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Week 39

Started: 2009-03-26 13:29:49

Submitted: 2009-03-28 18:09:20

Visibility: World-readable

Week 39 dawned with a week to go before the induction scheduled at week 40. Everything I did became the last time I would do that thing before the birth. While it remained possible that Kiesa would go into labor at any time I thought it more likely that she would last until her induction on Thursday. As the week wore on the forecasts for snow on Thursday became more dire, finally forecasting an epic blizzard on Calvin's due date. I figured he was waiting for such a storm to be born.

Thursday

I attended my last Hacking Society before the dawn of the Calvin Era after searching out tea at Whole Foods. After picking up Tazo China Green Tips tea for the last Megafest, I discovered I liked it and wanted to keep drinking it. (It has a more pronounced flavor than most green teas I've tasted.) I failed in my mission to acquire the loose-leaf version (the excess packaging on the filterbag bugs me), even though I know pursuing good tea will lead to ever more expensive teas.

My primary accomplishment for Hacking Society was getting my new Bluetooth headset to work in A2DP mode as an output device for my computer. I'm not yet convinced my headset likes pairing with multiple devices (or, at least, I haven't quite figured out how to re-pair it at will), but it was handy to be able to use headphones with my computer without bringing special headphones along.

Friday

Spring began at 05:44 MDT with the vernal equinox. After a dry but cool February, we had a few weeks of warm spring weather with highs in the 70s. The muscari bulbs I planted around my trees last fall started blooming, and the maple in the front yard and the lilacs on the west of the house started budding. I wasn't sure how well my plants would survive budding only to be snowed on the following week. The warm weather brought out the pollen that aggravated my hay fever. Calvin declined the opportunity to be born on the equinox.

Saturday

I carefully considered my options for my last weekend expedition before becoming a dad. I drew inspiration from the Boulder 360 ride but wanted something longer that took in more trails around the outskirts of Boulder, some of which I had never traveled on and some of which I had set foot on only once. Inspired by the name Boulder 360, I dubbed my longer loop "Boulder 720".

(See also the larger version and the raw track (kml) and the GPS route, rounded off to the nearest 100 feet (gpx).)

I drove to Niwot, parked, and biked south on a series of trails, hitting the outskirts of Gunbarrel, then headed east and south on the East Boulder Trail. The trail was a bit rougher than would have been optimal for my bike, but I enjoyed biking through the rolling hills of eastern Boulder County, through open space dotted with lakes and streams and pastures.

The East Boulder Trail dumped me near Arapahoe without an obvious connecting trail, so I biked along Arapahoe to 75th to Baseline to the South Boulder Creek Trail. I followed the trail south, along the creek through more open space pastures, then turned north along the South Broadway frontage road and entered Boulder from the south. I followed the Bear Creek Trail downstream, along the route I used to bike home from school when I was a student at Fairview, and took a short detour into my old neighborhood. I can't count the number of times I turned off the Bear Creek Trail to cross Mohawk Drive, but this was the first time I had to clip out of my toe clips to stand while waiting to cross the street.

My old house was pretty much the same as the last time I saw it, which was almost unchanged from the way it looked when I lived there. My blue paint job from high school was untouched and still looked good.

I crossed Foothills Parkway and headed north to the Boulder Creek Path, passing under the newer underpass at Arapahoe. I noticed prairie dogs in relief on either side of the underpass but didn't think about stopping to get a picture until I had passed. (I discovered I can take grainy pictures on my cell phone and immediately post them to TwitPic. The quality doesn't touch my SLR but it's a handy way to microblog photos in real time. What would be really cool is an SD card for my SLR that would let my phone talk to the camera via Bluetooth. SD cards with wireless Ethernet are easy enough to find. I could also get a micro SD card with a standard SD adaptor to swap between my camera and phone, but now that I've discovered Bluetooth I want to do everything with it.)

I headed west, upstream, on the Boulder Creek Path and headed off course at Thirteenth to divert to Pearl Street for a break and a snack. I parked my bike on Thirteenth and Pearl and walked up the crowded mall to the Bookends Cafe for an iced mocha. (I wasn't the only person taking advantage of the warm spring weather; the mall was packed.)

Properly recaffeinated, I returned to my bike and continued up the Boulder Creek Path to Eben G. Fine Park, then turned north through an underpass under Canyon Boulevard and headed north on Fourth Street. I was surprised to see major home construction on almost every block; some houses had been razed and were being rebuilt from the foundations, and others were being significantly remodeled. With only one snapshot in time, it wasn't clear whether construction had been stalled on any of the houses but it was clear that the current economic climate had not had a major negative effect on construction.

