Sunday, October 29, 2006


1) My Macbook got it's fresh hard drive, and all has been recovered. It's working like a champ, and it's good to have my buddy back.

2) We've attacked the clothes piles upstairs, and I believe we're now winning the battle against laundry. Adding in one more set of jammies wasn't the problem, it was all of the blankets and towels we're blazing through with little mister mcspitty. Also, in the past weeks, we've sort of deferred some of the clothes "filing" so there were a couple of outposts of not put away things... but we've caught up!!!

Vigilance must be our watchword going forward, never let our guards down.

3) Isaac again proved a champion sleeper - over 6 hours last night! What a guy! Tonight as I bounced him to sleep on my lap, he held onto my fingers as he drifted off, and it was actually pretty hard to pry his little grip off! Not that I really wanted to - he's just soooo sweet. We tried to move him to a different bottle today - but he's not as "effective" with it, and he got pretty frustrated. We'll need to keep trying, however, since what he LOVES are the sample nipples we got from the hospital which were supposed to be disposable, use once, and I cannot find them in the wild!

4) If all goes according to plan, I hope to be working out again tomorrow - assuming they haven't canceled the 6am Mon-Thurs class, I'll BE THERE! It's been over 5 weeks... alas...

5) I got to be solo daddo for a few hours today with Squirmy (or "Squrims" as Bella calls him), and I have to say I'm amazed that Pamela was able to get ANYTHING done in the past month - he just occupies your attention, and time passes, and I imagine adding Bella into that mix, and I have a true appreciation for what an amazing job Pamela did in keeping our life together with the kids, and the big illness a couple of weeks back, AND my crazy work life in the past 2 months... I can only hope that with things slowing back down I can really give her some breaks and pay her back for the great work she's been doing!!!!

Time for bed!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

S-a-t-u-r-d-a-y NITE!

First off, I'm sure every reader already knows: Isaac is officially ours now - no more waiting, no more deadlines. All we need to do now is the final legalities (which may go into next year, actually), but in terms of whether the birth mom/family have any further ways to rescind the arrangement, I believe the legal term is "No Backsies".

It's like a huge weight off our shoulders. We also finally got to tell Bella that she is OFFICIALLY a "Big Sister" - and she was so excited she jumped up and down... She paused to ask "But what if Tree comes too?". "He IS Tree" was our reply. She thought it over and gave a HUGE smile. She still calls him "Squirmy" however. Perhaps he will be a "tree" later in life... or perhaps Tree was just the POTENTIAL sibling... we may never know.

Today, Isaac was over with Grandma and Grandpa, and Bella was over with best friend Jenny (where she'll be all night). We got our fall yard prep done - stowing the patio furniture, bringing out the snowblower... The highlight for me was taking the fabric off of the gazebo, which revealed the full extent to the villainy the spiders were up to all summer - webs, dried carcasses, and egg sacs abounded - it's a wonder any other insects were able to survive in our yard, what with how industrious and cunning these eight eyed hunters had been. I wonder indeed how close I might have come to being their dinner....

We had a date out tonight - a good dinner and shopping with Isaac in tow. I spent a lot of time holding him, and stopping traffic - many ladies had to bask in his glory - a few were commenting on his alertness for his age - "you'd better start saving for college now!" I replied I'm saving for Grad School for him!

In other Isaac news - he has a new cry - a bit more throaty and plaintive - much more of an angry shout, which he's using to say "I'm uncomfortable" - he's still using his Cat Yowl when he's hungry.

Speaking of which, he's crying now, and Daddy has the magic touch to make him happy - we make faces at eachother and he laughs and smiles - I can spend hours doing this.

And it sounds like my services are needed now... Signing off!!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

He really DOES laugh

Bella really really loves Isaac.

Isaac is a happy baby. Here's the proof.

And that's that.

Killer Sudoku

Yesterday I was suffering a terrible lunch at the client cafeteria, and I had printed out a couple of Sudokus from the UK Guardian website ( and one was something called "Killer Sudoku". This was to sudoku as flying a NASA Rocket is to hang gliding. Pure evil.

Same basic concept - 1-9 each row, column, and square. But instead of any numbers to help you, there are little boxes around 2-4 squares, and a SUM that the numbers within will tally. I say it was FIENDISH. I did make it through 1/3 of the puzzle before giving up, realizing that I MAY think I was done with that third, but because no number would be fixed in place until it was ALL done, and I had started in PEN, this just wasn't going to be do-able.

