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Here is some older news -- straight from the shores of South Carolina -- to you:  

We would love to hear from you!  Email us at
jeff1@jeff*and*heather.com (simply remove the asterisks).
 

11/16/00 (J)    Well hello to everyone who has been dropping in on our web site.  It's been good to hear from y'all.  Everything is going smoothly here in South Carolina.  Heather and I have been a little busy with the youngun, but that's the idea.  I know we're a biased source, but we truly believe that he's the cutest thing on the planet.  
        So what's up beyond that?  Nothing, really.  I have plans to go fishing for catfish this weekend.  I'm going to put out my trot line this weekend and see what I get.  The last time I tried this, I got about four or five good fish, up to about 15 pounds.  I also got a number of bent hooks and broken lines, implying that something big got away.  I understand that in the rivers around here catfish reach 60+ pounds.  (South Carolina has the record in the lakes south of here....around 125 pounds!!)  I'll put up some pictures as soon as I can get them from my father-in-law.  
        Well, I'm going to cut this short.  Little one needs some fixin'  (if you know what I mean...) 

10/21/00 (H)    Harrison is nine days old today. In two weeks, we've gone from busy professionals, one of whom just happened to have a big tummy, to new parents who frequently can't tell you what the date is. It's all about diapers and feeding times and onesies and car seats now - and we love every minute of it.
        Harrison is 22 inches long and has blue eyes and (increasingly wavy) blond hair. Every time I look at him, his little face just breaks my heart. NOW I understand why I went through the swollen ankles, strange fixation with cleaning my curtains, 25 hours of labor (and that's just the part in the hospital!), and more all-nighters than senior year of college.
        We've been out and about with Harrison, because he's a most excellent baby during the daytime. He's cheered the folks building boats at the Wooden Boat Show in Georgetown, helped me pick out library books and dined with the whole family at the River Room and the Pink Magnolia.
        We've had an interesting week home in another aspect - Granny Annie and Grandpa Steve are visiting from New York to help babysit for a week, but Granny Annie has had an increasingly intolerable tooth ache. Today, she visited our dentist to have a root canal done. Good gravy!
        Time to bolt some food before it's Harrison's feeding time - a process that still seems to take about an hour to accomplish. (It's the whole diaper thing, and then we start playing with him, and then we rock him to sleep and then we wake him up because he's so cute and we want to play with him some more...)

9/17/00 (J)    For those of you anxiously awaiting the news...... there is still no news.  We are now under 30 days away from the due date -- October 15th for those not in the know -- and all is well (knock on wood).  Heather is doing very well.  She is still working full time and, other than the drive, not having too bad of a time.
        We went to the Aynor Hoedown Festival this weekend.  These fall festivals are pretty amazing.  It's always astonishing what a city of 600 can put together.  (They had over 24,000 show up.)  Unfortunately, we weren't able to attend the parade or the crowning of their queen.  Heather and I had a good time trying to guess what they called her.  (Our guesses usually revolved around creative uses of the word hoe.)
        Hurricane Gordon is coming.  I'm hoping for some rain.  I have a big trial going on and it would make my results more interesting if I could show some data from rainy days.  I'll just have to wait and see what Mother Nature has in store for me.
        On Saturday night, Heather and I attended a dinner with the other advisors from the Church Youth groups.  We had fun going over the big plans for the year, including the ski trip (in January to Snowshoe) and later this month to Carowinds (an amusement park).  I just found out that for the trip to the Carowinds, the advisors will be paired with groups of middle school kids.  I hope I can return with as many as I start out with.  
        What else is there to say, but we hope everyone is doing well.  We appreciate your letters, though we don't write back as well as we should.  Y'all take care.

8/26/00 (J)    Well, hello everyone.  Been a pretty quiet summer, all things considered.  I have a feeling it's the calm before the storm.  D-day keeps coming closer.
        Heather and I really haven't set up a room yet.  Since the spare bedrooms are upstairs and the master bedroom is downstairs, I think the baby will be more convenient to have downstairs....unless he decides to practice his imitation of a howler monkey.  We'll play it by ear to a certain extent.  
        We have been assembling all the furniture we received from everyone.  Thanks to all.  We are currently assembling all the stuff we got from Barbara.  When we first got all the stuff, we kinda set it aside (procrastinators that we are...).  In the past few days, we've been putting it all together.  There's a lot of stuff there!.  Thanks for the extra effort in mailing the mattress.  :-)
        I went skiing on Tuesday.  A friend at work lent me a new pair of skis.  (Mine are old, cheap and currently broken.)  The new skis are a little skittish when cruising straight, but cut up the river like a power knife on the Thanksgiving turkey!  
        I am disappointed that we only have a month left of summer.  I don't know what I'm going to do for exercise once it gets too cold to ski.  I'm sure Heather has a number of hiking trails she'd like to try out.  She's itching to hike Sandy island once the baby is carry-able and the heat goes down a bit.  
        I'm scheduled to go boating tomorrow, weather permitting.  I know what you're thinking... there's a surprise.  It is, though, seeing I'm going on the ocean on an 18 foot catamaran.  Should be fun, again, if mother nature cooperates.  I haven't been sailing since upstate New York.
        Well, I'm going to quit burning the midnight oil.  Take care all.
        

