SigSpace - Family http://www.sigspace.net/?q=taxonomy/term/94/0 en Your tax dollars at work http://www.sigspace.net/?q=node/663 <p>I'd apologize for not updating, but I don't want to be <a href="http://xkcd.com/621/" rel="nofollow">this guy</a>.</p> <p>Annual training was splendid, thanks for asking. I probably ought to post about it. Note, I didn't promise to post about it. I didn't even suggest I was thinking about a post. I just said that I probably ought to. You should see my "probably ought to" list some time. It's absolutely horrifying in scope and scale, and that's just the work-related stuff.</p> <p>Ahem.</p> <p>OK, so with the September drill weekend just a few weeks away, instead of preparing for that I got to spend Wednesday through today (being Sunday four days after aforementioned Wednesday) at a conference for the brigade-sized-element-that-is-not-really-a-brigade over my battalion. Being that this is toward the end of the fiscal year (which is a whole 'nother post that I will also probably not actually write), said BSETISNRAB was able to attain <a href="http://www.suncadiaresort.com" rel="nofollow">really swanky accomodations</a> for only a fair bit above the normal lodging rate authorized for this region. (For the curious, we stayed in the "Deluxe Lodge Studio Room.") Because they are pretty clever, they set up the tables in such a manner that there was no electricity for me to charge my laptop, meaning that I could only do about 90 minutes of work (on battery) while they were yammering on (and on and on and on).</p> <p>The first portion of the conference was for the AGRs (Active Guard/Reserve--the full-time permanent people who run things the <em>other</em> 28 days a month). We showed up on Wednesday afternoon, got checked in, and had the conference all day ("all day" adjourning around 1430) Thursday and then Friday morning; checkout was at noon, and then the commanders and senior NCOs started showing up for the second portion, which was geared toward them and scheduled in a similar non-grueling manner. Since I'm cool like that (and because it was recommended for unit readiness NCOs), we stayed for the entire period through Sunday noonish.</p> <p>The accommodations were nice. REALLY nice. The conference was a little disappointing. Much of it ought to have been directed at the commanders and 1SGs rather than the full-time staff. It's nice to know that our NCOERs and OERs are ridiculously behind (my company is 52% up to date, vice the BSETISNRAB average of roughly 60%), but I already <em>know</em> that and know that it's a problem. However, <strong>I have no control over this and damned little influence over it.</strong> I cannot make people do their evals; I certainly can't make them do them <em>right</em>, and even giving a class on it would be problematic since a) I'm not actually in a position of authority and b) I have never actually written an NCOER for anyone but myself (yet another post).</p> <p>During the second portion, they unveiled Yet Another Tracking System for me to maintain. In this case, it's a comprehensive know-all-do-all web-based retention tracking tool that will feed stats up to the state level and allow us to keep better tabs on soldiers who are thinking about escap---er, allowing their contract to lapse. Retention tracking is important, no question, but this tool is <em>really</em> detailed: name, contact info, family and spouse info, pay entry base date, birthday (?!), ETS date (obviously), contact records, counseling records, and all sorts of other silliness in this big-ass color-coded Excel spreadsheet to which everyone and their mother will have at least read-only access. In theory, the Retention NCO (a one-weekend-a-month soldier) would keep this up to date, but since so many of those fields are things requiring access to personnel records, in practice it would find its way to my plate.</p> <p>First and most obviously, this is a massive privacy invasion. There is no need for that many people (and they included everyone in the NCO support chain, chain of command, and retention system) to have that kind of information on my soldiers. All it would take is one jackass to lose a laptop and it would be in the open. Since that happens roughly every seven minutes within DoD, this is of concern to me.</p> <p>Second, this is the fourth or fifth place that some of this data is stored and updated--by yours truly. Seriously. I have to update many of these things on the battalion's Access database, the Reserve Component Automation System (RCAS, web-based, frequently down for no reason), Commander's Dashboard (ComDash, web-based, usually works but isn't super detailed), and Digital Training Management System (DTMS, web-based, slower than payday, and designed by people who hate soldiers) already. I do not need <em>another</em> One True Solution for tracking soldier data. I need three <em>less</em> solutions.