I've been a bad poster again this week...I've got as much focus as Mr. Magoo in the Batcave. But since you bothered to click a link to come here take a moment to enjoy a peak through a keyhole into our social life.
I've been a bad poster again this week...I've got as much focus as Mr. Magoo in the Batcave. But since you bothered to click a link to come here take a moment to enjoy a peak through a keyhole into our social life.
it's amazing what we can accomplish when we're motivated.
It's amazing how motivating the prospect of four days trapped in your apartment can be.
Unlike every living biped on the planet, we didn't make plans to get away this weekend. While New York City emptied out like water through a strainer, we stuck around, trading in a leisurely drive to an exotic destination for rare, unfettered access to restaurants and parking in our own city.
I love zoos. Not the cramped, cagey zoos where the polar bears swim laps for hours because suicide isn't an alternative. I'm talking the big, sprawling, leafy zoos that feel like jungles and have enough space to move so you don't want to punch the fat, ignorant people zig-zagging slowly in front of you in the back of the head.
So we packed up snacks, said goodbye to our kick-ass parking space, and headed to the Bronx so Cheeky could see wildlife that for once wasn't collecting cans or swearing in Russian.
There was much to recommend about the excursion, from the great weather to the otters having sex, but by far the best part was that we killed five hours on a Saturday. We usually define a successful weekend by the amount of Lexapro and Wellbrutin left in the bottles Monday morning, so any opportunity to distract ourselves from the endless drudgery of our meager existence I embrace with the enthusiasm of Cookie Monster at an Oreo factory.
And our weekend motivation didn't stop there! I distracted Cheeky for a few hours on Sunday while Oodgie rifled through her toys, seeking contributions to the local
landfill charity. Afterwards it was like our scruffy, overweight apartment had gone on an intense diet and exercise regimen and emerged as a trim, dashing stallion, complete with obligatory montage.
We even retired Cheeky's crib and assembled her $79 "big girl bed." (That's right, $79! Toys R Us, baby!) We thought it would be some monumental occasion, but it turned out to be just another day in the life for the Cheekster. Who knows how long it will take her to figure out the ground is just a couple inches beneath, but for now she's staying put, as if the edge of the bed is a sonic barrier...
Finally, to top the whole adventure off, we went to the amusement park on Memorial Day. Because Oodgie and I are both really into nausea, compressed vertebrae, and heatstroke. Not that any of that mattered to Cheeky, who gamely waited in line for 20 minutes to ride on a faux plane no bigger than a St. Bernard for 120 seconds.
Looking back, I still can't believe we did all that. It's almost like we have "energy" and "inspiration." I don't want you to get the wrong impression; I'm sure we'll be back to lying exhausted on the living room floor while Cheeky riverdances on our heads again within a couple days.
I'm tired today. Drained. My shoulder muscles are hammocks drooping lazily from my humerus and scapula. All my mind can concentrate on is how it's not concentrating on anything. One of those days.
I'm smack dab in the middle of a calendar so marked up with events, visitations, and assorted activities you'd think I was a McCain campaign adviser. It's been fun, but it feels a lot like a Japanese game show.
It kicked off earlier this month when my stepsister-in-law rented a converted warehouse in Queens, ordered some heaping trays of candied-bacon balls, and wed the nice Jewish doctor of every New York girl's clichéd fantasy. The wedding wasn't without it's hitches, but that didn't keep us from dancing until we collapsed in the back of a cab at 2 AM.
Suddenly we were on our way to NoFo to see "The Girls", three exhaustingly precocious nieces spending an extended weekend with their father. Everyone spent hours in the pool while I huddled in a dark corner room, reviewing spreadsheets and internet strategies over the phone because stupid Independence Day couldn't commit to a weekend. We had to be back home by Thursday so I could accept delivery of Excalibur, and by Friday were already planning on hosting an extended sleepover with my brother-in-law.
(Before I continue, I should remind my faithful readers that we, in fact, have no social life to speak of. Reruns of Entourage are a big night for us)
Monday night. Board meeting. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Last night the Loyal Order of NYC Parent Bloggers had it's semi-annual
drunkfest meeting. Attendance was high, with the usual suspects joined by new faces and others previously feared dead or captured. Much, much better than the board meeting, due largely to the all the dead guys.