8/8/00 (H)    What a delightful, wonderful, adorable, (insert your own superlative here) surprise we’ve had! Yesterday, I (Heather) traveled with my boss (Mort) to a preproduction meeting at a fancy local restaurant. (A preproduction meeting is where you discuss with a client what they want their commercial to look like.)
        The meeting was in a side room of the restaurant, and Mort opened the closed door first, and preceded me in. As I stepped in, 30 of my coworkers stood up and started clapping. There were blue balloons everywhere and a beautiful cake and presents as far as the eye could see.
        This probably should have clued me in, but I was still looking for the chef we were going to be meeting with. 5 seconds later, I had decided this was some sort of party for Mort, and they hadn’t told me the details because they didn’t want anything to slip while I was driving him there. So I started clapping, too.
        "Heather," Mort said with a grin, " It’s for YOU."
        10 seconds after that, I said, "Oh, it’s a BABY SHOWER!"
        Lord. They’re never going to trust me with a difficult commercial again.
        It was a wonderful party (Harrison especially liked the cake!) and my coworkers were far too generous with their gifts. There was a beautiful car seat from Graco, stuffed with learning toys and car shades and even one of those mirrors that clips on your visor so you can stare at the little guy while you drive. There was a sassy bib from "Studio 77," with the delightful name of "Coco Chenille" (it’s white with white and blue chenille puffs – it’s so cute, I sleep with it!) There was a wicker basket the size of a foreign car filled with keepsakes and clever safety things: ceramic picture cubes, cuddly toys, a bath thermometer in the shape of a rubber ducky, electrical outlet guards, even bath salts for me, for after the little guy makes his arrival. Then there were dozens of adorable outfits; little onesies and booties and layettes and caps, diapers and ointments and portable baby first aid kits and gift certificates to my favorite baby clothing store… it took three trips from my car to bring everything into the house!
        Jeff’s eyes got as round as saucers when he saw all the gifts.
        "They must really love you, honey," he said.
        I sure do feel loved.

8/8/00 (J)  So, let’s see. What have we been up to? Where do I begin? (It’s been so long) We had a great trip over the 4th of July up to the North. We visited both sides of the family, got to see almost everyone, and even got a day of two by ourselves – cruising through the Catskills.
        Since that vacation, we’ve been enjoying SC. We’ve had a bit of a rainy summer making up for one of the driest springs on record. I haven’t been able to do all the boating I’ve wanted to, but that’s OK. I wanted to learn needlepoint.
        Work is good pretty good right now at IP. I have a big project: Trying to burn chips of old tires in our boilers. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s really straight forward. It should save us quite a bit of money per year.
        Heather and the baby are fine. Heather is still working 40 hours per week, plus 10 more commuting time. She comes home tired many days but doesn’t want to stop. I have to keep reminding her that it’s OK to be a quitter. The baby is getting bigger. Heather says that it is starting to be a little more confined. (Not able to roam quite as much.) We have an appointment on Tuesday the 14th. I believe that it’s another chance to see the baby. (We’ll put pictures here soon.)
        Speaking of pictures, I have several from our latest vacations. I will be posting them real soon. If you have any you want to see up here, feel free to email or send them to me. Thanks to those of you who already did, again, they will be posted soon.
        Heather and I had our first childbirth classes. Heather and I knew several couples. I was happy how low key it was; although the lady in charge was just dying to get us all down on the floor, on pillows, she managed to contain herself. I was glad.

7/22/00 (H)  Holy Cow, have we been slacking with this website!

Here's the short and dirty:

        * The last week of June, we went a-traveling North, to see Heather's folks in New York and Jeff's folks in Connecticut. There was a lovely baby shower at heather's parent's house and a grand, kid filled adventure in Connecticut.
        In-between the two states, we rambled through the Catskills, staying in an antique-stuffed B+B, spying on an encampment of Amish, and eating at a restaurant with a LOT of spiders.
        We found a historic 16-bedroom home on lots of acreage somewhere near "Sleepy Hollow Road" for just $189,000! Anyone want to get in on this? What a summer retreat!
        (Those of you who are about to get on your grammatical high horse about my use of "a historic," please note: the 2000 AP Stylebook describes "an" as being used before vowels + soft consonants and "a" in front of hard consonants. Example: "an emblem," "a story.")
        But I digress.

        * Since our return to Dixie, we've been swept back into the teeming workforce (Lord is it a busy time for making commercials!), but have made sure to go out on the boat, dine with friends and get lots of weekend sleep. We are very aware that we're coming to the end of our quiet couple days.

        * Heather underwent some minor surgery on her leg (for pregnancy-related fibroid things.) A true Ahrns, she was awake throughout and couldn't resist watching the procedure in the reflection of overhead light casing. (Yes, it was gross.) Healing well - the stitches come out next week.

        * International George is gigantic (comparatively speaking, of course, since he's not actually even the size of a bunt cake, yet.)
        He seems to enjoy kicking Heather's kidneys most of all.
        We start childbirth classes in August. The end of the tunnel is in sight.

6/20/00 (H)    Wow – where do we start? We’ve had a busy couple of weeks (hence the lack of entries in this journal!) Funny, whenever we have little to say there’s enough time to narrate a drivelfest, but when we’re living life bigger than a Hemingway novel, there’s no time to share.
I think I’ll encapsulate our news in bombastic stories. Like this:

THE LITTLE RODENTS.

