One of the more unnerving things about having multiple pets, especially pets of a different species from one another, is the way they can both sit and stare at you expectantly when you come around the corner. You seem like you both want me to do something, but what could that be? What would a decrepit Yorkshire Terrier and a weirdly-still-pretty-healthy Cat agree on? Or is it a disagreement, and you’re waiting to see what I end up doing? Either way, it almost always stops me in my tracks.

So anyway, the past several weeks have just rolled right along and suddenly we’re days away from our baby’s due date. Now, I’m told by reliable sources that only about 10% of babies actually arrive on their due date, so we’re actually in the “really could be anytime now” phase.

WHOA HOLD UP I’m using my site’s search feature and thinking maybe I never actually wrote down that we’re expecting. I did take a big break from blogging last year, so I’m thinking it never came up. I don’t remember when we started to tell people, and it’s happened more than once that if you don’t tell someone in that window of time, you start assuming everybody knows and you never actually get around it.

Yes! We are expecting a baby boy. Any day now. The room is prepped, I reinstalled the baby car seat yesterday, and Lori’s made packing lists for everybody’s Go Bags when it’s time to cart Cassidy and the dog off to my in-laws and head to the hospital.

None of this was even what I was going to talk about, when I started from that big drop-cap S, but here we are now.

Lori seems to be doing about as well as can be expected, but is more than ready to get on with having the baby. I’m in a similar place, though obviously not to the same degree of intensity, but yeah. I don’t like having it hanging over my head. My emotions about it run back and forth, based on the day I’m having. Some days it’s anxiety, some day’s it’s impatience, some days it’s eagerness and excitement to meet this lil’ person that’s been rolling around in my wife for these last bunch of months.

Cassidy is interested, but I’m pretty sure she’s going to lose that interest when she realizes just how little a baby really does for the first…while. I think she’s expecting a little minion that she can order around (or as she would have it, teach things to) but I honestly can’t predict what their dynamic is going to be as they get older. I am however hoping fervently that when they’re adults, they at least have a sort of distant fondness for one another. I don’t need them to be besties — if they can be genuinely pleasant at family gatherings I will consider it a total parenting success, even if they don’t communicate much otherwise. Anything beyond that is extra gravy.

Let me quickly recap how the pregnancy has gone, for preservation reasons; first trimester was heck for Lori. She was really sick and I did my best to take up slack and keep the household going. There was also a lot of anxiety about things…ending prematurely, as they did in 2019. Once we got past those milestones and turned the corner into 2nd trimester, things got much better. Nothing much to report there, or at least that I can recall. Third has been much the same, but as we’ve reached the due date, it’s once again gotten much harder for Lori to do things and I’m once again trying to step up my husband/father game to compensate.

Oh! I came back around to the original topic! That’s why the last few weeks have rolled on with not much to report. I’ve pretty much just been doing husband/father things, sneaking in video games and books when I can, and waiting. When friends ask me what I’ve “been up to lately”, for the first time in a while I’m at a total loss. Usually what comes out after quite a lot of hemming and hawing is something about some mundane house task I crossed off recently.

It’s good, though. I think. Usually? Yeah, it’s good.

Thing I Saw: The final episode of Tales from the Loop on Amazon Prime, and it is not an exaggeration to say that it emotionally wrecked me. If I can be so honest, I don’t think I’ve sobbed like that since the night I wrote my mother’s eulogy. It is a slow, lyrical, and very pretty journey that is not going to resonate with everybody. And not every episode was an absolute winner. The payoff moved me profoundly, but I can’t say that everybody who watches it will be similarly moved. Oddly, I still cannot say why the last episode hit so hard. Note to self: next blog entry, write about it until you figure it out or get tired

Thing I Learned: Accordion straps are weirdly expensive. Speaking of my mom, I inherited her gorgeous accordion on the condition that I learn at least one song. I still haven’t done that, largely because the straps do not fit my gigantic manly body. Turns out: “nice” new ones are like, a hundred bucks and up!! So I’m trying to source some El Cheapos lol

I’m Grateful For: Some great new restaurants that opened up in the area recently, with some menus outside of our deluge of “chicken and burgers and pizza” places. We can get butter chicken and fresh naan bread delivered now!!!

I’m Dreaming Of: Getting time on a VR rig and playing Rez Infinite with a keyboard while sitting cross-legged on the floor, living out my cyberpunk fantasies.

When Twin Peaks is good it’s fantastic. No I haven’t seen The Return.

Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this post

No Ticket

Well folks, this is an entry where I don’t have a solid topic idea going in. I’m hoping something tumbles out as I go. Let’s see: Daft Punk broke up a few weeks ago, which is still weird. I was stunned but not exactly emotional; they released albums so sporadically that it’s going to be a while before I really “miss” them, I think. Discovery is one of my all-time favourite albums, and it’s still around when I need it. And at this point I wasn’t hoping to see them live anymore anyway.

Actually to be honest, I don’t really want to see anybody play live anymore. I had this attitude pre-pandemic already. I’ve seen Sloan, my actual favourite band, a few times, and almost nobody else rates highly enough for me to bother. And before you jump to conclusions about me, it’s about me, not the bands. The bands are great. Shows are fun. Go (when it’s safe again), get immersed, shout yourself hoarse, buy expensive merch. It’s good. The problem for me is that the bands I like to see tend to take the stage late in the evening, so I’m already exhausted and overwhelmed by the noise and the crowd halfway through the set of whoever I actually came to see. Then I want to get out, and the whole thing seems like a waste of effort and money. Because the other thing is that everybody I’ve wanted to see plays in Winnipeg, so unless I’m staying for night, I’ve got a long drive back.

