Thursday, December 27, 2012

Kwiss-tus 2012

An exchange I had this morning with the coffee shop barista:

Him:  Did you have a nice Christmas?

Me:  Yeeeeeaaaahhhhhh (lots of subtext in that answer).  You?

Him:  Yeah, but I think it's a sign I'm getting older that my favorite part is just getting the day off work.

Me:  No, the sign you're getting older is when you're grateful to go back.

Don't get me wrong, this year's Christmas was pure holiday bliss.  The family and I were bombarded with such an overwhelming deluge of yuletide joy that my bones are literally aching from it.  The boys' faces were beaming with holiday cheer 90% of the time.  It was the sweetest thing to witness.  The other 10% of the time their faces were contorted in pure holiday anguish.  This was, more often then not, a hilarious thing to witness.  The latter was brought on by things like having to share new toys, being denied a cookie, or going to bed.  Consequently harsh restrictions like these were rarely enforced.  "Hey, it's Christmas" we'd say, and pour another glass of wine.

Liam is three going on four, and is, for the first time, really getting this whole Christmas thing (or Kwiss-tus as he calls it)  He loves the Kwiss-tus twee, the Kwiss-tus wites, and especially all the Kwiss-tus pwesents!.  Finn is one plus a few months and decided he would start walking full-time this week.  This milestone meant that while we were guests at other peoples' homes, he could better appreciate all the fragile Christmas tree ornaments, the antique nativities, and the delicate porcelain Christmas village scenes all carefully arranged twelve inches from the ground.  Needless to say it was a juggling act.....a happy, booze-fueled, dessert-heavy, exhausting, dancing-in-your-jammies, juggling act, and I loved every minute of it.  I think you've done the holiday right when you're relieved it's over.  

So now I'm back at my desk, slumped in my chair, with heavy eye-lids like a prize fighter in his final round.  I dragged my haggard ass out of bed and made my way in here a day early, which earned me a few "ambitious points" from my colleagues, though I think those points might be cancelled out by the fact that I haven't picked up a razor or successfully completed a load of laundry in six days.  I look homeless, but a quick look around the office tells me that this is, in fact, "the look" today, so that's a comfort.

Ha!  I just noticed that the only other people here today have kids my age.  Every one of them.  That's absolutely fantastic.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Santa 2012

A few months ago I was wasting time in downtown Healdsburg with the boys and we ran into my buddy Adam.  Adam is kind-hearted and wouldn't hurt a fly, but he's a little crazy looking.  He's a bit wild-eyed, broad-grinned, heavily tattooed, and usually sports a Salvador Dali mustache, but all in a dashing way.  I was on my own without a stroller that day, which is fun for the boys but for me is a little like juggling pigs.  Upon seeing Adam I generously offered up my youngest son to him, as Adam is yet without children of his own.  He kindly accepted and took off at a modest pace down one of the side streets.  Finn was fine with this, Liam was not.  Liam took off after them shouting "no no no!".  Adam of course didn't go far and, hearing Liam's protests, allowed him to catch up.  Liam grabbed onto Finn's foot and gave me a look that said "Come ON daddy! We can take this guy!!"

I was so proud.  I mean Adam isn't the biggest guy but he could have been dangerous.  Nevertheless, Liam threw all caution to the wind just to save his baby brother.  I saw this as the beginning of what would forever be their unwavering lifelong bond.  The bond of brotherhood.

Then we went to see Santa.

Santa was looking a little weather-beaten.  I mean, I get that it's not the easiest gig but come ON.  Make it a little easier for the kids will you?  You signed up for this, you knew what you were getting into, is it too much to show a little sparkle?  At least glue your friggin' beard on right, Christ!

Anyway, the creepy vibe hit Liam from about ten feet away.  His pace slowed, the finger went in his mouth, he paused, and then he slowly began to back away.  I saw where this was going so I decided to just get it over with.  I picked him up and he turned into a feral cat.  Meanwhile, Erin was placing Finn on Santa's right knee and he wasn't thrilled about it, but he was okay.  Liam hit the left knee and bolted.  This shifted Finn's unease into full panic mode and he was left screaming with his hands outstretched, pleading to be rescued by his faithful brother.  No such luck this time.  My hero.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Nugget with Attitude

He's known by many names: Baby Finn, Shotgun Finn, Shark Finn, Finley McPoop, Fingelbert Humperdinck, Slut Bunwalla, Jerry Dorsey, Mr. Saturday Night, The Easy One, Pac-Boy, Finnanigans, The Boy Who Would Be Finn (most of these aren't true) but most of all....."The Nugget".

I've been doing my end of the year 'reflecting' and have decided that 2012 was the year of the Finn.  My little nug started out the year as just a booby-obsessed pillow with eyes and ended the year walking and correctly identifying the cast of Lady and the Tramp as "dogs" (his first word after "uh-oh").  What a difference a year makes.

So to honor my fine second-son I'm letting him star solo in the traditional "Bairdsmith Holiday Jib-Jab Film".  Last year with The Buttcracker we did the Xmas theme so this year we're doing an homage to the most fascinating person of 2012.  No it's not Barack Obama, or Malala Yousafzai, or even Honey Boo-Boo.  I think you know who I mean...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Just Humor Me!

The other day I sent a text to my sister-in-law, asking if her oldest son would be home from college for Christmas. Every year I send this family a box of tasty treats from Trader Joe's just for fun. They all have insane sugar addictions since they're Mormon and aren't allowed to be addicted to anything else. Since I like to be an enabler whenever possible, this is my one shot. I like to put my own somewhat-healthy spin on the sugar-pushing though, so I send unusual things that they likely won't find in the very small Midwestern town they live in. Chocolate-covered edamame or candied mango, for example.

After establishing who I was (I guess she doesn't keep me in her phone. Hmph, whatever) and what I was preparing to do, she said that he would indeed be home, but "we do not deserve goodies from you, I can't even get around to acknowledging your kids bdays despite best intentions! Grrrr!"

Rather than stand there in the frozen food aisle of TJ's and one-finger text out the reply I wanted to, namely "since when is giving for the sake of knowing it will bring a smile to my loved ones' faces something that is 'deserved' or not based on what you do or don't do for me in return? Um, hello? 'Spirit of giving' ring any bells? Not sounding very Christian right now!" I instead said "deserve, deschmerve" and happily continued my shopping. Tra la laaaa!

