Tags Posts tagged with "Smurfling"

Smurfling

8 3619

Chomps the AlligatorToday’s shopping trip pretty much went as planned.

We didn’t get to bring anything home, except Chomps the Alligator, like we’d hoped but we picked out and paid for all of the furniture for the new person coming sometime in May 2009.

I just spent how much?

The crib was on sale. Real bargain at $299.99, huh?

I guess when you compare it to the two dresser type pieces coming in at a cool $519.99 each, the crib was a bargain.

The experience was a lot less stressful than regular furniture shopping. Though you could tell the staff were earning a commission, we weren’t “hunted” or “stalked” the entire time we were in the store.

In fact, I don’t think I even had to utter, “No thanks, we’re just looking…”

But… once the sale was imminent, the up-sell pitch was on…

Going in, I knew it would be a good idea to buy the “ADULT RAILS” that allow you to turn the crib into a full size bed. The salesperson didn’t have to work very hard to get us to jump on that.

It was the mattress that they got us on.

Included in the sale, we were “awarded” a free mattress.

Cool! Well, wait…

He took us over to show it to us and, well, let’s just say that it looked like a couple of pizza boxes stuffed in a white garbage bag. I wouldn’t want to sleep on it.

Next to it, though, was a stunning marketing display for a designer Staph Guard mattress. The display listed all of it’s high end features like… square corners. OMG!

No joke. That was a “feature”.

The crazy part is that in every book I’ve read, babies and square corners go together like drinking and driving. This is apparently not true when it comes to mattresses. I swear, I should write my own book…

We asked for a moment to discuss…

And then we had a pretend conversation, you know, like they do when you’re buying a car and the sales rep claims that they need to ask the manager if they can accept your offer…

Bruins are looking pretty good this year, huh?”

“Yes, I’d say that they’ve got a decent chance at the cup this season…”

Cutting to the chase, we’d been up-sold. Big time.

We were buying the more expensive “Staph Guard” mattress for the crib.

Ch-ching!

So, though it was “on sale”, the actual cost of the crib, plus the side rails, plus the mattress, and minus the mattress credit was $509.98.

Hmmm… not such a deal. I’m not sure the bed I sleep in cost that much.

And I’m all but positive that my mattress isn’t protecting me from a staph infection.

Seriously, how does that work?

Are we going to die with horrible sores all over our bodies?

Anyway, we charged the whole thing but thankfully I’ve got enough in savings now to cover it. Not sure I’ll go that route, but it’s good to know that it’s there if needed.

And, on the bright side, this gets the BIG expensive items out of the way early…

3 2110

StorkYep, with just over 120 days to go, we’re going baby shopping today…

We’ve priced things out a few times at Babies-R-Us and USA Baby already but haven’t actually bought anything. You know, we just test drove all of the strollers, tried to break a few cribs, and openly questioned what anyone would need a wipe warmer for…

But the window shopping phase is over.

Today we’ll break out the credit cards and spend some money and get things rolling.

I hear that all of these places offer layaway and most even have their own special financing available.

I’ll listen to the pitch, but I have a feeling that we’ll just charge all of this stuff up front and pay it right back down up until the due date.

Wish me luck… on the shopping front.

2 19824

So my wife had her 22-week ultrasound today, apparently the final one barring any issues, and I took some time off to go with her.

This was my third time going to one of these appointments so, for once, I kinda knew what I was in for. Truth be told, for the most part, I just sit there with my mouth shut — it’s not that hard.

This time was kinda neat, though… See, if you’ve ever gone to one of these appointments you can’t miss how the women in the waiting room size one another up. It’s hysterical.

On our first visit, back in November, it was hard not to notice the other women in the waiting room looking down on us — you know, cause we weren’t “far” enough along.

The second visit, well, everyone in the waiting room seemed to be at about the same stage, so the women were obviously sizing up the “support partners” (ha!) in a pseudo my-man-is-better-than-your-man sort of way. Thank god I don’t wear sweatpants in public.

Really, by that fact alone, I out-manned one fellow.

This time, my wife was the cow of the room. No doubt. One woman across from us in the waiting room was so sheepish about it that she wouldn’t even make eye contact.

I couldn’t help but be proud.

Yeah, that’s right. My wife is fatter than your wife.

Once we were called into the room where they do the ultrasound thing, the appointment went just like the previous ones. Yep, little monster skeleton looking thing in there kicking and squirming. Think… velociraptor.

