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[Comments] (4) Words cannot explain: Today is my last day with the Mags. Today is Susie's last day of work. Monday is my first day as the quote-unquote breadwinner. I'll miss the extra income.

But I'm mostly happy with the decision. We don't really know a lot of people, so basically we'd be paying a stranger to care for Maggie. And it's expensive. How can someone with no past experience or skills charge so much? Maybe Susie should take in someone else's rugrats. But seriously. I refused to consider day care where the child to adult ratio is atrocious. That and I've heard horror stories from so many people about day care. Besides, no one will care for Maggie with as much love as we will. That's not to say there aren't good caregivers out there, because there are. But none of them would love my daughter the way Susie and I do.

My biggest worry is just that Susie will be bored and hot. Maybe in UT, when we have family to help watch Maggie, she can work again. We'll see. Maybe Susie will like taking care of her more the older she gets. I know I've had a blast watching Maggie grow in so many ways. She now can sit up on her own! So cute.

So, anyway, I guess that, even as an accountant, I've realized that there are solutions that involve more than considering the bottom line.

Zoom Zoom: As Susie mentioned on her blog, we sold the Saturn. To CarMax. An ingenious place. You can sell them a car without buying one. Now, sure, we could have sold it ourselves, paid money for an ad, dickered with people on the price, paid for a mechanic to check out the car, etc. You know, do it the old fashioned way. But we didn't. In an effortless hour and a half we walked out with a check, and we barely had to lift a finger to do it. Kudos to CarMax.

Incidentally, I hear there is another Saturn sitting in b-town that was supposed to have been sold months ago. I think CarMax could give it a good home.

[Comments] (3) Baby's First Review: (By Maggie)

Today I saw my first movie: Ratatouille. I enjoyed it so much I only napped for 20 minutes, even though I hadn't had a nap yet today. I mostly just sat on daddy's lap and watched, though a few times I had to vocalize my comments at certain critical junctions of the film. Especially interesting to me were the ending credits. I was mesmerized, though I don't quite know why.

I felt bad watching such a fun movie for free, so I left them my left sock in exchange. This is the first time I have lost a sock. I never even lost one at Disney. Fine holiday fun!

Baby Swap: Last night we watched our friend's 6-month old, Connor, so that his parents could go and watch Harry Potter 5. Tonight they are watching Maggie for us.

Connor is obsessed with Maggie, but Maggie doesn't really seem to care about Connor that much. She'll look at him and smile, but Connor always wants to touch Maggie. Last night Maggie dutifully went to bed at 7:45, the usual hour. Connor, however, does not have a usual hour. His mom says she waits until he's tired and then pushes him in the stroller until he falls asleep. The baby books all say that's a no no, that children should be put down awake (yet tired) and learn to fall asleep on their own. But it's their baby so what can I say.

Well, Connor decided to be ornery at 8:15, and started screaming, which woke up Maggie. So I took him outside and walked with him for 30 minutes before he fell asleep and I could put him down. Poor kid. He was probably wary of me and his unfamiliar surroundings, so I was willing to hold him until he fell asleep. But it's a good thing that he only weighs two more pounds than Maggie, or I wouldn't have survived. He's a cute kid, but that's not a very good nighttime ritual.

Holding him made me wish I had a little boy. But I'm sure I'd feel the same way in reverse. I love my little girl, but she needs a little brother. One day. Not today. Or tomorrow. Or even next year.

I hope Maggie will behave for them tonight. She can be high maintenance sometimes, even if she is the cutest bug that ever lived.

[Comments] (1) The Jig is Up: Last week we were informed that the other 7 year-old primary teachers were being released and that we are now one big consolidated class. So Susie and I now teach 11 children, plus a Maggie. Then this week they told us that treats are no longer appropriate rewards in Primary. How else am I supposed to control 11 children while holding a sleeping baby? I think I may have to break the rules quite a bit on this one. What's the worst that can happen? They'll release us? On the bright side, today was my last day playing the piano for the ward choir.

