Known Johnson

July 10, 2005

The week in review

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 10:45 pm

In the 9 days since my last post, so much has happened that it’s hard to even straighten it all out.

  • We finished our final birthing class, which was a rather informative and surprisingly un-gross two and a half hours (no horrible movies!) We are now, apparently, fully qualified to bear the fruit of our loins. What would we do without this class?
  • We finally had to sacrifice our desire for the Eddie Bauer travel system (stroller with connected car seat) at Babies R Us. After a call from Alissa’s mom, who told us that the BRU by them was out of stock and didn’t know when they’d end up getting one back in stock, if ever, we went to our BRU and found one in stock of the fabric that Alissa didn’t like. We asked about getting the other fabric model in and were accosted by a very confrontational 50-some-odd year old stockboy who informed us that, despite the travel system having brand new parts in response to a recall, he would never put his own baby in there, that it was shoddilly designed, etc., etc., (but apparently has no problem with any of the other many, MANY items that have been recalled (seriously, do a search, see how many baby- or child-related merchandise has been recalled – you will be shocked, it seems to be practically everything ever manufactured.) I know the word “recall” is a frightening thing for people, but we literally spent nearly two hours in BRU one night putting this travel system through its paces, and I could not get the straps to even budge. I tried to gently coerce the straps to loosen up by lightly jostling them as a baby would. I tugged violently at them. I picked the entire car seat AND stroller (about 25 pounds of stuff) up solely by the straps. I did this over and over and over and not once did anything go wrong. I deduced, after looking closely at everything, that most likely the problems were set in motion by user error – people not reading the instructions correctly, assembling wrong what little they need to assembly, using things the wrong way, etc. Don’t get me wrong – these are definitely issues, because if someone can screw it up, they will, but I’m confident in the safety of that stroller. If it was that dangerous, it wouldn’t be on the market at all. It should be noted that in the Highway Safety report on this recall, there were no reports of any incidents of any kind related to this system. Regardless, we had to give up, logistically, since Alissa’s baby shower is in less than 7 days, and this stroller is not going to be available. We did, however, decide that if at all possible, we’d like to stick it to Babies R Us by taking at least a little business elsewhere. In the end, we found a much better stroller at Target, a Combi travel system that might be slightly less intuitive to fold than the Bauer model, but it beats it by a long shot by being extremely light and small – something that will be an important feature when it’s being not only wheeled about packed malls at Christmas, for example, but also when it needs to fit into cramped trunk space. So, we’re happy to report that we can now say, at least on this one item, “Screw you, Babies R Us.”
  • Baby’s soon-to-be home is almost completely finished, as of Saturday afternoon. All painting is done, woodwork is done, and all that is waiting to be completed is putting together the crib. Pictures very soon, I swear! (Maybe tomorrow night!)
  • The above would have been completely finished if it weren’t for a semi-quick overhaul of our garage and storage space today. My dad came over with a bunch of old wood from shelves in their house to put up in our garage to solve an increasingly problematic lack of storage. What should have been a pretty quick job of course developed into quite a project, but by 5pm today the garage was completely rearranged, with our new shelving becoming very handy, and we regained quite a bit of space in there. Now to figure out what can get boxed up and put away out there from inside the house . . .
  • We did manage to fit in a viewing of War of the Worlds last weekend, and it comes highly recommended from me. Now, before you write me off for movie recommendations, let me explain: as a piece of escapist fun, I cannot recall another movie in recent history that transported me out of the here-and-now like this one did. Sure, there are logistical issues and plot-holes, but those exist in the original HG Wells story and the original film, too, and no one seems to have too many issues with those. Spielberg’s intent was to pay homage to a very early and important influence on his development as a filmmaker, and I think he more than succeeded. He also managed to stick closer to the original material than the 1953 classic, but updated it in smart ways that didn’t seem forced. Cruise was excellent – as he often can be, given the right material – but the real star of the show was, of course, the special effects, which were spectacular. This is one of the few times when I can actually use the term “breathtaking” to describe how digital effects were used. The most impressive shots were those where the camera panned over a large area to show it swarmed with the alien machines. The CG Spielberg used was flawless – everything looked real – and when the camera crested a hill to show a small city engulfed in electricity-shooting tripods, there were more than a few gasps of shock in the audience. THAT is a rare thing, I have found, in modern movies. People just aren’t surprised anymore. Spielberg surprises, over and over, with an intriguing story of the struggle to survive. It was heart-poundingly intense, and has an arc of tension that I haven’t experienced in a film in a long time. War of the Worlds is extremely satisfying, and that’s something I haven’t experienced much in this year’s batch of films.
  • Things are winding down a bit – the big projects are done, so it’s mostly small things we have to accomplish before the arrival of the Unknown Johnson. I’m tremendously relieved – our baby has a home now, and all that’s left is to make sure we get our part of the home completely buttoned up in the next 6 weeks or so. It shouldn’t be as daunting a task now, and that’s a very good thing, because as the time grows shorter, I need less important/expensive project to take on – my attention span and stress level are pretty much directly proportional, so I need as little to worry about as possible. Thankfully, we really do seem to be wrapping things up around here. That can’t come too soon!
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