        Last week, I returned home just as darkness was falling, tired as an old boot. Jeff was still out wakeboarding on the river, so I was looking forward to a quiet six-course feast (two for me, four for George).
        Anyhoo, there was suddenly this HORRIBLE ruckus in the front yard, and I went running out, expecting to find Alphonso chewing on some bird’s entrails.
        Instead, the cats were looking fascinated but frightened, watching two tiny bundles of fur, who were rolling on the ground and mewling very loudly. I hustled the cats in the house and watched, hoping the creatures’ mom would come rescue them.
        She didn’t. I’m pretty sure she’s no longer a member of this celestial sphere.
        Eventually, I put a giant towel in a laundry basket, went out and picked the little guys up. They left off with the hollering and started chuckling. No joke… these little animals, whose eyes weren’t even open yet, and who were dotted with blood from a very nasty fall, were chuckling.
        I took my new friends around to the neighbors, to ask them what they thought the animals were. Although no one was sure, the consensus was possum. One neighbor gave me a tiny nursing bottle – another, the number for the ARC Animal Hospital.
        I thought the little guys were probably raccoons.
        I called ARC, and they said they rehabilitate just about every type of animal.
        Except raccoons.
        I suggested that I bring the little guys in the next morning, in case they were anything but raccoons.
        So the little guys went to work with me, until the hospital opened. They also went to aerobics class, but I don’t think they noticed.
        At work, a very nice man who does a public access show with us came in to get a camera. He melted all over the baby animals, saying they were definitely raccoons.
        My heart fell.
        But he added he had raised 12 raccoons so far, and wouldn’t be adverse raising two more. But there was a caveat. He had just adopted a stray kitten, and I would have to trade. 
        Okay, just let me call Jeff.
        "Hi honey. I got rid of the raccoons."
        "They’re raccoons?"
        "Yup. Listen, I have to horse trade for these raccoons. We’re trading up. Just say ‘yes.’"
        "Yes’ to what?"
        "A cute little kitten. In a color we don’t even have yet."
        "Whew. Okay."
        So I was soon sans raccoons and the proud mama of a little black cat with a weepy eye.
        But soon, I had to go out on a commercial shoot. I prevailed upon a particularly tenderhearted coworker to watch the cat. By the time I came back, the cat’s name was Venus, and she had a new mom.
        So I came home with no animals, and have two enthusiastic new parents who love giving me updates on their weeuns.
        Jeff said I did pretty well, but if I was truly a good horse trader, I would have come home with a hay baler.

BEAUFORT BOUND

        With only two fat adult male cats in our keeping, we were free to take to the highways, on a trip to historic Beaufort, SC, to celebrate our anniversary.
        Jeff had arranged for our stay in an Antebellum bed and breakfast overlooking the bay. Our room was so peaceful: even the bed was a king-sized antique with huge turned columns and plantation-style finials. It was built five feet off the floor – quite the aerie.
        We spent the first day touring inland (believe me, that’s where the REALLY interesting people are) and ran into some surprises. At one turn in the road, there was suddenly a subtle sign for OJO TUNJI, the African village.
        Cool.
        Back in the woods, it took somebody fifteen minutes to come get us and show us around, and the mosquitoes were deadly, but it was sooo worth it! We saw shrines to lots of different African deities (I got a very significant look when we talked about the shrine to the Mama goddess.) We heard peacocks but never saw them.
        We also went antiques hunting (success! But we can’t tell you why, because one of you is the lucky recipient.)
        Somewhere along the winding roads were also the remains of a beautiful church, first built in the 1720s (and burned by British troops) then rebuilt in the 1840s (and razed by Union troops). The parishioners decided not to build again, fearing troops of monkeys were next.
        The next day, we explored beautiful Hunting Island, a wild state park that’s being reclaimed incredibly rapidly by the sea. Its questionable future is also its beauty – its narrow strip of beach is overhung with palms and oaks that won’t exist in a year. No dunes or gradually heightening beach – just soft sand and a doomed forest.
        A short drive inland again (we can’t help it!) and we discovered the Hampton County Watermelon Festival. After being handed a quarter-watermelon and told to munch away, we watched the boaters, picnickers and kids running amok. It was cute. Jeff has a tee shirt.

6/7/00 (H)    First, Jeff and I would like to say "Happy Birthday" to Stephen J. Ahrns, who turns 100 in dog years June 6.  We’ve been trying to reach him, but mom has apparently whisked him away to some exciting adventure this week.  Good for you two!
        International George has done a lot of growing since we last sent an electronic scribble… he can now be felt kicking pretty much day and night.  If I’m not mistaken, he wants out.
        Which reminds me, George is, in fact, a he. This is a nearly official announcement – our obstetrician wasn’t able to sex the baby because he was sitting Indian style, but I had an ultrasound of my heart done a week later, and the extremely accommodating ultrasound technician and I spent most of the time spying on George. He wasn’t sitting Indian style that time, and the pictures the technician printed for me are pretty explicit!
        There’s also the matter of his feet. If he’s a girl, we’re never going to find shoes for this kid.  At the moment, they’re about the same length as his head.  If this kicking continues, I’m going to be one bruised mess by the ninth month.
        We’re getting excited for our trip up North to see both families, and not just because it’s a humid cauldron here!  We’ll be in New York the last week of June and Connecticut the first week of July.
        That reminds me… if you’re one of the folks mom has issued a baby shower invite to, you may want to look at our registry at www.babyfurniture.com.  We found all sorts of great stuff at way cheaper prices than JC Penneys has.  Also, Penneys only carries a decent selection in furniture, so the stuff we’ve registered for there is kind of "big ticket item."