Fast forward a few days. The kids and I had a super-fun all-out art show/craft fair weekend, looking for things that might catch our eyes for gifts. At one such event I saw something pretty cool, and sent a text to my boyfriend to ask about it. I'd recently come up with the genius idea that since we're a 'couple', we can give gifts from both of us. This eliminates a ton of hassle and extra money. Just wrap something thoughtful and fantastic up and slap a tag on that says "from Papa AND AMANDA." Like I said, genius.

So I texted him that the tough part about trying to find the right thing is that I'm never quite sure what his kids will like. His response: "Yeah. That's a fun idea but probably won't work in reality. You don't need to get them anything, they won't get you anything most likely. We don't really get into that gifty thing much."

Well, *harumph* to you, too!

This time I did take the time to stand there among the crowd, one-finger texting him back, basically to say "fuck off. I don't give gifts just to get gifts, that's not the point, dummy, and p.s. thanks for totally bumming my ride." (I don't think I said most of that, now that I think about it). Anyway!

I'm starting to understand why people hate Christmas so much! Of course it sucks if you look at it as this big obligatory burden. Oh shit, now I have to buy something for that person because they bought something for awkward, what to get...what to get...I hate this! Or god I've really flaked on keeping in touch with that person, I wonder if they're going to get me something. Dammit, does that mean now I have to get them something, too? What to do...this sucks! I HATE this time of year!

I used to get wrapped up in all of that bullshit, too. But mostly only if I had to get something for a person I didn't know very well - like an aunt who decided to unexpectedly visit at the last minute, and I'd never actually met her before. But really, overall I love Christmas. I love the whole dang season! The parties, the spiked hot cider, the roaring fireplaces, the jingling horse-drawn carriage rides, the smell of thousands of dying pine trees in the air...that particular holiday 'feeling'. There's just something sparkly in the air, and I want to enjoy it and share it with the people I love! If they'd stop being such fucking downers all the time.

Isn't there some old saying like 'To Give is to Receive'? That's how I feel. If I'm giving you a gift it's because something about it made me think of you, and I like you, and it makes me feel kinda happy to give it to you, even if you think it's stupid. And guess what? I don't expect anything in return.

So listen - get over it, people! ENJOY CHRISTMAS! Stop whining about all the shit you have to buy (says who?!) and how busy you are and how all of this just sucks so much. YOU are making it suck, just so you know. And I'm not going to let you ruin it for me. Not this year.

Merry Christmas!

*If you really want to hate Christmas though, you can find the fat cat shirt claiming as much here*

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Noise Cancelling Sleeping Helmet

Hi there.  Good morning.  I know what you're thinking, "Good morning?  F*ck you, asshole!"  If you're like me you just googled 'noise cancelling sleeping helmet' in the hopes that there might exist some kind of device you could shove your head into so you could hide from the reality of late-night parenting and get a good night's sleep.  All that came up was some biker chat forums and this blog.  Sorry about that.

No such device exists, but you wouldn't want to use it even if it did.  You'd be lying there thinking about what you're not hearing.  You'd be worried that something could really go wrong and you'd miss it.  Or what if someone broke into the house?  You'd be oblivious!  Plus you'd be restless knowing that at some point your spouse's elbow is going to find that tender spot on your spine when it's "YOUR TURN!!".

Here's a bit of consolation:  You're not alone.  I too have been jolted awake after only an hour and a half of sleep by that muffled wail.  It starts out small, building in pitch like a siren, followed by that awful and abrupt silence when they draw in a deep breath, and then the real fireworks are unleashed.  Holy shit, no no no no no no.  "Not tonight" you're thinking, right?  Please not again tonight.  Well I'm so sorry but, yeah...again tonight.

I know opinions are like assholes but here's mine:  You're still a lucky bastard.  You have people in your life who you envy because they're either sleeping soundly right now, or out drinking with friends, and you're not. Well those friends are either childless because they're not ready yet (remember, you were there not that long ago) or they're childless for other reasons and they'd give up a limb to have what you have.  It's a difficult exercise, especially with sunrise looming just a few hours away, but try to imagine life without your kids.  What if they suddenly vanished from your life?  Unthinkable right?  Yeah, I know.

Here's something else you don't want to hear:  Advice.  Try more exercise and less booze during the week.  I know that sounds counter-intuitive and my friends know that for me to recommend drinking less is pure hypocrisy, but it's a good target to shoot for.  Even if you fall short, it helps.  Also, coffee is ubiquitous these days so take advantage and use it well.  I'd stay away from energy drinks because I blame them for landing me in the ER with atrial fibrillation a couple of years ago (you'll be googling 'synchronized cardioversion' at 2am instead, FUN!).  Good old-fashioned coffee and tea shouldn't do you wrong, but I'm no doctor so take that with a grain.

Also, blogging is pretty cathartic.

That's all I've got.  It's okay to be angry and frustrated.  It's healthy to swim in it a little bit rather than suppress it.  What do the Buddhists say?  Turning your mind's eye toward it and facing it helps to diminish it, or something?  Yeah, do that.  You're going to be all right.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Baby Steps

Late Saturday night, December 1st, Finn took his first steps.  Both Erin and I saw him do it.  I immediately grabbed my iPhone, hit the 'weather' button, cursed, hit the 'camera' button, slid it over to video, and caught the following moment...

We Bairdsmiths aren't ones to perform on command so you'll just have to take my word for it.  He totally walked.  This got me thinking about Liam's recent milestones, so the next morning I recorded him showing off one of his new tricks.  Okay, sometimes we Bairdsmiths do perform on command, but when we do it's very quietly so you might have to crank up the volume if you want to hear this one...

Yes, reciting your ABC's is more of a two-and-a-half-year-old's milestone than a three-and-a-half-year-old's, yes, Liam has a "developmental delay", yes, he's in a special education program three days a week and he's doing great, and yes, all of this will one day make for one of those interesting and ironic prologues to the biography of his life, like Einstien failing math or Madonna being named after a virgin.

Or, I should be taking a more hard-lined approach to Liam's recitations?  Should I be stoking the embers of his burgeoning mind with a red hot poker?  I'm sure Leopold didn't build blanket forts with baby Wolfie, am I doing it wrong?  I think I heard an "Elmo pee" in there right before he got a little dreamy look on his face.  Is he messing with me?  Plus there was a bit too much whimsy in his singing, right?  I shouldn't stand for that kind of nonsense.  That's it!  No more of this ABC's bullshit.  It's all "Baa-baa Blacksheep" from hear on out.  The sobering reality of Medieval English wool taxation should wipe the smile from his insolent (sweet) little face.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Hobo Who Loves Me

Recently a man came into my store who was obviously homeless. I'm not trying to generalize here, but his odor and the layer of soot covering him just gave me a hunch. I certainly could be wrong. Given the location of my shop, I get riff-raff in from time to time, and that's okay with me. Sure they stink up my bathroom and sometimes stare at me just a bit too long, but I try to be friendly and human, as a rule.

