Monday, December 24, 2007

Not-So-Urgent Care

Sport. Tiger. Champ. Little Man. There are a myriad of nicknames families lovingly bestow upon their children, nicknames that, over time, are set aside, perhaps to be used again on children in the next generation. I, as with just about every kid in the world, had a cherished nickname of my own.

As a kid, I had a talent...I mean, I really had some skills. Unfortunately, these skills were not in playing catch, or in art or music, or in any other useful or normal arena...No, no, my skills were much more obscure. I had the ability to catch just about any cold or flu in a five-state vicinity. Unfortunately, I often seemed to manage to share my bug with my uncle, who never seemed to get sick unless I was visiting. Hence the name he crowned me with....Typhoid J. And to this day, I still have my skills and my nickname.

So husband came home after school on Friday complaining of body aches and fever. After some TLC from yours truly, he awoke the next day feeling much better. Over that same night, I, on the other hand, had been hard at work performing a hostile takeover of his flu virus. Of course, it should never be said that I am a poor host...whenever a bug drops in for a visit, I serve it whatever it needs to become stronger. Like I said...I have mad skills.

By noon this afternoon, the fruits of my labor had ripened. Chills. Fever. Headache. Nausea. Body Ache. Sore Throat. And more chills. Thank goodness, for urgent care, right?

I don't know about any of you, but I have yet to find an "Urgent/Now/Quick" Care that actually lives up to its name. After a 3-hour visit to the urgent care up the road, I made my yearly vow to remember to get a flu shot next year. With that being said, I'd like to thank my urgent care..

Thank you, urgent care:
*for keeping your facility almost clean
*for allowing your receptionists to make those important personal phone calls on a whim
*for saving money by keeping the heat turned WAY down
*for encouraging your nursing staff to step out into the lobby to check up on the scores to the football game every five minutes
*for hiring nurses who say things like, "you look bad...but a lot of it is in your head"
*for not supplying ANY reading material in your exam that patients can focus on being sick while they spend an hour staring at the walls.
*and finally, for staying consistent with any other urgent care experience...being a Not-So-Urgent Care...

Typhoid J. That's me! Stay healthy, everyone!

Peace :)


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Perfect Timing

Season's Greetings, everyone.

School let out Friday afternoon....two weeks off....and I woke up today with the flu. What can I say...perfect timing.

Anyway, as soon as I am feeling better, I will be able to give my writing more attention. I have a few new blogs I want to go check out (Suesun and Jo-N), some new topic ideas, and I am very excited to have been "tagged" to answer some questions (Thanks, BusyDad!). I promise to get to it all as soon as I can write without hallucinating. (ha ha).

In the meantime, take care, and I wish you all the very best!


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Reality Check

On September 6th of this year, a day after my 29th birthday, I met the child who would become my son. When I held the 3-month old baby for the first time, I knew I was in love. For 28 days, our lives were a blur, as every ounce of our being was devoted to bringing our son home. And since October 3rd, we have experienced a happiness and a completeness unlike anything we have ever known. The fact that we share no biological connection is inconsequential; we have been born again, in many ways, as a family. Nothing I have done thus far in life - not the Eagle Scout award, not the bachelor's degree in teaching, not the two graduate degrees - nothing has been greater than becoming a parent.

Parenthood, while a perfect and beautiful gift, does not come without a cost. Parenthood is not to be taken for granted; with happiness and laughter, there is pain and tears.

Today, I had an image etched into my heart that I will never forget. I took my son in for his 4-month checkup this afternoon. He was fact, he is right on target, and is in the 90th percentile for his height and in the 75th percentile for his weight. He giggled and cooed for much of our 2 hours in the doctors' office. But as long as I live, I will never forget watching his smile turn to tears as he was given his shots.

I know pain is a fact of life. I know how important these shots are. I also know that he probably has already forgotten about them. But I remember - and even as I type, I can feel the tears fighting to escape.

A piece of my papa-heart broke today, watching my son hurt. But I am so thankful for the gift of parenthood - I would not trade it for anything (or for everything!)...


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Love My Job!

When people find out I teach middle school, their reactions are often very similar...once they are able to shake the visions of themselves trapped in a classroom with 35 smelly, hormonal, obnoxious tweens, they ask me how I manage to go to work every day.

I haven't really been able to come up with a great answer to those types of questions, except to say that I simply love it. Of course, there are all the deep, philosophical reasons why I love my job ("to teach is to touch a life forever"...*YAWN*) - but let's just be honest...that's boring! I love interacting with kids who are discovering themselves and establishing their identities as young adults. And what day would be complete without more tween-age drama than any average human being can take?

Tonight, however, I was reminded of another compelling reason as to why I choose to place myself in the chaos that is 6th, 7th, and 8th grade life every day (at least for 180 days a year!...but seriously, parents, get a clue when you think teachers have it easy because of "June, July, and August"...I have student loan bills and educational materials strewn about my house...and NO, they aren't the latest interior design craze...)....*sigh*...I digress, but it will prove my point....