6/4/00 (J)  The word is in and although nothing is 100%, it looks very likely that:  IT'S A BOY!!!!  So how do I feel about this?  Hey, I'm still adjusting to being married, not to mention having a child, or a boy child at that.  Several people have told me that I'm lucky.  First comment was that it was better to have a boy first, so he could take care of and protect his younger brothers and sisters.  .....Is that what Doug was doing for me all those years?  It's hard to imagine that I confused "take care of and protect" with "beat up and tease"  I don't see how I got it wrong!  
        The second comment was that it was good to have a boy because, as a father, you can understand them.  (Let's face it men do not understand women.)  Initially, I agreed with that, but then I realized that the kid would some day be a teenager, and no adult really understands teenagers anyway.
        The mom is doing fine, although she's been working herself to exhaustion.  One day last week she was at work until nearly 11PM!  I'm not happy with her, but she's so resilient, she manages to recover in no time.  Yesterday (Saturday) she was the TV host for the Myrtle Beach Parade for Time Warner Cable then edited our church's Youth Sunday.  Don't worry, anyone who wants a copy of either will get it.
        I'm still a Wake Boarding Maniac.  I went out with Doug Esker on Wednesday evening.  I had just returned from Sail and Ski Connection in Myrtle Beach.  I was full of new tips and was trying out new tricks.  All was going well until Doug tried to copy one of my tricks the 180.  He ended up missing the trick and instead perfectly executed the infamous "face plant"  (Affectionately known as the "instant migraine".)  Poor Doug. 
        Well I've got to run along.  All of you take care.                  Jeff 

5/30/00 (J) Well, you've all been waiting!  We went to the doctor to find out the sex of the baby.  Well!  The doctor said: ......INCONCLUSIVE!!!   Yes, that's right, International George is a shy little dickens.  He (or She)000526babyhead1.jpg (80682 bytes) 000526babylegs1.jpg (138178 bytes)had his (or her) legs crossed, with the cord between them.  Here are a head shot and leg shot.  We're still taking bets.  We'll have another chance to tell in 8 weeks.   
        I hope everyone enjoyed their memorial day.  Heather and I spent most of our time out on the boat.  On Saturday, we got a late start, but headed out with some friends of ours, Byron and Amy.  We had just arrived at Sandy Island when an official-looking guy from the wildlife department showed up and announced that there was a tornado warning in effect.  Nothing clears a party like a tornado warning (except maybe the real thing).  
        Heather and I have a habit of ending up in bad weather, so I wasn't surprised when she wanted to head directly in.  I was pretty sure that a tornado wasn't imminent, but agreed to head in the direction of the boat landing (with the caveat that we could ski the whole way there).  The compromise was accepted, so we slowly headed home.
        Sunday was Youth Sunday at Church.  I was amazed how well our kids did.  Heather cried at one point or another; I chalked it up to hormones until I noticed that she wasn't the only one.  I videotaped most of the event but I don't think I'm going to become techno-savvy enough to put that in here any time soon.  After the church service, we all went over to the McCarley's house in McClellanville and partied.  Although we were briefly interrupted by rain twice, both times the sun came out, chased away the clouds and a good time was had by all.  I will have pictures of the event once I get them developed.  
    Monday, I went out to the north end of Sandy Island with Heather in the morning.  It's a long drive up and a long drive back (by boat) but it's a fun place to hike and explore.  We arrived in good spirits and unscathed but we were definitely not welcomed -- the bugs attacked en mass.  Now we are not Sandy Island beginners.  We both know that you must bath in bug repellant at some times of the year.  Unfortunately, the bugs hadn't heard that this would work and merely scoffed at our feeble attempts to scare them away.
        Monday afternoon, I headed out with Matt Paumier and Phil Hardin for a no-holds-barred wake board fest!  I still can't jump worth a darned, but I'm half way to completing the flip!  (Yes, that means I'm now able to land on my head.  Don't laugh, I'd like to see you do it.)
        Well, that was the weekend.  It's now Tuesday night and I'm not yet recovered but three more days and I'll be ready to do it again.  Take care.  Jeff

5/18/00 (H)  We’re finally set in our plans to visit the Great North! We’ll be flying into Hartford on June 23, traveling immediately to New York, spending four days there, then heading back to Connecticut through the 4th of July. It will be nice to see both families, before we take possession of our tiny, diapered friend.
      Speaking of said friend, he (or MAYBE she, but my bets are on a boy) is finally making more of an appearance. I’m almost exclusively modeling maternity garb these days. I kept reading in my baby books that complete strangers would ask me terribly personal questions about my pregnancy and IT'S TRUE! I’ve had women ask me when I’m due, how much weight I’ve gained, if it’s a boy or girl, how bad the hemorrhoids are… honestly! I’m so tempted to look crushed and say "listen, it’s just a COUPLE of extra pounds and I’m dieting like crazy. Why are you so cruel?"
        I haven’t done it yet, but it’ll happen. You just wait.
        On May 25, Jeff and I will find out if International George is actually a boy or a girl. In true reporter fashion, we will have video of our blooming fetus available for interested parties. Maybe we’ll just sell it to CNN.
        We are currently taking bets of up to 15 cents. Once again, our money is on the male option – one bet per relative/friend, please.
        George is doing the baby dance to the sound of Harley Davidson motorcycles these days. We’re in the middle of Biker Week, when nearly 1,000,000 bikers converge on Myrtle Beach and spend the entire seven days roaring around Horry and Georgetown Counties. It’s absolutely breathtaking, for about ten minutes. Then you really start wishing these guys would get wherever they’re cruising to, wear helmets, and stop drinking while actually operating their motor vehicle.
        Next weekend is colloquially named Black Biker Weekend. Same thing but less people, less leather, quieter (Honda and Kawasaki type) bikes and younger riders – more like a giant, two-wheeled Spring Break. Lots more incident reports of public lewdness and diners sneaking out of restaurants without paying.
        And we came here for the peaceful ocean view.
        Jeff and I are going to help renovate a big old home in the heart of Georgetown this weekend. It’s just one of our church’s annual home projects (they LOVE building and fixing homes for the less fortunate.) I’m only mentioning this so I can assure mom that this is my LAST home building/fixing project before the arrival of George. I may not even go up on the roof.
        Enough about us! How are all of you? Contrary to what my codependent parents say, we DO read our E-mail constantly, and adore every letter we get. Sometimes, we even write back. If you’re as bad as we are about individual letters, give us your website address, and we’ll check out your news that way.
        See you in June!