</p> <p>Here's how we track retention in my company. Each month, I run the retention report on ComDash, which pops up everyone in the unit who is scheduled to get out in the next six months. I must update their status (even if there is no change) at least every 30 days during those six months. I put in who contacted the soldier, the date they did so, the soldier's intent (get out, extend, undecided, etc.), any supporting notes, and check a few applicable boxes. Usually, I print this report out before drill and put it in the Retention NCO's box; it's his job to hit up as many of those people as possible and find out what their plans are and what it would take to include the Nasty Guard in them. He makes notes on the sheet, and I update ComDash on Monday after drill. If we're doing really well, we can record it as "Already Extended" and file the accompanying paperwork.</p> <p>Some soldiers just aren't up for it any longer; they want to do something else with their lives. Some are lazy. Some want more than the Guard can provide, and seem not to have realized that with the current economy and new political climate, we can't afford big (or any) bonuses to keep them in uniform. Some just have done their time and aren't willing to deploy again. I did 11 (mostly) easy months in theater; who am I to tell someone who has spent 27 months in Iraq that they need to step up to the line again? If I think it's good for the unit and good for the soldier, I will try to talk them into it, but I won't try to guilt or trick them into staying in.</p> <p>[Ironically, our Retention NCO inadvertently ETSed when his paperwork got screwed up and he was mistakenly listed as ineligible for extension. Don't worry, we got it fixed.]</p> <p>The point of this digression is that the current system takes me about 15 minutes--<em>per month</em>. I don't need or want yet another spreadsheet to track the soldier's family situation and factors coming up in their lives. That's clearly an officer idea, or from the perverted mind of a full-time Recruiting and Retention Command (RRC) puke. In a company of only 61 soldiers, where even the platoon sergeant might have 12 people under him, a good NCO can keep track of his people with a notepad and a bad one wouldn't use the spreadsheet anyway. If we lose someone to civilian life, it is not because we didn't know exactly when and why it was going to happen. This is a solution in search of a problem.</p> <p>The conference wasn't <em>all</em> about making more work for SSG Sig. A big portion of it (outside the sessions) was supposed to be networking and crap like that. Oops, gave away my attitude a little. I'm not a big socializing networking sort of person. This may amaze some of you, but I don't actually like talking to people I don't know. That's one of the reasons I do so well squirreled away in a SIGINT company office with only a taciturn cav scout for company. I was able to put a few names to faces, and gain new appreciation for some people at echelons above BN, but I'm not a big drinker, particularly when I'm one of the two or three most junior people in a crowd.</p> <p>We aren't into golf or the bar scene, so a lot of the amenities of the resort were somewhat wasted on us. We did go for a nice walk or two, and play on some playground equipment, and even take Siglet for his first swim. He was unimpressed, mostly (I think) because the water was chilly, although he stopped whining once he saw the ladies. Way to suck it up and drive on, son--you're a credit to your gender. In the evenings, we went out to eat (cheaper than eating at the resort, even at "discounted" prices) or did a frozen pizza in the oven, and played Nintendo DS games while waiting for Siglet to fall asleep.</p> <p>Overall, it was somewhat entertaining, and the closest I've had to a vacation since I started this job back in March. I have taken one (1) day of leave since then, and that was a must-stay-home-to-watch-Siglet deal (not that I didn't enjoy it), so this was kind of nice. Still, there's a lot of work that did not get done in a timely fashion, and I'll be playing catch-up right until the drill weekend. I would have been a little happier if we had more small group sessions so I could pick the brains of some of the other Readiness NCOs, and a little less time getting briefed on stuff that applies to only a handful of people in the audience.