Monday, May 31, 2010

Nights Out

In the past two weeks, The Wife and I have spent a couple of nights away from The Son. It wasn't our first night away from him, mind you. But they were the most memorable.

The first night we were invited to attend "a party" at the home of some friends. I put the word party in quotes not because it wasn't a party. It was in fact a party. The couple hosting didn't lie to us or anyone else. They just... left out some crucial information.

The Wife said that the party started at 6:30 PM. We arrived at 7:00. Which was right on time according to her. I still haven't convinced her that being "on time" doesn't mean "fashionably late." Oh well, I won in the end because she read the invite wrong; the thing started at 7. And by the way, read that sentence again. Some of you are humming "Win in the End" from Teen Wolf, aren't you? Me too.

Once we got there, the girl hosting the thing said, "Forgot to tell you guys... a lady's going to be here at 8:30. This is really a sex toy party!" My wife's jaw, I'd like to introduce you to the floor. Y'all be good to each other. Yep, it was a couples sex toy party. I immediately looked to a friend standing next to me and asked, "Clear up for me the difference between one of these and the beginning part of a swinger's get together?" He didn't have an answer.

Later on in the night, a guy was talking to me, The Wife and another friend of ours. He tried to remember the name of a particular breakfast place right on the beach. He said they had great French toast. My wife came up with the name, which wasn't weird, but a regular name for a restaurant.

The completely sober guy responded: "Oh yeah, that place is gangster. I mean, seriously gangster."

Gangster pancakes, waffles and orange juice. I don't have a joke here.

The next weekend, we went to The Wife's 8th grade class reunion. You read that right. Her 8th grade reunuion. Not high school, not college... middle school.

A grand time was had by all who attended mostly because me and the bartender spent half the night entertaining the whole room with random Tin Cup quotes. Ok, we were just making ourselves laugh, but hey I thought it was fun.

At least the night turned out to be gangster.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

Its a speech given dozens of times in and around Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The time is "Our Lives, Our Fortunes, Our Sacred Honor".

The speech starts out like this:

It was a glorious morning. The sun was shining and the wind was from the southeast. Up especially early, a tall bony, redheaded young Virginian found time to buy a new thermometer, for which he paid three pounds, fifteen shillings. He also bought gloves for Martha, his wife, who was ill at home.

Thomas Jefferson arrived early at the statehouse. The temperature was 72.5 degrees and the horseflies weren't nearly so bad at that hour. It was a lovely room, very large, with gleaming white walls. The chairs were comfortable. Facing the single door were two brass fireplaces, but they would not be used today.

I suggest you read the rest of it. The author of the speech is R.H. Limbaugh, Jr. He is the father of Rush Limbaugh, conservative talk show host. Ignore the political associations and read the speech in honor of Memorial Day.

Thank you to all veterans and those who serve us now. You are the real heroes.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Writing conest!

A writing contest for all you potential writers for kids out there.

Here it is!

Good luck!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thanks for Nothing

Remember the days of yore when you watched sports on the couch with your dad? Remember watching your favorite team, high-fiving each other when they scored, and getting that consoling pat on the knee if they lost? Remember seeing your favorite athletes on TV throwing their jersey to a kid or running through the streets and thinking they could do no wrong? Yeah, those days are gone.

The Son is just over a year old. We don't watch sports together yet. Well, that's not entirely true. I watch the games, he is mesmorized by the cool colors and shapes moving on the screen. My in-laws were shocked that he watched football with me during the season this year at only six months old. But once we all figured out the miracle of high definition television made the colors like crack to a baby, then it all made sense. However, the fact that he couldn't tell the difference between a jersey, the officials flag and a cheerleader doesn't stop me from day-dreaming of the day when we will be able to watch sports together. I just wonder how that's all going to work out with the way things are in the world.

Mark McGwire was the biggest thing in baseball just a decade ago. He was the clean-cut, respectful, All-American professional athlete that everyone wanted their kids to grow up and emmulate. When he hugged the necks of Roger Maris's kids after hitting his 62nd home run, it made everyone cry. Now, regardless of our country's capacity to forgive, I have to explain to my son why the guy who broke Roger's record cheated when he did it. Oh, and thanks Barry Bonds for cheating as well when you broke the recond a few years later. Makes me job as a dad so much easier.

Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong were members of an American team that dominated world cycling for a decade. Now both of them are either admitted dopers or constantly facing charges of doing it. Thanks guys, appreciate the help.

