May 31, 2011

Ace Ventura Recaps Today's Top Headline

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Cropped, for your pleasure

I had to edit the longer waving video from Zoey's "Coming Home" movie, because this was too cute/hilarious as a standalone clip:

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Occupational Hazard

Freelance writing at home is great and all, but when you can hear your toddler boy through the basement ceiling chanting "Dah-deeeee! Dah-deeeee!" it takes every fiber of your being not to go rocketing up the stairs to play with the little guy.

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May 30, 2011

Not A Veteran, But a Fighter


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May 29, 2011

More work, actually.

As nice as it is to have the whole family under one roof, it's surprisingly more difficult than you'd think. Until we figure out the riddle that is Zoey's eating difficulties, things will continue to be chaotic as hell.

But, hell at home beats hell at a hospital any day, every day.

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May 26, 2011

Good Bye, Brain Cells. I'll Miss You

I foolishly went and read this piece of idiocy.

And I was left thinking:

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May 23, 2011

Gut check

I was singing the "ABC" song to Aiden this morning, and I remembered, a bit jarringly, that my wife and I sang that song to Finn as he died.

Obviously, a life moment, such as Finn's passing, is one of those things you can't possibly plan for, and during such times of high emotion, stress and indescribable sadness, you're not thinking five months down the line. As it was, when the nurses asked if we wanted to sing a song to Finn, the "ABC" song was just one of the few tunes that came to mind.

In retrospect, I sort of wish we had chosen differently, because the "ABC" song is one of those that really shouldn't be associated with loss and sadness. It's the quintessential alphabet learning song, and I'll be singing regularly probably for the next several years, and I don't want to choke up again while singing it as I did this morning.

Just, you know, something to think about.

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May 20, 2011

Laundry List

One thing about having a second, tiny, wriggling infant inhabiting our house once again, is being re-introduced to all the chores and routines I strangely had forgotten all about a mere 20 months ago when our first infant came along.

In the case of this second infant, unfortunately, there's the added bonus of our daughter spitting up copious amounts of breast milk multiple times every day. With our first child, there was only minor spit-up issues. Our preemie daughter, however, comes equipped with an easily irritated stomach and a hair-trigger reflux action. The combination results in our daughter spewing mom juice all the time, often violently, as if she's auditioning for an infant remake version of "The Exorcist."

Obviously, such repeated milk hurbling is a concern just from the standpoint of worrying whether our daughter is getting enough nourishment to stay down. But, also, it leads to a truly staggering amount of laundry, because each time our daughter expels a hork-load of mammary mix, it doesn't just disappear into mid-air. If ONLY.

No, it goes EVERYWHERE. And it doesn't discriminate against clothing, either. My clothes; my wife's clothes; our daughter's clothes; heck, even occasionally our son's clothes--it's all fair game so long as it's within an acceptable hurbling distance, and you'd be amazed at how far a six pound baby can eject a stream of milk.

And so the laundry just piles up day in and day out, all day long. I'll actually be in the act of putting laundry into the washing machine, and freshly en-hurbled clothes will continually rain down through the clothes chute just inches away from me. I simply can't keep ahead of it. It's the laundry equivalent of Sisyphus rolling his boulder up the hill. I get SO CLOSE, and then another fresh batch comes cascading down.

"Oh, Ryan," you say. "It can't be that bad. Just let it sit for awhile."

To which I respond: "You shut your fool mouth!!"

Believe me, I once allowed a mound of milk-moistened laundry sit a bit too long, and I became keenly aware of my error when I walked by the fermenting pile and was taken aback by the pungent odor of whatever kind of cheese I had unwittingly begun creating through my laundry inaction.

Never. Again.

And so we push through each and every day, waiting for our daughter's internal plumbing to adequately develop so she can keep more milk down and digested, at which point our focus will no doubt shift back to the wonderful world of diapers.

Kids. They're just gross.

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May 17, 2011

Toy Story Cures ADD

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May 16, 2011

Temper Time

Tempers are short in the Rhodes household as of late. I should amend that statement, because the toddler and infant seem to be in fair spirits. Rather, tempers are short between my wife and me. Honestly, the slightest of slights can set us off.

Such is the price we pay for severely limited access to sleep and the silver-winged dreams granted to those enjoying REM land. Souls without access to REM land are a surly lot who are best to be avoided.

Currently, my wife and I are best to be avoided.

Even with one child, sleep is a precious commodity on par with gold or platinum. With a fresh infant now on board the good ship Rhodes, sleep has become an even more unfamiliar territory.

