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Sunday, December 02, 2012

A Not-So-Brief Update (part one)


Time has pulled away from me. I want to say I can't believe five months have rolled by without a new entry, but I can believe it. Time is flying by and I'm enjoying it. Plopping myself down in front of a computer to write took a back seat in my life for a while, but the urge has returned. The sun has ducked back behind the clouds this morning and my daughter is busy feeding herself, so now is as good a time as ever to update you on the life of Cinque.

But first... something stinks and that something just finished eating and is staring at me. I'll be right back.

The deed is done. 

So, this is how I'm going to create this post... oh shoot. Olive just took her pajama pants off. Hang on.

OK. Pants back on.

So, I'm going to go through my picture album and starting with January I'm going to post photos along with descriptions. Sound good? Good.


Back in Long Beach, while we were living with Tricia's mom, I used to stare at a photo on the wall showing the Seattle skyline at night. It would help change my mood during down times when I was feeling like we were never going to make the move. I decided that one of our adventures up here was going to involve finding that spot where the photo was taken.
It didn't take long. Tricia came home from work one day and told me about a co-worker who decided to take her visiting family on an extremely touristy jaunt through the city. One of the destinations happened to be Kerry Park in Queen Anne. 


I couldn't believe it. The view from that park was the exact spot I wanted to find. We drove up on a cold morning and stared at the city we tried so hard to get to. The view is even better at night. Here's a photo I recently snapped while my dad was in town:


Our New Year's evening was mellow. After putting Olive down to bed Dish and I drank some wine and watched the fireworks shoot from the Space Needle on TV. We were lucky to have a beautiful and sunny January 1st, so we headed downtown to witness our first polar plunge. 


I never found out how cold the water was, but I tried. I asked a local who had been marinating in Rainer beer before he dove in and he basically told me to jump in and find out. Next year, man. Next year – and I'll make sure to have my fair share of Rainer beer too.

About mid January is when we received our first bit of snow.


Then, after a couple of lightly dusted days, the town went all Narnia on us. 


The storm only lasted for about a week. I ended up calling off work two days in a row and Dish ended up walking to work once. The day we finally were able to go buy chains was the day it all started melting. I guess we'll be ready when it hits again next year.

In March we rode our first ferry since living here. The Edmonds ferry heads across the Sound to the Olympic Peninsula and a town called Kingston. Kingston is a beautiful little scenic town with plenty of mom-and-pop shops and restaurants. One of our favorite restaurants is Oak Table Cafe.



Wow. Up until right now this entry was a work in progress that I stopped working on back in May 2012. It is now December 2, 2012. I'm going to go ahead and post this as is and if time allows me to finish it I will. Things have changed in our lives and I don't have nearly as much time to sit and write as I used to. I miss it though. I miss documenting things. I miss taking pictures and gathering thoughts on new places we explore. My desire hasn't faded, but I feel like my energy has. I have to go. Olive just woke up from a nap, because our upstairs neighbors walk with the weight of cinder blocks on their feet.

Cheers to whomever reads this. Here's to hoping this isn't the last entry ever.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Traditions


Thoughts of creating family traditions have become commonplace with the arrival of our first child, the move into our new home and the first Christmas as a family. Although forcing a tradition to take hold could ruin the experience and turn something meant to be fun into something resembling a chore, I'm hoping that each December we travel as a family to the Christmas tree farm will be as fun as it was this year.


Cutting down our own tree for Christmas proved to be just as entertaining as we imagined. Like any new experience this event came with a few lessons. For instance, next time I should bring a small sheet of cardboard in order to save my pants from becoming one with cold, wet nature. Also, there's no need to bring a Swiss Army knife, because there is no way I'm going to cut a tree down with the miniature saw blade. Let me rephrase that. There is no way I'm going to kneel under a tree for the amount of time it would take to saw my way through the base. I still think I could cut a tree down with that thing.



We chose Stocker Farms in Snohomish for our tree experience. The farm wasn't our first choice. I first discussed my request with Dish's aunt and she wanted to drive us to a place near Mt. Rainer where you pay $10 and make your way up a snowy trail to find and cut down any Christmas tree. Then we discussed a farm in Carnation, which I read doubles as a disc golf course, but when the planned day arrived I was sick – horrid coughing, draining nostrils and all. That's when we decided to simply go somewhere close, just the three of us, and lock this tradition into drive.