Every day, I place my head in lion's mouth because I know, on the inside, I am very much like that lion! In the paragraph above, you may have noticed my weird, tangental thinking...have you ever read the writing of a tween? I promise, it is almost as hard to read! So back to this evening...

The husband told me he needed to go to the party store to buy balloons and ribbons for the holiday dance at his school this week. Since I needed to go to Target, we asked Grandma if she would mind spending some time with her grandson (we are still enjoying "honeymoon" stage...she was all over it!). After a quick, costly trip to Target, we soon found ourselves in the party supply heaven...Seriously, I have never been in a party store as well-stocked as this one was. While husband quickly set out to find balloons, I wandered their overflowing aisles in awe of their wares (a cardboard Barrack Obama and three different cardboard Liberaces? Who doesn't need that?!)...

And then I saw it...every young tween boy's reason for living.... instantly I was warped back to 1990 - 7th grade - what a year. Growing up, my mom would never let me buy fake poo. Tonight, though, I was an adult, and my mom was at home. After purchasing my 99 cent boyhood dream, I plotted. Husband thought I was absolutely off my rocker because I giggled and laughed all the way home....

The poo? It ended up on mom's pillow...and she found it almost 10 minutes ago. She called for dad....I laughed. She failed to see the humor...but then again, she isn't the middle school teacher. I am still laughing. I can't wait until our son is old enough to appreciate my fake poo purchase!


Monday, December 17, 2007

Protect Your Christmas Spirit!

Having moved to the southwest from a "cowboy state" up North, I clearly understand the fact that I am not in proverbial Kansas anymore...While, for much of the year, I really do appreciate the desert climate, I often find myself missing distinct seasons. I also admit the fact that the desert has made me a GIANT WUSS.

I spent 24 years with winters that brought below-freezing temperatures and, usually, an over-abundance of snow for sledding, shoveling, and, of course, more than enough in which to get your car stuck. I used to love to sit inside and watch it snow or blizzard...there is something very peaceful to me about having the weather force you to slow down and appreciate all that you have. Now, I sit inside and watch it snow or blizzard on tv, and when I go outside I bundle up because 50 degrees is too cold for my blood (see GIANT WUSS comment above).

Another really unfortunate effect of this lack of snow is that I have found it increasingly difficult to find a sense of Christmas spirit each year. This year has been the hardest "theme song" has been "Where Are You, Christmas", and I have been desperately seeking even the tiniest morsel of holiday cheer for about 3 weeks. Thankfully, I found just the morsel I needed this weekend, and I had to fight a complete stranger to keep it.....

Saturday, our son decided it was time he roll over by himself for the first time, and I managed to capture the moment on tape (I mean, come on, who actually is able to capture moments like that...Go ME!). Later that evening, we bundled up and drove to a baby shower/Christmas party organized by our son's 4 Godparents (hey, we are a non-traditional family, so we gave our son two sets of Godparents in keeping with the non-traditional theme!). The events of the day were just the morsel of cheer I needed.

Sunday, we woke with a mission in 3 p.m., our tree was decorated, the Christmas village set up, and house smelling of pine (thanks to a fantastic room spray from Williams-Sonoma)...(and thanks to those of you who posted your encouragements!). By 5 p.m., an un-planned trip to Target allowed us to get much of the shopping done for our son. At 5:30 p.m., we loaded up the grandparents, an uncle, the baby, and headed across town to a new shopping center to visit Santa and take some photos.

Ok. It's 50 degrees. We are outside in a long line, waiting for our turn to enter the "Norman Rockwell House" staged in this shopping center. Even though we are bundled up, we are quite cold, but still very cheery. In fact, normally I cringe when strangers poke their heads into the stroller, when an elderly Japanese couple took it upon themselves to pat our son on the head and smile, we pleasantly smiled and laughed with them. They added another morsel of holiday cheer to my plate! And then he entered the picture.

I would like to take this time to warn you all of an individual who will do his very best to steal every last can of Who-Hash from your cupboard, taking with him every last crumb of the season with him. He's a larger man, perhaps in his 60's; his hair and beard could use a little trim, and maybe even some Just-For-Men hair coloring. He has a disturbing affinity for red clothing, and apparently he is so good at spirit-thievery that he doesn't have to go anywhere or do anything but wait for his unsuspecting victims while he is seated comfortably in a big, plushy chair in a warm little building.

