Sunday, October 29, 2006
This one is black and white. I was standing in front of the card tables filled with buns, mustard, ketchup, three kinds of chips etc…Off to the right four of the moms are standing around laughing at a some odd joke about the latest moronic thing a random husband had done. It’s pitch black outside and the woods are as dark as a coalmine. To the left, not up close, but about twenty feet away there’s a guy wearing a corduroy jacket, jeans, and sneakers. You can tell from the way his hair has that messy yet stylish look and by that jagged beard covering his face that he’s a musician or an artist of some sort. He’s kneeled down in front of tree next to a little girl. She not just any little girl, she’s the kind of girl you see in commercials for fabric softener or in flashbacks where the grown up Gwyneth Paltrow type imagines herself as a child. She too has a coat on, but the sleeves are too long and her tiny fingers barely stick out of the edges. Her hair is pulled back and her face is lit up like the sun. At first you think the source of the light is coming from the tiki torch next to her, but then you look closer. There close to the ground, just barely sticking its’ head out from behind the man’s knee…is a tiny white kitten. Then you understand the light is coming from her smile and has nothing to do with anything as artificial as some oversized matchstick.
This one kinda caught me off guard. I was mingling about, being a good host and sorta bumped into it. I used black and white again; color seems to take something away from the imagination. The first thing that catches your eye is the fire. Shaped like a teepee straight out of the old west, you can almost feel the heat coming off it. The structure practically takes up the whole image. Logs, sticks, smoke billowing off the top. For some reason there is Christmas tree mixed in and for a second you wonder how that got there. In the background you see what you can barely make out to be a pond and more trees surrounded by darkness. Above are glowing embers from the blaze floating towards the heavens as if they are stars being born and beginning their journey into outer space. Then just off to the side you see what separates this from just another picture of a bonfire. A little boy standing behind what has to be his daddy. His hair is shaggy and at the moment his eyes are huge. One arm is extended out resting on the back of his father. The resemblance is to close; same eyes, same shaggy hair. The little boy is amazed. Dad is squatted down dangerously close to the fire in what appears to be some type of pose. One hand is gripping his jacket and he is using it to shield his eyes from what has to be the heat, the other hand extending towards the flames like Superman about to leave the earth behind. You wonder what he is doing thrusting his hand into the bonfire. That’s when you squint and see the stick…and at the end of the stick you glimpse the hot dog covered in flame and smoke. The son watching over the shoulder of his hero as he performs what has to be just the latest in a series of heroic deeds.
This one is my favorite. The bonfire is there at the top edge casting a wide glow on what you can barely make out to be people on the opposite side smiling and enjoying themselves. The image is a close up and not much else can be seen. It’s a boy laid sideways just inches from the camera lens. The eyes of the baby tell the whole story; half open, half closed, a passey in his mouth. A few seconds later you know he will be fast asleep. Wearing a jacket with a hood positioned just so, the fire is casting a soft glow and thick shadows all around him. His hand…four tiny fingers and a thump barely raised as he gently rubs his daddy’s face before dreaming of what lies among the stars above. This one took my breath away and I hung it on a wall close to my heart.
For example: I know I read at least a dozen times about how soft the baby’s head is and how you gotta be careful with the soft spot. All I heard was “Watch the soft spot” “Be careful with the soft spot” “The doctor is checking his soft spot”. Soft spot my butt!! Everyday. Everyday!!! Fred rams that little noggin right into my nose, mouth, eye and he never feels a thing. I’m searching for the tooth he just knocked out and he’s already reaching for Barney. Lucy got hit in the same place 3 times in a row the other night. He’s all “Oh mommy I love you soooo much. Thank you for picking me up and tickling my tummy. WHAM!!! WHAM!!! WHAM!! HAVE A SLICE OF FOREHEAD SISTER!!!! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!”
And those finger nails. It’s like my wife gave birth to Wolverine or something. We had to throw out the playpen because he sliced his way through the side like it was butter. Do you know how embarrassing it is walking around with an eye patching looking like you decided to wear your Pirates of the Caribbean costume the whole week of Halloween because your baby cut you from cheek to hairline? We have to clip them in his sleep for fear that he’ll go all Tasmanian Devil if we tried it while he was awake and looking us in the eyes… or in my case eye.
We finally manage to dodge the head butts and Freddy Krueger fingers, just in time to get kicked in the crotch with both feet at the same time. The two of us lying on the couch together watching the ball game. Dad and son enjoying a moment of bonding. Suddenly the little guy flips back into a handstand, curls up, and stomps my winker out my butt-hole. Again, I’m trying to find my marbles that I swore shot out and rolled under the couch; Fred’s done grabbed the remote and turned it into a popsicle. Nobody wants to change the channels with a slimy, sticky, drool covered remote. The whole point of being on the couch is to avoid being up and doing things that will cause you to have to wash your hands.
