Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Magnet for the Strange

As I was leaving work yesterday, I had two rather bizarre, and seemingly unrelated, experiences.

I had parked on the fourth floor of the parking deck, so I decided to use the elevator. I pushed the button and waited patiently for the elevator to arrive. And arrive it did. The doors opened...and then started to shake violently. I mean, "consider filming another Exorcist in this elevator" violently.

I bravely (stupidly?) stepped onto the elevator anyway, figuring it would stop in a second or two. Of course, it did not. The doors did not close and I did not want to stick around to see what happens.

As I stepped out, a lady asked me if that noise was the elevator. I replied with, "Yes...and suddenly the four flights of stairs don't seem so bad." She agreed and followed me up the stairs. I may have saved her life and/or soul that day. God knows what that elevated lift had in store for us.

After safely arriving at my car (which, thankfully, was NOT violently shaking), I began my winding trek out of the parking deck. Before heading home, I had to run an errand...which took me past the McDonald's on Veteran's Parkway.

To my surprise, there was a grown man standing between the road and Mickey D's screaming at the passing traffic. I have no idea why. Perhaps he realized the futility of hitting the "button that does nuttin" on the corner and decided to purge his rage at the very objects that were impeding his travel.

Or maybe he's bat shit nuts.

Either way, it was a strange afternoon. Glad I could share it with you.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Checkout Lane Hell

There should be a special line at Sams for people that split their order into more than one transaction.

or a special place in Hell for those people.

Consumers choice.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

An Infant's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem

Admittedly, a three-month-old's lack of fine motor control and general inability to move around under his or her own power makes said three-month-old a pretty benign threat in the field of trouble making. However, much like passive or nonviolent resistance, there are techniques that infants can (and will) employ to cause at least some degree of rascality within a social situation.

Izzy employed one such technique just last Sunday while we were in Chambana visiting Auntie Anne (my sister...not the pretzel store).

Quick backstory: We went to pick up Sarah's bridesmaid dress. She's in Anne's wedding this summer. We had a gift certificate for a free Monical's family pleaser that we received after completing our birthing class. Anne is still a po' college student, so we invited her out to dinner. And scene.

We stopped by my sister's apartment, picked her up, and drove to Monical's. We were seated quickly, ordered, and in no time we were enjoying salad, breadsticks, and what passes for pizza at Monical's (that's another post). began.

That unmistakable noise...a harbinger of doom...the none too subtle clue that someone's immediate future was about to become very unpleasant.

"Is she grunting?" I asked Sarah in a worried tone. "Yeah," she sighed.

"Uh-oh." I moved Izzy's car seat to the other side of the booth. Mother scooped up daughter and diaper bag and made a beeline for the bathroom. Anne and I remained at the table, continuing our meal.

Time passed...then more time passed. I glanced at my watch. Anne bravely volunteered to check on the girls. "Almost done," she reported back.

Finally, Sarah and Izzy returned to the table. I was not surprised to see that the outfit Izzy went into the bathroom wearing was not the same one she was currently sporting on her return trip. I was, however, surprised to see that she was barefoot.

"She pooped through her outfit," Sarah said. "It was awful. I just wanted the mess gone. We lost a sock...I think I threw it away with the diaper. The other one is in the diaper bag."

"Wait," I said. "You threw one sock away and saved the other one? Why?"

"Well, I think I threw it away. I don't might turn up."

At this point I was thinking, 'What does it matter? These socks won't fit in a matter of weeks. We can buy new socks...let it go, woman.' I did not verbalize these thoughts.

So you see, pooping oneself in public (at an eatery, no less) is part of an infant's small, yet surprisingly effective, arsenal of anarchy.

At this point, you may be questioning the child's motivation. Perhaps you'd say, "Matt...babies are running on instinct. There's no malice malevolent or malicious intentions."

And you'd be wrong. Babies are adorable and devious little gremlins...and mine likes to poop through outfits in public. And before you say"My child never did / would ever do anything like that!" consider this.

Your kid might be dumb.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hey brother, can ya' spare a snot-sucker? -OR- How I Felt Like A Criminal At The Hospital

If you're a parent, then you already recognize the importance of the beautiful blue item pictured here.

For the uninitiated, let me be the first to tell you that the bulb syringe (AKA Blue Bulb of Doom...AKA Snot-Sucker) is an essential piece of equipment in every new parents' toolbox. Infant congestion is not fun for anyone and the sounds a congested baby emits do not make for pleasant listening. When one is without a proper Snot-Sucker, everybody suffers.

