Being disassembled by a baby

Okay, so we have this seven month old, Abby. She has a couple of things going on that are making me progressively uncomfortable.

First, she doesn’t treat my face with respect. I.e., all my facial parts, to her, are disposable items attached to my head with velcro. The fact that they haven’t come off yet she attributes to her own lack of strength. Mind you, that doesn’t keep her from trying. She figures with a few good yanks on my nose every day, it will eventually come off either from structural fatigue or an eventual increase in strength on her part. My nose isn’t really a good example because I can handle that without crying. Eyelids and mustaches are another matter.

Ever wonder why babies hands are so chunky? It’s because they have a brain in them. Abby has the ability to be totally engrossed in, say, what her big sister is doing while her hands are on autonomous missions of their own. The are generally engaged in the afore mentioned facial disfigurement experiments, but can at times be assigned the task of seizing tiny objects for the immediate ingestion of the mother ship. Sometimes that’s an M&M that’s been on the floor for 2 weeks, other times that’s a dried up dog fece that happened to blend well with our living room rug. Not an optimum situation no matter how you cut it. Her little hands are capable, independently, of patiently assessing and countering any obstacle to mission completion. I.e., the nose hair is going to get yanked – maybe not now, maybe not in 5 minutes, but at some point after you either lose heart in your defensive measures or become complacent.

Unfortunately counterpunching is one of those things that will land you at odds with your wife, if not in jail. So preserving my dignity becomes an exercise in learning how not to cry in the throws of Guantanamo like pain. It would really help if someone would just tell me that it’s okay to cry like a little girl sometimes.


Friendship 7 to Branson, Part II

Sorry I implied there was going to be a part II to the Branson story – I lied. Suffice it to say that we made it home in one piece with the help of several medications, none of which were forced on our small children.

Tails from the Checkout Line: Caught Between Planets

We’re on a budget trip – herding kids at the Super 8 in Decorah, Iowa.  Upon our arrival, to our horror, we realized that we’d forgotten our 4 month old‘s nookie.  Being in a budget frame of mind, the local Walmart seemed like just the ticket.  I found the relevant mouth attachments without much problem, then parked myself in the checkout line behind a mountain of a woman with countless 8-packs of toilet paper heaped precariously in her shopping cart.  The cashier was staring off into space, quite catatonic while the woman in front of me pawed noisily at the dried skin on her heel.  As usual, I selected the checkout line with some form of price check in progress.

I never found the google maps client to be of much use on my blackberry – it always seems so self assured, but is almost almost terribly wrong unless I’m building a route from points of interest so popular no one needs directions to or from them anyway.  But still it’s fun to watch the thing spin it’s wheels and bravely declare where it believes you are.  That’s what I did to kill the time while our price check ensued.

What I didn’t notice was what must have been a certain degree of gravitational pull generated by the Zeppelin of a woman gliding in behind me in line.  Kudos – her cart was filled almost entirely with vegetables.  My admiration for her dietary preference notwithstanding, the practical side of me began to fathom the ramifications of 1300 feet of vegetable eating colon.  I didn’t have to fathom long – I was enveloped in a toxic cloud faster than you could say f-r-o-m-p.  The cashier awoke from her coma with a furrowed brow and frenzied motions for a manager.  Suddenly she seemed inspired to move this line along.

My accusatory glance at what I believed to be the source organism behind me confirmed my suspicions – she quickly averted her eyes and feigned interest in the Joli twins, prominently depicted in some rag on the magazine rack.  Mountain lady in front of me stopped servicing her dried up heel and began to pat her brow with what appeared to be a heavily used kleenex tissue.  It’s amazing the noxious fumes didn’t set off some form of Homeland Security alarm.

The odor was penetrating and tenacious, and induced a doomsday torpor over all the  customers and cashiers in about a 40 foot radius.  I no longer took pleasure in tinkering with my blackberry, but instead prepared myself to ride out passage of the collective kidney stone that bound, we the damned, in a wretched fellowship of lost souls.

The sun rises, the sun sets.  And so too passed the rank shroud in due course.  I emerged from Walmart today a wiser but a sadder man.

May/Walsh – We Still Don’t Hate You!

