Archive for the It's Alive! Category

I REGISTERED MY DOMAIN! THINGS ARE GOING TO START HAPPENING TO ME NOW!

Posted in It's Alive!, Mundane Events on August 22, 2010 by butthorn

Man, that feels great!  My very own piece of the Internet!  No blogging site name tagged onto the end of the address making me look all bush league!  No third-rate imposters or spam sites co-opting my blog name!  I still can’t think of a fucking thing to write about!  YEAH!

Boy, this is horrible!  I feel like I really have to come through now that typing “vaguelyunpleasant” with a .com after it brings up something I type into for everybody to potentially see and evaluate.  Brad Pitt could be looking at this right now.  How embarrassing is that?!  He’d be like, “What’s this garbage?” and then go back to monitoring his stocks or maybe working on his Farmville.  God, that would kill me!  My big chance to get in good with Brad Pitt, and I blow it by forgetting how to be interesting thanks to one little spontaneous late-night domain registration.

All right, well, let me tell you about my day.  Our friends Joel and Kate have four children, and all six of these people had yet to meet our child, so we all figured that was something that should change.  I got up at 5:15 because Freddy had urinated in his undergarment and was bleating monosyllabically about it.  It usually takes a minute or so upon awakening in this fashion for me to remember that A) I have a child and B) He doesn’t know how to use the toilet or make breakfast.  Given that I’ve only recently “mastered” these procedures myself, it can often prove something of a challenge to perform them in a satisfactory matter for another human being, particularly one as loud and uncooperative as my son.  But I get up and I do the things I gotta do, though not before resting my nose atop his groin (a handy olfactory test that probably won’t fly once he’s in school; I suppose I’ll just have to take him at his word at that point) and inhaling deeply to verify the presence of urine and/or feces.  Cause if it doesn’t smell like anything, it’s snooze button city.  But it always smells like something.  My child has a smelly groin, Mr. Pitt; what can I tell you?

I hoist Freddy out of bed, and he responds per usual by throwing his head back and jutting his bottom out in a small and weird but mighty and effective-seeming stretch.  He usually stops crying when you pick him up, which is nice because his crying is ear-splitting and mood-dampening, complexly so.  It surprises you (well, I guess “startles” would really be a more accurate term…), then angers you, then makes you feel bad for getting angry, then makes you sad because you remember he can’t do anything and really needs your help, and you’re a dick, what the hell is the matter with you anyway, he’s just a baby, though I suppose in a way you’re not much more than a baby yourself, other than being able to take care of basic needs you’re every bit as helpless as he is, and why are you still sitting here giving yourself a complete psychiatric evaluation when your child needs food, what kind of selfish asshole puts their own mental wellness ahead of their baby’s hunger, you must really have a problem, maybe you should actually go to a doctor, oh yay my wife is taking care of the baby, back to Xbox!  So in summation, yes, picking up the baby will stop the crying most of the time.

I take my soiled, ravenous son into “his” room, which is basically the room where we keep his changing table, my collection of RCA Selectavision videodiscs, and the printer/scanner that I don’t remember how to hook back up to the computer.  I plop him down on the changing table, where he begins to make cute, spitty/grunty noises while kicking my arms and the wipes container.  My son has enjoyed kicking me and things for as long as I can remember, which is to say last Thursday.  He does not, however, enjoy having his clothing changed, although in the past couple weeks he’s gotten better about it, or maybe I’m just being more conscientious about not wrenching his head and limbs into the surprisingly unforgiving onesie holes.  He doesn’t cry every time we change him now, and that’s good, because lately he’s been throwing up on himself with alarming frequency, so we’re spending more than our fair share of time at the changing table these days.  But we’ve tried to make it comfy for him with blankets and a welcoming array of small stuffed animals, of which a frog is his clear favorite.  Unfortunately said frog also makes a tinny “boy-oy-oy-yoing” noise that is no more pleasing to the ear than crying, but you have to punch it pretty hard in the ass to activate this sound effect, so it’s not really a prob.