And tonight, my brother, fresh off his tour of duty, arrives. For a week.
Oh, did I mention i have to fly to Detroit tomorrow? Yeah, that too, just for good measure.
This summer feels a lot like tubing. It's moving fast, lots of fun, but it's gonna leave me sore come August.
This morning I walked groggily into out bathroom, lovingly stared at myself in the mirror, and grabbed the toothbrush off the shelf. After two minutes of dental hygiene I turned on the faucet, rinsed the brush, and spit the residual toothpaste into the sink.
There's nothing particularly unique about this except that we finally have a faucet and sink!
It only took five weeks. I guess they needed to wait for the earth to create the stone first.
But this is a sign of good things; I can feel it. Oodgie has already sold a handful of products since Tuesday (thanks largely to the awesome marketing power of Motherhood Uncensored and CoolMomPicks) and has found a supplier that promises not to make random design changes or print things upside-down. Daylight savings time is coming this weekend. The Seahawks signed Patrick Kerney. And Lost didn't suck this week.
Yep, spring is in the air.
In a coup de grace we did not anticipate, we also find ourselves with babysitters for both Friday AND Saturday night. This embarrassment of riches has left us asking the same question we often ask when confronted with time sans Cheeky:
What the hell are we going to do?
So I'm reaching out yet again to you, the internet, seeking suggestions, recommendations, and sarcastic comments on what two adults, unshackled from the bonds of parenthood for several hours, can do at the last minute in the most exciting city in America. We don't want to spend another night watching reruns of The Office and drinking vodka 'til we pass out. Save us from ourselves!
It looks like I missed De-Lurking Week last week, so all you lurkers out there get a free pass until next year. Too bad, too, because I had free candy for all of you. Looks like someone's going on a chocolate binge...
This weekend was all about the snot. Bubbles of it popping from the nostril. Rivers of it flowing down the philtrum. A hardening crust of it on every shoulder, armrest, and blanket in the house. We're practically drowning in it.
The Cheekster has been a little under the weather for a couple days, although the worst manifestation of this (aside from the booger factory) is restless sleep and an occasional, unexpected psychological collapse which only lasts a minute or two. She was trying to throw herself off the back of the couch today, however, so I think she's feeling better,
We did manage to get a break this weekend, with yet another overnighter at ECG's. Oodgie and I were supposed to have dinner with friends who live out in New Jersey, but they came up with some lame excuse (something about "vomiting until I saw my stomach lining") and bailed. I've noted before that Oodgie and I are the worst decision-makers on the planet, and finding ourselves sans Cheeky on a Saturday night in New York with no warning was almost too much for us. There was a real danger that our lack of creativity and spontaneaity would leave us at home, polishing off the Absolut, and watching reruns of Night Court.
Unfortunately, we didn't read the fine print too closely, and when we got there we found a few key items missing:
Kindness and momentum might have compelled us to overlook #1 & #2, but #3 is a no-go when you've got a night off from Cheeky, so we sheepishly snuck away and went wandering the streets looking for a less-depressing alternative.
We passed a few places that looked interesting, but weren't feeling experimental enough to try anything basted in monkey gland sauce. We went with a safer bet down the block, although we got a little worried when our waiter showed up. He looked alarmingly like Uncle Fester, and had a habit of leaning waaaaay in to tell us the specials or ask questions. When our drinks arrived they were sub-par, and we started weighing our options for another quick exit. But we couldn't dash twice in one night so we stuck it out, and luckily the food was pretty good. That didn't stop us from asking for the check while the food was still hot on our plates, and we made it home in time to watch Judge Harry help Yakov Smirnoff get a visa to visit his mother in Russia.
This is what our lives have become. Only 14 more years to go...
...maybe I'll break out the assless chaps tonight...
Today is our three-year anniversary. By blogger tradition, I should be writing a sappy post about how much I love my wife, and what a great time we've had these last few years, and how she completes me, and blah blah blah. Then I'd post a picture of us on our wedding day, noticeably thinner and happier, and you'd all comment on how awesome we looked and congratulate us.
