally world. got a car load full and while we were finishing up in the store i got a call from the nurse at pepper's school. i missed the call, but they left a voice mail and the nurse was asking to have pepper picked up, because she had diarrhea and she was vomiting. so after we tanked up the car (it was running on fumes) we drove to the elementary school to go pick her up and she indeed looked a little peaky. this actually presented us with a bit of dilemma, because i was going to go with denise to the perinatal office to look at the second level 2 ultrasound, but pepper didn't want to go and i wasn't feeling all too hot all of a sudden either, so denise went alone. but she brought back some goodies :-)
on this first shot travis is facing the viewer and by the looks of it he is pretty upset that he got prodded with the ultrasound device:

the one below is a close up of travis' brain:

the third shot shows travis in profile and you can see both his hands reaching up:

in the last one i think he decided he had enough of the paparazzi stalking his womb to get a shot of him and he is in the process of turning his back:

according to the measurements the specialist did, the baby has the following specs: length: 9.5 inches (a little over 24 centimeters) weight: 1 pound, 9 ounces, or 25 ounces (almost 710 gram) age: according to last menstrual period 20 weeks 5 days, according to fetal measurement 22 weeks and according to abdominal measurement 24 weeks i guess it is safe to say he is a big boy *grin* after denise got home, me and her went to the bedroom to take a nap (seriously, take your mind out of the gutter …) and pepper laid down on the couch. pepper and i needed our rest to get well for the evening's appointment, the father daughter dance at her elementary school.

at 4.30pm i got up, reluctantly, to get ready. took a shower, shaved and got dresses in a spiffy suit with a nice pink shirt with a tie. in the meantime, denise was dolling up pepper, because the theme was hollywood glam.

she looks so cute all dressed up. luckily what you cannot see in the next picture is that my shirt stopped fitting me about 8 years ago:

at 5.30pm i drove my date to her school and because we were unfashionably early we had a premium parking space and there was no line for the official portrait photography, yet. it goes without saying that i had to coerce pepper into getting our portrait taken, but she gave in and she even smiled. at least, that's what she says, we'll have to wait for the pictures to have proof of that rare occasion. we made our way across the red carpet to the cafetaria dressed up as a dance hall. naturally pepper gravitated towards the free snacks and drinks and i hung out with a couple of other dads. it's funny, most men, including me, seem to be completely lost at an event like this. it was cool to see pepper bounce along with her girlfriends, weaving through the dancing crowd, eating 5 cups of italian ice cream, two plates filled with cheese, crackers and cookies, going up to the dj to request songs to be played and just generally having a good time. the dads were just a prop, a means to get to and from the event, a coat rack to hold on to clothing garments that were temporarily not required and useful for holding drinks and shoes while the girls were prancing around. this had me wondering if there was such a thing as a mother son dance and apparently there is … damn, that must be awkward for the boy, especially if he's in that awkward age group where everything to do with girls (whether girls in their own age group or their mothers) is not cool. guess we'll find out when it is time for travis to go on that date with denise *giggle* after close to two hours at the dance, pepper wanted to go home. really all she wanted more than anything was her present, so we picked it up and then drove back home. i was happy to hear that she told her mom she had a good time. then she demanded a group hug and who are we to deny her that? it's a little after 10pm as i am typing this out and i still feel very lightheaded, but the queasiness in my stomach is gone, so i don't think i will be nauseous. pepper also seems to be doing fine, so hopefully the bug that's been bugging her is out of her system as well.
friday, february 6, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 121

yet another day with hardly any exciting news. denise got up at the crack of dawn to get the kids off to school and after i got up we had a little breakfast and denise laid down to take a nap, because even though we went to bed at a decent time yesterday she was still tired. around noon we took our paperwork and drove to h&r block to file our taxes. we had almost everything we needed so we were out of there in less than an hour. a nice, elder gentleman did walk us through their custom tax filing program, called tps (if you've seen office space you will giggle at that name) so we did a joint electronic filing for 2008. hopefully the irs (internal revenue service) and gador (georgia department of revenues) will deposit our refund into our joint checking out. buddha knows this money will come in very handy :P after that it was back to work and a web training for me, and on to making garlic bread from scratch for denise. dinner was a lovely mix of pasta leftovers and bread and brussel sprouts. and while i am typing this up, denise is back asleep on the couch again. i will wake her in a minute, though, because i don't want her to sleep too much so that she can't sleep later tonight.
"Dear Travis, Where was I? Oh yeah, I left off right when Denise was getting ready to say something important. And believe you me Travis, this was quite the shocker. It was also a shock to my colleague, who I had waiting for me in the hotel lobby for 15 minutes, because I had to drag the information out of your mom. After our meeting over coffee a little over a week before this fateful day, Friday December 1, 2007, she had decided to file for divorce. She didn't know how and when to broach it to her then, now ex-, husband, yet. But, she had enough of his domineering personality, his unwillingness to deal with their marital problems, the constant and consequent favoring of his daughter Pepper over her son Campion, his lying, him constantly creating debts, etcetera, and so on, ad nauseam. More important for me, she asked me if I could hold fire in my bare hands? I did not really have a response for that right there and then, but I did answer her later. As to what it means, you probably need to ask her that question when you're older. But, as you noticed, she didn't really say what I knew she wanted to say, so I said it first. And then she responded by telling me that she knew from the moment she met me. (Shock! Awe! Amazement! *jaw on the floor*) I was the only one who had missed all the signals, though, because even our mutual friend which chaperoned our first meeting in Nashville knew that there was something between us. (Here's a little info you may find useful off the bat: guys are typically clueless when it comes to matters of the heart. You will not be any different, but Denise and I will try to make it a little easier for you.) Her reason to file for divorce, she made it very clear to me, had nothing to do with me and/or our love for each other. Even if I had not been in her life, she would have made the same decision. She also said that she didn't want me to feel and be responsible for the aftermath of her divorce; she would find a way of setting everything straight by herself. Needless to say that I still offered my help, which she gracefully ignored … ;-) Not long after our mutual "confession" I left the chat to have dinner … it was late already, even where I was, so even later for Denise. And also back then I wanted her to get as much rest as she could get, because I knew there were rough times ahead of her. Interesting fact: it is because we said "I love you" on that day we decided later on to also have our marriage ceremony on December 1. One year later that ceremony was a fact. And one year after that we knew Denise was having you. So, as you see time can fly. In the meantime a lot of things happened and I will fill you in on some of it, because a lot of it was not very pleasant, while also not really pertaining to you. Other things were relevant, and of course I will let you in on all the good stuff, so stay tuned for more :-)
Always, your loving father."
to be continued …
tomorrow we have an appointment and the perinatal office for our second and last consult. this is the place where they do the level 2 ultrasound, so hopefully tomorrow i can show you some really cool shots from travis inside his womb again.
thursday, february 5, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 120

really another pretty boring day with not much to share. don't feel like writing another part of the letter to my son, so i will postpone that to tomorrow, maybe … denise woke up with a headache this morning, one that haunted her most of the day. i think it may be the lack of stress now that her philosophy class is done and she is one a one week break from her studies now. so after the kids got off to school she napped on the couch, on and off, for about 4 hours. after that her headache wasn't gone, but at least she rested a bit. started watching a new show tonight, lie to me, on fox. and i like it. and it's got tim roth starring, one of my all-time favorite actors. it's a little after 10pm now, so i'm gonna go ahead and take a shower, because tomorrow is another day :-)
wednesday, february 4, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 119

today was another one of those days where nothing really happened, so i guess this is it for today's blog …
tuesday, february 3, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 118

who likes mondaze?
"Dear Travis, As I said the other day, when I was in Santa Barbara something really interesting happened. What happened basically changed the relationship between your mother and me. A good change, for both. First of all, after the meeting right before Thanksgiving we both knew we had a lot in common and I'm pretty sure the physical attraction was present as well. Of course, for me, being a man, it did not really register till after I was told. Besides, she was married, so I didn't even consider the possibility, remember? Anyway, there I was, in sunny but nicely chilled Santa Barbara, in my hotel room, on the Friday before I was flying back to Neverneverland, getting ready to go out to dinner with my Dutch colleague (at the most excellent Palace Grill), chatting online with Denise when all of a sudden she had something important to share with me. After she said this, she never really said anything of any importance, like she was hesitating to mention it, or thinking it through once more, or even backtracking. You must know, Travis, that our online chat sessions had become more serious in the weeks leading up to our Thanksgiving meeting: she was really considering filing for divorce. The thing was, that even though she would divorce her then husband, that didn't mean that automatically her and me would hook up. She just wanted out. Plus, she has two kids and she wouldn't assume that anyone else would just take them in. In fact, her first option would be to try it on her own for a while, because she had been dependent, or at least co-dependent, on someone else since she was 17 and she felt that she'd do good to give that a try. But, as time was slowly ticking away after she told me she had something important to tell, she hemmed and hawed. And i was supposed to meet my colleague for dinner, at that point 15 minutes ago. I should have known back then that your mother likes delaying pleasure … and now, so do I, so stay tuned for more :-)
Always, your loving father."
to be continued …
tonight the 100th episode of house aired, awesome tv show, awesome episode. can't wait for series 5 to come out on dvd now. obviously, we already have series 1 through 4. oh, it is groundhog day today and unfortunately phil saw his own shadow this morning, so 6 more weeks of winter :P
monday, february 2, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 117

today a few things happened for the first time:

not a bad score for a sunday, i'd say :-)
sunday, february 1, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 116

the cats woke us up, after pepper let the cats into our bedroom, something particularly sadie is interested in. we got up, had breakfast and then i tried to revive denise's laptop. to no avail. drove campion to the north point mall where he was going to hang out with one of his girlfriends (who happens to also have a dutch father … small world) and on the way back picked up some groceries and my dry cleaning. when i got back we had the guy who sold us the dali print a few months ago at our door and even though i went to his truck with the intention of not buying anything, i couldn't resist getting an escher print for ourselves and a giger print for "the maniac". denise hung both frames, and even after sending campion to his room twice after i picked him up from the mall, he hasn't even seen it yet … (after we pointed out the artwork in campion's room, by going upstairs with him, denise sitting on his bed looking up at the thing right behind her, he saw it and he freaked out … his words: "i had an eyegasm")

in the meanwhile denise was chatting with dell support and even though it now is almost certain that the motherboard is fried, we did notice that we could see something on the screen, but it was like reading dark grey on a black background. at least this was enough for me to rescue her working folder to my external harddrive and i copied it to campion's laptop as well, so now denise has something to work with. other than that, it was not a bad day for a saturday … so now let me continue with the letter to my son.
"Dear Travis, In November of 2006 I went back to Atlanta again, to see friends for Thanksgiving, something I had been doing for the last 5 years (or so). I did that for two reasons: Thanksgiving dinner (gobble gobble) and Black Friday shopping (cheap shirts at the mothership - Polo Ralph Lauren). After one week in Atlanta I would spend one week at my company's headquarters in Santa Barbara to test the (then) latest version of our international product. Since I was in the relative neighborhood of your mother I had let her know that if she wanted to meet somewhere for a good conversation somewhere I would be up to it. After debating it she agreed to meet me for coffee. And since the kids were in school it could only be for a short time, probably around lunch time. So on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving I drove out to Clarksville in my uber cool black Chrysler 300C to meet Denise at Mugsy's Coffee Co. For coffee. I left at 7am and I reached Clarksville a little before noon and at first we intended to meet at the Greek place across the road, but Denise found out that we couldn't sit there to just have a drink, so when I parked she knocked on my window and told me to drive across the street to Mugsy's. And so I followed her, got out of the car, ordered coffees and sat down. And we talked. And talked. And talked. And time passed by faster than we knew and/or wanted to. At around 2.30pm Denise had to go, because otherwise she wouldn't be home when Pepper'd come home from school. We said our goodbyes and before we got in our respective cars we hugged and she gave me a little kiss on the corner of my mouth. And I drove back to Atlanta, ultimately getting lost on 285. What I did not know at that time is that Denise called a mutual internet friend of us while driving to the meeting place and driving back home. Apparently it struck a chord in her that I would drive 10 hours to see someone I hardly knew for only a cup of coffee and a poorly applied kiss. For me, our relationship was still friends, maybe good friends, nothing more, because she was married, period. That's what I have been saying to her as well and even though I knew that she had thought and was thinking about divorce it wasn't going to be me to initiate anything romantic. And she was of the standpoint that even if she were to file for divorce it would be on her own terms, not because someone else "forced" her to. She had enough reasons to file for divorce, though, and although I was never the reason for her divorce I'd like to think that I showed her what a meaningful relationship could be about, something that she longed for, something that she always wanted, but never got: equality. The Saturday after Thanksgiving I flew to LA for a week in Santa Barbie together with a colleague who flew into LAX an hour after I did, so I got the rental car squared away and waited for him to drive to Hotel Santa Barbara. A few days later something interesting happened, but more about that later, so stay tuned for more :-)
Always, your loving father."
to be continued …
pepper is in bed now, campion is playing star wars on the wii-rtz, denise is preparing the birthday slumber party invitations for pepper's birthday 3 weeks from now and i am, obviously typing this.
saturday, january 31, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 115