Hats off to the awesome May/Walsh beach volleyball duo.  With considerable effort it is still possible to admire their athletic accomplishment despite all of NBC’s efforts to make us hate them.  Coverage of their matches was relentless and unprecedented – it seemed as if every point of every match they played was televised – regardless of how lopsided the particular match (as indeed most of them were) may have been.  A familiar script was faithfully rattled off by the commentators for each and every match:

1. Misty’s insistence on being evaluated as a team when asked which of them was a better player.

2. The story of Misty spreading her Mom’s ashes at the Sydney Olympics, and her plans to do the same in Beijing.

3.  The whole scoop behind the black tape on Kerri Walsh’s shoulder.

4. Misty being the best defensive player in the world, and Kerry being the best offensive player.

5. The fact that Kerri turned 30 on August 15th, and the details of her birthday celebration.

6. The fact that winning this tournament would constitue Walsh’s 100th career win.

Their last match started to turn ugly in a predictable manner, from a commentary point of view.  Let serves (serves that hit the net and still go over,) when scored by their Chinese opponents were characterized as “lucky/snake bites” while, throughout the tournament, they were celebrated as examples of “making one’s own luck” when May/Walsh scored the same way.  When one of the Chinese players began to score with some consistency with a hit down the line, it was described as a “slimey” shot that Walsh needed to do a better job of anticipating.  When Wang of the Chinese team took a medical time out to have an elbow massaged, the commentators seized the moment to point out how this particular player was notorious for faking medical attention, while providing only laughable supporting evidence.

And did I mention that the coverage was relentless?  When I think about the number of sports that didn’t get any prime time coverage, it occurred to me that the May/Walsh coverage did constitute something of a “perfect storm” for the NBC agenda.  Hot chicks for which they had tons of stock footage that relished their time on camera and consistently hammered their competitors – what’s not to like?

I wonder if badminton would have received more coverage if the competitors wore thongs?  

And just when you thought my rant was finally over – Bob Costas, unfortunately for you the reader, comes to mind.  I have such a good time losing my mind over the likes of Costas, the quintessential high school basketball team student manager, when he presumes to alternately rub elbows with and scold those that are actually accomplished athletically.  Most recently his bashing of Usain Bolt for Bolt’s apparent premature celebration in the final meters of his 100 meter world record run really got my goat.  I loved Bolt’s performance as I saw it unfold because I knew it would drive the press nuts.  Already outraged that a non American for which they were caught completely flat footed (no sappy human interest package to grab off the shelf) would have the audacity to win so convincingly, the poor things had their noses rubbed in it with Bolt’s brilliant showboating.  

Bob, we really don’t need some hyper-salaried talking head preaching to someone who’s got the real goods.   We’ll trust you to cut to commercials on time, serve up the mindless banter during technical difficulties, and to fawn over pixie gymnasts – but weighing in on “sportsmanship” is way out of your league.

Ouch. OUCH.

Today I fell down.  Is this a big deal?  Not if you’re 22, but as a 51 year old?  Well, I didn’t break my hip, but it was uncomfortable enough for me to cast a jaundiced eye on my future over the next 20 years or so.    It won’t be pretty.  There may be those among you that view this as natural selection at work, i.e., gotta rid the gene pool of folks ignorant enough to have little teeny babies after the age of 50.  Indeed, it was the handywork of one such teeny weeny that brought the big man down.  Allow me to dredge you through the details.

I’d fallen asleep with the 3 month old on my chest.  When my wife finally extracted her from me so as to free me up for more lucrative productivity, I felt compelled to arise and attempt to navigate the mine field that is our toy strewn “living” room floor.  Bingo, I step on this feller…




Meet “Duck” – one of the characters from the Thomas the Tank Engine series.   He’s a friendly enough little guy until you roll your ankle  on him.  Mind you, he might be small, but he’s not a chunk of plastic – he’s a chunk of solid wood that brings the laws of physics to bear on his own behalf in a way that amounts to very bad joo joo for a unobservant or uncoordinated lumbering adult.

