Tuesday, January 31, 2012


"I would sooner have a wiener tattooed on my forehead than give up my Mondays" would have been the wrong thing to say.  I'm glad I told my boss "I'll think about it".  I was offered the chance to work some overtime but it will mean working Mondays in addition to my four ten-hour shifts Tuesday through Friday.  I guess on paper I'm in no position to be turning down the chance to earn more money, but I really want to.  
It's not because I 'm afraid to work more, it's because Monday is my day with the boys.  Tuesdays through Fridays I work 6 to 5 and with commute time those weekdays are pretty much shot.  If I'm lucky I'll get home in time to bond over a poopy diaper or the occasional bath but that's about it.  Weekends are great but are inevitably jam-packed with activities.  Mondays are all mine.  Erin works Mondays leaving me and the boys unsupervised ALL DAY.  I make a point of getting all my chores done Saturday and Sunday just so Monday is wide open.  We start at 8:00 am sharp and basically turn the house into Pleasure Island right up until 30 minutes before mom gets home.  That's just enough time to tidy up, get everyone in pants, and create the illusion that time has been spent on laundry.  

So I really want to shoot my boss down.  There's a point where my time is worth more than overtime pay, right? Besides they're asking me to spend Monday fielding customer complaints and the last person you want as your Brand Ambassador is an employee with a black belt in sarcasm and a penchant for petty acts of vengeance who secretly blames his work for cutting into playtime with his best buds.  I'd be doing them a favor saying no.

Update:  I said yes.  Anyone know a good tattoo artist?

Re-update:  I changed my mind and told them to forget it.  Thanks to everyone who read this and slapped some sense into me.  Love you guys!

Friday, January 27, 2012


Yesterday I walked into the room at my gym where they have daycare and sheepishly admitted to them I'd almost left without my son.  Liam is their favorite (easily) so they thought it was funny and didn't mind waiting a few minutes after closing.  They assured me that it was "no big deal" because I think they could tell I was clearly a little freaked-out having nearly left without him as I had claimed.

What they didn't know was that by "nearly left" what I really meant was I'd gotten in my car, started the engine, drove out of the parking lot, drove 2.3 miles home, got out of the car, and walked up to the front door before I remembered I didn't have him.  Father of the Fucking Year.

I tend to space out quite a bit.  In fact there are few things that can really focus my attention (i.e. running into a burning building, delivering a child in a car, etc.).  And really my version of "spacing out" is more like a petit mal seizure rather than your standard run-of-the-mill spacing out.  But we have fun with it.  What I demonstrated last night was what my wife calls my "homing pigeon" instinct.  If I'm in a car and I let my mind wander like I do, I inevitably end up in my driveway wondering what just happened.  If Erin is with me running errands when one of my spells hits and she notices me taking "the long way" to the store, she'll make little 'coo coo' noises to bring me back.  She's very cute and patient.

My first thought once I'd realized I'd abandoned my child was "FUUUUCK!!" followed immediately by "SHE MUST NOT KNOW!!".  I'd hoped that Erin hadn't noticed me getting out of the car, walking up to the front door, making a face that looked like I'd just shit my pants, and jumping back in the car and tearing off down the road.  But once I'd gotten back to the gym I realized that she needs to know.  Everyone must know.  In fact, as many people as possible need to know because I need everyone to keep an eye on me.  Help me save my children from myself!!!  Sure this time I'd absent-mindedly abandoned Liam in the care of qualified daycare providers but what about the next time?!  I'm scared shitless by the horrors involved in forgetting important things when it comes to my children.  I refuse to even let my mind go there.  So if you see me on the street pushing a stroller, do me a favor and ask to see my baby.  Once you've confirmed there is, in fact, a human child in the stroller, confirm it's mine and then ask about my other child.  I know that's a lot to remember but If I dart off in a panic you'll know you've saved the day.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Five. Cinco. Da-deot.

Last Friday was my daughter's 5th birthday. (I know, right?! FIVE? It's true. I can't believe it either). If you've ever met her then you know she's a high-volume, high-energy, feisty, butterfly-loving, hip-hop/ballet/modern/interpretive-dancing, charming, demanding, sassy, take-no-shit goofball. If you haven't met her but get the chance some day, a word of advice: cover your nads.