My wife has a bad habit of leaving this thing at the baby sitter's house when she picks up Izzy. We have another bulb syringe that came in a first aid kit, but it doesn't work as well. As we've already covered, a stuffy baby is a real bummer. So, I decided that today I was going to find another, duplicate bulb syringe to keep at the sitter's house. As a Father-of-the-Year award nominee (in my own head), I thought that made a lot of sense.

Acquiring one was not as easy as I expected. I figured Walgreens would have one, but they did not. They DID have a more modern, battery powered version of the snot sucker. However, I was not prepared to spend 20 bucks on something like that.

Now...I would consider myself a reasonably intelligent and logical man, so I decided to go to the hospital's birthing unit to see if the nurses had an extra bulb syringe. This is where my day continued to go south. I strolled up to the nurses desk and asked if I could have one of these syringes to take home. The nurses behind the counter seemed reluctant to comply with my request and threw a knowing look to one of the other nurses. Immediately, I knew something was up.

The nurse that received said glance (You know...the one who is perpetually having a bad day) spoke up and asked, "What are you going to use it for?"

What am I going to use it for? Is there some sort of illicit or illegal act that one can do with this syringe and I haven't heard about it yet? I'm going to take it home and frost a cake with it, lady. No...I explained that our child was congested and that I would be using the device to extract snot. This really put her on alert. The nurse looked at me like I had two heads.

"She seems a little old for this. Did your pediatrician tell you to do this?" she asked.

"Yeeaaaaah," I responded slowly. I filled her in on my situation (IE wife forgetting it at babysitter's, etc).

She then proceeded to tell me that Izzy was a little old for this and that she shouldn't need it. I then wanted to ask her if she actually had kids and does she realize just how much snot a two and a half month old generates. While I didn't say that, the look on my face must have read that I meant business because she took a little walk to the supply room and gave me one.

This lady really irked me. I mean, is there some way that people are melting these things down and getting high? Why was she so suspicious of me? I just wanted a spare to keep at the baby sitter's house.

For the record, I described this nurse to my wife and she's pretty sure she dealt with her when she was in the hospital giving birth to Izzy. She was a pain then, too.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I'm Still Here!'s been over a month since I've posted anything. Time flies when you're a new dad. So, to my two followers...sorry for the delay! :-)

I've been adjusting to life with our daughter, Izzy. She's really the coolest thing that has happened to me. She's sick, though...which sucks. I think my wife put it best in her blog entry about it:
"I hate, I mean really hate, blowing my nose. After dealing with a congested baby for a few days, however, I have a new found appreciation for this simple if gross ability. Isabelle has her first cold. Being only 5 weeks old there is nothing she can do to communicate with us except cry and be fussy. She has had a hard time sleeping in certain positions and it's hard to tell whether or not she'll be comfortable when put down until you try. Then she either continues to sleep peacefully, or wakes up and fusses. And, of course, she does not yet have the ability to blow her own nose so the blue bulb from the hospital has become my good friend and the bane of Izzy's existence.

The good news is that the pediatrician tested her for RSV and it came back negative, her lungs are clear, and her appetite is still pretty good. So now we wait for her congestion to clear up and try to get back to business as usual."
And that, as they say, is that.

Monday, January 26, 2009


our own miracle
eyes reveal the face of God
welcome little one

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Screams In The Night - A Hospital Story

It's approaching 4:00 am as I type. I was trying to get some sleep before the birth of our first child later today.

It's funny how the blood-curdling screams of a woman giving birth down the hall can stir a man's slumber. And by funny, I mean troubling. Holy shit, that woman is in PAIN! I hope she gets some good drugs for her trouble...or at least a grateful child.

I'm really not sure how Sarah is going to react to child birth. I hope it's better than that poor soul down the corridor.

Sarah was trying to get some sleep, too. I just got her iPod out of her bag for her. I think she's trying to block out the wailer. Smart move. For Sarah, it's like looking into the future. Why would she want to hear that?

I'm taking longer blinks now. My focus is gone. It's time to wrap up the rambling...for now.

