Sunday, June 25, 2006

Busy Bead Aquarium Friends

If my son needs plastic fish as friends, I've failed as a father. Then again, I think my daughter could use a few friends. We got Kiddo outside of the house once or twice and met a few of the neighbor girls but she's been spending most of my work days playing on the computer and pestering Red and Mom-in-Law about how she will only eat certain foods if they come in the right color packages. But that's another story.

Before we left Rhode Island (hopefully forever, as far as I am concerned) we began to receive mountains of mailings from companies hawking baby products. Those of you who are parent will likely have experienced this. I suspect it's because Red likes to give out our name and address at baby stores. When they ask me if they can have my name and address, I say, "No."

As soon as the commerce machine got wind of our having a baby, we started receiving sample package junk in the mail, most of which we couldn't use, like Huggies that were too small and formula we hadn't planned to use (still breastfeeding, but supplementing with formula). The same thing happens when you move; somehow your name gets on a list and everybody wants to perform lawn service and test your water. Dude! I'm on city water! Give me a break already! More about that sales call some other time.

One of those baby product companies was called Babee Tenda, which has been on the scene for about 50 years selling expensive ugly little high chairs and apparently scaring the crap out of parents to do it. The sales representative sends out cards in the mail declaring a "baby safety seminar" on some date, not disclosing company affiliation or intention to sell you lots of stuff.

I said to Red as soon as I saw the card, "I wonder what they're selling." That just pissed her off and we went anyway. I sat through most of the presentation trying not to roll my eyes and storm out. For hours he didn't even try to sell us anything, but let us know who he worked for and what he was going to talk about, then with a packed hotel meeting room full of paranoid parents and nervous pregnant women, he demonstrated why every baby product on the planet was inadequate to have babies anywhere near.

OK, I'll admit, when I saw the leg of that swing lift up while my son was in it, I was a bit concerned, and yes, I remember knocking the high chair over when I was in it as a child. This feeding table has a low center of gravity and a wide base, and spent a few minutes banging on it myself, checking quality of construction and to see how stable it really was. It turns out they are well-made, but just as stable as one of those modern plastic high chairs on it's lowest height setting. Of course, high chair trays can be kicked off and the plastic isn't all that sturdy.

Then I thought, well, I didn't bother checking any of the things on our baby registry this way. Just this guy who seems to me like he trying to scare people into buying what seems to be a perfectly good product that would sell just fine in a store. They just make more money when they direct-sell it.

The salesman kept going on and on about how the government regulations on baby furniture are inadequate and that the government should do something, but they don't... This in particular annoyed me. The government can't prevent all harm from coming to you; take some responsibility.

At this point, I'm not buying it. Then I see the crib. I like this crib. I remember me and my brother and sisters in our crib, climbing out, getting stuck between the bars, all that stuff. This thing is awesome; it's got high, close rails; no knobs for anything to catch on if kids climb over them, even a door for older kids so they don't have to climb to get out. The safety locks are complicated, but not impossible to operate. And it's convertible, so we can use it for a while, plus it was cheaper than the other convertible cribs we'd seen.

So we bought it, plus the feeding table. I was still annoyed by the sales tactics, though. These seem to be pretty good products, so why sell them this way? Why not something more... honest?

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Permanent Change of Station

Well, I tried posting from the hotels as we travelled cross-country, but it didn't work out. Slow connection or something, but it wasn't much. We're safe in Jacksonville, but not quite finished with the transition. The move took most of the day on Friday the 9th, which should've given me a clue as to the nature of the company I was dealing with. As a result, we decided to wait until Saturday morning to get started on the drive to Florida.

We only managed about 330 miles. It was pouring when we left Rhode Island. I was driving the Hashmobile packed with most of our luggage and the cats, Logan and Rogue. Red was driving Ziggy with Jack, Mom-in-Law, most of the junk the movers wouldn't take (booze, explosives, etc.) and the kayaks strapped to the roof. You can imagine the crosswinds were hell on her the whole way. Turns out that "hand-tight" isn't tight enough for those racks, either; we nearly lost the boats on the New Jersey Turnpike! So we lost some time fixing that and stopped in Perryville, MD.

The next day we made it about 490 miles all the way to Florence, SC, home of the accidental atomic bombing of South Carolina, which sounds way cooler than South of the Border. We pulled into Jacksonville on Monday afternoon, only to discover we couldn't move into our house until Saturday because our household goods had not yet left Connecticut.

Anyhow, WiFi has been available, but time limited due to baby and now visiting Kiddo. I just reported to USS HALYBURTON this morning and clearly have my work cut out for me. Hope to keep the the anyone who is interested informed, but the only time alone for thoughtful blogging I've gotten in a week due to family concerns has been this five minutes I've just spent sitting in the parking lot of Panera in my whites in the car.

Thanks all for the comments, I'll try to update as I get time and hope to blog the deployment depending on connectivity.

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