</p> <p>One plus: I sat through the brigade (well, BSETISNRAB) command sergeant major's brief on the wacky National Guard enlisted promotion system, and I think I can definitively say that my briefing is both better-focused and more entertaining than his. I finished working on it at annual training (in the evenings after my regular training and frantic attempts to do my day job), but then they never scheduled a time to do it so I'm giving it at September's drill. Interestingly (to me), I don't like talking to individual people but I have little problem telling groups of them that they are doing it wrong.</p> <p>Sig</p> http://www.sigspace.net/?q=node/663#comments Family National Guard Siglet Work Mon, 31 Aug 2009 03:58:46 +0000 sig 663 at http://www.sigspace.net Internet Dads and Nuclear Purple Poo http://www.sigspace.net/?q=node/655 <p>Sometimes I think that I'm a lousy father because I don't update my web page every time Siglet reaches a new milestone. My friend Scott provides <a href="http://spaceninja.com/tags/zoe/" rel="nofollow">a much better example</a> of the modern 21st-century connected father. You can trace the story of Zoe from the beginning, and while the updates naturally space out a little as time goes on, you are still able to clearly tell how she is doing and what new craziness she's up to.</p> <p>Contrast this with Иван Грозний (Ivan the Terrible, Siglet's secret name among the Fremen), who apparently went from being born to being photogenic to crawling to watching the iTunes visualizer to walking with no intermediate stages. Or so you would think from reading this site.</p> <p>I have mixed feelings about this. I feel vaguely guilty for not diligently taking advantage of the era in which we live to share the joys and highlights of Ian's discovery of the universe around him, especially on behalf of family several time zones away. On the other hand, it's not like he gave me a consent form to write on the Intarweb about the nuclear purple poo he's going to have when he finishes processing the blueberries he just ate. And thanks to the magic of the age, such stories will be around for all eternity, or at least until after the point where he gives up trying to have a serious political career because pictures of him in a hat box keep surfacing.</p> <p>Still another factor is just that I don't feel particularly generous about having his life out there on the intarweb. There are some things about being Ian's parents that are just for his parents to enjoy.</p> <p>But I will share some tidbits, because it's been a while.</p> <p>First, he is now bathing in the big people bathtub, and he <em>loves</em> it. For sustained Siglet laughter and joy, drop him in a tub. He's got a fair collection of toys to play with, and he would sit there happily until the heat death of the universe, squeezing his rubber ducky and dumping water out of his bright plastic cups. I have some terribly cute video on my phone that I will post at some point.</p> <p>Second, it should be noted that Siglet is not a cuddly baby. He doesn't much care for hugs or being held close unless he is very tired. I've only successfully rocked him to sleep in my arms a handful of times; until recently he tended to fight pretty hard. But lately, while we're playing downstairs in the family room, he's been willingly coming over to give me quick hugs, and even crawl in my lap for a minute or two before hopping off to go pull all of my DVDs off the shelf and unplug my home theater.</p> <p>This afternoon, we were watching the old Dungeons and Dragons cartoon on DVD and playing. I was laying on the floor and he came up next to me, climbed up on my chest, lay his head down right under my chin, and just sighed quietly for a moment--just a quiet happy moment with dad. And then he pushed himself up, grinned at me, and rolled off to go gnaw on a stuffed animal that caught his eye.</p> <p>It was a really great birthday present.</p> <p>Sig</p> http://www.sigspace.net/?q=node/655#comments Family Siglet Wed, 18 Mar 2009 02:52:44 +0000 sig 655 at http://www.sigspace.net Round in the chamber http://www.sigspace.net/?q=node/623 <p>[Originally posted at Vox Veterana on 31 JUL 07.]</p> <p><a href="http://www.vajoe.com" rel="nofollow">VAJoe.com</a> asked us to answer some questions for a little interview type dealie; my responses are <a href="http://www.vajoe.com/blog/2007/07/31/sig-of-vox-veterana/" rel="nofollow">over here</a>.</p> <p>Since I mentioned it in the interview, I will give notice here, as well. My wife and I recently received a warning order from the doctor`s office; we are to expect reinforcement sometime in March of 2008, bringing our total family complement up to 3. My wife takes her role as a "force multiplier" seriously.