Here are a few of the many things I love about Evie - When she hears a foreign language she asks people if they're speaking in Spanish or Korean - those are the only two options for her. If they answer "I'm speaking Arabic", she looks at them with sympathy and like they're mildly retarded, then says "no, that was Korean."  She wrestles on living room floors in homes we don't actually live in. She asks women with even the slightest paunch if they have a baby in their tummies, and tells my actually-pregnant friends that she hates babies. She has no sense of fear and an incredible ability to make pre-teen boys do her bidding within 40 seconds of meeting them. Pre-teen boys, and most adults. Recently we went to a dinner party where we knew only 2 of the guests (they just so happened to be one adult and one pre-teen boy, but she'd already had her way with them ages ago and so was thrilled to have a fresh audience). Within an hour she had grown women allowing her to undo their elaborately styled hair and take off their accessories, then put their hair clips, glasses and necklaces on other completely random guests.

I usually say that she's nothing like me. At all. But it's been pointed out to me recently that we have some similarities. One thing I've passed on to her is my capacity for pain. She runs a lot, so therefore falls a lot. Like me, when this happens she gets back up, gives a "fuck it" kind of shrug, and keeps on running. She and I both enjoy partaking in a good amount of Crazy Dancing. We both stare at each other, disbelieving and at a loss for a coherent solution, when the other doesn't do what we're telling them to do. We both love cheese.

Because I'm more flat-out poor than I've ever been in my adult life, I didn't get to throw Evie the Butterfly Princess Party she requested. I'm not surprised she had something so specific and fanciful in mind. Last year she asked for a Ballerina Princess party, and by the time I'd put the last handmade tutu on it's assigned chair, it looked like the Tulle truck had exploded in my house. There were ballet lessons. There were pastel pink and white balloons and streamers whacking people in face everywhere they turned. There was a banner spelling out her name. Prosecco for the grownups. You know; it was nice.

But, sometimes kids can't get exactly what they want (just ask me - every year I asked for a party - never did I get one. I'm fine now! Totally fine!) Luckily Evie has some of the best Aunties on the entire planet, and when she asked for "steak and chicken" for dinner, and a "chocolate cake with pink frosting and chocolate chips" for dessert, you know she got exactly those things. Family Parties are the best. It takes less balloons to bonk people's faces, and there's a lot more sparkling wine for me when I don't have to share with 20 guests.

My family knows I hate this shit
And, without the distraction of so many other people milling around, everyone gets to see her reaction to her gifts.

That girl just loves a plastic hot bod and flaxen oddly-styled hair!

Five years ago I popped that kid out, (I'm smug enough to say here that it was a natural childbirth. No tearing, either. Yep, you wanted that info, and you got it. You're welcome!) Afterward, I almost smothered her when I passed out from exhaustion with her tucked into my armpit on the bed of the hippy birth center where she was born. She survived. I then proceeded to get to know her - all the while wondering where the hell she came from, even though I was there when she emerged from my own body.

I can't wait to see what happens next. Happy Birthday Evie!

Evie with her fiancee at Fairyland!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


My entire family gathered in the greater Bay Area last weekend.  My older sister Molly and her kids, my baby sister Maggie, and even some of my cousins and their kids.  We were all together to enjoy one of those rare holiday-free collections of loved ones from three generations.  My mother had orchestrated the whole thing and I think she'd envisioned a lovely weekend that did not involve a highly contagious stomach virus, but whattayagonnado?

My mom was the first to drop followed closely by my wife and sisters.  I saw where this was going.  Naturally with two affectionate and drool-prone boys in the house (okay fine, three) steps had to be taken to curb the disease's spread.

