Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Back from our big trip! First we headed to Pennsylvania to see my mom, and then to DC for a work event; after returning and spending one night at home we were back on the road westbound to Portland for a cousin's wedding and then to Seattle to hang out with my brother. I had overpacked on the PA/DC portion of the trip and the pendulum swung to the other extreme for the second portion of the trip when I had great interest in dumping out big portions of what I had packed for the first part of my trip, coupled with virtually no interest in evaluating what stayed in. Also, I decided that clean underwear is overrated.

Baby W on the train from Portland to Seattle
Portland was full of hanging out with relatives I don't get a chance to see very often, and eating delicious food paid for by somebody else. What could be better than that? This side of the family really only gets together at weddings, and there have been a decent number in recent years but we're starting to run out of unmarried cousins and therefore out of excuses to get together. Not to mention that some enormously selfish cousins skip the wedding part of getting married and just -- oh. Never mind.

Stella's been very patient with all this traveling, and got to meet her new baby cousin on this trip. I had prepped Stella on being gentle with the new baby, keeping in mind that roughing up Baby W is one her main activities at this point. I would go so far as to call it a possible career. On her resume, her position held for April 2010-current will read Brother Torturer: Responsible for enhancing pain levels and maximizing crying potential.

But I think she might be due for a performance review because try as she might -- and she certainly does -- she's not succeeding at her job. I can't believe the assaults he shrugs off. I stepped out of the room for a minute recently and when I returned I found Baby W on his stomach (as I had left him) and Stella standing on his back (as I had NOT left her). Baby W was not entirely happy with the arrangement, but instead of full-on crying, he was whimpering in a way as to suggest that when Stella got a moment perhaps she wouldn't mind stepping off of him. If it wasn't too much of a bother.

Stella in Seattle
Also, you know how biologists who specialize in controlling populations of Canadian geese addle the eggs to kill the developing embryos and ensure that parent geese invest resources in sitting on eggs that will never hatch? Kind of the same way you might shake a big jug of orange juice to get the pulp mixed in. Both those motions kinda remind me of how Stella loves to grab and shake Baby W's head. His own pulp might be a little mixed up because he thinks it's hilarious when she does that.

I enjoyed getting to know my new two-week old niece on this trip, and I made sure to notify her very sleep-deprived parents that Baby W had slept nine -- count 'em! nine! -- oh wait, my mistake -- nine and a HALF hours in a row without waking for a feeding while I was there. They didn't seem very excited.

The low point of the trip came in the Milwaukee airport, when a toilet took Stella by surprise by spontaneously flushing while she was pooping. Her socks escaped the resulting carnage, but all other articles of clothing had to be very carefully removed from her body. Fortunately we had clean clothes in the carry-on bag.

We're back in Wisconsin now, and I have vowed to never travel again for the rest of my life, or at least until next month when I am planning on bringing the kids to Pennsylvania and then Washington DC for work AGAIN. I have a month between now and then to recover from this massive trip, and I'm going to need every minute. Also, I think I'm going to need some clean underwear.

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