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Saturday, April 14, 2007

1 Month Old!

Well, it's official -- Kirstin is one month old now.

It really doesn't seem like it's been an entire month since she was born, but that's the case (so the calendar tells me). With her being a month old, I started a new photoset on Flickr (her third of general pictures taken). She has most definitely grown in the last month, even though she was pretty good sized when she arrived. This is one of those times where I enjoy looking at the daily picture set, because over a period of time one can really see how she's changed.

There was a baby shower for her today, and that was a good time. Got to see some people that I'd not seen for some time (including the gal from whom we bought the house), so that was fun. Had some good food, and scored some really cool stuff, too. Even better. :) Jill and Lori did very well with everything there -- it was much appreciated. Probably the most unexpected thing we got in the shower was some homemade items (bib and onesie) from one of our old insurance agents. They (a couple) retired at the end of the year (December, 2006) and were good for killing an hour whenever I stopped in to visit. Oddly enough, I spent more time in their office just hanging around than I think I ever did doing business. Regardless, it was a very unexpected gift, and really cool. It never even occurred to me that someone might actually make something like that.

I'm really not all that verbose tonight. I'm just a bit tired again (but I knew I would be -- it's been kinda a big day). We had some amazing weather today, and it's supposed to be the same tomorrow. It was nearly 60 outside for a good chunk of the day. We actually had the front screen door window open and also the window over the kitchen sink. I'm pretty sure that the furnace only ran a little bit this morning, because it's been a pretty constant 70-71 degrees in the house all day (the dining room thermostat said 73 most of the day). It was nice to get some fresh air inside, though. That's always one of my more favorite parts of the spring (and fall).

It was nice enough today that when I went out to feed the dogs and give them some attention, I decided to take each one out for a little run. They'd not had that for some time (especially a run proper), so they were very excited about it. I actually did it for two reasons -- one being a bit of an experiment (to see how they would handle a non-walk pace), and the other to see if we can over a period of time get them to the point where we can try both at the same time. The ultimate goal would be to get them working together and eventually hook them up to something (sled or cart).

But today I just took each one for about a 1/2-2/3 mile run. Good times. Koshka is definitely the better leader, but Kurva is definitely the better follower. That might not make much sense, but I think with some direction (and practice, more than anything), we'll be able to get them to do something with their pent-up energy. :)

So anyway, that's about all I've got to say right now. It still looks as though my video camera will be here on Monday, so I'll have something new to play with at that time. I'm kinda excited. :)

I'm thinking that one of my projects for tomorrow will be to go through all of my nearly 75 posts here and do some categorization of them. I have to look at some of my trends for topics; then I can figure out how I can label/tag each post appropriately. I usually only use the labeling feature when I think of it, and that's a habit I'd like to get out of. Especially as my entries get higher in number, at which point in time a more thought out set of categories would be a Good Thing for searching back.

I'd also like to actually make some DVDs tomorrow of the various bits of video I've still got on my computer. There's something like 30GB of video I've captured that I've got sitting on my computer. I'm not pressed for drive space, but I'd like to burn a good master copy of some of the older stuff so that I can remove it just to clean up things a bit. Ideally, I'd also do some major backing up to DVD as well (data DVD). We'll see how that goes. I'm sure a nap will be in order as well...

So anyway, until next time...

--MZ

Friday, April 13, 2007

Devoid Of Inspiration

Well, it's Friday evening, and the weekend has begun. :) What a Friday it was, too. Man, it seemed like (for a while) at work today that I was always busy with someone on the phone. I was either calling someone, or was being called by someone. Fortunately, nothing was insurmountable...but it really does make for an interesting day. There's always something that comes up...especially in the week following a public release.

It's also Friday the 13th. I can pretty honestly say that I didn't have anything strange or superstitious happen to me today. It was a pretty reasonably 'normal' Friday the 13th. Very much ho-hum.

When I got home from work, we took Kirstin for a walk a little ways down the road -- seeing as how it was so nice out today. She really enjoys the stroller pretty well, and it works pretty well on the gravel road (long as it's not too soft). Of course, the big wheels help that a lot.

It was exactly one calendar month ago tonight that Beth went into the hospital, ultimately to give birth to Kirstin. Weird. 31 days ago (as of the time I wrote this post at 10:45PM), I was sitting here and gathering some things for my own personal bag to bring to the hospital (as upon checking her in to the hospital, it was implied that she wouldn't be really going into hard labor until the mid-morning). What a difference a few hours can make. By the time I get up tomorrow morning, Kirstin will officially be a month old (at 6:00AM). Hooray! Doesn't really seem like it's been that long.