(Every once and a while the thought crosses my mind to question whether it's really a good idea to bring a new baby into the world given its current state. Every time I do, I look back to the year I was born, in the wake of the 1979 Energy Crisis, when stagflation was rampant, unemployment climbed to 7.5%, and the Federal Funds Rate hit 18% in a misguided application of monetary policy. The Cold War was still underway in 1980; nuclear annihilation and mutually-assured destruction remained a possibility and the Doomsday Clock advanced to 4 minutes before midnight in 1981. Every generation has its crises; it's not worth dwelling on them in the long-term outlook. By the time Calvin knows what a recession is, we'll have gone through several more recession-and-recovery cycles.)

I followed a network of trails north of Linden Avenue around the west side of Woodland Lake and joined the South Foothills trail on the north-west side of the lake and climbed an unexpectedly-steep trail out of the basin. (All hills appear steeper on bikes than on foot; there's a limit to how low of a gear I can use.) I crossed Lee Hill Road, joined the North Foothills Trail, and the trail quickly became rockier than I could easily traverse on my road bike. I walked my bike up the hill and carefully rode down; halfway down the hill I heard an ominous hissing from my front tire and stopped before it deflated entirely. I walked the rest of the way to the nearest trailhead, just off North Broadway, and called Kiesa for a ride home. I had traveled 51 kilometers with 17 kilometers left to go.

When Kiesa arrived, getting my bike in the back of Yoda proved more difficult than I expected with the carseat base installed in the back seat. (I drove Motoko to Niwot and didn't want to try to give her directions to Motoko first and then to my current location at the North Foothills Trailhead.) After taking both wheels off I gave up on stuffing my bike in the trunk without removing the carseat and popping down the middle seat. Kiesa dropped me off at Motoko in Niwot and I drove the rest of the way home, slightly embarrassed to have lost a tire but excited to have finished most of the loop on my last major expedition before the dawn of the Calvin Era.

Sunday

I hung out at home on Sunday, finishing the last things we needed to have done before Calvin was born. I amused myself by writing some code to convert the routes I biked into Google Maps API code for easy online viewing. (That's what you see above.) Kiesa and I made one last pre-baby library trip; my attempts to induce labor by reading The Economist to Calvin were unsuccessful.

We watched episode 6 of Dollhouse, which was the long-promised "everything gets interesting" episode. I've enjoyed Joss Whedon's previous television shows, and I remain cautiously optimistic about this one. I have a curious relationship with serial television dramas; I like shows to have a strong overall plot (the later seasons of Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine come to mind; both of which were essentially one story spread out over several seasons of television) but I distrust shows that rely too much on building their mythology without bothering to break their early episodes into individual units (see Lost and Heroes, both of which I might have liked had I gotten more out of the first episodes). I liked the plot payoffs in Dollhouse episode 6 and the promise of much more to come; we're slowly peeling the onion in the Dollhouse universe and it turns out it goes much deeper than we thought. I look forward to seeing what happens next.

Tuesday

I filed my taxes early Tuesday morning, one of the last things I wanted to finish before Calvin is born. For lunch, I drove into Boulder, ate at Chipotle on Pearl Street, and dropped by my favorite indie record store, Bart's CD Cellar on Pearl Street, to pick up the new album from The Decemberists, The Hazards of Love. I made one last stop at REI to pick up a watch (I've been without a wrist watch since the knob on my last watch broke in Sydney in August 2007); I wanted a big analog dial on a solid-looking watch and ended up with the Timex Expedition Rugged Metal Field Watch.

Wednesday

I spent my last day at work trying to wrap up enough of my project so I can leave for a week and a half without anyone waiting on me, and documenting enough of it so my colleagues can pick up for me if necessary. One of my coworkers (who had a baby weeks after I started working at my current employer in August) took me to lunch for some last-minute encouragement. I spent the first half of the afternoon critically uninterested in work, then gained inspiration in the last two hours, which proved to be not quite enough time to wrap anything up. I documented what I had, set my OOO message in my e-mail client, and left the building, knowing I wouldn't return before before becoming a dad.

I met Kiesa for our last supper at the Himalayas Restaurant in Longmont, our last chance to eat out without worrying about what to do with Calvin. At home we wrapped up the last-minute things we needed to do. I went to bed a bit later than I hoped, excited and a bit nervous for the next day's scheduled induction on Calvin's due date.

I've always thought someone could make a killing by selling the
"for dummies" books for $200 a piece using infomercials! :-)
- Yanthor, on Content Solutions chatter, 17 December 2001