Seriously, Santa needs to be placed on the naughty list. I know it can't be pleasant to have about a gazillion children seated on your lap everyday, while you have to smile and say cheese for each photo and listen to their most precious Christmas wishes. But come on, you are SANTA for crying out loud. At least you could ACT friendly. Alas, Santa barely greeted us, and seemed very put off by the fact that we had to "un-pack" our son from his bundles and the stroller, as though he was late for his pint, barstool, and his latest effort to find the next Mrs. Clause from the smoke-filled dive...But, ha!, Santa, your efforts to take my Christmas spirit were in vain...and you were foiled by your OWN picture-taking business...

As you can see, our son is advanced (ha ha)...he was able to see right through you, and clearly he was NOT impressed by your unfriendliness. Our son's face seems to say, "Seriously, Daddy and Papa...this guy is not cool...should I share some of my gassy-ness with him?".

And, in this one picture, my Christmas spirit is encased....I just need to look once at my son to realize how lucky I am!

To those of you battling winter weather...bundle up, drive safe, and take a moment to enjoy the peace of the season...

You all Rock!


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Oh, Auntie Mame....

Call me a nerd. Call me a dork. Yes, I sometimes like to find "theme songs" or movie quotes to apply to my life at any given moment. As my kids would say, "Don't hate!"...

As you may have been able to tell by the many wonderful posts I have failed to write over the past few days, life has been beyond crazy for me. I mean, we are talkin' crazier than my uncle crazy! (While that isn't the greatest point of reference for you, my reader, just know it works for me *wink*.)

Last night, I "graduated" from the 16-week leadership program my school district requires of its potential administrators. Over the course of the past 16 weeks, I have lost more than a few hairs trying to juggle work, leadership, and, oh yeah, my family. I know you can't tell from the one picture, considering I am the one wearing the hat, but I certainly can't afford to lose any hair! I've still got my son's entire childhood to live through, not to mention his teenage years!

So here is the deal: It is December 13, less than two weeks until Christmas, and we have yet to decorate our home. This might not be a big deal for some, but considering we are HUGE Christmas freaks...well, let's just say I just felt 3 more hairs jump from my scalp. Oh, and then there is the added pressure of, oh, I don't know...the fact that this is our son's FIRST Christmas and all. It's all good - because I have realized that this is a freebie year, considering I have food in my fridge that is older than my son (hey, those condiment packages are supposed to last through a nuclear winter, aren't they?) year, we may not be so lucky!

Don't get me's not like we haven't lifted a finger....on the outside, my dad and I managed to toss up the icicle lights about 2 weeks ago. And, on a particularly not-quite-as-busy day, I even managed to drag all of the Christmas stuff into the house AND put up the Christmas tree.

And, for two weeks, the tree has stood in the corner, undecorated, lights un-plugged, and top piece un-placed. For two weeks, the wall of our living room has been lined with stacks of Christmas boxes. For two weeks, I have convinced myself that the Christmas fairies will come and decorate for us (While I could make an "alternative lifestyle / fairy" joke at this juncture, I will choose to leave that one to your more-than-adequate imaginations).

Last night, as I was enjoying my celebratory "graduation" meal...(there is something so wrong with the idea of take-out steak...but thanks, Outback!), I put my foot down. I broke it to my family - that we would not be visited by the Christmas fairies, and that tonight we would all have to chip-in to decorate. I pretended not to hear the groans or excuses.

And so, my dear reader, I have come up with the perfect theme song as we prepare for our holiday mission....Auntie Mame (the TRUE Mame version, with Lucille Ball and NOT Rosalind Russell) put it best with the song "We Need a Little Christmas." I can see it parents and my husband, with baby in arms, dancing around the living room, decorating, and singing.

Of course, the reality will be something more along the lines of at least one argument about ornament placement, and, dare I say, the occasional expletive as I scratch my arms and face in the sharp, pokey branches of our beautiful fake tree. *sigh* These are the moments!

And, I'd like to close this post with just one more Auntie Mame-ism (again, the Lucille Ball version!)...

Just remember, when life hits you hard and your head is still spinning from the heaping portion of crazy piled on your plate...

"Life is a banquet. And most poor sons of *beep* are starving to death"

{This quote was edited...although, I'm sure if Lucy had actually verbalized a "beep", it would have been just as funny}

Anyway, time to decorate...wish me luck...and, of course, happy feasting!


Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Parenthood Conspiracy

Since becoming a daddy, I can't even put into words how lucky and blessed I feel...parenthood is truly a miracle.

With that being said, I recently (and most inadvertently, I might add) stumbled upon a secret truth that I am sure they don't want me to discuss. And so, at great risk to myself, I have decided to share this secret with you, if for no other reason than to stick it to the man.

On Saturday evening, our son's two new teeth were acting particularly aggressive in their quest to escape his gums. It was clear our son was uncomfortable, and as a result, he did everything he could to let us know of his discomfort and annoyance. While a nice cool washcloth seemed to sooth his mouth, it was clear that he had had enough with it all, and he wasn't going to cooperate with anyone.