I guess I get to make a new set on Flickr now, too...seeing as how she's a month old! :) I'll probably do that tomorrow evening when I do the nightly upload to Flickr.

I had something earlier that was really profound I was going to write about, but I cannot recall what that was anymore. Ah well. Should've written it down on a post-it note. Then I would have remembered. God Bless 3M. :)

Anyway, seeing as how I'm really quite tired at the moment, and seeing as how I really am running into some writer's block this evening, I'm going to leave this post at that and sign off with the traditional message: Until Next Time...

--MZ

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sweet Shirt!


Sweet Shirt!
Here she's wearing the most AWESOME shirt she
got from her cousin Anitra -- 'All Mommy Wanted
Was A Backrub' it says. Awesome!
In an ode to Anitra for giving us this awesome onesie, I dedicate this blog entry. :)

I think this is the most awesome infant onesie I've ever seen! I'm totally into that sort of pseudo-lewd and suggestive humor. After all, I use it myself frequently.

Anyway, Beth managed to get this picture of her when she finally started sleeping tonight, sometime around 8:55PM (a half hour before her bath).

So until next time...

--MZ

A Typical Thursday

Oddly enough, I really don't have a lot to share tonight. It was a pretty uneventful day (in particular compared to yesterday's bits with the dehumidifier). I did manage to successfully obtain the drain hose connector piece I was looking for with the dumpster dehumidifier this morning, so that was a Good Thing.

I also did a traditional Thursday thing tonight -- organize and file things here at home. It was time to do that again, so it's a little cleaner around my desk right now. It's merely a temporary exile, though.

Kirstin had a pretty big day again today. She and Beth came to town this morning to do some business, and ended up getting shown off at the school, and later (in the afternoon) in Chokio at the school where a shower was held. So needless to say, by the time I got home shortly after 5 this evening, she was past the over-tired phase and just would not let sleep overtake her. At least not for long. I managed to get her to sleep, more or less long enough for me to make some supper and for us to eat without having to hold her while eating.

She slept for about six hours last night before waking up to be fed. I think we both can handle her being a bit cranky at times during the day as long as she can keep sleeping well at night. At least if I had to choose, that'd be my preference...and I'm pretty sure it's Beth's preference as well.

It's starting to warm up again; I believe the high today was in the mid 40's. That's fantastic. I'm looking forward to it being back in the normal range again...because it will make the mess go away faster than if it stays cool for a longer period of time. Helps to dry things out.

I don't really want to end this on a morbid note, but here's a story about an incredibly sad situation... It's always amazing to try understanding the human mind, and almost impossible to actually comprehend the mindset of this young gal. Not ever having given birth, I can't say that I would know what the mindset is like, but having experienced the birthing process first-hand...I can somewhat understand the state of mind (being 'out of it' if you will) in a person who would be somewhat 'uneducated' (I don't like that word choice, but I can't think of anything better) in what to expect after just giving birth.

I really won't get into what I think about the social context of the family unit (as it were) in this case. I just think it's pretty sad and downright pathetic that the mother (grandmother of the infant) of the girl wasn't even aware that she was pregnant. I'm sure there are all sorts of excuses possible, but it goes to show how poorly some (dare I say it many) families communicate. I guess what gets me the most is the fact that the 'adult diapers' didn't raise a red flag to the mother. Not saying that parents need to be intrusive to the extreme (I had a friend whose mother was pretty overbearing, and it wasn't a Good Thing), but it seems just a bit strange to me. They must have been out of common sense juice at the store, because they were definitely running low on it.

Anyway, that's about all I've got to mention tonight. About time for bed. Although I'm going to do a photo blog here shortly, so be ready for that (although most have probably already seen the photo blog entry before this one gets read...).

Until then...

--MZ

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

It's...The Hand!


It's...The Hand!
Mystic Creature it is, The Hand exposes itself only
for brief moments of time. Rare to see, even more
rare to catch on film (or in this case, bits).
Beth got this picture when she and Kirstin got home from their trip to town today. It's pretty cute if you ask me. :) She was sleeping in her car seat, yet her hand was visible through the cover.

During Kirstin's visit to town today she got weighed. She's officially four weeks old today, and weighs approximately 9 pounds, 14 ounces. So in a little over two weeks (15 days to be exact), she gained approximately 1 pound 2 ounces. She was weighed with her clothes on (and was something like 10lbs, 3ozs, so it's an approximation)...but regardless, she's gotten much larger.