The first thing I did in the wee hours that morning was agree, with hardly any hesitation, to feed Finn for Erin.  Yes, I'm great.  Despite this cutting into my sleep on a night when I really wanted to sleep lots, I maintained an air of levity and playfulness by calling Erin names like 'Pukey Face' and 'Mrs. Barfington'.  I then spent the morning planning menus of meals that I'd intended to vomit later.  For the most part these were comprised of yogurt and red wine.  As soon as the kids and I were dressed in enough layers to hide that we were still in our jammies we fled to the dry and relatively sterile environment of the Flying Goat Coffee House.  Something about the place makes it seems like Howard Hughes would be comfortable there.  Maybe it's the music.  Whatever it is the coffee is fantastic and Liam goes apeshit for the high protein gingerbread muffin which is by far the most vomit friendly pastry I've ever encountered.

We tried to stay away as long as possible (for Erin's benefit) but eventually had to go home.  I had the ingenious idea to spend the rest of the day distilling some high proof hooch in the garage in an effort to offset the sad state of my post-holiday booze reserve while at the same time sterilizing the air in the house with ethanol vapors. (This is of course not true since the home distillation of alcohol is illegal and I would never commit such a heinous crime)

If I had a still I think it would look like this
Erin emerged from isolation around 2 in the afternoon and I was sure to do what I could to ease her suffering.  I assured her that she was looking much better having gone from a "jaundiced zombie" to looking more "cracked-out".  She didn't visibly appreciate my support but that's okay because she had been through a lot that day.  She got comfy on the couch so I could dote on her by dabbing the buttons on the remote control with a disinfecting wipe* and feeding her foods that matched the carpet.

The good news is I didn't get sick and neither did the boys!  Success!!  In fact it seems like this virus only went after the girls.  I'm not necessarily accusing this particular stomach bug of being sexist.  Or maybe I am.  Viruses in general are dicks.  Fuck it, it was a sexist girl-hating stomach virus, and I just don't understand why us boys were spared, but I was grateful.

*Erin insisted I mention that I also tried wiping her with a disinfecting wipe.  In my defense she looked pretty gross.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Long Day's Journey into Slightly Later On that Day

As the man of the house I'm sometimes called upon to suffer physically for the benefit of my family.  Last night after hanging around my PACKED gym (fucking January) for 20 whole minutes I decided to go home.  After 12 straight years of excelling at public school physical education I figured I probably didn't need a gym.  I really wanted to be home with my family instead and besides I figured I could totally do 100 push-ups there.  I dashed home confident that I would find my family pining for my love and affection as eagerly as I was theirs.  Instead I came home to a screaming 3 month old, a 2 year old wearing rain boots on the wrong feet and filling the salad spinner with batteries (first time it's been used), and a very annoyed wife.  In addition to the more obvious causes of her frustration was the fact that someone had forgotten to write "Parmesan cheese" on the board after using the last of it the night before, so we were out.

Luckily the man of the house was there to be way manly.  I gathered up baby banshee and the Energizer bunny and made for the nearest purveyor of fine cheeses.  While I was there I learned that Liam can traverse the length of 3 aisles in the time it takes one strange lady to dote on Finn.  I also learned that Liam thinks being lost in a grocery store is hilarious and that the Big John's Market's shopping carts can't corner for shit.

It was a quick trip.  Too quick in fact.  I'd barely given Erin enough time to use the toilet let alone decompress which meant that it was time for me and the Bairdsmith Bros. to take a mini road trip.  I reasoned that the boys would love a late night drive around the precarious and winding roads of Fitch Mountain so we headed east.  About a quarter of the way around Finn decided he did not like the precarious and winding roads of Fitch Mountain and started wailing.  Liam too began to protest.  I'd given him the cheese to hold as his reward for being terrible in the grocery store and he had dropped it on a hairpin turn.  I considered turning back but thoughts of my lovely frazzled wife gave me the strength to push on.

I think we made it 95% of the way around the mountain before we hit the "Road Closed" sign.  Not a "Road closed a few miles ahead so you'll want to turn around now to avoid frustration" sign but a "road closed right here, six inches behind this sign where, as you can plainly see, the entire side of this mountain has been scraped away" sign.  Deflated I turned around and headed the long way home.