The problem lies primarily with our daughter's stubborn insistence that she only has to drink a maximum of 15 mL per feeding. When she was in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), nurses hooked her up to an automatic syringe that injected 50 mL through her nose and into her stomach, after which Zoey was good for two to three hours until the next feeding.

Once the nose tube was removed and she actually had to work come feeding time, Zoey took a sort of "Meh" approach to the whole idea. It makes sense, after all; if I'd lived most of my life with my stomach magically filling up every three hours, I'd consider it rather annoying to have to suddenly learn how to pick up a fork and ingest food manually. Come to think of it, a nasal feeding tube sounds kind of good right about now.

Anyway, if you do the math, Zoey's milk intake is a little over 1/4 of what she should be taking in per feeding, which similarly impacts her sleep schedule because, even though she's content with 15 mL feedings, her stomach has other ideas and insists on a constant string of feedings to make up for the diminished volume.

Therefore, if you calculate a 50 mL feeding buys a three hour sleep window, you'll correctly deduce a 15 mL feeding buys about 40 minutes, which doesn't take into account the time required to actually administer the 15 mL, which can take anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes, depending on Zoey's attitude. As you might imagine, Zoey's attitude after only about 20 minutes of sleep is typically pretty poor. So, we're basically going through a kind of hellish, sleepless loop.

And, man or man, do my wife and I have short tempers. Our tempers are so short, Vern Troyer towers over them. We'll snap at each other about ANYTHING. Currently, my best temper snap regarded how my wife burnt cookies one time, while she snapped at me once by doing a spot-on impression of me eating Raisin Bran cereal--after seeing it, even I had to admit it's pretty annoying.

So, until my wife and I are actually able to hunker down and get some serious sleep, I want to apologize preemptively to any of you readers out there who may encounter us during the next few weeks. We're really not as awful as we seem.

You jerks.

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May 13, 2011

Not exactly David Sedaris

But, still, I'm actually pleasantly surprised to see my sojourn into self-publishing on has resulted in 18 sales so far. I honestly didn't think I'd sell even five.

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May 09, 2011

My bin Laden Two Cents

In case you missed it--which is entirely understandable if you've been orbiting Jupiter in a capsule that's incapable of receiving broadcasts of any sort--about a week ago, the United States finally got around to ridding the world of Osama bin Laden, terrorism's top ranking bogeyman and accomplished beard grower.

Admittedly, if this had made headlines back in 2003, I would have been far more excited. That's not to say it's not excellent news that bin Laden is no longer drawing breath, but it would have been nice if he hadn't had so many extra years to share the same air as the rest of us.

Oddly, the news of bin Laden's death was quickly overshadowed by our government's refusal to release images of the terror mastermind's corpse.

Now, I'm not some bloodthirsty moon-braying death hound or anything--honestly, I haven't brayed at the moon in years--but I have to say I would appreciate the opportunity to see the lifeless visage of the man who lived in so many people's nightmares for so long. After all, every 9/11 anniversary, I see repeated video of people jumping to their deaths from the World Trade Center towers and, quite frankly, it would help heal that visual wound a bit if it could be juxtaposed with that of bin Laden's tongue-lolling death portrait.

But hey, that's just me. Opinions will vary, even if they're flat out wrong.

Alas, instead of a death visual exclamation point, the government has opted to release a slew of videos detailing how Osama bin Laden lived his daily life pent up in a Pakistani "mansion," which by our standards resembles a double-wide trailer with a big yard and huge wall. Seeing the compound for the first time, I mused whether his closest associates referred to him as "Osama the Cable Guy."

What struck me most about the released videos was how much bin Laden resembled so many of the college acquaintances of my younger years, who would drop by and bum out on a couch for days on end, mooching whatever food was available and playing video games. These were characters who always built up spotty and petty police records and had zero ambition, yet they seemed to have no problem hooking up with ridiculously hot women. Those of us who actually paid rent would speak furtively of calling the cops on the moochers, but we'd hesitate because we didn't want to call unnecessary attention to our abode, such as it was.

So, there was Osama bin Laden, the terror moocher-in-chief, hunkered in front of a television (not even a flat screen), and reportedly sending out aides to replenish his supply of Pepsi and Coke. This was not the mastermind I'd associated with the Twin Towers thundering to the ground almost ten years ago. This was the guy who TP'd the dean's house that one time before dropping out of school and moving back into his parents' basement.

Almost seems like a waste of a perfectly good bullet, frankly.

I'd still like to see the death pictures though. I think Americans deserve that, at the very least.