So you, hat in my hand, I tell you this defeated me. But those of you who know me will probaby realize that in 2 weeks, I'll post something about how I've spent 10 hours and now I totally understand Killer Sudoku and they're no big deal. Watch this space.

In FAMILY news - Bella's been needing extra reasurrance that she's still important to us, so for the third night she woke up at 1am and wanted to climb into our bed. I need to work out the real estate, because I THINK that it's Pamela 50%, Bella 30%, Jimmy 20% in terms of real estate. At times, I believe I am balancing 1/3 of my body over the edge of the bed. Maybe we need a king size.

Squirmy Isaac continues to prove himself a champion snoozer - up to 5 hours at a stretch in the night time. THANK YOU ISAAC.

Off to work I go. Hopefully when I get home, a box with the replacement HD for my MacBook will be here, and I'll be a portable computer guy again. I was teased somewhat relentlessly at work yesterday for taking notes... ON PAPER. Apple - if you're reading this, they were denigrating the brand, saying "get a real computer" etc etc. Perhaps if you want to send me one of those new super Macbooks Pros, I can wave it in their faces and say.... um... I got a free computer, so take THAT. That would really show them, eh? Let's do that! Call me, Steve. ;)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Krazy Komputer Karma

Months ago when I bought my shiny MacBook, I went online and bought a bigger hard drive and more memory and installed it all myself, as I tend to do. I turned it on.... and.... nothing. I brought it to the Apple Store where my sis-in-law works. The geniuses fixed it as a favor, but let me know they had GRAVE concerns about that hard drive in there. It might overheat they said. They couldn't support it, just so I'd know.

I'm sure you know how this story ends. I'm in a meeting MONTHS later, taking notes on the Macbook, when the spinning ball of doom appears. I click around, futiley - yes, the entire computer is locked up. I reboot, and I hear a sad little "click", see a gray screen, and a flashing question mark. It's dead, Jim.

Do I shake my fists at the heavens? Do I rend my garmets, believing life to be unfair? No. They warned me. It was my own "I KIN DOO EET" hubris that led me here. And I've been smart, and backed up everything regularly - nothing will be lost. This will be a blip on the radar (the replacement drive arrives in 2 days). But It is a continued illustration of the old adage: BACK IT UP, CHUMP!!!!

Geek Break: In the new iTunes, you can browse your collection through the album pictures. My new obsession when I have a free 15 min is to download the cover art to any albums that are missing the art. Considering I have 1770 albums with 21000 songs in my collection, that's a bit of a chore. But I'm getting them in there, and it's really FUN. Trust me on this one.

I've just spent the last two hours with Isaac Party Boy on my lap with him giggling and cooing and smiling, and nothing's going to bother me. He JUST fell asleep, after being a total party animal, followed by a crabby apple. I think I hear him stirring - I had better keep the typing to a minimum... and maybe catch up on some sleep. Last night was a looong one. He woke up at 3 for food, 4 for poops, and kept me up til 5 for giggles... all while I'm camping out in Bella's little twin bed because she's having bad dreams and wants to be in the big bed, but daddy's too hot, and she doesn't want any covers.... and that's just how the night went.

Tonight, both Mommy and Bella went to bed at 8, and it's just been me and Isaac partying down.

So it's now 11 and time for sleep. For BOTH of us.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Pleased to Meet You...

Hi! I’m Jim and this is my Blog “JimVentions”. Please welcome me back to the real world.

As you may have noticed, I’ve been somewhat focused on my work in the past few months. I’m pleased to announce that the impossible job I was handled was put into production a week and a half ago, and it seems to be going relatively well. Yes, we’ve had some problems, but nothing unrecoverable, and in general it looks like the organization sees this as a “success”.

My hours are starting to go back down to earth: by Friday I was back to 9 hours, and no midnight shifts are in sight. I had a meeting in which we were talking about what’s coming up in the next few months… and it was refreshing to start being planful again, to get out of the “Now Crisis”.

All indicators are I’ll be at this client to help with more work well into 2007: I’ve got very nice notes from VPs and the CIO thanking me for pulling this all together. And I am still sorting out exactly HOW I did it, but somehow I did get all those people moving in the right direction, movitated and believing they could make this deadline.

