Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Thorn in My Paw

We recently put the cats outside cause they kept having territorial issues with the baby. I once swore that I would never do this to my pets, but they went on a three-week crime spree and we just couldn’t take it anymore. The final days were filled with hairballs on the kitchen counter, sofa, and vases being knocked off the mantel.

Anyway they love it outside. They still have all their claws and were always running outside every time the door opened anyway. Occasionally they will try running back inside, always at the most inopportune time. We used to be late to Church cause we spent fifteen minutes trying to get them back in, now it’s cause we’re trying to get them back out.

So there seems to be rash of coyote sightings recently a few miles from the house. It has almost made us want to bring them back in…almost but not quite. The house is cleaner, the baby can play in the floor without fear of being jumped on, no more walking funny due to a cat always being under your feet.

Buttons got a thorn in his paw last week and the vet suggested bringing him back in for a few days. I love Buttons and Sassy dearly, but I don’t see how we will ever have an inside pet again.

Lucy was coming back from lunch today and got the scare of her life. As she reached into the backseat to grab her purse, something big and gray moved in the cargo area of the station wagon. She screamed, shrank down in the front seat, and did her best not to wet herself. As she sat there silently wondering what to do with what she just knew had to be a wild coyote (maybe a baby one), she realized she had no choice but to see what was roaming the in far reaches of the wagon. She peered around the edge of the cushion, one hand on the door handle ready to lunge into the parking lot if need be, and there the vicious animal sat.

“Meow. Meow.”

Apparently Buttons had jumped through an open window and fallen asleep in the car. To add insult to injury, she had to call and explain to her boss that although she was sitting in the parking lot, she was going to be late so she could take her kitty back home.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Meals on Wheels

Lately we have been eating in the car a lot. It seems that at least once a week Fred falls asleep in the car seat on the way home from somewhere. I’m thinking about adding a fold out picnic table to the back of the station wagon.

Babies hate it when people eat at the same time. Mommy can eat and Daddy can eat, but Mommy and Daddy can’t eat together.
Whenever we plan a meal we always wind up in this fierce negotiation involving what everyone’s role will be.

“If I cook it, will you watch the baby?”
“If I watch the baby do I get to eat first?”
“Ok I’ll cook and you can eat first, but you have to clean up the kitchen.”
“I’ll see your eat first and clean the kitchen and raise you a feed the baby”
“Fine, I’ll cook, you eat first, you clean the kitchen, I’ll feed the baby, then you give him a bath?”
“Bet and then you put him to sleep”

Sometimes he fools us. He will sleep right up until one of us puts the fork in our mouths and then he’s up and ready to play. We are thinking about switching to all plastic eating utensils. It’s like we are eating with tuning forks or something.

If we both do the cooking, then we fall back to who wants to watch what on TV.
“I gotta see Studio 60 tonight, so anything before 8 is mine and after that it’s all you.”

If nothing comes on the tube, it’s all about who had the worst day.
“I should eat first cause I got yelled at by a customer today.”
“So did I. Mine used several words I cannot say if front of Fred”
“Mine too, but I hung up on him”
“Ha I win!!! Mine was in person!!!”

It’s so much easier to just sit in the car instead of waking him up and forfeiting the golden silence. Last weekend he conked out and we drove down to a park along the river. Nothing says romance like chicken nuggets, waffle fries, and the smell of dead fish coming off the riverbank. We almost shared a kiss, but forgot that the sound of a mommy hand holding a daddy hand also makes a noise that only sleeping babies can hear.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Toast to the Future; A Glance Towards the Past

I don’t know what loneliness is. I mean I know what it is, but I don’t know what it feels like anymore. I am a parent, a husband, a friend, an employee, a coworker, and a member of a local church, part of a blogging community none of these roles leave much time for being by myself. I mention over there à in my “about me” section that I have played several different parts in this lifetime. Nobody stays in the same place forever. You grow up, leave home, get out of college, get married, move a couple of times, have a kid, change jobs…you shake off old clothes and try on new suits every so often.

You leave people behind.

It’s not intentional. You go to work everyday, make great friends, change jobs, and you don’t see the same people anymore. Situations change and people move in different directions.