This guy walked around looking through drawers of baby onesies and socks before finally coming over to me and offering to wash my windows. He introduced himself and looked over his shoulder as he loosely accepted my offer to shake hands. I was helping a very pregnant woman carry many boxes and bags of clothing at the time, so I listened to his muttered schpeel and then said "sure, that sounds great, go for it" before turning back to my task. 

He proceeded to wash my windows. He would stop from time to time to squat on the sidewalk and contemplate life, watch passing vehicles, or to simply have a brief but animated conversation with himself. He was very thorough with his cleaning, even taking the time to wash the inside of my doors - which have several paper, handwritten signs on them. Those he just washed right over. They're all very blurry now. 

My younger brothers arrived shortly before he'd finished, having just spent the day wine tasting. I was relieved to see them, having wrongly convinced myself of the possibility that every time the man stopped to self-chat, whoever was there was slowly convincing him to kill me. 

When he finally finished, he came in, ignoring my brothers, and said it would be five dollars. I gave him ten, because there are a lot of windows, and aside from completely ruining my signs, he'd done a good job and could obviously use the money. He was very pleased and offered to wash the inside of my windows as well, but I glanced at the doors with their soggy signs and politely declined, telling him to take care and have a nice day. 

After he'd left, Ben laughed and asked me what the hell I'd been thinking, giving the guy more money than he'd asked for? He said "you realize that now all the homeless people are going to start coming in here looking for work, right?" I wondered aloud if they had a system like the Hobos do, where they leave a mark to instruct future wanderers what to expect from certain houses. Like, a smiley face means you can sleep in the barn; four lines means the woman of the house will feed you; a rectangle with a dot inside means Danger, and so on. I was going to walk out front to see if there were any new marks or symbols on my planters, but decided against it when I saw my window washer out there, setting up camp in front of one of my now-clean windows.

It appeared as though he wanted to keep me for himself.

As my brothers were eager to continue their wine country experience, they stood near the window giving the guy a 'get lost' vibe, which he eventually did. I guess I'll see him the next time my windows need a shine. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Disturbing Tale of Poo

WARNING:  Don't read this.  No really.  I'm not using hyperbole in that title, this really is a disturbing tale.  And the poo, my god the poo.  Poo plays a major role.  In fact, poo is the main character in this tale.  Poo is the Hamlet of this tale, I'm serious.

Okay fine.....

It was a dark and stormy Friday night.  Erin was out, leaving me home alone with the boys.  Terrible dads are useless in this kind of situation, but they don't read this blog so it's okay to call them terrible...and dumb.  Awesome dads know that the rules for bachelor nights are simple: There will be a group shower before the pizza is delivered, followed by movies, then sleeping (not necessarily in bed).

I made the call and got right down to business.  We were in and out of the shower in record time which was a good thing because while I'd gotten Finn diapered and jammied, and was just finishing the Duck Vader Imperial March with Liam, there was the knock at the door.  Normally it would have been a time of celebration but I was wearing a towel and I didn't know our pizza delivery guy that well.

I dropped Finn and dove into to the closet where there were no clothes because it was Friday.  I managed to put on just enough to not appear too creepy and went to answer the door.

Me: Hi!!

Kid:  Sup!  No extra cheese or chili flakes right bro?

Me:  (Gasp! He remembers me!!)  No, we're, good......we're cool. (We were neither of those things)

While I was signing for the tip on our center island, Finn crawled up to greet my young bro-friend.  "Hey lil' dude" he said.  I gave him his receipt and noticed he was smiling at Finn, but in a weird way.  I'd creeped him out obviously.  Damn it!  I should have put on pants.

I shut the door and looked down at Finn where I immediately discovered that, no, it wasn't me that had made for the awkward 'goodbye'.  Finn's entire face was covered in shit.

It took a minute for it to register...., god, no.  Brown everywhere.  So much brown.  It's around his mouth.  Why is it around his mouth?  Oh my god his hands.  It can't be.  How can it be?  The bathroom!  LIAM!!!

Two steps to the bathroom and I found that Liam was not there.  He had wisely retreated to the safety of the sofa cushions.  What greeted my viking "FFFUUUUUUCCKKK!!!!!" scream was an impossible volume of still-very-warm preschooler pudding covering the entire area between the big boy potty and the adult potty.  Of course.

It was everywhere.  How, in that small window of time, Liam had managed to unleash this fury, followed by Finn apparently break-dancing in it, was a mystery I didn't contemplate until much later.  I had to act fast.  I didn't know where to begin but I knew sacrifices would have to be made.  I immediately gave up both hands and one arm by picking Finn up and peeling his shirt off over his head, trying to collect all that I could from his face, while keeping his hands away from his mouth.

All I could think was, "There's so much on his FACE!  Had he eaten it? WHY WOULD HE EAT IT!?? What do I do?  Do I induce vomiting?  Do I have to induce it?  Chase it with milk?  Oh god this is disgusting.  How is he smiling?  Oh GOD his TEETH!!"

Everything he had touched along his crawl from the bathroom and the front door was decimated.  I stripped him, but everything his clothes touched became tainted.  Everything I used to clean him became tainted and everything I used to clean the things I used to clean him became tainted.  All I could do was diminish the degree of filth that had struck the house by basically spreading it to every cloth, every surface, and every major appliance in the house until the mess was thinned out, but never gone.

By the time I was done the pizza was cold, but that was a moot point.  Well, for me it was.  Liam gladly ate his share having made plenty of room for it, and Finn had twice as much as Liam which was either a good sign or kind of troubling.  I haven't decided yet.

I never punished Liam for his crime.  When I found him tucked into the couch looking guilty I just cleaned him up along with the sofa cushions.  All the potty training books say to never punish or shame your kids when they have accidents because it could be counterproductive.  Of course it wasn't so much of an "accident" as an act of terrorism, but whatever.  I didn't want to take any chances.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Chopped Liver

Erin is amazing with Liam.  She makes him laugh, reads him stories, takes him to the park, makes him both types of foods he loves, and generally dotes on him like any loving beautiful angelic young mother would.  Why he loves me so much more than her is a mystery.