So I think life is starting to come back down to normal, which I need, Pamela needs, and Bella and Isaac need.

So look for more of the classic Jimmy stuff to come again in the next few weeks – lots of cute Bella and Isaac stories, more crazy schemes, more Language adventures, and more nerd-tasy.

Also, please do enjoy these fine pictures of my lovely family. My job in the next week is to get a picture of Isaac where he doesn’t look goggle-eyed and stupefied. He really does smile and laugh and coo – he’s a wonderful boy. He makes me smile and sing.

And yes, TODAY is Zero-Day: On Monday they’ll check with the courts to see if any unexpected challenges have been filed prior to today, and barring that VERY unlikely event, Isaac is officially a Balabuszko-Reay (after the formality of a court appearance sometime in the next 2 months).

I can’t help but update that things with are going very well too: We have over a hundred interested readers, people like the puzzles and the podcasts, and we’re starting to get some advertisers together (we may have a green tea partnership firing up….). Crazily, Brainready really does look like something could happen with it, and if I hadn’t been so completely swamped, I think I would have been crowing about it a bit more.

And that’s the update tonight! It’s good to be back!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mad as heck

Somebody egged the Mini last night. Of course I didn't figure it out until I got to work, so I drove to a gas station and used their "mystery blue fluid" to clean it up... and it may still have some on it...

What a terrible way to start the day. GRRRRRRRR.

Still Alive...

Sorry about the no-posting: It's been a very busy week. The golive is still going well, though not without it's bumps... but in all much better than could have been reasonably expected in the shaky run-up. But it's been taking 12 hour days, and by the time I get home, I need to spend a lot of time with the family to recharge.

I'm thinking this schedule will start to ramp down by the weekend, and I'll have fun stories and (more importantly for some of you) more pictures!

Thanks for your patience and support!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Silent Night...

All's quiet here on the go-live front. No major issues, the phones aren't ringing... It's going well.

Yesterday, as I took my two hour nap prior to the all-nighter, I had a very vivid visualization of what would happen if gravity stopped working in the command center. I saw all the loose papers, pens, computers all drifting, and then I grew nervous about the file cabinets. I resolved to steer clear of those in case gravity came back on... Then I got to thinking, how long after gravity stopped working would you continue to brace yourself for it coming back on - 5 min? 30 min? When would you let your guard down, and possibly fall in an unpleasant manner?

These are important things to consider. Of course, then I started wondering just how gravity would get turned off, and the most obvious solution is that the hospital would be hurtling through space, which got me thinking about how airtight the facility really is, and if the lack of gravity would really be noticed if there was no air. VERY important. So welcome to my mind I suppose.

Time for a BellaQuote:
She visited the doctor and got some DumDum lollipops for her treat. She unwrapped one and announced it's "Can Flavored". We looked at the wrapper, and it was a barrel - Rootbeer flavor.

She unwrapped another an announced it was "Think Flavored". Puzzled, we looked at the wrapper: It was the "mystery flavor", and it had question marks all over it. She pointed to the question marks and said, "See? THINK flavor".

She's back to full health (as am I), and she's sleeping through the night again... it's great to have my girl back!

The world did not end, apparently

From my early AM dispatch yesterday, things went from bad to worse, then better, then worse, then pretty good. People were being pretty good and working together well... and by 9am we had most of the critical issues well in hand. I wrote up status reports, padded around the floors, and generally tried to be useful... but by 11am, it was clear I was getting fried (that two hour nap didn't quite do the trick of a full night's sleep). I was in slightly better shape than my counterpart, who worked the same shift but did NOT take an early evening break... zombie!

So I got sent home, and I took a 5 hour nap in the afternoon, to get myself ready for another shift tonight from 10pm to noon. After tonight, I'll move to day shifts for the weekend... yep, no weekend for me! This is what we've been working for, the crunch is inevitable, and must simple be endured.

The 75 tubs of Donut Holes fit handily in the mini - I could have maybe fit 25 more for a good 100.

Since 5:30, I've been up and playing with Isaac and Bella, and it's been wonderfully recharging - they definitely help me remember what the big priorities in life are!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Dispatch from the Command Center

This is what we've been waiting for.

