We're close people, I can feel it.

Just a quick update for all you baby watchers. Mrs. Austin and I are enjoying a West Wing while I'm typing this on her new laptop.

I have to say laptop, it's not labtop. At one point in the past, when portable computers were new and plugged into main frames, they were mainly used in laboratory situations and called lab tops.

Come on now, they were. Really.

Ok even if they're not, I have to call this thing a notebook now because my lips can't form two p's in the same word apparently.

And I can't even really say that we're enjoying West Wing right now. It has nothing to do with the absence of Sorkin as the creative drive, it's that Mrs. Austin is terribly uncomfortable with contractions. That's right, evening contractions are now between 8-15 minutes apart. She's packed a suitcase and we've told the people who need to help what to expect. One of the last Dr. visits today revealed that the baby has now flipped over and the head is huge. Not huge like deformed, but huge like "I am not looking forward to pushing that thing out of me" huge. Heartbeat is 147, so maybe a girl.

Yeah, another girl. It's actually pretty cool. Lil Miss Austin is such a groovy kid, having another kinda like her would be fun. But man I don't look forward to being outnumbered. Even more reason for me to ramp up the Muppet demeanor, that'll keep me in the game.

But my mind is wandering. We're close to having this second child now and other than pushing through some painful and uncomfortable contractions, we're oddly calm about it. At least I am, but I'm the one with a laptop...er, notebook on my lap watching the West Wing.

So anyway, I don't expect anything new in the next day or two but I think the next update may have new baby pictures. Maybe some pictures of the current spazoid will hold you over.

Little Miss Austin meets the worlds smallest taco.

The perils of creativity, the inability to find a proper medium.

The perils of being cute and sleepy, mom's always got a camera.


The Redecorating Continues

So this weekend was spent finishing the face lifts on one of the last rooms in the house to be updated. Honestly, I'd still like to do something with the office since most of the stuff in there is considered geek collectible nonsense, so something along the line of Geek Chic I feel would be appropriate. However, I believe the kitchen, realistically will be the last room tackled, then maybe some landscaping. Then we move.

So we finally took a stab at the bedroom. The master bath I got away with a stay of execution by suggesting a coat of paint and some new towel racks, but eventually the sink and bathtub will have to go. It's cool the way it is, but I'm sure Mrs. Austin will tire of it's theme eventually. She'll talk me into it again by offering a trip into outer space or something. But the bedroom was only ever going to be paint. We wanted to do the windows as well, get some blinds or new drapes or some such, but could never really get that going.

All along I wanted to continue with the rest of the house theme of giant bold shapes or stripes, but was voted down on the gold base with large red diamonds for the bedroom. Frankly I think that would have looked like ass so I'm glad we didn't go that route. However, pushing for a brushed look held firm and Mrs. A was integral in deciding on the colors and we went with a gold brush over a tan base. The actual color is Yellowstone, but come on, who needs to know that.

Oh but we're not done yet. As you can see from the furniture, there are black accents involved, so we had to incorporate black into the paint as well. Not satisfied with just doing baseboards and door jambs, we decide it would be very cool to cover the chair rail wallpaper we couldn't peel off with a thick black stripe. It was bold, it was daring, it was risk we were willing to take. Black gloss is not a high seller at Lowe's, especially interior paint. Unless you're opening a night club or you just really love The Cure, there's no incentive to buy it. Hence, there were maybe 3 cans in the whole store. Little cans too. They sat there on the shelf like hesitation stab wounds; not really making the effort, but there just in case someone crazy enough came along shouting "I need an accent to my newly painting room and only shocking black gloss will suffice!"

Seriously, I was nervous. You can tell how a paint will affect a room by how you feel putting it on the brush then onto the wall for the very first time. I thought the gold was bad (and by bad I don't mean it looks bad, just that it was different and scary) but putting black on a wall is almost like dipping a French Fry into a chocolate malt; it's deliciously naughty. So the first swaths went down, then one wall's done, then another, then some base boards, and before you know it, the room is complete. Even the outlets are painted a shiny noir. We added back the black drapes that were recently abandoned in favor of lighter Roman shades, put up some gold framed paintings and voila! Instant Grecian bedding chamber.

It's quite stunning, actually. Not only does it match the furniture, but it makes the room feel cozy, yet bold and decadent at the same time. Something I'm sure we'll get used to, but it makes you want to keep the room clean so you can enjoy the ambiance. Yes, I need incentive like that to keep a room clean, shaddup. Mrs. Austin made the comment that this will be the cleanest this room will ever be, ever.

