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.

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.

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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.

Updates – 3/9/17

Updating on a few recently discussed topics.

Just updating the blog on a few random things I’ve been posting on lately.  Things are heating up for me at work so I haven’t been able to put a ton of effort into my writing, so I thought I’d catch up on some things I’ve been talking about recently.

Wife/Baby

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Roughly what my wife looks like right now.

My wife and baby are doing great.  She’s about 20 weeks right now, so we’re definitely over the mid way point.   All the fatigue she was feeling is gone, really her only struggle right now is the growing belly.  I got her a body pillow to sleep with, so that has made her more comfortable.  The baby is healthy, we’ve had many ultrasounds and doctor appointments recently and everything is looking good.

That painting at the top of this post is a project my wife is working on for our nursery right now.  We’re going for a Noah’s ark theme, and I love how this painting looks.  She does crochet and draws, so this is right up her alley.

Expectant Father

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GREAT book for soon to be dads.

I have been reading several parenting books for new parents, and for whatever reason most of them haven’t clicked with me.  I don’t know if it’s the style or the tone that puts me out, but I really don’t like most of the books I’ve tried to get into.  My wife found this book, The Expectant Father and gave it to me.  It breaks every month of a pregnancy down and helps me to understand what’s happening from a male perspective.  This is very valuable to me as most parenting books for new parents are written for the mother, and the portion for the father gets boiled down to “be supportive.”  That’s not very helpful for me, I’m already super involved and supportive to my wife, I need more than that.  This book is giving me what I want,  it’s helping me understand the pregnancy from MY perspective.  I highly recommend it to other soon to be fathers.

Crib/Saw

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This is a picture of what the crib should look like when it’s done, according to the plans I bought.

So I’ve definitely been procrastinating hardcore on the crib.  It feels like a weight hanging over me at all times, I really just need to get it done.  I have the miter saw out of the box and ready to be attached to my work bench.  With that and the router I got for Christmas, I have all the tools and materials I need to make the crib, I just need the motivation.  Honestly it’s making me feel guilty that I haven’t done much with it yet, I’m probably just going to go berserk in the next weekend or two and blast through the whole thing.

Nioh

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Nioh’s spider monsters in action.

I’ve reached the last region in the game, and I’m pretty sure I only have a mission or two left.  I love this game, it’s fantastic.  I wrote about it recently and my time with it since has only solidified my opinion that it is worthy of the Dark Souls lineage.  The combat in this game is extremely satisfying, and it’s complex in a way that surpasses Dark Souls.  I  have a few complaints about the game, but I’ll probably do a wrap up post once I’m done with the it and talk about them there.

Pandora’s Star

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Pandora’s Star cover art.

I haven’t made as much progress as I’d hoped (that is the theme of my read through of this book), but I’ve definitely come around on this book.  I’m absolutely engaged in the book due to the world building and technology in this book.  The characters are mostly flat and bland for me, with a few exceptions.  I’m hopefully going to finish this book by next week.  Last year, I finished the White Luck Warrior somewhere around November.  I timed out my read of the next book, The Great Ordeal, to be right in the middle between that book and the release of the final book in the series, The Unholy Consult.  That middle date is next Wednesday, 3/15/17.  I’ve been dying to get to this book so if I don’t finish Pandora’s Star before then, I won’t finish it until after I’ve read The Great Ordeal.

First Trimester

Very quick pregnancy update.

The first trimester is over.  Thank God!  My wife has been consistently exhausted for 13 weeks.  She’s starting to get her energy back now, which is very exciting.  Every night for the past three months she’s been falling asleep on the couch at 7 or 8.  We have a bunch of projects we want to get done and it’s been super hard getting her motivated to do anything.  It’s not her fault and she can be as tired as she wants, but it is exciting for me that she’s going to be a little more active.  I’ve heard that the second trimester is the easiest, the woman isn’t huge yet and a lot of the symptoms from the first trimester are gone.

I hope that’s true, and I’m planning on getting the house as prepped as possible while I have my wife operating at her normal capacity.  We still have to put trim around a few doors, put some wainscoting up in the baby’s room, replace some flooring, buy a ton of baby stuff, rearrange furniture, build the crib, etc.  The list goes on and on.  We have our next doctor’s appointment today, and it just seems like this pregnancy is flying by.  A third of the pregnancy is gone just like that.  Craziness!