It's 1:45am, and we're going live with the big project. Issues, of course. The hospital has their largest census of the year, a full surgery schedule starting at 5am, and a full Emergency Room. We were only planning to go down for an hour to convert, but have been down for two and a half. We just made the call to bring everything up for in-house patients, but our interfaces are still down, so any transfers or new admissions will not appear in the pharmacy or lab systems...

One key team member gave her two week notice today, another got into a screaming/crying match with her team. Everyone's got glassy eyes, but improbably, spirits are high... We'll see how things go by 5am.

The phones are ringing off the hook!!!!

I worked the full day, crept home, played with Bella and Isaac, had dinner, then a two hour nap, before showering, caffeinating, and now I'll be here until the afternoon.

I'm off at 5am to pick up 75 buckets of donut holes for the departments... I need to get a picture of the Mini full of donuts!

And now I need to go chase down more issues.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Birthday Girl

Bella finally turned FOUR this weekend, and the celebratin' was out of HAND. From presents in the morning on Saturday, to a party with 17 friends on Sunday, to family over tonight, the people have been parading to see Bella.

Which makes it pretty sad how under the weather she remains. While the cold has finally left her, she remains a bit bedraggled and low-energy. Last night, she got her best night of sleep yet - and still had two hours of fitfulness. As a change, while the previous nights she woke screaming about being scared and her head hurting, last night she awoke screaming about needing certain toys she had got for her birthday to be brought into bed with her. Tonight, as I put her to sleep, she had a dozen dogs and cats arrayed on her pillow, with her in the middle, with a sleepy smile. Perhaps tonight will be a better night.

Tonight Isaac seems to have discovered some new gas pain, because he's letting us have it with some worldly complaints. Still, I got some good cuddletime in.

Sunday, Bella had a party at an indoor gym called "JW Tumbles" - it was a two hour party with two young ladies who led the festivities. They started by letting the kids run around in the gym, doing the climbing wall, bounding on trampolines, rolling on mats, etc etc etc. They'd break it up with getting the kids together for activities, like an obstacle course, and Limbo, and singing... They were GREAT at keeping 18 kids from 2-8 going - there were no fights, no whining, just a great time had by all. BEST party we've thrown in a while, and we didn't have to do very much!

This is the big week at work, and we're all steeling for it: Go-Live is Wednesday, and I'm looking at meetings from 8am-4pm, then the whole golive sequence starts up at 10pm.... through to morning, to a 7am meeting for status, and so on through the weekend. Fortunately I get to wear a jumpsuit made of the same futuristic material as the uniforms on Star Trek and will not stink after all of that time.

Say, it's the year 2006 - where IS my jumpsuit? And my food pills and flying car? I feel VERY let down by this future, as much fun as the internet is.

Anything else? Hmmm.... Nope - I think I'll grab my sleep where I can!

Friday, October 06, 2006

The party animal

I've got to get better sleep. Last night I woke up and was convinced that somehow Isaac had wound up in bed with us, and I needed to get him back into his Bassinet. I got up and started to wrap him up in a blanket when he moved up and over Pamela's chest... which shouldn't have been possible. Except for one fact. I was ACTUALLY trying to put Pamela's ELBOW into the bassinet. Good old sleep deprivation hallucinations!

No illusion here, Isaac is a VERY alert young guy. He really likes being awake and loves stimulus. Cuddles, talking, rocking, you name it. Just last night, we discovered that at two weeks, we could shake a rattle to the left, and he'd look left, shake it to the right of him, and he'd look right.

Tonight I was wagging my fingers and moving my hand slowly across his field of vision, and he was tracking it like a hawk.

It's just remarkable to see these stages of development! He's just outgrown his tiny "going home" outfit. Fortunately, we were gifted a larger size as well, and since it's covered in rocket ships, saucers, and planets, I'm relieved.

We have a new name for him: Babatron2006 - the guy can DEMOLIST bottles. Especially since we switched him to a low-lactose formula...

Papabam are here for a visit, and we're having a lot of fun - Isaac's room will be painted this weekend with a space/robots theme of course. But recall that the last time Papa painted a room for a baby, we moved not 6 months later. We're not moving this time.