had the luxury again to sleep in this morning. we were at the client a little after 8.30 so we started earlier than anticipated and because of that we finished earlier too, which meant that i was at the airport around 3.30pm, while my flight was at 6.50pm. our company travel policy recently changed in lieu of the fantastic economic situation the country is in, so we are no longer allowed to use the corporate amex to pay for flight change charges. and i was not willing to shell out the charge myself, so i had a few hours. but logan airport is not a bad airport. the only downside is that you have to pay for wireless internet access, but i will charge that to the client, because i actually did work for them. other than that i had a nice fuddruckers dinner followed by a starbucks venti cappucino and i was overjoyed to find a boston city mug, because i know that starbucks have discontinued the city series mugs of which we now own 11. arrived a little earlier than scheduled at the atlanta airport, but because the flight tracker was wrong once again, denise left too early so she had to circle the airport 4 times, before she could pick me up. of course, i had to hunt down my bag, because just like the trip to boston, my bag was not on my flight, but it took an earlier flight. gotta love the patriot act and the tsa security measures that work so well … driving home i learnt that denise's laptop gave out, or at least the screen hardly displays anything other than black, while it seems that the rest is functioning. this could mean a problem with the motherboard, the screen wiring or a faulty graphics driver. tomorrow she may have to send it to dell and then hope that they can fix without replacing the hard drive, because she/me/we don't want to lose the data that is on there. next to denise's laptop playing dead, my laptop was also dead. luckily, mine was fixed easily, by unplugging the power chord and taking the lead off the adapter, replugging everything and voila, it worked. phew. and now it is time for bed, methinks …
friday, january 30, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 114

since i only had to be at the client at 9am i was able to sleep in till 8am, which is nice under the circumstances. walked over to the client's office, a 5 minute walk, but on treacherously slippery sidewalks because of the snow, rain and freezing temperatures. at least got a couple of snow shots in! the day went pretty good, had some good discussions and we were able to clarify most things so that everything is ready for tomorrow when we actually do a full test of currency translations. and yes, it sounds as boring as it really is for when you're not an accountant :D after work went back to the hotel, worked some more (because at the client we could not log on, since they do not have a guest network) and then my colleague and i went to our rooms. she was not gonna go out to dinner, because she was (getting) sick (probably the same cold/flu/whatever that i am still suffering mildly from), so i went to the hotel restaurant to get me some grub. this took about an hour and a half, went up to my room and called denise, who was all kinds of upset that i got to eat filet mignon while she was heating up leftover meatloaf. i wonder why … :P ;-) gonna take a shower in a minute and then get myself ready for bed, because tomorrow is going to be a long day: almost a full day at the client and then travel home. hopefully there's no delays and no misplaced bags, so i can be home before midnight.
thursday, january 29, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 113

and now i am in boston. it snowed today. there's tons of snow. but somewhere during the afternoon it started raining and i don't know when it'll stop, so i don't know if i will still see snow tomorrow. i hope so. anyway, i will continue my letter:
"Dear Travis, So when I got back from my vacation in the US your mother and I started messaging each other more frequently and it was during those online chat sessions that I learned how she really was trapped in a loveless and emotionally abusive marriage. But still, there were no romantic inclinations from either side, we were just good friends. And good friends share a lot, so I came to know that since 1999 she had been asking her then husband for marriage counseling, something he was extremely opposed to. It even came so far that she packed up the kids and drove to her dad in Arizona in the summer of 2006 and while there she actively searched for a divorce lawyer. In fact, this made him give in, so they finally went to counseling, but then he did everything to sabotage the sessions. And that's not all that I learnt of their marriage. I also learnt about the relationship between your mother's ex husband and your older brother and sister. Needless to say that this wasn't all that wonderful either but I will tell you more about that later. Even though there was nothing romantic going on, no shared future, the one thing that I took away from all this information is that I, but also your mother, gained the knowledge to be better equipped to give you and your brother and sister a warm and loving home. It was not really relevant at that time, because I was happily being single living a jet-set lifestyle, since I was traveling all over the place for my job. And there is still so much more to share, but it's going on midnight now and I need to be fresh in the morning, so stay tuned for more :-)
Always, your loving father."
to be continued …
again, it was really weird leaving my lovely wife behind, even though i know she is alright and that she is capable of caring for herself, still, i want to be close, so whenever she needs me i am right there … but, duty calls too.
wednesday, january 28, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 112
still not feeling all too well, although I'm starting to feel better, I "slept in" till 8.30am. we had an appointment at the ob/gyn at 9.30am for the regular, monthly check-up. denise was called and i just followed her like a puppy, not knowing that she had to go pee in a cup, so of course the nurse had to make a remark about me almost following her into the bathroom, but i retorded that i was fairly certain that i didn't need to do any handholding in there … the next thing was check denise's blood pressure and weight (and i weighed myself, too, and it is official, i am sympathy preggers :P) and then we went into the ultrasound room. denise climbed on top of the stretcher, feet in stirrups and i took place in the "asshole chair" right next to it. the doctor came in, squirted gel on denise's tummy and frenetically started doing the ultrasound. below the result, 7 out of 21 prints!
in the first one you can see travis' rib cage and underneath the heartbeat wave, his heart rate at this time was 156bpm:

the two white shaped "lines" in this one are his leg bones and in between you can clearly see the crown jewels:

in the third one you see travis dressed up like an alien held at area 51:

here's all of travis, he's folded in the womb; clockwise from top you see his head, the side of his body, his hip and his left leg:

this one is almost the same as the picture above, just a little bit clearer:

in this picture it's almost as if travis is giving us the finger …:

the last shot shows both of travis' legs, and at this time i'm sure he was kicking and screaming:

so this visit really yielded some results. next week friday we have to go for the second level 2 ultrasound and seeing as travis now is 14 ounces (397 grams) and by next week he'll probably be close to a pound (454 grams) and also knowing that the level 2 ultrasound is much more detailed we can hardly wait. at least denise is feeling much better in this second trimester than she did in the first. let's keep our fingers crossed for an equally smooth third trimester :-)
tuesday, january 27, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 111
still feeling under the weather (never sure if i ever was over the weather?!) so today's post is going to be a recapitulation of the most important events so far:

and yesterday marked the 19th week of travis' gestation; we're getting close to the halfway point!
monday, january 26, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 110

i slept in, yet again, only this time till 11am. i woke up a little earlier, because pepper let sadie into the bedroom and it is a joy to watch her climb onto the bed, ecstatic about just being in there, quivering all over her body. got up, pepper was making breakfast and after she was done, denise made another breakfast/lunch. after lunch i took a shower and shaved my wilderness beard and we all took a trip to the hair salon (if you could call it that, because it's a supercuts). i was happy to get rid of most of my hair, pepper and denise both got a trim of their bangs and dead ends and layers. campion had to cut off, like, almost an inch all around and he is mad as hell for "almost getting a buzz cut". yet, he still looks like a mop with his skin-tight girl jeans, size S t-shirt and his huge head of rock hair … of course, he is unique, just like ever other snow flake ;-) after the trip to get our hair done denise went upstairs for a nap, because as usual she got up too early. she denies that, as usual, but a max of 8 hours per night is not enough, especially with what she is doing during the day. but with her history of insomnia i guess it is really hard to get a good sleeping pattern. and with me being sick it's even harder. but, i must say that i am starting to feel better, so i should be back in full swing soon :-)
"Dear Travis, As I mentioned yesterday, I hope you get your mother's health genes. If you happen to get mine, here's what you can expect: bronchitis, a little asthma, allergies (nuts, every animal with hair, except humans), eczema, and … that's about it. It doesn't look too bad, but it's no fun when they all get combined and trust me, there will be days that that happens. Now, back to what I promised a couple of days ago, the story of how your mom and I met. The funny thing is that your mom and I are not in exact agreement on when we met: I think it was sometime around March 2006; she says it was earlier than that. We met on an online art community, DeviantArt, through two mutual friends of ours, the one we call our other mother and the one that used to be called Onie. I met both of them right after I signed up in August 2003. Ever since I and our other mother became closer and closer as online friends we tried to meet face to face, and since I was traveling to the US every year, at the least, we were sure we could work something out. Oh yeah, in case no-one has told you yet, I am Dutch. I am from the wonderful and lovely country of Neverneverland … I mean, The Netherlands. Or Holland, if you so prefer (I do prefer it, because it so much shorter and so much easier to say). I used to live and work in Rotterdam, but had friends in the Atlanta area that I would go see every year, around Thanksgiving (you will find out later why around Thanksgiving in particular). Anyhoo, things kept getting in the way till finally September 2006 rolled around and I was going visit Nashville on my tour through the Southeast of the US. A couple of months prior to that your mother and me started commenting on each other's artwork and journals more frequently than before. Before, we only were sideways friends, later we became good online friends, because gradually we came to find out that we had similar tastes in music, humor, politics and all that. When she found out that I was going to be in Nashville, meeting up with our other mother, she invited herself to lunch, since she was working in Nashville at that time anyway. Both my and our other mother's response was "the more the merrier". In the meantime I had learnt that Denise was married with two children and even though I was single I knew that no matter what, nothing would come of this, also because she told me that nothing could happen. And I have never been the kind to mess around with married women, because in my eyes that is just dishonest and disgraceful and coming from the old continent means I still have some core values, as opposed to someone else we know. And even if something were to happen, I would not be the one to instigate it. So, on Friday September 15, three internet friends and one husband (the other mother's) met at PF Chang's in Nashville for lunch. None of us had ever met each other before, other than online, so it was a little awkward in the beginning. But we got to talking and we had a very enjoyable 2 hours. After that, we all went our own way again. Denise went back to work and me and our other mother drove around Nashville, seeing the sights and such. I left Nashville the next day and visited Memphis TN, Jackson MS, New Orleans LA, Savannah GA and Atlanta GA before flying back home. That vacation trip left me with a couple of good memories, meeting your mother for the first time being one of them. But there is more to share, so stay tuned :-)
Always, your loving father."
to be continued …
dinner was a little terse, because someone who doesn't want to be mentioned, threw a temper tantrum, though the chicken with red beans & rice, covered with mole was very enjoyable. now, campion is walking a "stray dog" (and walking off his anger, i hope), pepper took a shower, so basically we are ready for more house …
sunday, january 25, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 109

slept in trying to fight off the whatever it is i have that makes me sick and only got up at 3pm, took a shower and still didn't feel much better. denise got up a little after 9am, right after the phone woke us up, and she had the kids do their chores while she was focussing on her studies.
"Dear Travis, I sincerely hope you don't have my constitution, because if today was any indication it kinda sucks to get most of my physical health genes. Your mother's seem much stronger. So instead of diving into our history I will put that on hold till at least tomorrow … so, stay tuned :-)
Always, your loving father."
to be continued …
… hopefully tomorrow, when i am feeling much better …
saturday, january 24, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 108

today was another "bad" day. i went to bed already feeling quite rough and when i was woken by the alarm at 6am it hadn't bettered … it probably was worse, so i turned off the alarm and went back to sleep. (i am lucky to be one of those people that has no trouble eating or sleeping when i'm sick!) of course this meant that denise had to do everything alone today and i feel guilty about that, because she shouldn't have to do anything alone: she got the kids off to school, she did grocery shopping, she got me some medication, she got some items shipped, but she also had a mani-pedi done. after all that she got back in bed with me for a little nap. our two cats happily joined us on the bed. especially sadie is just besides herself with joy and happiness when she's allowed in our room. mind you, she tries every night and when the door's closed she will try and dig her way underneath … there goes our pet deposit :P finally got up at 4pm, checked all my stuffs online and in a little while we're gonna settle in, watching a movie (or house) and eating a pizza. it's just the three of us, because campion is a band practice tonight. maybe now that the holidays are over and done with band practice will be a weekly recurring event. today i want to start something new that will be a recurring event in my blog: a letter to our son:
"Dear Travis, You don't know me, yet, but I am the one responsible for putting you in that sack of amniotic fluid in your mommy's tummy. And come time for birth I'm sure you are going to resent anyone who takes you out of that nice and warm and cosy habitat, you're gonna cry. But that is alright. The first thing I want to tell you about is how you came to be, meaning how did your mother and me meet so you could be born. And I am telling you now it is a fascinating tale of love, and despair, and distance, and persistence, and soul mates, and huge phone bills, and sleep deficit, but most of all love. So, stay tuned :-)
Always, your loving father."
to be continued …
it turned out we'd be watching house. we're on to season 4 now and the opening episodes are pretty good. at the moment, denise is picking up campion from his friend's house and after they get back we're gonna watch some more house. but we'll also be going to bed at a reasonable hour, because i am quite tired already and i'm sure denise is too.
friday, january 23, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 107

i've been seriously slacking in my parental duties, because this morning, again, denise got both kids off to school while i was doing the "lazy" thing: sleeping in … well, relatively … i had to go into the office today, because i had to send my expense report to our headquarters in santa barbie. and i had a conference call in the early afternoon that had to do with my upcoming trip to boston next week. but around lunch time the tickle in my throat i had been feeling since i got up had changed into fully hoarse voice, barely audible even. so i let my colleague know that i couldn't (physically) do any talking and she was cool with that. right after the call i packed my stuff and went back home …didn't do much after getting home (within 30 mins due to the new route, woohoo!) and after leftover dinner i selected and watermarked 23 pictures for a new series to be uploaded to storm and flick. pepper is in bed and i think campion, denise and i will not be much longer … sleep well, sweet dreams.
thursday, january 22, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 106