Unfortunately, the images didn’t seem as clear this time — not sure what that was about — but could clearly see the baby opening and closing it’s mouth, so that was neat.

Then it was time for the real doctor to come in for a look. Again, it’s just like going to the dentist — the person without the degree does all the work and then the big bad doctor comes in at the end for 5 seconds.

The door opens, and without even introducing himself, he blurts out, “What hospital are you having the baby at?”

Poor grammar aside, I thought it was a pretty strange entrance. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but later my wife thought he was prying to see if he should bother pretending to be nice, you know, since we’re NOT having the baby at this hospital, he had no problem coming across as gruff.

He sat down and took control of the little wand/scanner thing. It was blatantly apparent that he had the personality of a door knob.

Now, I was an engineering major in university.

I know what you’re thinking; those guys are always a bunch of nerdy dweebs.

For the most part, that’s true. What I’m saying is that I’ve hung out with a lot of people with zero personality. I can honestly say that I’ve spent a few Friday nights discussing math — I’m not ashamed to admit it.

But here’s the thing — engineers generally only interact with engineers.

This guy, on the other hand, is a doctor?!

Doctors deal with the public!

Further, this guy is a freaking BABY DOCTOR?!

I dunno, but I think the med schools out there need to start teaching these guys something about dealing with the public. I mean, to get your engineering degree, you had to pass a communications course that taught you how to NOT speak geek speak all the time.

Most of us considered it a “bird” course, but really, for some, I’m sure it had some effect.

Anyway, at one point, while scanning all around looking for a nice clear shot of the heart, he lifted his free hand and started scratching the top of his head like an ape.

We’re not talking about a discrete index finger itch. This was an all out four-fingered plow-the-fields scratch that lasted over 10 seconds. Un-real.

Now, I must admit, I’ve been known to scratch my head like an ape too — usually while driving around in the convertible.

I dunno, there’s something about the wind whipping your hair all around that makes your head really itchy.

Am I alone on this one?

Either way, it wasn’t windy in the examination room…

For the record — this is the first ultrasound post that hasn’t included a reference to an action figure.

I’m pretty proud of that.

1 2095

Jenny, Jenny... Who can I turn to?Silly, but we’re actually using that goofy applet over there on the right to keep track. No, really. That’s what we’re using.

Okay, that’s what I’m using. My wife “just knows”.

As of today, it says we’re 140 days in and have 140 more days to go. Of course, if you’re reading this tomorrow (or the next day or the day after that), it says something completely different.

No matter what, as painfully exciting as it is, it still seems like a *really* loooooonnnnnggggg way to go…

To pass the time, or prepare, actually, we’ve been reading a bunch of those eerily similar pregnancy books. I’ve found that most of them are horribly negative and I’m beginning to understand why every single woman claims to have had a “difficult” pregnancy.

Yeah, that’s right, I’m one of those guys at work who rolls his eyes every time a group of women start bragging about how their pregnancy was more difficult than anyone ever since the dawn of time — it’s like it’s a competition or something…

The books, primarily geared towards women, are mostly to blame. They are nothing but doom and gloom.

The doctors, from my perspective, aren’t any better. Everything is a problem…or has the potential to be a problem. EVERYTHING!

It’s preposterous. I mean, seriously, there are an awful lot of people out there having perfectly healthy babies. Even the crack-whores are doing it.

Pregnancy can’t possibly be that treacherous…

One book, or author, that’s stood out so far has been Jenny McCarthy.

Weird, really, if you think about it (and you know who she is), but her books are the only ones that we’ve come across where they tell it like it is and just advise you to roll with it and, well, enjoy it.

She doesn’t dwell on the doom and gloom. That’s refreshing.

The book that I’ve been reading most recently is called “The Expectant Father” by Armin A. Brott and Jennifer Ash.

It’s not very good — just a hodge-podge assembly of a bunch of brutally obvious stuff that’s been fully covered in the books more geared towards women. The “man” slant they put on things is minimal. Really, it’s just like all of the other books, just with a dress shirt on the front.

The book does devote an entire chapter to money though. Month 4, the month we’re in right now, is apparently when I’m supposed to wonder if I can afford this…

Um, a little late for that, don’t you think?

Anyway, the advice isn’t very sound so I won’t go into the details. Perhaps it’s because the book was originally published in 1995 (with an update in 2001).