Finally, I should just mention to my loyal fans: NO I have not done any language ANYTHING since this little guy showed up. The brainspace just isn't there yet. Also, I have not worked out... which does make me sad. On the other hand, i'm inclined to cut myself a LITTLE slack since I'm working 50 hour weeks, just had a horrible multi-day cold, Bella's still sick, and a little creature called Isaac in the house. ;->

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Quick - the boss isn't looking

An unprecedented at-work update for today.

First, a Bella quote: Holding a magnet, she said "DAD, this it totally MAGNETIVE. It can stick to the fridge. Look. MagNETive." I'm not sure how she made that up, but it just sounds so cool.

Also, here's a picture of Bella, lest you think that all I talk about is Isaac.

On the subject of the little guy: He's two weeks old today! He went to the doctor yesterday, and has BALLOONED up from 6lbs6oz when we brought him home to 7lbs12oz. He's packing it away. The doctor looked at his bellybutton and his willy and declared he's healed enough for a full BATH.

So he got a bath. Here's the evidence.

I'm much better from my cold, but Bella has it pretty bad. She napped much of yesterday, and needed cuddles all night again. Isaac on the other hand is a PARTY ANIMAL: He was up for over 8 hours straight yesterday afternoon, demanding playtime. He did sleep VERY well, however.

And that's the quick at-work update for the day.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The cold from....

Monday morning I woke up not feeling 100%, but made it off to work anyway. By 10, it was clear that I was NOT in good shape, so I fled for home and dove under the covers. I had... a COLD.

Last night, Pamela encouraged me to take the 3rd floor bedroom, so I could be well rested for today. So I did, but rest was not in the cards. Bella had gone to sleep around 8pm, but woke up around midnight crying for mommy. As the 3rd floor bedroom is right above Bella's room, I got to hear it all.

At 3, I got a call to come downstairs, Bella needed someone to cuddle and Isaac was hungry. So I climbed into Bella's bed, and noticed that she was not actually falling asleep - for a good half hour, she was just lying there semi-awake. Her breathing never lapsed into that good sleep sound. Sure enough, after that half hour, she started crying for Mom, not me.

I trudged back upstairs, and heard Bella wake up every half hour or so all night. When my alarm went off at 6:30, I came down to find Bella in bed with Mom, but still not fully asleep. Isaac was hungry, so I took care of him. Around this time, I realized that my cold was in no way better, in fact worse. So after packing a few ounces into Isaac, I called in sick.

Both Pamela and Bella looked like sleepy zombies this morning, and I did what I could to help out... before passing out for the rest of the day. Now Pamela and Bella are taking a good nap, I'm puttering around a little bit, feeling a TOUCH better, Isaac has a full tummy again.

Hopefully we'll be back on an even keel by tomorrow (and hopefully Pamela will not get this cold - it is EVIL). I need my health back to prepare for the big golive in just 8 days at work!!!!

Also, with BrainReady launching, I need to do more worksheets for the people! Apparently there are people signing up who we do not know... it's getting out there beyond out immediate sphere! How cool!!!!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sunday Morning

An update to last night's multi-post.

Pamela's party roared until after 1, and she crawled into bed around 2 (after taking Kari back to her hotel). I took all of the night feeding shifts to help her recover, and she was up and at'em by 9 today.

Of course, Bella and Isaac and I were up and at'em around 7:30. ;->

Details: Isaac is starting to fill out and is taking a lot more bottle: While even Tuesday, he was an ounce-per-feeding, he's up to 3.5 per feeding now! He's grown very intolerant of even a slightly wet diaper, but I would not call him a fussy baby. In fact, he's remarkably easy going... lots of smiles, likes to be held by just about anyone, and only cries if he's gassy or hungry. Otherwise, he's a little owl baby, looking around with wide eyed wonder at the large, luminous shapes that seem to surround him.

One thing I love is that he throws his arms around like an orchestra conductor - I started singing "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's 9th, and he was waving them around and had a very serious, Maestro-esque look on his face. I'm thinking there's a chance that the spirit of Herbert Von Karajan may have landed in this one.

As we were walking around yesterday, Tyler was enjoying carrying Isaac in a sling. As he was waiting for us near a door, a pair of pinched ladies walked by, and asked rather horrified "is that YOURS young man?" Ty (14) took it well, but was pretty taken aback by their tone... Takes all kinds I guess.

And now that little Ike is stirring and seems intent on demolishing another bottle, so off I go!