What is up with hand washing?!? Lucy’s all “Wash your hands”, “Did you wash your hands?” “Can you take this out, put this up, and grab the baby? Oh and wash your hands”
I was coming out of the bathroom at church and this smarty artie seven-year-old screams “Ummmmmmm you didn’t wash your hannnnnnndddssssss.” I said I was about to and the brat said, “Use soap!” Normally I don’t like to be bossed around, but with the eye patching making it hard to see and my bruised manhood making it hard to stand, I figured he might go an tell my baby to finish the job.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
I haven’t vomited in 9 years. Where exactly did my body decide to break this streak? At home maybe, where I am at my most comfortable? Nope, I had to chunk it at work where the roars of my displeasure rang out like a steel triangle across the open range at suppertime. I can imagine my coworkers popping their little heads up over the cube walls searching for the source of the nastiness. Like prairie dogs searching for the source of the unique sound.
Lucy was sitting in a business meeting surrounded by bosses and bosses bosses and bosses bosses bosses, when suddenly she bolted for the door and managed to find a garbage can down the hall somewhere. If that wasn’t bad enough, she had to stop three times on her way home to do it again…in the rain…on the side of the road.
So like I said we were happy to finally have our heads in our home toilets.
This lasted for 4 days. After the first day we quit getting sick every few minutes, but lets just say things then took a turn in a different direction.
It was during all of this that many prayers were said and wishes were wished for.
We wished Fred didn’t have to go live with GiGi for 2 days. She loved it and I think he had ice cream for dinner a couple of times. What a big help she was!
I wished my body would quit aching like I was on the rack during a “more authentic than usual Renaissance Fair exhibit”
Lucy wished she hadn’t had soup for lunch.
I wished we could actually enjoy the empty house so we could do what married people do best…me watch football in one room and her a Lifetime movie in the other.
I wished my stomach would quit begging for food just so is could have something to make me get sick again with. I only ate 1 chicken nugget all day Friday.
On the fourth day most of the drama was over, Fred was back at home, though we were sore and still not too keen on the idea of ever eating again; Lucy and I were feeling better.
Fred made that grunt and put on his serious face that means there’s trouble in his basement. Since Lucy was still nauseas, I took the task of changing his diaper.
One thing you should know is that as a man and a father, the word help is practically one of the seven words you can’t say on TV. You won’t hear it much and when you do you’re shocked and amazed. In this case though I think I had a valid reason to “break the glass” and scream for reinforcements.
It wasn’t the fact that it was such a vile, radioactive diaper; I can handle those any day. Just pull your shirt over your nose and jump in. What sent me screaming for my wife like a man on fire searching for a puddle was that as the diaper came off and Fred lay there in all his poop…he grabbed a big handful of it!!!! This alone is enough to sound the sirens, but it got worse…you know where things go once they get in the hands of a baby don’t ya? Straight to the mouth.
That’s when I started the help me sirens. HELLLLLPPPPP MEEEEEE!!!! Help Help
Help Help Help Help Help Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I guess it’s true, when you wish in one hand and poop in the other you should always know which one will be filled up faster.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
I haven’t and may not write about the great loss that Lucy and I had to endure last week. I will say that Fred is perfectly healthy and all is well with my friends and family. However, something tragic did occur. Last Tuesday. That will affect the three of us for sometime.
I think we just got caught off guard. Too used to things going our way and forgetting that in each life there are days when you wonder how you will ever make it to the next. Like a fog the pain begins to form around you slowly until all you see and feel is emptiness. You scream into the gray clouds for anyone…someone to make things better or take you back to a time when another choice could have been made…
As far as how we reacted, I can only speak for myself. I stopped talking. It seemed silly and embarrassing to be grieving so much over what others might consider simply another day in the life of. I took a day off work and just lay on the couch covered with my grief. Snuggling up to it and peering out around the edges whenever the phone rang. When I did speak to someone other than Lucy, the words were dull and seemed to trail off at the end. I would open my mouth and the fog would quickly choke me until I once again fell silent. For a week I have gotten up, gone to work, come home…I have continued on with all the day to day routines that make up my life…except I have done them in silence. Moments with Lucy and Fred being the only times when any reaction or sound could be heard from me.
We decided to stick with plans made months before and went out of town last Saturday. Nothing special just a short drive through the country to a crafts festival/ yard sale we have been going to every year as far back as I can remember. It was there that we began to see breaks of sunlight and feel the numbness slowly going away. Then just as the day was about to be over, a chance encounter…a one in a million coincidence blinded us to all that we had fought so hard to get past. The fog returned.