And seriously, when the baby is still negative 5 months old, I’m not exactly worried about paying for braces.

Should I be?

I don’t think so.

One passage in the book that I did enjoy with was in the chapter for the seventh month (yeah, I got ahead of myself…). It’s regarding the difference in how men and women visualize the coming baby:

Pregnant women generally dream and fantasize about babies, while expectant dads tend to imagine themselves with three- to five-year-old children. That was certainly true for me. In almost every dream or fantasy that I had involving children while my wife was pregnant, I was holding hands, leaving footprints on the beach, or playing catch — all things you can’t do with an infant. My wife, in contrast, dreamed of a palm-sized hairless baby who talked to her like an adult.

Wow, apart from the “leaving footprints on the beach” part, that pretty much sums up how I’ve been envisioning things.

On the subject, my wife got upset earlier this week when I mentioned that I was coming to think that the whole “new baby” experience would almost be anti-climactic.

I mean, sure, it will be exciting — we made a person! — but a newborn doesn’t really “do” anything. Will that initial excitement last? Will all of this anticipation be worth it?

I mean, babies just sit there like lumps, don’t they? They don’t even appear to do any tricks… Even puppies can do tricks. Babies? Well, they eat and poop.

Sorry, but from my perspective that short and limited routine will get old really fast…

So my wife made me feel like a jerk, probably rightfully so, but that passage in the book made me feel like I’m not the only father that isn’t exactly looking forward to the first year or so. I even had to read it out loud to her.

Year two, three, four, or five — well, that’s when I imagine the excitement begins. I’ll be able to teach the toddler how to do, um, tricks besides eating and pooping!

I can still do a mean somersault without hurting myself (though there’s always a possibility of a major muscle pull) and I can’t wait to show someone who’s never done one how to do it my own special way.

It’s funny though how it’s as though my wife has had a total change of heart regarding young, young babies. I don’t think she envisions her baby speaking to her like an adult, but I do think she imagines that it will be able to do all kinds of things.

I mean, for years now we’ve silently poked fun at couples we’ve seen bringing their newborns to the zoo or sporting events or whatever.

I mean, really, the baby’s not going to remember any of that. They’re not. The kid is just there for the ride. That’s right, you paid extra admission for something your child is too young to remember. Ha-ha…

Really, we’d laugh about this sort of thing and then declare that that would never happen with us — but now…well, I can already see it on the horizon…

We’ll be at the Bronx Zoo next summer taking our brand new $450 stroller/swing/car seat contraption out for it’s maiden voyage and a very trying day out in public. Oh, how I don’t look forward to that 2-hour car ride home…

But that isn’t to say that I won’t want to leave the house at all during that first year. I will, I just won’t want to pay admission to do it…or sit in the car for hours…

I mean, I’ll find just as much enjoyment taking the stroller out to see if anything has filled all of the vacant Steve & Barry’s yet…

Guess what? They don’t charge admission for that!

2 3976

18 Week Ultrasound

I guess I’m due for this, right? Don’t worry, I’m not going to turn this personal finance blog into a mommy blog — or at least I hope not.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy those to a certain degree too, but I’m not sure that it’s something that I have enough of an opinion on to sit down and type something out each day…

That said, of late, it’s as if I’m having trouble keeping up with the personal finance stuff too…

Sigh.

Anyway, here’s the latest picture we received from the doctor last week. It was a different one this time, and no, I wasn’t referred to as a support partner.

This doctor was wise enough to put two-and-two together and correctly identified me as the father.

From there, I kept my eyes glued to the monitor as the little gremlin/Skeletor looking thing flailed all about.

Skeletor -- poorly cropped.Really — at one point I swear I saw Skeletor. I wasn’t even a fan of He-Man, but it was him, I swear, inside my wife!

I wish I had the video to prove it.

Speaking of that, I’m surprised they still give you the little photo printouts when it would probably be just as inexpensive, but with a lot more ‘wow’ factor, to just provide DVD’s of the ultrasound appointments.

For now, though, they just provide the little photos printed on that thin plastic stuff that warps itself silly just from the heat of being printed on. As a pro photographer, that kinda rubs me the wrong way.

Further, every photographer knows or has been taught how to crop a photo. It’s a very important aspect.

Often times, the only difference between a snapshot and an award winning photograph is the crop.