She's really quite the peanut. She slept most of the afternoon and into the evening, but we got the chance to sit and play around tonight for a while before her bath. She was ready to sleep when I took her up to bed, though. Normally she squirms and fusses some when I put her in the crib (she doesn't like the change in position) and get her wrapped up for the night, but she barely squawked tonight. I wound up the Humpty Dumpty thing and before I got the bubble lamp turned off, she was already asleep.

She's been sleeping really quite well in the last two weeks overall...so we can only hope that will continue until she's sleeping through the night completely.

Anyway, that's about all I've got to say for the evening. I'm heading to bed now (probably a welcome thing seeing as how this is the third blog post tonight), so until next time...

--MZ

Okay, So I Forgot...

...to mention the weather. We only got about an inch of measurable accumulation in this last storm of sorts. There was a significant amount of slush this morning when I went to work (it was a bit slow going), but the roads were just barely wet when I came home.

In many ways I was glad that we didn't get more than that. I did have to go clean off the Internet dish last night (because of the snow consistency), but I really didn't want another one of those 8+ inch snowfalls, because we've still got some of that left on the yard here. Not much, but some.

It looks like we'll be reaching the 60 degree mark here come this weekend, which is more like normal. We didn't have a high today much more than about 40...so 60 will be very much welcome. For everyone.

Anyway, that's my bit for the day on the weather. I just got so caught up in the excitement over the dehumidifier that I forgot to write about it!

--MZ

The Randomness Of Wednesday Afternoon

It's kinda pathetic that the real highlight of my day today (being Wednesday) was something completely random that I noticed on my way home from work and just happened to fit into my life in a particular way that I don't think it could possibly fit for anyone else.

It started out as a dumpster dive...

I left work a little early today, mostly because we'd been meeting about things most of the day and I really didn't want to start anything new. Besides, we just put out a release, so it's that debriefing and pseudo-relaxing period of time that always comes after an update goes out. So anyway, I leave the office building and walk across the alley/parking lot to my pickup, just like any other day. I get in the vehicle and start leaving the parking lot. The only difference here is that during my walk I noticed there were large boxes in the one dumpster, which is unusual for a Wednesday.

Now, before I get any further, I should provide some background information. The office building in which I work is right next door to an Ace Hardware store. That store happens to be in the midst of a renovation, so they have a demolition dumpster on site in the parking lot (next to the regular dumpster). To leave the parking lot legally (the alley is also a one-way alley), one must drive past these dumpsters. So, because of the unusual nature of Wednesday full dumpster(s), I drive by a little slower to see what would've been in these boxen. Keep in mind again that I need to drive by these as I leave, so it's not like it was a special trip or anything.

Anyway, right on top is a big ComfortAire dehumidifier box, with the dehumidifier inside... Now, I knew that this Ace Hardware carried the same model dehumidifier that I've got, because I borrowed an owner's manual last summer to copy some tech support numbers so that I could see about replacement parts (see next paragraph).

It just so happens to be the exact model that I've got here at home, which happens to be broken. It died on me last spring when the fan motor went out on it (the compressor was still running, but it wasn't effective because the blower couldn't bring air through the unit). It just so happens to be that two weeks ago I finally called the technical support numbers I'd copied down from the owner's manual I'd copied from that very Ace store to see if I could get a replacement fan and motor. As it turns out, they don't sell internal parts to end consumers, so I was referred to an authorized service center (which happens to be in Alexandria, not that big a deal) to see about repair. Bah humbug...and I figured I'd call them up sometime to see if they could estimate what it'd cost to fix.

Keep in mind that I'd taken the unit apart once before to verify that the fan was dead...so I knew exactly what portion of the unit wasn't working properly.

So anyway, being the inquisitive type that I am, I backed up my pickup and parked again. I know most of the Ace employees and owner, so I had to get the story on why there was a dehumidifier in the box in the dumpster. The gal that I found didn't know why they'd thrown it, but when I explained that mine wasn't working anymore, she encouraged me to take it to see if I could use it for parts.

I happily did so, figuring that I'd be a lucky dude if I happened to get a working dehumidifier out of spare parts and better yet, for free. So I dug the unit out of the dumpster, put it in the back of my pickup, and hoped that the fan was still functioning on it. I would find out when I got home.

