Guess What? A new post

I know. I know. It has been three months since I last posted. I know I said I would post more frequently, but then left the Dyson vacuum post up for three months leaving visitors to think I got sucked up by the amazing device. Truth is, I got very busy very quickly. Being a stay-at-home dad was fantastic, and I didn’t want to spend a single extra second away from G.
Shortly after G started daycare (“school,” as Sue calls it), I got very busy planning for a new year of teaching third graders. Before I knew it, first term was over and now Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. As such, I won’t go making any grand announcements about whether I will post here more frequently. Given that this is the first time in nearly four months that I’ve even logged into my Blogger account, I would guess no.
So, what’s been going on? Well, a lot actually. G learned how to walk in late July, which was a major milestone. Since then he’s been hard to keep up with! He started school on August 1, still a little wobbly on his feet, but generally happy to be there. His transition went better than expected, and now he walks in every day with a big smile and a wave for all of his friends. Sue and I have taken to calling him the mayor of his daycare because of the way he walks in.
Sue started school almost as soon as she moved down here. She enjoys it, even though it’s a year-round schedule. She works nine weeks, and then is off three. There’s no summer vacation, except the three between the end of one school year and the beginning of another.
My school year started in mid-August and hasn’t let up one bit yet. But that’s a good thing. I’m really enjoying my students this year. I have to admit that I was nervous going into this year because I didn’t know if I would have the same type of bond with this new group as I did with last year’s group. I do. The personalities are different, and the group dynamic is different, but there is a sameness. It has to be the age. There’s something about being eight that makes it a really special time in your life. More and more memories of that time in my life keep coming back to me. It’s amazing to think of what I was doing then. My favorite toys: Transformers, He-Man, and GI Joe. Those were also the cartoons I watched after school every day… you know, on the local UHF channel, not some nostalgic cable channel.
Over these past few months, though, the biggest thing in my life has been seeing how much G has changed. Just like those first couple of times he stood ready to fall over, he is now starting to make sounds that are sort of like words. Occasionally, he utters “Hi” over and over, but not when it’s time to greet someone. He also says, “maaamaaamaaaamaaa” when he seems to want Sue rather than me, but it’s doesn’t really seem like a call for mama. He points to things that interest him, and loves to carry around anything he can lift. He’s also a good helper. He loves doing “clean up” when it’s time to pick up his toys.
Those are the good things. The tough part has been dealing with his constant cold symptoms – a product of the daycare environment, despite the facility’s best effort to keep germs to a minimum. Knowing that G was well taken care of at home for the first 15 months of his life, I knew he would be susceptible to ever germ that came his way, and it’s now a reality.
In addition to his cold, it seems he takes after his mother when it comes to food. He’s very picky. He loves bread and potatoes, as should any true Irishman, but not to the exclusion of other foods. As such, he’s now a bit underweight and we have to fatten him up, according to the doctor. We’re trying to do so without loading him with sweets. We’ll see how that goes.
Anyhow, I can’t really think of a segue into Halloween, so let’s just say that G’s first trick-or-treating experience was underwhelming for his parents. He was a trooper, staying up late and all, but he won’t be into it until next year. Here’s a couple of recent photos. The pumpkin one is about two weeks old. Enjoy!

Introducing the next world wonder: Dyson

OK, few retail products impress me any more. Like most people, I believe they truly don’t make them like they used to. In terms of longevity, I find that manufacturers are making things cheaper so that they break more easily and force consumers to shell out full price for a new model rather than a few bucks for a small part.

This has been my experience with the vacuums we’ve owned since just before getting married. That was until I met Dyson.

Mostly, we’ve either had a Dirt Devil or a Hoover, and they were, admittedly, at the lower end of the product lines — chosen for their lower prices. I knew we couldn’t expect the 20-year life span of the Electrolux, but 20 months would have been nice. Invariably, within six months of purchase, either Sue or I would find ourselves in the throes of disassembling our vacuum on the living room rug to retrieve a clog of carpet fluff or to replace a drive belt. Ultimately, the vacuum would return disappointing results, and I always wondered if we spent another hundred bucks, would we really see improved performance? It was a gamble we weren’t really inclined to take.

Out of necessity, last fall, I bought a lightweight Dirt Devil for $45. It was the best vacuum I had owned in years, and the thing was basically as a Dust Buster on wheels. It really showed results on the wall-to-wall. I was impressed because it was small and cheap, and it really worked well. It was bagless and used a similar cyclone technology I had seen in Dyson commercials. But I knew it wouldn’t cut it in our new house.

That got me to thinking about the type of vacuum I wanted when we moved into our new house. I wanted a Dyson, but they were so expensive that they seemed almost prohibitive. The thought of living with another chintzy sucker didn’t appeal to me, and I started to consider how much we had spent on vacuums in 5 years. It was probably close to the cost of a Dyson. And, in my research, I found Dyson offered a 5-year warranty. I thought if this thing lasts one day beyond five years, I’ll be happy.

I had this 20 percent off coupon to Bed, Bath and Beyond laying around, so I went and bought the Dyson DC17 Animal. It’s called the animal because it is supposedly designed to pick up pet hair. I saved over $100!

This thing amazes me. Even after having our carpets cleaned before moving in, the family room carpet, though only two years old, was pretty shabby. The cleaning took out the dinginess, but traffic areas were still very visible. The cleaning man told me it was likely the previous owners vacuumed very infrequently. I was sure we were going to have to replace it because it was so bad.

Enter Dyson. I vacuumed the family room, and had to empty the container right away. That’s not because it’s a small bin. The thing can probably hold a gallon of junk. The carpet was just that dirty, even after being professionally cleaned. The second time I vacuumed, the bin was filled halfway, bringing out more dirt, and we weren’t walking on the carpet with shoes!

Today I vacuumed the upstairs for the second time with the Dyson, and I had to empty the bin twice — just like the first time.

Best of all, the carpet pile looks a lot better. The traffic areas don’t look as defined as they once did. And it seems like we won’t have to replace the family room carpet as quickly as I thought.