I don't mean to sound insensitive.  I used to downplay his obvious preference by insisting that my lap is just warmer, or that he's not really hugging me he's trying to strangle me, or that he wants kisses only from me because he's trying to make me sick, but now it's just too obvious.

A few days ago I had to back the minivan out of the driveway, turn it around, and back it in.  While I was doing this Liam was doing his impression of Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice.  Erin could barely hold onto him so I quickly parked and hopped out to assure him I was staying.  Erin grabbed the keys and walked toward the car just to test her theory.  "Bye bye mommy!" Liam said, waving cheerfully through drying tears.

Most mornings I'm gone long before he wakes up which he can manage, but if he sees me leave he's inconsolable (I shouldn't be smiling after typing that).  If I pop out to the grocery store without doing my proper goodbyes I'll come home 15 minutes later to his red streaky face and an exasperated wife.

Like I said, Erin is a perfect mom so it really isn't fair.  They say kids will go through phases where they prefer one parent for awhile and then it switches.  I'm just hoping for a major Oedipal complex.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What Do You Think?

I have the joy and privilege of working in the retail segment of the service industry. While I love what I do and feel that I pretty much have the best community of customers in the world, there's one that occasionally comes in, and I almost can't muster the energy it takes to interact with her.

I own a children's used clothing (and all kinds of other things) store. This customer has an ever-increasing amount of children, so you'd think we'd be like two peas in a pod. Not so much. Rather than bore you with all of the details of all the reasons why, I'll present to you the top 5 actions that have brought me to likening the sound of her voice to that of nails on a chalkboard. (Incidentally, she doesn't seem to realize that I recognize her voice, so never identifies herself when she calls to ask me ridiculous things, perhaps in hopes of remaining anonymous. Doesn't work.)

1. Sock Obsession: Every time this woman has another baby, she loads up on socks. She will hem and haw and whine about being broke, then bring a pile of about 30 pairs of socks up to the counter. She will then go through each pair, deciding not to take several of them, because she's broke. Then she changes her mind and buys them all.

2. Garage Sale Comparisons: Occasionally I will get a phone call during garage sale season, and it will be her.  "Hi, um, I'm at a garage sale right now, and I'm looking at this stroller. It's a Graco, that's a good brand, right?" "Well, people seem to like it." "Okay, good. Now, this one, it's got this...kind of a blue, plaid pattern, with a giraffe on it. Do you think that would be cute for my baby? I have a little boy." "Well, I really don't know. I suppose it's a matter of whether you like it or not." "Right...right...but would you - I mean, what do you think? Is thirty dollars a good price for this stroller?" "I really couldn't say, since I can't see what kind of condition it's in, sorry." And so on.

3. Closing Time: She often comes in about 20 minutes before my store closes, carrying at least two bags of clothes that she wants me to go through in hopes of getting store credit. She usually has her second-oldest (I think) child with her. This girl is a quiet, deer-eyed kid with terribly tangled hair and a spooky presence. She wanders around quietly while I go through the bags and bags of crumpled shirts and single socks. They have a routine. "No honey bear, mama can't afford that, I'm sorry! Let's see if the nice lady needs any of these old things, maybe then we can get just one thing, maybe some socks for your brother, but mama can't...Oh, well look at that, that is really cute. Oh shoot, go try it on, we'll see, but no promises! And hurry, this nice lady has to go home, she's got kids of her own to get to...oh, wow sugar booger, that looks so cute on you, ohhhhhh, ohhhh, shoot. It depends on if the lady can use any of this stuff we brought in!" Then to me "gosh it's so hard to say no, she's so good. I just can't afford to be buying her things all the time, you know?" Meanwhile I'm going through her clothes, most of which still have the telltale color-coded Goodwill tag on them, and am rejecting most of them because they have stains, tears, are off-season, or are just plain hideous. Once I've put everything that I don't want back into her bags, she then pulls things out at random and says "oh, you didn't want this? It's so cute. I just..." I show her a rather large stain on the collar. "Oh, shoot, I didn't see that...gosh...well, yeah, sorry, okay. And not this? This is so cute, I thought for sure you'd really like this one." This goes on and on. Eventually she ends up buying most of what her daughter asks her for, mumbling about the gas bill under her breath.

4. Will This Fit?: When her kids aren't with her, she asks me if I think things will fit them. She'll bring up a pair of corduroy pants and say "do you think this would fit my little sugar bear? Her legs are kind of long...what do you think?" I'll patiently (I think) say that it's really impossible for me to tell, having not seen her daughter in several months. I advise that she, as the mother, might be better informed to make that call. Then she'll bring over a winter hat. "Do you think this will fit my baby? It says it's 6-12 months, and he's 9 months now...hmm...I don't know, what do you think?" I repeat the above. We do this several times. Each time she says, "yeah, I suppose you're's just that his/her head/legs/feet/arms is/are so big/small/long/short...hmmm....I just don't know...sorry, sorry, I'll get out of here, I know you gotta go." She'll put everything back. She'll pick something up again. "I'll just get this one thing, it's just too darn cute to pass up. Gosh I really shouldn't be spending any money right now, oh man...." pulls out crumpled bills from every available pocket she can find, making a pile on the counter, feigning an attempt to smooth them out before handing them to me.

5. Medical Advice: One day I got a call from this customer. I think it was about two kids ago. "Hi, um, lemme ask you something, do you have a minute?" "Ummm, sure, I have just a minute..." "Okay great. So I just need your advice on something. I just came from my doctor, I'm actually in the parking lot, see I'm pregnant, and he says he thinks I should get a D & C" "I don't know what that is." "Oh, well, I mean, it's, you know, it's an abortion. Basically." "Uh huh..." "Yeah, so, I don't know, what do you think? Do you think I should do it?" "Well, wow, yeah, I'm not at all qualified to give you advice on this, sorry." "Sure, sure...but, I mean, if it was you...what do you think?" "If your doctor is suggesting it then my guess would be there's a reason, but I can't tell you one way or the other." "Hmmm, yeah, gosh I just don't know. What would you do?"


I think we all know what my answer to that question is.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hop on Pop

Erin left me.

I'm not too heart broken since she'll be back tonight.  She's in Vegas again for "work".

Me:  So...what new developments in the world of tooth care, that apparently can only be discussed in the Nevada desert, will you be learning about this weekend?

Erin:  Just some continuing education stuff that you wouldn't understand.  (That's not really what she said.  She actually told me but I can't remember what it was because I didn't understand)

Me:  Then why are you packing snake-skin pants?

Erin:  We're going to the conference in group costume.