5/14/00 (J)  I have just completed Superior Pulping Practices, IP's two week long course on Pulping.  For thoseSPPCLAS2.jpg (56666 bytes) of you not in the paper business, pulping is defined as the area of the business from taking in trees and making them into chips, then taking those chips and making them into bleached paper pulp (mixed copiously with water).  Included to the right is a picture of the motley bunch forced to endure my presence in class for two weeks straight.  (Those of you who knew me from school understand how torturous this can be. 
        The class was held in International Paper's Technology Center, just outside of glorious Cincinnati.  The Technology Center made me yearn again for a civilized office space.  Huge windows highlighting beautiful vistas.... of course once I found out all the desks were in small cubicles in widowless areas, I wasn't quite as impressed.  As to Cincinnati, itself, I didn't get to see a lot of it, but I did see some sights.  Here are a few: 
        One night we went to a cook-your-own dinner at Valley Vineyard.  I enjoyed incredible wines and a slightly overcooked, yet still quite tasty steak.  
        We watched the Reds pummel the Padres, even though one poor Red managed to hit into three double plays.  (His other time at bat, he hit a beautiful double, then got thrown out in the next play by his inept base running!)
        We danced like fools at the "Have a Nice Day Cafe".  I managed to have fun, even though my regular dance partner was no where near :-(    
        I went down to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby!   Brian Subasavage, my former IP partner in crime now lives there.  The Derby happened to be on the one weekend we had at this class.  Since both matched up perfectly, I couldn't pass up on the opportunity.
        Well, all this is now behind me.  I go back to work tomorrow and try to put all this new knowledge to work.   Take care.   Jeff

4/23/00 (H)  I am back from Mexico safe and sound! The trip was dusty, hot, exhausting and delightful. We built a home for a family with five children, finishing early enough to head over to another house to build a roof. I was able to speak a lot of Spanish (I noticed that I was dreaming in Spanish by the third day we were there) and met a lot of sweet people. Despite grinding poverty, water I wouldn’t feed to the cats and roads bumpy enough to make you cry, everyone we met was so happy. Maybe it’s because they have more vibrant red and pink bougainvillea and sassy roosters per acre than anywhere else in the world.
        After a short Easter day to recuperate, I’m back to work tomorrow. I have an obstetrical appointment later this week, to make sure International George enjoyed all the excitement.
        Jeff and I have been enjoying our emails and Easter cards – thanks, y’all!

4/20/00 (J)  Yes, Heather is still in SC and I am still on shutdown.  Heather did write a little article in the Georgetown Times (Published Wednesday, April 12, 2000).  Here it is:  

Madcap Moments of Maternity 
    As you probably guessed from the headline (being an astute reader of newspapers), I am pregnant.  I surmised the same thing about three months ago, and have had my theory verified by numerous embarrassing tests involving bodily fluids.  
    Not that I needed medical proof.  You'd have to be pretty thick to wake up every morning for months wondering what you shouldn't have eaten the night before.  I actually spent a morning or two wishing to be in any other condition -- sleeping, eating worms, undergoing a frontal lobotomy, etc.
    Enough of the downside.  There have been some wonderful moments, too.
My delightful husband, Jeff, has been extremely supportive, after a moment or two of looking like a deer caught in the headlights.  I discovered our wonderful news on a weekend when he was skiing in North Carolina.  I wanted to wait and tell him in person byut was far too excited.  So I called him; then paged him; then put out an APB and alerted the Canadian Mounties.
    When the police found Jeff and thrust a phone into his ski-gloved hand, I blurted out, "Hi honey, I'm pregnant."
        They say he slid halfway down the mountain before regaining consciousness.  I spent a day in suspense while he clawed his way to the chalet and drove homeward.
        I was surrounded by oodles of kids when he found me.  I was chaperoning our church's youth group, and my duties that evening entailed slamming a volleyball around and giggling.
        Jeff walked in the church gym door looking snowy and encumbered by drugstore floral bouquets.  He came running to me, getting pinged by several volleyballs in the process.  Ignoring his audience on all sides, he swept me up in his arms, and wouldn't let go.
        "I'm so happy," he whispered. 
        He can be so darned sweet.  Come to think of it, that's how this business all began.