So this season, I guess some would call it Spring, is wildflower season in Texas. Growing up in Colorado there were two seasons; Winter and those two weeks of Summer. There wasn't really a fall since we'd get snow in late September which would kill all the trees, and then 2 months of Indian Summer until December or January. Then it was cold and snowy until nearly May, sometimes June. Then it just got hot and dry. So to have actual seasons is somewhat of a shock. However, spring is big here. It starts a little earlier with the Cedar Fever around the first of the year, then slowly rolls into a rainy season in which you have 5 minutes to mow your lawn between February and May. But eventually you get wildflowers. The most famous, so much so its the state flower, is the blue bonnets. Come spring break, everyone with a child is stopping along the highways to get their kid into a field of legally protected flaura for a good snapshot to send home to the family in Canada or Mexico or some other place that apparently doesn't have flowers of their own. Our family is no exception. This years crop wasn't as prolific as past years, but there were enough beds to find a nice place to get some Little Miss Austin photos. So without further ado...

Mrs. Austin is doing ok. For those who we've talked to already, you know about the bed rest. For those who don't, someone tell us about pregnant women overheating. The doctors all think it's a virus, but high blood pressure just doesn't make anyone sit well, so we are taking it easy now. The weekend was spent watching hockey, painting and doing laundry. And it looks like we needed to.

So, am I hip now?


It is a mathematical fact that the casting of this pebble from my hand alters the centre of gravity of the universe.

- Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus III

That's right suckers. Mr. Austin defied the perils of gravity from 11,000 feet and jumped from an airplane, on purpose. My writing this now means I'm ok, obviously, so all you weak of hearts can just relax ok?

Yes it was exciting and thrilling and a little frightening. I say a little frightening because honestly I've been more afraid of other things in my life, which is weird I know, but I was also with my family and professionals so I knew I'd be ok. I never had foreboding thought enter my head, just the anticipation of freefall and the gentle calm of the parachute ride down.

Let me back up a little. For Mrs. Austin's brother's 30th birthday, we got a skydive with video. He and his wife have been once before and loved it so we thought a good gift would be to send him again. Mrs. A then does her damnedest to talk me into going along with her brother. She says it will be fun and she's a little bewildered that I'm not chomping at the bit to go along. (That's a pervasive theme throughout, and you'll see in a little bit.) So finally I agree to go, just a couple days ago actually, and our jump was Friday.

The the big day rolls around and we all head down to a little town outside San Marcos called Fentress where Skydive San Marcos is located. If you don't know Texas, San Marcos is home of the outlet mall between Austin and San Antonio. San Marcos is close the New Braunfels, home of the world famous Schlitterbahn Waterpark.

Anyway. We get there, sign up and wait for almost 2 hours before it's our turn to go. In all fairness, you have to remember that it's not like a ride at Six Flags. One plane can only hold so many people and after a while that plane needs gas. LMA went with us and had a pretty good time running around being cute and what not, like usual. All things aside, it was a good day for her. She was fun and friendly and more well behaved than any day we could remember.

If only they made parachutes that small.

So now it's our group's turn to go. We get on our jump suits and get our 10 minutes worth of training, which boils down to the tandem jumpers saying "Please don't get in my way" but they were all very good and friendly and informative. Seriously though, when you're already falling from an aircraft, are there things you can do to mess the situation up further? I would think my actions lend to the falling coming to and end rather than perpetuating it.

Just for legal purposes I'm sure. I'M SURE!!

I can't really describe the calm I felt as I donned my jumpsuit and harness. As mentioned before, I was without the feelings of apprehension and dread. Even comically, there weren't the signs around the office saying "Jumps without a fatality: 27" although getting onto the plane the tandem jumpers were very quick to ask each other the last time they had to pull the reserve chute, which I thought was endearing at most.

No no, there's two O's in Goose.

So the three of us headed for the plane, brother-in-law and sister-in-law practicing their altimeter check/rip cord pull Martha Graham moves until the last second. I had little to worry about, they had their own fate in their hands really, so I could understand them feeling a little trepidacious. I did poke fun at them a lot, watching them mime their actions to be as if there was an audition for the Met in 15 minutes.

Like lambs being led to slaughter...