The last show I very much wanted to see was in 2019, when Sloan was touring for the anniversary of Navy Blues, my favourite album of theirs. Unfortunately, the date conflicted with my work for Elections Canada, and it was with very heavy heart that I didn’t even bother to get tickets. Then a global pandemic happened and nobody plays live anymore, and I slowly came to realize that I haven’t missed it.

I might go see Sloan again though.

Thing I Saw: An ASL guide stamped on part of the inclusive playground not terribly far from where we live. That’s super neat. Cassidy and I were even trying a few letters. The rest of the playground is designed to “accommodate physical, cognitive and sensory disabilities”, so that kids of all ability levels can play side-by-side. I understand it was pretty expensive to build and maintain, but as a taxpayer: I don’t mind.

Thing I Learned: It’s been slightly more than a year since this whole “global pandemic” craze took off. For some reason, it feels like it has been both more than a year and less at the same time. I’d always suspected Time is Fake, and now I know it

I’m Grateful For: Pleasant weather on the weekends so that Cassidy and I can head outside and cavort around. I end the days exhausted, but in a good way.

I’m Dreaming Of: hanging out with friends. I mean, I’ve literally been dreaming of this, off-and-on for the past few weeks. Oftentimes some other crazy Dream Things happen, but a recurring theme has just been…being with my circle of friends. One time we were just watching a funny internet video together and laughing. I want to say we’ll get it back someday, but doing that feels like the sort of promise people make to each other movies, both knowing it can never happen. “We’ll make it to California someday,” kind of thing.

A song for feeling wistful about the people you miss.

Beyond Me

I now have confirmation that at at least three people read this blog. That’s like, the big time! Look for a book deal soon. I write these with the same expectation that I have for all of my art, which is that it’s for me first and foremost. I’m gratified that other people seem to enjoy my work, but also a little puzzled. This next may sound like false humility, but when I sit down to really think about it, I have trouble understanding why anyone…like…pays attention? To me? I try to imagine the sort of person who says things or makes things with the expectation that people will pay attention and take them to heart, and I really can’t do it. I believe those people exist, but I don’t understand them.

I’m saying that I’m glad you’re here. Let’s leave it there.

A couple of weeks ago, shortly after NASA’s Peseverance rover landed on Mars, there was a livestream. Different engineers spoke about the rover, about how the landing went, about what’s coming next. I follow space news with mild curiosity but usually nothing approaching real interest, but I happened to tune into the livestream while I worked. What grabbed my attention was when one person explained that for the first time they’d been able to attach microphones to the rover. Then, they played a recording:

I was in awe. I know that it’s “just” wind noise. Sounds just the same as standing out on your driveway, recording with your phone. But for just a moment, the scale of human achievement was impressed upon me — this is the sound of the wind on another planet. The technological progress to make this happen is staggering! To get the rover there, safely, and be able to send back something like this still amazes me. Especially considering that folks only got really serious about space travel like…seventy years ago.

So anyway I’m following the rover on twitter now.

This kind of ties into something else I’ve been thinking about since reading it on tumblr, of all places. I don’t know where the original post is so I’ll paraphrase. Let’s say it’s a few hundred years ago and you’re a village blacksmith. You can be pretty sure that your children, if you have any, will take on work similar to your own, and so will their children, and so forth. You can picture the world as it will be in several generations’ time, and be pretty on the mark.

But now, technological progress has become so rapid that this isn’t really possible anymore. My Dad’s college experience in the 70s, to pick an example, is vastly different from mine in the early 2000s, and mine will be completely different again from my daughter’s (should she decide to pursue post-secondary education). The tumblr user wasn’t saying this is a positive or negative, exactly, it’s just something that is.

A commenter then chimed in with something reassuring; if you’re feeling overwhelmed by change, look for the things that stay the same across time. Behaviours, tools, so on. They example they used was if somebody with an iPad Pro and one of those Apple Pencils was writing next to somebody from ancient times carving letters out of a stone tablet. It’d be something the person from ancient times could look across at and say oh, hey, same. I see what you’re doing there.

I think that’s pretty comforting, somehow!

Thing I Saw: I’m nearly done the Tales From The Loop series on Amazon Prime, and something I’ve never experienced before is being intimately familiar with the backdrop of a fictional show. It’s supposed to be set in Ohio, but it was filmed in Manitoba, with neighbouring-town-and-sometimes-my-home Morden playing the town’s Main Street. It’s very difficult to make the substitution; every time I see it on screen I’m like “oh! there’s the jeweller where I got our wedding rings”. New Yorkers and Vancouverites probably deal with this all the time. Side note: I was aware of the filming and there was a casting call for extras, but I didn’t fit the physical profile they wanted. So I never even checked out the sets 🙁

Thing I Learned: Fossils are protected under Manitoba provincial law as a “heritage object”, and if you find one, you have to give it to the proper authorities for study and preservation. I learned this because my daughter really wanted to look for fossils in our yard. She wants to do that because of a general interest in dinosaurs, and a book that said that in some places you get to keep what you find. Not here, kiddo!

I’m Grateful For: Slowly diminishing COVID case numbers in our area! We’ve been under fairly heavy restrictions since last fall, and they’re gradually easing up again. I may get to see my board games group again one day, Lord willin’ and the cases don’t rise!

I’m Dreaming Of: Starting regular Twitch streams in which my whole thing is that I work through the Jupiter-developed Picross games and explain my method as I go.

One of my favourite tracks from the soundtrack, which is also excellent reading music