So, I got home and changed clothes, then unloaded the unit from my pickup and brought it down to the basement. I immediately plugged it in and turned it on. Gloriously, I heard the fan kick on and could feel it moving air! This was FANTASTIC! I didn't hear the compressor kick on, though, so I wasn't sure what exactly might be up with the unit. I noticed when I got it home that it had been taken apart at least once before, so I then knew why it'd been discarded (it was likely used for parts for someone else).

I grabbed a screwdriver or two and went to town. I got it taken apart and removed the fan and motor mount. I might add that it's pretty much down to a bare frame by the time you get that far -- you have to take absolutely everything apart to get to this area. Upon taking it apart, I noticed that it didn't appear to have any missing parts (aside from the rear shield screws (which is how I noticed it'd been opened before)), so I plugged it in (kids, don't try this at home when you've dismantled an appliance and have it wide open and plugged in/turned on) and discovered what was wrong. The compressor was shot on the unit.

So this is really why it was dumped. Since it's not worth trying to replace the compressor/sealed system on that model, it was just thrown out. But, my compressor was working fine -- I just needed the fan.

Anyway, I got the fan out, then opened up my dehumidifier and plugged in the fan motor (to make sure it wasn't the electrical relay that was not functioning). Sure enough, with the replacement fan, it kicked on right away and was just like brand new.

I was ecstatic!

So I replaced the fan motor and put it all back together. I turned it on for a while and let it run (before I put the outer covers back on to make sure it was working properly) while I re-assembled the other unit. It was doing its job, so when the time comes to start running it, I'm sure it will work (for at least a little while).

I'm going to keep the parts unit for a bit as well, since I can still cannibalize the other electrical and control units in case mine goes out for some reason. The sealed system itself is worthless, so it'll never be used as a dehumidifier again, but I'll have a few free spare parts for the future. And if I get another year or two out of it, I can say I got my money's worth!

So that old adage about 'one man's trash is another man's treasure' is really true. I am going to go share the story with the folks at Ace tomorrow.

Who'd have thought that being just a little bit observant would pay off like that?! I don't have to go buy another $180 dehumidifier, nor do I have to pay someone at a service center to fix a $180 dehumidifier.

I'm so stoked! Go me!

Alright, so now that I've shared that bit of wisdom, I'm moving on to another topic. Over the last few days, I have been looking at digital camcorders to buy. I wanted to buy one around Christmas, but the deal I was looking at expired before I actually went to buy it. So I waited for a while and decided to use some tax refund money towards a more expensive and higher-end model. The reason for higher-end (and more expensive) is mostly because I cannot buy the model I'd been looking at around Christmas. So, I found one that was on sale ($60 instant rebate) and had the features I was looking for. I more or less decided on a model a few days ago (Monday), but decided to actually buy it now (before the $60 rebate went away) last night before I made another mistake. :)

So this morning I placed the order, along with a few miscellaneous computer parts I'd been waiting to get (when I could bundle it with some other things to save on shipping). And once again, I'll say that I absolutely LOVE NewEgg.

I placed my order at 10:10 this morning (CDT), and as of 6:30 this evening (CDT), all of my items are on a UPS truck somewhere in various parts of the country (all of the items shipped from different warehouses throughout the US). The camera itself is scheduled to be delivered on Monday. I love NewEgg! For $9.95, I got four items shipped from four different warehouses in the US, with guaranteed 3-day service (the slowest/cheapest shipping method offered). It doesn't get much better than that.

It'll be fun to play around with that once it comes. I'm looking forward to it.

Anyway, I'm going to wrap up this post and then do a photo blog entry...so until next time (in a few minutes)...

--MZ


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Illuminated!

Well, it was a traditional first day back at work after a long weekend type of day. Somewhat unproductive, but yet enough stuff got done to not look like a complete slacker. :)

I took the time today to finally upload pictures from the last few days (today included). I also took the time to re-think the organization I'd been using with Kirstin's photosets. I ended up creating what I call 'The Definitive Kirstin Collection'. This collection is the 'set of sets' related to Kirstin. Currently, there are four sets:

  1. Daily Basis
  2. Pre-Birth to 2 Weeks
  3. 2 Weeks to 1 Month
  4. Holidays & Events
So, rather than have the two sets for Kirstin (which had been the case before -- the daily set and then one 'Little Kirstin' set), I split them up into two major sets (and that will grow with time), and the other sets (daily and holiday/event) have copies of some items from the major sets. These are all put in as part of a collection (the Definitive Collection).