today was the day we all had to go to the dentist … the joy, the joy … and i got to go first and wouldn't you know, they had bad news, again: i needed, yes needed, deep scaling (basically very thorough cleaning using ultrasonic water). it wasn't painful (much) but it did set me back $150 *sigh* next up was denise and there was very little the dentist could do for/to her, because she is preggers. (I'm almost jealous of her pregnancy *grin*) all she had was normal cleaning and she has to come back in 3 months (or so). i already have an appointment for march 7 … yes, our dentist also makes us squirm in pain on the weekend! later this afternoon campion and pepper went it. shock: campion has his first cavity, i am so proud of him ;-) pepper heard, for the gazillionth time, that she needs to brush better. there's two things she really doesn't like: washing of body and brushing of teeth. can't wait for her teenage years to kick in, she'll probably swing the complete opposite direction *nod* dinner was meatloaf … yummy! and we're going to bed early, because even though i slept in for a little longer than denise did, i am just spent …
wednesday, january 21, 2009
p.s. last friday we got the results of the amnio: everything is negative, which is good. the amnio also confirmed by the chromosome count in the amniotic fluid that we're having a boy, so travis can rest assured …

the day my life changed and onwards - 105
the most important day in the last 8 years started out pretty badly with me having the headache from hell. so instead of going into the office i decided to do the wise thing, take a sick day and stay in bed. i wanted to get up to help the kids get off to school, but i could barely see straight … meh. i felt denise come back to bed, but i really only woke up again around 11.30 at which time i got out of bed. i noticed that denise tore through the box of triscuits she only bought yesterday. but, she needs to eat before she takes her vitamin pill (vitamins specific for preggers women), because otherwise she'd be nauseous. since it was close to noon we turned on the tv for the inauguration of obama barack as the 44th president of the ustated nights of america. it was a pretty good speech, well delivered and more or less precisely what i'd expected: obama is wanting to be the changestarter, not only for the usa but for the world; he wants to build bridges between those entities that seem to be on different continents of thought. all important things. didn't do much after that, read a little in everything is illuminated, spent a little time online and watched some tv. really nothing can hold my focus, because focussing aggravates my headache, but i will try to focus while watching some more house episodes. also, since it has been over two weeks and given the fact that denise is now really starting to grow, as travis is growing, here's another profile shot:

tuesday, january 20, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 104

another sunday. sure, ok, we had to celebrate mlk day, but really this day was more or less dedicated to picking up pepper from vegetation with her dad. so, we slept in, a little bit, got up, made coffee for the road and a little after noon we took to the road. five hours later we were back (never did it this fast, which means traffic was pretty good), dinner was prepared, denise and pepper went to wal*mart to get her a new backpack. after dinner, we watched some tv, we watched some house and now it is time for bed again, because tomorrow we rise at 6 again. 4 days in this week, woohoo!
monday, january 19, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 103

sunday, oh how i love sundaze :-) didn't do anything today, except wake up and park ourselves in front of the tv for a house marathon. and doing nothing is such a magnificent way to spend a sunday. more exciting news tomorrow … well, maybe not exciting news, but hopefully denise's back feels better. and oh, happy 23rd birthday harrum!
sunday, january 18, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 102

got up early again to make my flight back from houston to atlanta. the trip went as smooth as could be expected so without delay i was able to hold denise in my arms again. it was good to see her and travis. after we got home, we fiddlefarted a bit and then we drove campion to a birthday party and we went on a "date": dinner and a movie. though time was pressing we had a enjoyable meal at ichiban and afterwards we went to see gran torino. the movie is not all it is hyped up to be, but still very enjoyable. and it has quite the interesting message. (but perhaps we should have go see marley & me …) when the movie was done we made our way back to pick up campion from the birthday party and now we're back home and relaxing. we may even watch a little house.
saturday, january 17, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 101

last day of the week, woohoo! and i get to go home tomorrow, woohoo! today was another pretty good day at the client, documented a lot of things and helped out in big and sometimes very small ways. it is interesting to see how just my mere presence makes issues dissappear; surely it is my magnetic personality ;-) instead of going out to dinner i opted to get a firehouse sub and boy was it good. meanwhile, denise was driving back from the drop off point where she dropped off pepper for a short long weekend vegetation with her dad. campion opted out of going (because he really doesn't want to go anymore). on her way over she found out that the fuddruckers location on exit 333 went out of business, which is a shame, because that was always a nice stopping halfway. instead they went to ihop … which ain't half bad either! the exchange went without a hitch, so i am glad for that. and i was glad that it wasn't raining today, so there was not too much strain on denise. monday, when we go pick pepper up, i can drive, so denise can just "relax".
friday, january 16, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 100

overslept a little bit this morning, but still was at the client at 8am … and also one of the first to be there. my day at the client went pretty good, managed to a lot done, quite a few issues solved and things are looking good for tomorrow. after work i drove to and around the lyndon b. johnson space center, but the gates were already closed for incoming traffic and from the perimeter road there is really nothing to see, so that was a bit of wasted time, but at least i can see i have seen it and i can say that it's not as splendiforous as you'd hope it would be. drove back to the hotel to drop off the computer bag and pick up the book that i bought at the airport yesterday, jonathan safran foer's everything is illuminated, and went to dinner. came back to the hotel after dinner, all full and satisfied and almost uncomfortable, and did some work for two other clients, after which i finally called denise. she has been doing good today. it's a week after she had the amnio procedure done and she is not leaking amniotic fluid, she's not cramping and she's feeling well altogether, so things are looking up :-) at lunch today i was able to gush a little about the baby and the client said that travis john carlin is a pretty cool name, but after i said what the girl's name would be they just nodded. but i should get over that already. it's gonna be a boy and travis is gonna be a joy …! anyhoo, my lovely wife is hopefully in a wonderful sleep and i am going to follow her example shortly, because i am wiped … ttfn
thursday, january 15, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 99

today started with a jolt. at 5.40 campion burst into our bedroom in panic. what happened was that he thought the time his alarm clock tells was the actual time. and it is not. because it runs an hour fast. and because campion was panicking, denise panicked and woke me up. and once she checked her phone she knew there was nothing to panic over, so she told me there was no panic. so i rolled over and slipped into the comfortable sleep i was so rudely awakened out of. denise got the kids off to school and then she came back to bed, so we ended up spooning (trust me, no euphemism here) for another hour and a half before we got up. it was weird again today, because i had to leave for houston in the afternoon, so after working for a couple of hours, i packed, waited for pepper to come home. i said goodbye to her, because on friday she's off to vegetation with her dad for the MLK weekend, so i won't see her till monday afternoon when we go pick her up. denise dropped me off at the marta station and i took the train to the airport, because that would save her a lot of time, seeing as she would have to drive home during the rush hour … and there is one thing she doesn't want to contend with: the 400 during rush hour. my flight to houston was uneventful and i got my bag pretty quick and i made my way to the rental car center where i picked up my car: a 2009 dodge journey (whatever you do, do not buy this heap of shit!)(even though my rental is inferno red, it really doesn't go as a firetruck!) … found my hotel, which is actually quite nice and after i called denise to wish her good night and sweet dreams and to tell her that i love her, i took a shower and now i'm ready to go meet denise in my dreams.
wednesday, january 14, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 98

while denise got the kids off to school i "slept in" and decided to work from home rather than go into the office.denise studied some more and in the early afternoon took a nap, even through pepper and casey (the little boy she babysits) coming home and turning on the tv.we had dinner, waited till pepper went to bed and then watched some more house.even though denise says travis is kicking up a shit storm in her uterus, i can't feel it and she isn't in too much discomfort. just the "normal" cramping, which is not a bad thing i suppose.br> tuesday, january 13, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 97

had to get up way too early this morning to get the kids off to school. when they were on their way i also went on my way to the office so denise could go back to bed for a few hours and after that focus on the paper she had to write, finish and submit by the end of today. the most important things i did all day was making travel arrangements as you can see in the schedule i posted a few hours ago. tomorrow is another day … and it's coming fast …
monday, january 12, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 96

today we both slept in! and that's really all we did!denise didn't seem to be either crampy or nauseous, so i guess today was a pretty good day :-)
sunday, january 11, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 95

weekend! so i slept in, denise got up (too) early, but she took a nap in the afternoon. she needed to rest anyway because she was cramping pretty badly. she even called the on-call ob/gyn at the hospital but he told her that it is normal to continue leaking amniotic fluid for a week and it is also normal to cramp for that time. but the cramping should decrease when she rested and it does exactly that, so she just needs to rest more till the additional cramping from the amnio procedure is done and over with. the kids alternated watching tv and playing the wii and after dinner and a grocery store run we watched a couple of episodes of house. and now we're ready for bed again.
saturday, january 10, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 94

(click it to make it bigger)
again we had to get up early to get the kids off the school and we're both thankful that it is friday today so tomorrow we get to sleep in. on top of that, both the kids are a little under the weather (for a couple of days now) and after we did our grocery shopping so did denise. so, the rest of the day we took it easy. no picture of me, denise or anyone else today, but something that an antipodean friend sent to us, martin magdalene. he made this piece of art, which is called "prosey and the shades of grey" as a tribute to denise and me and we are both very touched by this generous gesture.
friday, january 9, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 93

today was an exciting day. we got up, reluctantly, at 6am, to get the kids off to school. i work from home today and tomorrow, so i logged in and worked some till 9.15am when it was time to head off to the perinatal consultant for the amniocentesis. after going to the wrong building, as so instructed by the ob/gyn office, we ended up in the correct medical building where there was tons of paperwork to fill out. two of the fun things that denise had to account for was if she or me were from cajun descent, and if she and me are in any way related (cousins) … things that make you go hmmmm … after all the paperwork was done we had to wait and after a little while we were called into an exam room, where a bouncy trainee technician prepared denise for a level 2 ultrasound. i was glad i decided to come along, because a level 2 ultrasound is far more detailed than a regular ultrasound. since we had a technician she did a preliminary ultrasound and below are 4 outtakes of that session.

even though this looks like a face we think it is the abdomen of the baby:

and this is the baby crossing its hand over its belly:

the next shot shows the left leg in profile and the sole of the right foot:

below shot we call the money shot, because this is where we can see the baby's 11th finger (or should i say the baby's 3rd leg?):

so, from here on out all my baby blogs will be in this shade of blue. the baby's name is going to be travis john carlin:

his current weight is 8 ounces (226.8 grams) and his length is 5.36 cm (2.11 inches). after the first set of ultrasounds the doctor came in to do the amnio, but first he wanted to check the baby for himself, so we got some more ultrasound shots. at the same time he told us what he was looking for:

and he said that everything looks absolutely normal :-)
the next shot shows travis from his left side (from feet to head from left to right):

the following is a shot over the left side of tj's head:

below you can see the skeleton of travis, from left to right you see the ribcage and the skull:

this is a zoomed in of tj's chest (left) and skull (right) and you can even see the teeth already:

the last shot is a bit blurry, but it is also a zoomed in shot of travis' skull, where you can see his left ear and his nose:

after all the ultrasound work it was time for the amnio procedure, and of course some more forms had to be signed: consent forms, because the usa is a country filled with ambulance chaser lawyers and even though there is only a 1 in 200 chance (and probably a 1 in 300 chance) that an amnio procedure could result in a miscarriage, the doctors are really apprehensive about the procedure. (afterwards the doctor said that this was a textbook amnio and that the probable fault rate was closer to 1 in 500.) denise's belly was smeared in betadine (antibacterial ointment), and guided by the ultrasound the doctor inserted a needle into the left side of her womb through the stomach wall. and he only stuck a needle in and once it was in place he screwed on the syringe and then extracted some amniotic fluid. and out came the needle. even though the procedure was short denise immediately started feeling cramps, almost contraction like. but the doctor said this was perfectly normal and that it could last for a couple of hours. the results will be ready for us in about two weeks and in four weeks we will go back there again for the second and last level 2 ultrasound. i am already looking forward to seeing that, because travis john will have grown considerably. we made our way home, ate lunch and as i went back to work, denise laid down on the couch for a nap. she was advised that in the next 24-48 hours she can't go to work, can't lift (things over 10lbs (5kg)), can't exercise or do vigorous activity and above all should avoid intercourse :P when the kids came home we told them they would get a little brother. campion really only reacted to the money shot by laughing and pepper expressed her regret that travis is a boy (and to be honest, i had a slight preference for a girl myself, since we picked the coolest name for her) and the nice thing about that is that the family name will live on with this son and heir :-) denise and i are both most happy about the fact that he seems to be perfectly normal … of course that means, that once he's born we can start the process of making him "un-normal" :D besides, he's gonna be weird no matter what … it's his last name!
thursday, january 8, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 92

nothing special happened today: got up, got the kids off to school, went to the office (although it is exciting that i found a new and much faster way of getting there during rush hour), worked, went back home, did some work from home, had dinner, watched tv and that's about it. tired, though, so i will sleep like a rose again tonight. and tomorrow is the big day. keep your fingers crossed for a painless and not uncomfortable amnio.
wednesday, january 7, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 91