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May 06, 2011

The New Now

While we settle in to life with Zoey now at home, we're encountering some of the unexpected realities of caring for a baby who is still quite small and who steadfastly refuses to eat on any terms save her own. She seems to consider eating to be an annoying impediment to sleeping rather than an existential necessity.

Currently, she will only bottle feed, having apparently decided that breastfeeding is simply too much work; she much rather prefers sitting upright with a bottle in her mouth.

She's also very particular about which bottle nipples she'll deign to sup upon. She wants nothing to do with the free nipples the hospital provided--and I use the term "free" loosely here, considering the eventual final hospital costs--and instead prefers the softer Medela nipples that cost $5 for a three pack. I sometimes wonder if she's going to taste the nipple and then spit as if she's sampling a fine wine.

She also feeds in increments so tiny, it can take her nearly two hours of intermittent feedings to finish a mere two ounces of milk. While my wife and worry about such insignificant intake, Zoey seems to think it's just the right amount, thank you very much, and I guess we don't really have her expertise, so who are we to question her?

She sleeps as though she's doing a live interpretive version of the story of Rip Van Winkle, to the point I sometimes have to grasp her hand to get a reflexive response that confirms she's still with us.

When she is awake and alert, she has some of the most inquisitive looking eyes I've ever seen. She can look at once both incredibly thoughtful and simultaneously bored out of her mind. That sounds like a criticism, but trust me, it's adorable:

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May 04, 2011

Economic Policies Used to Kill bin Laden

Obama's Domestic Agenda Led to 'Epiphany' in Bin Laden Hunt

Rhodes Media Services - WASHINGTON D.C. -- In a surprising revelation Wednesday morning, President Obama explained how he used a slightly modified version of his domestic economic policies to aid in the manhunt and eventual killing of al Queda figurehead Osama bin Laden.

In a hastily organized White House press conference, Obama explained how he woke up one early morning several months ago and had an epiphany that revealed to him that, if his economic policies--intended to spend several hundred billion dollars to save jobs and halt unemployment--could in fact actually lead to much higher unemployment, inflation, and a drawn out recession, then the same policies could be used in the global war on terror.

"Let me be clear," said Obama, pausing briefly to ensure no one would interrupt his tonal clarity. "While my domestic economic policies have admittedly fallen flat, I'm proud to announce that they worked to bring down this international terrorist."

Using fairly confusing graphs and charts, Obama showed how he ordered vast amounts of war spending in Afghanistan and Pakistan, while at the same time decreeing that all efforts must be made to save bin Laden's life. In a bizarre twist that's still not entirely understood--just as such similar measures actually killed jobs domestically so, too, did it eventually lead to bin Laden's demise.

"Again, let me be perfectly clear," said Obama to an already compliant and completely quiet crowd that was in no way impeding his clarity. "This new type of warfare should not be undertaken lightly. While it's true it can be used to rid the world of a man who needed to seriously be gotten rid of, it should in no way be used to try to prop up or otherwise save any economy anywhere across the globe. It's THAT dangerous of an idea."

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May 02, 2011

Homeward Bound

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May 01, 2011

Full Circle

Tonight is my second in a row staying at the hospital until morning. This is an exercise in preparation for taking Zoey home, hopefully tomorrow. Obviously, this is in stark contrast to the last two nights I stayed all night in the hospital all those four months ago.

For one thing, four months ago, "Family Guy" wasn't blaring on the television, vying for audible superiority over Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do, I Do For You" blasting on the overhead speaker system. It's like two circles of hell duking it out for no particular reason.

Zoey passed her car seat test tonight (one hour, with no spells or excessive fussing), and there's an expected influx of babies coming in tomorrow, so my daughter is on the discharge fast track. This time of year--this kind of optimism--seemed almost inconceivable in early January, yet here we are.

Zoey's still fairly small--not quite six pounds yet--and she still needs daily caffeine and multi-vitamin supplements. But then, so do I.

Overnight hospital accommodations aren't exactly like spending a night at the Waldorf-Astoria. I'm pretty sure the bed was constructed by a medieval rack engineer, and the room itself is so dark it can double as a sensory deprivation chamber. But, Zoey's with us, sans monitor, so there's ALMOST a sense of home.

We have a couple mole-hills yet to overcome, not the least being Zoey's continued difficulty picking up on the whole concept of feeding. She gets it, but she tires quickly, so she has to be fed during the precious few minutes she's particularly active.

All things considered, however, we're in good shape. At least until Zoey is home and I have to concentrate on freelance writing with the sound of a toddler and infant raising hell just upstairs.

That will still be nice.

Posted by Ryan at 09:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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