Later today, we welcome our first child into the world. Stay tuned...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Rub-A-Dub-Dub, I Went To War With The Tub

This morning started like most mornings. The alarm went off...I hit the snooze button. The alarm went off again...I cursed the morning, did a quick internal tally of how much vacation I had left (vacation is the precious and we must hoards the precious!), and begrudgingly removed myself from my warm and cozy bed.

I stumbled to the bathroom to take a shower, hoping that it would help shake off the cobwebs. While in the shower, I quickly realized that something was amiss. The water was rising.

'That's peculiar,' I thought. 'Why the hell is the water not draining?'

I knelt down for a closer inspection. Yes...there was definitely more water there than there should have been. I toggled the lever that closes the drain in case you want to take a bath. Nope...this water isn't going anywhere. 'Crap.'

By then, I was wide awake. My mind was racing with the possible reasons the drain would be clogged. I came up with two finalists.

1) The drain is clogged with hair from when I gave Harry (our Canis familiaris) a bath in said tub.
2) The water in the trap has frozen.

#2 really frightened me. The plumbing for the tub is accessible via an access panel on the side of my house. However, I usually can't get the panel off when the ground is frozen and I didn't really like the prospect of climbing under my house in the sub-zero conditions.

I got ready for the day, went to work for about 4 hours, and then made a mad dash to Home Depot. One of my more fortuitous purchases was a drain auger. If the issue is a clogged, this is the tool to have. Even if it's not I figured, why not have one? I'm all about having the right tools for the job.

I came home, kissed my wife, changed clothes, and mentally prepared myself for operating outside on the ice planet of Hoth.

First things first...let's check the tub. The water from my shower this morning was still there, and it was COLD. 'Not good,' I thought. That certainly makes me lean toward "frozen trap."

I went out to the garage to get a submersible pump and a length of hose. I pumped the water from the tub out the window and into the yard. After draining the tub as best I could, I went to work with the drain auger. And then...

'Dear God...did someone shove a Wookiee into this drain?' I pulled out a big, nasty (slimy) mass of hair. I felt like Mike Rowe and the Dirty Jobs camera crew should have been with me.

A few minutes later, I noticed that the water level had dropped in the drain. I cautiously turned on the water to see if I had good flow. Indeed, I did. I turned the hot water all the way up and let it run for about 5 to 7 minutes. It flowed like a dream. I won! I beat the tub! And most importantly, I didn't have to freeze my ass off outside.

I am not the handiest of men, but I'm learning. I wish there was some lesson here...some moral. I can't really think of one right now.

I'm just grateful to be inside.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I've Been Really Tryin', Baby

Approaching the end of Week 39 in our pregnancy, this morning we went for our weekly visit to the OB. Like any medical office, music could be heard softly emanating from the speakers in the ceiling. You know the deal...they find the most non-offensive station on the dial and let it fade into the background.

The universe is a funny place. Sometimes the pieces align just right and, if you're lucky, you get to peer behind the curtain to catch a glimpse of something miraculous. Other times, those same pieces create a view that's more akin to a cosmic joke-of-the-day. Today was the latter.

Maybe it's because I used to work in radio, but I just can't help noticing music that's meant to blend in. Which brings me back to this morning's OB appointment. As the nurse practitioner determined how far my wife had dilated since last week, I took pause, raised an eyebrow, and chuckled inwardly as I realized what song was quietly drifting from the ceiling. I didn't say a word. I decided to put it in my pocket and save it for later.

This evening, I asked my wife if she could recall what song was playing as she was being examined this morning. She sighed through a "Yeah, I think I do."

It seems that she noticed, too.

"What was it?," I asked with a knowing smile.

Dryly she answered, "Let's Get It On."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Two More Stars Gone

Patrick McGoohan & Ricardo Montalban have died.

Patrick McGoohan , if you remember, was most famously remembered as Number Six on the 1960's TV show 'The Prisoner.' He also portrayed (masterfully, I might add) King Edward "the Longshanks" in Braveheart.

Ricardo Montalban played Mr. Roarke on 'Fantasy Island.' but he'll always be Khan to me.

Fare thee well, gentlemen.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Have You Seen My Weekend?

Sunday January 11th...approaching 10:00 pm. How the hell did that happen?

So much yet to do...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sixth Grade Lunch

Sixth graders can be rather 'spazzy.' In other news, the sky is blue and the Earth is still round.

Seriously, though...I had the opportunity to eat lunch with my wife at school today. The sixth grade Christmas party was canceled due to a winter storm and was rescheduled for today. My wife, one of the sixth grade teachers, invited me to join the party. I rarely get to spend time with her during the day, so I jumped at the chance.