I'm tall and enjoy driving in small cars because as a child I wanted to be an under-cover cop from the 70's when I grew up and those guys always drove big cars which meant that when they had to put that siren thingy on top of the car by reaching out the window with it and sticking it on the roof during a chase, they would never get it near the middle of the roof so it looked all wonky and stupid.  I can totally reach everywhere in my car and have practiced reaching the middle of the roof with a snow globe so that I can do it while distracted.  That, plus the fact that I had already familiarized myself with this particular stretch of road gave me the confidence to try and take action and quell the tantrums taking place in the back seat without pulling over.  I reached back and located the cheese no problem since it was "Reggiano" and had a very distinct bumpy feel to it.  The pacifier Finn had spat out was a bit trickier but owing to my extensive training in emergency medicine I was able to locate the pacifier and place it in the most effective orifice, all by touch.  Unfortunately doing this while trying to negotiate the precarious and winding roads of Fitch Mountain, and downshifting, and cursing loudly, was more than I could handle and I drove off a cliff.

Just kidding.  I did totally tweak my back though.  Really bad and all up-high where it's hard to hold while you moan about it.  When I got home I'd planned to moan about it to my wife but she looked all relieved and happy to have had a little time to herself so I didn't.  Instead I just made a mental note to blog about it later so I'd get credit.  I think 40 minutes alone is the new bouquet of flowers.  FTD should think about putting a bank of child seats in their delivery vans.  They'd make a killing.

Friday, January 13, 2012

I'm Not Bitter

I have a number of friends who are writers, artists, musicians, etc.  Not just your run-of-the-mill bloggers and weekend jam session dorks but actual professional artists who live off of the money they make doing art stuff.  To all of you people out there lucky enough to "do what you love" for a living I say...go fuck yourselves.  This informative bit goes out to all of you clueless hipster douche-bags.  I hate you.

What It's Like to Have Kids and a Job
by Mike Bairdsmith

Having kids and a job is time-consuming.

Time is finite.

In fact in any given day there are only 24 hours of time to work with and this is how WE break it down:

5 hours:  Laying still in bed.  Most of this time should be used for sleeping but it can also be used for stressing about money or listening to the baby monitor and thinking about SIDS.  Now I know it's kind of brutal to start with this and I'm sure you're thinking "5 hours for sleeping?!  No, you mean 10 hours, right?  5 hours is for getting ready to go out.  You're confused."  No.  It sounds bad but once you get used to it it's really not such a big deal.  Remember when you were a kid and at your friend's sleepover you puked because you drank 4 beers in 3 hours but now you chase scrambled eggs and Vicodin with 8 bloody marys for breakfast?  It's like that.  The human body is capable of miraculous adaptation.

8 hours:  Working every weekday.  What we do at our jobs isn't relevant.  Just know that we have scheduled hours, like 8am to 5pm, and we have to show up a little early and leave a little late.  While we are at work we are watched the entire time by someone we hate who's sole purpose is just to make sure we keep working.  Now I know you're thinking "a-HA wait, 8 to 5 is 9 hours not 8!"  That extra hour is for lunch and it doesn't count as work.  Bear with me.

8 hours:  Taking care of the family.  You're not going to buy this, I know.  Regardless, the fact is parenting is a full-time job.  Carolyn Hax of the Washington Post wrote the best column I've ever read on this so I'll let her convince you HERE

2 hours:  Personal hygiene and getting to and from work.

That leaves 1 HOUR a day to do ANYTHING WE WANT!!  This usually involves alcohol and/or sex.  Now I know what you're thinking "hang on, what about the weekend?!?"  You'd think it would be a different story entirely but really the only difference on weekends is the person watching us to make sure we keep working is someone we love rather than someone we hate.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Throughout my middle and high school years, and for a little bit into college, I kept a diary. Now I just collect cool-looking journals and write in them for about a week or two, at which point they are abandoned. For some reason, whenever I decide to start up again, it never occurs to me to just pick up an old one and continue in that. No. I have to buy a new one. And so it goes.

