Thursday, June 24, 2010

Keep you Judgments and Hands Inside the Vehicle at All Times

About three weeks ago, I finally gave up and passed the threshold of "fuck it, I'm showing, time to move into tents."

You almost fit in your regular clothes. Some of them still fit. But you have maternity clothes, and as soon as you put one of these ridiculous things on, you immediately go from "not visibly pregnant" to "holy crap, that lady is huge"

It would be nice if there was an in-between wardrobe. But I'm too cheap to buy a new wardrobe every month anyway.

So, now I gave up and I'm just goddam pregnant.

And being pregnant means suddenly everyone has a place in my business.

Now, don't get me wrong, there are times when I ask people for advice about specific things, and I really appreciate their insights. Then there is the old bag who asked me about diapers and then smugly laughed when I said "we're going to try cloth." "HAW! Yeah, that won't last!" I guess she felt important, passing on her superior wisdom in such a condescending way, but all I could think was "I'm sorry you and yours were too lazy to care about the future and would ridicule us for making an effort, you fucking old sow."

Fortunately, I still have an inside voice. Sometimes.*

So, actually, yes, we are going to try cloth diapers. We have every intention of making that work. I know people who have made it work, and I know it can be done. Since every single diaper ever made is still in a landfill, it's important enough to me that I'm willing to deal with the extra inconvenience. Will we be 100%? Probably not, but we'll do better than that bitter old bag.

I mean, I understand people not really "getting" what you are doing, but can't they just keep their judgments to themselves?

And, look, I've gone through it before. "a motorcycle? I had one, but I crashed and they are too dangerous." or "you'll change your mind after you crash." No, they are not too dangerous-- you just don't know how to ride or wrongly assessed and mitigated risks, and no I didn't change my mind, and yeah, I know what it feels like to fall off and roll through the road while my bike spirals out away from me. And then walk away because I was riding with proper protection.

Another "fun" thing people like to pass on is this huge secret wisdom the speaker is going to let you in on:
"Oh, it's going to change your whole life. You can't possibly be prepared." or "Oh having kids is so much work."
Uh, thanks. I had no idea? I thought it would be like that time I stopped in the park to pet a puppy, and then five minutes later I walked away and forgot about it because I saw a squirrel eating a slice of pizza.

How about:
"Your life is over; you won't be able to do anything anymore."
No, I'm pretty sure that was your choice to totally give up your lifestyle and then blame your baby. Variations of this one actually make me kind of sad for the people that tell you, in essence, having a baby ruined their life. I know they don't actually mean that, well I hope they don't. But it's pretty sad. And then they are trying to be a downer to you too, which is kind of lame.

On a more positive note though, as a sanity measure, I have a few families in mind as role models of how to do things right, people who say things like "this is work but it is the best thing ever, you guys totally have to try this!" I'm looking at you, Jesse.

(also, inspired by how a child could show a preference for dark beer at such a young age?)

and then "oh cool! She can ride my son's 50; this is going to be awesome!" Thanks, Clay!

And on and on. I've literally got a running list in my head of the parents and families that are my role models

I mean, we still need advice. (for instance, I asked one friend how old was his son when he got his first dirtbike? The answer is 5. And other friends gave me lots of good info about cloth diapering. Other friends gave us some insight into how potty training was going) But if you just feel the need to drop some judgmental "wisdom" just for the sake of feeling like you burst our bubble a bit? How about you use your inside voice?

*I make no guarantees as to how long this inside voice will last. Your results may vary.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Steve is no longer invited on my picnic

I made the mistake of allowing iTunes to pull down the contacts from my gmail, which is where I manage all of my contacts' info, and Apple Address Book took it upon itself to add about 4 billion duplicates, create random contacts, and merge existing contacts. For instance, it merged my husband and his father, and created a random new contact with two email addresses: my Mother-In-Law's and my admin userename for my test domain... Um.... RANDOM! This then synced back to my phone and possibly all of my photo albums, which means they are all now ruined and will require retagging (who has time?!?!). Ironically, I did not allow Apple to pull down photos because it would force them through iPhoto, which I abandoned a few years ago due to major corruption and loss of photos. Now my photos are corrupted by Apple Address Book instead of Apple iPhoto.

Steve, you are fired.
I'm just glad I didn't chance allowing it to pull down my calendar stuff too.

probably the ickiest one is that Address Book merged my husband with his father. I'm sorry, but that's just creepy.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lazy Weekend

Finally! A weekend with no commitments! I can't remember when we had one like this, so I was really looking forward to it.