Next year though, we pluck an outcast.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Letter




Dear Carlos,

            I'm sitting here in my new living room sipping some gross coffee I just bought from 7-11 and... oh, hang on. Olive just shit her pants.

            OK, I'm back. That little girl is nasty. So, back to my living room and gross coffee – Olive and I just dropped Tricia off at work. It's 7 a.m. and my knuckles have already grazed poop, but you don't want to know about that. You want to know about Washington and how it's treating us, right?
            
           Grab yourself a mimosa and sit back. I'm about to tell you everything.

            It's cool, I guess.

Love,
John

P.S. I'm just kidding.

Washington is great, so far. The time that I've spent up here has made me wonder if my parents put any thought in to where they would want to raise their children. Did they simply figure since their family stayed put they wouldn't stray far either?

This place is beautiful and everyone we've met is extremely polite. I have a funny story to tell you later that's related to my inborn paranoia of people that infested in my mind while growing up in SoCal.

Our drive up took three days. The constant stream of tears running down everyone's face made leaving Tricia's mom's house difficult, but we managed to tie down all the crap we were transporting and hit the road.



Our first stop was Sacramento. The drive was fine. There was nothing too exciting, although possibly driving over the Grapevine for the last time felt good. My aunt Debbie and uncle Pat let us stay the night and cooked us an amazing crab and chicken manicotti dinner.


The next morning we hit the road early. I was disappointed when I didn't see a "You're now leaving California" sign. I wanted us to stand next to it and take a picture.

Our next stop was Eugene, Oregon. We didn't do shit while we were there. We locked ourselves in our hotel room, ordered a pizza and relaxed the rest of the day.

The third day was great, because it meant we would finally be home. The drive was gorgeous, because everything was green and so much different than Los Alamitos. Our spirits were up. Our adventure had begun, but our new chapter in life started with us sleeping on a cold floor the first night. All of our belongings, like our bed, had been stored away in some truck and it wasn't going to arrive until 10 a.m. the following day.

The movers returned everything we sent away and our apartment was in extreme disarray for a few days. Actually, it's still a mess, but it's livable. We are now living in a two bedroom, two-bath ground-floor condo with a small backyard. Also, we have our own washer and dryer and we're paying slightly less than we were in Long Beach.

Our town is called Edmonds and it is situated along the Puget Sound roughly 15 miles north of downtown Seattle. I've heard Edmonds is the hometown of the traveler Rick Steves and the crazy actress in all the Scary Movie films Anna Faris.

We've explored a little bit, but there's so much more to see. Tricia is enjoying her job and on the days she works I'm home with Olive. It's definitely weird not being employed and I'm hoping that when Tricia begins her normal schedule I will be able to have set days when I can work.


On her days off we spend a lot of time exploring and a little time finishing up the decoration of our place.
 
We've had a few friends over so far. We've gone to visit her aunt down in Renton. We've had a few bottles of wine. We've cooked dinners. We've barbequed fish. We've recycled cardboard. We've walked through a couple farmer's markets. We've plunged our feet into the cold Puget Sound water. We've seen a body bag lifted out of a maintenance truck and placed on to a gurney. We've met some of our neighbors. We've met our mail lady.

I think that about covers it. I plan on documenting our life here as much as possible so make sure to check out my blog. I've changed the name though. You can find it at www.lifeofcinque.blogspot.com. In fact, I think I'm going to post this e-mail to you as an update for everyone to read. I'll probably add photos too.

When are you going to visit? You can't just go to California now. I hope you're well and we'll talk soon.

-John

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New state, new blog... kind of.

Olive is swaddled up and passed out. I'm sitting in a crispy cool living room discovering new music on LastFM. I just wrote down the name Frontier Ruckus and then realized that since I use a computer quite often I could probably stop making lists on paper. I can't let my handwriting get worse though. I should keep practicing.


I've decided to change up my blog a little. I've started a new chapter in my life, so it seems necessary to change other things too. I'm sorry to those anonymous commenters that will lose the link to this blog, but if it's meant to be then you'll find me again.

Since I'm going to miss my life as a gondolier (until I find a way to continue it) I've decided to use my nickname as the title. I received the nickname Cinque (ching-kuay) at Gondola Getaway in Long Beach, CA. after I told the story of how I got my old nickname Johnny 5. I was happy it stuck. My first gondolier nickname, Stands With Remo, didn't really appeal to me.