Me:  Of course.

Erin:  We're going to be an 80's hair band.

Me:  That sounds true.

Erin:  It is!  We're calling ourselves Oral Six and the Ejectors

Me:  Right!  Well, try not to come home with anything you can't get rid of.  Love you!

Normally I'd ease my grief by living off of delivered pizza while she's away but we're broke this week so that's out.  We're so broke in fact I've had to spend the weekend holed up since it's too cold and wet for the park and all the good indoor stuff requires money.  This means I've had to find creative ways to entertain two young energetic boys at home all day.  Luckily I made a discovery.

The boys are in their lion cub phase where all they want to do is wrestle 24/7.  They're about the same weight class so it's an even fight.  Nonetheless things got out of hand this weekend often enough that I found myself having to intervene so much I couldn't really do anything else.  I finally just gave in and laid on the floor next to them in the living room.  They immediately took this as the cue to pounce on me and continue their match, feverishly entertained now with me in the mix.

This was perfect!  Not only was this free, but we were all interacting, they were burning off some energy, and they were having a blast without seriously injuring one another.  The only problem was I kept spilling my wine.  My solution to use a sippy cup with a built in straw had its pros and cons.  I stopped spilling but I couldn't set the thing down because Liam and Finn assumed it was for them.  This meant I had to finish it fast (not really a problem).  Also, drinking red wine through a straw means less tooth staining (I learned that in the Nevada desert).

Hopefully they're just as enthusiastic about hopping on mom.  Erin's going to need some good stomps on the head after her exhausting three-day bender conference.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Dark Side

About every four months I completely lose my shit.  The business of life gets to me and I go postal...sort of.  My "going postal" looks more like I'm just on a major fart-hold while trying to remember the lyrics to the Twelve Days of Christmas.  My turmoil is largely internal.

"Uuuse the forceful language, Mike"
There are a few ways in which my rage manifests itself externally though.  For example I was grumpy and impatient enough yesterday to illicit, I'm sure, a few disparaging comments from the polling place volunteers at the The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.  If there was some shit-talking, I hope they know that they don't have to pray to Luther for forgiveness.  He would have called me a "dickhead" too.  

And of course there's Erin.  Poor, sweet Erin.  The spouse always get the brunt of the bad mood, don't they?.  I'm sorry about that babe.  Love you!  

The good news is what comes from this is a drive to change things for the better, TODAY!!  I find that this stress and frustration that's been building, probably for weeks, fuels within me a sudden and uncharacteristic urge to grab life by the pants, yank down as hard as I can, and point and laugh until I pee myself.  Metaphorically.

It's kind of like in Return of the Jedi when Lando Calrissian flies into the Death Star's core to blow up its reactor and then has to outrun the explosion.  There's a moment right at the end where he's shooting down the tunnel and he's completely overrun but manages to burst out in a big fiery explodey ball of flames and shoots out into space going "Yaahooooo!!" to that alien that looks a little too much like Dumb Donald from Fat Albert.  It's just like that.


I'd had it!  So today I made a list of things that have been stressing me out that I can resolve on my lunch break.  The first thing I did was call Buckle and DEMANDED to know what's going on with the pants I ordered back in August.  Next I called Healdsburg Hospital and DEMANDED a detailed receipt from a procedure I'd had last July so I could submit it to my HSA.  "No problem" they said.  Sure it's "no problem" when you can tell I mean business.  And finally I DEMANDED that the auto repair place let me know if there was any chance I could make an appointment for service sometime this month, maybe (I'm less confident with car stuff).

What a satisfying turn of events, and all brought about by months of suppressed frustration.  As Karma would have it though, things have already begun to turn around for the better.  I only wish poor Erin could have seen me go all "alpha-male".  The hotness of it might have undone some of the damage.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Deer Creek Gene

The first thing my first boyfriend Scott and I did together after we'd broken up and didn't speak for a while, then went to a Nirvana concert, then regrettably slept together one more time, then didn't speak for a while again, was go to the horse races. He seemed really into it, which surprised me because in the two years we were a couple he'd never once mentioned an interest in going to the track. I've since learned that people can change drastically after a difficult breakup.

Scott gave me a quick tutorial on how we would be betting, something involving choosing three different horses, and they had to all come in together. He told me which were the 'sure thing' horses, and instructed me to put my money on them. Ignoring all of the numbers in the program, I picked the two names I liked best out of the three he'd suggested, then chose a completely different third horse: Deer Creek Gene.

"You can't pick Deer Creek Gene," Scott told me. "Look at his stats! He's like, last. Don't do that one."

But I knew what I was doing. "Deer Creek Gene is totally going to win, shut up," I replied.

What Scott seemed to be forgetting was that my dad's name is Gene. And for every summer since I'd been 14, Gene had taken me and a few of my siblings to the Deer Creek Music Center in Indiana to see the Grateful Dead. Duh! Of course Deer Creek Gene would win! It was so obvious I almost got a headache from trying to explain all of this to Scott, while he in turn tried to explain the numbers, pointing to them over and over again and getting frustrated at me for refusing to acknowledge them.

When the race began, everyone stood and cheered for their picks. Only one person was rooting for poor Deer Creek Gene - me. Slowly people began throwing their tickets to the ground and sitting back down in a huff as their horses lagged too far behind to recover. My two 'sure thing' horses kept up a good pace while Deer Creek Gene stayed near the back. Scott elbowed me and laughed at my stupidity. I kept cheering on my choice.  As the horses began to round the last curve, one of the sure things began to slow down - several people groaned and shouted "Nooo!"

Do I even need to tell you what happened next? Deer Creek Gene, from six horses behind, started hauling ass and one by one, passed all of the other horses. The crowd, literally, went wild. Men were biting hats, women were pulling their hair, everyone was wide-eyed with insanity at the nerve of this animal with no reputable stats to speak of. I woo-hooed for Deer Creek Gene with all my might, jumping up and down, laughing and feeling mighty smug. The collective disappointment of the arena as my horse nosed his way into second place behind the second of my sure things was one of the most satisfying sounds I'd ever heard.

I didn't win big money that day, what with my other guaranteed winner turning out to be a burned-out loser. But what I didn't walk away with monetarily, I made up for in 'I Told You So' rights for years to come. It was a beautiful day at the races.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

I frickin' LOVE Halloween.  Always have.  It's the real reason I had kids, I'm not gonna lie.  So when Liam started tearing off his costume Tuesday night because he didn't want to wear it, I had a mild panic attack.