Can we just close our eyes and pretend that that all the above has happened and move on?
Cool. Thanks. When your kid wakes up sounding like the Enterprise will self-destruct it's hard to motivate. Besides, I'm a little sapped out from all the mothers/fathers/uncles/second counsins twice-removed days lately. And you probably came here for this anyway.
That doesn't mean we're not celebrating, mind you. We have a tradition of going away for the weekend for our anniversary, which we've accomplished precisely one time since the tradition was initiated. Last year we had some complications, and last weekend's wedding made this year unmanageable. We do, however, have a little something cooked up for this evening.
We've been invited to a press screening of the new Ed Burns movie, The Groomsman. I got an e-mail from Mr. Burns' associate a few weeks ago who saw my sporadic posts on DadCentric and invited us. Apparently it's a comedy about five men in their mid 30's, who are struggling with growing up, especially as it relates to the issue of fatherhood. Hell, that might as well be DadCentric's tagline. Anyway, the screening is tonight and Oodgie and I are gonna check it out and catch a bite to eat afterward.
Oh, and Happy Anniversary, Oodgie!
You know those ads for Firestone or Michelin tires, where the cars are careening around mountain passes with no barriers and boulders are falling into the road? Usually it's in the middle of a giant storm that you only see during Storm Week on the Weather Channel, and it looks like having those tires are all that stand between you and becoming a tumbling fireball, even if you've only got a drivers permit and are driving an Adobe (the sporty little Mexican car that's made out of clay). As if the wrath of God can be held at bay by steel-belted radials and tread zone technology.
Well that storm--the one that kicks off the tidal wave that drowns New York* and masks the arrival of the alien fleet--slouched into our neighborhood on Friday and single-handedly smacked around our weekend plans. It was one of those things that had a domino effect which spilled over well into Sunday, long after the clouds had passed.
It's not that we had a bad weekend per se. It's just that most of our plans involved walking outside with an infant, and we hate putting her in "the bubble". It feels like we're wrapping a plastic bag over her head (which we practically are) and it has the added bonus of trapping greenhouse gases underneath, much like Venus' atmosphere. It took until Saturday afternoon for the storm to end, and by then we'd had enough of our apartment. So for some reason I suggested we walk to Red Hook.
Red Hook is supposedly an up-and-coming neighborhood in Brooklyn, and there was an art festival at the waterfront that sounded like a nice weekend excursion. The promise of fresh-air, panoramic city views, and a new adventure was quickly sapped by the following:
So our little adventure turned out to be a nearly endless journey with little to show for it. Cheeky was cranky and exhausted, Oodgie's feet were killing her, and I was trying to be chipper ("Oooh, we should come back and go to that restaurant....in our car") while silently wishing I was at a bar with a tall cool one in my hand.
Unfortunately, the family was still a little wiped out on Sunday, when we went to ECG's for brunch. Things were OK for a while...we checked out Henry's birthday present (pretty cool, but is it better than this?) and ate some nummy egg dish thingy. We had grand plans for another day of fun and frollic, but after more walking (there was a street fair nearby) and a botched nap that sent Cheeky into her "kneeling and flailing" maneuvers, we decided to pack up early and head home. Oodgie and I spent most of the trip back accusing the other of being in a foul mood (which is probably true...I may have threatened some people who were IN MY WAY on the subway stairs). By the end of the night we were all just glad to crawl into bed and sleep it off.
Anyway, we got an A for effort, but a C- for execution...pretty much par for the course. This week should be better, what with Tuesday's festivities and a radar map that doesn't look like someone spilled key lime and spinach on it. Besides, I have to get everyone psyched up for our next little excursion...I hear Greenpoint
* I'd like to apologize, as this marks the third reference to "The Day After Tomorrow" I've made on this blog over the last few months. It's a significant milestone in that (a) I try not to over-reference anything, which is against my nature, and (b) because it pretty much sucked. I just wanted to acknowledge this and let you know I will do better in the future to limit Roland Emmerich's influence on this blog. I feel dirty.
