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August 15, 2001
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Too Much Work and Fun With Family

1:15 pm: Someone at lunch, at the Boulder Farmer's Market, today said, "Well, who wants to go back and listen to Bill talk?"

That seemed way too appropriate to me. Boss Bill leads by saying everything that comes to his head, and then seeing if anyone has anything to say about it. This can be good, and it can be bad, but it really does mean that Bill does a whole lot of the talking. And a bunch of the folks that had gone to the market for lunch were debating going off to a pub and just having a few beers. I can't blame them.

So who wants to?

10:17 pm: Well, want to or not, I did. And I even made it back before the other car load of people, this after a really frantic morning and early afternoon and then after all this just as frantic an afternoon. The evening's turned out okay, though, and even better than just okay, it's been wonderful having Dave's kids, Yuri and Emily over with Cathie as chauffeur and baby carrier.

They all love Jet, to start. That's the biggest and coolest thing. They all really love him and he really likes them and it all works out really well. Especially since John had Jet for pretty much most of the day, they all shared in the work and were great help with him at all hours and at all times. That was very good.

The day hadn't started all that well. Jet was up five times last night, and some of it might have been from all the evening disruption last night, with all the voices and noises and talking in the evening when he usually has his last feeding and is put to sleep. There were a whole lot of distractions and it carried through with a really uneasy night on Jet's part. John and I were pretty bleary as well as we hadn't had the time to recover from the weekend and the aftermath, yet, and with this additional disruption it felt like we were never going to get sleep.

Luckily, John was staying home with the kids and Cathie, so that they could all go out on an adventure, either to NCAR or the Celestial Seasoning's site tour or something around Boulder. So I didn't really have to worry about getting Jet off to Joan's before I had to get into work. I just had to get into work. And Jet's timing was just enough off on feedings that I last fed him from 8:50-9:20, leaving me exactly ten minutes to pull everything together that I needed for work. The plan also went so that I was going to pump at work, today, so getting all the manual pump pieces together, with an ice pack for the milk after was an interesting trick.

I managed it. Even managed to get to the meeting in plenty of time, and then Bill went and blew my time allotment by making our 1:1 go an extra ten minutes.

I only had five minutes to pump if I was going to make it to the Market at noon. I gave up on the notion of being on time, and pumped and tried not to 'hurry'. That's the weird thing about letdown and milk production and all that. One would think that it's mostly a mechanical process, like milking a cow or whatever, and just the suction and pull would get the milk to come out. That's actually true of the left breast, but then that one leaks milk everywhere whenever it's full. The right, however, is another thing entirely, and while it actually produces more milk than the left, getting it to let down seems to be a trick that seems reserved for only the mechanical pump and Jet. I had a terrible time, even though the darned thing was rock hard with milk. Grump.

Finally, I gave up, rinsed stuff off, put stuff away, and ran back to my desk to call John's cell phone and get no answer. That peeved me greatly, and after trying yet again, I finally had to run for it, not getting out of the parking lot until noon. This was the first of several really frustrating things with the cell phone.

I was fifteen minutes late, and I saw them clustered at the corner of the food court area of the market, all looking for me. Jet was happy as a clam in Cathie's arms, and waved and grinned and wiggled wildly when he saw me. Of course everyone around him was doing the same thing. That felt very nice indeed. Especially when I was mildly furious inside about not getting the cell phone call through. John said that he'd left it in the car, and when he'd looked at the missed call log, my work phone hadn't been there at all, which had confused him mildly. But it didn't matter now that I was there.

I was surprised that the guys from work hadn't already met up with them; but the guys hadn't really known to look for them, and they hadn't known to look for the guys. Almost immediately, we spotted their table, and went trooping over there to say hi. We handed Jet over to Cary, and then all went to get food. I settled on tamales again, though the sausage pasta looked really good, I felt a little bit of awkwardness about eating red meat in front of the kids, which seems mildly odd to me when I think about it. But the bean tamales were so good it didn't really matter in the long run. Yuri got two of them, I got one and asked John to buy me a dish of the sesame noodles from the dumpling cart.

The cold noodles were so good. They were tangy and sweet and had little bits of sweet pickle as well as the creamy sesame sauce that might have been tahini based. The tamale was sweet and yummy on the outside and spice and tasty on the inside. Yuri had been uncertain about getting them, as he'd never had a tamale before. But I got him two of the mild ones as he hadn't wanted anything that was too hot to eat; but also knowing that he was a growing teenager, a single one of them just wasn't going to be nearly enough for him. He was glad that I got him two when he went to eat them.