</p> <p>OK, I can`t think of any more terrible military metaphors for pregnancy without devolving into the realm of the truly tasteless. As it is, jokes about muzzle velocity practically write themselves over the concept of "round in the chamber."</p> <p>More scribings are in the works. Have a good one, everybody.</p> <p>Sig</p> http://www.sigspace.net/?q=node/623#comments Family Humor Siglet vox veterana Fri, 19 Dec 2008 01:12:51 +0000 sig 623 at http://www.sigspace.net Technology in the home http://www.sigspace.net/?q=node/616 <p>The down side to using our new television as a computer monitor is that occasionally we want to use it as a television. This means either a) watching DVDs on the computer in the den or b) moving the television upstairs to watch DVDs on the old XBox from the couch. Neither is an ideal solution; having moved the television upstairs, I tend to not be in a hurry to move it again, so sometimes the computer spends a cold, lonely week downstairs while I play old XBox games upstairs.</p> <p>Not a good long term arrangement. We decided to buy ourselves some more technology to solve this problem--a new DVD player for upstairs, and a new monitor for the computer. We'd intended to wait until after Christmas, but were weak and succumbed to good deals at Costco this weekend: an AOC 22" widescreen monitor <em>and</em> a nice upconverting HDMI DVD player from Sony. Finally, we could have two rooms, each complete with the necessary hardware for its intended purpose!</p> <p>So, of course, on Monday afternoon I walked in the house and my beloved informed me that the living room upstairs was <a href="http://deltasierra.livejournal.com/204700.html" rel="nofollow">too freakishly cold</a> and we were therefore moving the couch, television and (still boxed) DVD player downstairs, at least for the winter.</p> <p>The irony is not lost on me. However, this will actually work out pretty well. We rearranged the existing setup so that I now have a desk for the computer (vice a keyboard and trackball on my lap) at the other end, facing the room. The couch will go in front of the desk (thus concealing cables from infant grasp) facing the television on a sturdy shelf. She can do her computing on her laptop while watching Ian and/or movies and I can write pointlessly trivial journal entries all in the same room.</p> <p>The downside: I can't figure out an arrangement which will put the beer fridge back within arm's reach of the computer.</p> <p>The key thing to take away is that I have a high res widescreen monitor for playing video games, webwandering, and writing journal entries, not necessarily in that order.</p> <p>Sig</p> http://www.sigspace.net/?q=node/616#comments Family shiny toys Wed, 17 Dec 2008 01:14:55 +0000 sig 616 at http://www.sigspace.net Centennial Ball http://www.sigspace.net/?q=node/614 <p>This was the portrait taken at the <a href="http://blogs.thenewstribune.com/military/2008/12/05/horses_and_dancing_what_more_can_you_ask" rel="nofollow">Tacoma Armory Centennial Ball</a> on December 6, 2008.</p> <p>She's pretty.</p> <p>Sig</p> http://www.sigspace.net/?q=node/614#comments Family Image National Guard US Army Thu, 11 Dec 2008 00:26:18 +0000 sig 614 at http://www.sigspace.net This and that http://www.sigspace.net/?q=node/613 <p>Life continues on, about as normal. I go to work, I work out, I come home, I play with Ian and Sunbeam, Ian goes to bed, we watch movies or play video games, I go to sleep. It's a pretty awesome life, actually.</p> <p>This weekend was a drill weekend--our annual death-by-Powerpoint day on Saturday, during which we take care of all of the mandatory briefings, and then more paperwork and training today and the holiday party. The latter was thrown together at the last minute when previous plans fell through, so there was very little speechifying and whatnot, and mostly just people talking and enjoying each other's company.</p> <p>On top of this, though, we attended the centennial ball for the Tacoma Armory on Saturday night, as described in the Tacoma News Tribune's <a href="http://blogs.thenewstribune.com/military/2008/12/05/horses_and_dancing_what_more_can_you_ask" rel="nofollow">article</a>. (For more on the armory, see pictures <a href="http://pnwbands.com/armory.html" rel="nofollow">here</a> and some history <a href="http://96tc.washingtonarmyguard.org/history-tac.htm" rel="nofollow">here</a>.) Sunbeam thinks the armory is insanely cool, so our attendance was obligatory.