4/18/00 (J)  A lot has occurred since the last edition here.  As I mention below, my mom visited soon after the Mill Shutdown.  We had a delightful time relaxing on the Carolina shores.  Fortunately for us, a Georgetown Church heard she was coming, and scheduled the 53rd Annual Georgetown County Plantation Tours for that weekend.  We were especially lucky because the houses we were touring were the same ones that we see from the river every time we go out on the boat.   As always, Heather knew someone at every location.
        Heather left for Mexico on Friday the 14th.  She is one of 15 (11 teenagers and 4 adults) from our church going to build a house for a poor family in Reynosa, Mexico, about 20 miles across the border from McAllen, Texas  (Click for a map, there's a star on McAllen)  Heather and I did this two years ago, and I would love to be with her again, but unfortunately business is preventing me from going.
        So what am I doing at business now?  Last month was the Mill Outage.  We take down all equipment and repair it.  In the Power House, we have too much equipment to do it all at once, so we save the Power Boilers for a separate shutdown.  (This year we are doing it right after the Full Mill Outage.)  Yes, this means I'm again on 13 hour shifts; I have nights this time.
        My Dad flew through on his way to and from Sun 'n Fun, a fly-in in Florida sponsored by the Experimental Aircraft Association.  (See pics about EAA here.)  We enjoyed having him both times, up and back, and wish it could have been longer, or at least without me on shutdown.  Dad also provided the highly appreciated delivery service.  He brought all sorts of baby stuff back from Barb in Florida.  (Thank you very much, to both Dad and Barb!)
        No big news on the pregnancy front.  Heather is liking the second trimester a lot better than the first.  She is starting to show, I will definitely get a picture or two of her up here.  As far as baby pictures go, our next appointment is Tuesday the 25th but I don't know if an ultrasound is planned.
        On the recreation front, I have the boat fixed and ready for the river.  Feel free to visit; we'll take it out.  Just remember, make your reservations in advance, I'd hate for you not to be able to stay at Chez Pelham's.  Also, remember if you do come, you are obligated to water-ski. (Attempting the flip is optional, completing it is impressive.)

3/26/00 (J)  Well, I survived another IP shutdown.  For those of you who don't know, this is quite an accomplishment.  In our mill and my department especially, we run everything 24 hours per day, seven day a week, and never shut down.  If something breaks, we shut it down and fix it, but we don't do any internal inspections or routine upgrades except during a two week period every year.  During this time, we work 13 hour days, seven days a week and are on the go the whole time.  Needless to say, there's little time for anything else.  (To see some picture from the shutdown, go to our picture pages or click here for page one or here for page two.)
        This weekend, I spent my time trying to get the house back in line.  It's spring around here, so I spent a number of hours on the lawn.  I seeded the side yard with hopes that it will take.  I wanted to get out on the boat, but it was not meant to be.  Maybe next weekend.
        Speaking of next weekend, in a few days my mom will be arriving.  We plan on going on the 53rd annual plantation tour and just spending some time together.
        Heather is doing well.  She is ending the first trimester and hoping she will feel better during the second.  (She didn't have a lot of morning sickness, but was sick all day long a few times.  Amazingly these days of sickness seemed to always happen right after spending a punishing day on news.  Can you say "overdoing it"?)  
        Heather is also heading to Mexico next month.  I am stuck at work, but Heather is helping to take our church youth group down to build another house.  I will miss her, but I know how good the kids are and I know they will take care of her.  (The only one I worry about mistreating Heather is Heather, herself.)  She is supposed to spend most of her time taking pictures and video, so I hope to have a lot to show you here.
        Well, it's time to end this.  I will try to get Heather to write a little something here soon.  Until next time take care and remember, you can always add to this web page by putting your own comments into the feedback area.  I would love to hear from you!

3/5/00 (H) Hey - we got to see International George's heart beating during our latest ultrasound! It's going so fast, I'm surprised it doesn't scare the cats when they sit in my lap.international george 000305.JPG (74496 bytes) Anyway, the child has been growing at a good clip, and our obstetrician says he or she looks great, what little can be seen of him/her.    (here's the latest picture)
        Jeff and I traveled to Charleston Saturday, and met up with a couple I went to high school with (Donnie Pingleton and his wife, Leslie). We ate lots of fresh seafood and chocolate and saw Drayton Hall, this giant, drafty plantation house built in the 1720's in what was once the heart of the rice culture, but is now the middle of nowhere. Drayton Hall is all ridiculously intricate woodwork, 60 foot ceilings, ionic pilasters and water stains - very atmospheric. I'd love to shoot a scary movie there. 
        Jeff has been so manly today - he's been under the house doing something unmentionable with pipes and a blowtorch. He only came out to go to church youth group, and he's back under there now. I'm starting to feel like one of the three Billy Goats Gruff. I didn't help him much - frankly, there's no room for two (and a blowtorch) under there, so I contented myself with vacuuming the lawn. Don't ask.  

2/27/00 (H)    Jeff and I had an interesting weekend, to say the least.  Friday I drove with my best friend, Jenny, to beautiful Kiawah Island, south of Charleston to pick up an award from the South Carolina press association.  We had a beautiful day window shopping and trespassing at historic plantations.  That night, Jeff and I ate our body weight in rice at a Japanese restaurant, with about 25 friends.
        On Saturday, we emceed a talent show in Georgetown -- an undertaking that took most of the day.  It was great fun, however; and we have some very talented kids in Georgetown.  For those of you interested in such things, I found a stunning gray taffeta ball gown that is forgiving enough to wear until I'm nine months pregnant.  
        Tonight we were in charge of our church youth group so, of course, the kids ran completely amok, ate too much and got sick, got violent during bible charades, and are still locked in the church as we speak.
        Well, International George is clamoring for food again, despite the late hour.  (By the way, that's what we've named the little one, in honor of where he was conceived and the company paying the medical bills.

        (J)  I spent this afternoon working around the house, even though my friends invited me out to water-ski with them.  I would have gone, but when you're the only one without a wet suit, you know they're not going to have mercy on you.  
        I have my shutdowns coming up the week after next.  It all starts on the 10th of March.  I'll be on 13 hour nights for two weeks (including weekends), then have two weeks of regular hours, then have two weeks of 13 hour days.  That will take us through most of April.  Aren't I the lucky camper.  
        Well, as Heather mentioned, we're both a little tired, so I'm heading to bed.  Good night.

