Category Archives: Work

Oliver’s hot streak has been broken

Oliver’s been on a streak lately – a streak of sleeping for most of the night. His best night, which I documented here a few days ago, he slept from about 9:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. He had similar, though not quite the same length, success over four consecutive nights.

Last night, however, the case was different. Oliver didn’t go to bed until close to 11 p.m. He was up for about an hour at 2:30 a.m. and then woke up again at 4:30 a.m. He was noisy until well after my alarm went off (6:30 a.m.) and I left for work (7:15 a.m.).

Oliver’s getting his late-night meal now, and we’re hoping to start a new streak tonight. Wish us luck!

Commute conundrum

While sitting in traffic yesterday for a combined two-and-a-half hours on my way to and from work thanks to traffic accidents, I contemplated the pros and cons of my commute. Here are the top items I could come up with:

Pro: I have an awesome 10-year-old house on a quiet court with an open field behind our yard.
Con: The drive between our house in St. Charles and the office in Creve Coeur is 40 minutes each way and gas costs almost $4 per gallon.

To add insult to injury, I drove past my former residence in Maryland Heights on the way to getting my hair cut after work on Tuesday. How long did it take me to get there? Twelve minutes (yes, 12!!!). I can’t imagine what it would be like to leave for work at 7:45 a.m. and get home around 5:15 p.m. Imagine what I could do with that extra hour each day. I’d probably feel more energized as well.

I may have to start looking at house listings and just not tell Sarah about it. You know, find the perfect house and then spring it on her. I don’t know what else to do. I simply will not live in the St. Louis city limits, and I’m stuck on the west St. Louis County area. However, those areas are pricey and I’m still in the early stages of my career.

Any thoughts or suggestions? What’s your commute like?

So that Grant’s Farm trip on Sunday …

Now that Oliver and Sarah are both sleeping at the same time, I am sneaking some Internet time on the laptop. Thought I’d write a little more about Sunday’s trip to Grant’s Farm. It was for my work picnic. We bundled Oliver up in a little onesy that has a tie sewn on it, and we topped his outfit off with his first pair of blue jeans. It was pretty cute.

So anyway, we were running late as usual. I actually thought I had made up for lost time with my driving, but had forgotten about the LONG tram ride. We had to take it all the way to the back area of the park where our picnic was being held. Needless to say, we missed the special tour our company had arranged. Instead, we indulged in some brats and hamburgers. Then we walked around and did all the regular “Grant’s Farm stuff” that you do there. You know, feeding animals, reading about animals and looking at animals, as well as smelling poo, looking out for poo and trying not to step in a pile of poo.

After a few hours, Oliver was getting fussy so we headed home. He was a hit at the party, but I’m pretty sure he’ll enjoy his next trip to the park — when he’s older and all that. Anyway, I’m trying out a new photo service tonight. If it works, there should be a few pictures below. Enjoy!

Oliver all dressed up:

Sarah feeding her new friend:

Me feeding my new friend:

By this time, even the kangaroos were getting tired:

And so Oliver and Sarah posed for the obligatory “You-can-tell-I’m-at-Grant’s-Farm-because-of-the-sign-behind-us” photo shortly before leaving the park:


Really touched today by story of Sarah Jane

Anyone who knows me or has been around me over the past, well, 32-plus years knows my thoughts on charities. While I have never had anything against them at all, it’s the giving of my money to them that I never got around to actually doing. You see, I had a pretty humble youth. Later in life, I was a poor college student and struggling journalist. I’ve lived on my own (with some help from the parents, mind you) since the fall of 1995. For 10 years, I struggled financially as most of my friends flourished with well-paying jobs. I’m living proof that it’s really difficult to make a career out of an English degree.

Flash forward to the present, and I’m now doing pretty well. There’s room for growth, yes, but it’s nothing like the late 1990s and early “aughts.” I now have a master’s degree, a great job, a side gig teaching college classes and a wife who also earns an income. I also have a son.

Having a son has really changed my outlook on helping others. For example, I recently bought overpriced candy bars to help seventh-graders pay for their basketball jerseys. I even had a 2-3 minute conversation with the girls, teasing them about how I could head back inside Schnucks and buy three candy bars for the price of one of theirs. I still bought three of theirs. Best (and only) $2 candy bars I’ve ever tasted.

Anyway, the point of all of this is that I was really touched today. A little over a year ago, I helped on a video for a client and the editing took place at SmithLee Productions in Maplewood. Overseeing the project was Dave Smith (to my hockey friends: this is not “Diving Dave” Smith who used to play for the Black Bears and mysteriously fall like he had been shot every time a stick went near him). Dave owns SmithLee. He was great to work with, and after the project I agreed to meet him for lunch a few months later.

During that lunch, I learned about his daughter, Sarah Jane. She suffers from seizures. Originally able to walk and talk, she sustained major injuries from a five-hour epileptic seizure in 2004. She’s currently recovering from an operation to rebuild her hip joints so she will one day be able to stand up, ride a special tricycle and walk using a special machine. The activities, according to Dave, will help extend Sarah Jane’s life.

Hearing and reading about Sarah Jane and her progress and challenges has moved me like never before, probably because our little Oliver has given me a new perspective on parenting and children. You never know what life will throw at you, and having a child has really softened me up when it comes to relating to other parents.

In an e-mail from Dave today I was informed about a trivia night and silent auction that will be held next Thursday to benefit Sarah’s medical fund. Details can be found by clicking here. You can also find more information about Sarah Jane on her Web site by clicking here. It’s worth checking out, and it would mean a lot if you’d forward the links along to anybody who might be interested in helping Dave and his family.

What do you think? Am I becoming a “softie?” Can any of you new parents out there relate? What about my fellow English majors?

Back to reality (work, that is)

It was back to reality today, which marked my first day at the office after four weeks of paternity leave. Part of me was excited to get back to work and have some structure to my daily routine. I thoroughly enjoy what I do for a living, and the people at Standing Partnership are amazingly talented.

However, part of me was a little sad. It was hard to leave my little Oliver and my helpless overwhelmed beautiful wife. It also was hard to get up at 6-something. It also was difficult going back to work after accomplishing so little over the four weeks I spent away from work.

Before having Oliver, Sarah and I had a huge list of items we’d like to accomplish. You know, during those huge pockets of free time that we didn’t realize would never come to fruition. So we still have shelving units, packed in their boxes, stacked in the basement next to pile after pile of items that need to be organized. We still haven’t purchased a new vehicle for Sarah. And we never got through the dozens of movies we had planned to watch (I think we only watched one movie together during the entire month).

Personally, I was able to accomplish a few items. They included:

  • Setting up online banking and bill paying

  • Repairing the broken window in our garage

  • Getting a new windshield for Sarah’s car

  • Completing our tax returns (ouch!)

  • Almost growing a beard (I only shaved three or four times, though I consistently looked about 15 years old)
We also got to spend a lot of time with family, which was nice. And at least today was just one day, so I have the entire weekend to recover. Next week will be the big test of my endurance. Wish me luck!