one hand devoted to elsa holding – kickin’ it old school hunt and peck style. i’ve got two great daughters – both part night owl, but still great. as is customary lydia got a gift when elsa was born – note this is not our custom, or if it is it’s just begun, but the custom is that when a new kid shows up the other kid(s) get material posessions to be reminded of the parents unfailing love for them as well. not unlike buying your wife a diamond after forgetting her birthday. (march 1st, i’m too cheap too forget) any how (and yes i’ve set elsa down and am using all my digits) lydia got a scooter – something she’s been wanting forever and now that the ice is off the roads she can actually use it. it’s pink and has an extra wheel for balancing, not a family trait as we are of a klutzy lineage. i looked at getting myself one of those razor scooters but the ones at target aren’t recommended for 150+ lbs. and since i’m at 151 i didn’t think it prudent to tempt fate and/or prove gravity. so i bought a skate board. it’s been about 15 years since i’ve been on one, but it’s kind of like riding a bike, except it doesn’t really come back to you as fast. so lydia and i are starting a gang. we cruise around on our seven wheels and intimidate kids for spare change and twinkies. she does the talking and i just stand behind her looking tough, not a hard thing for a brute like me to pull off. we’re pretty rad i guess you could say. in fact yesterday lydia even got off her scooter walked over to me on my skateboard and started gently clapping her hands while reassuring me in a gentle voice, “you’re doing much better today on your skateboard dad.” that’s right, improvements so vast even a 3 year old noticed. I attribute my skating to a mini pre mid life crisis of sorts. Lydia has been attributing any sort of accomplishment as evidence of her big sisterness. “I can buckle my helmet all by myself, i must be a big sister!” (yeah, even in a gang you still where helmets. my favorite is when we wear them to the park and forget to take them off. people let us cut in line for the slide. just joking, there are no other people at our park.) and lydia is a good sister and we’re proud of her, and elsa is a good little sister and we’re proud of her too.
News for April 2007
baby in hand
We’re back home & doing well. More Elsa photo’s at my flickr site.
it's a girl!
Elsa Tupelo Bjornsad Houge
April 24, 2007 at 1pm
9 lbs. 7.7 oz.
20 1/4 long
everyone’s healthy and happy, wouldn’t you know it, the kid’s beautiful!
as if my hair weren’t interesting enough, this morning we went to the hatchery and saw literally millions of walleye eggs and watched how they caught the walleye and harvested said eggs. go dnr go.
today was sunny and beautiful. in fact today is the first day that i would say the ice is out on ottertail lake. some may have said yesterday but i say today because yesterday was gross and overcast and not a fit day to say the ice was out. i’ve been thinking the baby would come in days like this – all wrapped up in the warmth of new life. i fixed a screen door today. vaccumed again and again. cleaned up in general. cursed windows vista while trying to get my camera to befriend our new laptop that runs the os of which i will no longer speak the name aloud lest its power grow. i finished a great book – eleanor rigby by douglas coupland. it was supposed to be the book i read in the hospital but i’ve always been an over acheiver…
i need to repack my bag. double check all the electronic gadgetry i’ll be using to inform the world of baby’s birth. i filled up the tank. i need to double check the phone numbers of everyone i’ll be calling and make sure i know how to call my folks in kenya on the cell phone. i need to stop pacing. take a shower. decide on what to wear to the hospital. go read stories to lydia. remember to pack a mug – it greatly increases your chances of free coffee everywhere you go and even starbucks will knock 10 cents off, but you sometimes have to remind them. i’ve been pacing alot lately… all this nervous energy. daddyhood part deaux.
hair today, baby tommorrow.
