Grandpa

Saying goodbye to my grandpa, and confronting death in my own life.

My grandpa is dying right now.  He was diagnosed with late stage cancer about a month ago, and he was given 2 months to live by the doctors.  He went downhill extremely fast, he was up and about a month ago and today he’s in hospice on his death bed.

Hospice is a terrifying place.  Hospice is where people go to die.  The staff make the patients as comfortable as possible, but it’s for terminally ill people.  My grandma called me the other day and said that grandpa was taking a turn for the worse.  I knew his disease was winning, but I wasn’t prepared for bad it was.  I went in to see him yesterday and as I was making my way towards his room, I could see sick and dying people left and right in their rooms.  My wife is a nurse so she’s more accustomed to this kind of environment, but I was woefully unprepared for this.

When we finally got in to his room, I didn’t recognize the person on the bed.  Grandpa was always a slender man, but now he is literally skin and bones.  When I say that, I’m not exaggerating.  He looks like someone stretched skin over his skeleton.  His eyes are clouded over and glassy, his skin is loose, and his breathing is labored.  Every breath he takes is in great gulping breathes, as if the only energy his body has left is to desperately suck air in.  He’s almost completely unresponsive anything, including our voices or our hands on his head.  I knew that he was dying, but I had no idea what that actually looks like, outside of movies.  Death is horrifying.  My sweet old grandpa is unrecognizable, and he honestly looks like a monster in a horror movie. I don’t say that to be insensitive, I’m just shocked at how agonizing dying from cancer really is.

I’ve heard that having a baby really hammers home your own mortality.  I haven’t had that experience yet, but seeing my grandpa in this way had the same affect.  I’m very sad for my grandpa, but this experience has made me think a lot about my own mortality.  I know that’s a selfish response in light of his imminent passing, but it’s true.  Death is scary, and I want to protect my child from it.  My grandpa will pass in the next day or two, most likely.  He’ll never know his grandchild, and that makes me really sad.  I just hope that my wife and I do him proud, and raise a child that he’d be proud to call him grandpa.

Anxiety

Worried about parenthood.

My wife is 30 weeks pregnant now, as of a few days ago.  I’m getting pretty nervous.  When we first got pregnant, 9 months seemed so far away.  Slowly time has crept up on us, and our baby is right around the corner.  The pregnancy is high risk, so the doctor won’t allow it to go past 38-39 weeks.  That means I have probably roughly 2 months until our baby is here.

I feel like I’m at the top of a roller coaster.  I’m excited for what the baby means, but it’s just been me and my wife for 6 years.  We had a lot of freedom before she got pregnant.  If we wanted to take off for the weekend, we just did it.  Or if we decided we wanted to go out to the bars and stay out all night, that wasn’t a problem.  With the baby, all of that goes away.  I’m very happy and excited, don’t get me wrong.  But I’m also apprehensive and nervous about the change in lifestyle and responsibility.

I doubt that anyone can be fully prepared for life as a parent, but I feel woefully under prepared right now.  The crib still isn’t’ finished, I haven’t finished reading all the parenting books, our house is a mess, and I haven’t finished all the house projects I wanted to before the baby got here.  I’m excited about the baby but I’m discouraged by our lack of preparation.  It’ll all be fine, I think I’m just having last minute jitters.

Hearthstone

I’ve been playing Hearthstone since it was released in beta. Over the years I’ve been playing off and on, but I’ve been really digging in since December. I’m a big Blizzard fan, and with the baby coming up I’ve been looking for more baby friendly ways of spending my down time. Until December I had been playing Overwatch pretty religiously, and I even posted about it a few months ago. But a typical Overwatch ranked match can take a half an hour. It’s not feasible to stop and feed a baby or change a diaper in the middle of a match. I’ve always liked Hearthstone, but I figure when the baby comes it’ll be easier to play Hearthstone than Overwatch, so I’ve been playing it a lot the last few months.
When I started getting serious about it in December, the meta surrounding the game was all about Pirate Warrior and Aggro Shaman. I picked up both decks and was fairly proficient with both. Aggro Shaman felt good because it was so consistent, but the burst potential with Pirate Warrior felt amazing. In my experience it was more dependent on draw than Aggro Shaman, but when the cards lined up Pirate Warrior was unstoppable. However, the meta at that point had gotten pretty stale, and if you weren’t playing one of those two decks, you weren’t going to find much success.
The Un’Goro expansion launched last month. It ushered in a new meta, removing two previous expansions worth of cards and introducing it’s own set. I stayed off the ranked ladder for a week to let the meta settle a bit. It’s still in flux somewhat, but the big winners so far seem to be Midrange Paladin, Pirate Warrior (again), and Quest Rogue. At least, that’s what I’m seeing at my level of play. Midrange Paladin is probably the most fun deck to play, the Murloc synergy is amazing. As I said I haven’t ever been a consistent Hearthstone player. I’ve been very casual ever since the game came out. However, this meta seems like the most diverse I’ve ever participated in, and Hearthstone seems to be in the best place it’s ever been in.
I’m currently sitting at rank 10 on the ladder, and I don’t play it super consistently. Hearthstone is something I do when I’m in the bathroom or watching something on Netflix, I never intentionally play it. I’m assuming when I have a baby I’ll be napping with it a lot, so I figure I’ll play it a lot when the baby is a newborn. It probably won’t work out that way, I have a lot of ideas about how things will be when the babies here and I’m sure I’ll be disabused of a lot of my assumptions. However, I’m trying to steer my hobbies into a more baby centric space, and playing hearthstone on my phone while my baby sleeps on my chest seems like a step in the right direction.