After my foolish attempts to carry him around/lay him down/feed him/play with him in his baby gym/promise him a pony/trip to Disneyland/car if he would just stop crying and calm down, I slumped myself down on the couch with my squirmy, fussy son in my lap. And then I saw it. Across the room, there it was. And right at that very moment, angelic voices began to sing and a light shone down from above, bathing my salvation in beautiful, soft light.

After yelling at my brother to turn down his Jars of Clay CD, and after my mother shut off the upstairs hallway light, it hit me. I had left my tea water in the microwave. So, with fussy, squirmy, un-consolable baby in arms, I stood up and started walking to the kitchen to retrieve my water. On my way to the next room, my bichon puppies had decided it was play time, and they began to chase each other all over the house. As I turned to check out the noise (and yell at them to quiet down...after all, my son was making enough noise for them all at the moment), my large toe connected with the foot of the baby swing...and the baby swing stood its ground.

I couldn't help it. It was a natural reaction. The string of expletives was there, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. But my son - my infant son - was right there, in my arms, his little, precious ears just inches from my mouth. And so I made a decision. I closed my mouth just before the words could hit my lips, so that what escaped was the equivalent to the sound I imagine a cow would make as it is being tipped in the middle of the night by some rowdy hooligan teenagers with nothing better to do than to tip over unsuspecting livestock in the middle of a pasture.

So while I am dancing up and down on one foot, clutching my son tightly while sounding like a seriously pissed-off, close-lipped cow on its way to the ground, I hear it. Above the noise of the yapping dogs, above the recently "turned-down" Jars of Clay background music, and above my own disturbingly nauseating cow-noise, my son uttered a brief coo. A coo of joy. A coo that screamed, "hey, dad, that was funny". And he had calmed down.

But now I was in trouble. How was I going to keep him calm? My eyes darted around the room again, in a vain attempt to find the magic answer that would keep my son coo-ing in calmness. My mind feebly jumped from promise to promise, hoping it would stumble across the item my 4-month would accept as an offering (let's be honest...not an offering so much as a bribe) for a few moments of peace. In my desperation, I glanced at the object that had caused me such physical pain - the bane of my existence for that moment in time....the bully itself - that stupid swing.

Well, maybe I should have been hit in the head by the swing, because when I was looking at it again, my brother once more turned his music up and my mom once again turned on the light upstairs, casting a soft glow on the swing in front of me. I quickly strapped my son in, set the speed, and stood back, waiting nervously and watching for his reaction...

Silence. Back and forth he swung. And still I was able to relish the peace that had been granted me by my assailant. After limping into the kitchen to fetch my luke-warm tea, I had no sooner slumped into my over-stuffed chair than the inevitable occurred. The swing began to slow, its movements labored and dying. As the batteries relinquished the very last of their charge, my son began to jerk around, and it was only a matter of time before his wail of irritation pierced the brief, yet utterly beautiful silence.

Later that night, after my husband had fed our son and prepared him for bed, I gave my son a kiss goodnight, laid him in his bassinet, and turned on his aquarium toy that hangs at his reach. No sooner had I myself climbed into bed and found my most comfortable spot, then I heard it. Rock-a-Bye-Baby was the tune, but something was different...something was wrong.

The tempo was much too slow. It sounded as if the tune was being pulled through molasses...and as I listened to the slow, garbled tune that was once peaceful and calming, I realized the conspiracy in parenting. As the batteries on the aquarium faded, I knew then I was trapped, forever linked to Duracell and Energizer....It was then I made a commitment to my survival as a parent...If I was going to cling to my last thread of sanity, I would forever have on-hand an arsenal of fully-charged batteries.

In telling you this, I had hoped to stick it to the man. And yet, I know that when I go home tonight, and we are saying our prayers before bed, thanking God for our son and our family, I am also going to give thanks for that copper-top and that stupid Energizer bunny, for without them, I fear any chance at peace might forever be lost.


Friday, December 7, 2007

An Important Decision

Eleven days ago, I made my inaugural dive into the cool, sweet waters of Blogging in the world of the Internet. From the moment I jumped from the cliffs of Publish Post, I found myself surrounded by the winds of Anticipation, wondering who, if any, would be around to see my splash.

As I made the decision to write my first entry, I was attracted by the idea of sharing a part of my life with the unknown. This attraction was more intense because, in many ways, I have chosen to live a more-guarded life "in the real-world". Most people, I believe, are able to take some small pieces of their personal lives with them as they transition into their professional lives. For example, most people don't stop being married when they cross the thresholds of their places of business. When, in casual conversation, they are asked about their families, they can reply without thought. This is not always the case for me.

As a teacher, I am, and I quote, "held to a higher standard." And I am honored to uphold this standard, as I understand the trust placed in me by the public, and the vitality of the work I do to change the lives of my students.