Somewhere along the line Liam got it into his head that Halloween had anything to do with him.  This is MY DAY.  It's the fourth time I've allowed him to join my Halloween fun, the lucky bastard.  The previous three years he's enjoyed me including him with the appropriate level of enthusiasm as you can see...

Year 1 :  Hotdog

Year 2 :  Dexter

Year 3 :  Hamburger
Year 3 we had to sacrifice creativity due to funding issues but as I promised in last year's post, the force was with the Bairdsmith family this year.

I took a couple of hours off work so I could wrestle Liam into his costume.  Erin and I pinky swore we wouldn't take a screaming tantrum as an answer.  As you can see from his "I wanted to go to Toshi station to pick up some power converters" face that he's not exactly digging it.  Sure it was a Wednesday, and we'd all spent the weekend violently ill, and it was pouring rain, but it's Halloween goddammit!  Fun will be had!!

We made it around three sides of the downtown Healdsburg square before retiring to 'The Wurst'.  I call that a huge success.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

World Series of Assholes

As I promised in my last post about baseball, I managed to catch a couple games of the World Series. Because I'm from Michigan, I felt a bit torn about who to cheer for. I remember feeling this way as a young girl, when I was visiting my dad in Cleveland and we went to a game in which the Indians were playing the Tigers. "Who do you want to win?" I asked him, concerned (much like Jonah seemed when he asked who I'd root for in these games). "Oh, whoever wins is fine," my dad assured me. "It's more about team work and playing a good game. Whoever wins will deserve it."

What a nice way to look at things! That's how I felt on Wednesday night when Paulie and I strolled down to the Toad in the Hole pub to catch the game on the big, huge screen. My plan had been to wear my Tigers shirt and my Giants hat, but I couldn't find my hat. I thought I'd found it in Jonah's room, and grabbed it triumphantly, but when I put it on later I realized that it was actually a Jonah-sized hat (which explains why it was in Jonah's room, I guess). 

I didn't think my dual-team support plan being foiled would be that big of a deal. It's not like I live in the Midwest any more, where people will threaten your life if you dare like the team that they don't like. Personal opinions aren't always respected there. But hey, I live in California now! We're all about acceptance here! 

While at the Toad, we ran into our friend Joey and his son Skye. I'm assuming this was an exciting yet perplexing moment:

(they are not really related)

The sea of black and orange made me a little nervous, but no one seemed bothered by my presence. Still, there was nowhere to sit, so we headed around the corner to the much quieter, calmer Jack and Tony's. I was relieved that there were only a few people sitting at the bar, watching the game in a seemingly relaxed manner.  

Who should I cheer for??
After settling in with some friends, I went to the bar to order our drinks. There I encountered two Giants fans, and unfortunately there was a commercial on, so they weren't distracted enough to not notice me. Fan A saw me standing there and raised his eyebrows. "Tigers!" he said. "Huh." This made Fab B look at me. Fab B was a Very Mean Man. "Oh, shit" he said, (rather aggressively, I'd like to add). "You'd better turn that shirt inside out if you know what's good for you."

I looked at Fan A who seemed slightly nicer and shrugged. "I'm from Michigan," I told him.

Fan B was not letting my offensive choice of clothing go, and added "or just turn around so I don't have to look at you!"

I said to Fan A "yeah, I was going to wear my Giants hat too, so, you know--" but Fan B leaned over Fan A to interrupt with "well coulda shoulda woulda gets you about as far as....." I didn't hear the end of that surely delightful anecdote because my drinks arrived at that moment, so I picked them up, gave an exaggerated raising of the eyebrows to Fan A, and headed back to our table full of non-crazies.

Ah, sportsmanship! I wouldn't be surprised  if that guy was involved in initiating the Detroit-like riots in San Francisco after the Giants won the World Series. Thumbs up, folks! You showed us all what it means to be a die hard fan - with a good old-fashioned bus burning. Well done.

In all seriousness though, congrats to the Giants. Baseball is actually the one sport that holds a special place in my heart (thanks to those Indians games I went to in my youth). Until next season....

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Do NOT Read This Post

I haven't written anything on this blog for a while.  Not because life hasn't been interesting lately.  Au contraire.  It's just been really gross.

There's a stomach bug going around Healdsburg.  It hit Liam and Finn on Thursday.  Liam started things off by painting the walls a nice shade of 'Oatmeal' and Finn filled 8 diapers with an impossible volume of grey diarrhea (I told you not to read this post)

The bug blew through here like a hurricane.  Quick and disastrous, or so I thought.

Last night, Saturday night, it hit Erin.  We went to the annual Healdsburg Community Nursery School "Wild Things" Halloween Fundraiser.  I know what you're thinking.  I was thinking it too never having been to such an event, but you'd be wrong.  We were both wrong.  It was FUCKING AWESOME!  Easily the best party I've been to this year.

Erin and I won the couples costume contest.  I assumed it was because the audience had never seen the original Star Wars poster performed live and with a gender reversal (Erin was Leia I was Han Solo sprawled, grasping her leg submissively while she held the power stance).  But, as I learned over coffee this morning from fellow attendees, it was Erin's splits that pushed the needle on the applause-o-meter.  I skinned my knees for nothing.

We got home that night before midnight and crashed, but around 4am I woke to the sound of Erin heaving up some very decent pre-school fundraiser appetizers.  It could have been the vodka tonics, or the jell-o shots, or the roach coach tacos at 11pm, but most likely it was the bug.  Poor Erin had a rough night and I was zero comfort.  The noise that she was making, while alternating bent over heaving with sitting and erupting (I told you not to read this) wasn't loud enough to wake me up but was loud enough to put me into that lucid level of sleep where you incorporate the sounds you hear into your dreams.  I can't remember exactly what I dreamt but I woke up sweating and certain I was going to be sick too.

But I wasn't sick.  In fact as of writing this I feel perfectly fine.  If it turns out that I dodged this thing it'll be the real life equivalent of when, in cartoons, the side of a house falls over and our protagonist is spared because he was standing where the window was.

Most likely karma will win over and I'll be in bad shape in the next couple of days.  I'm half assuming this is what will happen so I've been restricting myself to a liquid diet.  I figure if I'm gonna puke, I might as well be drunk, right?

Fortunately Erin has come around already.  You know you're feeling better when you're able to tolerate things that are disgusting.  For example Erin is already tolerating my brand of humor.  We just had this exchange:

Erin:  I'm planning your birthday dinner

Me:  Great!

Erin:  It'll be different than usual, but good different

Me:  Like anal?