today was the first "normal" day of the year, so it was hard getting up at 6am. denise even got up before me to get pepper her breakfast, since she has decided that she would like cereal in the morning and as with almost everything, she eats kinda slow. i drove her to the bus stop, got back, had my breakfast cereal and then got ready for a day in the office. i dropped off campion at his school and then sat in traffic for over an hour to do the 17 miles to the office. it was a slow news day at the office, so i made my way back home after lunch, so i could spend some time at home, but i was barely home or campion called to ask if he could be picked up because he was sick. since denise was still in pajamas i got volunteered to make the drive and by the time we got back pepper was about to burst through the door.(funny this: the attendant thought i look scary in my picture, so i told her i really am scary - she didn't know what to respond to that *grin*) we did a couple of loads of laundry, had dinner and then vegged out. i watched some house with pepper while denise was dividing her attention between her homework, twiddling on storm and watching/listening to house. another day gone, tomorrow is hump day :-)
tuesday, january 6, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 90

had to get up "early" today to get campion off to school so he could do the 4 mid terms he missed while he was away on early vegetation. pepper was able to sleep in, but tomorrow it is business as usual, so our alarm goes off at 6am … buddha have mercy … today we found out that the bloodwork denise had done at her last visit to the ob/gyn, came back negative for down syndrome, so that's a relief. even so, this thursday she is going to have an amniocentesis (english, dutch) done. denise is/was really hesitant about taking this test, but i guess it's almost a requirement to take it, because of her age and the risks involved therein. we also got rid of the exmas tree today, so now there's needles all over the place, needles that we probably will still find 6 months from now.
monday, january 5, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 89

really nothing much going today. i slept in till almost noon, denise woke up way earlier because the cats were trying to claw their way into our room, underneath the door. besides that, just relaxed, watched some tv, had some of campion's friends come over to help him study for on of his midterm tests tomorrow. denise is feeling the baby move more and more now and that just "pisses me off", because i can't feel it just yet. but, in a few more weeks, when the baby has doubled in size again, i should be able to feel something.
sunday, january 4, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 88
we both rose at the crack of dawn (well, it was the crack of dawn, for a saturday), and drove to south pittsburg, tennessee, to pick up maniac and the sphynx from vegetation with their dad. we were almost an hour early (amazing how easy traffic is at the crack of dawn on a saturday!), so we took it real easy to get there and when we got there we only waited for 20 minutes for him to show up, while it potentially could have been an hour long wait. we transferred the tons of clothes and presents the kids got over christmas into our car and headed back home, sweet home. the kids unloaded the car and put most of their stuff away and one of the presents our son got was a Wii. once i heard that he got it and he wanted to ask if it was ok if he installed it in the living room i beat him to the punch, saying that it needed to be installed downstairs *grin* so the first thing me and maniac did, after they put away most of their (new) clothes and toys, was install and configure the wii. one of the first things to do was give the console a nickname, and fair's fair, i came up with a great one: wii-rtz :-)

we got it to work instantly, so it really is a plug & play system (as opposed to plug & pray) and denise missed most of this because she was quite tired from our little trip and from sheer joy of having her kids back again. and i must say, it is nice to have them back at home. for dinner we had pizza and we watched burn after reading again, because this movie maniac just had to see. it was even funnier the second time! after that we watched two episodes of house and then it was bedtime for the kids and to be honest, it is a little past our bedtime as well … it was a long, but very good day.
saturday, january 3, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 87

i overexposed myself on purpose this time, because i have a rather large pimple on my forehead and while i am not vain, this thing really needs not to be seen :P worked from home today, did our weekly grocery shopping, i got our financials in order, we went out to dinner and we watched a movie on dvd: 21 grams. and now we're going to bed at a decent time, because tomorrow we have to get up early to drive to glorious south pittsburg, tennessee to pick up the kids from vegetation. it's gonna be good to have them back and they're gonna be spoiled yet again with some more exmas gifts.
friday, january 2, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 86
merry new year! to start off this blessed year, here's the second profile shot of denise and the baby in her belly:

quite a change already since the picture i took on day 53! today FetusWirtz is 15 weeks and 5 days (110 days, almost 16 weeks, a little over 3.5 months). denise is doing much better than during the first trimester; hardly any pain or cramps, but there are the (odd) cravings, like lemon or lime water, bagels and cream cheese, nachos with cheese and refried beans, cheese … and i think the common denominator in her cravings is cheese … the good thing about that is that i can also enjoy it when she quenches those cravings. if she develops cravings for pickles or rhubarb or something, she can indulge all by herself *giggle* also, don't forget to open the link in day 84 where you can listen to an alien heartbeat ;-) today was a lazy day, slept in till almost 4 in the afternoon, got up, twiddled on the computer, ate the traditional new year's dinner (mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, pork sausage and black eyes beans and after that we watched a movie denise got for me for exmas: amores perros. over the last week, we've seen quite a few good movies and i think i know of another good movie to watch tomorrow.tomorrow is friday, i have to work, we have to do grocery shopping and we need to wrap the presents we got for the kids, because on saturday we are going to pick them up from vegetation.
thursday, january 1, 2009

the day my life changed and onwards - 85

home again!!!! :-) today was a weird day at the client, but nothing that really had to do with me, so i can really care less. what i do care about is that i was home in time to have a quiet evening (albeit short) with my beloved wife. it is, after all, new year's eve. merry new year!
wednesday, december 31, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 84

today turned out to be a pretty good day at the client as well, so i'm bracing myself for a deluge of shit to come down in the minutes before i return home. my return trip home, by the way, i will experience in the luxury of first class, as i should (remember, i am the princess traveler!), which should get me to atlanta all fresh as a daisy *grin* denise had another appointment with the ob-gyn again this morning and everything is still looking and sounding and feeling good. she even made a recording with her cell phone of FetusWirtz' heartbeat. (once i am back home i will make that recording available in a link, because i need access to my xs4all server, which i can only do from my personal laptop that is sitting on the dining room table about 600 miles north of where i type this now.)
update new year's day: here's the link to FetusWirtz' heartbeat :-)(remember to crank the volume up all the way! file is 33 seconds and the best quality is between 11 and 27 seconds!) just had dinner: a burger (with sauteed onions and red peppers), followed by a brownie bomb, chased down with killian. and all was enjoyed more or less outside … guess there is something to say for the mild winter climate in south florida ;-)
tuesday, december 30, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 83

today turned out not to be such a bad day after all. i anticipated a lot of grief from the client, but it turned out to be a bit more relaxed and cooperative. i went over their basic setup and pointed out some points for improvement and showed them a few neat tricks so the guy i worked with was actually pretty happy. and that made his boss happy. so i guess that makes me happy too … but i will keep some reserve, because there's 1.5 more days to go. 1.5 days where things could still go horribly wrong … after a long day at the client (from 8.30am to 5pm, because if i hadn't been there, the client wouldn't have been there since it is hannukah) i got lost getting back to the hotel, but found my way through the mazes of miami. right when i got in my room i called denise to check up on how she is doing and other than being tired she is doing good, so that makes me feel good. at around 7.15pm i went downstairs for dinner, shuckers, a seafood place. since all tables were occupied and there seemed to be a shortage in wait staff it took a while before i got noticed and served, but after that it was all good. i had an ahi tuna on rice pasta accompanied by killian beer followed by a strawberry cheesecake. now i am scouring the hotel for an internet connection, because of all the wap's i should be able to connect to none of them is stable and/or strong enough to establish a connection … *le sigh* apparently i found a connection, at last, in the lobby, so i was able to go online at least for a little while … *le sigh*
monday, december 29, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 82

i slept in yet again, even though we didn't go to bed too late yesterday, but denise got up too early, so once i noticed she was downstairs i got up and dragged her back to bed and we nuzzled till past noon. then we got up, ate lunch and i packed for my last trip of the year. unfortunately i have to be in miami till wednesday for a client that is already unhappy and who have a demand list of functionalities that don't even exist yet in our software, so that is going to be fun fun fun … at 4pm i drove myself to the airport and i was at the gate with a venti cappuccini at 5.15pm. denise decided on the way back to treat herself to a mexican dinner and after that she was going to see a movie, valkyrie. i have no desire to see this film so she thought she'd take herself out on a date. and while i was trying to find my way to my hotel on bay harbor island she settled in a cinema seat with a lightly salted pretzel and some sweet tea. me in the meantime got to the hotel, settled in, took a shower to shave my 4 day beard and tried to get a connection to the internet … to no avail. i'm picking up between 4 and 8 networks, but all the signals are too weak. guess the hotel survey comes in handy this time. i won't be too harsh, though, because they did provide me with a feather free room upon my request …
sunday, december 28, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 81

again (sorta) slept in and did a slow start of the day. really didn't do much till about 3pm when we went out to the movies again. this time we went to see seven pounds. if you take away just one piece of advise from me let it be this: go see seven pounds! this is the second movie that i rated a 10 on imdb! yes, really, it is that good and to underscore how good i think it is, see my review. but if you take above advise, also take the following piece of advise: do not scour the internet for a synopsis. let this movie take you by surprise and i will guarantee you that you will rate this movie the same as me. after the movie we had breakfast for dinner, gotta love waffle house *giggle* and after brinner we tuned into house some more … :-)
saturday, december 27, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 80

second day of xmas, but of course not here in this faux christian country where they adapt their own idiosynchrasies to everything they can't make any sense of … but that's neither here nor there … slept in again, took our time getting up and actually went to the movies again, this time to see the curious case of benjamin button. the premise of this movie is very interesting (the life of the protagonist in reverse as seen in flashbacks) and the whole movie was well done, the decors, the storyline, the present and the past and the length of the movie does not stand in the way of enjoying it. after the movie we did our weekly grocery shopping at wally world and since they didn't have the usual pizza we were kinda hung up on what to do for dinner, so we decided on arby's (ta da … meeeee likey!) and we ate it at home while watching burn after reading on dvd, a totally stupendus and moronic movie, but since it is a coen brother film it was like, totally worth it's shit, even though there were quite a lot "what the fuck" moments :D we did a couple of laundry cycles (now our bed is clean again *wink*) and some other household stuff, and it is 11.30pm now and i think i'm gonna pop in some house … just to get my fill of sarcasm for today … you may have noticed that i haven't been saying much about denise's status these last few days and the main reason is that there really is nothing to tell. she is doing alright, she is feeling ok and i can see that she is definitely growing in all the right areas. i want to take another silhouet shot soon, maybe tomorrow, so stay tuned …
friday, december 26, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 79

xmas! slept in today, i am feeling much better than yesterday and the day before, so i hope sleeping and showering took away most of the flu. but i'm afraid i have infected denise, because starting in the early evening her eyes started to water and that's how it started with me too. we went to see the movie doubt in the afternoon, good movie, well acted, very good script, makes for interesting discussions afterwards: denise thinks he did it, i think he didn't. and there's no way of knowing, because this is a work of fiction, not one based on actual events.
thursday, december 25, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 78

another uneventful day, a day that i'd rather forget about completely, because i spent most of it curled up in bed. yes, the flu caught up with me in a major way. but after an early evening shower i perked up so we were able to watch two movies: eternal sunshine of the spotless mind and layer cake. two very different, but also two very unusual movies with some great acting and cinematography. and it's gonna be xmas soon …
wednesday, december 24, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 77

today was not a good day, physically, for both of us. denise still is coping with back aches and i had all symptoms of the flu. great …
tuesday, december 23, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 76

got up after 7 hours of sleep to go to the office and i spent almost 7 hours there, which is unusually long for me. but i got a few things done, one of them was not so much fun: booking travel for the last client on-site of the year in miami from monday december 29 to wednesday december 31. yes, you read it right, i'm gonna be working and traveling on new year's eve … *sigh* i came home to denise being in pain because of her back, it's acting up again. it may be stress related, it may be lack of sleep, it may be the extra weight she is packing because of the pregnancy. and there is nothing i or she can do, except take tylenol (the only painkiller she is allowed to take). she is going to call her doctor tomorrow to see if there's anything else that she can take. luckily her class is on a break for two weeks starting tomorrow, so there's no requirement to meet class deadlines for a little while, which should relieve some of the stress. and in two days it's christmas, a holiday we can can quietly spend together doing not much at all :-)
monday, december 22, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 75

still trying to get back to normal today. i slept in till almost 11, but denise was up way earlier, which of course led to her having to take a nap in the early afternoon because she was tired, which in turn led her to have back aches again. of course, the couch is not solely responsible for her back pain, but it surely doesn't help. after her nap and me catching up on emails, online stuff and our finances we did your weekly grocery shopping at wal*mart. we had pizza for dinner, which made it feel like a friday for me, but still i know i need to go to work tomorrow: lots of loose ends to tie up. it's gonna be an interesting 2 weeks, because it looks like i need to be in miami for a client next week monday through wednesday, so now i'm actually thinking of spending new year's with denise in miami … more news on that tomorrow … instead of watching a movie we watched a mini house marathon on usa and now i'm actually starting to fall asleep at the wheel so i believe going to bed is justified. here's to hoping that denise doesn't have any weird dreams tonight!
sunday, december 21, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 74