It was a decent menu. I dined on Funyuns and a Torpedo from La Gondola (or as I like to call it, the poor man's Avanti's). Oh yes, the ever-present Diet Dr. Pepper was also involved.

Which brings me back to my opening statement...Sixth graders can be rather 'spazzy.'

I heard things today that would turn the stomach of even the most dedicated Jackass fan.

Things like, "I once threw up a Skittle, caught it in my mouth, and ate it again." I'd like to be clear...this comment was from a female. Classic.

I witnessed a boy drinking Dr. Pepper from a 2-Liter bottle. His mom thought he needed to bring a drink to share with the class, but he only needed to provide for himself. My wife offered him a cup. Apparently, he didn't need one.

The little Dr. Pepper fan was a funny kid, though. I was surprised how smart and witty sixth graders can be.

I was equally shocked at how disgusting they could be, too. The worst offenders were a trio of girls sitting in the back of the room on the floor. And yes, the girl from the Skittle quote was a member. I'm pretty sure she took most of the Funyuns. The cacophony of noises coming from that girl was disturbing...and my wife barely batted an eye. How does one get used to this kind of barbarism? Perhaps I don't really want to know the answer to that questions.

At one point, my wife did step in to quiet them. Soon after, a boy in the front row let out a loud (yet impressive) belch. A few seconds went by with no sign of remorse from the boy. He eventually did say "excuse me"...after being prompted to do so, of course.

I was conflicted on whether or not I should be amused by this behavior. On one hand, I don't want to seem like I was encouraging it. I want to appear to be a responsible adult...a good role model. On the other hand, the rapid escape of audible gaseous emanations from the body is often pretty damn funny.

So, after chuckling a little, I tried to largely ignore it and went back to my Torpedo.

Luckily, lunch doesn't last that long in sixth grade.

Why I'm Not a Teacher

Could extended proximity to educators increase your chances of becoming one?

If so, I dodged a rather large and possibly snot encrusted bullet. Don't get me wrong. I like kids. We're having one. I like teachers. My mother, sister, wife, AND mother-in-law are guessed it...teachers.

It's a noble profession and I admire most anyone that gives it a try. It seems to be getting more difficult, though.

You see, at some point, the parents turned on the teachers. It's not like the old days when you got in trouble at school. In the old days, getting in trouble at school was just Phase One (depending on the severity of the offense, of course). If your transgressions were bad enough, your house got that dreaded phone call from the office. Phase Two would commence immediately after you got both feet in the door.

Hello ass-chewin'...and possibly ass-beatin'*. (*Remember kids, violence isn't the's just part of the answer.)

One day, parents started to believe their delusions that 'Little Billy' or 'Little Sally' couldn't have possibly:
a) used that kind of language.
b) been that disrespectful.
c) forgotten to do his/her homework (again!).
d) been that stupid.
e) tried to smuggle thermonuclear weapons into the classroom.

Guess what mom and dad? He/she did...and no amount of denial will ever change that.

This is why I'm not a teacher. I simply do not have the capacity to deal with that brand of stupid in a politically correct manner. I would probably shoot my mouth off with some smartass comment and get fired or punched...or both.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 : The Year It All Changes...

...and there ain't go goin' back, as they say.

It has recently occurred to me that there is a bit of duality in the name of this blog. On one hand, it represents me as a fledgling blogger.

On the other, my wife and I will quite literally have an extra voice around the house very soon. You see, my wife is very (and I mean VERY) pregnant with our little girl. Her due date is January 19th, which has been something of an intangible concept to me...until now.

Our first child is no longer coming in 8 months.
Our first child is no longer coming in 4 months.
Our first child is no longer coming in 1 month.

Our first child is coming THIS month. In just a few short weeks, we'll be new parents.

This concept is staggering, although it should come as no surprise. We've been preparing for her arrival, both environmentally and mentally, since confirmation of her pregnancy.

It's not just about us anymore, which scares the bejesus out of me. We are responsible for a life. Am I ready? This question has been moot for about 9 months already. Ready or not, here she comes. My wife believes that I will be a 'great daddy.' I believe it, too...or rather, I believe that I have the capacity to be a great father. I just have to properly execute...whatever that means.

I wonder if raising a dog will help me at all...