Monday, February 25, 2013


Or lack thereof? If we are talking about the mental variety, it is in short supply, even as the chaos is in higher concentration that usual. One feeds directly into the other, of course.

I am in the office today, and ostensibly getting stuff done (as opposed to last Friday, when I was out of the office for several hours because of an all-hands meeting at the Pentagon to hear from leadership about the anticipated effects of sequestration) but it is no easy task. This post will perforce be brief, and almost certainly not the most riveting thing I’ve ever written, but if the blog goes dark for a fair length of time in the next few days, at least it won’t be without notice.

So Saturday night my wife was awakened at about 2 a.m. by contractions. She assumed that they were of the random, passing variety (to which she has been prone throughout the latter days of this pregnancy) and, bless her too-kind heart, her first inclination was to let me remain asleep while they ran their brief course. However, when they continued with regularity for more than half an hour, she (rightly) woke me up and I proceeded to time them while she attempted as much as possible to relax. They continued unabated and picked up a little speed, eight minutes apart, then seven, six, five, four … 3:30 a.m. came and went, then 4:30 … at a certain point I lost the ability to hold the intervals between the contractions in my head and started entering the time in a spreadsheet on my smartphone, which I did for at least an hour or so, until right around 5 a.m. the contractions became more spaced out and then suddenly stopped, and we fell back asleep for another hour or so before the kids started waking up. Obviously, you may deduce from my aforementioned presence at the office that the baby did not come this past weekend. He just gave us a few interestingly fraught hours of trying to determine, given that water had not broken and the contractions were coming steadily but not with any particular intensity, how much longer we should wait before calling the doctor for further instructions and/or sending out the mayday signal to friends and family who could reasonably sit with the little guy and little girl while my wife and I headed to the hospital. It seemed respectful to everyone else in the world who would be asleep at 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. to wait as long as possible before sounding the freak-out alarm, and ultimately we were glad we did since said alarm was finally proven false. But it certainly made the baby’s nearness feel altogether more real and also more, um … near.

Which in turn helped give us the motivation to go out and get stuff done on Sunday while we still could, some stuff specific to being fully baby-ready and some stuff which we’d simply prefer not to wait another month or two to square away. So we had a productive morning outing, and right around midday when we got home I got a phone call from my brother because our mom was in the hospital. It’s a serious situation which still has the potential to get better or get worse, but either way it is unfolding 2000 miles away.

So, yeah, that was my weekend (notwithstanding a nice visit to meet the newborn of some good friends of ours on Saturday morning and then some housework and grocery shopping Saturday night, before things started getting noteworthy in the wee hours of Sunday morning). Thanks to the foreshadowing contractions, I’m devoting a fair amount of energy at the office today toward making sure that everything I’m working on is cleaned up enough to hand off to someone else, if necessary, because it feels like an any-minute-now situation. At the same time my mother’s health crisis has me only halfway paying attention to those work assignments while I keep one eye on my phone, waiting for my brother to call with an update. Not my sharpest day! I will update further as the various storms clear, as I’m choosing to believe that they will.

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