HOME!
saturday, december 20, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 73
>>no photo<<
today was quite the day. we got up at 6.30, got dressed, went downstairs to have breakfast and then drove to denise's mother's care facility to pick her up. lauri was going to meet us there and she did. we piled in two cars, because we needed to bring a wheelchair (and the trunk of my suv was able to hold it) and phyliss. so phyliss rode shotgun with lauri and kevin hopped in the backseat of our car. we drove to the funeral home (the same as last night) where the memorial service started at 10am. it was a catholic ceremony, so there was a lot of standing up, praising the lord and sitting down (lather, rinse, repeat), of course none of which i even remotely cared for. and neither would have john, because he was not catholic: he was southern baptist, like a good texas redneck should be. after the ceremony we caravaned, escorted by the police (technically we were a motorcade), to the cemetary, way way out of town (well on the way to el paso, actually). there was a short ceremony for the internment and after that every group split up and headed off. Our family went for a lunch at a mexican restaurant (again) where i was able to get a couple of good family shots, both group and individual, because they only seem to get together for funerals anymore. after lunch we had to drop mom off at the care facility and that took a little longer than anticipated, because denise and lauri had a long long talk with phyliss' social worker. kevin and me went outside, sat on a wrought iron bench and talked. when the girls finally came out it was already 4.30 so instead of going back to the hotel to change we went straight to yet another mexican place for a celebration of life party with john's friends, mainly revolving around john's latest and last love: linda. we spent a good 3 hours there, talking, drinking, sharing, eating, crying, laughing, hugging, before denise and i left. i had to leave because my eyes were hurting (allergies and forgotten to take my morning benadryl) and denise was starting to feel her back again. we said our goodbyes, which took about 30 minutes, and made it back to the hotel, where denise soaked in a nice warm bath and where i downloaded the pictures, where i checked us in for our flight back home and where i will take a shower when i'm done typing this. we're gonna call it a night early tonight, because we got a long drive back to houston tomorrow and we want to take our time getting there. we'll be back in our own house around 9pm and i'm pretty sure we're going to go to bed early then too. i know, going to bed early, twice in a row even, is something that john would never do and would never let us do, but fuck you john, you stubborn texas redneck, we're going to do so anyways ;-)
friday, november 19, 2008
p.s. and in lieu of john denise and i have decided to name our kid after him. we're not quite sure how, but if it's a boy john will be part of his name and if it's a girl lauren will be part of her name.

the day my life changed and onwards - 72

another weird day … waking up to a message from my loved one saying she was at her gate. i got dressed and while i made my way to the client she texted me saying her flight was delayed for 2 hours due to fog in san antonio. and i could see the fog in houston as well. it was bad, but no so bad that planes couldn't fly. whatever. i went through my day helping the client out, having a nice mexican lunch accompanied by a big red they bought for me alone. and now there's 4 more bottles in the fridge that will be there when i come back, because they want me back for another two days for right when they convert, so i can handhold them through the process. at 3.45 i started my trek west, but just getting onto hwy 45 took me 15 minutes (a stretch of less than a mile …), but once i was on traffic flowed a little better. i took the sam houston beltway to avoid the dowtown houston traffic mess and after paying toll 3 times ($1.50 each) i turned onto I10 and once traffic cleared i belted my way to san antonio. in the end it took me me 3.5 hours and hadn't the start been so slow and handn't i stopped to take a leak i would have made it in less than 3 hours. pretty good time, i'd say. of course, the cops will call me criminal, but again, whatever. after a few misturns i arrived at the funeral home where john's open casket was on display for viewing. me and denise went to take a look and even if she said it didn't look like john it was close enough for me, since i have seen poorer enbalming jobs than this. after i met the rest of the family & friends that were there (hugs & sobs from linda, john's prospect wife) we went out to dinner at la hacienda the los barrios (yes, mexican again) with aunt laurie & kevin and uncle raymond and aunt winnie. there was interesting conversation at the dinner table and afterwards we (sans raymond & winnie) went to wal*mart to pick up some miscellaneous stuff for tomorrow. and now we are in our hotel room. denise just took a soak, i took pictures of the suite and i will be taking a shower in a moment and then it's off to bed, because we will rise at 6.30am to pick up denise's mother at 8am from her home. the ceremony starts at 10am and the internment is right after that.
thursday, november 18, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 71

today was a bit of a weird day, knowing that my wife had to do a lot while i was only needing to concentrate on my client's needs, which i, fortunately, was able to do. but yeah, after i was done at the client (early!) i called denise and she said her back was out and she was cramping. all that when driving the kids to south pittsburg, tn. and i was 600 miles away, not able to do anything about it. and tomorrow she has another long & hard day, because she needs to get up pretty early to get to the airport to catch her plane to san antonio, where in the late afternoon she will be going to visitation at the funeral home. but before that she might go see her mother, who might have processed the news of john's death well, or not. and if not, who knows what will happen.at least mother's sister lauri (with her husband kevin) and her brother raymond (with his wife winnie) are there as well, so she doesn't have to deal with her alone. here's a link to another guestbook in the online version of the san antonio express-news. i am done eating, showering and pre-packing, so now i am waiting for my wife to get home so we can do a quick call. the client already said they were willing to let me go at 3.30pm tomorrow, so i would actually be able to make it to the visitation as well, inclement weather permitting of course …
wednesday, november 17, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 70

since denise had to work till 2am to get her individual paper turned in on time i let her sleep when the time came to get the kids up and off to school (6am). first i dropped pepper off at the bus stop (the bus that was 15 minutes late) and a half hour later i dropped campion off at the bus stop (waited till his friend charlie came outside to wait on the bus). after that i joined denise in bed and i left the doors open for the kittehs to come in. they did, of course. first sadie, because she usually sits sentinel outside our bedroom door, and after a little while lily comes in as well. we both fell in and ouf of sleep till about 9am. after getting up i did some work and packed for the trip. denise informed the kids' teachers at the high school and the elementary school that campion and pepper were to be taken out of school on thursday and friday. technically, to attend the funeral of john, but in reality they go to their dad on wednesday evening. the main reason, of course, is john's funeral, because i am already out of town and denise is going to go to san antonio on thursday, which means that the kids must stay somewhere else.they were slated to go on vegetation anyway, but not till saturday afternoon, but there realistically was no way to and fly/drive all 4 of us to san antonio and get back in time to drop the kids off. so i am in houston now, actually, it's clear lake and on the other side of hwy 45 it is friendswood, where my client is. this is only a 2-day engagement and i don't foresee any difficulties so i should be able to breeze through it. then on thursday evening i will drive my copper ford edge (free upgrade to SUV because they were out of full size cars *excited*) to san antonio to meet up with my wife, aunt lauri and her husband kevin (and possibly some others).here is a link to the obituary/memorial website of the funeral home that takes care of all the arrangements.there's a few things that can be said about the obit, but i will refrain from doing so, maybe after all this is said and done. anyhoo, it's coming up 11.45pm central time and my alarm will sound at 7am, so i am turning in. i will join my wife in her dreams …
tuesday, november 16, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 69

the last few days have been quite surreal. since we heard about john passing away on saturday morning denise has been on the phone pretty much constantly and then finally today details of the funeral were announced: - the wake is going to be on thursday evening dec 18 - the funeral (both the ceremony and his burial) will be on friday december 19 i am glad that i can be there on friday. the main reason i wanted to be at the funeral is to make sure that denise is OK. (of course, she says she will be fine, but i'd rather see it in person that she is fine.) the other reason is to pay my respect to a man i was happy to have met in the short time i've been in denise's life. i think he and i got along very well, even though we knew that on a lot of subjects we had very opposite views, but we both don't do bullshit and that created a great understanding. so, i am leaving tomorrow for friendswood, a suburb of houston, and after my client engagement on thursday i will drive my rental car (upgraded to full for only $10) from friendswood to san antonio where i will meet up with denise who will be flying to san antonio on thursday morning. the kids (campion decided to go on vegetation as well, even though he really didn't want to - something he will be rewarded for, generously) will be taken to the drop-off point in south pittsburg, tennessee, by denise after school on wednesday afternoon. the kids will stay with the todd till saturday january 3, 2009. friday will be an interesting day. i will meet family members and friends of the family for the first time. there is all the emotion to deal with and there is making sure that denise is alright, with her being pregnant and all. the stress of john's untimely death (as we guessed correctly, it was a massive heart attack) has already resulted in some mild cramping, but so far, not worse than before. and i would like to keep it that way. on saturday denise and i both drive back to the houston airport to fly back to atlanta where we can begin our "christmas holiday". of course i will continue working on those days, but i don't have any client on-sites and it's highly unlikely that there on-sites being planned for those days. around christmas and new year's denise has no classes to attend to, so she can really take it easy. so perhaps we'll go out to dinner a couple of times and go to the movies a few times. but i'm hoping, above everything else, that two weeks of rest will do wonders for the baby and for denise :-)
monday, december 15, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 68
>>no picture today, no color coding today<<
still in black-out mode, sorry …
sunday, december 14, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 67
>>no picture today, no color coding today<<
today turned out to be a sad sad day: denise's cousin, john, was found dead earlier this morning. as of this moment we don't know much about it (other than that there was no foul play), but our guess is he had a heart attack. a heart attack most likely caused by the stress his now widow caused, someone he was in a nasty nasty divorce battle with for two years. (i'm sure karma will take care of her!) john leaves behind three boys and a girlfriend he was about to propose to. john, you stubborn texan redneck motherfucker, enjoy wherever you are, you will be missed by this liberal european commie bastard!
saturday, december 13, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 66

woke up totally sick today. i had been feeling a cold coming on for a couple of days now and it's only logical that it would happen right after a client visit. so i stayed in bed while denise got the kids off to school, but got up around 9ish, because i had a little work to do and we needed to do grocery shopping. and today we had to get extra much, because tomorrow two friends of ours are coming over for a mexican spread. while we were out we saw the gas price at racetrac, see it and believe it:

for those that are metrically and euro-inclined, here's the re-calculation: at today's exchange rate this would mean 1,08211 euro per gallon, which is 0,2858632032655890560921770206255 euro cents per liter! we got back from groceries, i got to work and finish the write-up i promised the client so i could call it a weekend. my lovely wife took care of some other chores and after friday night pizza she started on the preparations for tomorrow's dinner.even though, right now i have a hard time standing the smell, i am looking forward to tomorrow, most of all we get to sleep in. i think denise and i both need that :-)
friday, december 12, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 65

another pretty uneventful day in the client's office. today we actually got the client to demonstrate what they'd learnt in the past two days and of course after lunch, 3 hours before we had to leave for the airport, the hard questions came out. but, i was able to answer and/or solve them! yes, sometimes i am that good ;-) anyway, the flight back to not so hotlanta was uneventful and little after 9pm my love was there to pick me up. since i hadn't eaten anything since lunch (and neither did denise) we stopped at the waffle house before heading home to have a little 24/7 breakfast. in the mail that arrived in the days i was away, there finally was the sandisk extreme III 8 GB compact flash card, so now i can shoot close to a 1000 pictures before i need to empty the card. i'm thinking that i'm gonna be needing that for when the baby is there.
thursday, december 11, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 64

today was another pretty good day at the client. although, i did notice that they are not accountants, because by the time we got around doing financial transactions they were all dozing off. served me just fine :D went out to dinner at the fish house and had a pretty decent ahi tuna, accompanied by a yuengling (which did not impress me all that much). back at the hotel again, procrastinating taking a shower … one more day at the client and then at the beginning of the evening i fly back to atlanta, so hopefully around 9pm i am in denise's arms again.
wednesday, december 10, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 63

had a pretty good day with the client, they're pretty relaxed and knowledgeable in the areas where i need them to be. when i'm busy at work i forget that i've left my pregnant wife at home, even though there were a few moments where i could gush :-) of course, it doesn't help that i learnt later that denise had a hard day today because of things that transpired with her mother and the facility she is in. my sweetheart got a little worked up and of course in her situation that will have a physical result: cramping.and i can't walk over and give her a hug, so here's one virtually!
tuesday, december 9, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 62

had a broken night because we watched a documentary on msnbc till 2am, while we got up at 6am … kids are on the clock and so are we. after pepper went to the bus stop i caved and went back to bed, because i knew i had a phone call coming. when i got up to get to work, denise came back to bed, so we switched rooms and while she got some more rest i did a little work. at 11am i went back upstairs again and joined denise in bed for a couple more hours of sleep. after that, it was packing for me, because right after pepper got home denise had to drive me to the marta station since i had to travel to pensacola, fl. the trip there was totally uneventful, but it gets stranger and weirder leaving denise behind. guess i better start bracing myself for what it's gonna be like 4-5 months from now … anyway, got to the hotel, settled in and then called a colleague, who is also here to shadow me for the next 3 days, to meet and have a couple of drinks in the bar. and now it is closing in on midnight and while i know my love is still up and awake and in her class, i'll be signing off in a minute to go to bed.
monday, december 8, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 61

we both slept in, really slept in. pepper had to come into our bedroom telling us the time and that she was bored :D denise has been feeling hormonal, complete with mood swings, but it seems to have substituted her nausea, so she made us chorizo breakfast while she herself indulged in bagels & cream cheese. the rest of the day was spent pretty much in relaxation until she got in her head to clean the bathrooms. both kids had to assist and i got to watch storm chasers on the discovery channel. dinner was a form of arroz con pollo, but i was still full from brunch (and actually still am full, even) so i put half of my plate into containers for leftover night on thursday. i won't be partaking in that feast, because i return from pepsicola on thursday evening. i am leaving tomorrow evening and since it is still relatively far away i don't feel weird about it, yet, but i'm sure it'll hit me when it departure time comes around. anyways, it's after 11 and even though we only got up 12 hours ago and even though i didn't do anything all day, i still feel tired (*yawn*) …
sunday, december 7, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 60

i know, no picture of me or denise yesterday, shocking :P so today you get one of me and denise and campion :-) guess today was another not-so-good day, after waking up from weird-ass dreams and then feeling bleh the rest of the day. despite all that denise made us blueberry scones for breakfast, below is one of them:

next to that nothing special happened today, we all just relaxed and took it easy. after all, it is weekend. and the beginning of the second trimester is rapidly approaching!
saturday, december 6, 2008
p.s. we had jambalaya for dinner and let me tell you, that was divine!