I’ve been playing Hearthstone since it was released in beta.  Over the years I’ve been playing off and on, but I’ve been really digging in since December.  I’m a big Blizzard fan, and with the baby coming up I’ve been looking for more baby friendly ways of spending my down time. Until December I had been playing Overwatch pretty religiously, and I even posted about it a few months ago.  But a typical Overwatch ranked match can take a half an hour. It’s not feasible to stop and feed a baby or change a diaper in the middle of a match.  I’ve always liked Hearthstone, but I figure when the baby comes it’ll be easier to play Hearthstone than Overwatch, so I’ve been playing it a lot the last few months.

When I started getting serious about it in December, the meta surrounding the game was all about Pirate Warrior and Aggro Shaman.  I picked up both decks and was fairly proficient with both.  Aggro Shaman felt good because it was so consistent, but the burst potential with Pirate Warrior felt amazing.  In my experience it was more dependent on draw than Aggro Shaman, but when the cards lined up Pirate Warrior was unstoppable.  However, the meta at that point had gotten pretty stale, and if you weren’t playing one of those two decks, you weren’t going to find much success.

facebook-share-ungoro

The Un’Goro expansion launched last month.  It ushered in a new meta, removing two previous expansions worth of cards and introducing it’s own set.  I stayed off the ranked ladder for a week to let the meta settle a bit.  It’s still in flux somewhat, but the big winners so far seem to be Midrange Paladin, Pirate Warrior (again), and Quest Rogue.  At least, that’s what I’m seeing at my level of play.  Midrange Paladin is probably the most fun deck to play, the Murloc synergy is amazing.  As I said I haven’t ever been a consistent Hearthstone player.  I’ve been very casual ever since the game came out.  However, this meta seems like the most diverse I’ve ever participated in, and Hearthstone seems to be in the best place it’s ever been in.

I’m currently sitting at rank 10 on the ladder, and I don’t play it super consistently. Hearthstone is something I do when I’m in the bathroom or watching something on Netflix, I never intentionally play it. I’m assuming when I have a baby I’ll be napping with it a lot, so I figure I’ll play it a lot when the baby is a newborn.   It probably won’t work out that way, I have a lot of ideas about how things will be when the babies here and I’m sure I’ll be disabused of a lot of my assumptions.  However, I’m trying to steer my hobbies into a more baby centric space, and playing hearthstone on my phone while my baby sleeps on my chest seems like a step in the right direction.

Telecommuting

Update on my job situation.

I haven’t talked about where I’m at with my job for a while, so here’s a quick little update.

This is going to get a little techy for a minute, so if you don’t have patience for that then move along.  I’m still working as a systems admin.  I’m focused primarily on VMware and maintaining our server infrastructure.  I don’t interact with my boss very frequently, so I’m actually really enjoying my job.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that at this organization.  I’m learning a lot because our previous VMware guy left suddenly a few months back.  I’m not certified in VMware at all, so I’m learning as I go.  It’s been a lot of fun.

The baby should be here in two months or so.  Right now, my wife and I are planning to have her take 3-4 months off with the baby.  I’m going to take 2 weeks off initially, and then go back to work.  Once her time is up, I’m going to take the rest of my time.  That should be about 10 weeks total.  My plan is to seriously look for telecommuting opportunities while I’m off for 10 weeks.  I’m hoping to find some either permanent status jobs or contracted work from home.  I want to get into web development still, but I haven’t had the time or motivation recently to really dive into it.  I’m hoping that staying at home will allow me to work less, spend more time with the baby, and develop my web skills simultaneously.  And, we won’t need a babysitter so there’s that as well.

A Close Call

My wife and I went through a scare last week.

