Monday, October 30, 2006

Bird Feeder Report

The feeders have been discovered. This morning we have:
red-bellied woodpecker
house sparrow
white-throated sparrow
slate-colored junco
Carolina chickadee

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Bird Feeder Report

I have witnessed the first bird coming to my bird feeders just now.

It was a Carolina wren! Who would have thought! It grabbed some millet off the stone.

Papa cardinal is hanging out, but he's eating hosta seeds. There's also a blue jay in the bushes, a robin in the tree and a mockingbird stirring up trouble.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Bat Boy!

Max got dressed up for Hallowe'en! He's a bat!

Debra found him a bat costume online. It is soooo cute.

Max went to her office Hallowe'en party, where they all decorated their cubicles and brought in their kids.

This was very entertaining. Max was pretty tuckered out after an afternoon of partying.


Since I am staying home and taking care of Max while Debra is at work, I have decided to make an attempt at cooking meals and having a proper sit-down dinner, which has never happened much before.

So on Tuesday night I grilled some delicious salmon. Debra (who generally is sort of a vegetarian and dislikes fish, especially salmon) ate some and was happy. I was encouraged.

On Wednesday night, I made some fresh tortellini with red sauce from the jar (fancy red sauce she got at Fresh Fields, not Ragu). I set the table with plates and silverware and glasses. Debra ate that and was happy. I was very encouraged, except when I was cleaning the table I discovered the glass I set out for her was unused. She was drinking from a glass she got herself. I pointed it out to her. It seems the concept of place settings has been alien to our home for so long she thought it was just a dirty glass that had been sitting on the table.

On Thursday night, I went all out. I actually cooked a classic family recipe and told Debra it was a surprise. She immediately became very suspicious and said she was not eating anything that had canned tuna and canned cream of mushroom soup in it.

I told her she should think about the things she likes and not worry so much about what might be in there that she doesn't like. She forgot about the Velveeta.

Anyway, she wouldn't touch it, and made her own noodles with cottage cheese.

Max is still cute.

He likes the dog a lot. If you sit him down on the bed, the dog will lie down next to him, close enough so that Max can see him. Then Max will furiously try to crawl over and touch the dog. It's pretty funny, except I feel bad for him that he can't move.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Home with Max

Debra went back to work Tuesday, and now I am staying home with Max Tuesday through Friday for the rest of the year.

Here it is Thursday, and it is the first time I have been able to make a blog entry because I am awake and Max is not. This is harder than I thought it would be.

To prepare for my time home, I have set up bird feeders so I can watch the birds. First there is a nice platform feeder my friend Steve made as a mental health project. It has sunflower seeds and some millet scattered on the platform.

The well is not functional, so don't be alarmed that it will be contaminated by bird poop.

Next, I got some cylinder feeders. One has sunflower seeds and the other has thistle seeds ("Nyjer (tm)").

And I attached a suet feeder to the tree at the far end of the yard and put in some peanut butter suet.

I also scattered some millet on the ground by the pump.

And I turned the cat food bin into the bird food bin, and placed it conveniently near the feeders.

I did all this on Sunday morning. So far there have been no birds. It's not that there aren't tons of birds around. I hear lots of white-throated sparrows in the brush outside the fence. I saw mama cardinal in a tree not 20 yards from the feeders. The woodpecker continues to fly to and from the pine tree next to the shed every morning and evening. But nobody has come to the feeders.

Actually today (Thursday) there was a visitor. It was a squirrel. I immediately activated the anti-squirrel defenses. Monkey leaped off the couch, bounded out the front door, looked over at the squirrel, and bounded back inside where it was warm.

We also have at long last received our patio furniture for the screened porch. The patio furniture entailed lengthy debate and discussion, first about what it should be made of (wood? aluminum? wicker?) and then what the upholstery should be. I am delighted with my excellent choices and Debra has acceded to them without too lengthy a negotiation.

From the porch, you have an excellent view of the bird feeders. If it weren't so cold I would be sitting out on the chair watching the birds that are not there.

My final and most coolest project for the enjoyment of nature I just got off e-Bay from Mike's Hunting and Critter Supplies. It's a bat box!

Here is the view from the roof by the bat box. I bet there are lots of bats out there. They should be very happy in my bat box, because they can swoop right out and eat all the mosquitoes in the swamp.