the day my life changed and onwards - 59
today was a pretty uninteresting day as well: after we got up we did grocery shopping at wally world, where it was a lot less crowded than last week, i worked, denise studied, pepper came home, we ate pizza, denise took a bath, campion came home, i feel asleep on the couch, i took a shower, pepper fell asleep, we all went to bed around midnight, uninteresting. i did take some pictures of the new artwork on our dining room/kitchen wall:

friday, december 5, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 58

another day where nothing special happened. we got up, we worked/studies, we ate and now it is time for bed … 's all good, though :-)
thursday, december 4, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 57

denise woke up not feeling all too great, so i made sure that she'd be going back to bed when the kids and i were out the door. and she did. but even when she had something to eat and some extra sleep she didn't feel any better. guess this is one of those days. and there's nothing i can do about it and i am slowly coming to terms with that. tomorrow's another day :-)
wednesday, december 3, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 56

another milestone today: i went along to the ob-gyn with denise today. and i got to see the ultrasound live when it was being done. that was cool! below the two best images from this session.


other than that, there's really not much else to report, other than that i finally managed to get the lights in the kitchen to work again … it helps if you reset the correct circuit breakers … but i blame the idiots who installed and notated the breaker box …

tuesday, december 2, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 55

our anniversary! our one year-aversary to be precise! while denise slept in i got the kids off to school (in the process forgetting to pack pepper lunch, so she had been starving all day …) and denise got out of bed right before i went to the office, because she needed to hand me a card and a present: a booklet of coupons for all sorts of handy and loving on the way back home stopped at the home depot to pick up some wooden hangers for the shirts and jeans i bought on black friday, also picked up a couple of bulbs, because this morning the lights in the kitchen shorted out (i think). also along the way stopped to get an anniversary card (next to sending her an e-card) and i picked up my dry cleaning (which technically is not dry cleaning, merely shirts that we washed ourselves but for which we have outsourced the ironing *grin*). around the time i got home pepper came in as well, together with the neighborhood kid she is babysitting. while i worked some more and waited for the mail to arrive campion came home. the mail was delivered only shortly before that and in the mail was a package i hoped would make it in today. upon opening it i was happy to notice that my plan worked. i had a gift for denise: a drop dead fred dvd! now we had to wait for either of the boy's parents to come pick him up so we could go out for dinner. dinner was at pappadeaux seafood kitchen. the menu is really good, but only if you're into fish, otherwise there isn't much to chose from. denise had the mahi mahi and i tried fried catfish for the first time. pepper had corn dogs (*sigh*) while campion indulged in fried shrimp. for starters denise and campion already had a dozen oysters on the half shell; i stuck with baudin (sausage over rice). since the portions are family size we didn't finish everything, yet still we caved for dessert … suffice to say we didn't even come close to finishing those. still, in honor of world aids day, we stopped at starbucks for some drinks before heading back home.

after we watched the rest of the movie, the kids went to their rooms and we set out to complete a wedding tradition: the eating of the top tier of the wedding cake … now we wonder why this is a tradition?! i still remember how gooooood it tasted one year ago; not so much anymore after a year in the freezer. i think the pictures in this blog tell that tale quite alright :P

anyways, it's coming onto 11pm and i'm thinking we're heading upstairs to the bedroom very shortly … i am knackered …

monday, december 1, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 54

today was also very relaxed, a true lazy sunday. denise let me sleep in because a gassy stomach and two frolicking cats kept me away for the biggest part of the night. but at least the cats didn't attack the christmas tree again. and tonight we ate chili so i guess this will result in another gassy night *giggle* today denise wore a maternity outfit she bought early friday morning and i must say it looks horribly cute! see for yourself:

and today cramping and nausea were not as prevalent as other days … i hope this is the beginning of the end.
sunday, november 30, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 53

so, what did we do today? nothing! and it was splendiforous :-) what we did manage to finally get done, was take a profile shot of denise, so we can actually measure the progression of the pregnancy. i think it was very brave of her to finally cave in to the enormous amount of pressure i have put on her for this, but it'll be a cool piece of history for later!

and now she is lying on the couch, because she is cramping, poor thing *hugs*
saturday, november 29, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 52

black friday, woohoo! proceed with caution, read at own risk!

friday, november 28, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 51
thanksgiving!


slept in and woke up to pepper making a pancakes breakfast again! at the same time denise was prepping thanksgiving dinner and now we're just relaxing, watching cartoon, basically waiting for the tryptophane to be served :P time for tryptophane came around 4pm, had a lovely homemade feast, carved the beast, took some pictures, had a couple of glasses of wine and then more or less passed out for a couple of hourse before we dipped into the apple pie and pumpkin pie. after that, we watched the second movie of the blue collar tour and called it a day, because we're getting up at 3am to go shopping. yes, you read that right: we're getting up at 3am to go shopping! so, ni-night y'all … i will add a picture to this blog tomorrow, and maybe i'll throw one of all of us …









thursday, november 27, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 50

the day before thanksgiving. we slept in and pepper made us pancakes for breakfast. because she wants to learn how to cook she has already announced that tomorrow she will make pancakes again ("because i want to learn to do it from my head"). it feels kinda weird, because we were supposed to be in kansas now, celebrating turkey day at the ranch, but that fell through due to time constraints. unfortunate, but i'm sure there'll be another thanksgiving opportunity at the ranch. hopefully denise feels less nauseous tomorrow, because today it was really bad. she even took a 2 and a half hour nap to make the nausea go away. at the moment i type this (a few hours prior to publishing this blog) she is picking up our dinner at chepe's grill, because there were not enough leftovers and not enough supplies to add to the leftovers. and she craved shrimp … … after dinner we just vegged out in front of the tv, campion disappeared to his room, hopefully working out how reaper works. pepper feel asleep on the couch and denise and me are ready to retreat to our bedroom as well.
wednesday, november 26, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 49

i totally forgot to tell you, my patient "listener" what happened sunday evening. (this is totally not related to us having a baby, mind you.) the timing is something denise and i are both unsure of, but after dinner i asked her if it was raining outside and she told me no. i heard something dripping, but since it didn't rain i let it go thinking it must be my brain playing tricks on me, still hearing the the old faucet drip (the old leaking faucet was replaced a few days earlier). but not long after that denise saw that the coffee table was wet and what do you know, water was slowly dripping from all three lights of out living room ceiling light/fan. i will spare you the rest of the details, but a plumber came in and resealed the guest/kid's bathroom's shower drain, for he was certain that the root cause was that drain. i guess we will find out soon enough if it wasn't … anyway, today was another day where denise wasn't feeling a 100% so we are both really rooting for the end of the first trimester and at the same time keep our fingers crossed that the nausea will disappear in the second trimester. today was friday for me, because since it is thanksgiving day on thursday and my company generously offered 2.5 days around it i took wednesday morning off as well, so tonight we are planning to go to bed at a decent time and then sleep in in the morning. it's gonna be awesome :-)
tuesday, november 25, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 48

so it is official, as of today our baby has been upgraded from zygote to fetus. guess that is an important milestone :P another milestone today was that i almost had a heart attack while my wife almost passed out coming off the toilet, that was kinda scary. after i laid her down on the couch and put a cold washcloth on her forehead she felt better … thank buddha!
monday, november 24, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 47

we had no plans for today, so we slept in and slowly eased into the day after a good night's sleep even though we went to bed at 2am, after watching a movie (iron man) and some stand-up on hbo (gotta love hbo, because they don't censor out any inappropriate words). campion made breakfast, white chocolate chip pancakes, but that was after pepper made me lunch, a ham & cheese sandwich. most of the late morning and the early afternoon was spent writing christmas cards and you can see the entire stack (minus 2) sitting in the mailbox for pick-up on monday.

after that we (mostly me, though) watched the bond movie casino royale and i must say that i rather enjoyed it; it is very different from all the other bond movies and a lot less laughable. so now i'm actually looking forward to the new bond flick, quantum of solace. then it was time for spaghetti for dinner and after dinner i might stick in another movie … we'll see, i will let you know about it tomorrow :-) denise has been feeling pretty good today, or otherwise she didn't show or tell. getting closer to the 12-13 week mark now.
sunday, november 23, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 46

i think the only thing accomplished today was getting a haircut, so we spend close to two hours at the supercuts just up the street. other than, it was a lazy saturday. nothing wrong with that :-)
saturday, november 22, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 45

today was an interesting day, to say the least, but to start with the most important, which would be that denise had some bad nausea and cramping, but luckily that has dissipated again. other than that, i had my annual review this morning, which turned out not too bad (and seeing how badly the economy is tanking, i probably should be thankful) and after i dropped off the rental g6 denise and i did grocery shopping while the car was being oil changed. while we were at it we bought the kids some clothes, while i treated myself to a toblerone bar :P after that, i worked for a couple of hours, finishing the write-up that i had to do on the client i was in cullman for. when that was done there was pizza to eat and the relaxing weekend could begin … ah, bliss :-)
friday, november 21, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 44

and i am back home again and it feels good :-) the drive back only took 3.15 minutes, with one pitstop, while mapquest calculated it would be 3 hours and 41 minutes. i probably could have done it in 2 hours and 41 minutes, were it not for all the idiots and morons on the road. meh. but client visit was good, they were nice and accomodating and warm and friendly, but nevertheless i am excited to be back home, so tonight i can fall asleep with denise in my arms.
thursday, november 20, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 43

hump day: one more day and i am back home again! today was another reasonably good day at the client and over lunch i was (finally) able to gush about denise and our wedding and our kids and our on-the-way baby, because today happened to be my client contact's 20th wedding anniversary! small world, because our anniversary is coming up quickly too …… that reminds me … :P
wednesday, november 19, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 42

got up this morning, tried to locate the client office, couldn't find it, had to park and go into a random store/office to ask where my client was (i hate the fact that hardly anyone uses house or suite numbers!) and then found it on the back of the shopping center where i toured around twice. anyway, the day went pretty good, managed to get a lot of stuff on the agenda done and it looks like the next two days are going to be pretty good also. went to ruby tuesday again for dinner, but i promise that tomorrow i will go to, according to the client, the best mexican place in town. i will have to do that straight from their office, because it's right around the corner from them. the most important thing actually happened right at home: my wife took a glorious nap today, a nap she has deserved so much after this gruesome class she attended for the last 8 weeks. now she has a 1 week break before the next 8-week philosophy class starts … *sigh* oh, and she told me that today she hasn't been nauseous, so things are definitely looking p.
tuesday, november 18, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 41

today was a travel day for me, so while denise got out of bed to help the kids get to school, i stayed in bed, hoping that denise would be able to come back to bed, but even though she tried, she was too awake. so not long thereafter i gave up too and came downstairs. for no reason she made me a wonderful breakfast, chorizo (*drool*), and after i packed we drove to enterprise so i could pick up my rental car that i would use to drive to cullman, alabama, and back. they gave me a 2009 pontiac g6; it still had the new car smell :-) at 1pm i left and i had decided to take the scenic route and in hindsight i should not have, because there is ab-so-lu-te-ly nothing to see in between home and cullman, alabama! arrived at my hotel a little after 5pm local time, checked in, dropped the bags inside, fired up the laptop and then left for dinner at the most luxurious place i could find: ruby tuesday *grin* after dinner i went back to the hotel, took a shower and shaved myself so i can look presentable tomorrow. after the shower i called my lovely wife and we chit-chatted for half an hour before we hung up. she has homework to do and people to call and i wanted her to get that done so she could make it to bed at a reasonable hour … one can always hope … but, the fact is that i miss her. the coming months will be hard, because i will have to keep traveling and every time it's harder to leave, but it's something i will have to deal with … and i will. i love you, denise <3
monday, november 17, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 40

as opposed to me, denise did not sleep in today, but she took a nice long nap in the afternoon. and her agonizing class is almost over, so that'll bring some relief. i didn't do anything today but twiddle on the computer and post-processing the 100 pictures i took yesterday.more news tomorrow, perhaps. or not, because tomorrow i'm on my way to ala-fucking-bama. but it'd be all good grin*
sunday, november 16, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 39