</p> <p>Since I had no intention of wearing period costume, this meant dropping $45+ on updating and cleaning my Class A service uniform, which hadn't seen service since I graduated from Advanced Individual Training at Goodfellow back in August '05. Only a few short years, but I've added two pay grades, seven ribbons, and a combat tour to Afghanistan since then. The bling was impressive, particularly if you don't know how bogus most of those ribbons are.</p> <p>I'm sure she'll tell you all about it, but Sunbeam wore a dress from back in college--that fit again. Take <em>that</em>, pregnancy!</p> <p>Of course, this was a fairly prestigious event, and it seemed that the average rank circulating was at least MAJ. Not a good place for the Guard's most junior and inexperienced Staff Sergeant to hang out, but given the riot of obscure dress uniforms not often seen out of the outdated uniform regulations, I was fairly inconspicuous. And the horse-drawn carriage ride was mildly amusing.</p> <p>We were home late on Saturday night, and then of course I had the drill silliness this morning, so it's been a long weekend and I'm heartily tired of Army business. Fortunately, I can now return to my regular workweek of Army business.</p> <p>Sig</p> http://www.sigspace.net/?q=node/613#comments Family National Guard Work Mon, 08 Dec 2008 04:25:48 +0000 sig 613 at http://www.sigspace.net We're a geeky family. http://www.sigspace.net/?q=node/603 <p>Some people do wacky recreational things on their holidays, or visit family, or go on outings. We stayed in and installed new aftermarket batteries in our venerable (but still viable) iPod Minis using instructions found <a href="http://www.fstop-blues.com/2005/04/replace-your-ipod-mini-battery.html" rel="nofollow">here</a> and batteries found <a href="http://www.batteryship.com/htmlos/htmlos.cgi/batteryship/catalog.html?item=EC003" rel="nofollow">here</a>. $9 each, plus exorbitant shipping, but far cheaper than a new iPod, no?</p> <p>Sig</p> http://www.sigspace.net/?q=node/603#comments Family Humor Mon, 13 Oct 2008 21:48:14 +0000 sig 603 at http://www.sigspace.net My mother in law is awesome. http://www.sigspace.net/?q=node/566 <p>Raise your hand if you got a German chocolate cake for your birthday with homemade frosting. Yeah, I didn't think so.</p> <p>Sig</p> http://www.sigspace.net/?q=node/566#comments Family Sat, 15 Mar 2008 14:26:44 +0000 sig 566 at http://www.sigspace.net "More water? More ice? A margarita?" http://www.sigspace.net/?q=node/555 <p>Babies can't read calendars. They tell us this over and over again, but knowing my wife's family as well as I do, I assumed that, being half-Sunbeam, my son and heir would be <em>late</em>. The due date was March 10; I figured we had at least until then, and probably another week afterward.</p> <p>Not so much.</p> <p>I tried to get to bed at a decent hour on Wednesday night because I'd been up late playing City of Heroes the night before (and subsequently sleeping poorly). I managed to get to sleep around 2300 or so; since I was scheduled to take my language proficiency test the next morning, I would get to sleep in until 0600 and still have time to take the test at Fort Lewis at 0830. I normally get up at 0500, so I treasure these "sleep in" days.</p> <p>So at 0520 or so my wife wakes me up to tell me that while she doesn't want me to worry, she thinks she might be in early stages of labor.</p> <p>Now here's the thing. We are both procrastinators. Even though the baby is due "in two weeks--plus or minus two weeks," we were only a few days previously getting around to packing bags and putting stuff in the car. My sweetie gave me a book a while ago entitled "Husband-Coached Childbirth," and while I'd read the main parts, the later ones so horrified me that I put the earlier parts right out of my mind. I'd meant to read it again to refresh my memory; heck, maybe I'd even finish the book this time.</p> <p>So now I find myself trying to remember the stages and signs of "false" and "true" labor. The book is around somewhere. What was the 4-1-1 rule again, my beloved wants to know; I remember such a thing, but all of the answers I can think of sound wrong and possibly dangerously wrong. Since going back to sleep for any length of time is pretty much a joke, we set about to find answers. Being a couple of the 21st century, we don't know where the book is, exactly, but we can find our wireless-equipped laptop in the pitch black of our room. A quick Google search tells us that we are probably in "false" labor, which could last for days or even weeks. No urgent need to worry, yet. I hop in the shower and get ready for work.