Down, down I came.  I can’t say my life flashed before my eyes, but I was aware that I was descending at an uncontrolled rate onto a surface festooned with like sturdy, pointy things.  The first priority, of course, was to pucker – which I barely managed.  Sadly, my arse wasn’t the target of the little tyke that was to ruin my day in short order.  Let me introduce him:


Chicco Car

Chicco Car

Meet our little Chicco car.  He might be plastic, but he’s a pretty solid little chunk of equipment nonetheless.  Note that the roof of the car comes off and functions as a remote control.  Based on the simplicity of the remote, the thing is designed to be used by really tiny humans.  And accordingly, it is built to withstand the rigors imposed on it by tiny, unformed minds looking to create the biggest crash possible.  So like I said, the thing is solid.  Our car happened to be as depicted here – no roof in place, and the windshield made for a VERY nasty impact point for the heel of my right hand.  I ordinarily would have thrown the thing through the drywall, but I don’t think it would have suffered in the least.

So there I sat – twisted ankle, hobbled hand – and wondering what the outcome might have been had I been carrying our sleeping three month old at the time.  Boy, that’s scary… but not scary enough to keep us from allowing this room to degenerate to the exact same condition by this time next week (or sooner.)

Ray of Hope

While boarding the blood red city bus on the mean streets of southeast Rochester, Ray’s post gave me pause. Having hoped for a French press followed by a French kiss on my way out this morning, and having been granted at least the former, I found myself in the mood for expansive thought. His post provided a vessel from which I drank deeply. Maybe the cheesey fact that I was listening to FYC‘s “Good Thing” on the iPod as I squinted at Ray’s tsunami of optimism populating my blackberry’s Dick Tracy screen blew my skirt up a bit.   Or perhaps the fact that I also have young(er) daughters got me all caught up.  At any rate…
Picture being able to travel abroad – proud, for the first time in so long, to be an American.   Or, better yet, being accorded the ultimate international honor of being treated as an international agnostic.  That’s heavy stuff that could perhaps happen in our lifetime if Ray’s optimism ends up being actualized.   

On my mind as well today is the fact that my 87 year old mother has, over the last two days, been in and out of the emergency room.  I look at her as you would expect a son to do, but am recently troubled by the apparition of the cash register strapped to her back.  Yeah, having access to a health plan similar to that of the somewhat criminal body we call the U.S. Congress would be cool.

But the cynic in me warns that Obama, the consumate politician, potentially represents somewhat of a toxic milkshake.  Mind you, he strikes me as genuine – but nobody alive can make the call on what’s going to happen when the rubber meets the road when it comes to political figures.  But the good news is that, given the field, there’s really no choice to be made… so we can snuggle back into complacency until Obama gets a chance to burn his tires in the Oval Office.  At that point we should feel free to rear our funky little pundit heads, fire up the popcorn, strap on the monday morning quarterback lazy-boy,  and blather on in woulda-coulda parlance.




Baby down but talking, talking…

So here I lay, dazed with exhaustion over having spent the entire weekend within the immediate vicinity of our two year old.  I thought lying down beside my peacefully sleeping wife might afford me the luxury of a few moments rest, but alas, I’m writhing beneath the boot of the tyrannical baby monitor.   Here we have a child barely able to keep her eyes open after a brisk morning of Easter Bunny activities, church and demolition derby-like interactions with her cousins… still babbling in her room by herself after two straight hours of lying flat on her back.  Under these conditions she normally falls asleep approximately 30 seconds before we give up on trying to make her do so, at which point we are confronted with the following options:1.)  wake her up and risk suffering the full brunt of waking a two year old just after REM entry.2.) let sleep run it’s course, and experience an electric baby at 7 pm that doesn’t wind down until about midnight – and the wind down will not be a pretty one.Right on queue, she’s just fallen asleep – having finally played her hand, the entire household hunkers down into energy conservation mode – knowing full well that whichever of the two options above are exercised, the ultimate victor will be he or she with the most energy units to burn. The playing field is not exactly level in this regard.  I’m 51 years old.  She’s 28 months old.  And my wife, her child bride status notwithstanding, is 7 months pregnant.  You do the math.  Then, take a look at my profile photo/avatar and reconsider your initial assessment of my being a mere nutjob.  Think about what you might look like after 28 months of being in my shoes. Link to Facebook.

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