I left home sometime during the year I turned 19. Nothing major brought this on. It was just time. I was in college, member of a fraternity, there was an open room, yada yada yada, I moved out. I left my mom, brother, and stepfather alone to fight the constant war. I’m not letting some major secret out the bag here. Life at home could be a major hell sometimes. I loved my stepfather, but that love came from distance and the end of being apart of the daily arguments over the insignificants.





I still loved my family, they just got misplaced somewhere between class, girls, and skipping class with girls. I never stopped to realize that just because I had left didn’t mean they weren’t still fighting battles. I remember an episode of Growing Pains where Mike is watching Gilligans Island and he suddenly flips off the TV, waits ten seconds, and flips it back on. He is shocked to find out that although the Gilligan is still there, the story progressed regardless of whether he was watching it or not.

The lives of my brother and mother continued long after I left that house. Eventually they moved on as well. My stepfather passed away, my brother moved on and eventually left town, and my mom…my mom was living by herself in a one-bedroom apartment for the first time ever.

I think single life was a shock to her system at first. Something she had always thought of but never experienced. It must have been like waking up in a foreign country where nobody speaks English. You’re not quite sure how you got there, nothing makes sense, and you don’t know if you should be scared or amazed by the new surroundings. My brother was close, so the apartment wasn’t always as empty as it could be. He got a dog. She kept the dog after he finally left town. I know it was hard, but I like to think that those years were also filled with moments of great relief. The kind of relief somebody else might feel after working a hard day and finding dinner already cooked.

After awhile though the lack of conversation and those empty rooms must have been as bad as the marriage that brought her to that place. This is all a guess, because like I said, I had moved on; married the girl of my dreams…I am never lonely. I imagine that the silence became just as loud and infuriating as that man that once stomped through the house bare-chested and full of hot air.

My mother is getting married on Monday. My opinion has kind of been up in the air since I found out. One day for/next day not so for. Then my brother said this “I’m 25, single, and living in a big city. I go to these clubs and let me tell you single life is not easy. I can’t imagine what it’s like at her age.” This is what set my opinion in stone. I had never really tried to imagine her life at all past the point at which I moved out/on. Once I got past the thoughts of “What I wouldn’t give for half an hour of me time”, I couldn’t help but compare how full my life is now with how empty that apartment must be.
So regardless of whether she wants to make a big deal of it or not, I’m praying that it is a major big deal. Life is meant to be led happily ever after.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Bless Thee Yee Purple Prince of Peace

When you first find out that you are about to have a baby, you automatically start evaluating your feelings on what makes up a healthy lifestyle. You begin to comb over your own childhood in hopes of learning what went right and what was a disaster.

Did my parents let me eat too much candy?
Did they push vegetables on me?
Did I spend too much time playing and not enough time learning?

It’s not really an evaluation of you’re mom and dad. Honestly, you know in the end no matter what happened they did the best they could. It’s not as if a handbook pops out between the baby and the placenta. The fact is the new baby is going to need rules and positive habits. And what is the past good for if not for learning from the mistakes/successes of those that came before you.

I watched a ton of TV when I was younger. I mean 10 hours a day up until I got my first car. Even then I would regularly choose to stay home and watch the new episode of the Simpsons, rather go out to some party where I only knew the 4 people I came with. I was a major homebody. I did the partying thing in college like everyone else, but to this day I find it hard to cut the tube off. Just last week I made sure to get the Fall Preview issue of TV guide so I could map out my new TV line up. I literally sat down with the little pull out showing what and when everything is going to be on and planned my evenings. Shows with a W are going to be seen at that time and R’s mean I will be recording those shows in the bedroom. How crazy is that? Not crazy enough? Ok how about this…I will even record the shows with a W just in case something comes up and I miss 5 minutes in the middle of what I’m watching.

So when we found out Fred was on his way, I said “He will not be like me. He will not be a slave to the tube!!!”

Now as we are quickly approaching his 6mth birthday, I find myself struggling with this more and more. I mean for crying out loud the little guy loves Barney. I mean he LOVES BARNEY. Mouth open, no blinking, passey falling out of the mouth, forgets to breath loves Barney. So we borrowed a couple of videos from a friend…and now anytime we need 15-30 minutes of baby free time so dishes can be washed or dinner can be ate… we just hit play on the VCR and the Church of the Blessed Purple Dinosaur magically silences the entire house.