The changing of the diaper is not a very difficult affair.  Once the load in question has been sufficiently grimaced at and commented upon, you can typically wipe everything up as slick as you please and then go about your merry, newly shitless way.  Certainly when you’re dealing with a male infant you’re constantly aware of the very real possibility of taking a searing shot of stinging, stinking liquid waste directly in the eye or mouth, but this heightened awareness mainly serves to speed the entire process up, so you’re done before you know it.  Baby is clean and happy, and you look like a good daddy even though you’re an incompetent idiot who shouldn’t be entrusted with the well-being of a hamster.  As it happens, I find that Frederick and myself enjoy each other’s company more during the diaper/clothing changing process than at most any other part of the day.  He’s fresh and frisky, and I have a captive and reasonably receptive audience for my amateur beatboxing side-career.  It’s symbiosis, and it’s all right in my book.

Then I grab a bottle, which my wife has been kind enough to prepare and place on the kitchen table before face-planting back into bed, and manage to make my way to the couch without dropping anything or anyone.  I then negotiate a Boppy around my ever-increasing girth, nestle Freddy into the cushion, and present him with the nipple of his bottle, which he wastes no time in muckling onto.  Suckling ensues.  I try to remain awake during the feeding, but unfortunately a baby sucking a bottle is both uninteresting and lulling, not ideal qualities for events that take place before six AM.  I fall asleep and he finishes his bottle, letting it drop into my lap or onto the floor before falling back asleep himself, where we remain until his mother wakes us up by crossly taking me to task for falling asleep mid-feed, an action I defend valiantly by immediately falling asleep again.

Mama showers.  This would ordinarily be my cue to fire up the Netflix instant viewing on the aforementioned Xbox and queue up an episode of “Buck Rogers”, but due to a problem involving wires and God hating me the modem and the Xbox are not communicating.  Prior to bathing, Mama has saved us by sticking a Futurama DVD into the player at my groggy behest, so we have something colorful and fun to keep us awake while I await my turn to have my morning toilet.  Though like so many things it suffers from a lack of Erin Gray, “Futurama” is an excellent substitute for “Buck Rogers” as it essentially shares the same plot, the difference being that one laughs with “Futurama” and at “Buck Rogers”.  But I don’t come here to malign Buck and his crew.  Theirs is a very comforting hour of entertainment and I will be very sad when I have finished watching the few episodes that exist, even the ones with the retarded bird guy.

All right, here’s another picture of Erin Gray without Mr. Bird.  Let’s cleanse our palettes.

Jeez, that picture is huge.  I am going to have to wrap up this post for tonight, and I never even got past 6 AM in describing our day today!  In the space taken up by that massive picture of Erin Gray, I could have easily fit three detailed paragraphs dedicated to Freddy’s car seat.  Man, I gotta learn how to get to the point.  This is just sad.

I promise to do a better job tomorrow!  To be continued!

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I HAVE A BABY AND NOW I KNOW EVERYTHING.

Posted in Helpful Advice For Numbnutses, It's Alive! on June 28, 2010 by butthorn

Boy, it’s hard to do a blog when you have a baby in the house.  Babies really require a lot of assistance, and are not shy about requesting it, in this case via a crude but 100% effective shriek system that I’m considering adopting myself: “WAAAAAAAH!!!   AUUUUUUUUUGGGGH!!  BLAAAAAAAAARN!”  “Fine, you can have a raise!  Just take it down a notch!”

So for those who may not know, baby Frederick is alive and well.  He’s recently turned seven weeks old.  Likes include eating, Mama, small stuffed frogs, and Bob Dylan remixes.  Dislikes include having his clothing removed, extreme temperatures, Dada vigorously manipulating his limbs in an attempt to make it look like he’s doing a silly if spirited dance, and cycling.  He is very little and cute, although it feels like he weighs 800 pounds all of a sudden and he has been screaming a lot lately, sometimes for no apparent reason, although usually he either wants food or has converted previously consumed food into waste which he has deposited into his pants and would like removed.  He also sometimes wants someone to pick him up and say asinine things to him, an activity we are all too willing to oblige him.  He passes wind with a report and odor worthy of a grown man.  He is not big on having his bath or water in general although once he’s been in it a while he does seem to find the liquid at least passingly interesting and of some apparent comfort, if only for a short period of time.

