Posts Tagged ‘ikea’

Organizing the Chaos

13 March 2011

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Dear J-

One of the other nice things about this trip is that, because I traveled on a Sunday, I get tomorrow off. Thus instead of having to brave the traditional Sunday tourist crowds at the places we haunt we could choose to do so tomorrow instead if we want. Today we went to IKEA instead of the usual Zoo or Sea World so I spent part of the afternoon assembling flat-packed furniture while my little figgy assistant ran back and forth grabbing fasteners and pieces on command.

It’s remarkable where she has come from — we used to have to wait for her to nap before attempting to put things together so she wouldn’t get mashed by the odd slab of wood — to today when she was a willing participant in organizing her room, dumping all the toys that had lived on the floor for weeks into appropriately-sized bins and bringing them over as the frame took shape. It all made for a fast hour and a much improved room.

Life is sometimes about taking advantage of the opportunities that come your way. I spend a week away from home and get an extra day back from last week. And right now I can’t think of a better way to spend it than amidst our own domestic splendor.

Mike

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Impulse Power

5 December 2009

Dear J-

I’m beginning to realize what poor impulse control I have — this is a bad time of year for it too — it’s probably a good thing that we go to the Zoo, typically, on Saturday mornings because if I had too many days like today, I’d soon be bankrupt.  After a whirlwind of activity at home (we’re a bit late on putting up the lights, now a two-year tradition), we whisked away to a couple of stores where virtually everything under $20 caught my eye like a moth to the flame (look, the Glee soundtrack is out, hooray!).

Days I’m alone with figgy — so far, half a day a week, Saturdays — I feel myself rocking back and forth between practiced dad (hey, no problem — we can handle this) and drunken sailor (crazy times and bad judgement — trying to get stuff done, for instance vacuuming; I should have gotten something she could run over the carpet while I’m up and about and instead I plop her down with some snacks and milk).  Some things seem obvious once you watch other people make the mistakes, but until then, I’m stuck figuring these things out on my own.

The guilt fits in with the impulse buying, after all (Duplo LEGO garbage truck # 5637 — not only does she like watching the garbage man go by, I’m feeling awful for something I’ve done, or not done as the case may be, I’m sure!); it’s another vicious cycle, as the newfound guilt over the buy leads to compensatory purchases (well, if I got this for me, maybe I should get this for her) ad infinitum.  Make do with less, that’s the creed we should be following.

Mike

Star Blanket

30 August 2009

Dear J-

We had a second day in a row at the local IKEA; as the temperatures were already soaring by the time we were up, we looked at the usual haunts (Zoo, Sea World, and I’d be surprised if anyone went to the Wild Animal Park if they knew in advance where the hottest parts of the county were) and decided that there wasn’t enough water in the world to keep us hydrated today outdoors. I think I even got theVet to understand what keeps us coming back: it’s fun for her, it keeps her busy, and no one minds if there’s a little demon running around hurling herself on furniture (today the beds got a particular workout).

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There’s now a bed sitting in the spare room, unassembled — in a twin size, there’s a chance that she could use it until she moves out of the house; I don’t know if she’s necessarily ready for it, but it seems like she outgrows something new every week — I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before we start peeling her off the sides of the crib. Meanwhile the magic of running around all day without a nap works its spell; she sleeps under a blanket of stars projected on walls and ceiling while the heat keeps oozing slowly around. The hours have run out on another weekend — it’s back to the grind tomorrow, but all the week I’ll have my saved-up memories to keep me amazed.

Mike

Fast Blur

29 August 2009

Dear J-

Pretty much as expected, today: we’ve spent the day looking for air conditioning where we could (lunch at Carmen’s, though, was pretty much au naturel — the thermostat on the wall said 99 degrees inside), this after the weather services all told us we were getting a break from the heat for the weekend. I’m getting used to going out on Saturdays now — the agoraphobia is starting to dissipate, and I look forward to seeing what havoc figgy will wreak as we work our way through different places.

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We have funny roles, theVet and I; I am the official shoe-fitter, whereas theVet is the reader of stories and soother operator (when I go in at night to turn it on it sets off some explosion), but those are starting to blur the more I take her to different places on my own. Life is definitely easier when we’re both there to hand off duties, but every Saturday I’m more confident that we can get through the week ever faster; it’s already hard to believe where we are versus six months ago, a year ago.