However, it has been my experience that we are not upheld to the same standard. Just walk down the halls of any school. Located on the desks of many teachers, you will find similar artifacts: photos of families representing the people and the events that are significant to those teachers' lives. Brief remarks in reference to spouses made in passing can be heard occasionally in lessons, if only to connect with students - "My wife is having our baby soon, so there will be a guest teacher in the classroom for awhile" -or- "My husband and I went to Hawaii for our honeymoon; has anyone ever been to Hawaii?". Students are even aware of the personal symbols we wear as subtle announcements of our marital status.

My classroom is different. Oh, I have pictures on my desks, but none exclusively celebrate my commitment to my partner; he is there, but buried in a group family-photo. And I wear a ring every day, but I find myself making some side-stepping, humorous comment when questioned about my "wife" - "Mr. Journeyman, how long have you and your wife been married?" to which I reply, "I don't know, Sallie. How long have you and your husband been married?", followed by a small laugh and a very quick change of topic.

Don't get me wrong. I do not begrudge any of my straight friends for the freedoms they may take for granted. And I am very much aware that there are more and more gay teachers living and working openly, and that society seems more accepting of diverse families than it ever has been. Even more importantly, I know that if there is any "choice" involved in my situation at all, it is that I have chosen to guard very closely "that which makes me different." As a gay teacher, my partner, too, has made similar choices in his own classroom.

I want you, my reader, to understand that I am not on a soapbox here. This is not a politically-motivated blog, as I respect and celebrate your right to your own opinions. However, this is my blog. This is my reality. Therefore, today I am making an important decision. I have shared in the reality (or, in what I perceive to be the reality) of many strangers in their own blogging experiences, and I have been touched by that which they have shared - their personal stories, their pictures, their thoughts on life.

For my son and for my partner, I am choosing to share just a little more with you, the unknown. As you may have noticed, I have now included on this page a photograph of my family. I am proud of us. I am proud of where we have been and of where we are. And I am completely in awe of the possibilities of our future. In honor of my family, I wish to make one more blogging "promise"...Every time I have typed the word "partner" in reference to my spouse in my blog entries, I have cringed inside, as it sounds so plastic and impersonal. From now on, I will bestow upon him the honor which he deserves; he is nothing less than my husband.

From my family to yours, we wish you, the unknown reader, the very best in this holiday season. And I promise to not always write so "seriously" - it's draining! *grin*



Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A perfect moment...

I have a confession to make. If you have stumbled upon this entry by pure happenstance, you may wish to avert your eyes, as the words I am about to type may indeed taint your impression of yours-truly. So here goes. I admit it. I am a Star Trek junkie.

There. I've said it. But I'm not just any Start Trek junkie...I'm much too picky. I started with the Next Generation; it was my "gateway" Start Trek. I dabbled in Deep Space Nine for awhile, but was able to kick the Trek addiction for awhile. But then it happened. And I just couldn't help it. Last summer, I secretly ordered the entire Voyager series from the internet (I'm not entirely sure about the legality of the transaction either, as the company was based over-seas and I only spent like $150 for the entire thing...maybe it's best not to think about that just now).

My partner wasn't entirely impressed with this purchase. But, as with many addicts, I knew if I could get him to watch just one episode, then he too would be hooked and I would not have to enjoy my Start Trek fixes alone. And boy was I right. Thank goodness for summer break - otherwise our lesson plans may have included activities such as "Klingon Lessons" and "A History of the Alpha Quadrant". But I digress just a little bit.

I am also a huge fan of the Next Generation-based motion pictures. In high school, I actually stood in line on a school night to see the midnight showing of Generations on opening night (and that was huge, 'cuz it was WAY passed my bedtime...ha ha ha). Anyway, I of course, own each of the movies, and have watched them multiple times. At this point, I do need to point out that I have never attended a Trekkie convention, nor do I decorate my home in StarFleet issue decor. But I do enjoy me some Star Trek!

So, during a particularly thrilling episode of Voyager this summer, my partner turned to me and said "See! That's why you should never jump to conclusions!"

Ok. Wait a minute. Did he just draw a life lesson from Star Trek? Did he really just go there? Well, the fact of the matter is that he did. And I laughed. And I might have called him a "nerd" or a "dork". I don't remember. But I love the goofball nonetheless, and I promise to only bring up his deep philosophical awakening during the most opportune of moments ;)

But he had a point. During one of the movies, Picard is sharing an intimate moment with a woman who can slow time, and she talks about living in a perfect moment. When I came home from work today, I sat on the couch with my son in my lap and my partner snuggled up beside us. It was a perfect moment. And I lived in it. And I thought of the Star Trek movie.

I am a nerd. I am a dork. And I wouldn't change my life for anything. As I look to the future, I can only quote the immortal Picard....."Engage!".

Eeek. Maybe that was too much. But you get the picture *grin*

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Can Anyone Recommend a Good Brick Wall?

