It's funny how modern technology has shrunk the jukebox down to a credit card sized handheld, and a phone into a tiny earpiece, but the air conditioner is still the size of a Volkswagen. It's a semi-annual New York tradition to insert or remove a window-unit air conditioner the shape and weight of a kitchen stove and maintain it's balance so as not to brutally crush the pedestrians 16 floors below you. Claud hurt her back a few days ago, so I was doing this solo, and Cheeky attentively listened as I utilized my best profanity combination skills to describe the experience. "Sack-gnawing bitch mother snatch-crapper!" "Fuckity shit puss-sucking twat!" It's likely that, of all the memories she carries from her earliest childhood, this will be the one that will have her on the couch someday.
Part of the motivation for this was clean-up in preparation for a Halloween brunch Claud is throwing for some of the girls in her mommy groups. She's made the rounds through several of the neighborhood groups, including a few which had the internal politics of a cheerleading squad. After being voted off the island a couple times, she's found a group she's more comfortable with and who largely have kids the same age as Cheeky (a month or two difference is like the difference between a senior and a freshman, and we all know that freshman suck and should be punished with swirlies). This is also a chance for me to meet all the husbands, mix up my world famous bloody mary's, and see if any of them are cool enough to join our posse. But mostly it's designed to dress our daughter up as a duck and parade her around. Perhaps THAT will be what sends her to the couch someday...
October has been a long month, what with weddings, parental visits, and all the preparations involved. All this activity--not to mention taking care of Cheeky--has really cut into our laying around time. We've had a bit of a breather the last few days, so we've done what we normally do with a few spare moments of quiet...cram in as much TV as possible. The answer to life's problems aren't at the bottom of a bottle...they're on TV! So here's what we've learned this season:
I wasn't going to write anything today, because I had a crappy day at work (again) and didn't want to spew vile all over you, my faithful readers (both of you). But I came across this article about "futurists" and their predictions for...well, the future. My question: How does one get that job?
Seriously, why must I suffer through conference calls in which I challenge myself to see how many online jobs I can apply for before the call ends, while others get to read tea leaves and tell me things like "the globe is getting warmer" and "people like simplicity." I can do that! Hire me! I've got one: In the future, people will want bigger TV's. Or another one: Death will be the leading killer among humans in 2006. See! I'm ever so smart!
It must be a nifty way to meet the ladies at parties?
"I'm a beautician. What do you do?" "I'm a futurist." "Really, that sounds exciting! What's my future?" "Well, I can tell you it involves me, a bottle of Cognac, a garden hose, and a yak."
Do you want to be a futurist, too? Do you have a flux capacitor instead of a brain? Then leave a comment and tell us what you think the future has in store for us...
The weekend is over and life is returning to it's normal rhythms. I don't get to see WCG2 very often nowadays, what with us living 2,576 miles apart (although I've always said you can get anywhere in an hour if you drive fast enough), but they both made the trek from Spokane for a few days of quality time with their first grandaughter (that we know of). Oh, and us, too. Trips to see family can be stressful (e.g. Christmas for the last ten years) but it was absolutely great having them around and watching them take to Cheeky.
It's interesting how having a child of your own can change your perception of people and life in general. Spending time with the parental units this weekend felt different than it has in the past. Granted, in the years since I struck out on my own I've followed a very independent path, and my parents and I don't always see eye-to-eye on everything. But it's always been a good relationship, even from a distance, and I've loved and respected them for all they've done for me and my siblings. And seeing them this time through the eyes of parent I suddenly understood something about the intensity of love you feel for your children even if they don't always call, or they just show up on weekends to dump off their laundry, or you have to pay for their car to be fixed AGAIN.
Watching them play with Cheeky, and seeing them look at me as an adult--and as their child--gave me this incredibly warm feeling inside which was both familiar and new, and which a verbally challenged lug like me has a hard time describing. But it was precious, and I hope that someday Cheeky will look at Claud and I and know that we love her unconditionally and will always feel safe and special with us.
This one's for you, Mom and Dad...I love you guys!