2/22/00 (J)    No exciting news from me today.  I've been fire training this week.  Although I'm learning good stuff about first aid, rope rescue and fire fighting, I can't help but think how much work is piling up.  I do have one less project to worry about, the big project I was planning to do during the shutdown got postponed.  That certainly takes a lot of weight off.  

        On the home front, everything is coming up spring.  The daffodils are just about budding and I've been prepping the lawn for the spring.  I just got the boat fixed from the dreaded catastrophe.   (I didn't tell you about it?!?)
        Heather and I were out on the water a few weeks ago.  It was freezing cold, but Heather wanted to go to Sandy Island to explore.  (It doesn't take much convincing to get Jeff out on the boat....)  
        We started cruising a small creek.   Heather had just passed me the wheel and I was moving right along, trying to stay on the plane.  Since we were in a small creek, I was steering pretty hard, but since it was so cold and since this was such an untravelled creek, I knew there wouldn't be anyone else around.
        Well, I had just gone around a corner to the right and was turning to a sharp corner to the left when the wheel stopped turning.  It hit a hard stop and we were heading about 25 mph into a very large bank.  I looked at Heather and she looked at me.  I said hold on, and threw the boat into reverse.  Lucky for both of us, the boat responded and we stopped without incident.  So, to review, there we were, in the middle of a small, winding, untravelled creek on a cold winter day, with a boat with no steering.  
        It didn't take a whole lot of ingenuity to get home.  All I did was disconnected the motor, had heather work the power from the front while I steered from the back.  Of course, 90 HP is no fun to hold onto at high throttle, but once I remembered how to trim the boat, it all was pretty easy.

        On the relationship side, Heather is very happy with me.  I don't know what I'm doing so well, but I'm sure I'll do something unintentionally wrong soon to make up for it.  Until then, I'll just ride on the good side.  bye.

2/22/00 (H)    Today, we received a card from Grandma and Grandpa, congratulating us on the pregnancy. Enclosed was the sweetest little bib you've ever seen... I cried when I opened it, and then cried some more when Jeff put it around his neck. I think my hormones are more than a little out of whack - Jeff keeps threatening to turn on the video camera, to document my hysteria. Honestly, I haven't cried much, other than that, unless it was something really sweet, or I was hungry, or tired... 

Oh, speaking of hungry... I've finally discovered that the number one cause of my nausea is a hungry baby. I now eat three meals a day, and they're not small. Of course, my number two cause for nausea is eating too much or too fast, so I don't think I'll be ballooning right away. I wouldn't be around, if I were you, the day I don't fit in my jeans any more. I'll probably cry. Especially if I'm hungry. 

Enough about my psychology and physiology. I wouldn't even bore you with it, but Jeff insists. He says you might want to know. He also says I may want to read back on these days in the future. That's doubtful - I plan to run screaming to the first 5K race scheduled after my due date. I'm positive this is more disruptive than getting a pug. 

2/19/00 (H)    I LOVE all the letters we received since this website - and the womb site - have gotten into full action mode! Thank you all... it's a powerful antidote to nausea and  enforced sobriety. I was especially delighted to hear from Miss Jackie, who is doing all sorts of wonderful things with her own home and a rewarding job. 

    I ate fish tonight for the first time in many months - since the whole vegetarian fiasco began. It was delicious and my obstetrician is applauding the choice. I swear I could hear tiny hand claps from the little guy, who has been bored to tears by green vegetables and dairy selections. I'll be eating Porterhouse steaks in no time. 

 All is well on the pregnancy front. I'm no more tired than any other first trimester television producer, and I'm a lot less nauseous, if the tales I've heard from my friends are true. I've got to slow down on the work/volunteer front a little bit - everyone is congratulating me, then asking me to emcee talent shows, write a little article about this and that, work an extra shift and go out dancing. HELLO, PEOPLE! If this keeps up, I'm never going to have enough energy to glow! You'd think I was campaigning for President, or something. 

Anyway, tonight is the night I couldn't wiggle out of a dancing engagement, so wish me luck wiggling into something that fit me four weeks ago.  

2/17/00    (J)    It is so good to hear from all of you!  It is obvious that I still don't know what I'm doing with this web page, but I will keep at it.  OK, here's the latest on the pregnancy/child-to-be/etc.  

  • Heather went to her first doctor's appointment.  It went fine.  Her doctor is one of a group of doctors, serving both Georgetown and the Southern Grand Strand.  Since the Grand Strand Hospital is due to be complete in 2001, I imagine we will have the child in Georgetown.  

  • Heather found out that she is further along than either of us thought.  She is 6 weeks pregnant as of today.   Since we stopped using birth control at the beginning of the year, I guess pregnancy happens pretty quickly.......

  • Heather brought me home an "Especially for Fathers" brochure from her doctors office.  I now know such wonderful information such as:

    • "Since (Heather) must stop any use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, this is a good time for (me) to stop as well."  (I thought this was nine months of free designated driver!)

    • I need to "be prepared to take part in all aspects of care, such as changing diapers, bathing and cuddling the baby."  (not the dreaded cuddle!)

    • There's also some reference to my assuming more household duties, but I really didn't read that part.  