By chance I woke last night and just happened to peer out the window. Maybe I was being a bulldog, ensuring that my home and those in it were safe from the evil that surely lay in the shadows of the pine trees or lurked in the cars driving by. Whatever the reason; all I saw was fog. It was as if the pain and loss had become too much for Lucy and I to bear and that it simply burst through the very walls of the house covering the whole world in white. It was there when I woke up this morning…the fog. It lasted all day today. Through my drive to Fred’s daycare, on my way to work, coming back tonight as I write this.
Except for some reason, today for the first time I began to speak again. As if the fog had really come from inside me and by seeing it all around I was able to begin the process of filling the empty space inside with something other than pain and sadness. I still hurt, still fight the tears during some parts of the day…but not all day.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
I was really big into Smallville so I thought it would be soooo cool to come as Clark Kent/Superman. I have the blue Superman T-shirt that came with my comic book geek membership, so my costume was basically me wearing a flannel shirt over that. I left a few buttons undone around the collar so people would be able to see the top of the red “S” that Superman has on his chest. I remember thinking “Easy Costume. Creative. This will be kinda neat.”
Maybe I didn’t leave enough buttons undone at the top of the shirt. Maybe I should have put more jell in my hair and perfected that signature curl in the middle of my forehead. I thought that ripping off my glasses and suddenly standing straighter with my chest puffed out would be a clear sign of who I was. Regardless of why, nobody caught the fact that I was wearing a costume. By midday I decided that I should stay true to my superhero roots and not revel my secret identity.
I know I don’t talk about it much, cause honestly my job is far from anything glamorous or even mildly interesting. I basically work in a cube farm with 50 other rats all trapped in the same maze looking for bits of cheese or in my case donuts.
After my secret costume from the year before, I was determined to be less creative and more obvious. I was reading Dilbert everyday and the similarities were just too much to pass up. I decided Dilbert would be a nice fit for Halloween ‘05’.
It was barely even a costume. Blue kakis, white button up, red/black striped tie, and my glasses. I used a safety pin to make it look like my tie was curled up and even changed my name on the ID badge I’m required wear to Dilbert. Again nothing. NOT ONE PERSON NOTICED MY TIE STICKING IN THE AIR ALL DAY!!!! Another year, another costume wasted on the zombies around my office.
What these last two Halloweens have taught me is that dressing as a nerd is just not enough of a stretch for me. We all know the jokes where people say, “Hey you forgot to take your costume off from last year” or “Halloween was two months ago. Why are you still wearing that mask?” Well apparently I this is literally true in my case.
I was thinking maybe this year I’ll be Peter Parker. I could wear jeans, a red T-shirt with a flannel shirt over it, opened up just a bit at the collar so you can barely see the red, and I could have a camera around my neck all day… naaaahhhh people would get that in a heartbeat. I don’t want to be too obvious.
Monday, October 09, 2006
My brother is moving to Iowa for 3 months. After slaving away as a salesman for the yellow pages in Nashville, he accepted a job selling lights to ballparks through out Tennessee. In order to be properly trained, they are moving him to Iowa just until he gets a lay of the land.
I know jack-squat about Iowa. At first I thought it was where those giant potatoes from the grocery store came from, then I realized that’s Idaho. I think the most fascinating thing about Iowa is that there is nothing fascinating about it at all. It is the forgotten state. The one people always forget when they attempt to name all 50. When you think of New York, you think Times Square. Alaska = Icebergs. Hawaii = 5-0. Vermont = Syrup. Wisconsin = Cheese. Iowa =…. nothing.
He’s trying to make it seem like it’s no big deal, cause he’ll be back in 3 months. To this I say empires have crumbled, marriages have started and stopped, and WWE championships were won and lost in less time.
It took 5 minutes to find out I was going to be a dad.
4 Days to bring Fred home for the first time.
3 months to get the hang of being a good dad.
2 seconds to say I do.
And one night to know I had met the love of my life.
In the past 3 months my mom was married, Fred went to the beach, we changed churches, and my brother left for the nothing state. None of these things could have been predicted in August.
In 3 months he might meet a new love, marry an old one, win the lottery, move back in with my mom, buy a dog, join the army, or decide Iowa is that place he was meant to spend his life. Either way I hope he knows that until the day he comes back home for good…Iowa = My Brother.
Be careful out there Broccoli.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Dropped off Fred at the daycare. I’m the dropper offer. Lucy is the picker up. Ironically I’m usually running late so I’m the quicker dropper offer instead of her being the quicker picker upper. Anyway, I pass him off to Mrs. Jackie. Gave a high five to some random kid doing his dancing thang as he led his mommy to class. Life was good. I was the man. The man with the plan so watch out Jack cause I’m a doing my thang!!