My workplace was kind and legally obligated enough to grant me some paternity leave, so I took the entire month of June off to spend with Freddy and Annie, and despite a fatigue and general unrest that seems unlikely to abate with any particular haste, the break has been a success and I’m glad I took it, and not only because I don’t like working.  I would happily post a picture of the baby, but frankly I don’t trust those of my readership who happen to be pederasts to be able to control themselves.  I know you’re out there.  I see your search engine terms, and you should all be locked up, or at the very least ashamed of yourselves.  And our baby is super cute, there’s no getting around it.  He has the rakish sex appeal of a baby George Clooney combined with the goofy self-effacing vulnerability of a baby Hugh Grant.  Why, if I had to compare his particular blend of good looks and good humor to just one celebrity, I’d go with a young Val Kilmer, back in his “Real Genius” and “Top Secret” days, and I don’t think I need to tell you that you can’t get much cuter or more charming than young Val Kilmer.  So to sum up, pederasts, I can’t in good conscience let you have access to his image.  Go buy a copy of “Babytalk” or something.  Or, you know, maybe go get some psychiatric help?  I mean, honestly!

Anyway, the baby’s fine, and cute, and all that jazz.  I’ve learned to become fairly comfortable with feeding and changing him, although as he (rapidly) increases in size, he finds it more difficult to get comfortable on me, and I find it nearly impossible to accommodate his wriggling bulk, Boppy or no Boppy.  Patience, or rather the fact that neither of us possess that particular trait, more than likely is a factor in this development.  Other than that, though, I think I’m coming along pretty well as far as baby maintenance goes, and as a companion piece to the lists I did before that went over what little baby knowledge I held prior to my being blessed with a living, breathing child, I figured I’d share the precious nuggets of wisdom I’ve gleaned over the past month, most of which will be obvious to people who’ve already had kids, and maybe even to people who haven’t, but it’s all I’ve got for material right now.  It’s either this or never blog again, and we all know how tragic that would be right?  Right?

PACK LIGHT FOR THE HOSPITAL: You’ve probably read books that present you with big long lists of “essential” items to bring to the hospital to have on hand during the delivery process and subsequent inpatient stay, but you’ll thank yourself later if you keep it limited to a small, unobtrusive bag of undies, a couple of shirts, a few onesies for baby, and a camera.  Any hospital worth its NPI number will be able to provide you with an entire Rite Aid’s worth of toothbrushes, razors, combs, and whatever else you may need toiletry-wise, as well as a cafeteria full of snacks and drinks and a gift shop with magazines to flip through, so leave all that crap at home.  And for Pete’s sake don’t bring any diapers or bottles or anything of that nature.  The hospital is going to load you up with all that stuff.  In fact, you should loot the joint for all it’s worth.  Grab anything that isn’t nailed down.  Here’s where packing light becomes doubly helpful – more room in the duffel bag to stash that fancy electric breast pump.  If you’ve got a book that you’re really into, you might wanna take it along, but the fact of the matter is that you’re not going to need to fill as much idle time as you might think.  This is going to be spent keeping your wife sane and comforted, entertaining visitors, and staring slack-jawed at your new baby.  If you even find yourself in the presence of mind to take a shower or change your clothes at any point during your stay, consider yourself fortunate.

YOUR BABY IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE A TOM SAVINI CREATION WHEN HE COMES OUT OF YOUR SPOUSE.  This is something you’ve been told already, no doubt, or maybe actually read in one of those books you keep telling your poor wife you’ll get around to looking at eventually (the only one of which you really need, incidentally, is this one right here), but nothing can prepare you for just how gross Junior or Princess is going to look as they’re being yanked out of your grunting life partner’s massacred genitalia.  Suffice it to say that bodily fluids come in a rainbow of unexpected colors, and your newborn will be splattered liberally with each and every one of them.  Their heads will also be oblong and frankly testicular in shape.  “Ridden hard and put away wet” doesn’t even begin to describe it.  More like “brutally murdered and dumped in a sewer then fished out after several years and drenched with a variety of condiments for one reason or another”.  But suppress your vomit, fellas, because the nurses will clean him up real fast and real good, and the doctor will stitch up wifey’s eviscerated snooch faster than you can say Betsy Ross.  It is not recommended that you observe this process.  Go meet your baby, ya weirdo.