So we board the plane, don't ask what the plane was because I didn't find out. It was a small prop plane with a loading hatch. Growing up attending the Air Force Academy Falcons football games, I was witness to the Wings of Blue and their plane was a Twin Otter, I can only assume this was a similar craft. Anyway, once aboard we sit in front of our tandem jumpers and circle up and up to roughly 10,000 feet. The ride takes about 5 mins. At a certain altitude, we hook up with our tandems and open the doors. The noise level was pretty high as there was no pressurization or sound dampeners on the craft, but once the door was open it was deafening. Brother-in-law and the cameraman were the first out. I didn't really have time or the sensory RAM needed to process him jumping from the craft. He was gone in an instant and before I knew it, I had my toes dangling over the edge and on the count of 3 I was out myself.

The first few seconds were a blur, tumbling ass over tea-kettle through the cool air until I remembered to arch my back so we could control our decent. Trust me, it was the only thing I had to remember, arch my back, and for a few seconds I had forget even that. My brain went from "You can't really be serious about this" to "Holy F-cking Sh-t!!" pretty quickly. Soon enough we flattened out and I got the shoulder tap telling me I could put my arms out and feel the sense of flying. The wind, no, not the wind, the air was rushing past as we picked up speed to roughly 120 mph and terminal velocity. There's no sense of falling other than the rushing air. The distance is so great that you don't feel like you're falling and the air feels like a cool buffer actually trying to keep you up. I would say that people with vertigo would even be able to jump as the ground doesn't rush toward you, it's actually quite serene.

Eventually though, you have to open the canopy and arrest your decent. Our chute opened and we were jerked back into a nice gradual 15-20 mph drop. I was given the chance to steer the chute left and right, then my tandem took over and we did some spirals. The ground approached, he checked the wind and we landed without incident. I noticed that even being the 2nd ones out of the plane, we were the first ones to land. Come to find out, we were heavier and we pulled the chute later. Reason for this, I didn't have to open the chute. The other two were in charge of their own fate and were given a much higher altitude in case something did happen, giving their tandems time to react.

From left to right: Me (green), Chip (yellow), Siobhan (pink).

Mrs. Austin was a trooper through the whole thing. Being pregnant AND corralling a 2 year old AND watching her husband jump from a freakin plane...I wouldn't have been able to contain my bowl shattering nerves. When we were done, and heading for a beer, she STILL couldn't participate. The birth of #2 will be like a 21st birthday for her so you're all invited over to our house for lots of drinking.

Meanwhile, back on the ground...

Yes I will go again, I have to. After 2 more times and a ground class, you can jump solo, but no so low...hehe. Ok, sorry. Anyway, I'd like to go back at least enough times so that I CAN jump alone. I mean, don't get me wrong, jumping at all is amazing. It's the most rebellious thing you can do to mother nature and Einstein and Newton. "Hey, gravity. I realize you have me in your grasp, and I realize that I intentionally leapt from a flying airplane, but you will not win this day because I have 20 yards of silk at my disposal, so ppphhhtt!!"

Cue Top Gun theme song.


Rudeness 101

Well, what a weekend. It had its moments, that's for dang sure.

I'd like to start out by saying that I have no pictures on this version of LIA, but I'm sure some will surface in the coming days.

I'd also like to mention that for the first time since we moved to our new house, Mrs. Austin is pretty happy with our house. With the exception of the kitchen cabinets and maybe the fact that I thumbtack comic artwork up in the computer room, she seems to be nearly at peace with the decor and furnishings of each room; the last piece coming at somewhat of a cost.

The weekend started with the 30th birthday of two friends. One, my brother in law, on April 2nd, the other an ex-coworker on April 3rd. We started the evening at a bar across from the office and proceeded to get really happy until midnight when it was time to wish the 2nd 30th birthday happiness. The next day was spent mowing the Greater Austin Jungle and Wildlife Preserve we have as a backyard. I lost count of how many times the mower died from inching forward into 12-15" high dandelions and morning glories. It's not to say I'm a lazy yard care professional, it's to say I'd rather pull a toenail out with my teeth. Plus, Austin weather times itself to act up during bouts of free time.

When that was done Mrs. Austin got another of her debilitating headaches that require a decent amount of TLC and Rx for her not to go insane, but we had a birthday party to go to. I didn't want her to go, but she said she bought a new outfit and they had come to her party so she was going. I promised not to stay longer than necessary, meaning "We'll leave after the 'Surprise.'" While we're at the party, and it's dark and everyone is quiet, one person who I didn't know sprayed someone else I didn't know with silly string, right in the eye. Accident I'm sure, but the recipient of the blast would not shut up about it. Birthday Boy was on his way in and she kept lippin off about her contact in the loudest possible voice. Hey, lady, it's not your party. Hit the bathroom and shut up will ya?

