The Fog

This morning was a day early. The fog rolled in sometime during the night and walking out to the car this morning to leave for work I caught a real Halloween vibe. Visibility was only about 30 ft and fog always has this magical way of deadening sound. Add in the deserted nature of my neighborhood at 6 AM and you've got a prescription for catching the Halloween willies.

Steven King wrote this story called simply "The Mist". (John Carpenter already had The Fog) It's one of my favorite stories. This supernatural fog rolls into a town on the heels of a major thunderstorm. Weird things were in the fog. Our hero ended up caught in a grocery store with some other intrepid survivors and they ever so slowly figured out that it wasn't safe out in the fog. They're making that one into a movie that should be out soon. If it releases before the end of the year, I like my odds of seeing it. So keep your fingers crossed, because 2008 isn't going to be a year W goes to the movies.

There's something really visceral about fog. You never know what's waiting just ahead, and it has a weird way of distorting and deadening sound. You just never know what might be lurking out there.

This morning I walked through the fog passing the construction site at 5th and Charlotte where they're building the new MTA transit center. Just as I passed by the workers dropped a 1 ton steel hopper full of wet concrete onto 5th Avenue and then picked it up and started swinging it around 50 ft up when they could barely see 20 ft. The whole thing was especially hair raising if you've seen the construction site in the light of day and you notice the other tower crane which overlaps the big one. It'd be really easy to get the two tangled up and knock them over. It does happen.

I ducked when I walked by. Because you just never know. Whether it's an interdimensional monster who lives in the fog or a good ole boy swing sitting 150 ft above the street in his tower crane that gets you.... dead is still dead and you never can tell about the fog.


Road Observations

Regular readers know that The Mrs. and I are expecting two large life altering events in the December-January time frame. So we decided to get the freedom of being DINK (double income no kids) out of our system with one last vacation before things go pear shaped. For financial reasons we ended up in the Gatlinburg of South Carolina. Myrtle Beach.

Since a 9 hour road trip with an extremely pregnant woman isn't enough of a challenge, I decided to go the scenic route. That involved a tour of rural SC which added several hours to our trip. Along the way I gained a couple of pearls of wisdom I would like to share....

1.) Why is it that every small town whether it be in TN or SC has a Hardees? You see very few of them in Nashville. You also see a lot of Piggly Wiggly and Fred's. IGA used to be the big small town grocery store, but it seems to be on the decline.

2.) Lakewood, TN is like a small town tumor in the larger body of Metro Nashville. When you're inside its' limits you feel like you're in a small town. But you can only stay inside the Lakewood city limits for 2-3 minutes if you're in the car. We actually live just outside the Lakewood city limits, but I didn't come to this realization until I was pondering item 1. As further proof I offer the evidence that Lakewood Police don't have anything better to do than hassle speeders and write tickets for driving 55 in a 45 MPH at 3 AM.

3.) When you buy a new vehicle, you really should keep proof of purchase inside said vehicle until you get the registration and license plate. Police officer's don't like it when you don't do that. Seems fairly obvious in retrospect, but I really didn't think of it ahead of time.

4.) A very pregnant wife in the passenger seat can do a lot to help a police officer in a rural SC town forgive your ignorance. I'm not positive that's why we got off with a warning, but I'm pretty sure it was involved.


Dos Bambinos!

Now let me set the stage on one of the more shocking moments in my life for you....

A guy doesn't have that concrete reminder of the realities of pregnancy that a woman does. So it can be a little harder to wrap your head around the idea of being a father in eight short months. It takes a lot of getting used to the idea in order to get past the very surreal nature of it. For the first several months it's almost like your wife is just fighting a really long term low grade virus. Mostly she's constantly tired, nauseous, and more cranky than usual. And she won't drink adult beverages with you any more.

For expecting parents, the ultra-sound is a really amazing thing. It's kind of like a head start on getting to know your kid. It's also a good kick in the pants to remind you that you really are going to be the parent and in complete charge of a whole 'nother human being in a few months. With good equipment you can see them fairly well and you can watch them move and do whatever it is they do in there. I was thirteen when my little sister was born, so my nine year old brother and I got to see the ultra-sound so I knew a little about what to expect.

With all that in mind, I was really excited when the first ultra-sound rolled around. It was her first natal care appointment at week eight. And back at that time we were still trying to decide between doctors and midwives so we went to her current lady parts doctor. Like I've said before, that was probably a mistake. The doctor was in too much of a hurry. Her ultra-sound equipment wasn't that good, and she wanted us out of there fast. So she took a quick look. As soon as she found the embryo she checked its heart rate and called it a day. She put The Mrs's fears to rest that it wasn't twins and shoved us out of the office. I was very disappointed because I didn't see anything but a blur. Didn't even get to hear the heart.

A month later at our first midwife appointment we decided to do a little genetic testing so they sent us to the Vanderbilt Women's Health Imaging Center for another ultra-sound. This was exciting. They have the latest and greatest equipment over there, and the test was going to take awhile so there would be lots of time to get to know my baby. Plus she (I was already thinking of the baby as a she by this point. I'm still not sure why.) had graduated from embryo to fetus and should be looking a lot more human now.

We scheduled the testing for the morning before we went on a long weekend vacation in Memphis so we were just stopping by on our way out of town.

We went in all innocent and unsuspecting. The Mrs. got up on the table and the ultra-sound tech did whatever it is that medical technicians do. She dropped the probe onto The Mrs's stomach and I was watching the screen closely. I had a better look at the screen since I was standing beside the tech, so I was already staring dumbfoundedly at the screen trying to decide if I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing when the news percolated thru to The Mrs.

My recollection is a little fragmented, but the following is my best reconstruction of the next minute or two.

Tech: "Nobody told me this was a twin pregnancy!"

The Mrs: "Shut up!!!!" (I'm not exaggerating thee exclamation points in the least.
She claims to have thought it was a weird joke.)

W: "Nobody told us either!"

Tech: "Oh!. Well surprise! And
congratulations, it's twins."

The Mrs.: (palm to forehead)
You read that right folks. We're gonna have two babies.

I've had a couple of months to get used to the idea, but it's still pretty crazy when I really think about it. When we left there we actually spent the first half of our trip to Memphis calling up various friends and families and dropping the bomb on them. Witnessing all their shock was very therapeutic for getting over our own.

I'll never be able to name them this in reality, but for blog purposes, their names are Luke and Leia.