Sunday found us out in the city for the first time in weeks. We were running some errands on the Upper West Side, and sat in Central Park for a while to enjoy the sun and let Cheeky rub dirt into her hands and clothes. In a rare moment of inspiration and spontaneity, we decided to get an early dinner while we were up there, reasoning that (a) Cheeky would sleep in her stroller while we ate, and (b) it's probably better than defrosting turkey meatballs for dinner. Besides, we're old pros at this...we should be able to get a good meal and still be home in time for The West Wing.
We made our way to a restaurant called Citrus that we used to go to a lot before we moved out of the city. Good food--a Latin/Asian fusion--and killer margaritas. Plus they had outdoor seating, was close to the subway, and since it was early it probably wasn't crowded. See how smart we are?
What we failed to realize is that past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and this place aspires enough to be hip (in a late 90s sort of way) that "being accommodating" doesn't apply well to parents.
The two hostesses, who we'll refer to as Paris and Nicole, were clearly not used to anyone pushing a stroller into the restaurant, and their eyes started twitching trying to figure out how to seat us in a nearly empty restaurant. "Can we use table 7 and move the party of 5 to 24, carry the 2, and the reservation of 6 can go to 18 cosine A-B?" I helpfully pointed out how you could remove a chair from an empty table in the back to make room for the stroller, but Paris looked at it like it was a Buick Roadmaster and dismissed that as preposterous. Thankfully they had managed to accommodate a handicapped person who was just leaving (by removing a chair from an empty table....hmmmm), so we managed to convince them they wouldn't be breaking any fire codes if we took that table.
Unfortunately, that table was pretty close to the bar, which, like all bars, tries to accommodate the conversational needs of its patrons by playing spin-class music at top volume. Cheeky usually sleeps for at least an hour, but within a couple minutes the thumping shook her awake and, frustrated, she decided to take it out on us. Meanwhile people were starting to file into the restaurant and scoot their chairs back far enough so that every waiter knocked their elbows into our skulls as they walked by. Fun!
So now we're trying to distract an incredibly tired infant in the middle of an increasingly unpleasant restaurant. Our food arrives, and as usual I've opted for the least practical thing under the circumstances--spare ribs. Nothing one-handed about that. We score a high-chair in hopes that Cheeky will eat and stop yelling at us for parking her stroller in an aerobics studio. Her goal in life is to clear all surfaces of objects which rest upon them, so she immediately begins going for knives, forks, and beverages which, when taken away, send her into hysterics. The only thing that calmed her down is a small piece of spare rib that she could suck on.
(Camera cuts to Oodgie, looking at me like I'm freakin' insane as I hand this to our daughter.)
She's fine for maybe four minutes when we realize that the previously identified piece of meat is neither in her hand nor on the floor.
(Camera cuts to Cheeky with mouth open, as if to cough, but no noise is coming out. Her face is the color of a grape Tootsie Pop)
Nothing makes you disregard the flailing arms of your child more than the thought that something is lodged in her trachea, and my finger is in her mouth so fast it you can hear a sonic "pop." I get the meat out quickly, but Cheeky has now lost her mind, either due to lack of oxygen or the finger that nearly removed her tonsils
(Camera cuts to stunned restaurant patrons staring angrily at the bad father cradling the infant)
By this time all we want to do is get the hell out of there, and Paris and Nicole seem to share the sentiment. We spill out onto the street, depressed and frustrated, and trudge our way towards the subway (unaware that, due to service changes, the subway ride would turn into a death march of it's own).
This must be why people end up at Applebee's and Bennigan's. Looks like we'll be ordering in for a while...
For the first time in god knows how long, we actually organized ourselves for a day of family fun. We usually spend our Saturdays asking each what we want to do until it's too late to do any of it, but this time an infusion of sunlight helped motivate us to get off our lazy behinds and get out of the house. Our mission? The Brooklyn Botanical Garden, 'cause that's where plants grow. Besides, it's not like it would be crowded like the parks, right?