I’ve been trying to post twice a week, Wednesday and Friday.  I’ve been fairly consistent since November, but sometimes things come up.  The reason I didn’t post last Friday is because my wife texted me when I got to work that she thought something was wrong with the baby.

Apparently, the night before she hadn’t felt the baby move all evening.  She noticed it, but didn’t think too much of it.  In the morning when she woke up, the baby still wasn’t moving.  She got up, showered, had breakfast, and headed to work.  All the while the baby still wasn’t kicking.  My wife wasn’t worried too much the night before, but in the morning she became increasingly scared that something was wrong.  She had been experiencing some other weird issues recently, so after a few hours at work we decided that she should call her doctor.  When the doctor heard what was going on, he said that she should immediately go to the hospital for a full exam.  This all happened within a four hour window.

The sequence of events for me that day went like this:

  1. Go to work
  2. Get a text from my wife who has not felt the baby  move for 15 hours
  3. Frantically Google the symptoms she’s having and finding a bunch of horror stories on line
  4. Waiting for her to get service to respond to my texts
  5. Get the order from the doctor to go to the hospital
  6. Driving 30 minutes to meet my wife in the hospital
  7. Wait for the exam

In the time between getting the text from my wife and meeting her in the hospital, I had a sense of fear and panic unlike anything I’ve had as an adult.  Most of the time, my life is easy.  I don’t have things in my life that cause me to have true fear or dread.  The possibility of my wife having a late term stillbirth put a deep fear into me.  It was absolutely terrifying.  On top of my fear, I was scared for my wife.  My wife is an amazing woman, but she’s very emotional.  I didn’t know how badly she would handle a stillbirth, but it would have been a terrible reaction.

Thankfully, the baby turned out to be fine.  I don’t talk about my faith too much on this blog, but I was praying the whole time for God to save my baby.  I was terrified driving to the hospital, because I didn’t know what kind of news I was walking into.  When I walked from my car up to the hospital and into the maternity ward my legs felt like rubber.  It honestly felt like someone else was walking for me and I was just along for the ride.

When I walked into the room, I walked into good news.  I truly believe that was God intervening in my life.  However, I know that not everyone has such a good experience.  I read a lot of their stories that day on line.  What a horrifying thing to go through, my heart goes out to those whose story doesn’t end as well as mine did that day.  If you or your partner is pregnant, don’t hesitate to get checked out.

On a more positive note, I have made some progress on the crib.  I uploaded some pictures of one of the side assemblies, there are pictures below.

Crib – Cutting and Routing

Making some real progress on the crib.

I’ve been working on the crib off and on for the past few weeks.  This past weekend I finished up the cutting and the routing.  I haven’t been as active on this as I hoped, but I’m making some real progress now.

Cuts

I haven’t done much work with wood in years.  I’ve always liked it, but I never had money for the tools needed. Now that my wife and I have a stable income, I can afford the tools I couldn’t before.  Cutting the wood down to size was extremely satisfying.  Like I said it’s been a while since I’ve done a project like this, so I was really happy all my measurements were pretty accurate.  I wasn’t off by more than an 1/8 of an inch on any of the cuts.

Routing

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I’ve never used a router before, so that was really exciting for me.  I got one for christmas specifically for this project, and I used it to round over the edges of the wood I cut up.  You can see in this picture the difference before and after routing.  My wife got me a set of routing bits, so I have a lot of options for future projects as well.

It’s so satisfying doing this project because I know that my baby is going to be using this crib.  My wife loves it to, it’s definitely bringing us closer together.  Her sister is having her own baby today and we are just over 6 months, so there’s a lot of baby stuff going on in my life.

Next up in this project is to attach the slats to the rails and start assembling the four sides of the crib.  I’ll be taking pictures and I’ll post an update when I have something more to show for myself.

Crib Measurements

Finally started working on the crib for my baby.

The season is starting to change, meaning my garage isn’t a refrigerator anymore.  I’ve had the lumber for the crib for a couple months now, and a combination of cold weather and procrastination has prevented me from getting to work.  Now that spring is (kind of) here, my wife is on me to get this crib done.  I have all the tools I need, so yesterday after work I got started.  I’m using three different kinds of lumber, pictured below.

boards_1Boards_2boards_4boards_3

As you can see, my garage is a bit cramped right now.  I’m going to be updating the blog on how this project goes.  My wife is certainly excited that I’m getting started.  I really liked shop in school, but I’ve never taken on a project this big as an adult.  I’m excited and hopeful, but I’m absolutely willing to throw in the towel if what I build isn’t safe.  We’ll get a crib at Target if this goes poorly, lol.