Cinque is 5 in Italian.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Here we go! Part Two

You know the scenes in some movies when time slows down during a spectacular, sometimes life-changing event? It usually happens in the middle of a hectic situation like a chase scene when someone leaps from a roof, or a romantic bit when two people fall in love simply by looking into each other's eyes. Well that didn't happen here.


The scene during Olive's birth seemed to speed up.

I remember I was vocalizing everything I could think of to keep the tears from streaming down Tricia's face. I was watching the arms of the doctors and nurses work feverishly to finish the surgery successfully. I was listening to the spitting and hissing sounds of the medical tools. Like a pulse I was feeling the grip of Tricia's hand loosen, then tighten, then loosen, then tighten again.

Everything was happening so fast. All of a sudden the cry of a baby filled the room. I jerked my head in its direction. I saw giant hands pulling a tiny person from the belly of my wife.

All of a sudden the nurses had my baby on a table in the far corner of the room.


Crying still filled the room. I was ushered in its direction. There she was. I finally knew for sure that my child was a girl. Olive was laying there writhing in discomfort, punching and kicking the air. Olive was pissed off.

I was asked if I wanted to cut a piece of the umbilical cord. I shook my head and was handed fancy surgical scissors. The nurses pointed to the area where I was to cut. I placed the scissors on the exact spot and squeezed. I squeezed like a man... a man that has never used scissors. That first cut was surprisingly weak. I had to reset and try again. That experience made me feel like I ruined the cut.

"Did I do it right?" I asked jokingly, but embarrassingly as well.

The nurse said, "You did fine, Dad."


Dad. Daddy. Daddio? Nah, Dad would do. I couldn't believe it. The nurses had swaddled Olive up and gave her back to me so that I could introduce her to Tricia. The tears in Tricia's eyes carried a different weight. These were happy tears. Olive was beautiful just like her mother.

I felt so lucky.

Then I was rushed out of the operating room so that the doctors could finish the surgery. I didn't get to see Tricia again for a few hours.

I was led to the nursery where I spent a lot of time watching Olive slowly take in her surroundings. I talked to her. I held her hands. I touched her toes.

In our parenting classes we were told that skin-to-skin contact with the mother was very important for the newborn to develop a bond. We were also told that in the case of a C-section the father should step in and request skin-to-skin time since the mother wouldn't be allowed to.

So I did. Tricia's mom, my mom, Tricia's grandmother and Tricia's brother must have thought I'd gone crazy when I removed my shirt. I was behind the glass in the nursery while they were out in the hall. We couldn't talk to each other so I decided to play the part. I started flexing like a competitive weight lifter. Now they really thought I was crazy.


The nurse led me to a chair and handed Olive to me. I placed her naked body on my chest and wrapped the flaps of my flannel around her back and then placed a blanket on top. She fell asleep.

We sat there for almost 30 minutes. I knew it was going to end, because the nurse was finishing up with another newborn. That's when I felt it. Olive farted.

Then my stomach got warm.

"... um... nurse? I think she just peed on me."

The nurse looked confused. "Really?" she said.

When she helped me remove the blanket and pull Olive away I realized I was mistaken. It wasn't pee. The nurse admitted she had forgot to put a diaper on her.

That's OK, I believe Olive and I bonded that day.


Later, we finally got to see Tricia. Olive fell asleep on her chest and the family stayed for a little while. Then everyone was gone. Just the three of us occupied the room. Me and my family. The feeling was great and the challenge had started. I had been waiting for this moment and I felt ready.


Life will be good.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Here we go! Part One

Mondays had become just another day of wrapping up loose ends and anticipating the birth of our baby girl. In the morning on Monday, May 9 Dish and I decided to go for a walk in El Dorado park.

We talked to each other about Olive. She was due May 1 and the waiting had begun taking a mental toll. We were ready to meet our daughter.

Later that same day we were dropping off a few items at our storage facility and just before Dish jumped into the truck to leave she shot me a confused stare.

"I think my water just broke," she said.

What!? We were just talking about this earlier. I couldn't believe it was actually happening now.

We raced home to gather a few things and bolted for the hospital. After waiting so long for this moment something didn't seem right. This experience was missing a main feature.

Pain. Where was the agonizing pain Dish was supposed to be feeling?

She was calm. She was cool. She was simply experiencing a "trickling" feeling.

