Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tunnel Vision

This past weekend we took Fred to the park for the first time. He’s only a year old, but he was just a baby last summer, then winter came, this time last month as he began to learn how to walk he got a sick with a bad fever, a cold front sat on top of us for a week…needless to say we thought we’d never get to let him go out. There were a couple of days a few weeks ago in between cold temps and coughs that we managed to get him to a traveling petting zoo, then once Blackberry Winter hit all he could do was just stare out the screen door banging on the glass to be let out into the great wide world.
Finally the perfect weekend came and we went down to a local park that runs along the Tennessee River. Since this was his first park experience we weren’t too sure how he would handle the different types of equipment. The swings bored him, the purple dinosaur with the spring underneath may have confused him (I’m sure purple dinosaur equals Barney in his mind though this thing was a T-Rex and very fierce looking), he gave no love to the teeter-totter, so it was up to the jungle gym bring out a smile.

The thing was monstrous with fireman poles, 6 different slides, 2 tic-tac-toe boards, and a rock-climbing wall. Luckily for us we showed up late in the afternoon and the park wasn’t as crowded as it could have been. Anyways we decided to test out the slide.

It was one of those tube kind that curved a bit, but I sat at the bottom and could see Lucy holding him at the top. He was all grins as he stared down into the tunnel not knowing he was about to be let go. I need to say here that I’m 31 now and I’m gonna guess it’s been about 25 years since a slide sent my heart racing like it did at that moment. Try as she might to get him to lie down, Fred wanted to sit up…so with a silent prayer and every available digit crossed for good luck she let him go. In the time it took him to make it to the bottom I would have guessed that it would have been possible, at least in my mind where time had practically stopped, to single handedly reconstruct a life size replica of Mount Rushmore out of the stones that lined the park. Flashes of baby rolling headfirst end over fragile end kept zipping in front of my eyes like lightning just before a storm.

The storm raging inside as I witness by first born free falling towards me was merely one sided …Fred who had yet to crack a smile during the entire trip around the park enjoyed the slide so much that instead of lunging into my arms begging that neither him nor I ever have to experience such a lack of control ever again, he spun around and attempted to crawl back up to Lucy so he could let go one more time.

I think having a toddler is like Fred going down that slide for the first time…once it’s over with I just know I’m going to want to get back up and do it all over again.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Baby Bop

By now I know that boys are boys and you can never predict what they are going to do next. How they come home looking like Pigpen after a long day at school is a big enough mystery besides worrying about what crazy stunt they are going to pull next. Last week Fred got a pretty good rug burn on top of his head thanks to an over zealous hug from a very pretty girl. No big deal we got lucky and the scab came off the day before his school pictures this week. Fred has developed a very unusual problem however….he won’t quit hitting himself in the head.

I think I can trace the origins back to the Indian womp womp thing every kid makes by clapping the palm of his hand against his mouth. My theory is that Fred must have missed a few times and ended up whacking himself against the noggin. The jolt was something new and thus he can’t stop doing it now. Do you know how embarrassing it is to have to say “Quit hitting yourself in the head!!” “If you hit yourself one more time I’m gonna spank you.” Yes I literally said I was going to hit him for hitting himself…what kind of sense does that make?!?!

Things got worse recently at church while he was sitting in between Lucy and I. Fred popped his head back and knocked it against the wooden pew, then he did it again, then again…now it seems it’s his new favorite hobby. I’m not worried though because I remember 1987.

1987 was the year I met Junior. Junior and I forged a friendship through the joys of CCW (Continental Championship Wrestling). Something about Fred smacking his own head finally triggered a lost memory in my mind…Junior and I were head butting enthusiasts. Whether it was to see how hard we could slam our heads against our desks or each other, Junior and I had the best time just knocking ourselves senseless. I can't explain it, can't describe it, and frankly due to a possible concussion...can barely remember it.

So I’m gonna let this head hitting thing go for now and as he gets older I’m just going to sit back and pray he doesn’t pick up other weird hobbies I enjoyed as a kid…like dumpster diving.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Fred Brushing His Teeth For The First Time (Now With Video)

This has been a day a long time in the making. I have been playing around with a new blog writer called Live Writer and using it for my Idol/Repellem sites for a couple of months. Since I'm basically teaching myself how to do this as I go, once I hit a stumbling block it tends to take me a while to figure it all out.

Today I'm proud to announce I can now add video to Charlie. This is something I've been dying to do since I started the site and got a digital camera. Don't expect them everyday, but they will definately start popping up now that I've got the knack.