The next day sent us to the outlet mall to get the finishing piece of furniture for the living room. We went for a chair but got a chaise lounge instead. Yeah, it's kinda pompous, the chaise. It requires a separate purchase of two slaves, a large palm frond fan and a year's supply of grapes.

Anyway, we get to the store, we'll call it Bottery Parn, and find there are no chairs like ours in stock but they have this chaise lounge. Well, there are a couple other people looking at the chaise lounge as well. They're sitting on it, laying on it, looking at it, asking it questions. Mrs. A and I decide we like it and since the price tag is still on it, we grab it and head to the front. While I'm talking to a clerk about what the different prices on the tag are, a guy starts standing next to me listening in and mentions that he'd been looking at that chair but couldn't find anyone to tell him what the tag meant so he didn't pick it up yet. Well, I felt bad for about two seconds, then figured, hey you snooze you lose. I head over to the check out and I can see him shaking his head and leaving the store, apparently a little bent outta shape, so I start feeling a little worse. I figure, if this guy comes back in and says, "I'll give you $50 if you let me buy this chair" I'd let him have it. (It wasn't the one we wanted but from almost $1300 down to $260 I'd have bought a meat grinder.)

But instead, he comes back in and says, "You know, I'd been looking at that chair for about 30 mins trying to find someone to ask about the price tag when you guys took it." To which I said, "Wow dude, that sucks." Then he gets REALLY pissy and storms off saying, "Fine! Keep it!"

Now, two things. It does you no good to get antsy with me when I'm buying something. Until you pay for it, it's not yours. It's not like I stole it from you. We just pulled the trigger faster and now we get to relax in comfort whilst you get to tell your wife (because come on, no guy buys a chaise lounge) that you lost the purchase. And two, who spends 30 minutes looking at one chair? There was only one in there, and it took you 30 minutes to decide? It took us 2 mins to decide, another 2 to ask about the price tag. I'm sorry, but if your brain can't handle decisions faster than an abacus, you don't deserve comfort, you deserve a thorozine milkshake and some bed rest.

For the rest of the day, I'll turn the commentary over to Mrs. Austin.

Thank you Mr. Austin.

After having absconded with the ill-gotten chair, I went to pick up
LMA. It turns out that she'd not been on her best behavior so Chucky
Cheese had to be denied. Instead, I offered to get a movie and dinner
for the family that watched her. We all piled into the car and sped off
to the local grocery store to pick up supplied. As we were standing in
the ice cream aisle (Robert, Schuyler, LMA and myself) the girls decided that an impromptu game of ring-around-the-rosie
was in order. They were cute and a little on the loud side but not in
the house-ape kind of way. Trust me, I'm the LAST person to allow LMA
bad behavior. She doesn't get away with it at home, at a friend's
house, and certainly not in public. I'm not of the mindset that
children should be seen and not heard but I'm a stickler for manners and
can't tolerate much chaotic noise (flashback to me at any family
gathering where I drown out the noise with jack & coke or rum). As we
are trying to figure out which ice cream will have the least amount of
sugar impact on the girls, a woman in her mid-forties walks by and looks
at the girls and then looks at my pregnant belly. She clicks her tongue
at me and says "And to think you are going to have a third. Perfect."
and walks off. It took me a second to figure out that she wasn't being
nice. After I grabbed LMA up in my arms I followed her to the check
out stand and "blessed" her with a dozen children just as wonderful as
mine. She made some comment about never having children like mine and I
walked off. My gallant friend was not so ready to let it go. I didn't
know really what was happening until I walked back down the ice cream
aisle and saw Schuyler standing there pointing at Robert who
was exchanging words with the woman. About five minutes later he walked
back down the aisle and said that we should go as soon as we could. It
turns out that he said some things that she didn't necessarily expect
and she refused to apologize to us. Long story short, she ran from the
store and I'll bet she is careful checking her mail for the next few

It's nice to know that there are people out there that still stand up
for other people and sad to know that people think it is alright to take
potshots at pregnant women. Of all the people in the world to be nice
to, I thought pregnant women and children were top of the list. Its
alright though, I'm pretty sure she's not on God's favorite people list
at the moment.

Why would someone poke fun at a woman big enough to sit on them and crush their ribs?

Mommy says that if i eat all my tofu someday I'll be taller than the chair.