And best of all, you can see the bat box from Max's bed.

Max is going to like bats because they are his friends who eat bugs.

My sister Kate and her family came to meet Max on Sunday. Here is my brother-in-law Brian and my nephew Harry and my niece Elle.

It is a pernicious lie that Elle was named after a magazine at the obstetrician's.

It was nice to have Kate visit because she will take pictures that I wouldn't. I am not a prideful person, and I wouldn't go showing off my insanely fabulous and outrageously desirable Brill Luxus 38 Push Reel Mower.

But Kate will document coolness where she finds it.

We talked Harry into taking a ride in the bike trailer, since Max is too small and Monkey is too big.

Harry really liked it, but he was very trepidatious at first.

(I just downloaded Firefox 2, and it has an annoying spell-checker that draws a little red line under "trepidatious". Spell checkers will be the death of the English language.)

Max is still cute.

He really likes his swingy chair.

The swingy chair puts him right to sleep.

Here he is with Hip-hop Harry.

When he's in the swingy chair, Max gets this expression like he is the cock-of-the-walk all-powerful commander of the universe. He's so cute.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Commute Report - The Trike

I rode the trike (Inspired Cycle Engineering Trice S) to work on my normal commute route, and home on the scenic route up the lovely 15% Gun Rd. This is a good comparison to see how the trike compares with my regular bike, a Cobrabike Royale carbon front-wheel-drive low racer.

I've got the trike all set the way I want it now.

I cannibalized the Rotor Crank and Candys off the T-Bone. The 63 tooth chain ring was from the Royale before I went to a Dual Drive to get the high gear. The chain is a new Wipperman Connex stainless steel deal, also taken off the T-Bone. The front derailleur is from the parts box, and the shifter is a new X.9 from the bike shop.

I've got 63/44/30 for the chainrings. According to Sheldon, this gives me 10 to 115 gear inches. If I don't use the small chain ring, I have 15-115. Part of the ride up Gun Rd. was to see if I really need the small chain ring. I don't. I had no problems staying in the middle ring. Also the chain drags on the bottom of the derailleur on the small ring, and furthermore, it voids the warranty on the Rohloff. It's too much bother to take it off, though. Maybe I can modify an old derailleur, and it will come in handy when pulling the baby trailer.

I put a new LED taillight on the trunk rack, which is not on the bike. Because of the wide spread of the chain rings, I replaced the Rohloff chain tensioner with my broken SRAM X.0 derailleur, which is held in the right position by three zip-ties. What kind of recumbent doesn't have zip-ties? I have my doubts about whether these ICE guys know what they are doing. There was only one or two zip-ties on the whole bike when I got it.

So how did it do comapared with the Cobrabike? The Cobrabike only weighs 23 lbs, with a DualDrive and a Ti Rotor crank (13-122 gear inches) . I'm afraid to weigh the trike.

So here is the ride to work. It's 10.1 miles and 620 feet of climb.

My last two rides on the Royale averaged 36:36 for a speed of 16.6 mph.
Today on the trike: 46:28 for 13.1 mph.

Here's the scenic route home. This is mostly so I can enjoy Gun Rd, which is the little hill at mile 13.5. This route is approximately 17 miles and 1300 feet of climb. I call it the scenic route because it goes up every available hill.

My last two rides on the Royale averaged 1:06:28 for a speed of 15.25 mph.
Today on the trike: 1:22:24 for 12.4 mph.

So I would say the trike is quite good for getting more workout per mile...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

New Wheels

First there was the T-Bone. The T-Bone is an amazing bike, it's super fast and incredibly durable. I've toured on it coast-to-coast.

I got tired of reconfiguring the T-Bone every time I wanted to go touring, so I set it up as a dedicated touring bike, and got another bike just for going fast.

That was the Cobrabike Royale.

But neither of these bikes are ridable if the roads are icy. And Max has arrived, and neither of these bikes are well-suited for pulling a baby trailer.

So now I have a the Trice S.

I bought it used off the classifieds on the BentRiderOnline message board. This thing will never be as fast as the T-Bone or the Royale (10+ lbs heavier, fat tires, three wheels). But it wont be falling over on an ice patch, and it will be perfect for hauling the baby trailer.

It also may be really good for touring. It came with a Rohloff!