Journaling is a very private practice - the place where you record your innermost thoughts, such as "I HATE and am going to KILL my parents!!!! They wouldn't let me go to the High School football game so I can see my boyfriend! Just because I'm 14 and he's in the Military! They're so overprotective! I HATE THEM!!! I HOPE THEY DIE IN A FIERY CAR AND TRAIN ACCIDENT!!!!!!!!!!!"  or perhaps just "oh my GOD!! I am SO in LOVE with Jordan from New Kids on the Block! I think if I can just get my mom to let me go to their concert at the hockey stadium, he'll see ME in the crowd and just KNOW that I am PERFECT for him!! Maybe he'll even call me up on stage! Oh my god!!!!! Then I can leave this house, I HATE IT HERE!!!!!"

Locks on diaries and box springs under mattresses were invented because kids don't generally want their parents to know that they'd like to kill them, or at least see them killed in a violent way. Those are private wishes. And we usually get over it by the time we realize that our parents are key factors in getting things like...Money. Cars. College. Apartments. Suddenly the advantage of having parents becomes clear, and we decide to put up with them. Eventually we might even like them, a lot.

Likewise, we don't want our best friend to know we're pissed at her, because at that age we haven't developed our communication skills, so we use journals to vent about how stupid she is for wearing the same shirt as us, in a prettier way. Then we get over it. By Monday morning all is normal and BFFy in the hallways.

Here's the flip side (you knew one was coming). In a way, keeping a diary can be a very exhibitionist practice, too. For me it was, anyway. I would write - in code that would never make sense to anyone else - a very clear game plan for how my misery could be diminished and the reader could therefore save me. Oh, and whisk me off into the sunset. "I shall be down by the pond's edge, picking dew-covered grass in the waning sunlight...." It's possible that I had a pretty well developed Knight in Shining Armor fantasy going for me. I sort of still do. But a girl can only sit on the wet grass for so many hours before she realizes that no strapping 8th grade boys have snuck into her second-story bedroom, found her hidden journal, decoded it, found a white horse, and are on their way to the pond's edge.

While I entertained fantasies like the above, I still kept my diaries hidden and didn't make them public. That would be dumb. No one writes in their diary thinking "I can't wait to show this to my friends!" What those friends would find there can usually be categorized as 'incriminating', or perhaps 'humiliating'. But sometimes, word gets out.

A while ago, I found my old middle school diaries and had so much fun reading them I scanned them into Facebook and tagged all of the people I'd mentioned there. I went to school with the same people from Kindergarten through Senior year, so I still know most of them. They were just as amused as I was, and I became obsessed with hearing people's stories, as told through their younger journaling selves.

Apparently, I'm not the only one with this curiosity. I've mentioned Mortified once or twice before - you know, the show where people get up on stage and read from their old diaries. During each performance, a few different people get to climb up in front of a sold-out crowd of strangers and flash them with their private thoughts. It's amazing - what was so incredibly important and Earth-Shakingly Serious to us 20+ years ago is a source for hilarity now. In a way, I wish I could explain this to kids when they're sobbing into their pillows about some asshole dumping them - that one day the story of how it happened will be plain-old freaking funny. But then future generations would miss out on hearing these stories, told in this way. And those telling them will miss out on the redemptive quality of having people laugh at their angst-filled memories.

And yes, I'll be performing in this weekend's Mortified shows, if you want to witness me flashing my privates.

Monday, January 9, 2012

General Stink and Major Poop

0800 hrs is the usual wake up time for General Stink (aka "Liam").  This morning it was announced in its customary fashion, long stretches of gibberish interjected with bouts of uproarious laughter.  It's like listening to one side of a conversation conducted in a Japanese-German hybrid language.  I'm not sure with whom he is speaking and suspect that he may "see dead people" but that's okay because apparently they're hilarious.

After I did the three things I need to do every morning I went in for a quick diaper change, 10 minute hug, and clothing selection.  This morning it was black jeans, a new shirt from Santa, fleece pullover, and the shoes with laces to intimidate the hell out of the other kids at "Roots and Shoots".......double knotted.  I noted that Liam has been taking out his "paci" before the shirt change and replacing it immediately afterward.  His self-preservation instincts are keen.