got up after 7 hours of sleep to be ready by 9am, which was the time that Sterling was supposed to come by to pick me up to go out for a photo shoot in the north georgia mountains. he called about 10 minutes to 9 saying he just woke up, so that's when my wonderful wife decided she was going to make me breakfast. and that breakfast was good: jalapeno cheese & onion omelets spiced up with some habanero sauce. coupled with the coffee that really made for some pretty quick bowel movement, so at least got that out of the way before hitting the mountains. sterling picked me up around 10 and off we went. first went to pick up a picture that he sent in to a juried show in blue ridge, which seemed like one of those liberal retirement communities. from there we drove to the anny ruby falls, but we overshot the location by 20 miles and had to backtrack through helen, which is this nightmare of a german tourist trap town. but we got to the falls, right as clouds were closing in and sure enough it started raining while we made the hike up the falls. the effort was worth it, though, because it is a pretty awesome waterfall, especially surrounded by all the fall colors (even though it was a little late in "the game"). we were back at the car close to 4pm and daylight was already fading because of the overcast weather, so we decided to call it a day. sterling drove me home and we agreed to meet at 7pm at his hotel, where zlatko was also going to meet us for dinner. when i got home, denise already was off to a baby shower for two friends of ours (more hers than mine, but that's neither here nor there), the same guys we went to see mitch fatel with a couple of weekends ago.she picked me up close to 7pm and we drove out to the hyatt place where we had our wedding ceremony almost a year ago. sure enough the lady that worked there that night was there again and denise talked with her for a little while, while we waited for sterling and z.when we all met up we went for dinner at ippolitos, a very nice italian restaurant that is famous for its garlic rolls. we had to wait 20 minutes for a table and in the meantime we caught up with each other and we had lots of fun throughout the dinner. denise had a good, full meal (even though she feels like she overate), but mostly i was glad she was able to get away from the daily grind of being in charge of the household and focussing on her studies.in the end, a good time was had by all … and those garlic rolls are just phenomenal!
saturday, november 15, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 38

again a day where nothing special happened … although, denise was more nauseous today than she had been in the past days. and the unfortunate thing was that, due the issues with fucking useless comcrap, she had to do this week's grocery shopping by herself. and she had to pick up assorted presents, so that was a 3 hour trip that i would have wanted to help her with. but i had to stay home to let in pepper and casey, a neighborhood boy pepper is babysitting. but my time wasn't all idle time, because today i moved all our financials from wachovia to usaa. one reason is because usaa is likelier to give us a car loan or a mortgage (apparently they can do an international credit check, although it is something we need to further look in to). a second reason is because usaa is a little more advanced in online banking and electronic transfers. and a third reason is because usaa is a more solid bank than wachovia is. later today, our good friend sterling (you may remember him as the unofficial photographer of our wedding) is coming into town (or at least the general vicinity) and if it's not too late and if he's not too tired he might drop by.in any case, we're gonna go out tomorrow during the day, taking pictures of rural north georgia. in the evening denise and i will have dinner with him and our other friend zlatko (you may remember him as the official photographer of our wedding) in our favorite italian restaurant.and as it turned out sterl made it to our house, thanks to his gps. we hung out for a while just chatting about nothing in particular and it was great to see him.i probably should go to bed, because he is planning to pick me up around 9am! on a saturday! and it's probably gonna rain! it's gonna be cool, though!
friday, november 14, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 37

not anything special to mention for today. i was happy to sleep in the same bed with my wife, which i'm sure is making us both sleep better :-) denise got up earlier than me to get the kids off to school and then i get up, got dressed, ate brekkies and went to the office for a couple of hours to do some admin stuff and follow-up for my clients. returned home at a reasonable hour and on the way filled up the tank of the car. guess what? only $1.919 a gallon! (that is $1.919 per 3.785412 liters, which against the current exchange rate is 0.3968 euro per liter …) so, that is like, woohoooooooooo!!! *grin*

buddha bless america ;-)
thursday, november 13, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 36

i am back home again. that feels good. especially knowing that denise has had cramping all day and even though i can't do a damn thing about, it still helps me if i'm around. the day on-site with the client did go fairly well, so by the time i left they'd all expressed their thanks for helping them out. i graciously accepted, but also said that this is what i do, so they shouldn't have expected anything else but be satisfied.got back home with a little delay because traffic coming to the atlanta airport was very bad due to accidents along the way, but when i got home dinner was ready to go into the nukebox and denise and i actually ate together: a meatloaf (or technically, a turkeyloaf) that pepper made all by herself garnished with mashed potatoes and green beans. it was pretty good, although pepper may have put just a little too much pepper in the taters *giggle*anyway, i got caught up on doing the mail and finances, so i think i'm gonna go to the living room and hang out with my wife.
wednesday, november 12, 2008
p.s. and yes, that is the real thing that i'm drinking :P

the day my life changed and onwards - 35

spent all day at a client site in columbus, ohio, and was keeping my fingers crossed for denise to get the rest she needed/deserved. but i learned later that she tried to take a nap but that she couldn't find sleep. and that makes me feel kinda bad, because i wasn't there to comfort her in my arms. of course, denise keeps telling me that there is nothing that i can do about her lack of sleep or her nausea or her back pain or whatever, but still i think that just *being there* is help in some way. in more upbeat news i can say that i had a very pleasant phone call with our daughter, who was apparently itching to call me and of course when she did all she really did was twitter. which was cute and endearing and whatnot :-) tomorrow i will be returning home, something i feel pretty good about.
tuesday, november 11, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 34

after we got the kids out of the door to school we went back to bed to rest for a little while longer. and to just be in each other's nearness because later today i flew to columbus, oh (yes, a battleground state that became a swing state) to be on-site with a client for two days. so this is just a short trip that gets me back on wednesday evening. it feels weirder and weirder to leave home, even though denise is not even close to the stage where she (possibly) can't do anything anymore, but me being away from home renders me unable to help out at all. meh …but the silver lining is that denise is feeling a little less nauseated than she did before, so hopefully it will now slowly disappear. another sign that there is a change is the cravings: denise started out on a ginger ale kick, then it was samoa ice cream and now it is garlic stuffed, feta stuffed and cheddar stuffed olives *grin*and who knows what it will change into … *grin* … stay tuned and find out :-)
monday, november 10, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 33

today started out with disciplining pepper. three times. i'm sure she is pissed off at me, but she's gotta learn to be a little more responsible. i know she is only 10 but sometimes she acts like she is a 3 year old and with a new baby only 7 months away we can't have her acting like she's the baby in the house. so the next few months are going to be hard on her, but at the same time denise and i will remind her that we don't mean any harm and that we are being harsh for her benefit. someday she will understand. that being said, today we also went to the movies; we saw madagascar 2: escape 2 africa. and it was funny! the penguins totally steal this movie, just as they did the first one, only now they have a slightly more prominent role. after the movie went to dinner at outback steakhouse and after we rolled back home, because we all had more than enough to eat … but it was so good, especially the chocolate chocolate tower *grin* while trying to overcome overeating we enjoyed ourselves with ralphie may and if it did one thing it was make us look thin *grin*
sunday, november 9, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 32

we went to bed late and denise got up too early, insisting she had enough sleep. sure, that's why all she wanted to do was take a nap :P early in the afternoon we bought a nice piece of art (from the back of a truck, actually) to go on the wall of our kitchen/dining room, right next to the pencil drawing eljen sent us. once we get that framed and matted, that is.

denise has been feeling very bleh today, so she is really ready for the first trimester to be over.

saturday, november 8, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 31

another relatively quiet day. got up at the asscrack of dawn to get the kids off to school, signed in for work and did our grocery shopping well before noon. all this time denise has been quite nauseated but upon returning from wal*mart she was able to eat something and not much after that she went to lie down for a nap. even though she says that she doesn't need to sleep more (she actually thinks she sleeps too much!) she goes out cold and if i or the kids wouldn't wake her she'll sleep straight through to the next day. this weekend, hopefully, will be a quiet one, so we can just relax and recover a bit from our hectic schedule. i'm gonna be home till monday noon time, so i can spend some qualitime with the family. i've got two more trips to go prior to thanksgiving, one 2-day trip to columbus, oh and one 3-day trip to cullman, al; after that it's the week of turkey-day and i am really looking forward to the trip to kansas.the weeks after that will have a 3-day trip to pensacola, fl and probably a trip to dallas, tx, so i'm still gonna be traveling quite a bit at the end of this eventful but also successful year. but we're not there, yet. 8 more weeks to till 2009 and then 3 more weeks till president obama is inaugurated and then 5 more months till the end of the pregnancy and the beginning of a new life …
friday, november 7, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 30

another day where nothing much happened. i worked from home today and worked on our finances. denise took campion to see his therapist. pepper babysat a boy in the neighborhood after school (and this may become a recurring event), so i actually had some quiet time at home for a little while. nothing to report on the pregnancy, denise has been feeling a little less nauseous today, so that's good. and tomorrow is another day (and maybe then i will not look like earl ;-)
thursday, november 6, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 29

i guess today is one of those days where there's nothing new to report. business is as usual. life goes on. and life keeps on growing. i'm sure barfolomew must be 1 cm by now ;-)
wednesday, november 5, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 28

so today may be the day that the usa elects a black man as president. and denise and i are thinking that is not a bad start for the blob :D the projection just came in at 11pm EST that barack husein obama is indeed the 44th president of the usa and it looks like it is going to be a landslide victory. on this joyous day denise had an ob/gyn appointment again and now the doc was able to determine that the blob is 7 weeks and 1 or 2 days old. the heartbeat is strong and regular at 159 bpm … if it has any of my genes the heartbeat should eventually end up around 55 bpm ;-) anyway, without further ado, here's the second ultrasound:

tuesday, november 4, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 27

spend the day at a client in north miami, being more or less successful. after i got back to the hotel i was trying to figure out where to eat, and i decided on little havana half a mile from the hotel. had a mojito for a drink and then ordered a black bean soup, the pot roast and i was then warned that the pot roast would come with white rice and black beans as well. i waved the warning away and had at it. i didn't finish the main course, i left a few crumbs. and then i had a caramel flan … and that probably pushed me over the edge. i feel bloated, about to burst … must be similar (although not quite) to the last days of gestation … i am so ready to drop a few pounds …
monday, november 3, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 26

we slept in today (well, i did anyway) and after denise cooked pancakes for breakfast campion and me got to his room again. we assembled the desk, the TV bench (which turned out to be quite a lot bigger than we'd anticipated), a bench, two shelves and a mirror. after that we complemented it with two lamps, one flex desk lamp and a milk white glass bedlamp.i'm sure that when it's dark it will create a lovely atmosphere.and i think camp is pleased with how it turned out. of course, all this hard manual labor made my muscles ache, so once we were done i took a shower and got ready for traveling to miami. denise helped us with the shelves and the mirror, but otherwise she was able to focus on her class. she has been feeling very nauseous all day and when it came time to eat (vege-fucking-tarian) jambalaya she almost couldn't eat. but once she started eating she actually got her appetite back … for a bit at least. we left right after dinner for the airport and i am typing this while waiting for the plane to board … will finish this later from my hotel room in north miami … … and here i am in my hotel, a best western in the not so good part of town, but it's only for 2 nights, so i will survive.going to bed in a minute, but of course i needed to post this before the end of the day. which wasn't easy, because the hotel had some internet connectivity issues, but they rebooted their system and right after i took a shower for my shave it was back up again.
sunday, november 2, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 25

campion had to be at school at 8.30 for a field trip to helen. when denise came back i made her come back to bed with me for a short nap … so we woke up at noon again :D got up and denise went out to do grocery shopping, i photoshopped the pictures from trick or treating on hallow's eve and when she came back we unloaded the car, put the groceries away and then went to pick up campion. upon his return we started to work on camp's room and while i am typing this we put together two bookcases together, while denise has been working on the curtains. and that is about all she is going to do, because she ain't in no condition to be doing nothing … or something to that effect :P in the midst of all of this she took a call from her dad and he sorta congratulated us on being pregnant. anyway, back to hauling the boxes with the bed upstairs … more news later on today … it is later today, now, around 11pm and we've put the bed together, by accident (probably) tore down the curtains denise hung up and we assembled one set of drawers and 2 sets of doors. i think we made good progress and we worked together like a well-oiled team. the only hickup was getting the slip-on cover over the bed base, which proved kinda impossible. so we had to come with a clever solution … and we did, after trying for about 30 minutes to get it right. the plan is to do the work bench/desk, the tv stand, the shelves, the mirror and the bench and that would make his room complete, save for the desk chair for which we need a hard plastic, transparent mat, because otherwise the casters will tear apart the carpet. and now i'm gonna take a shower, because i stink where i stand … also, as of now i am all caught up with the blog posts so as of tomorrow there will be only one post per day :-)
saturday, november 1, 2008
p.s. yes, i look tired in the picture …

the day my life changed and onwards - 24

today is halloween. my first halloween and zygote's first halloween. and it wasn't a quiet and relaxed day, because around noon denise and left to make the trek to ikea to get the furniture for campion's room. we got back home with mellow mushroom pizza around 6pm and right as we finished dinner another boy, who would be accompanying pepper with trick or treating, got dropped of. so we went outside where i took a few pics of pepper in her sushi roll outfit and then we took to the streets, ringing doorbells, knocking on doors, trick or treating. in our part of neighborhood about half of the people weren't home so the bounty was actually quite meager, so we went across the street to the bigger part of our sub-division and there was much more to do and more to get. we came across a house where they put up a bonfire in the driveway and a little further on they had an inflatable haunted house complete with smoke. pepper's costume was a hit, even though people's reactions first were a drum, a tootsie roll and once pepper enunciated sushi they all got it, but the overall score from most everybody we came across was a 10. job well done, mom! pictures of this event will show up on storm-artists at a later date!
friday, october 31, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 23