I was watching this meme work it's way through the daddy blogs late last week, getting a kick out of some of the answers (BIYF is too freakin' funny) and immediately ruminating over what mine would be were I to be one of the chosen ones. Thanks to Mr. Big Dubya (who is both a gentleman and a scholar) I've been tagged, and like him I like these types of exercises. I did have to look up the definition of the word "meme" from the Office of Nerd Relations (it's a "a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation", like a virus you don't mind getting) and, satisfied, it's now time to get on with the countdown:
Late last night, after spending 90 minutes researching the wisdom of trading Mewelde Moore for Mark Brunell (something you'd seriously consider if you drafted Trent Green this year), I decided to check on Cheeky one last time before heading to bed. As I stepped into her room I was nearly overcome by the foul stench of a disgusting artifact had been inadvertently left out for a few hours. It seriously smelled like a monkey cage in there. I'm once again mystified as to how such a little creature can transform seemingly harmless formula into wildlife-endangering industrial waste.
I'm writing in the calm before the storm, as WCG2 will be getting back from two days in Atlantic City ("to save money on hotels") before spending the rest of the weekend coddling Cheeky. Claud is running some errands, including having her wedding rings re-sized now that she has "polska kielbasa fingers." (Her words, not mine) Apparently not everything returns to it's original form after having a baby. She's also having problems buying shoes, as her Ronald McDonald feet are now wide enough to walk on snow or sand without sinking. Anyway, I've taken the day off after a painful week at work, and in a few minutes I'm going to strap on the Bjorn (which, by the way, does a marvelous job at pressing my beer gut into a doughy muffin-top) and take Cheeky into the city to pick up WCG2. Since we'll bouncing around with them for a few days and may not do much blogging, I thought I'd leave y'all with some entertaining tidbits from around the 'net:
From Pet Cobra, an entertaining summary of the first season of "Lost".
A spooky pre-Halloween revival of "The Shining"...as performed by bunnies.
And at some point in the past I came across this urban Barney video clip which makes me wonder if Tupac hasn't really died after all, and is living inside a big purple dinosaur suit (WARNING: Explicit Lyrics...that means YOU, Mom)
Claud spent most of yesterday cleaning up the house for WCG2 and doing all the planning and preparation that us guys don't think about when people come to visit. Like most men, I would walk past a roll of toilet paper sitting on the stairs 100 times without picking it up...until I was in the bathroom and used my last square. THEN I'd hobble down the steps to get it. Anyway, she was pretty tired, and I was feeling bad because I seem to be incapable of helping out enough to make things easier for her.
So I get home tonight to find that Cheeky has been insane all day. We had some friends over, and Claud was trying to entertain them, but I could tell that she would rather curl up in a sensory-deprivation chamber. So when Cheeky started acting up again, I tried to calm her down so Claud could relax...
But here's the thing....I'm now useless. I thought I had the whole rocking/calming/shushing thing down a few weeks ago, but lately I've been getting the "I know what you're up to and I ain't falling for it" routine from her. I'm bouncing and singing etc etc etc but it's doing no good whatsoever. She even starts hitting that raspy note at the top of the octave...the one where if she pushes any more air through her larynx it would shoot out and ricochet off the wall. I waved off Claud a couple of times when she came to find out why Cheeky sounded like I was using thumb-screws on her, but after a while I had to surrender and pass her over. Sure enough, after a couple of minutes Cheeky's calm and quiet and in bed. Claud shuffled out of her room and shot me a look like, "see, this is why I'm cranky all the time."
What gives? I'm useless! I feel like Andrew Ridgeley or John Oates. It's frustrating, because I actually WANT to help. Even if it means that I get to drink a beer with friends while she's taking care of the banshee, I can't really enjoy it because I know she's miserable.
So I need to learn some mad baby-calming skills, stat! Some zen trick that a daddy can use when she's all into mommy. I've already honed the handing-her-to-mommy skill...thoughts on other options?
I'm totally procrastinating right now. I've been working on a stupid strategy deck at the office that I want nothing to do with, and am doing ANYTHING to avoid it. Just thinking about it makes me angry. My only consolation is that I've got my Altec Lansing iPod speakers on my desk cranking out the tunes, shuffling 12290 songs randomly for today's soundtrack. But I'm starting to notice an enjoyable but somewhat disturbing trend, which is probably contributing to my desire to set this presentation deck on fire and dance around it...