so tomorrow (unless jodi goes into labor during the night) we have a baby. i’m not sure if that’s sunk in yet. it did strike me today that perhaps i should get a haircut since chances are i’ll be in a few pictures the next couple of days. so i went to find a barber in perham while lydia was in prescool and found out that there are no barbers in that town. there are a handful of family beauty shop all purpose places but no barbers. something you should know about me (actually you there’s no reason you should know this, but i’m telling you all the same sucker) is that i’m afraid of 4 things. heights, snakes, my tax man robert melde telling me i have to do my taxes myself, and getting my haircut. this last one pertains to the discussion at hand. i have childhood memories of freezing outside great clips and freaking out and sitting in the car while my mom took only my brother when we were both supposed to go in. or sometimes i’d make it in but then freak out at the last minute and bolt for the door. i was okay with my mom, aunt, or cousin cutting my hair but that was about it. and from a fashion point of view that makes my fear even more irrational. if someone’s moving sharp objects around your eyes, ears and jugular wouldn’t the sane thing be for that person to have some sort of qualification beyond shared last name? there have been two break throughs in my adult life concerning my hair. one was the purchase of a clippers during my senior year of highschool. the other was befriending the barbers over on west. 7th, mitch and steve. On november 3rd 2004 i went in for a haircut. i’m not sure what got into me, a more appropriate action would’ve been to shave my head, adorn my sackcloth and administer ashes and lament the coming 4 years. maybe facing my fear (rhymes with shear) was my act of bolding moving on.org so i went into this place and got my haircut, talked with my Democratic Gen x barber about the coming years, and left feeling great for the first time ever after having my haircut by a stranger. since then i’ve been back twice – thats almost annualy, and that’s a big deal for me. in fact that means i’ve paid strangers for 5 haircuts since 2000. I just about got this thing licked.
so tommorrow being the big day it is i decided to get a haircut. first i picked up stamps for the baby announcements and rhonda the postal clerk dropped two bombs on me. stamps will soon be 41 cents, and, as mentioned earlier, there are no barbers in perham. in my selfannalyzing and i’ve concluded that part of the reason i don’t like getting my hair cut is the smell of salons. secondly salon is a girly word. and thirdly salons are expensive. barbers on the other hand smell like grandpa’s aftershave (old old old spice), feel manly, and most importantly are cheaper. so obviously i was devastated by the news. but hey, if abraham wouldn’t have gone up the mountain would he have made it into hebrews 11? hell no. and so, i took this as a test of God deeming my worth as a fearless parent. Rhonda said there were two places that took walk ins, thrify cuts and a place next to suds, the saloon in town. no brainer. off to thrifty. couldn’t fit me in. i lost momentum. fine i’ll check out the other place. i drove by it three times. got the gumption to park in front of it. mustered up the courage to go inside, and asked if they had any openings. what was that? a ram in the thicket? totally, they were booked i was free. i walk by faith what can i say?
so i didn’t get a haircut, but i tried, and so i am very pleased with myself and the outcome of events. maybe tonight i’ll shave my noggin’ to celebrate.
and tommorrow, we’ll have a baby.
3 days to go
in 3 days we get the latest addition to the houge family, baby x.
we went to jodi’s last check up on friday and brought all our stuff just in case we’d be stickin’ around for a little deliverance. not so. we did follow the appointment with a stop at target where we bought a kite and a stop at olive garden where i ate about 8 bowls of salad. after she was done with her mac and cheese lydia charmed us with, “let’s see what the desert options are.” it’s good to have options. later we set off to find a park, stopped at a few garage sales along the way, one at which i almost bought an old silvertone chord organ for 5 bucks (i’m still not sure it was a good idea to pass on it). We couldn’t find the park and finally pulled over and asked a jogger, who gave us great directions (way better than the last 3 sets of wrong directions we had recieved). As we pulled away from him lydia said, “i’m proud of you guys.” in reference to our asking for directions. i love that kid.
we flew the kite successfully, slid on the slides and swung on the swings and stopped for ice cream and coffee before heading back home.
today’s excitement is that the slushy remaining ice on ottertail is being blown up on to shore and creeping into the back doors of some of the houses along the shoreline. we drove over to see the area it was happening at and i gotta admit it really was bizarre and impressive. no clue if it’ll do any real damage or not. let’s hope not.
tonight i did a little recording and now i’m getting ready to clean up the studio – i won’t be playing any loud guitars for awhile so i might as well clear out all the pedals and wires that i keep tripping over.
go to church,
hey, i just got done posting Into Your Hands, a video made for Spirit Garage – cruise over to the endeavors page to check it out.
check out my single speed.
i’ve been monkeying with this over the last 8 months – although i didn’t really touch it over the winter, so really over the last 2 warm months would be more accurate. anyways.
right as we were moving out of st. paul our neighbors ditched their old schwinn varsity’s so i swiped one of ‘em to make it into a single speed – the key was that they had horizontal drop outs. most geared bikes now have a vertical dropout because it keeps the wheel straight and your derailer takes up the slack, but if you think back to your old dirt bike as a kid you’ll remember loosening the rear wheel and pulling it back to keep the chain tight, and you could do that thanks to a horizontal drop out. (this is interesting to me because i myself am a two time drop out)
why a single speed? the ethos and the art.