This was taken a few months ago, back when we first taught Fred how to brush his teeth. Enjoy!!!!


Songs In The Key Of Life (My Girl and The Road)

This week I wanna do something a little different. I’m a pretty musical guy. It’s on all day, I’m constantly humming a tune, or scoping the cd shelves for the latest and greatest must haves. I often associate different songs with different events in my life, therefore over the next few days I’m gonna let you in on my soundtrack. Who knows maybe I’ll just turn this into a regular segment. Kinda cool huh? Here we go:


I heard this song Sunday night while trying to get Fred asleep and immediately it became my favorite new song. To me it’s all about Lucy and how she’s more of a man than I will ever be.

“Tough” by Craig Morgan

She’s in the kitchen at the crack of dawn
Bacon’s on, coffee’s strong
Kids running wild, taking off their clothes
If she’s a nervous wreck, well it never shows
Takes one to football and one to dance
Hits the Y for aerobics class
Drops by the bank, stops at the store
Has on a smile when I walk through the door
The last to go to bed, she’ll be the first one up
And I thought I was tough

She’s strong, pushes on, can’t slow her down
She can take anything life dishes out
There was a time
Back before she was mine
When I thought I was tough

She’s a gentle word, the sweetest kiss
A velvet touch against my skin
I’ve seen her cry, I’ve seen her break
But in my eyes, she’ll always be strong
There was a time
Back before she was mine
When I thought I was tough

Life On The Road

Back before Fred came along I traveled every weekend selling swim supplies and got to see parts of the south I had only dreamed about before. I was a John Mayer fanatic at that point and even now every time I try to tell Lucy about some of the stuff I saw it always comes out sounding something like this:

“3x5’s” by John Mayer

I'm writing you to
catch you up on places I've been
You held this letter
probably got excited, but there's nothing else inside it
didn't have a camera by my side this time
hopping I would see the world with both my eyes
maybe I will tell you all about it when I'm
in the mood to lose my way with words
Today skies are painted colors of a cowboy's cliche'
And strange how clouds that look like mountains in the sky
are next to mountains anyway
Didn't have a camera by my side this time
Hoping I would see the world with both my eyes
Maybe I will tell you all about it when I'm
in the mood to lose my way
but let me say
You should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes
it brought me back to life
You'll be with me next time I go outside
just no more 3x5's Guess you had to be there
Guess you had to be with me Today I finally overcame
tryin' to fit the world inside a picture frame
Maybe I will tell you all about it when I'm in the mood to
lose my way but let me say
You should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes
it brought me back to life
You'll be with me next time I go outside
no more 3x5's
just no more 3x5's


Friday, April 20, 2007

Return Of The Geek

I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone that I used to be a major geek….one reason it’s no surprise is because in a lot of ways I still am. But never before have I ever defined the level of my geekyness to the extent at which I’m about to. You see….I used to be a comic book geek. I know again a collective “YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING!!!” rings out across the Internet.

No you don’t understand. I used to be a $250 a month, stay at home and read Batman instead of partying on a Saturday night, have to hold the comic book in such a way as to not smear the ink, late for after school job because I had to have the Death Of Superman special edition that included the memorial arm badge and fake newspaper….geek.

By the grace of God that all changed once I met Lucy and discovered there are better, more rewarding things to spend your money on. So I packed up my 5 boxes of comics, stowed them in the attic where they still sit completely insulated and protected, and eventually I switched obsessions. Buffy The Vampire Slayer became my drug. I’ve seen every episode a million times and can tell you the entire story line start to finish. Except it’s not quite finished….

Buffy went off the air a few years back and since then I’ve switched to other diversions like Lost and of course Fred/Lucy. Things took drastic turn last week though when my two biggest addictions combined into one….the Buffy Comic came out!!!! Not just any comic, the story picks up one year after the show ended and is in fact the official 8th season. I just couldn’t take the strain.

Last Tuesday (comic books only come out on Tuesdays) I left work and took the old familiar drive to the comic book store. Now ironically only three blocks from where I grew up. You don’t know how thankful I am that it wasn’t located there back in the day. It’s literally within sight of the very same grocery store I spent many a day trying to earn enough to cover the cost of the 20 books I was buying a week. Back then I guess I would have just asked them to start mailing my checks across the parking lot to the place where my money would eventually land anyway.