Erin:  Exactly.

(I told you not to read this)

The boys are doing fine too.  In fact, since Erin is couch-bound and I'm terrified to touch anyone or anything in the house, they've spent this unseasonably hot day on the back deck getting soaking wet.  This is a good thing since, as Erin illustrated, our hygiene these past few days has fallen by the wayside.

Erin:  Ew

Me:  What?

Erin:  I just found a little...something.  You don't want to know.

Me:  Yeah I do.

Erin:  A little dried vomit on my chest.

Me:  That's going in the blog.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lions and Tigers and Giants, Obama!

Monday night, after a long day of work and kids and writing, I finally logged onto my trusty news source: Facebook. And WHOA!!!!!! That thing had done a fair amount of exploding during my absence. Apparently there had been a baseball game (go Giants!), a football game (sorry Lions!) and a political debate (go Obama!).

I hate it when these things are happening. Don't get me wrong - I'm a big fan of hometown spirit and jovial camaraderie, and will probably even catch a game or two, in a pub, with friends, where we all know what is happening and can comment on it to people who know what our comments mean because they saw whatever we're commenting about. But holy foul ball from hell, Facebook has given free licence to people who love sports to assume that rest of us love them, as well. And that we actually know what they're talking about. And that we give a flying fuck.

I tried to address this once before:

Jesus christ you guys...I'm sorry, but after scrolling through a weekend's worth of status updates, all I wish - AGAIN - is that there was some sort of filter for completely random (to anyone not watching) sports references. Things like "YES!" and "Way to show 'em how it's done!" and "(Random Name)!" and "Swiiiiiiing!!!!!!" Aren't people supposed to gather in living rooms with bowls of chips and cans of beer and say this shit to each other in person? Come ON!

p.s. I love you all. Just not when sports of any kind are happening.

I got lots of supportive feedback (17 likes and 27 comments...only 3 of which were my friend Frank being sarcastic and once again giving me shit about how I write a stupid blog, which made no sense whatsoever in the context in which it was delivered. Still...*tear!*).

But of course the nonsensical gibberish sports shouting hasn't stopped. Take the following posts, for example: 

I get the first means the Lions are playing football. Okay, that's easy. The next two are really confusing to me, though. I know it's deer season, but I have a feeling that second one isn't some sort of slang referring to being quiet in your tree, maybe pensively waiting for your kill...? And the 3rd one...was this supposed to be an inter-office memo that accidentally got recorded on Facebook instead? Woops!

Then there's this one: 

Um. I really have no idea. Nothing about any of these makes sense. The first one made me panic. What?! What happened?? Was there an explosion downtown? Should I gather my sleeping children and run for the hills from an alien invasion? WHAT HAPPENED?!?!

The second one is nice, I like that musical, too. Or wait, does that mean you went outside in the storm and sang some songs? That's pretty endearing, actually. 

I can only assume that the third is a Halloween reference. Something about zombies eating asses...?

I have no idea what the LOLing is about here
The first and second posts here were made by the same person. As you can see, they were made at the exact same time. This person first has a lot of enthusiasm about their baby. Then they ask to be put out of their misery, only seconds later! WHAT HAPPENED? What did your baby do?! I was really concerned!

Finally I got some clarification as to what all the fuss was about:

For the record, I'm rooting for the Tigers.
Because I already have a Tigers shirt. 
Apparently the San Francisco Giants won a baseball game. That is exciting! Also, the Tigers (a baseball team) are now Detroit's only hope, which leads me to believe that the Lions (a football team) lost their game. Both of these events are absolutely worth posting about during every single minute of the game. As is every sporting event that I and my fellow clueless non-fans get to read about at the height of every season. Thanks for sharing! Just a suggestion: Twitter might be more suited for such frequent, up-to-the-minute updates. know. So you know. Here's a link, please go sign up, and post away - as often as you want! It's encouraged over there.

The other exciting thing happening was the election. Apparently more people were watching the game, which frankly makes me a little bit nervous. If I could afford cable or internet, I'd have been watching the debate. As it is, I really enjoyed the highlights offered by my one friend who'd been watching. 

Ha! I do love a POTUS with a sense of humor...

Anyway, I'm just so happy that my old home state team (Go Tigers!!) is playing against my new home state team (Go Giants!), that's always fun...and that baseball season is almost over! And the election is right around the corner! (VOTE!) And for the love of god, don't tell me every detail about it. I. Don't. Care. 

Go team!

Monday, October 22, 2012


There is nothing I wouldn't do for my boys, except become a firefighter.  This fact has plagued me with guilt long before I even had kids.  I knew I would some day, and I knew they'd be disappointed.  After graduating from the academy, earning my EMT, volunteering for ten years, and even getting a flippin' associates degree in Fire Technology, it seemed like a crime against my children that I'd bail on what is, as everyone knows, the absolute coolest job a dad could have, right?


Liam thinks firefighters are HELLA LAME!  Great GOD ALMIGHTY!!!  I AM VINDICATED!!!

Healdsburg fire department had an open house.  I volunteered there for a few years so when I took Liam I was at least hoping to score some "cool daddy" points for knowing everyone there.  What I got was so much better.  

We rolled into the place and everything was wide open for the kids.  All the trucks and engines were crawling with other kids, there were men and women in uniforms and turnouts, and they were even giving away free fire hats.  I stood back and waited for Liam to poop himself with excitement, but I got nothing.  I figured he was too stunned with the incomprehensible miracle of it all so I led him to an engine to have at it.  He climbed in obligingly, pressed a few seat belt buttons, and gave me a look that said "and?..."

Yeah, I'm good.  Let's go make wine.

After ten minutes he was trying to drag me back to the car.  True story.  I effing love the little bugger.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I, Superhero

Yesterday morning the kids and I were walking to school -- well, most of the way to school. We parked about half way between my apartment and school and walked the rest of the way. Wednesdays are Walk & Roll to school days - we live too far to walk, Evie refuses to ride her bike, so this is what we can manage.

As we were walking, Jonah asked me what three superhero powers I'd have, if I were a superhero. He'd been following me around all morning, telling me intricate details of the clothes, personality and weaponry of each Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Lots of swords and nun-chucks and throwing stars and gloves with sharp blades protruding from the sides.

Then he moved on to robots with human characteristics.

Then he moved on to superheroes. I enjoy watching and listening to Jonah make up superhero qualities on the spot. He's pretty into it. He's been honing his skills for quite a while now and it's impressive to see them in action. The only skill that has taken some time away from superhero invention is his new found love for the arts of sarcasm and clever wit.