I just heard a deep-cut Scorpions song from "Love at First Sting." Before that, I heard Metallica, Def Leppard, AC/DC, and the Meat Puppets. There's nothing wrong with this, of course, but it exposes an interesting concept of what "random" and "shuffle" mean. I'm not just a metal head (although looking at my music list to the right of this entry you couldn't tell), and have enough jazz, alt-country, and new wave/post-punk CD's to sink a Japanese super-tanker. Yet I'll go hours where every other song sounds like it's programmed by the guy behind the soundboard at a Darkness concert (you know the guy...he's the one wearing the Motörhead t-shirt). My wife LOVES being on a long road-trip with the iPod plugged into the stereo when this happens.
This got me thinking about a bunch of things. What is the nature of "random?" Can a machine ever resolve the differences of what the human brain interprets as random and the shuffling algorithms it uses. What formed my taste in music anyway? I only remember the Perry Como Christmas album from when I grew up. More important, is it the breadth of your musical taste that defines you, or the depth in key areas? Can you really be a music snob if you listen to "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" or "Girls, Girls, Girls"? And does this mean I'm cooler than you, or just a big dork? Certainly both. And what happens tomorrow when it's all O'Jays, Aretha Franklin, and Curtis Mayfield in the shuffle? And where the hell was I....?
Well, that killed 20 minutes. I suppose I should get back to formatting all the PowerPoint text to an Arial font and pulling sales estimates out of my butt. GAH!
We got back from Florida tonight, fresh off a fun-filled, Cheeky-free weekend at our friend's wedding. Although we certainly missed the little kid, it was really great to spend time together with just the two of us. We stayed out late, slept in, and...other things. There's a little guilt floating around the house that we enjoyed ourselves so much, but the way I figure anybody who sleeps for 16 out of 24 hours in a day can't possibly miss us that much anyway.
The wedding itself was a lot of fun, and it was my first experience at a true Jewish wedding. I was raised Catholic, and until now almost all the weddings I'd been to were some variation on a Christian theme--churches, bible-readings, etc. (Quick shout out to my boy Anton who tossed a few nice pagan rituals in for good measure). Even my own wedding, in which I actually married a Jewish girl (Oy!) didn't have the trappings of the traditional spectacle we attended this weekend. Since many of my most loyal readers do not live in places where the office empties on Yon Kippur, or have never tasted challah or gefilte fish, allow me to share my goyish observations (as CroutonGoy, if you will) on the experience, and how it compares with what I grew up with:
Advantage – Jewish, by a wide margin
Advantage – Catholic. Latin is much more elegant, and phonetically pronounceable.
Church or Cathedral
Advantage – Catholic, but only if it's a classic old cathedral with the stained glass and pipe organ.
Invocations to elephant-headed gods
Advantage – Push.But from what I hear things get crazy when Ganesh is involved
Advantage – Catholic. Sorry, but from behind it looks like everyone has periods on their heads
Food & Drink
Wine before ceremony. Cocktails and food immediately after. Dinner until 1 AM.
Reheated lasagna in an aluminum container.
Advantage – Jewish. I chased the tray of pigs-in-blankets for half an hour…AWESOME
Musical High Point
Havah Nagilah – everyone joins hands and dances in a circle while bride and groom are hoisted dangerously on chairs
Chicken Dance – everyone looks like an idiot.
Advantage – Jewish. And the Jews are rightly laughing at us.
“Fiddler on the Roof”
Advantage – Catholic. “Someday—and that day may never come—I will call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, accept this justice as a gift on my daughter’s wedding day.” No contest whatsoever
I hope that clears up things for most of you, and offends the rest fairly equally.
We've got a VERY busy week ahead, as WCG2 are coming to town to visit Cheeky (that's both WCGrandma and WCGrandpa). It's possible they may even note our presence as well. This kids getting a lot of spoiling packed into a short amount of time. I'll try to keep everyone posted as the chaos ensues...