It’s DIY – you can buy ss frames etc… but by and large it’s the kind of thing you do in your garage with junkers and salvaging parts. It’s got a punk rock thing going on which feeds my cars r coffins fascination - this idea that we don’t need to be dependant on consumption – it’s pure and simple (like the lightning seeds) – it lets me get grease under my fingernails and paint on my clothes – the mechanics are basic and obvious – less to go wrong.
And riding it is fun. the gear ratio i’ve got going is a little spinny – helpful for hills but when i get out on the highway my cadence is like that of a 3rd grader riding his little sister’s trike. super responsive – no slack – as soon as you push you’re going – really zippy – i’m going to love this back in traffic
What next? well once i’m back in st. paul i’ll probably work on the back wheel a bit and actually take out the extra cogs that are serving as spacers right now. and i should have a little bit larger tire for the rim, although it works fine the way it is. but for now it’s pure fun.
my kid’s head smells like sunshine
a whole lot of grease
today was good, but greasy
shorty woke up way early and wanted to go to church. that’s good right? except for she was dressed and ready to go by 7 am and we were meeting here grandparents at the 10 o’clock service. oh well, to casa de God we go.
by the nature of my wife’s vocation we find ourselves spending a lot of time running around church, getting to church early, and leaving late. that’s all part of the job, but it’s a boring part for some of us tagalongs. so the whole voluntary early arrival was a little less than appealing to me. to put it off i decided to iron a shirt. stellar. than we decided to ride the bike to church. sweet. despite my slow moving we still got there in time for the 8:15 service. of course, wee fundy wasn’t about the going into church as much as she was about the being at church. so as church raged madly on and jodi shot fire and brimstone for the quivering pulpit we played with her lego stash in the fellowship hall. why we couldn’t do this at home in the comfort of our own pajamas while listening to ani and drinking real coffee is beyond me. but we made it through the early service, feasted on refined sugar and the rural favorite dark bread with cheeze whiz during coffee hour, and dug into the late service with my favorite in-laws. and here comes grease #1.
Grease #1 (don’t say I didn’t warn you)
We went out for lunch at a nearby restaurant and I had a buffalo chicken wrap that was one of the tastiest things i’ve ever eaten. and it came with fries. the rest of the table upgraded to onion rings – and this place gives delicious and generous portions of onion rings. in fact i would’ve ordered them myself, but i know present company well enough by now that i could safely order french fries with ranch dressing and still get in on onion rings when everyone else realized they couldn’t finish them. i was totally right. but i had underestimated how many i would haul in. i probably had 20 too many onion rings. and then jodi dropped me off at church and i rode my bike home, and finished some writing and was getting ready for Grease #2 (details to follow) when i got a horrible stomach ache. revenge of the frier! oy. next time stop at 19 you fool! but honestly, no regrets.
Grease #2 (here are the following details)
we ditched the kid at some friends at around 4 and headed off to the Battle Lake High School for their performance of the musical Grease. now allow me to be honest. how do i put this? i freakin’ hate musicals. dumb songs to tell dumb stories over a stupid long amount of time. but thats just me. apparently there are a lot of people that love musicals ’cause this was the third night in a row they sold out. who knew? i just assumed when i heard we were going to a musical that it was by default going to be a private screening because really, who the heck goes to play where they sing all the lines? but no, these things have really started to catch and people are eating it up. i gotta admit that despite being such a hater, these kids did a tremendous job. we had a bunch of kids from church in it and they did amazing, the 9th grade drummer (lil nate) who’s as tall as i am kicked butt in the pit band. the lead characters 99% of the time nailed their songs. everything about it was over the top impressive. including the fact that half our congregation was there to support the kids! freakin’ awesome. you can’t beat a small town when it comes together to pull off something like this . the lumberyard donated all the set lumber and the local auto body place totally did a number on a golf cart to make into a 57 chevy. how fun is that?
so yes, today was a very greasy day. but dog gone it, my cholesterol is worth it.
and no, you don’t need to send me tickets to your musical, i assure you this was a fluke.