We are starting to feel guilty about this, but it’s like finding a way to add 2 more hours to the middle of the day. In those 30 minutes while the baby hears about “banonos and upples” we get enough done to free up entire weekends. How can something that feels so good be so wrong?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

We Got the Beat. We-Got-The-Beat!!! YEAH!!!

So it was about a 6-hour drive back from the beach and Fred was amazing.
He slept, he played, he ate, he drank, he laughed…but he did not cry.
That’s right!!! 450 miles, 2 stops, and no tears. Un-freak’n-believable.
We got 15 miles from home and just knew we had it made. Nothing could stop us now!!!

But maybe someone could.

A full days worth of tears combined with the pain of being strapped into a car seat all day forged a tantrum we are seldom witness to. Chief Redface had returned.

So what do you do? You’ve been away from home for four days. You’re tired, irritable, the legs need stretching, you gotta go to the bathroom…but that sign says Muscle Shoals 15 miles. Normally that’s an easy answer. You man-up and push forward, ignore the pain, pee in a bottle, and get home!!

Babies don’t know how to man-up. They just throw tantrums.

Redface almost got us this time. We were in the car and far away from our tried and true happy baby tools. We were at our weakest moment, all was thought lost. Lucy was begging me to pull over even though we were only 10 minutes from home…when a flash of brilliance crossed my mind. In an instant I saw Baby Fred bouncing at home in his exersaucer, he’s been there too long and is starting to cry just a little. There is a Barney video playing in the background and out of desperation, I began to clap to the beat. Baby Fred calmed down.

Over the noise of the road/crying/Rascal Flats, I scream “CLAPPPPPPP!!! CLAP WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT!!!”

Lucy, who at this point would have probably made armpit farts if it would have worked, starts banging her hands together with all her might. It worked at first, but it just wasn’t enough. In a show of expert driving ability, at 65mph I adjusted myself so my left knee could steer and began clapping/singing “WE WILL, WE WILL, ROCK YOU! ROCK YOU!!!” “WE WILL, WE WILL, ROCK YOU! ROCK YOU!!!”

And the crying ceased. We stopped clapping and the crying started again. We were now forced to play Redface’s wicked game.

As we drove the final few miles home, we felt the stares from the people in the other cars as they drove by the maniacs clapping as if their lives depended on it. I can almost hear them say “Hey that guy is driving with his knee!!!! Drive past!!! Drive past!!!”

We were bruised, battered, and our hands hurt for the next three days, but we made it home and that’s all that counts.
Until we meet again Mr. Redface...until we meet again.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Labor Daze(Part 3)

Fred is doing better today. We all had a good nights sleep last night, so that has helped a bunch. The breathing treatments are working but the baby hates taking them.
I need to apologize to the Granny. Apparently it is ok to talk about her wearing a wig on the internet, but not ok to let her find out that her great-grandbaby is sick by reading it in a blog.
Just another reason I'm a blockhead I guess.

Ok then, one more round of pictures and I promise to start writing new stuff. Oh and check out my new site www.blockheadnation.blogspot.com.

On with the show:

Fred caught a shark

I caught some rays.

And we all got crabs from Bubba's

We skipped walking and went straight to teaching him how to dance.

The perfect end to a perfect vacation.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Labor Daze(Part 2)

So the baby is still sick, but the good news is that they decided not to admit him to the hospital. Apparently he was borderline RSV. The Dr. ok'd him to come home as long as he took breathing treatments every 3-4 hours for the next few days.

So this is the 2nd group of pictures from our trip to Granny's and then on to the beach.
Hope you enjoy.

Fred thought this guy's name was "Stay in or Stay out" because every time a door was opened it's what he heard. Latter on I told him this was his great-grandpa and he better be nice because he keeps his will next to the recliner and is just itching to scratch somebody's name off the list.

"I'm gonna see this on the internet someday, aren't I dad?"

Skylar is trying to convince Fred that the beach is no fun and they should switch families for the weekend. I think she almost had him convinced.