So, to see all of her pictures now, one would go to the Collection page mentioned above. From there one can easily see all of the sets related to just her. Fantastic. That should help a bit with only seeing the more recent images...or only seeing images for a particular event (or the daily set). We'll see how that goes.

The title of this post (Illumination) is related to something that happened this weekend. The light in the fridge burned out. And you know, as much as that little light would seem to be irrelevant or unnecessary, it's a real pain in the ass when it's not around. Don't get me wrong, I know that fridge inside and out better than anyone (so it's not for navigation purposes I use the light). When that light is not available, it just bugs me.

This happened on Saturday, and I went to get a replacement this morning before I really sat down at work. We'd been gone Sunday and Monday, more or less, so I didn't have to deal with it for long, but it's still an annoyance. But it's fixed now, and I can consider my fridge to once again be illuminated.

On another note, it's snowing here right now (again). Although this time it's not nearly like the last time. We're only slated to get that 1-3" range tonight...which would be just fine by me. I like snow, but after the last storm, I'm ready to be done with it now for the season. It's time for things to green up (and stay green for a while). But, the silver lining is that it's supposed to be back in the normal temperature range come next week, so that'll be nice.

All that said, I'm kinda running out of things to write about tonight. I've got a few things scribbled down on post-it notes (topics on which to ramble), but I'm not feeling verbose enough to really write much of anything about those items. It's been a long day, and I'm looking forward to another more normal night of sleep again. We got home late enough last night that it put all three of us a bit out of whack.

Considering that I put Kirstin to bed around 10:25, and although she screamed for a few minutes (due to being a bit over-tired), by the time Beth went upstairs at 10:30, she was completely out and didn't even budge when Beth put a little hat on her for the night. We keep her fairly well bundled at night, because the thermostat is set to 64 overnight, so on many nights the furnace doesn't run from 10:15(PM) until about 5(AM). It can get a little chilly (it's fantastic sleeping temperature) for a little one, though. But, if she gets cold she'll definitely let us know. :)

Anyway, I think I'm heading for bed now. Depending upon whether or not I do the choir thing tomorrow night, I may take the time to ramble a bit more heavily about those topics I've post-it noted.

Until then...

--MZ

Monday, April 9, 2007

Back At Home Again

As I typed the title of this post, I couldn't help but think of the Willie Nelson rendition of 'On The Road Again'...but my musical mind is strange like that too.

Anyway, we rolled in back at home later than I'd expected this evening, but all is good. Being gone for a little while, I came back with a load of new pictures and I will hopefully get them up on Flickr tomorrow evening sometime. It's way too late for me to start working on that now. :)

After Kirstin's big day yesterday (Sunday), she managed to sleep for about six hours last night. That wasn't all that surprising; she was a tired and cranky girl by the time her bath was over. All that said, she had a good time at Grandpa & Grandma Zaske's house.

So it's back to work for me tomorrow, which will be okay. I managed to do pretty much absolutely nothing today, and it was glorious. I spent some time sleeping, vegitating, and just hanging out. We'll see what happens tomorrow (Tuesday) because we're in another winter storm watch for tomorrow and into Wednesday morning. They say 4-7 inches of snow as a possibility. We'll see. There's still some snow on the ground, but only about an inch or so as of right now. In a perfect world, I'll maybe leave work early and do some things at home if it's snowing and being generally nasty -- that'd be good. :)

Anyway, I'm heading to bed now. Until next time...

--MZ

Sunday, April 8, 2007

A Very Busy Day

Well, we survived Easter Sunday. :)

It has been a pretty big day today; Kirstin got to meet all sorts of new people that had been waiting some time to meet her. A few pictures got taken as well, but since I don't have my camera dock handy right now, I'll have to wait until tomorrow evening to do any uploading and the like. It'll be good.

I'm just spending a little bit of time online right now before I head for bed. Kirstin had such a big day today (as did the rest of us), that she got a little overwhelmed by the time the day was through. It wasn't long after bath time when she really went out cold for the night. But she did a fantastic job throughout most of the day.

Anyway, that's about all I've got to write about at the moment, and I'm tired, so I'm heading to bed. Until next time...

--MZ

Happy Easter!

Just a quick post to wish everyone a Happy Easter!

Yes, I got pictures (a few so far) with Kirstin in her Easter dress. It's cute. It'll go online sometime soon!

Until then...

--MZ

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  • One Gorgeous Daughter (Kirstin)
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  • Two Cats (George/Felix)
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