DON’T BRAG ABOUT HOW YOUR BABY NEVER CRIES IF HE/SHE’S ONLY BEEN ALIVE FOR A COUPLE DAYS: They’re just getting warmed up.  Trust me on this.

PEOPLE ARE GOING TO LIKE YOU A LOT BETTER NOW THAT YOU HAVE A BABY: …or at any rate they will smile more when they talk to you and will look less put out about having to endure your end of the conversation.  Obviously your female relatives and friends will be thrilled to hold your baby and to hear any new information you have to share regarding said baby (and the men will come around eventually), but you’ll find that complete strangers (again, mostly the ladies) will approach you with questions and good wishes, and these encounters will leave you feeling pleased and satisfied as opposed to put-off and victimized like past encounters with strangers invariably have.  My obligatory conversations with cashiers at grocery stores have become way less uncomfortable.  Slap a pack of diapers or a can of formula on the conveyor belt, and suddenly you’ve made a friend.  These interactions are always very genuine and often result in helpful if unrequested tricks of the trade (child rearing, that is, not ringing up groceries).  By and large, babies bring out the best in people, or at least the people who aren’t required to listen to them scream all night.  Your family and friends are all going to show up at the hospital, and they will follow you to your apartment from there, so you might want to tidy up a little and hide or snort all the coke before going to the hospital.  Introducing the baby to each family member and friend is an indescribably wonderful experience.  In some ways (ways that I can’t adequately relate in words) it’s almost like you’re meeting all of these people again for the first time.  It’s a whole new thing.

DON’T GO BUYING HIM/HER A BUNCH OF TOYS: Part of the child-having experience that I’ve always looked forward to, even back in my teens and twenties when the idea of making a baby sounded about as appealing as gargling with staples or obtaining employment, is purchasing toys for and playing with the kid.  It turns out this is not a viable notion until a few months into the child’s existence.  In the course of your baby shower(s), you will unquestionably receive a number of vibrantly colored geegaws intended for your child’s amusement, and no doubt these will be appreciated in the relatively near future, but rest assured that for now your infant will give neither a fig, farthing, nor fiddler’s fart about any of them.  You’ll be lucky if he/she even looks at any of them in passing.  All that baby wants is some form of milk every couple of hours, a fresh diaper when necessary, and a nice comfy place to sack out (preferably your lap, if available).  Postpone that trip to Toys R Us and enjoy what time you have left of a house uncluttered by plastic objects that emit piercing approximations of children’s songs and trip you up/puncture the soles of your feet at every turn.

ALSO DON’T SPEND A LOT ON NEWBORN ONESIES: Chances are you won’t have to anyway, because people love to pick out cute baby outfits, and these will likely comprise the brunt of your baby shower intake.  Be thankful, as such things are not always cheap, and Junior/Princess will think nothing of sullying 3-4 onesies in a given day.  However, you will be alarmed at how quickly the “0-3 months” onesies become obsolete when it comes to your rapidly developing offspring.  Freddy hasn’t been alive two months, and most of the 0-3 month onesies look like Spandex on him.  The exception is Circo onesies, which you can get for pretty cheap at Target.  They’re cute and forgiving sizewise.  Otherwise, you can get a 3-pack of Gerber onesies for a pittance and not feel too bad when the baby immediately outgrows them, wasting no time in wasting your money.