Anyway, after listening to his never-ending monologue on weapons and violent ways to kill your enemies, I chose my superhero powers carefully.

Mom: I'd like to fly. So, flying.
Jonah: Okay, flying is good...flying is good...what about your second?
Mom: Umm...World Peace Power
Jonah: Huh. Okaaaay.... and your third?
Mom: Laughter Bombs
Jonah: What?! What is a laughter bomb, anyway?
Mom: I drop one on my enemies, and it makes them stop what they're doing and just laugh for a while. Then they don't feel like being jerks any more
Jonah: (shaking head) Okay mom. (sigh) And what would your name be?
Mom: Hm...I don't know. Um, I guess...Super Panda
Jonah: (slaps hand on leg in exasperation) What, you're all big and fluffy like a Panda?!
Mom: No, I'd just wear a black and white suit. And cuddle people.

And, without missing a beat -

Jonah: How about if your superhero name is just Super Hippy?

Mom: (laughter!)
Jonah: Juuuuuuuust kidding, mom.

That kid kills me! Not in a superhero way - in a hilarious way. His ninja-like sneak-attack jokes and ninja-speed with comebacks will one day make him a force to be reckoned with. I can't wait.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Harvest 2012

The 2012 Bairdsmith Bros. harvest is done!  Check out the action...

Liam cleaning out bins in his jammies.  He actually helped this year (sort of), although teaching him how to operate the hose was a can of worms I probably should have kept closed.

Every time Erin brought in a bucket she would announce which number it was.  By the end she'd gotten up to 113!  This was particularly remarkable since, after doing the math, I figured she'd single-handedly picked 800 pounds more grapes than we ended up with.  Incredible!!

 Erin wasn't the only one picking (though she might as well have with her skills, right?)  Joining us was her sister Kat, Kat's manservant Neil (just kidding Neil), my father-in-law Bruce and our buddy Timothy.

A thing of beauty!!  Though, sadly, Erin's extra 800 pounds must have fallen out on the way home.

It took Liam a few minutes to realize he was sitting on a pile of candy.  We had to pry him off.

Totally not staged

It was a good harvest.  Back in the day I'd have to keep telling myself that the one full day of hard work was worth it because in the end we'd have a year's worth of wine to enjoy.  But with the boys' help I don't have to keep telling myself that.  I can't say I'd go through it without the reward of an ocean of booze, but they sure make it a lot easier.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Wuv, Twue Wuv

Last weekend Erin and I left our boys screaming in the arms of my parents as we set off for an all adult weekend.  We headed down to the land of palm trees and Spanish tile: Santa Barbara.  We were there for four days.  Four whole days.  It was awesome.

The people of Santa Barbara are interesting.  Everyone walking the streets appears to be either on their way to yoga, homeless, or both.  Also they seem to go out of their way to try and get run over by cars.  I'd have been fine with that (I'm all for Darwinism) but we'd borrowed my parents' car for the trip and returning it smeared with hippie blood was a poor way to return the favor.

We arrived Friday night.  Erin and I did our best to try not to miss the kids too much.  We figured the safest way to make the transition was to go out for an extravagant night on the town. Until that point we hadn't made any plans aside from simply getting beyond shouting distance from the boys, so the night was wide open.  Fortunately we had our friend Shane, who lives in Santa Barbara, to offer up some guidance.

I don't know if I've mentioned Shane in this blog before?  The short story is:  I'm a little gay for him.  I suspect Erin feels similarly because ten seconds before we met up with him I popped two mints in my mouth and Erin lotioned both of her hands (true story).

Before we called Shane to meet up with him we tried surprising him at his house but he wasn't home.  Instead we found a surprise of our own...

It's kind of hard to see but that's a skunk in his front yard.  I'm only sharing this non sequitur detail of our story because while Erin was taking this picture and remarking on how "cute" her shit-spraying rabid new friend was, I was using her as a human shield.  It wasn't my most chivalrous moment, but I didn't want to perform a wedding smelling like some rodent's ass glands.

Oh, did I mention we were in Santa Barbara to perform a wedding?  That's right, I'm a goddamn man of the cloth!  My good friends Dee and Drew had bestowed upon me the honor of marrying them.  They gave me carte blanche in authoring the entire wedding script too!  Although they did have a few addenda.  They preferred that I didn't do the voice from 'The Princess Bride' and they weren't "entirely comfortable" with me including my five minute ham-bone routine.  Instead that had me include a couple of Mexican wedding traditions such as the 'Lazo' where the bride and groom get tied up together, and the 'Arras' where the groom 'symbolically' gives all his money to the bride.  Mexican traditions are all about subtlety.

Saturday was a full day of rehearsing.  First we rehearsed the ceremony, then we rehearsed eating and drinking all day.  Sunday was the actual wedding day.  I did an okay job...I think.  My brief part had some spontaneous banter, a bit of humor that got a laugh, and even a little Spanish.  I felt like a bit of a spaz though.  Afterward I got some unsolicited compliments so I guess I wasn't too bad.  My biggest worry was that I'd do something stupid and ruin what was easily the most beautiful, fun, and blissfully romantic wedding I'd ever been to.  Erin and I unanimously agreed upon that.  Dee and Drew were amazing and the reception was absolutely perfect.  I kept catching myself walking around with a big goofy grin on my face because I was just so damn happy.

Erin had a great time too despite getting toxic chemicals sprayed directly in her eyes.  I was in the bathroom when someone started frantically banging on the door.  I figured someone had had a little too much  and needed the toilet for something awful, but when I opened the door a small group was escorting Erin with glowing green goo all over her face.  Apparently someone's fun little glow in the dark necklace had exploded right in her eyes.  Her EYES!!  She's blind now.

Just kidding.  She's a badass, and after a bit of rinsing she was back on the dance floor making me proud.  I think it was the magic of the wedding that kept her spirits up, but it may have been the guacamole.  I felt bad for not being there for her when it happened, but it was probably for the best.  If that toxic spray shot my way I likely would have used her as a human shield.

By the next day we had to hurry back home to the boys which was well-timed because, believe it or not, after four days we were actually going through some serious withdrawals.  Evidently Liam was too.  We found him pink-cheeked and in tears when we got back to my parents house in Berkeley that evening.  I guess he'd been inconsolable all day but luckily we'd had the foresight to buy him a few things before we got home.  Nothing cures a three-year-old's heartache quicker than Zachary's pizza and a new fire truck.  Finn, of course, hadn't even noticed we were gone.