My favorite people in the world at my favorite place in the world.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Labor Daze(Part 1)

We went back to my grandmother’s house for the holiday and cruised down to the beach afterward. All the travel made the baby's cough worse. Since I'm short on time, I thought now would be the perfect time to share some pictures from this trip.

This is Fred calling in a pizza the night before the big trip.

He's asking me if we want mushrooms or extra cheese.

Fred just realized that you actually do have to go over the river and through the woods to get to grandma's house.

This map will self-destruct in 10 seconds!

Fred remembered his hat, but Granny forgot her wig.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Old Apartment

We used to live in an old house that was split into 3 apartments. It was only a 10minute jog from class (5 minutes if you’re naked). Our part was in the back and then up/over the living rooms of both places in the front. This meant that the bedroom was half over apartment A and half over apartment B. Guy A had a pit bull the size of Cujo and insisted on throwing a party every night. Guy B was practically homeless and most of his furniture came from the side of the road (he took our couch and grill when we left). The living room was nice enough, but the stairs to the loft shot straight up like a ladder. The hot water was always out; the water heater was under the house in a basement. To get to it you had to go outside, crawl through this door about as wide as a computer screen, drop down 6 feet, find the bulb hanging in the center of the room (that’s right you don’t get light until you crawl through the trap door and plunge blindly into hell), then ignite the pilot light. I almost did this once, but I kept seeing that girl stuck in bottom of the well from Silence of the Lambs.

The air conditioning was never enough and the heat upstairs would turn candles into puddles within hours. I first moved in and lived there about three months before Lucy joined me. My previous residence was a closet in the fraternity house, so I didn’t really go upstairs until she insisted that the bed didn’t belong in the living room. It wasn’t even a bed really. Just an old mattress my parents had. It was so thin it may have well been a couple of blankets lying on top of each other.

I’ll never forget that first night we spent up there in that tiny room with the A-framed ceiling and 100 degree heat. I know what you’re thinking, yes we were young and in love, and with that came all the rewards…but that’s not what made this night so special. As we lay there in our new home, we talked about our new life together and made the plans that new couples make. I reached over and turned the lights off…and the image is still there even today…apparently the previous tenant was a little more creative then myself and took the time to place tiny little stickers all over the ceiling. As I turned the black dial on that old lamp next to the bed, the universe opened up before my eyes. It was if the lamp held a switch that opened a dome over the apartment. No longer were we being abused by the heat and lack of space…we were outside staring up into the cosmos watching comets and shooting stars zip by. I know it’s not possible, but now when I think about it I see the two of us covered by the glow from a million stars. I know those stickers are cheap and can be bought anywhere, to us though they were more than paper and glue…they were maps to a brighter future together.

That map we saw back then has been good to us, and now with Fred along for the ride I don’t see how it can get much better…but every now and then after I put the baby down for the night and kiss Lucy, I reach over to the lamp by the bed and still see the same stars shining over us.

I wonder if those stickers are still there.

Broke into the old apartment
This is where we used to live
Broken glass, broke and hungry,
Broken hearts and broken bones
This is where we used to live
Why did you paint the walls?
Why did you clean the floor?
Why did you plaster over
The hole I punched in the door?
This is where we used to live
Why did you keep the mousetrap?
Why did you keep the dish rack?
These things used to be mine
I guess they still are, I want em back
Broke into the old apartment
Forty-two stairs from the street
Crooked landing, crooked landlord
Narrow laneway filled with crooks
This is where we used to live
Why did they pave the lawn?
Why did they change the lock?
Why did I have to break in?
I only came here to talk
But this is where we used to live
How is the neighbor downstairs?
How is her temper this year?
I turned up your TV
And stomped on the floor just for fun
I know we don’t live here anymore
We bought an old house on the Danforth
She loves me and her body keeps me warm
I am happy here
This is where we used to live
Broke into the old apartment
Tore the phone out of the wall
Only memories, fading memories
Blending into dull tableaux
I want them back
I want them back
But this is where we used to live
I want them back
This is where we used to live
I want them back
But this is where we used to live
I want them back
By the Barenaked Ladies