</p> <p>Sweetie calls the hospital while I'm getting shaved and in uniform, and they give her the details for when she ought to come in, and offer some suggestions for easing the Braxton-Hicks contractions, if that's what they are. We confer and decide that I will go ahead and drive to Tacoma to take my test, and if anything comes up, she can call me and I can turn around. I'd hate to skip the test and then have it turn out to be nothing; I've already waited a month to take it.</p> <p>On the way out, I drop her "go bag" off in the Subaru. It is now 0700.</p> <p>At 0745 or so, as I approach the Tacoma Narrows bridge, my cell phone buzzes. <em>I bet it's my wife</em>, think I. It is my wife. "Turn around now." Alrighty then. I call my CPT to tell her that I won't be at the test, and I try to contact various family members to let them know that events have been set in motion. I drive the speed limit.</p> <p>I get home around 0830 and fairly leap up the front walk to open the door and find my wife. She is standing, leaning forward against the wall, and breathing... oddly. And she's moving very slowly, and occasionally stopping movement entirely. I bet this behavior is described somewhere in the book that I didn't finish reading--probably in the part that I blocked out.</p> <p>We load up a few more critical items and head down to the hospital. I drive the speed limit. She is occasionally nauseous and very sensitive to noise and every bump in the road, so it's mostly a silent trip. I point out that it's not too late to go with "John Jacob Jingleheimer $_Sig," but she is adamant about our chosen name. We get stuck behind a massive gravel truck as we approach the gate, but he heads off in a different lane. I wonder what the gate guard thinks when he sees a soldier in ACUs and a very pregnant woman obviously in some sort of distress; I'm prepared to tell him that it's exactly what it looks like, but he doesn't ask.</p> <p>At this relatively early hour (about 0900), we can still get a good reserved-for-maternity parking spot in the upper level. We take just her purse and one small bag of essentials (like the pre-filled admittance paperwork) and cross the skybridge, stopping twice for contractions. The building entrance opens up into the OB-GYN area, where they are apparently just finishing up a staff meeting or something, because we soon have pretty much the entire department doing the pregnant lady shuffle behind us, her arm in mine, as we move slowly to the elevator. A wheelchair is sent for but never arrives; my sweetie is doing better walking than sitting anyway.</p> <p>On the fourth floor, she stops for a few more contractions as we make our way laboriously (how else?) to the birthing department. Some of the nurse-midwives ask her whether there's a pool going about the baby at my work, and how far dilated she thinks she is. "Oh, maybe... I dunno. 3 centimeters?" One of them remarks that this seems a little conservative.</p> <p>We head first for the examination room to see just how far along we are. One worker starts asking her questions about when her first contraction was, duration, other stuff--and Sweetie can't answer because she's clutching the wall having another one. There's a repetition or two of "What was the question again? Oh wait, hold on------Okay, what was that again?" It is decided that we will just skip the exam room and go straight to the delivery room.</p> <p>Delivery suite is more like it. In addition to the awesome modular childbirth bed that adjusts 287 different ways, there's a couch (designed for Daddy to sleep on), a glider chair, a convertible sleeper chair, a few other odds and ends, a full sink and counter, a bassinet, and an assortment of medical diagnostic equipment. If we'd arrived earlier, she could have made use of a full bathroom with extra-deep tub and shower.</p> <p>But we are substantially farther along than 3 centimeters. Within 10 minutes, we have learned that she is actually dilated <em>9</em> centimeters. At this news, along with her continuing contractions, the obstetrics department starts swinging into high gear. Tables and more gear and stools and people start spontaneously appearing in the suite. The bed goes into amazing contortions, like a La-Z-Boy on meth, to become comfortable for my sweetie--an increasingly impossible mission as time passes. Tables and stools and catcher's mitts are prepared--and then progress sort of grinds to nothing. Having come this far, Siglet no longer cares to progress further on his own.</p> <p>"As soon as you feel like you just have to push, you let us know, OK?"<br /> "OK." Time passes. A contraction hits.<br /> "Do you have to push?"<br /> "Umm... No, not really. Maybe a little. Not really, no." More time passes.<br /> "Now?"<br /> "Nah."</p> <p>Various positions are attempted. None of them look comfortable to me.