  • For those of you looking for the first baby picture, here it is.  Just click on it to see it bigger.  The black dot in the center is the child.  I'm sure it is only the first picture of many.                                        

                                                                1stbabypic.JPG (21939 bytes)

2/15/00  (J)    So.... I went on a ski trip to West Virginia this weekend.  Although I asked her if she wanted to go, she decided to stay home.  I'm innocently calling home and what do I find out?  Yes.  She's pregnant.

2/15/00 (H)    So I've been sleepy and a little under the weather and I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. 

Wow. 

I have a doctor's appointment Wednesday - I'll give you all the gory details anon. 

1/30/00     Jeff just woke me up from a delightful cat nap - the only real sleep I've had in days. We've been working long hours (I'm doing news on CNN Local Edition) and there have been all sorts of glamorous events (like the Seventh Annual Taste of the Tidelands, which pits talented chefs from across the state against each other, making dishes like Sautéed Medallions of Albatross with Reduced Fig Compote on a Bed of Refined Air.) Adding to our sleep loss is Gussy the Fat Cat, who has taken to bursting through his cat door with an angry flurry of fur and a yowl - at any time of night - to signify his hunger. Jeff wakes Gussy up every time he finds him napping - just to show how annoying it is.  

      Anyway, the nap was going to help me gear up for not one but two Superbowl parties. The first is at church, where we are supposed to keep a benign eye on the teens we chaperone each week. However, Jeff also promised our presence at a party with his work buddies - probably because you can't DRINK with church teens. So I've bought these luscious Pita Rolls full of avocados and sprouts and feta cheese - most likely the only vegetarian item to be on the menu. Except beer. 

      Hope all your Superbowl dreams come true - if you have a favorite team. A lot of people don't seem to - these aren't the folks they've been following. 

      Oh - before I forget - we had a HORRIBLE incident with the boat last weekend. We were about five miles from anywhere (and twenty miles from our boat landing), weaving our way through this narrow creek north of Sandy Island, when the steering suddenly stopped functioning. Some fast stopping and reversing kept us from hitting the giant roots just feet from our prow, but it took us simply HOURS to get back to the landing, with Jeff steering by hand while Heather controlled the boat's speed. It was only 40 degrees outside, and a crappy experience, overall. Jeff gets this haunted look whenever he passes his boat these days, because there is going to be some major repairing going on around here. Maybe next summer we'll be the proud, destitute owners of boat number 3. 


1/20/00    Just returned from a ski weekend at Winterplace, WV with 35 youts.  Yes, Heather and I had a wonderful time chaperoning a high school group from our church.  They were well behaved and pleasant, much different from me at that age.  All-in-all, a successful trip (no injuries requiring hospitalization or leaving visible scars).

1/05/00    I see everyone survived the Millennium!  I wish I could say that I partied like it was 1999, but I'd be lying.......  My boss made me sit in our plant's control room from 11 PM to 1 AM.  So what did Heather do?  Did she join me?  Did she wait 'till I was done and then go out with me?  No!  She was in Myrtle Beach with her girl friend Jenny.  (Of course, I would have done the same if our places were reversed.)

        Thanks to everyone who came done at Christmas time.  (The Ahrns clan.)  It was good to see all of you.  Activities included:

  •     Beach football.  The Cottles (plus Jeff) won decisively.  Devon proved himself to be an excellent quarterback.
     

  •     Hiking on Sandy Island.  Went well, if you like forced marches.  Knowing what was involved, I quickly bowed out from the Long Walk and spent some time exploring with Grandpa.  
     

  •     Dinner at Jeff and Heather's.  Heather was a little thrown off here;  during dinner she asked me to give her some ham.  If I wasn't so surprised, she might have ended her vegetarian streak right there.  
     

  •     So what disappointed me?  No one dared water-ski.  Granted, it was "seasonal" (mid-fifties) but I was sure someone would dare.  The only thing I was sure about was that it wasn't going to be me.

11/18/99    We are looking forward to our trip to CT.  We leave on Tuesday, bright and early and arrive at Bradley at 9:15 in the morning.

11/15/99    We're very enamored of bullets lately. That's news bullets - not the kind that go into magnums and shoot innocent ducks that are just trying to eat some wild rice in the old abandoned fields. Which reminds us....

  •  Heather is still a vegetarian. No, she doesn't crave meat, except - once in a while - crab legs. 
     

  •  We have a really neat thing to do this Christmas with visiting Ahrnses - boat over to pristine, historic Sandy Island and hike around. You have it all to yourself and it's all hills and sand and unusual flora and fauna and the remnants of 7 - 10 old plantations. We did it recently, and couldn't see half the neat things to see in four hours of forced marching. 
     

  • Heather got all her hair cut off by her wildly talented (and, pardon me for being descriptive, but...) extremely gay hairstylist. It looks good on TV, ok in person. 
     

  • We are going to Connecticut for Thanksgiving. We can't wait to see Teresa - she is joyously (and many months) pregnant!  And of course, we are eager to see Doug and Teresa's little guy, Spencer, who is becoming an incredible storyteller. I think he gets it from Aunt Heather. Just kidding... Teresa is a reporter, too!

10/17/99    Hurricane Irene has arrived in South Carolina.  We're not very impressed.  I've seen meaner spring showers.  Oh well.

10/13/99    Here's the latest news:  Heather has become a vegetarian.  Why?  I don't know.  She just decided to stop eating meat.  It's been coming on for a while, and now it's here.  Will it continue?  I don't know that either.

10/7/99     Welcome to the NEW and IMPROVED Jeff and Heather Web page.  We are working on updating it.  As it develops, you will also see archives of old letters and notes above.

 

 

 

     

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