THINGS THAT YOU SHOULD MOST CERTAINLY BUY, IN BULK IF AT ALL POSSIBLE:

  • Diapers, durrrrrrrrr.  Cloth vs. disposable depends on how much time you have and how much looking like a better person means to you.
  • Little washcloths to wipe drooly faces.  You really can’t have too many of these.
  • Bottles, bottles, bottles, if Junior ain’t going for the boob or you’d just as soon not be a human beverage dispenser (breastfeeding being another hot topic issue that people may endeavor to make you feel like a hybrid of Hitler and Satan if you elect not to or physically cannot do it…)  Too many bottles is never too many bottles.
  • Pacifiers, because you’ll routinely misplace them.  Opinions vary on pacifiers, but the Internet seems to think that pediatricians are fine with them, and often when a well-fed, recently changed baby is still crying about some damn thing, he probably wants to suck mindlessly and feverishly on a pacifier.  Any break you can get from incessant, deafening squalling is something you’ll want to pounce on whenever possible.

YOUR BABY IS GOING TO WANT YOU TO HOLD HIM/HER.  A LOT: I don’t know how single parents do it.  Hell, I don’t know how married parents do it.  There will be occasional respites if the baby deigns to be placed in a bassinet or crib, or is resting in the capable hands of Grammy or Grampy, but otherwise, they need a whole lot of human contact.  Freddy is on my wife all the time, and sometimes me when I’m not busy composing uncannily observant blogs about his behavior and upkeep.  He’s really warm, and heavy.  It makes us sleepy.  You can’t get a lot done with a baby lying on you, which is why it’s amazing that single parenthood is even possible, let alone a married couple with twins or triplets.  How do they keep from drowning in a landfill of dirty dishes, clothing, diapers?  My hat is off to these superheroes.  Dan Quayle should have a budworm-riddled spruce trunk broken off in his ass for saying those terrible things about Murphy Brown.

TAKE ALL ADVICE WITH A GRAIN OF SALT: I’ve always had a tough time dealing with people offering advice, and that’s not a helpful quality for someone who’s just had a baby, because you’ll find that everyone’s Dr. Spock or Supernanny all of a sudden.  The trick is to not interpret all offered advice as a personal attack, like I usually do, but to be polite and make an attempt to suss out useful tidbits from well-meaning souls and windbags alike.  While I’m reasonably certain that the main reason that people give advice is to let people know they know things for the purposes of stroking their own ego (which is also similar reasoning behind the act of insulting people, so you can perhaps understand my wariness; why, as proof of all this, I myself am only offering advice within this blog in the hopes that prospective readers will marvel at how funny and insightful I am – frankly, you can set your own baby on fire and cram him up your ass for all I care!), these people presumably have had children and it’s very possible you might benefit from their experience.  In the end, though, the only way to truly learn something is to jump right in and repeatedly fuck up until somehow you magically stop fucking up.  Just try to make sure “fucking up” doesn’t entail “feeding the baby mashed cigarettes” or “styling the baby’s hair with an antique meat cleaver”.  The other day I was watching “Pokemon”, because that’s the kind of cool customer I am, and I garnered some truly unforgettable words of wisdom from the main character, Ash, who had just finished fighting Pikachu against some other kid with huge eyes and an abrasive voice.  The other kid mentions that Ash must be a genius at Pokemon fighting, considering his impressive performance, and Ash simply laughs it off and says, “Nah, I’ve just made all the right mistakes”.  That, my friend, is how you become a master Pokemon trainer, and those same principles can be well applied to parenting.  In essence, ignore your loved ones and start watching “Pokemon”.  You’ll be glad you did.

STOP TAKING THINGS PERSONALLY: You don’t have the time nor mental wherewithal to get your feelings hurt right now.  Your family and friends are going to be routinely pissing you off with even the most innocent-seeming of comments, whether they realize it or not.  The fatigue-addled mind can read an insult into the most innocuous of statements or even simple vocal tones or facial expressions, and that’s probably all that’s happening.  That being said, anybody thoughtless or even malevolent enough to purposefully give you additional, 100% needless stress during this difficult time could either use some ignoring or productive conversation to straighten them out.  Otherwise, they’re either flagrant assholes or have no self-awareness, and either way overall you probably don’t need their bullshit in your life. Just like moving to a new house is a good chance to get rid of junk you don’t need, having a baby handily reprioritizes your relationships.  It’s a convenient time of life in which to grow a pair.  You won’t have much time to hang out with people who aren’t your baby, so why not populate it with people you enjoy who enjoy you right back?  Time spent stressing out about your hateful Aunt Clara is time that could be better spent making goo-goo noises at your little one.  But beyond dealing with others, it’s important not to take your baby’s actions to heart, which, believe me, is entirely possible to do, especially when you’re being roused from a deep, hard-won slumber by a membrane-rupturing shriek, which isn’t going to end until you get out of bed and take action, and as you carry your caterwauling spawn to the changing table, you’d swear that’s something between deception and mockery behind those ordinarily adorable little eyes, and it’s all you can do to avoid drowning out the cries with profanity of the cruelest sort, or by “accidentally” nailing his precious little noggin on the door frame.  All you have to remember is you’re tired, and he’s hungry, and both of these conditions are temporary (the latter moreso than the former, but still).  He won’t be legitmately undermining or despising you for a few more years yet.