I did good though. I only spent $3.67….so I guess I didn’t truly travel back in time like it felt when I stepped through that door and saw all my friends and enemies lining the shelves. The Punisher, Wolverine, Spidey, Batman, Supes, Robin, Birds Of Prey, Captain American was assassinated…so was Peter Parkers aunt May. Robin still had his own book (good for him). Still only $3.67 was spent and that’s all I’m going to spend when I go back this week for Buffy issue #2.

This time it’s different I keep telling myself. This time nothing on paper can come close to the real life Adventures Of Charlie Blockhead.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pass Me That J!!!

The J’s came back into town!!!!! Last time I mentioned them they were heading off to Michigan. Now almost a year later they have a new baby (which I’ve neglected to add pictures of since I’m always behind on this blog) and of course the baby’s name starts with a…you guessed it a J. Since I miss them so I’ve decided to let them write today’s post. Take it J!!!!

We were a little surprised to have snow for Easter but hey - we heard that a lot of other more strange places had it too, so what. We were not prepared for Wednesday though. Wednesday we woke up to a winter storm advisory in mid-April. It was nasty - snowing/sleeting, cold and windy. Before long we lost power and without power we had no heat or water a/k/a bathroom. After being without power all day it was getting chilly so we began packing up the kids in the dark to go to a motel for the nite. After the long trip we had been on recently we were not too crazy about the idea of packing. We asked Jake what he thought about going to a hotel and he said "nope!" When we told him it had a swimming pool, TV, and heat he began throwing stuff in the suitcase!!!!

Dude we miss you guys. See you in September.

A Ride On The Fu Man Choo-Choo

We took Fred out to our fav all you can eat Chinese restaurant last week. I have this 4-plan attack I stick with every time. Trip 1) Wonton Soup, Egg Roll, Peanut Butter Chicken. Trip 2) Fried Rice foundation then everything that will fit on the plate piled on top with a chicken stick layered in for balance. Trip 3) Tai Noodles with a scoop of salt n’pepper shrimp mixed in. Trip 4) Cheese Wontons. Call me predictable. Say I’m in a rut. I don’t care, cause my plan always leaves me so full I can’t breathe afterward.

Anyway last week Fred kept freaking out every time the Chinese dude that collects the empty plates kept walking by. He eyed that guy all over the restaurant and whenever he came near Fred would start bouncing up and down, waving his arms, while calling “EEEWWW EEEWWWW EEEEEWWWW!!! UNNHHH UNNNNHHH!!!”

We were all “I know you’re a friendly baby, but there’s no way we are going to just let some random Chinese guy carry you around. For all we know he will try to show you off to the kitchen staff and then you’ll know they are feeding us dog.” Not that that would stop me from eating there, I just prefer to have some things kept from me is all.

It was so weird that Lucy brought it up while dropping him off at The Hill the next day (Fred, not the Chinese waiter). It turns out the lunch lady has been letting him ride in the bottom of her serving cart after lunch is over. (Again Fred…not the Chinese waiter)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Alaina Alexander Opens Up

I can't help but brag a little about the interview I had with Alaina Alexander. Here is the post from AmericanSuperStars:

Alaina Alexander Opens Up About Quitting Music, Sanjaya, and Those Chris Richardson Romance Rumors
Several weeks ago TMZ ran a story regarding rumors that two of this season's hottest Idols were romantically linked. It was at that point that I took a chance and tried to contact Alaina's publicist. Low and behold last Thursday I got to talk to Alaina herself. You never truly know what type of person you are going to find yourself talking to when you approach someone that has achieved the level of success like Alaina. Not only was Alaina Alexander one of the nicest people I have ever talked to, you could tell the by exuberance in her voice that America had not heard the last of this Top 24 American Idol contestant. As soon as I got word that Alaina was going to be giving me a call that afternoon, I immediately loaded up the tape recorder and carried it with me the rest of the day....except for the 15 minutes I ran to Burger King to grab some dinner. Wouldn't you know that just seconds before I ordered my double whopper, Alaina would call? So there while the waitress kept asking me if I wanted Coke or Sprite...I began my interview with an American Idol.

Alaina, who recently dyed her hair black, immediately made me feel that this was not some Hollywood celebrity I was dealing with, but an old friend sharing her latest experiences. You could tell that Alaina was a passionate person especially when asked if there was anything that she could share, that other Idols had not mentioned. Without missing a beat, Alaina said that everyone wants to know some deep dark secret or scandal that just has to be going on behind the scenes. That the truth is the show is all about hard work and trying to give the best performance possible. She further added that there are no words to describe what it's like step out in front of 30 million people and sing your heart out. Take a look at what else Alaina had to say as we played a round of 20 Questions!!!"