I put it together this evening and took it out for a little spin. It's a lot different than a recumbent bike. On the bike, you are pretty much glued to the seat. On this, you are bouncing around on the seat and the bike is like a sled. Not having the seat lean with you is weird.


Bike Ride Report - Snickersville 200k Brevet

I drove out to Virginia last night and slept in the Element to ride the DC Randonneurs Snickersville 200k. I got up at 6:00 am, and it was a steady rain, windy, and 50 degrees outside.

I started the engine to warm up the inside of the E and got dressed. I discovered I forgot to bring socks. It was gross out. I decided I'd rather go home and sit in my chair with Max than spend 12 hours riding in the nasty wind and cold and rain.

Registration was inside Black Wolf Coffee, and I decided to get a cup of coffee and a muffin for the drive home. And I was hoping maybe Mary would have my new DC Randonneurs jersey since they have all just come in and it's nice Marino wool which would be great for the cold mornings now.

But Matt our new RBA was in there. He was impossibly cheery.
"It was dry on the road by my house."
"It wont rain up in the valley."

I told him I forgot my socks and I was going home.

"I've got three extra pairs in the trunk of my car."

For some reason I paid my $10 and registered. I figured maybe I would drink my coffee and resolve would happen.

Ed, Mary's SO, showed up with a big bag of jerseys, but he didn't have mine because they didn't know I was coming. Darn. The jerseys are very cool.

So I went out in the rain to the car to move it out of the coffee shop parking lot to a side street where I could leave it legally during the ride. It was raining harder than ever. I sat in the back of the E with the tailgate up and little rain spatters spattering on my fleece layer while I tried to find my rain gear. Yuck.

I closed the tailgate, crawled up to the driver's seat, and drove home.

It rained the whole way.

Max was cute when I got there.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Standards of Parenting

Here is Max. He is now almost 4 weeks old. He has just spent some qualty time with The Boob.

Here is who used to be the cutest and most popular.

Now Monkey sits on the floor, ignored and forgotten. He gathers his toys and Debra's shoes in a big pile in front of him. Perhaps this comforts him. Perhaps he is feeling remorse about getting in the trash every day this week.

Today's topic is Standards of Parenting. Debra's Aunt Vicky is visiting for a week. She is helping Debra adapt to motherhood. So far, they have been shopping every day. This relates to our theme for today's blog entry, which is Standards of Parenting.

I think there is a model parent in history, who exemplifies the proper Standard of Parenting. That would be Sacagawea, Lewis and Clark's Shoshone guide, who lead them across the entire wilderness continent bringing her infant son Jean Baptiste along the whole way. George Rogers Clark delivered the baby, and nicknamed him "Pompey" due to his imperial attitude.

So here we have some case studies of Standards of Parenting.

First, observe the wash. There in the wash are commingled baby clothes and Drew's sweaty bike clothes. (Aunt Vicky: "There are wet clothes in the washing machine. Should I put them in the dryer?")

One Standard of Parenting would be that baby clothes must be washed separately, with their own special detergent, from adult clothes, especially sweaty bicycle clothers.

But what would Sacagawea do? Did she run a special load of laundry with special detergent for Pompey's clothes as she travelled across the wilderness with the Corps of Discovery?

Here is part of the haul from today's shopping excursion. This is a baby wipe warmer. One standard of parenting says that young Maxadoacaeous cannot have his privates wiped with a room temperature baby wipe. The Boob says he hollers when a room temperature baby wipe touches his tuches. I asked her if perhaps she might be whacking his nads around with the baby wipe, and she assured me that was not the case. Fathers are important.

But what would Sacagawea do? Did she have specially warmed up baby wipes in an electric baby wipe heater when she attended to Pompey's posterior?

Then there is the new frog nightlight. I am sure Pompey was never permitted to sleep in darkness. I could go on here, but actually the froggy light is kind of cute.

The Boob, in an attempt to add value to the universe beyond being a supply of milk, has placed Max in an exercise regime. I think she is projecting because she herself is not allowed to exercise for two more weeks while the C-section heals.

This is "tummy time."

I think Max looks a bit annoyed at being removed from the boob and made to do push-ups. Although I must say, he is a strong little dude. He lifts his head up, and yesterday he turned himself over onto his back twice.

I think he likes it when things are as they should be, with the ceiling in front of him.