TIME IS NOW MEANINGLESS: Remember when an hour seemed like a reasonably lengthy period of time?  Remember when a day did?  A week?  Among the many annoying things people who have kids tell people who don’t have kids is how time flies when you have a kid.  You wake up one day, and they’ve left for college.  Well, so far it seems like those annoying people are absolutely right, I’m sorry to report.  I no longer believe in hours or minutes, or in fact remember what they’re like.  Sometimes it’s dark out, sometimes it’s light out.  Sometimes he’s awake, sometimes he’s asleep.  Then all of a sudden he’s built like a linebacker and asking for my car keys.  And this is all just within a month and a half that I’ve noticed this.  He and I will both be old men before we know it.  Maybe tomorrow!  It’s all become one long (though rapidly progressing), busy (though often listless) day, but a damn good one after all is said and done.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for the moment.  I’m sure the information here ranges from “immediately obvious, even to the infants it purports to describe” to “poorly informed, at best; potentially harmful, at worst”, but what can one do, it’s a funny life and we’re all just a bunch of doofuses.  Go have a baby; it makes things different.

CHILDBIRTH CLASSES: DAY 2 OF 2

Posted in It's Alive! on April 18, 2010 by butthorn

All times approximate.

11:45 AM

Arrive.  First ones here.  Happy to see that the dolls have been changed up + we get to have one w/eyes this time.  Wonder where…hold on, Annie is making me go buy her a peach iced tea.  Pregnant people are so selfish!

11:50 AM

All right, I got another chai out of that little detour so no harm no foul. Anyway, our doll has eyes and seems happier.  Onesie fuzzy + pink + is wearing an undershirt w/baby animals on it.  Score!  The lid on my chai cup is different from yesterday’s.  Sippy flap won’t snap into place.  Officially not having baby at this hospital based on this inconvenience – it’s settled.  Yesterday’s piano music has been replaced w/strings music.  Now feels like we’re in “Masterpiece Theatre” instead of “thirtysomething”.  Suppose most would see that as an improvement but most don’t love Timothy Busfield as much as I do.

11:55 AM

Rest of class all shows up at once.  Discover our new doll is extending its index finger as though politely venturing an opinion.  Making doll poke Annie’s belly as a weird joke goes over reasonably well with teenage couple to our left.  Everyone sits where they did yesterday.

11:59 AM

Briefly bond w/teen couple in that their fetus also ceases kicking whenever the dad tries to feel said kicks.

12:00 PM

Class begins.  Cervix stretchiness question immediately asked by woman.  10 cm is pretty big within the realm of genital circumferences.  Wouldn’t want a 10 cm urethra myself.

12:02 PM

Discover that today will be all about everything that can go wrong, as compared to yesterday which apparently was supposed to be about everything that can go right.  Like our old chum perineal tearing, for example.  There will also be a tour of the labor unit at some point.

12:05 PM

Begin “Comfort Techniques” film.  More mollifyingly presented labor info.

12:08 PM

Not sure eyes-owning doll any better than eyeless.  Thing keeps staring at me.

12:10 PM

Junior has been kicking the crap out of Annie since we sat down.  I get to feel a couple big kicks.  Kid is brutal.  Feels like a cat trying to get out of a kickball.