Last night, I was forced to manage my first real "baby crisis", and because my partner is out of town until this afternoon, I had to make the decisions now the time to point out that I have a knack for being EXTREMELY indecisive when the time is right?

Well, was the time ever right last night!!! You see, our son was apparently bored, what with all of the play time, cooing, peek-a-boo, swinging, singing, toys, peeing, walking around the room in someone's arms, feeding, napping, pooping, and drooling (did I mention drooling?? Perhaps I should have said DROOLING!)...and apparently our son likes to switch things up, keeping things "real" so that Papa (that's me) doesn't forget the pressure he is under with this new promotion to parenthood...

The pressure last night came in the form of a new tooth suddenly (and quite rudely, I might add) forcing its way out of our son's gums. Ok, so last week, my Mom did say "Oh look, I think he is about ready to show us his first tooth". A more experienced dad may have been able to see that seemingly simple observation for what it really was, but apparently my daddy-decoder ring is still in the mail. Hopefully I have already established the fact that in no way do I meet the criteria for "experienced" parent. duh.

Missing the message "prepare yourself for the onslaught of the teething process", I naively and joyfully took great pride in my son's first soon-to-be-tooth-showing. More importantly, I did NOT do somethings: I did NOT make sure I had any sort of teether (or home teether remedy). I did NOT make sure I had any Baby Ambesol or the like on hand. I did NOT read up on the teething process. Nope. Not an ounce of preparation...Bring it on!

Darn you, Mom, and your silly hidden messages...I blame you!!! (my Mom, by the way , is the best...and I really don't h
ave much to blame her for in my own upbringing, so this is a prime opportunity for me to feel "normal"...thanks, Mom!).

At around 8:45 p.m. last night, the tooth in question sent a message to my son...the message, gathered from secret intelligence, was something to the effect of "I'm here-eeer. Let the screaming commence!"

Me: "What's wrong, baby?!"
Baby: wail of the banshees, un-typeable using any known human language
Mom: "Just go get a teether from the fridge"

Me: blank stare
Mom: "Do you have any baby ambesol? I think this is a doo-sie; look, you can see the tooth, and right beside it are two more that will be here before we know it"
Me: looking for a brick wall against which to bang my head repeatedly

After a 9:00 run to Target, I returned home with at least 4 different types of baby teething ambesol/orajel and two different teethers. Who do these baby-product companies think they are, anyway? Don't they know that new parents such as myself often don't have a CLUE? So yes, I did it. I picked one of each from the shelf and headed straight for the checkout. Sue me.

I raced into the house, biting off the tip of the first tube I could grab while wondering "if I licked the teether myself first, would count for sterilization?". As I bounded up the stairs almost yelling, "I'm here, I'm here, Papa's here", I noticed something was wrong. It's quiet. Too quiet.

Mom, seeming to take great pleasure in the panic on my face, uttered the words. Those words.
"It's ok. He's asleep. I gave him a cold, wet washcloth to chew on, and he fell right to sleep."

It's almost 10:00 am the next day, and I am still looking for that brick wall. This one has clearly been used by a new parent...


Monday, December 3, 2007

Links to Fame and other Comments on Society

I can officially say that I have a link to fame. Sort of. My partner is the direct link, but, if I can't claim full marriage rights, then I sure as h-e-double-hockey-sticks am gonna claim partnered links to fame (unless, of course, someone wants to try and legislate this right as well!...ANYWAY....ha ha).

My partner was at a conference with his principal about 6 months ago, where he had the opportunity to eat lunch with Erin Gruwell. Yes. THE Erin Gruwell. As her peeps, we call her "Ms. G-to-the-Ruwell", but you should probably call her Ms. Gruwell, or better yet, just speak to her through one of us as to avoid all direct communication and possible wastes of her time.

Ok, ok, so I didn't know who she was either. But, being the resourceful guy I am, I did what anybody in my position would do - I Googled her (what did we do before Google? Seriously!). I'll wait here while you do the same (come on, you can't expect me to do EVERYTHING for you, can you??? ha ha). Just in case you are running late for your hot date/job interview/reality tv show marathon, I'll save you the effort...

Erin Gruwell is the teacher portrayed in the movie "The Freedom Writers", based upon Gruwell's book "The Freedom Writers' Diary". If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it - it is one of those movies with an invaluable message and a brutal truth. Oh, and Hillary Swank played Erin. So now maybe you can see why I am famous.

The really cool thing is that she insisted (and was relentless, I might add) that my partner participate in her Teachers' Institute....Even though the timing was not the greatest, he is there now and, from the couple of brief phone conversations we have had, he seems to be having a great time...Cali for a week instead of work....hhhhmmm...rough, huh? Needless to say, I am very proud of my partner, but I can't wait to have him home tomorrow...especially because our son had his first tooth break through yesterday, and life is pretty chaotic. That and I just miss the goofball *grin*.