Emili got the vegetarian dumplings and a huge fruit smoothie. She liked that a lot, and really enjoyed eating them. The gang from work gave up their table when we all arrived, and they just stood talking in a huddle while we ate. John finished his lunch well before I did, so he started giving Jet oatmeal, which Jet ate with gusto and much messiness. It was cool to see him get to eat while everyone else was eating, and he seemed to really enjoy himself.

The sky got darker and darker and soon a few drops of rain started to fall. It was really funny watching the Coloradians clearing out in droves and seeing Emili and Yuri not even notice that it was raining at all. There are some real advantages to being a Seattle native. You really can't stop doing what you want to do because of rain, otherwise you'd never get anything done. That was fun to see.

Since I'd been late to start, as soon as I was pretty much done with my meal, I had to leave. I hugged everyone good-bye, bought myself a slab of banana bread, and then ran back to work.

Luckily, my 1 o' clock meeting was done at 1:40, due, in part, to lack of people. I tried calling John again, and got no answer again. I'd been vaguely thinking about joining them wherever they were; but without the ability to find out where they were, I decided to just go home, pump with the stationary pump, bake some gingerbread and then take a nap. I needed the sleep pretty badly. Of course, the moment I walk into the house I try John's celphone again. No luck. When I hung up, however, the phone started ringing almost immediately. It was John. He'd accidentally broken the key off in the door of the Baby Buggy. Not good. They weren't going anywhere.

I told him that I had to pump and when I was done with that I'd come and bring an extra key to him. Then I asked him if the ringer was off on the cell phone and if it was that I should call him back immediately just to test if it worked. Then I'd have some chance of contacting him of something happened to me. Finally, the celphone worked and John actually answered it. The ringer had, indeed, been, somehow or another, turned off. It took me twenty minutes to get the pumping stuff done with and cleaned up. I called him when I headed out the door. I had to go all the way back into Boulder. I was so tired, but when I finally got there it was worth it.

They were very happy to see me. Jet was cheerful and cherubic. Emili rode with me as we headed first to Munsen's to get various veggies and sweet corn and then to Safeway to make up the rest of our dinner. It was really fun to shop with the kids, Cathie stayed in the car with Jet because Jet fell dead asleep on the way back and napped contentedly while we all ran around getting stuff. The running around continued at home, while we puttered about getting dinner together.

First, however, John got the kids started on the Playstation downstairs, playing Crash Team Racing. Jet and I went downstairs to watch them, and Jet went wild watching the racing. He was laughing and bouncing and wiggling as the go carts crashed into thing and all kinds of noises were made. I can just tell that Jet's going to be a video game fiend when he grows up. Jet's wiggle now consists of him holding both arms up in the air, sitting on his bottom in a cross-legged position and then wiggling his whole body and bouncing up and down until he falls over. He doesn't seem to mind falling over, even when there's a thud that can be heard 'round the house, and laughs when someone rights him again.

He was doing a lot of that watching the race. That was pretty fun.

John and Cathie took care of most of dinner. I made dessert while they made dinner. They managed to make a beer butt chicken (Hmmm... I guess the more PA name is beer can chicken, but really...), veggie burgers for the kids, sweet corn, big tender hunks of bread from the Market, and a very nice pile of fresh green beans, also from the market. It was a really great summer meal.

Afterwards, we all trooped down into the basement and watched Erin Brockovich. Jet sat between his cousins and watched the screen with shining eyes before wiggling, falling over, drooling on them, giggling, and squawking a lot back at the TV whenever Erin started yelling at people. He does seem to talk right back, and it made Emili and Yuri giggle a lot. Finally we all took a break, and had some of the dessert I'd put together.

It was a peach and blueberry cobbler, based on the recipe in 'How to Cook Everything', with a few modifications. I didn't put any sugar on the fruit because the fruit was summer ripe and sugar would have really made it cloying. I added a bit of cinnamon, substituted whole wheat flour for the white, used less than half the butter in the recipe, only put half the sugar in the cobbles, used three quarters of the leavening, and baked it well ahead of schedule instead of right when we were going to eat it. It turned out wonderful. The fruit was butter soft and very sweet but still with the mild tang of the natural acids, the cobbles were crisp on the outside and tender on the inside and had soaked up some of that juice. They also had the sweet, nutty characteristic of good whole wheat, and the crunch of it really stood up well to the juices. So my little experiment turned out really well.

They ate, and Jet watched and decided he was hungry too. So when the kids went back into the basement with John, I fed Jet while talking with Cathie, and he took it well. He fell asleep while I did that, and woke up briefly to polish off his bottle. He then passed out going up the stairs, and all was quiet in the house. Well, except for the yelling and thumping down in the basement from the rest of the movie. I said good night to Cathie and went to bed.

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Copyright 2001 Liralen Li. All Rights Reserved.