1. I am a southern guy, what was it like growing up near Hollywood? I’m from a smaller town as well, and I used to love to go into Hollywoodand go shopping. I would go back to school and brag to all my friends. LAalways did have its perks.
2. Tell me a little about your family …
Well I’m half Mexican and half Italian so let’s just say there are a lotof us, and we really like our food.
3. Before we talk about the show, what have you been up to since your departure?There are so many good things happening. I can’t say much now, but I’m very happy and anxious!
4. On the show, you sang a few different styles of music. What would you consider to be your genre?
I’m definitely a pop artist, with a little acoustic soul.
5. What artist is your biggest inspiration? Are there any new performers out there today that have caught your eye?I love Mariah and the Beatles. I am affected by so many different styles of music. A more recent artist that impresses me is Christina Aguilera. She has so much passion and feeling when she sings. So amazing!!
6. Is there anyone that has been sent home that you feel should still be on the show?
Do I count?
7. Chris Sligh recently said that he had gotten death threats while on the show. How have you been received by the show’s fans? The fans have been great to me. Nothing but love!
8. On your MySpace page, you listed a few new songs. Is there an album in the works? Oh you will just have to wait and find out =-)
9. Speaking on MySpace, you’ve put several pictures of yourself out there that some might consider a little risqué. What was the motivation behind the pics? There’s nothing crazy behind it. I love the pictures so I thought I would share them.
10. Of course we HAVE to talk about Sanjaya… do you feel he still deserves to be on the show or is he hanging on by those trying to bring down AI? He deserves to be there. He is working hard just like everyone else. Let’s not forget that America is keeping him there.
11. Do you think Simon will really quit if Sanjaya wins?No, it wouldn’t be the same without that crazy man.
12. Were you ever able to spend time with the judges? If so, what were they like?
Paula is very nice; she makes you feel good when you’re down.
13. Do Simon and Seacrest REALLY hate each other? I don’t think the boys really hate each other, I think they just bump heads sometimes.That’s normal in any relationship.
14. Many are calling for changes in the voting system and rules for next season. What are some changes you’d like to see happen? I would like it to be 50/50 between the judges and America.
15. Are you still in contact with anyone from the show?Yes, I still talk to a couple of the kids.
16. Do you feel that you have made any lifelong friends on the show? Definitely. We share something together that not very many people get to experience. That will bond us forever.
17. We saw you in the audience supporting Chris Richardson. TMZ has recently some out saying the two of you are a couple. Anything you’d like say?? Chris and I are friends. No romancing going on there, sorry!
18. You said right before the audition that if you didn’t make it to Hollywood, you were going to give up on music? Do you think you would have stuck with that?
If I didn’t try out for Idol, I would probably have quit pursuing a career in music. I would never have stopped composing, singing and playing guitar though! However, I’m so thankful for the experience with Idol because nowI want it more then ever.
19. Who do you want to will win? That’s a secret =-)
20. Who do you think will win?I really have no idea at this point. It’s been very random this year!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Birth Of A Personality

One thing being at home with a sick child (I mean a reallllly sick child) for the first time teaches you is that you no longer have a baby. I mean we still call him Baby Fred, and change diapers, and all of that…what I’m trying to say is that we no longer have this pooping, crying, spitting up, mushed up food eating, sleeping baby. We essentially have a pre-toddler.

The fact that we now have this new person running around our house that we created, shaped, and molded into his current image hit home in a big way last week. The fever was pretty bad and one major sign of the severity was the disappearance of Fred’s personality. Up until this point we hadn’t even stopped to realize he had one. It was something that just snuck up on us and we never had time to react or think “Hey this thing is a person now!!”

He has likes and dislikes. He will let you know in a heartbeat when he doesn’t want to do something. (He has decided he no longer wants to be given a breathing treatment and will scrunch his face while continuously shoving the breather away) He’s eating pizza, hamburgers, ice cream, pudding, chicken nuggets…basically I just order 2 of whatever I’m having. He’s walking well now and never stops. He simply races through the house touching, pulling, tasting, throwing, kicking, and falling down on everything possible. He begs to go outside and claps his hands when told, “If you are happy and you know it clap your hands”

My boy has ideas and thoughts and dreams and favorite foods and best friends. He loves the sunshine, puppy dogs, and wagon rides.