</p> <p>We are asked again if we're absolutely certain that we don't want an epidural or anything else. Nope. We're doing this Nancy Reagan-style (Just Say No, for you younger kids) as far as we can. "Well, whatever you're doing, keep doing it, because you guys are doing great."</p> <p>Eventually, it does become necessary to push. Good humor is maintained throughout. When not actually in contractions, my wife has reverted to her normal talkative and friendly self. A contraction will set in and everyone will be focused on that, and then it will be rest time. One of the nurses takes a few photos. We all get discussing cameras. My wife explains why she switched from Canon to Kodak for her digital camera needs, and in between pushes manages to convert the staff on the quicker shutter response time of the latter. I barely refrain from suggesting that she break out a Mary Kay Kult spiel, as she has a semi-captive audience and looks absolutely wonderful, all things considered.</p> <p>There's really not much for them to do. They adjust the monitor bands on her tummy every time the parasite tries to kick at them, and they tell us how great we're doing, but there's not much else. Occasionally, they all get chatty and I have to repeat my Sweetie's quiet proclamation that another contraction is on the way.</p> <p>They tell us how great we're both doing--a lot. My job consists solely of rubbing the small of her back, providing her water and ice chips, and mindlessly repeating whatever the nurse-midwives say. "Okay, push push push push.... Nice and steady... Okay, deep breaths get ready... Okay, relax... No, really, please, let go of my remaining fingers." I try to liven this job up some, and gauge my wife's humor. "More water? More ice? A margarita?" I get a tired but emphatic affirmative to the latter.</p> <p>The nurse-midwives decide that it might be helpful for her to be able to see the baby coming out. A pair of DoD anti-satellite laser/spotlights are aimed at her unmentionables, and a giant mirror is brought out. This is not something that we had really planned on doing in our birth plan, mostly because I have seen all of the <em>Alien</em> movies and didn't really fancy living one out. But once they wheel it out and allow us to see the Miracle of Birth live and in full color, my response is pretty much the same as my wife's: "Ew."</p> <p>This is followed shortly by, "Hey, there's a little man in there."</p> <p>I didn't have time to take notes. We didn't have time to really call anyone after we got to the hospital, but word was getting around based on the few people we'd each called prior to my arrival at home.</p> <p>Eventually, at 1210 local according to the records--just three hours after we checked in--a baby arrives. He is "cheesy," coneheaded, and kind of gross--he looked a lot like the alien baby in <em>Enemy Mine</em>, the old Dennis Quaid flick. He starts yelling <em>immediately</em> and it is just the coolest sound ever. As we had requested, they put his nasty, gross, and terribly cute little form on her chest immediately so they can do the whole bonding thing. I really can't imagine a scarier experience in life if you don't have any other experiences to go through, and it makes sense to me to cling to someone who loves you immediately.</p> <p>After more of the scary and disgusting biology, they gently pull him away and clean him up some. I am profoundly impressed by how aware and alert he is just 5 minutes after being born. He is looking around, tracking motion, and generally looking pretty pissed. Like Daddy, he doesn't much care for change.</p> <p>There is a little bit of tearing and they do some stitches, but they tell us later that it was really a judgment call whether that was even necessary. My sweetie was <em>wonderful</em> and they have nothing but praise for her hard work. In the end we have a terribly cute little coneheaded monster, and as agreed, we name him Ian Anthony.</p> <p>More later. My battery is dying and I have not the foggiest clue where I put the A/C adapter.</p> <p>Sig</p> http://www.sigspace.net/?q=node/555#comments Family Humor Siglet Sun, 02 Mar 2008 01:51:31 +0000 sig 555 at http://www.sigspace.net My life has officially changed again. http://www.sigspace.net/?q=node/554 <p>Born 1210 local time on 28FEB08 at the local naval hospital, measuring 20.5" long and 7 lbs 3 oz, I present to you my son and heir, better known as Siglet but officially known as Ian Anthony.</p> <p>SitRep to follow. Eventually. =)</p> <p>Sig</p> <p>[Edit: added the date; sorry for the confusion.]</p> http://www.sigspace.net/?q=node/554#comments Family Image Siglet Fri, 29 Feb 2008 19:18:05 +0000 sig 554 at http://www.sigspace.net