Here's what I (we) accomplished:
  1. Cleared the junk out of the baby's room, which meant first cleaning out the closet in the Li-berry, and triaging and reorganizing the linen closet. We found that many of our old sheets were shot, so I got a bunch of sheeting to use for fabric projects.
  2. I sewed diaper wipes out of a flannel queen sheet we bought at the thrift store a few weeks back. The full set cost something like $15 and I just used one sheet, so we still have the other sheet and the pillow cases for other projects. Cost of 62 diaper wipes? ~$7. That seems to put them at about 4x price of regular disposable diaper wipes, but? no more trash, and we get to reuse them. When will they pay for themselves? I have no idea, but for now, they sure do look pretty all stacked up (and unsullied)
    From 2010

  3. Laundry! Oh boy! Lots of it. It was scorching, so line dry was very efficient.
  4. You know those annoyingly-named pillows that you decided were dumb but then everyone says that, actually, they found it really useful, so maybe you are thinking it might be a good thing? I made something very similar this morning from a pattern in this fantastic book that I unfortunately have to return to the library (thus the flurry of activity before the book's due date) Cut from a hideous old sheet (don't worry, I will be making covers for it anyway) we triaged out of our linen closet, stuffed with stuffing leftover from Christmas project=Free (compare to 30 bucks)
    From 2010

  5. Helped Paul put the baby cage crib together.
    From 2010

  6. Made a baby burrito swaddley-thingie (pattern from the same book) from flannel, fleece, and velcro I had in my stash. Ahem. Free.
    From 2010

  7. Cut up a safari jungle whatever beach towel we were given (yes, cutting up gifts! that's what happens when you give things away) We got tired of the panda staring at us in the bathroom, because, you know, pandas are totally messed up. So I cut it up and used some cordura and elastic I had on had to make 3 portable changing pads. All stuff I had in my stash=free.
    From 2010

Don't be fooled though, all of this productivity was really a ploy to avoid doing the things I really "should" be doing, like dealing with the pile of paperwork, insurance crap, etc, that sits by my bed. And the work leftover from a my Real Job (tm) that I totally meant to get caught up on this weekend. I am still doomed.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Pavement Ends - Part 1

Paul and I needed a vacation. An adventure. A place to get lost and find neat stuff.
Work has been high stress and low joy. Weekends, full of errands and obligations. So we decided to go. North.

Ever since my ex-boyfriend took my ex-dirtbike to Glass Mountain a few years ago, I have wanted to go see it. (the mountain-- I had seen enough of the boyfriend, and waaaay too much of that dirtbike) Paul also wanted to see it, and there are lots of other nice things in the area we wanted to see. We had a "plan" that was something like:
  1. Drive North
  2. Stay somewhere North
  3. See Glass Mountain one day
  4. Maybe see Lassen the other day
  5. Come home.

Easy enough!

I found a very cute looking hotel in McCloud... and then decided to book a cheaper one a block away. We learned from our Lost Coast experience, and packed up tools, sleeping bags, snacks, and water (I carry water with me everywhere now anyway) We researched where the local medical centers were (using the word medical loosely, but that's another post)

And we bought a car. Right. We were set.

Day 1: Friday, May 28
Friday morning we bounced out of bed and hit the road around 10ish. We stopped briefly in Vacaville to get a car charger for my phone in case we needed the GPS, and then at Bill & Kathie's for lunch (because I'm a creature of habit), where we also found a stand selling almonds. Locally grown! Covered in butter toffee! Nom nom nom.

We expected holiday weekend traffic, but didn't find it. We got to McCloud by 5-something and checked in to our hotel. It was awful. The room they gave us wasn't the room I had booked, and I was a little peeved by that but I have a feeling that it's because the room I booked must have been in even worse shape.

From 2010.05.28 to 31 McCloud Trip

Century House Inn
The reviews on that site aren't so bad, but they are probably out of date. Bottom line: you don't want to stay there.
The roof of what must have been once a very charming little building is basically falling apart. The interior walls are all bubbled or peeling from moisture damage. Our bathroom was flooded. It was a soggy place. I thought of going to complain, but it was obvious that the innkeepers knew about the damage because it had clearly been going on for a long time. The upside was that we had a kitchen?