The most popular players in the NFL get that as much for the way they perform on the field as for their antics off it. Terrel "There is a ME in TEAM" Owens, Chad "I refuse to call you by any other name" Johnson, Ray "Please don't remember the fact that I was involved in a murder" Lewis... you guys suck. Big time.

How are we as parents supposed to get our kids to act correctly when these are their role models? Who are we supposed to look up to and thereby get our kids to look up to? How am I supposed to tell The Son that these guys are "the best" when they act like "the worst? Is there a solution to this crap sandwich I've been tossed as a father?

I think... I HOPE... I have the solution to this problem. Two young men that can help us show our kids not only athletes they can dream of being, but people we can be happy they revere:

Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy.

Boys, don't let me down.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I got home from football practice yesterday and received some rather bad news. The Wife and The Son would be leaving today for her grandfather's place an hour north. Pop-Pop, as he's called, is down in the dumps. His health isn't good, and he needed a pick up. So The Wife is taking The Son over to see him for a couple of days.

I agreed with the call; I love Pop-Pop too. Especially when he wears the super-duper headphones that are hooked up to the TV. He turns on FoxNews and spends hours screaming at every commentator or guest with which he disagrees, with no regard for how loud he is talking. That becomes more fun the more he objects and the more he drinks because the language gets more colorful and moms are running to cover their kids' ears. Good times. Pop-Pop is also a hockey fan, which means he sits about a foot from the TV and absorbs New Jersey Devils games like the girl in Poltergiest.

So now my house is going to be empty. Back before we had The Son, my wife being gone for two nights was a cause for celebration... for a couple of hours. I'd watch all my sci-fi, action and western movies that she hates; I'd fire up some cheeseburger macaroni Hamburger Helper; I'd lay around in my underwear with a beer in one hand and the remote in the other. And then I'd get bored. And lonely. And sad.

Now, it's doubly as bad. The Son is going to be gone too. I do have football practice till 8 pm each night, but it's not the same. So, if you have any ideas on what to do to keep myself entertained, please feel free to share. Until then, if you will excuse me, I have a date with Bruce Willis and a talking white glove.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Mother's Day Weekend

Some experiences from my Mother's Day Weekend:

- The Wife and I found out that The Son loves the pool at our house. He loves to play in the "beach" area; he loves to float in his little seat-floatie thing; and he likes it when you get him giggling and he splashes water everywhere. He does not, however, like it when you dunk his head underwater when he isn't ready. For an hour after The Wife did it during "The Wheels on the Bus" game, he refused to give her a kiss. Let this be a warning to you...

- We ate dinner Mother's Day at a local restaurant. The waitress saw The Son and proclaimed that she had only been on the job for 3 weeks and this was her first table with a baby. Congrats, lady, you just told me you're going to suck as a waitress, and that you are going to bend down and goo-goo with my kid all night. Talk about not getting a win-win.

- Saturday night, we got take-out. I, of course, went to pick it up by myself in The Wife's car. The curbside take-out girl was nice enough to put the food into the back of the car. She said this to me; my thoughts on what she said follow:

"So... I assume you're married, right?" Holy crap, this chick is flirting
with me. The Wife is right, I
am good looking!

"Yes, I am."

"Well, we're giving away these ten dollar off cards for all mothers, so since
you're probably not going to be here tomorrow, I'll give you one to give to your
wife when you get home. Thanks for choosing Over-Priced Restaurant, come
back soon!" Bitch.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Things I Will Remember Next Time

It's been a little over a year since my son was born. The Wife and I were reflecting back on that time spend in the hospital, the nurses and docs who helped along the way, the food we ate (or didn't eat), and of course the birth itself. Looking back, there's a lot of stuff I wish I knew going into that whole thing. Read any baby book in the world, including the ones that appear to only be for women, and they will give you plenty of practical suggestions for what to do when you go the hospital. Allow me to share some things that soon-to-be Daddies need to know but are never told before they enter the large building where your old life ends and parenthood begins:

  • Parking sucks - This one might just be about the hospital that we went to, but since it applies to every single hospital I've ever visited, it should be mentioned. Prepare yourself to park in BFE (look on a slang website if you are lost), and then prepare to walk back and forth a thousand times. Because you will forget stuff in the car, becahse you will have to go out to get food because nothing on the take-out menu looks good, and because you will have to re-check the car seat more than NASA does the space shuttle. And because of all these things, it is a rule of life that you will parking at least a half mile from the door to the baby wing.