12:12 PM

Playing w/nasal aspirator again, or bulb syringe as a handout calls it.  Teen Dad also again doing this.  Maybe we could become friends on the basis of our mutual bulb syringe enjoyment.  Kind of want to drink chai out of it.  This movie is boring.

12:25 PM

Movie over.  Starting to hit birth info intake limit already but maybe chai will help.  Teacher informs us labor unit is packed so tour currently impossible.  We’ve already had a tour of that unit during the breastfeeding class we went to last week so no tour won’t kill us.

12:30 PM

Go over powders/lotions, pass some around.  Learn that diaper rash is due to ammonia in urine, acts on skin just like it does on floors.  Man, life sucks.

12:40 PM

Discuss cutting nails.  Freaks me out.  Would rather change all his diapers than attempt to cut his nails.  Don’t even like cutting my own nails.  Just learned baby nails are “extremely flexible”.  Doesn’t help.

12:42 PM

Breastfeeding plug begins.  To Teacher’s credit, she blatantly identifies it as a plug.  Choice to breastfeed compared tenuously to whether or not one likes ice cream (?).  Don’t like anyone near my nipples so again thankful not a woman.

12:45 PM

Dad trying to call me in middle of class to help him with his blog.  Will call him back during bathroom break, as no poop currently in butt.  However, important to note that have yet to pass the undoubtedly massive amount of unusable matter from yesterday’s Double Down.  Should be a real barnburner.  Barn=colon.

12:55 PM

Do some pretend burping on doll, then reswaddle.  My swaddling has noticeably improved.  Might be different story w/baby w/working arms though.  Discuss S.I.D.S.  I seriously thought S.I.D.S. was an actual disease, like baby A.I.D.S.  Turns out it’s just baby dying in crib from preventable reasons, like too many blankets or sleeping on stomach.  My lack of knowledge is a constant source of alarm.

1:00 PM

Bathroom break #1.  Call Dad to let him know we’re in class which turns out he just found out himself via reading yesterday’s blog.  Discuss a golf lesson he took at Dick’s Sporting Goods the other day, during which he had to shit the entire time, whereupon he went home and defecated three times.  He attributes this to excitement about the golf lesson.  Wonder if he’ll go into this in his blog.

1:15 PM

Return to class.  Lots of people bought things to eat that look/smell good.  Regret not also doing that.  Take free Lorna Doone cookie + 8 oz can of Schweppe’s from today’s snack array.  In process of disposing of chai cup, notice small “Diabetes Today” mag on top of trash can.  C + W singer Steve Wariner is on the cover.  “Who’s the Boss?” theme, which he sings,  now in head as a result.  Thought answer to that question was “Tony Danza” but turns out its “diabetes”.  Don’t think I’ve ever had Lorna Doones.  Kinda bland.  Love ginger ale though, but I usually get Canada Dry.  Definitely taste a difference.  Canada Dry tastes better.

1:25 PM

Film about induction, or forcing labor along via various methods, all of which are at least moderately upsetting.  There was something important from this movie that Annie wanted me to write down but sadly I was too busy writing about my ginger ale preferences at the time.

1:35 PM

Epidural info in film.  “So do ya wanna feel the worst pain known to humankind, or do ya not wanna feel the worst pain known to humankind?”:  seems like a pretty easy question to answer to me.  Who are we trying to impress?

1:37 PM

Amniotomy evidently painless but animated example of the procedure makes it look awful.  Nothing beats bodily sacs being plucked open by a crochet needle.

1:40 PM

Ptosin, a drug whose name Annie occasionally intones w/fear and dread, discussed in film.  This is the “Come on, I wanna get home in time to watch ‘Lost’ ” drug.  Also some info about forceps and vacuuming out baby.  Forceps bruise baby face and tears Mommy’s perineum, vagina, and anus.  What’s not to like?

1:47 PM

Film over.  Discuss babies being born “inside the sac”, or coming right out of the vag w/amniotic sac intact.  Supposedly a good omen.  You know, one of those good omens that results in a baby spending its first moments on earth inhaling its own waste.

1:50 PM

Scalp electrode application sounds pretty harrowing.  Screws into infant scalp.  Welcome to the party, pal.