We went to see the town, and sadly, there doesn't seem to be much left of it. The restaurant, cafe, candy store, etc. that make up most of the historic district were either officially closed, or had signs up that they were open, but the lights were off and the doors closed up. Huh. Sadly, the Shasta Dinner Train that everyone raved about seems to have ceased operations, and I have a feeling the town's tourism will dry up pretty quickly.

We went to Dunsmuir to look for dinner since McCloud seemed to be sleeping. After a quick traipse up and down the main drag, we had tasty dinner at the Dunsmuir Brewery Works before heading to our hotel for the night.

Day 2: Saturday, May 29

We had a map. We had my GPS. We had a plan. We would take Forest Road 49 up to... something or other, where we'd cut over to Glass Mountain. We had gas, we had provisions, flashlights for the lava caves, snacks, water, ETC! and we were very excited.
From 2010.05.28 to 31 McCloud Trip

The weather was perfect-- the views of Mt. Shasta were stunning.

Forest Road 49 was beautiful. Paved nicely, and led through gorgeous scenery. As we got up a little higher, we started to see old lava flow remnants like collapsed bubbles/tubes and rocks. One had a sign, so we pulled over to check it out:
From 2010.05.28 to 31 McCloud Trip

Ooh! mysterious! We climbed down past the snow into a little cave and took some pictures. Paul got in far enough to see that the cave basically had a dropoff at the end that went to... China? Middle Earth? A pile of bones and flashlights? It was pretty slippery because of all the ice, so I stayed near the top.

From 2010.05.28 to 31 McCloud Trip

A sense of adventure and excitement reigned. "We're just getting started... we'll see so much more at Glass Mountain and Lava Beds National Park! Let's GO!"

About two turns farther up on the road, we were stopped by this:
From 2010.05.28 to 31 McCloud Trip

We may be stupid, but that was way too much snow for our little car. We didn't even argue about it-- our trip to Glass Mountain was over for the day, and we turned tail to go find something else to climb on and poke at.

Along the way, we started turning down any old road with a semi-interesting sign, just to see what was there. "Deep Crater" thata-way? Why, yes. Except that the road got really small. It was a fine dirt road, the brush just got more and more aggressive the farther we got, so we were basically scraping through on both sides, and finally decided to see if it was passable. It really wasn't-- even our little shitbox car was too wide. Dang!

We backed out of there-- literally, down this little dirt road in reverse, and decided to head down to more traveled areas. I had been to Burney Falls once as a kid and thought it was incredibly beautiful. So we went there, and spent a few hours hiking.

The falls were just as beautiful as I remembered them:
From 2010.05.28 to 31 McCloud Trip

We hiked on the Pacific Crest Trail! Now I can say I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail!
From 2010.05.28 to 31 McCloud Trip

It was all very beautiful and we saw snakes and lizards and lots of nice wildflowers and birdies.

For dinner, we headed to Mt. Shasta (town) and then realized we were not hungry yet, so we decided to try a road to Mt. Shasta (mountain) to see how far we could get. We got as far as Bunny Flats, where we climbed up onto the snow to see this bunny:
From 2010.05.28 to 31 McCloud Trip

And Paul ate some snow (white, not yellow)
From 2010.05.28 to 31 McCloud Trip

The road was closed:
From 2010.05.28 to 31 McCloud Trip

so we headed back down to Mt. Shasta (town) for dinner at a vegetarian restaurant, which turned out to be Mexican food, which turned out to have videos of the Supreme Master playing on a teevee.. very weird. But the food was good and the people nice, so who cares about their particular religious bent. It's no weirder than believing in flesh wafers and holy underwears and such.

Day 3: Sunday, May 30
Our spirits had been dampened, but we convinced ourselves that we should try the other Forest Road, which had a red line on the map, and was marked "scenic byway," and went to other destinations that made us think maybe, just maybe, it would have been well-traveled enough to have been plowed. We would get up north, and then magically find a cutover to Glass Mountain. It was going to be great.

To Forest Road 15!