All of this disappeared last week. He slept all week, threw a fit when put down, and barely raised an eyebrow. He wasn’t himself. For the first time we were amazed by the personality we had created and felt sorrow for its disappearance. If I ever write or do another thing of consequence, it will always appear as a crumb when compared to Fred the person.

Monkey Business

Recently I have managed to teach Fred to make animal noises specifically an elephant and monkey. He got a stuffed chimp from LeeLee for his birthday. When he was well enough to play last week, I would grab LeeLee (the monkey not the person) and start bouncing her around while going “WHOO WHOO WHOOO WHOOO”. Fred thought it was hilarious and by the end of the week it became his newest trick. He was already puckering his lips and trying to whistle so the “WHOO WHOO WHOO” fit right in with that same lip action.

One thing I neglected to teach Fred though was that not all animals sound like LeeLee….just other monkeys. Easter came and went this past weekend bringing with it 100 stuffed bunnies. There were orginally only 2 (Adam and Eve) and during the course of the 3-day holiday they must have done what rabbits do, cause they are all over the place now. To Fred though all animals now make the same noise “WHOO WHOO WHOO”.

“Freddy, what does a bunny sound like?”
“Whoo Whoo Whoo”
“Freddy what does a….doggy sound like?”
“Whoo Whoo Whoo”
“Fred what does an….owl sound like?”
“Whoo Whoo Whoo”

That one I guess is correct though, because it’s basically the same noise. He loves that stuffed monkey!! LeeLee is in the ball pit, LeeLee rides to school, LeeLee got a milk bath yesterday after Fred decided giving her a kiss was more important than swallowing his milk.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Where In The World Is….Broccoli?

The last time I mentioned my brother he was in Iowa starting a brand new adventure that will eventually land him not to far from home. Depending on who you ask the downside about it all is that he’s not home much and has become a regular globetrotter.

Most recently his travels have landed him in Chicago. All I know about Chicago is that it’s windy, their lead singer just committed suicide, and the Cubs suck. I’m not recalling any shows that were based there except of course Chicago Hope, so my knowledge is severely limited on the subject. Word came down the pipeline that he wasn’t coming back home until July. That will put it about 7 months since his last visit.

I wonder about his life sometimes. I imagine myself in his shoes buying a hot dog with the works from a street vendor. Looking up at the massive skyscrapers that are as tall as the streets are long. I imagine the people passing all around, the homeless scattered about here and there. We don’t have many homeless people. Country towns like the one I’ve always lived in go to sleep at some point during the night. Traffic stops, bars close, silence is the only sound that can be heard. I wonder how many people in Chicago have heard the sounds of silence. Probably not many. Too many cars, 24-hour beer joints…too many people, places, and things to see.

Broccoli says he’s renting a studio apartment and has managed to catch a few Cubby games. Other than work his life is like the wind blowing all around him. Nothing slows it down and it can change direction in a moments notice….but maybe just as intangible.

I’m not trying to criticize Broccoli’s day to day. Like I said part of me is envious. I’m not like the wind though. I need something solid to grasp on to at night. I need an anchor to keep me afloat during storms and strong breezes. I need my family. I need somebody to teach animals sounds to and I need that look of awe Fred flashes every time he goes outside. I need Lucy’s charm and sense of humor. I need her/our history and I need inside jokes that are told over and over. I need brushing your teeth for the first time and trying to grasp bubbles made from dishwashing liquid. I need new words, first steps, and the tugging on of pant legs.

One thing I do know though…I need my brother around to share this with…..

Spring Fever

Dear Blog, I am soooo sorry I’ve not posted in over a week. I know I promised to be around more and you are very important to me, there was just no way for me to know that the baby was going to get sick. I’m not talking about cough and runny nose sick, but 103.5 fever for 5 days in a row sick.

It was a tough week for the Blockhead clan and we pray it’s over with. I’ve got tons to talk about and will do my best not to miss anything. After a week of holding a sick 1 year-old I’ve had plenty of time to let my mind wonder.

Lucy and I did our best, but nobody wants to baby sit your kid when he’s got a fever and refuses to be sat down on his own. It was only a 4-day week for me and I missed all but a day and a half. There is a special kind of frustration that goes with being pinned to a couch while you imagine the piles of paperwork on your desk multiplying with every passing hour. Any other time I’d be begging for time off, but little man was so sick those days were filled with worry instead of thrills and spills. That was one stubborn fever.

It finally broke Saturday morning after two Dr.’s visits and 3 prescriptions. I’ve got something planned in regards to his mood, for now I’ll just say Fred wasn’t himself.