  • Be ready to be confused - Lots and lots and lots of people are going to come into the room and start talking in a foreign language. Don't be alarmed, these people are professionals. They will check equipment that looks like props from the latest Star Trek movie, and even makes sounds like it. I tried to joke with one of them, saying "Tell Scottie to get the warp core ready, we're making a run to Risa today." He wasn't amused. These people will discuss things with your wife in this foreign language and she will speak it back to them. Just know this will happen and try to stay in the background. You don't need to understand; if something is wrong, no one will tell you. You are the father, it is your job to be lost.

  • Yes, Nurse Land does exist - Now I know what happened to all those girls who were top tier good looking in high school and said they wanted to go into medicine. You know the ones I mean. The cheerleaders, the beauty queens... all those girls who you wished you had as dates, but would settle for as lab partners. They became nurses in the baby wing of the hospital. And no, not even scrubs can hide a chick's figure. But gentleman, always know that no matter how many drugs your significant other is on, she can still see you looking. And the less drugs she's on, the more vile her retribution will be against your dumb, male self.

  • Some people in the medical profession are stupid - True story: A day before the birth, my wife went downstairs for her last big ultrasound, and I was made to wait in the hallway. The technician said she'd be out to get me in a few so I could see the baby one last time before... uh, I saw it for real. (A small tip, bring a book or two just for these types of situations and there are lots of them; video games don't work because something about a squaking box in your hands makes everyone working in the hospital think you are an idiot) Twenty minutes later my wife comes out crying because the same technician told her she failed the ultrasound. Never, ever, ever, ever tell a woman filled with more hormones than a hundred middle schools that she failed something that has to do with her baby. You will cause her to break down into tears, and you will risk suffering extreme bodily harm at the hands of her husband. Thankfully, one of our nurses saved me from killing the tech and calmed both of us down. But, I hear the nurse did rip the poor tech girl a new one for saying it. In a British accent no less.

  • Do NOT complain about anything: The sofa or bed in your significant other's room for you to sleep on is purposefully constructed to be as uncomfortable as possible. The springs will turn your back into a page out of a braille magazine; the lumps will make the greens at Augusta National look benign by comparison; and the sheets and blanket will make you long for the days of basic military training. This is a trick, my friends. It is designed so that you will complain. This in turn will give the nurses and hospital staff, who are 99.87% female, a reason to loathe and scorn you. And they are all looking for one. Their looks will burn through lead as they shoot "How dare you complain about anything with what she is going through!" thoughts your way. If you are asked how you like your sleeping arrangements, the appropriate response is always "I didn't sleep." No explanation is needed and they will give you approving looks the whole time.

  • Fear is good - When the whole birthing process starts (usually hours before what you see on TV), your wife will appear to be in more pain than anything you've ever seen short of battlefield experience you might have in your past. It is not fake; she really is hurting that badly and is that uncomfortable. You may encounter fear in this moment, and it is natural, even healthy. She is the woman you love, after all. And there ain't a damn thing you can do about it. Let the professionals do their jobs, stay out of the way, and be supportive to her. The fear, along with the pain, will pass in time.

  • With baby comes... stuff - Her feet are in the upright position, the sweating and grunting has begun and the moment is arriving. The baby is about to come out... and so is a whole bunch of other stuff you weren't told about on "School House Rock." Let's give names to these invaders to your special moment: 1) Amniotic fluid will make an appearance, and it has to because that's the whole "water breaking" stuff. They never show you this on TV, and there's a reason. Trust me. 2) Blood will be a'flowin. It's not like you see in the movies if you have never seen actual flowing blood. It's darker and not as... well, not as liquidy. I don't know, it's hard to explain. You know it when you see it and either you can take it or you can't. 3) At some point after the baby pops out, the placenta is going to follow. And yes, Joey wasn't kidding on "Friends" when he said that some cultures actually eat it in some tradition that a clearly disturbed individual started. 4) Poop. Yes, the urband legend is real. Most don't like to talk about it, but it comes out. Think about it, you're pushing with muscles that control both your birthing canal and your bowels. Really, it's inevitable. So, if you are going to watch the whole birthing process (I'm not a big fan of video taping it, unless you are pro and can keep the bad stuff off screen), just be prepared. You will get an eye full

  • Here comes the family - Family will arrive. Grandmothers, especially first timers, will completely disobey the orders of the nurses and wait right outside the door. When the whole group gets there, they will take over the room like they run the place and you will be either taking pictures, or running errands. Everyone gets a turn with the kid, and everyone will ask you the same questions. "How's it feel?" "Ready for this?" You feel like you're listening to bad sports reporters at a press conference. But know that everyone will end their questions with the same word, Dad. This is supposed to be funny, and you are supposed to laugh. You will because you will be too tired to do anything else. Just know that the easiest way to get everyone out of the room will be to say your significant other needs her rest, which she will.