Fast forward 20 minutes, and I'm aiming our stroller at the Achilles tendon of the woman who won't step out of the subway door we need to get through. Inexplicably for a Saturday, the train we're on is packed tighter than steerage on the Titanic, and this one is actually heading away from Manhattan. At each successive stop more and more people cram on, until I'm practically doing a blowfish against the window (which is about as safe as open-mouth kissing a Cambodian chicken). I'm trying to recall Panzer invasion tactics which could be used to get the stroller out of the train (too bad the Bugaboo doesn't come with a grenade-launcher as a standard feature) when we reach our stop. Shockingly, our stop is apparently where EVERYONE ELSE wants to go, too, so we spend ten minutes calling to each other over the heads of strangers until we can maneuver up the stairs (insert your own Crocodile Dundee joke here).
As we walked into the sunlight, we realized that this mass of humanity was forming a ginormous line that snaked around the block leading to...what else?...the botanical gardens. Unbeknowst to us, it was the cherry blossom festival, which is apparently a very very very big deal in certain well-represented cultures here in New York. Our rare and admirable efforts were rewarded with huge lines of people that weren't moving! We hung our heads and grudgingly walked the 17 miles to the end of the line, assuming we'd get in around sunset....
....until a volunteer walked up the line saying "members and people with corporate ID's can go to the front of the line." Of course, I no longer work for a corporation, but let's just say that I might possibly keep my old unconfiscated ID in my wallet just in case I want to
steal printers and copy machines use it for discounts or access to local attractions (my former company is very generous to museums). Sure enough, she waves us forward and we pass by all the people who had been waiting over an hour for entrance. Membership has it's privileges.
Despite the crowds, it turned out to be a really nice day. All the trees were in full bloom, they had a huge tent with taiko drumming and other entertainment (although we missed the big event), and the weather was spectacular. I'd love to show you all the amazing pictures we took of Cheeky playing in the grass underneath the lilacs, but we had a problem with the camera. We ended up walking home because
we couldn't find a cab the weather was so nice, and were pretty proud of ourselves both for not pissing the day away and for actually doing something culturally and aesthetically enjoyable.
All in all, a grand day out. We may even try this whole "leave the house before noon" thing again some time.
When I was single, I used to lament the challenges of meeting new friends. I've spent most of my life as the stranger in town, looking to settle down but haunted by demons from my past. OK, maybe not so much haunted as bored and eager to meet new people who'd at least be willing to grab some nachos once in a while. My friends from college were too far away, my co-workers were all married and lame, and I've never heard of guys making friends at bars unless it was after a fist-fight. By the time I hit my 30s I wasn't even trying any more, content to rent Japanese anime and Christopher Walken movies until I finally met Oodgie. Oodgie, for her part, was at least born and raised near the city, even though most of her friends had retreated to Wisteria Lane by that age, leaving her to cry herself to sleep at night while waiting for me to complete her (a slight exaggeration, perhaps, but, this is my memoir...the underlying message of redemption still resonates with me). Between the two of us, we could cobble together a night out once every couple of weeks, but it's no mystery as to why we sobbed with joy when we got Tivo...we were house-bound most of the time.
Something illuminating happened this weekend, however--we realized that the secret to a successful social life was to have a kid! It's so simple! Nine-months of gestation, three-months of sleep-deprivation, followed by a frightened, blinking emergence into the civilized world in search of others such as yourself. Thanks largely to Oodgie's relentless pursuit of daytime activities she's managed to make a bunch of friends in our neighborhood, all of whom are similarly enslaved by the nap schedules and mood-swings of our kids. We were out every night this weekend with the newest members of our tribe, and even ran into some of them randomly at brunch as I was eating my breakfast sandwich made with--no joke--Belgian waffles instead of bread (dec. a. dence.) We aren't sure what to do with our new found popularity, having no experience with it in high school, but we're happy to have an escape valve that combines good company and convenience. It's hard enough to equip ourselves just to leave the house nowadays; we feel fortunate that we've found some solid cohorts within a few blocks of home.
I always assumed my friends with kids would blow out of work early or turn down invitations to my Octopus Tap Initiation Party because their day-care threatened to break knee-caps if kids weren't picked up on time. Now I'm starting to wonder if they were just more excited about downing a bottle of Shiraz and a wedge of Saint Andre while Junior is checked out in the next room.