Anyway, and all kidding aside, I like to think that my "high horse" bucked me off a long time ago. While I really like Hillary Swank, I think I would rather have a connection to someone like Erin Gruwell. I would encourage you to watch the movie, but I would challenge you to read the book.

Soooo, back to reality for me - while my partner is away hob-nobbing with the famous, I should get back to my own "G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S" life (thanks, Fergie!...helping the masses to become better spellers, one song at a time) - you know, laundry, food, dishes, pet care...oh yeah, and parenthood!


Friday, November 30, 2007

Shout outs...

To Mamma Cindy:

I'm thrilled you enjoyed the comments, but please, no tears! As a computer teacher, I can say that any form of water near your "old machine" might actually be "bad" for it...which, I say selfishly, would be bad for me because you wouldn't be able to post any new material for me to read!!! (ha ha)... I tip my hat to you (using my LEFT hand, of course!)...

To Mommy Kalisekmet:

A new artist I am pleased to "meet", a fellow Reisling fan, and, most importantly, the first person I have ever met to use the word "nascent" in a sentence...I even had to look it up!!!!!! NICE!!!

To "Ohmommy":

As life gets "busier", keep that Syrah on hand! Thoust will undoubtedly find much comfort in thy glass *grin*

Happy Holidays - you ladies rock!

Thank Goodness for Babies!

For the past three years, my partner and I have hosted a Christmas party for close friends and family (which usually turns into about 70 people!!!). This year, however, with the arrival of our son, we have opted to forgo the event in an effort to keep a few coffers in the old wallets. This decision, of course, has not been extremely popular with some of our friends, as they look forward to the chance to come together in the spirit of the season to raise a glass to peace. Ok. Let's just be honest here. Glasses are raised so often that inevitably someone is dared to: jump into the pool/start a bonfire in the fire pit and burn anything in sight/eat the rest of "x" mixed with "y" (note: "x" and "y" in this occasion are always two items that should never under any circumstances be paired, except under this particular dare). I think you get the point. And, being teachers ourselves, most of our friends are also in the field of education - this is an important point....

Yes, there is some tom-foolery that traditionally occurs, but here is a little secret of which most people aren't aware: educators, when given the opportunity to let their hair down privately, are about the most wild group of people you may encounter....I know, I know, now you are picturing your favorite teacher from your elementary years standing on a couch in someone's living room, more than a little inebriated, singing love songs to a half-eaten sandwich made of sour kraut and Christmas maybe it's just best if you cling to the innocent images of your favorite teacher you had prior to reading this post and forgive me for spoiling those happy thoughts of yester-year...

Anyway, canceling this event was a let-down to our friends, but people were quick to step up to the plate and arrange parties of their own to keep the proverbial yule log on the bonfire. As such, invitations have started to trickle in, each with their own special seasonal twist...the most recent requires all attendees to find and proudly don the most ridiculous, over-the-top holiday sweater and, of course, arrive with the beverage of their choice...

And pause. I am suddenly glad that I am a papa. I am 29 years old, but I have always been an "old soul". I have officially entered into the realm of parenthood, and therefore have an easy "out" for these events. I don't know what it says when a grown male would rather spend the evening speaking jibberish to his 4-month baby than listening to jibberish from his 30-year old friends...All I can say is thank Goodness for Babies!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Unexpected Inspiration

In case you were wondering, I am completely new to this whole "blog" thing. And, as a new blog writer, I can admit to placing quite a bit of pressure on myself to produce something that is worth reading, in turn forcing me into a writer's block. And yet I am in love...

I love the possibility of connecting with new people, maybe from around the block, and maybe from around the globe...

I love the opportunity to share ideas that may otherwise be left to collect dust in the nooks and crannies of my brain...

I love to challenge my ideas and my ways of thinking, because through this challenge I hope to never become "so comfortable" that I forget that not everyone thinks like me...

and, of course, I love to write about those things most important to me - my partner, my son, my job, my beliefs -these things inspire me- because I am so very proud of my family and of where I am in life, that I feel they deserve to be "shouted about" from the highest electronic mountaintop possible.

But I found a new inspiration the other day, and I must admit it was quite unexpected...I have been searching for a way to pull up random blog entries to read (and not blog entries with "random" in the title...frustrating!). Anyway, the best I could do was type in different subjects into my trusty "Google Blog Search" that I might be interested in reading about. Well, during this quest, I happened upon a blog entry that caught my attention. In it, a mother described a recent trip to the mall to see Santa with her son and her daughter. After getting a chuckle about a certain reaction to the mall Santa, I decided to read other posts by this author.

Needless to say, I spent the next 30 minutes reading previous posts and reflecting upon this stranger's experiences. And the crazy thing is, while I was instantly drawn to the reality and the truth that this mother shared, I was able to find something I wasn't even looking for, nor even knew I needed: affirmation.