By 0820 hrs Major Poop (aka "Finn") announced his wakefulness with his customary blood curdling scream.  It's a good daily reminder that this is all far from over.  I found him soaked in urine.  His own I assume.  Apparently his diaper had failed during the night which was going to require a full body wipe down and sheet-change.  Curse it all.

With Christmas having passed only three weeks ago there are still a couple of toys in the house that hold General Stink's interest.  This lucky fact afforded me the chance to deal with the unscheduled crib snafu and still get breakfast on the table before 0900 hrs.  Today it was "nana", "egg", and "toes".  General Stink informed me this morning that his banana was "ye-yow".  I concurred.

Major Poop's clothing selection was dictated by the current abysmal state of our laundry.  Luckily there was still one set of jammies that fit.  Well, at least they did when I started putting them on.  I think he'd outgrown them by the time I'd reached the final snap.

By 0910 I had Major Poop in his car seat, General Stink finishing his egg and moving on to toast, and the car running.  I found that starting the car early not only converts it from an icy block to a cozy child-appropriate transport, it also forces me to look for my keys half an hour before I need them.

By 0915 the diaper bag was well-stocked and we were all wrapped, ready to go, and smelling like turds.  It's always fun to see just how fast I can strip, wipe, and repackage General Stink.  I think this morning I had it under a minute and performed it with an adept flare that would have intimidated a Benihana chef.  Banzai!!

By 0920 we were on the road.  By 0922 we were back at the house for the well-stocked diaper bag.  By 0923 back on the road.  I still got General Stink to Roots and Shoots by 0930 and set off for a victory trip to Starbucks though I did get it to go since I'd left Major Poop's defrosted ration of breast milk on the kitchen counter.

Monday has become my Day of Reckoning.  It's the one day a week that I'm off work and Erin isn't.  So I'm on my own.  I've found that having the mornings shot from a cannon like this creates a great rhythm throughout the day.  It's kind of an all out sprint with brief moments of stunned silence that really should be spent paying bills or cleaning up and not wasted blogging (oops).  By dinner time I'll be a mess.  Oh well, gotta dash....

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My Old Man

When my son was a baby, his dad and I spent a pretty decent amount of time talking about how goddam gorgeous he was. How he'd be so popular with that sunny personality, a lady-killer with those eyes. I mused that maybe I'd get lucky and he'd be gay and I'd finally have someone to help me learn how to dress myself and put on makeup, but my ex didn't care to skip along with me down that fantasy lane.

So now Jonah is 8. He's...kind of a nerd. Okay, he's a total nerd. And this thrills me, just as much as if he decided to come out of the closet later today. He's got a lot of my personality traits - he reads novels while circling the track with his entire school during Walk-a-Thon fundrasiers. His eyes go dull and he stares blankly and straight-faced when someone is talking to him about something he either doesn't like, or simply has no interest in discussing. He makes sarcastic comments like "geez, I think that car might need some stickers on it." I look at said car and reply "that car has a TON of stickers on it, there's no room for any more!" to which he replies "mom. I was practicing my sarcasm." Ha! Good one, kid.

He's actually got a lot going for him. Sure, he's maybe a little bit obsessed with Pokemon and Legos still. But fantasy and imagination and engineering skills aren't so bad when mixed together. That could turn into something. And a crazy opium-eyed old fortune teller on a side street in Korea once told me that my son would take good care of me when I was older, so I'm really counting on a lucrative career for him. (Actually, that's how I took the rough translation, which came out more like "you work really hard, with very little help. He will help you.")

There are a few things about Jonah that might not get him laid later in life though, and I'm not sure how to correct them. He has this weird habit of grabbing himself in the buttcrack. What is that?! He also has a terrible, terrible haircut. All the time. I keep waiting for it to get long enough to take him to the barber, but just when it's almost there, BAM! He shows up on my doorstep with a poorly executed back porch buzzcut that screams "I live in a trailer park and have head lice!" Yes, I've expressed my distaste for this particular style of hair. I'm pretty sure that's why it keeps happening.

Also, since Jonah was old enough to dress himself, I've let him. Same with my daughter. The results are always amusing and my theory was - and is - that they should have confidence in what they feel good wearing while they have the chance. I figured that once they hit public school they'd quickly get sucked in to following the herd. Peer pressure sucks, but it's real. Or is it?