I’m be-bop’n along, jump in my car, about to cruise into work…and I remembered that Fred doesn’t own a front facing blue car seat.
Now you may ask why this is important. Well you see, in the backseat of the car was a front facing blue car seat. Not the back facing brown car seat that is normally there.
Did Fred get a new car seat and I just wasn’t told? No
Did I just imagine that there was a front facing blue car seat behind me? No
Maybe I woke up in a different persons body and they owned a front facing blue car seat? No
I be-bop’d into the wrong car, closed the door, and was just about to try and crank the darn thing. In my defense it was the same kind of car as mine…just a different year and color and a couple of spaces closer than mine…with a spoiler and sun roof and shiny new rims.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
This is what he looks like now. War Eagle Baby!!!!!
What feeding time used to look like...
What feeding time looks like now.
At first things got off to a rocky start...
But thanks to God and our wonderful friends...
Life has turned into one great big carnival ride!!!!
All this blogging has got us beat. So good night for now and don't let the bed sharks bite ya!!
Monday, October 02, 2006
Playtime: This has just happened within the past few days. He is playing by himself on a pallet in the floor. At first we were sitting behind him letting him dive into a mountain of toys, but as of this weekend it’s clear he wants to be down there by himself. He spent 3 hours at Sandy the Squirrels place drooling over such delectables as blocks, baby cell phones, and plastic balls. During church he is starting to try and squirm his way into the floor. This does make life a little easier since he doesn’t require being held all day, but it sure is breaking his momma’s heart seeing little man grow up.
1st Foods: We started out slow with the basics applesauce, pears, and a little white grape juice. Then we moved on to prunes (his fav), carrots, bananas (hates them), now the doc has cleared him to eat mushy table food. He doesn’t have teeth yet, so we cream everything up. In the past week he has licked all the flavor off a Bugle, turned a vanilla wafer into a soggy piece of bread, devoured some mashed potatoes, got slipped a piece of fried catfish, and the GiGi gave him a spoonful of ice cream (bad GiGi) which he begged to have more of and was denied…after another bite.
Girl Crazy: He is still addicted to Barney. Not just any Barney, but Barney Rocks. 20 minutes into it there is this 4 year old that sings to her Teddy Bear and you should see the boy turn red while grinning from ear to ear. When she exits stage right she also takes his attention with her and we have to rewind. I have no idea what Barney does during the last 30 minutes of the tape.
He has also caught the eye of a few teachers at the daycare. There’s Mrs. Jackie, though it’s more of a grandma thing, he has her wrapped around his tiny fingers. She even calls in to check on him if she has to be out sick and calls us when he is out sick. In the afternoons Lucy has to pry his fingers away from Mrs. Mandy the college girl that takes pictures of him on her phone and shows everyone “The cutest baby in the world”. I never had his luck with women…I only caught Lucy cause I asked her out after she had just come from the optometrist and everything was still blurry.
Babble: He started, then he got sick and stopped, now he’s better and back with a vengeance. All day he tries his best to say something. So far he may have said: bottle, baby wipe, hey, and nope…we are not going to declare the first word until it is something cute or momma/daddy.
Bath time: He loves bath-time!! I think he smears the food all over himself just to ensure a trip to the tub and not a washcloth wipe down. We have to drain the water out just to convince him it’s time to move on to something else. You should see him in there with frog, turtle, crab, killer whale, and the yellow submarine. Though he loves all those toys, his favorite of course is the free mini hotel shampoo bottle.
Formal Playroom: There is a pretty large formal room in the front of the house with a big picture window that looks out across the neighborhood. It was filled with antique furniture, knick-knacks, an old timey sowing machine; you know formal living room stuff. We never went in there. Neeeeeevvvvvveeeeeeer. So we put all the fancy furniture in storage and turned it into a giant playroom. Complete with E.T./Cinderella/King-Kong movie posters, my prized Charlie Brown and Snoopy collection, and every toy in the house. Little man can watch Barney till Baby Bop grows up and we adults can relax on the couch. Who knows, I may even attempt to read a book again.
Zerberts: Since he was born Fred has been getting at least 6 zerberts a day. We just can’t resist those cubby cheeks and his little belly that pooches out. Well now he’s going everywhere slobbering on any and everybody attempting to issue a sloppy payback. Sometimes he’s successful and a slight THHHHHPPPPPPPP noise is made. Other times your just left feeling like you just got slimed.
So that’s about it for now. Everyday is another thing he learns and another Adventure for me Charlie Blockhead. Stay tuned. It’s just the beginning.