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March 20, 2003
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Getting Out of the House

9:48 pm: I actually got out of the house, today, and I needed it badly. There was snow everywhere, feet of it piled up by the sides of the road. Our driveway was a foot thick of slush for most of the morning, but the Range Rover got through it no problem. We actually took Jet to Joan's with the Rangy, just to be sure that we could get there, as their dirt road was another area that was a foot-thick of slush.

Everything was melting today. The sunshine during the day felt really good. Jet had fun, this morning, running around naked and basking in the sunshine. I think he needed it, as he just was drawn to the brightness. He liked watching the birds. When John got up, he ate cereal with John and ate nearly a whole bowl of cereal and fruit! Wow.

I didn't go back to sleep. I just had a shower, and went with John and Jet to send Jet to Joan's. Then I came back home, made myself a mocha, as I missed those, and then went to work. I had plenty to do until nearly 11:30, and then I went and got Jet. He fell asleep nearly immediately, as he and I were up since 5:30.

It's funny, but after the cruise, I'm time shifted enough that the early mornings aren't nearly the problem they used to be. Plus, with the sunshine, and dawn occurring soon before 6, it was bright enough to feel like morning. I liked that.

Jet then napped for nearly 3 hours, and I didn't look up until he came out of the bedroom. I think that he slept so long because he'd gotten up so early. I can hope. But I got a whole lot done. I'm glad of that. It also made it easier to just drop everything and play with Jet when he did wake up.

We shared some sticky rice for lunch. He didn't eat much, which might have been a good thing, as John got home only an hour later, and an hour after that, I made dinner.

I'd bought dried tofu at King's Market last weekend, and thought I should do something with it, soon. First, I started the rice. I cut two chicken thighs very finely, and marinated it with soy, wine, and a bit of corn starch. Then I sliced the dried tofu very thinly and made threads out of it. Finally, I cut all my garlic chives off, watered them, rinsed the leaves off, and then cut them into inch long pieces.

I stir fried the chicken, then added the tofu and garlic chive. Finally I added a sauce that my mom had said would go well on the stuff, and we had one dish. I turned it into a bowl and then stir fried a bunch of French cut string beans, crumbled leftover turkey bacon on it, and the leftover sauce from the first dish combined with the water from the beans, and made something of a sauce for the beans as well. It smelled wonderful with the smoky richness of the bacon.

Jet loved the brown rice. He sat down and started eating before any of the other food was done. Then he dug into the dried tofu dish like there was no tomorrow, and just ate the stuff down like crazy. He ate nearly half a cereal bowl's worth of rice, a good two serving spoons of the tofu dish, and one serving spoon's worth of the green beans!

I'm glad he liked it. Mom was pretty sure he would, but it was something else watching him eat like that.

Jet was a much happier boy after eating. We got him bundled into his coat and his car seat and we went out to the Erie Safeway complex. I really, really wanted Thomas Kemper ginger beer, and we went to the liquor store, first, to get it. Jet ran around and around. The checkout surprised the heck out of me as the price for two six-packs was about the same price I'd paid for one six pack the last time I'd bought the stuff there. That was pretty cool.

Then we hit Dairy Queen. John got a mint Oreo Blizzard, and I got a small hot fudge sundae with pecans. Jet knelt on the counter and watched, raptly, as they made the ice cream treats. Then, when the Blizzard was set in front of him by the serving lady, he grabbed it with both hands, and as soon as I got him settled into his booster seat, he was spooning the stuff into his mouth, double-time.

Jet's gotten a LOT better at using a spoon than he used to be. Even six months ago, he couldn't have done what he was doing now. We had to get the coat off him and out of his way, but other than that we got out of his way. He made his way through about half of John's Blizzard while John ate with him, and then he eyed my sundae.

He then grabbed my spoon and started digging, for all he was worth, through my sundae as well. He dug huge lumps of the soft serve out of the cup, sometimes dueling with me for spoonfuls, as I was trying to get the extreme excesses off of his spoon. He didn't really go after the fudge until he got a big smear of it all over his spoon by accident. Then he started spooning specifically for the brown stuff. I was pretty impressed. Jet cleaned up the last of my sundae and grinned big even as he started to shiver from all the cold he'd eaten.

When John washed his hands in warm water, he warmed up pretty well, and ran around the shop three times as we were getting our coats on. We finally flagged him down, got his coat on and we headed to Safeway.

In the store, Jet kept trying to go his own way. He was grumpy and cranky from being tired, so we finally ended up putting him in the cart's seat and strapping him in. He protested for a while, but when it was obvious we weren't going to let him out no matter how much he yelled, he slumped sideways across the seat. He was Boneless Grumpy Boy. He cheered up eventually, and started talking with John as we shopped and looked for things. He chanted, "Milk milk milk milk!" when we picked up his gallon of milk.

When we came home, he sang for much of the way home. I *think* he was singing, "London Bridge is falling down," as there was a lot of 'falling' in his words. He had a good time just singing to us and to himself. It was fun to listen and encourage him. It also kept him awake all the way home, and he cheered John and I when we sang, "No More Monkeys Jumping On The Bed!" especially for the Mommy and Daddy jumping on the bed versions.

When we got home, John drew a bath for Jet while I put everything away. Then I went up to help with the bath. Jet loved pushing himself and the water back and forth in the tub. He also didn't help with washing himself the way he used to before we left, and, in fact, fended off the soap with some vehemence. I was bemused. But he enjoyed it, and we didn't get too wet.

Afterwards, John did the dishes while Jet drank his milk, burped a lot, brushed his teeth, and then asked me to pick him up. So I held him while we watched John put away the clean dishes and then wash the ones in the sink. Jet started leaning his head against my shoulder and eventually he just went to sleep in my arms. He hasn't done that in a very long time, and it was kind of nice.

I took him up, settled him in, filled the humidifier, and closed the door. Then John and I watched the news and got to see the new, video game-like coverage of this one camera tracking a particular U.S. tank across the desert. Real-time, live coverage of a tank of the 3rd Infantry, 2nd Brigade, doing the across the land invasion. What was mildly surreal was the fact that they were talking with the wife of the guy driving the tank they were showing live.

Most of the stations have coverage of the war, bits and pieces from all over the fronts, and other commentators in the city. It's an interesting collage of what's going on all over the place. It's all piecemeal, with no real overall pictures of what's going on. Probably a good thing. I've even heard one of two reporters say that they couldn't say a few things, for the sake of security, and I was very glad of that.

The somewhat euphoric reporters are claiming everything will be done in 72 hours, and within days of that, they'll be reorganizing Iraq's society. They're already saying that Saddam's badly injured or dead, and that the whole Iraqi army is collapsing without any direction. There's a 20% defection rate, and no significant resistance anywhere.

It's interesting seeing these 'new' "embedded" reporters that are traveling with various troops with satellite feeds of low-res digital video, and they're actually following every single move.

I like seeing the new technology in action, the combination of GPS and digital, encrypted, secure communication of all kinds through satellite feeds. So they have a complete and total picture of the battleground in real time and communication that cannot be blocked or screwed with. It's pretty impressive for troops that need accurate information to be effective. It's a very cool thing. What's mildly bizarre is that there's a running banner at the bottom of the screen detailing all the skirmishes, the exact number of folks involved and the results. It's very video game like.

I like the fact that they haven't done the big fireworks and that they have tried their best to talk the upper military folks into accepting the inevitable. Having the footage of the infantry in all its numbers pouring across the countryside is probably quite helpful in those talks. I'm glad of that

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