Sure, nothing this mom said had anything to do with me directly -- that's just the point. In reading about her experiences, her joys, her sadness, I found I was able to relate to so much of what she was saying. It's nice to know that, even at our lowest of lows or at our highest of highs, we are never alone. There is always someone, somewhere, who is needing that glass of wine or that parenting manual just like you...

I'd like to say "Thank You" to the mother/blog author who offered me a little unexpected inspiration. Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Check her out...

Happy Journeys!

Monday, November 26, 2007

'Tis the Season

Ah, the holidays....growing up, this was always my favorite time of year. Of course, I have always been very close with my family, and this season just gave us an excuse to get together and share a lot of laughter (sure, there were arguments too, but those just come with the territory when a fundamentalist grandmother starts in on her liberal daughters and grandchildren....Good Times!)...

Anyway, now that I am "all grown up" with a family of my own, I was excited to start creating some holiday magic. As it turns out, that magic MUST be found only at the bottom of a glass or five of your favorite wine (mine would be riesling). My partner's mother and sister came in for Thanksgiving. On their own, they were marvelous. However, when you add their incessant craving for shopping to the mix, watch out! To be fair, we do live in a city centered on tourism, and therefore one might understand their need to "see the sights," and rid their pocket books of a few dead presidents while at it.

Being the non-shopper that I am, I did try and reason with my partner, promising him that I could get a bunch of house-work done while he took his family out shopping. On the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday. With like a billion people. But my feeble attempts were to no avail, as he made some "logical" excuse about my need to spend time with the family.

So here is where I found my holiday issue. While in a large mall, our son managed to soak himself, rendering his very cute holiday outfit un-wearable. To top it off, the water I had placed in bottles in the diaper bag managed to succeed in its efforts to escape bottle-prison, and thus saturated everything in the bag, grandma's video camera, and the extra formula while still leaving a large pool on the ground under the stroller. Did I mention that there were at least a billion people in the mall that day? partner and I were off to find the nearest restroom, which was, of course, at least 5 miles away.

When we reached our much sought-after destination, we were excited to find that this mall provided 2 family restrooms (as you can imagine the looks we get when we take our son into the mens' room and there is NO baby change table...*sigh*). So, yes, we were thrilled to see 2 family restrooms; however, both were occupied. Minutes before we arrived, woman-kind must have received a signal to use the restroom as well, as what seemed to be thousands of women had descended upon the womens' room. We thought that there had to be someone famous in there - maybe even the entire cast of Days of Our Lives - to attract such a large number of ladies at the same time (ha ha...just kidding...sorry about the stereotype!). Apparently two women weren't fans of the show, though, because they jumped ship and headed to the family rooms. We arrived just after they got in line.

By this time we have a fussy baby in wet clothes, a drenched diaper bag still leaking into the stroller, and two very frantic daddies trying to make sense of it all. We were second in line, as we assumed that the two ladies in front of us were a family and needed to use the restroom for some family-related bathroom use. But what they say about "assuming" is true; when one of the family rooms finally became available, in stepped ONE of the women.

Ok. Wait a minute. Clearly I must have misunderstood the purpose of the "familyroom" concept. Here it is the holiday season, we are three very distressed people just looking for a little dryness, and there are two women who blatantly decide to cheat in the fundamental bathroom rules of order?

Eventually, we did make it into the familyroom, and we were able to salvage enough "dryness" to piece together a suitable change of clothes for our son, and we were able to sop up the remaining water and ultimately reclaim a sense of control over our lives. But only AFTER waiting for two cheaters.

And so, to those two women out there, where ever they may be, I'd like to say one thing:

"Happy freakin' Holidays!" and the teacher in us would add "Next time, it will be to the back of the line for YOU!"

I need another glass of riesling :)


Friday, November 23, 2007

Our Corner of the Universe

Clearly parenthood isn't easy. Apparently, there is no parenting manual that new parents are given when they bring a new life into their home. And, even though it may be a very good idea, as of now no parenting courses or tests are required before people can become parents. In fact, no planning or preparation is required at all for most people to enter into the realm of parenthood.

Enter two men who, after some serious research, more classes than they'd care to admit, and several major "road-blocks", suddenly found themselves thrust into the roles of "papa" and "daddy" to one very adorable 3-month old baby boy. And, after only almost 2 months, we are here to say that clearly parenthood isn't easy. But it is absolutely the greatest thing either one of us has had the opportunity to experience in our entire lives.

This blog series is dedicated to the journey of two men and their baby. There is no great "master plan" for topics...but, as I am usually a very reserved individual, I look forward to the opportunity to share my thoughts with you, whoever you may be! So whoever you are, welcome to our corner of the universe. We wish you well on all your life's travels!