No pain, huh?

That's when we should have known this delivery wasn't going to be normal.

We arrived at the hospital around noon. The nurse checked the fluid to confirm that Dish's water broke. It had, so the rest of the day was spent waiting for dilation. Dish's measurement was 1cm at noon. The goal is 10 cm within 24 hours.


She stayed at 1cm through out the night.


The professionals say there's a risk of infection if you haven't given birth within 24 hours of your water breaking. Since Dish wasn't progressing throughout the night the nurses started intervening. First came the misoprostol – a pill meant to help induce labor. Progression was elusive even after a few doses.

Next up was the dreaded pitocin. That whipped up a whirlwind of discomfort and pain. The contractions  were killing Dish, but her cervix still wouldn't progress.

The pain became unbearable. That's when she asked for the drugs. First morphine then the epidural.

This was not part of our plan. Everything positive we envisioned for this delivery became a simple fantasy. Reality was much more evil.

The doctor rolled in around 7 a.m. on May 10. We had a sleepless night. While he was preparing to check the progression Dish's nurse tried to raise her bed. She realized the bed was too far against the wall. So, she pulled the bed out and then checked one of the plugs.

BOOM!!!

A giant electric spark killed every machine monitoring Dish and the baby. I stepped back in shock and asked the nurse if she was OK. After confirming she was she quickly began ordering someone to go prep another room, because we needed to roll Dish's bed out and hook everything up to new machines.

As we began rolling the bed away, we ripped another plug out of the wall. I was trying to help by pushing the bed with one hand and holding the drip bag pole with the other. I noticed that the plug ripped from the wall was connected to the side rail of the bed. I began unraveling. The nurse grabbed the piece I unraveled and pulled the rest of the cord out.

Everything was happening so fast that I don't think she realized she pulled too hard. The plug came whipping around the side rail and whacked Dish across her forehead.

What the hell!

"Are you OK, Dish?" I asked. The nurse began apologizing profusely and we began rolling the bed out of the room again. As we were about to exit I was yanked back because the pole I was rolling out didn't fit under the doorway. Dish had to grab her IV because it was almost pulled from her hand.

I couldn't believe what was happening. Everything was going wrong.

Then there was a brief argument in the hallway regarding what room we were going to use.

Crap. What a scene.

Finally we were in the new room. That entire situation lasted only about 5 minutes. I was exhausted, upset and scared for Dish.

The epidural came next.

I had to wait outside for what seemed like an hour. I could barely stand. I didn't want to sit on the floor and I didn't want to leave. So I toughed it out. I think I heard Dish scream. I fought back tears.

After a while I found myself resting on a cot in her room. The drugs had kicked in. Dish was able to sleep.

The last check from the doctor revealed a bit of progression, but not enough. She stopped at 4 cm. The 24-hour period had passed and that's when we received the news. Dish was getting a C-section.

Emotions flooded our mind. The only thing I could do was talk and try my best to help Dish through this time. The main goal was coming home with a healthy baby added to our team.


They prepped her and rolled her to the operating room. I had to stay behind and get dressed in blue garb. Someone came and got me after the doctor was prepared. I could hear the tools buzzing. I saw a splatter of blood on the doctor's face mask. I noticed tears streaming down Dish's face. I needed to keep her mind off the situation. I started talking about Washington. I told her about all the things we were going to  do with our baby girl. We're going to experience so much. We're going to be so happy.


I'm not sure if it helped much since the anesthesia wasn't numbing her right side completely, but it was the only thing I could do.


Then I heard a baby cry.

-To be continued-

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

A Look Back at 2010 - FAIL.


Things are different.

I've been away from this blog for a while and I think
 it's time to return. This photo was part of the last post I was 
working on back in Dec. I wanted to create a similar entry to
 the Ringing in a New Year post for 2009, but I never finished it.


I went back and looked for the photos of 2010 recently,
but I didn't file them with dates. Now the photos are mixed up and 
I'm unable to differentiate the photos from the months.

So, I only have Jan. 2010.

Oh well... I'll have to do a better job for 2011.

For the last five months Dish and I have been preparing
for Olive's arrival. We've purchased a bunch of necessary 
baby items with the help from family and friends. 
We've taken parenting classes. 
We've been visiting the baby doctor twice a week.

We've been talking. We've been planning.

Are we ready?

Hell yes.