  • Say goodbye to the other guy - When you get ready to leave the hospital, you will be so tired, so stressed, and so ready for relaxation that all you will be thinking about is sitting on the couch, kicking your feet up and drinking whatever beer is left in the fridge. Oh, forgot to tell you; you can't do that anymore! No, because more family will be coming over, more friends, and then it's time to change the diaper (with everyone making fun of you as you go to do it, and that will get very, very old - believe me). After that, the baby will nap and so will you. Or at least you will want to. But you can't because you have to finish baby-proofing the house, and washing clothes, and taking care of your significant other.

Babies are a lot of fun. And they are special. And painful. Don't believe me? Hold your kid in your arms, kissing the back of his head as he looks out on the world. Then have him jerk his head back, cracking you in the nose like a Mike Tyson left hook. These are the things that no one puts in baby books, and the things I'm here to tell you.

Been Too Long

Yes, I haven't written on my blog in forever. Yes, I did start a new blog to go along with my writing career. No, I'm not giving up on writing about having a baby.

Here's what you missed since I didn't keep this up-t0-date (by the way, can anyone clear up whether that is a hyphenated word, one big word or three short ones? I'm confused.):
- The Son figured out how to crawl and has alredy scheduled his first attempt in the 40-yard dash; college scouts are waiting with bated breath.
- He can not only stand up by holding onto something, he can do more pull-ups (1) than I can do. Yes, you read that right, my son is in better shape than I am.
- He makes laps around his crib and the pack-n-play with alarming speed. I was thinking he'd be a linebacker, but now maybe running back is in the cards.
- The Son now can point with his index finger. My in-laws were attempting to teach him say he was 1 year old by showing him their middle fingers. I was no amused.
- We held not one, but two one-year old birthday parties. The first was at a pizza joint because The Son enjoys pizza (Daddy is happy). The second was at home because that way The Wife and I could spend the whole night yelling at each other during clean up (Daddy no longer happy).
- The Son got his own "smash cake" for his big birthday party... you know what, this deserves it's own paragraph.

The "smash cake" was a new thing for me. If you haven't heard of it, it's a smaller version of the big birthday cake (more on that one later) that the child can do whatever they want to with. Which means that if they want to throw it on the ground, go right ahead. Feel like rubbing into your face? Knock yourself out! Throwing it on either side of the high chair so that the dog not only gets dizzy trying to keep up, but such a hugh sugar rush that he turns into Usain Bolt in the backyard? Done deal. It's all open for the taking.

However, the whole smash cake experience was a tremendous learning experience for my son in how to deal with women. You see, we've been trying in vain to get him to stop throwing food on the floor if he doesn't want it. With the smash cake, he not only can do that, but we encourage that behavior. There's Mommy and his two grandmothers cheering him on as he sends copious amounts of chocolate cake and vanilla icing onto the ground. My son turned into Pacman Jones for a few moments, making it rain all over our backyard. Then the other shoe dropped. The next day at breakfast, when he wanted to become Pacman again, these same wonderful women were wagging their fingers at him and saying "No!" in stern voices. He looked utterly confused, and appealed to me for help.

My response was to simply smile and say, "The Son, welcome to 'Dealing with Women 101'."

In a related note, I'm wondering how come the whole smash cake idea didn't get invented sooner. Also, why isn't it applied to other aspects of our lives? Just think of the possibilities! Remember when you turned 21 for the first time? I think you should have gotten not only your own bottle or cup to drink out of, but also your own buffet of food that you could do anything you wanted to with Big promotion at work? Get a smash cake to ruin your cubicle before you moved into the corner office. Wouldn't that be fun?

As for the big cake for The Son's party... I think we have found the next big bomb for the military. It was a simple cake, made of the same stuff all cakes are made out of: flour, icing, sugar, milk, eggs, etc. But it weighed in excess of twenty-five freaking pounds! My wife didn't want me to drop it for fear that it would ruin the cake, but I was more worried about breaking my foot, and possibly even putting a hole in our floor.

So, The Son is finally one year old. And I'm going to start writing on this blog a little more, just to relate what it's like not just to be a dad, but also to see if we can all help make sense of this mad world we all live in. If nothing else, maybe I can figure out how to get myself through the toddler years. I'll celebrate with my own smash cake.