Friday night we saw HP5. Brother and Sister Erickson were there, so we sat by them, and they let me share their popcorn. That's a real treat for us; Susie and I never buy movie theater foods. I actually enjoyed the movie. I had very small expectations for the movie, as book 5 is my least favorite. But I enjoyed the movie. Of course, the Newsweek thought it was a disgrace, what with all the leftout stuff. But I liked what they left out--no one wants to see teenagers fight on screen for two hours. And the way they handled the Cho breakup was also quite clever. I was a little sad they left out Aunt Petunia's howler, however. I also liked the actresses they cast for Luna and Umbridge. Luna was perfect. And Umbridge had a slight comical air about her that made it actually possible to stand her. I was rather impressed. Can't wait for this weekend! Please pray that I don't have to work (it's been rumored). I'm not going to get spoiled this time, dagnabit.

Tomorrow bright and early I leave for DC. I'm not going to really have any time to sightsee, so this trip is going to be a lot of wasted effort. Oh well. It'll be a slight adventure, and I'll probably be more tolerant of the heat here after spending a few days in an east coast summer.

[Comments] (2) Taxation without Representation: That's the mantra of the district, as it is posted on license plates here. Well, here I am, representing the peeps. Let the taxation begin!

My flight here was completely uneventful. They were very full so I had to have a middle seat on the first leg to Chicago. It was awful, but Sudoku and Susie's iPod helped me pass the time. No delays to speak of, though I did have to wait in the security line at John Wayne for 45 minutes. I got to the gate just as boarding began. That airport can be such a joke. It was freaking 5:30 am.

When I arrived in DC around 5, I cabbed to the hotel and then walked to the office to make sure I could find it properly. I went the wrong direction for the first 5 minutes, but once I figured it out, I found the office without a hitch. Consequently, it is on NY Avenue across the street from the Grand Hyatt. The Grand Hyatt is where I stayed when I first came to DC 11 years ago exactly. That was my first plane trip, my first trip to somewhere not my sister's house in CA, and my first experience with the business world.

I had won the sophomore competition in high school at the state level of FBLA and therefore got to go to DC for Nationals. And that trip is what made me start to consider business. Before that, I had no idea what I would do when I went to college. And there was EY, across the street. If I were a better writer, I could weave some story about the significance of all of this. But I'm a numbers person, so the facts will have to suffice. Needless to say, though, it all seems too cool to be merely coincidental. This city, I suppose, means more to me than I originally thought.

The first night I met up with a colleague and we walked down to the mall. We walked around the Washington monument and I saw the new WWII monument, which is pretty cool. It has a very calming effect on a person. Then onward down to Lincoln. I'd forgotten how steep the climb is up to visit honest Abe. I was sweating bullets at the top. The second night, after training, I trailblazed alone. Well, not completely. I strapped on my iPod and out exploring I went. It didn't feel lonely with the iPod. I walked down to the mall again, but this time headed toward the Smithsonian and Capitol Hill. It was nice to walk along with all the runners and watch the softball, ultimate frisbee, and soccer games along the way. I love that about this place: people recreating outdoors instead of at the gym! In fact, I have only seen one gym here. But I've seen enough Starbucks to make me sick.

At the Capitol building I saw an abandoned binky in the sand, so I called home:

Me: Guess where I am?

Susie: Where?

Me: I'm at the Senate building.

Susie: What's that?

Me: You know, where the House and Senate convene. The Congress Building. The big one.

Susie: You mean the Nation's Capitol?

Me: Jetlag.

Maggie apparently enjoyed listening to me, Susie says, though she didn't really talk back. I think she'd enjoy it here. Lots of people watching to do. I'm not really a suburb person, but I'm also not about living in an apartment the size of a cardboard box that costs $2000 a month. In essence, I'd love to live here, or in NY, but it's no longer practical. So I guess the suburbs win. To make up for it, I guess I'll just have to be a vacation person. I'm excited to go home to my girls tonight. It's been fun, but three days is enough. I hope I survive the flight home.

The Home Stretch: I am exactly halfway through HP7 now. I had hoped to be farther, but the last few chapters made me pause, and I re-read them. Not to give it away, but Christmas has just wrapped up and Ron did something heroic. I'm glad I'm a slow reader. I've mentioned stuff to Susie that she didn't remember, but it gives her this look of "Oh, that's what that means." I'd rather read it right than make incorrect judgments and re-read it later. And since I am so busy with a Beet and with work, I haven't had time to be tempted to look online yet. That all said, I still plan to have the book finished by Sunday at the latest. Susie hopes earlier. She keeps saying stuff. Like mother, like daughter.

Impression so far: I like it, but the tone of the book is surprising to me.


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