On Jonah's first day of 2nd grade, he insisted on wearing his pink Boys Can Wear Pink tee shirt, so that "everyone will know it's okay for boys to wear pink!" You can imagine my reaction to this. *tear of joy!* Lately he's taken to dressing and acting like an old man. He'll put on some pilled-up navy blue trousers that are a good 2 inches too short for him, and an oversized brown thermal shirt with a button missing. Sometimes he'll throw a mustard yellow and turquoise striped tie over the whole thing. He wears socks with sandals. He enjoys relaxing on the couch, reading the paper.

This morning over breakfast he asked where I'd gotten the flowers that adorned the table. I told him where, and that they were called Gerbera Dasies. He said "well mom! They're Beautiful! Just...gorgeously beautiful. And wanna know why they're so beautiful? Because you bought them. And you're beautiful. Hm!" I'm not sure why, but this instantly reminded me of a time I was sitting in my car on the street in Oakland, and a jaunty, very old man appeared with a hat on, light scarf around his neck, carrying a bouquet of flowers. He slowly and carefully crossed the street in front of me, and I watched him until he was out of sight, imagining where he was going, who the flowers were for. I found it so sweet. I hope this is Jonah some day.

So none of that is all that bad, even for a nerd.

That kid is goddam gorgeous.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Night of the Living Dad

The other night I was staying up late drinking wine and watching Netflix.  It's my Sunday night routine since Erin works Mondays and I don't.  I'd decided it was time to find a new t.v. show to get addicted to and had heard some good things about 'The Walking Dead'.  After finishing the pilot episode I had to watch some 'Yo Gabba Gabba' reruns in order to purge the crippling melancholy that was suddenly crushing my soul.

If you haven't seen the show it was basically created by someone who was clearly fed up with the entertaining escapist fantasy zombie films on the market today and sought to portray the real horror, heartbreak, abject misery, and chilling isolation that goes along with the zombie apocalypse.

After breaking it down with D.J. Lance for a bit I was feeling better so I decided it was time for me to go night-night.  I got up and switched off the living room light not realizing that it was the last light on in the house.  I could have turned the light back on but that's just embarrassing so I chose to brave the 20 feet between me and the safety of my bedroom in total darkness.  This was difficult due to the fact that I was definitely surrounded by zombies.

Well, maybe not surrounded, but there were at least a few directly behind me.  I didn't completely panic at first because I knew that zombies tend to be slow moving and I could easily outpace them with a brisk walk. The real panic set in when two more appeared in front me.....faces torn, oozing bile.  This caused me to sprint the last 10 feet down the hall, hands outstretched.

Erin had shut the bedroom door tight that night to keep out the sound of her smug husband watching t.v. for three straight hours after she had gone to bed.  This meant that instead of a quick "thump" and "whoosh" announcing my hasty entry into our bedroom, my wife was greeted by the sound of bones crunching into the door, followed by the scratching of panicked hands searching for the knob, and finally the heavy thump of a 6'8" 37-year-old man falling over his own feet trying to escape from imaginary zombies.

As a kid I had a very active imagination that kept me from sleeping at night.  I assumed this would eventually resolve itself when I got older.  You can't be a middle-aged father of young children who's afraid of monsters under the bed.  That doesn't happen!  I mean, what am I going to do when Erin goes on business trips?  Am I going to crawl in the bottom bunk with four-year-old Finn and six-year-old Liam because I had a bad dream and just hope that they don't ask questions?  Maybe I'll just let them watch "The Shining" and wait for them to show up in my room.  Awkwardness averted.

I guess the good news is when they have nightmares and need a cuddle, they'll have a sympathetic dad.  Plus I can teach them the tricks I've developed over the years to cope with irrational fear.  Tricks like getting married and always choosing the side of the bed furthest from the closet.  That night when I finally pulled myself together I was consoled by Erin's sweet words, "What the hell are you doing?!"  "Sorry", I sheepishly answered, while in my heart knowing that I'd be safe in bed with a wife who was evidently not undead and would still provide an adequate human shield.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


My stance on marriage over the last several years has been pretty consistent: Don't do it. Young lovers? Great. Stay that way. Old Soul mates? Fantastic! I'm glad you found each other. Don't get married. I certainly don't ever intend to again.