Along the way, we decided to follow a sign that said "Harris Springs" that-a-way. Down a dirt road. Which started criss-crossing other unmarked dirt roads. Finally, we decided that if we kept following these roads, we would be in the next Blair Witch movie, so we parked the car on the road we came in on, and started to walk around in the Middle of Nowhere. It was so out there that the roads had trees down and snow coverage showing no use for months, and the only sound was literally the creaking of the trees in the breeze. Paul found bear poop. It was beautiful:
From 2010.05.28 to 31 McCloud Trip

But! We were getting distracted from our great voyage to Glass Mountain! Back on the road we went, and just as we slammed the brakes to avoid hitting an errant chipmunk, we looked up and saw this:

From 2010.05.28 to 31 McCloud Trip


This snow was much shorter in length. On dirtbikes, or in a more adventurous spirit, we might have discussed the possibility of trying to get across... a gamble, for sure. You can see where previous drivers had tried and gotten stuck. We did not do that. We took the responsible path and turned back. Boo. (who ARE these people???)

At that point, we decided to head vaguely toward Lassen, and pick up any other sights along the way.
Lava Springs State Park sounded interesting (just from the name on the map, anyway), and the map showed a single access point from the South. Which? Maybe that was true, but you actually needed to drive up that dirt road with a boat in tow, to then cross "Big Lake" to then reach the park. Sigh. Walking along the shore of the lake was lovely at least, and a nice view of the valley and Shasta in the background:
From 2010.05.28 to 31 McCloud Trip

We stopped along Pit River at a nice BLM camping/picnic area with a beautiful spot by the Pit River:
From 2010.05.28 to 31 McCloud Trip

And then pulled over to see what "Subway Caves" was. There were quite a few people here, including screaming children, and worse, a smug, flute-playing hippie. Ugh, infernal noise! Subway Cave was created by lava flow, and it is completely dark inside-- bring a flashlight!
From 2010.05.28 to 31 McCloud Trip

neato, and then we headed down to Lassen, which would surely be open because it's a huge attraction and it's Memorial Day Weekend, and and and! It was closed, just past Manzanita Lake. That meant it was not worth paying the fee to get in (Manzanita Lake is just inside the entrance) so we again found ourselves turned back due to SNOW. Gah!

This is the closest we got to either of the mountains we set out on this trip to see:
From 2010.05.28 to 31 McCloud Trip

stupid dumb mountains and their stupid dumb snow.

So, you know, FINE. We'll turn around and go back to McCloud. But I hate backtracking. "Want to take the scenic route?" "Sure." Famous last words. The map showed a few roads that we could connect together to get back to McCloud by a different route that we hadn't already traveled.

These roads were beautiful through to Big Bend-- green hills, bucolic meadows of waving grass and wild lavender, beekeping and some very placid cows. After Big Bend, the road we were taking through to McCloud was the only way through-- if it didn't go through, we'd have to go all the way back out through Big Bend to Burney. Did I mention that I hate backtracking?

Forest Road 11 started out as a nice paved road. We saw signs of recent use-- paper plates pointing to a campground, etc. I was thinking that since it went through to McCloud Lake, popular boating area, it was probably well-traveled and suitable for truck and boat types. Then it went from nicely paved to nicely groomed dirt road. Then, we saw our arch-nemesis of the weekend on the side of the road-- SNOW. Shit. Then? It went from dirt road to rocky, shale-y road and we started to wonder if we were going to make it through. It got bumpier and rockier, rutted even. We saw where the paper plate signs had led to a couple of small RV things camping in a spot by the river. "Well, at least we can hike back to there if we get stuck"

We did not get very many pictures of this road because we were very focused on the stress of "can we get through?" These pictures don't do justice to just how small and hairy the road got:
From 2010.05.28 to 31 McCloud Trip

in fact, there were parts just after this where the road had started to fall away at the sides-- a wider car or truck could not have made the trip. Bigger isn't always better folks! That said, we could have used bigger clearance and suspenion, and were constantly worried about scraping important mechanical bits off of our undercarriage. But what can I say? My baby loves offroading, and what baby wants...

Eventually, we made it through to the lake, and all was right in the world. We were elated, to say the least, because had we gotten stuck, we would have had to turn all the way back. But again, we had sleeping bags, water, and food-- not the end of the world, and we did know roughly where we were and where the nearest people could be found.

Besides, sleeping out there might have been nicer than the hotel we stayed in. In the morning, I had a cough, probably from all the moisture trapped in the hotel room. It went away after we got out of Shasta...

Day 4: Monday, May 31
We honored our war dead in the following way: Pecan French Toast at Cornerstone Bakery in Dunsmuir, which? Was awesome! I'm getting hungry thinking about it now. We left early, thinking we'd surely hit holiday traffic, but it never materialized. I think we were home by like 4:30

The road home was paved and clear of snow, I'm happy to report.