Now, these ultrasound technicians, who in a certain sense are just photographers with a really unique camera, take photos all day, five days a week — you know, you’d think that in training they’d be taught some photography basics.

Now I know, someone out there is going to say, “What is this idiot talking about? They’re not just taking pictures… They’re checking for things…”

I agree, they are checking for things, no question, but each time we’ve been there, they’ve spent quite a bit of time moving that thing around trying to get “cute” — their words, not mine — pictures of the baby followed by typing in a silly caption.

That’s artsy. Not scientific.

What I’m saying is that photography — portrait photography — is a part of their job function.

Would it be too much to ask that when they take this classic ultrasound shot, that they zoom out a bit and show that the kid has some legs?

Little Person from back in the day...  My day...  See?  No legs.Every single ultrasound that I’ve seen makes it look like every baby is destined to look like one of those Fisher Price Little People figures from the 1970’s.

There are never any legs because they crop them out.

Zoom is not your friend.

Make sure you have a clean background and never, never, never crop at the ankles!

If you’re going to crop a person, it’s at the bottom of the ribcage or not at all… That’s right. There’s nothing wrong with zooming *out* so as to capture the entire person.

Sorry, just had to get that off my chest. And yes, the Skeletor photo above is a classic example of a BAD crop. See — he’s chopped at the ankles. Tsk, tsk…

Anyway, it’s a boy.

Names already out of the running include: Clumsy, Handy, Lazy, Vanity, Hefty, Jokey, Baker, and Grouchy.

Gargamel was never even a consideration… As if?

11 3319

That, my friends, is one scary looking smurfling...

In a pre-orchestrated and specifically timed “press” release, this is the photo of the week.

You might notice that it’s dated a couple of weeks back, but it just so happens that my wife already had plans to meet her mom today for lunch, so she wanted to wait and tell her in person.

For me, my parents are so far away, this seemed like the perfect platform to let them in on the news. You know, pictures are better than phone calls, right? I think so.

This is our first. Well, sort of…

See, the only subject more taboo than personal finance that I’ve come across ever in my life is miscarriage.

Few talk about it. Even the doctors get all hush-hush like it’s a big secret or something. I’m not sure why that is, but it’s made out as if it never happens to anyone.

Simply not true — we’ve had a few. More than one and less than five.

Use your imagination.

Essentially, it was enough to make two pink (or blue) lines on a stick a rather uneventful occurrence in our house, you know, it didn’t give me that “Oh Crap! I’m screwed!” feeling or that “Sweet! This is going to be awesome!” feeling either.

Hopeful but indifferent… I think that’s a pretty good description of my feelings…

The last couple were within a few months of one another — really, making it almost a routine. Yep, you’re pregnant again. Maybe this one will stick? We’ll cross our fingers…

Remember that blood test that I had a few months ago? Yeah… that was to see if we were, well, just broken or first cousins or something…

Actually, I’m not 100% sure what the point of it was, but the good news is that everything came back as it should have.

There wasn’t/isn’t any thing wrong with us.

And now this is the result.

I’m pretty excited.

Not as excited as I probably should be since we’ve had a few disappointments in the recent past, but I havta say, it was pretty freaking cool seeing an alien like creature dancing around on that black and white monitor.

This picture kinda sucks — I wish they’d given us a DVD or something because the video was really funny. Legs kicking, arms flailing… It was like a poorly executed YMCA dance.

Use the Force, Luke...My wife claims that she can’t feel anything, but if I had something the size of a StarWars figure rocking out to the Village People inside of me, I like to think that I’d be able to tell…

It was also funny how, when the doctor came in (after 15 minutes of us sitting in the dark wondering if he was ever actually going to come in — I love being left in the dark. Literally…), without even looking at me, he asked my wife if I was the “support partner”…

The what?

Support partner?

I don’t know, I guess they see a lot of people who aren’t married in there these days, and that’s fine, but I still think it would have been a safe assumption to at least ask if I was the father, if not, the husband. Or maybe even just look at me?

But “support partner”? C’mon…

I was almost offended by the political correctness of the whole thing. It bordered on rude. Needless to say, it was awkward when it didn’t really need to be.

I mean, really, picture this: Two people, one male, one female, roughly the same age, at an ultrasound appointment…

Is it really a stretch to think that they might be the prospective mother and father?

I should hope not.

Anyway, with all of the swings and misses we’ve had on this front, the best news is that we’re already *very* prepared for this.

Financially, anyway…

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