Whenever I say this out loud, people get all flustered and say something along the lines of "well, come on now, Never Say Never!" which, by the look in their eyes, I'm pretty sure translates to "chin up, soldier, there's a rainbow just around the corner!"

No matter how much I try to convince people that this isn't a bitter, angry response to my own marriage ending, they just can't believe it. Sure, when my son tells me that his father and the girlfriend are going to get married, I laugh borderline maniacally and say (in my head) "good luck sister! Happy to pass that torch on to you, sucker!" But that's just out of amusement - not bitterness or anger. Pure amusement as I rub my palms together and think "I cannot wait to see how this plays out!"

I just really don't see the point of marriage anymore. You can love someone, live with someone, share your deep secrets, intimate details, inside jokes and whole goddam life with someone...without getting married. Is that piece of paper really necessary? Because I hate to break it to you, but sometimes this shit doesn't work out. And undoing that sweet little sunset ceremony under the trellis gazebo and the over-budget kick-ass party afterward is a huge pain in the ass. Huge! Now I'm not saying I discourage marriage for the simple possibility that things might not work out. I realize that's what my last sentence sounded like. Maybe a little. But really my point is you can have all the good and bad that comes with committing yourself to someone without being married.

So imagine my surprise when I got the happy news that my little brother Chris had proposed to his fabulously rad girlfriend Courtney, and I was SO EXCITED. I got weepy with joy. I  actually (almost) wept. Almost - I'm not exactly a hopeless romantic. But still, these two- come on! They've traveled the world together for the last 5 years, often by bicycle (aka, they're nuts and also my heroes). They've moved across this country several times. They've lived together in at least 3 different major cities, I think, and in many tents and spare bedrooms. If they can survive all of this and Chris still finds it in his heart to be total rockstar man and ask for Courtney's hand in marriage in front of a room full of people on bended knee, then christ, go for it kids!

They're big in Japan
The most fascinating and, I'll admit it - encouraging - thing about their announcement was my reaction to it. My absolute pure and instant crazy joy for them caught me off guard, and was very love-affirming for me. Who knew? I still believe in love! Yaaaaay! Sure I've had my fair share of letdowns in this department over the past year, and let's face it, I might have some more. I hope not, but we all hope that. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. We often don't know which it will be, or when. Actually, we never do. And that's the gamble we take when we decide to say yes. Yes - to love, to marriage, to non-marriage, to any part of it that suits us.

Thank you Chris and Courtney. You gave me back my faith in love. Now please don't break up, that would totally suck and completely debunk my entire point. Also, no winter weddings, okay? When I drink too much and then get up to make an uninvited slurry emotional speech that I start crying in the middle of, I'd like it to be warm outside when I rush out to puke out the vegan reception dinner my body just doesn't know how to digest.

I love you guys.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Eve

Whoever said the wild times end when you have kids is a LIAR!!  So what if we never left the house or really changed out of our PJ's.  Shit got crazy at the Bairdsmith house this NYE.

Check it out!

We decided over our "party-time breakfast" that we were going to spend the day eating, drinking, and playing games.  We figured whoever won the most games between Erin and I would win a prize.  Since this is a family blog you really do NOT want to know what the prize was **wink**  (Okay, it was waffles for breakfast the next day)
That's right!  That's 'LINOLEUMS'!!
MarioKart.  I almost lost because Erin chose a bike called the "quacker" and complained during the game  that she "always gets fucked in the quacker".  This made me pee.

What? Oh yes, Cribbage mother fuckers!
Psh!!  Rookie
Liam kept his energy up by stuffing his cheeks with cookie dough.  Hardcore.

Trivia.  Erin won somehow.
Yes, even darts.
It all came down to the final event.  Ping-pong.  With a labor intensive breakfast on the line the stakes were high so Erin and I pulled out all the stops by competing in distracting outfits.

 I won.  Happy New Year!