I apologize that the baby updates have been few and far between lately. All the fervor surrounding the impending move has overshadowed a lot of the baby-related events. With me in one state and my wife in another we’ve been splitting duties, one searching to buy a house and the other working to sell. Now that we’re in the same state again and we have a definite closing date, things have slowed down enough that we can catch our collective breath and reassess the child compilation process. That’s when we realize that we’re in the linking phase and the executable will be written out really soon.
All in all, everything is going swimmingly for the little tike. It’s all the things external to the womb that have been plaguing us. We just had a doctor’s appointment this morning which included the fourth (and I’m assuming final) ultrasound. Unfortunately, I missed the third ultrasound (which was in NC while I was in WV), but I was able to get the morning off at work today to go with my sweetie. While we’ve got a couple pictures, I haven’t had a chance to scan them, so they won’t be accompanying this post. (I got to see the scanned versions of the third ultrasound pics, but have been too busy to process them for online consumption either.)
They performed a number of tests on him, and he seems to be completely healthy and normal. They have some sort of rating scale where he was rated ten out of ten (to which we both independently thought to ourselves, “Knowing what overachievers we tend to be, I wonder how we can score an 11…”). His size and weight are all normal, as are every internal and external bit they could find and assess. I did see five little chubby digits wiggle in a half-hearted wave at one point, but that’s about all I could definitively make out. (Ultrasounds are like Rorschach tests, don’t you know….)
Momma, however, isn’t doing as well as she would like. I won’t go into all the details as per her request, but she’s had a number of minor complications that have made things for her rather difficult (but which haven’t impacted the baby yet). For one, she’s been diagnosed with gestational diabetes and now has the joy of testing her blood sugar four times a day and shooting up with insulin in the mornings. She also has a low iron count and may possibly have thalassemia, meaning more nutritional supplements. This is on top of the normal fun aspects of late-term pregnancy, including swelling feet, lack of energy, etc. But despite all this she still remains excited, and I’ve been making sure that she takes it as easy as possible given our unusual circumstances.
While it’s technically still premature to say things are a done deal, we now have a new house in West Virginia. After a full month of searching mostly online and partially in person, including at least one failed bid, we’re now in the contract phase where all that’s left is the paperwork.
We have a closing date of July 28th. The home inspector has already been through and given his approval of everything, the financial paperwork should be on its way back to our bank in North Carolina as of this writing, and the movers are scheduled to show up at the old house on the 31st, meaning we ought to have our stuff in WV by August 4th. (That said, I know of a couple friends who just moved from New York to Florida who spent a miserable 42 days (a coincidental number?) while their possessions were locked up in various warehouses and tractor trailers, completely out of their reach. I’m hoping for a bit more competence from our moving company.)
So far, I like this little building. Compared to our cramped little starter home in NC, this will have a lot more room. It has two stories, the top comprising of the living room, kitchen, and three bedrooms, while the lower level is split about 40/60 between the two-car garage and a spacious den. We’ve already picked which bedroom will be the baby’s room and which will be the office. The living room and den will be quandaries, however, as we don’t really have enough stuff to fill both. It’s especially difficult deciding where we’re going to put the massive 57″ widescreen TV; getting up the hill or those stairs into the living would be a pain, and it would be shame lot to put it down in that huge ol’ den. Of course, being the geek that I am, I’ve already been trying to decide where to put the cable modem router to get the best possible wireless signal throughout the entire house. (I’ve also got a plan for running Ethernet into the office to the 16-port switch, but that can wait.)
The house cost a bit more than we originally wanted to pay. However, in the same frame, I think we may have been aiming a little lower than we needed to in our pricing. Once the financing calculations were done, we found out that the mortgage payment won’t be significantly higher than what we’re already paying in NC. And since we’re notorious savers and have an obnoxiously sparkling clean credit history (we’re too goody-two-shoes for our own good), we’ll be able to comfortably pay the big ol’ 20% down payment directly without having to finance that as well. (I say “comfortably” in that we’ve got the liquid assets to do it, not that it won’t hurt. Of course, it will help that our estimated return from the sale of the NC house will almost completely reimburse the down payment on the WV, but that’s part of the “comfortable” part as well; we should be able to buy the new house first with the cash on hand, then worry about making up the return on the old house later.)
So now that you’ve been updated on the house, I’ll throw in one meta-blog update as well: When the move finally occurs, the machine hosting this site and the GPF Store will be moving as well. Since I physically control this box, I’ll be breaking her down, packing her up, and setting her up in the new house myself. The good news is that I should be able to do this with a minimum of downtime, perhaps only a day or two, depending on how quickly we can get cable service set up. The bad news is that it could be longer if there are unforeseen delays, such as delays in getting the cable set up, the movers require enough of my attention that I can’t take time to set up the network, etc. So if you can’t reach the blog or the Store for a while around the end of this month and the beginning of this month, that’s why.
Oh, and one other note: I was able to finally sit down and actually draw line art for comics this week. I’ve set up the art desk at my parents’ house temporarily, and was able to squeeze in a week’s worth (of the old schedule, one “Sunday” and six “dailies”) in a couple nights. I honestly can’t remember the last time I physically drew. I had drawn up a couple weeks’ worth of line art some time back, when I first started the new job, and I’ve been doing the digital half of those strips until I recently ran out. It was both refreshing and exhausting at the same time, like I was getting back to something I enjoy that I’ve missed, but that also takes a great deal of energy to accomplish. Either way, it felt good to be back in the GPF saddle.
Oh, and maybe one more other note: There may be a baby update tomorrow. We’ll see.
By now I’m sure many of you have heard the news: Last week, Warren Buffett, the world’s second richest man, announced he is giving away 85% of his $44 billion fortune to Bill Gates (coincidentally the world’s first richest man) and his charitable organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The news outlets, of course, have been all a twitter over this little morsel, which isn’t surprising. Such massive levels of philanthropy are unprecedented and certainly to be applauded. I know CNN Headline News ran several little articles about what could be achieved with just a fraction of Buffett’s donation, such as virtually eliminating certain diseases, cutting world hunger in half, or even providing treatment for every single AIDS victim in the world for an entire year. Impressive indeed.
But then I heard an interesting quote from Buffett, which can be found in this article (among other places): “There is more than one way to get to heaven, but this is a great way.”
Let’s put a few things straight, Warren. Your generosity is certainly noteworthy, and I’ll bet you’ll be remembered for many years to come because of it. And there’s certainly a bunch of wonderful things that be done with your substantial gift, especially in the Gates Foundation’s focus areas of “world health, poverty and increasing access to technology in developing countries.” But last time I checked, God doesn’t take bribes.
Ephesians 2:8-9 clearly states that “God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” (NLT) No matter what the common secular notion is, nobody can buy their way into heaven. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (NLT) There are no exceptions. Nobody can be “good enough” or do enough to win God’s favor; we have to humble ourselves and turn our lives over to Him.
By the same token, Jesus was pretty clear on the “many roads lead to heaven” line of thinking. Christ himself said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (NLT) He also states in Matthew 7:13-14 that we must “enter through the narrow gate [that is, through Christ]. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (NIV) Many are deceived by the notion that if we do just enough “good” things in this world to balance out the “bad,” everything will work out in the end. But Christ made it clear: there’s only one doorway into heaven, and He’s the one who holds the keys. $37 billion in charity is commendable, but even that won’t help you pick the locks on the Pearly Gates.