Mike

Light Weight

8 August 2009

Dear J-

The last part of this week I’ve been trying out a different way of working — mind you, it takes me a good solid couple of months to develop the muscle memory to work a camera, so most of these conclusions are premature; between the controls, modes, and a new workflow I can’t be sure what needs to be tweaked. Instead of hauling around the E-1, which by now has proven reliable, solid, and fast, I worked with a point-and-shoot; instead of Olympus Master (and that has been something I’ve never been fundamentally pleased about, but the price was right), I tried Raw Photo Processor.

The digicam — a Panasonic LX1 — fits in with the other items in my life: obsolete (we have rumors of a LX4 already, with the LX3 rising in price as stocks are depleted) and oversize (with the comically large lens doubling its thickness, it’s not precisely a pocket camera). I thought that shooting in 16:9 would be shocking, but it hasn’t been a terrible transition — there are the occasional chopped heads and feet, but it actually feels right. As a bonus, the camera shoots raw without any hacks, meaning that I can show off maximum-ISO shots in all their grainy glory. But if someone could tell me why RPP is munging my EXIF data, I’d really appreciate it.

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The LX1 is not as responsive as the E-1, but it does have the advantage of portability; where the E-1 takes some planning to tote around, the LX1 does manage to squeeze into the large-pocketed shorts I favor ten months out of the year. This means less thinking about what to bring and more life squeezed into the day; rather than the Zoo or SeaWorld we ventured back to IKEA, attracted by the prospect of fifty-cent hot dogs and dollar cinnamon rolls (figgy had one of the former and half of the latter, discarding the hot dog itself in favor of a ketchup-smeared bun) and vast, trackless stretches of virgin furniture waiting to be tackled and trod on. The camera didn’t get in the way, and that’s liberating, that’s becoming the primary concern.

Mike

Meatball Stew

3 August 2009

Dear J-

I remember reading some of those first LiveJournal blogs; each entry was accompanied by a status bar on top, charting mood and music.  Right now I have the Suzanne Vega song from Pretty in PinkLeft of Center — running through my head (you’re welcome, by the way).  Although we have two eyes, one of them is usually dominant — I’ve talked before about being cross-dominant (right-handed, left-eyed), which has caused no end of grief when bowling (I make a wicked, unintended hook to the left), archery (slapped my face with the bowstring), and photography (I end up spending for a motordrive not always because they sound cool, but also to avoid having the winding lever poke me in the eye).

That particular tale of woe has nothing to do with wanting a more portable camera, though; I already have one that the folks on the van think is much too large (my daily-carry Sony V1) compared to the shirt-pocket cameras of today, and what they say has been, so far, true — there are no collectible point-and-shoots (closest so far would probably be the Panasonic LC1 I sold towards getting a real lens).  I’ve just been thinking lately about situations that might justify a belt-carry camera, and I know there must have been some advances in point-and-shoots since the circa 2003 V1.  Plus more stuff on my belt makes me more like Batman, and that’s generally a good thing (for me at least; for those who have to be seen with me, well …).

Yesterday after the zoo, which I managed to overlens myself for (too much, too big, too long) again, we stopped by IKEA for lunch; theVet helpfully pointed out that I could have saved myself the extra dollar for five extra meatballs since figgy wasn’t going to eat her portion anyway (we are encountering stiff resistance at mealtimes lately, but as they say, no kid this age has an eating disorder — they’ll eat when they get hungry enough).  We intended to walk around and despair at the clever Swedes’ use of small spaces (bottom line, unless I start getting rid of, oh, everything, we’re not going to have a tasteful IKEA home), but she had to try out this chair and that sofa, sprawling out on chaises and chasing the next ottoman and cushion accessory set from each neighboring living room.  It was marvelous and maddening, and if I hadn’t taken only the gigantor camera set, I could have caught those memories for later use (“See how crazy you were?”).  That’s why you put up with imaging less than state-of-the-art; convenience trumps quality when you need your hands free to participate in life, not just watch it go by.

Mike