today was a strange and hectic day. it started out relaxed enough, but things got really hairy when the day at the client went on and of course, as it does every time, when it gets time for me to head to the airport all of a sudden important issues surface. but i think i did well easing the client's mind by answering their questions. of course, during my travel back home i had no chance to get online, so now that i'm home, got unpacked and sorted through the mail i have a minute to sit down to write all this up. and that's it for now, folks.
thursday, october 30, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 22

still stuck in dallas … walked around town to take pictures of the city and i took a few decent ones that i'm sure are going to show up in my around the us series on storm-artists. my work day was pretty good, making good process at the client and i am not under too much stress. yesterday i got a heads up from my director that i was going to be assigned to a new client in halifax, nova scotia, so i told her that i would love to take on that client but that it was a shame that the sales people took so long to close this deal, because now it mean i would have to travel there by dog sled. today, however, she let me know that i would not be assigned to this client, because they wanted someone in our toronto office who would not have to travel for 6-12 hours to get to the client. good thing i didn't buy a winter coat yet :P tomorrow (friday) i get to go home again and that makes me happy :-)
wednesday, october 29, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 21

was at a client site all day, disengaged from what is happening at home, but still i felt i was missing (out on) something. got a few opportunities, though, to share that i was becoming a daddy, which is an oddly happy sensation. after work met for dinner with my project manager for this particular client and had sushi over an engaging conversation, where i could again wallow in the happy news. guess i'm gonna turn in one of those guys that will turn around every conversation to his baby … deal with it!
tuesday, october 28, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 20

i left for dallas today. it felt weird leaving. my wife is pregnant and our daughter got her braces placed today. i will be back on thursday evening, so that's when i can hold denise in my arms again, but i won't see pepper till friday morning. and friday is halloween. yesterday denise (almost) finished pepper's costume, a sushi roll, and she's gonna look so cute. on friday i will definitely take some pictures that might show up here or else in storm. friday we may also go to ikea. also yesterday campion and me browsed through the (online) catalog and selected furniture for his bedroom. it's gonna be mostly mono-chromatic (black, white and gray). but, more news on that later this week. and now i'm sitting in a hotel room in dallas, a nice room in a nice hotel … but i wish i was home. travel is gonna suck the coming months and it looks like i'm gonna be traveling a lot …
monday, october 27, 2008


the day my life changed and onwards - 19

our date was fantabulous. next to meeting an old classmate of denise's and his friend we got to see an awesome stand-up by mitch fatel. inverted nipples and ass licking will never be quite the same. neither will being so drunk you don't even recognize you're being made fun of publicly. that was harsh but fun to witness. i managed to sleep in today, but denise got up early (too early for my taste), again, and she has been feeling nauseous all day. luckily time is moving fast so she's almost halfway through her first trimester. she has started working on pepper's halloween costume now and it's going to be so cute. when halloween comes around i will make sure to make pictures of pepper and her costume. and campion and me thumbed through the (online) ikea catalogue to get together a list of furniture for his bedroom when it gets an overhaul. we might be going to ikea later this week or next weekend, to actually purchase the goods. it's gonna be a pretty nice bedroom once it's done.
sunday, october 26, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 18

today we have a date! we're going to take the baby to see mitch fatel in the atlanta punchline, it's going to be awesome!
saturday, october 25, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 17

last night in bed we talked about possible names for the baby. one boy's name that was re-jec-ted was travis jesus maximillian, in short tj maxx … i still don't understand why it got tossed :D anyway, we came up with the following contenders:

of course we reserve the right to change our minds at any given time until the baby is born and the sex is known.
friday, october 24, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 16

today denise went to the doctor, an obstetrician, and he said that everything looks and sounds good. he did an ultrasound and below you can see the graphical result of that. the heartbeat of the 2mm small fetus is steady and the symptoms denise is showing are normal for this stage in the pregnancy. also according to the ultrasound the baby is 5 weeks and 4 days old, give or take a few days.

guess we did the dirty on sunday september 14 *grin*
thursday, october 23, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 15

because i wanted to let denise sleep this morning i worked the kids out of the door. and what joy that was … well, at least campion takes care of himself, but pepper can be one stubborn child. seeing as i have some difficulty getting her in line i also get to wonder about how i will be able to "discipline" our baby. but i'm sure it's just me being new at this parenthood thing to begin with. i'll learn and i do better picking up things in practice anyways. tomorrow is the first doctor's appointment, kinda curious what will come out of that.
wednesday, october 22, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 14

so today actually marks the day i am past the schedule blog in posting a daily blog. it will take a couple of more days to catch up, but after that it is really going to be a daily blog (sorry if i am setting your brain on fire :D). denise is nauseous more and more, but she says that that is a sign of a healthy baby. guess that i'd wish for 8 more months of nausea, but it should actually go away after the first trimester. again, there's not much we can do about it other than wait it out. next to that, there's really not much to report … see you tomorrow, or whatever day tomorrow turns out to be :P
tuesday, october 21, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 13

today marked the day that denise let her dad know she is pregnant … slowly but surely we are clueing in more people. yes, we like to delay pleasure like that :P since i needed to request time off for thanksgiving i also let some people within the company know, because i want to carry over the PTO days that i will have left over from this year to next year so i can take some time off around the time denise is about to push the baby out :P next to that all i did today was oversleeping quite dramatically and then some work later in the afternoon. tomorrow i will go into the office again … see how fast good news spreads :P
monday, october 20, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 12

today was the day i told my parents we are pregnant :-) my mom usually calls every other weekend and when she asked, after she told me how things were with them, if i had news, i was able to tell them they were going to be grandma and grandpa. they took it well, they are excited and happy for us. (of course, they are already step-grandparents, but this is something different altogether.) my parents were already planning to come see us in june of 2009, but now they will postpone it just a little bit till after denise has given birth to our baby, so they can come see the new addition to the family, which will be better for them than just seeing pictures. today is also my sister's birthday and from here i wish her a happy birthday and that there may be many more.
sunday, october 19, 2008


the day my life changed and onwards - 11

not much going on today. as predicted we slept in and have taken it pretty easy. denise has been quite nauseous and actually had to ralph right after breakfast; she has a hard time with all things pork. other than that, there's nothing to share at this point, just enjoying a relaxed weekend. guess we better enjoy them while we can, because in about 8 months from now our rest will be over for a couple of years …
saturday, october 18, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 10

nothing much passed today. we got up, got the kids out the door and i went to the office, denise took a nap in the meantime and when i got back at 1pm we were ready to hit wal*mart for our weekly grocery shopping. next to buying the usual items on the grocery list (yes, we make a list every week, believe it or not) we also priced a few items that we will be needing in little over 8 months from now: diapers, baby food and formula. luckily, since denise will be nursing we don't need to have a lot of the formula, because that stuff is almost more expensive than printer ink! anyway, had pizza (steak fajita) for dinner, denise took another nap because she was feeling a little nauseous, and around 10pm we each had our dessert. now we're basically ready to go to bed and sleep in tomorrow :-)
friday, october 17, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 9

and after only 8 days i broke my own good intentions to take a picture of myself every day. so i guess i will double up today, which is not entirely a bad thing, because yesterday i looked like a yeti and now i'm clean shaven and trimmed and such :P (of course it helps that all these posts are retro-published, so i have all the artistic freedom i could want *grin*) in other news, denise hasn't found the name for our baby girl, if we are happening to have a girl; denise is hoping for a boy, i don't know what i'm hoping for … other than healthy. the bigger question is, will i still be healthy after denise sees above picture? find out tomorrow *grin*

thursday, october 16, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 8

this is one of those days where i don't really have much to say. denise and i briefly touched on the name for if it's a boy: travis lawrence, lawrence travis or travis alexander. we also came up with a girl's name a long time ago, but i can't remember it and denise can't find where she wrote it down *giggle*
wednesday, october 15, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 7

slept in till almost noon, felt totally bleh. last night before going to sleep denise and i talked about sympathy pains, but a) i don't believe in sympathy pains and b) even if i did it is too early on. now, interestingly enough, i feel worse than my pregnant wife does. then again, i can't really know how she feels. she says she's OK, but for men there is no way to comprehend what carrying a baby does to a human body.
tuesday, october 14, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 6

today i feel like i am carrying the baby inside my body, bloated and constipated feeling. i can kinda sorta imagine what it must be like for denise and i know that we're still very early on, but to know that a living thing is feeding off your resources must be exhausting. and just to confirm what we really are expecting, below the third or fourth pee-on-a-stick test:

monday, october 13, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 5

the first sunday of the rest of our lives. slept in and denise made breakfast … the nausea that apparently is part of a pregnancy had already manifested itself, but while cooking breakfast i heard she had difficulty not ralphing … it must not be easy. and there is nothing that i can do that makes it go away and in a way that is frustrating. today was also the day that the current youngest one, the lovely pepper, started copping a major attitude, so i spent most of the day being on her case, and denise did as well, so she was not the happiest of munchkins when she got to bed, early. it's days like this that i doubt if i am even right for stepfatherhood, let alone real fatherhood. but denise made me feel better in the shower, and i know that tomorrow is a new day and that everything will be completely different again … i'm not sweating it *that* much :-)
sunday, october 12, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 4

today is the day we tell the kids that denise is pregnant. i wonder how this news will go over with them. pepper took it well and she is actually looking forward to give the new one her hand-me-downs, because she assumed it is going to be a girl. there was one stipulation, though, he/she/it can not live in her bedroom … campion's reaction is harder to gauge, i think he is fearing that he is going to slide down on the scale (even more) and that is really not the case. but, given his experience with stepdads, i can understand his hesitance.
satuday, october 11, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 3

today denise did another piss-on-a-stick test and the results were even darker, so she also has set an appointment with an oh bee gee why en to get an official confirmation. of course, it's not really official until the end of the first trimester, but still. i think that on a sub-conscious level the happy news is wearing me down anyway, because ever since i came back from my trip to san antonio this wednesday i have been tired. last night i even slept for 11 hours and i had no get up and go. guess i better rest up for when the baby's there, because i'm anticipating a lot of lost sleep :D
friday, october 10, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 2

i was in the office today, slaving away in my cubicle, listening to my incognito exclusive winamp playlist when i came across "i've been waiting" and i instantly got goosebumps, tears in my eyes and a smile on my face. i'm not a 100% sure if that was in any way connected to my lovely wife having our baby, but it was at least 99% sure. here's the lyrics:
Jean-Paul Maunick/Simon Grey
Feelings, emotions
You can't fight it, got a mind of it's own
Watching, hoping
That as you pass my way, someday you'd be mine
I wish that I could stop
This moment in time
Make some sense of it
Let you know how I feel
I've been waiting for the chance to rock your mind
And now you're beside me
I've been waiting for the chance to make you mine
You're so fly
But I'm too shy to as
kWhat do I say? What can I say?
To someone as beautiful as you
Wanting, feeling
When you're around me I feel like I'm on fire
Knowing, believing
Whatever may be, you won't leave my mind
I wish that I could stop
This moment in time
Make some sense of it
Gotta let you know, let you know how I feel
I've been waiting for the chance to rock your mind
And now you're beside me
I've been waiting for the chance to make you mine
You're so flyBut I'm too shyI've been waiting for the chance to rock your mind
And now you're beside me
What do I say? What can I say?
To someone as beautiful as youYou're so fly
As beautiful as youI'm too shy
You're so fly

== and here's the promo video.
thursday october 9, 2008

the day my life changed and onwards - 1

so, when you read this you may already know what i am referring to in the title. i decided to blog about this life altering change from the moment i heard about it: wednesday october 8, 2008, 7.28pm EST. i wanted to blog about it immediately and not start from when it was safe(r) to share the news with everyone, because in between abovementiond time and the "official" date" i will have forgotten things that i hope will be insightful and enlightening for you readers. i want to blog about the joy, the anxiety, the stress, everything that has to do with this change and i want to be complete right now, i can't really say much, because it's all so new and of course it's not something i have ever dealt with before. sure, i've experienced a few minor change in the last 5 years of my life: after finally landing a job that i love to do and a job that has me traveling all over on clients' expense, finding the love of my life through a means so out of the ordinary it brought about all sorts of challenges, getting married to said love of my life and moving almost halfway around the world to settle in as a stepdad of two (semi) grown kids. but this change, i think, will be different. of course, i hope i will not change my attitude towards denise, campion and pepper, but i am fairly certain i will not (and they know that they can call me on it, if i happen to do so anyway). by now, i'm sure you are curious as to what this change is. some of you will already know, some of you won't. some of you will be overjoyed, some of you might not. will that change anything to how i will go about this? no. the fact of the matter is, on wednesday october 8, 2008 a little before 7.28pm EST denise did a pregnancy test and found the result to be positive: we are having a baby!
wednesday october 8, 2008

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