1:55 PM

Room smells like ketchup.  Killing me.  Want to eat something hot and crisp-skinned that I can drench in ketchup.  Internal monitoring equipment being passed around and frowned uncertainly at.  Teen Dad pretends vacuum-assisted delivery device is an antique telephone.  Try out one of the vacuum things on my arm and give myself a big round hickey.  Can’t imagine what that feels like suctioned onto one’s tiny barely-formed head.

2:03 PM

Learn from teacher that 75% of first-time moms request an epidural.  “Sold!” whisper-yells Teen Dad.

2:10 PM

Teacher introduces unfamiliar-to-me synonym for “trashed” in course of pain medication discussion: “snowed”.  I like that.

2:12 PM

Hickey slowly fading.  Discussing hardcore anesthesia now.  Wonder if I can get spinal anesthesia if we pay a little extra.  Teacher: “I could hit your feet with a hammer and you wouldn’t feel it.”  Teen Dad: “Awesome.”  (said while idly sketching a jet fighter of some sort).

2:25 PM

Learn that some women who get epidurals have a “window”, an area of their body that doesn’t get very numb.  Not sure if really concentrated pain tons better than pain all over.  Either way, pain.  I hate pain.  Glad I will experiencing very little of it throughout this process.  Sad and scared that Annie has to.  Seems like at the very least a nurse should have to kick the dad in the nuts.

2:35 PM

Bathroom break #2.  We both go to bathroom (only pee).  Both of us then go to cafeteria.  I make myself a nice unassuming roast beef sandwich.  Annie gets a thing of grapes and a baggie of cubed cheese.  We each get a molasses cookie.  A nice comforting plain jane repast.  I have another free tiny Schweppe’s and a few more Lorna Doones even though I don’t like either that much.  The L.D.s are a little more appealing this time.

2:35 PM

Remember that we will be watching a C-section movie in a few minutes.  Decide probably best to finish roast beef sandwich before that particular motion picture commences.  Perfect amount of mustard on sandwich.  Go me!

2:40 PM

C-section film starts.  Animated part reminiscent of late 80’s-era Don Bluth.  Not really.  Very by-the-numbers computer animation.  Still a bit alarming.  Stretchy.  Piercey.  Yucky.

2:42 PM

Without warning there is brief footage of a real c-section patient being stitched back up.  Guy to my right groans a little and looks down at the table.  He’s not ready for this jelly.

3:05 PM

Tour of labor unit now available.  Pile into elevator.  2nd time this week I’ve had the privilege of riding an elevator jam-packed w/pregnant women.

3:10

Check out a delivery room.  Aquamarine in hue w/blue floral trim.  Nothing fancy.  Hot in room, crowded, hard to see/pay attention.  Someone out in the hall yells “Oh no!  I’m going home!”  A depressing room despite and maybe because of decorative attempts to home it up.

3:20 PM

All go to the viewing window where a young man outfitted in hip-hop-seeming attire and askance baseball cap is gazing at his new baby girl w/fond uncertainty.  Within seconds Annie is co-opting my shoulder to stifle sniffles of emotion.  Expecting my wife and child to be in constant tears for their first month together.  Will make it difficult to hear Xbox.  Suppose I’ll manage somehow.

3:25 PM

Check out postpartum room.  Not much to say about it.  Chair for support partner is much comfier-looking than the one in the delivery room.

3:30 PM

Pack back into elevator, but not before letting a profoundly crusty-looking janitor exit with a giant wheeled container of some sort in tow, looking mightily put-out to have to plow through a barricade of knocked-up broads.  Labor unit is on 7th floor.  Elevator stops at 5th and 4th floors.  Entertaining/exciting to behold reaction of the people who’d intended to board the elevator.  Both immediately decline upon glimpsing the elevator’s contents.  Somewhere in the elevator I hear a kiss happen.

3:35 PM

Get back to class.  Discuss post-partum depression, including anecdote wherein a woman requested that her spouse take the microwave out of the house because she was afraid she might cook the baby in it.  Brooke Shields also discussed.  Did anyone ever see that supposedly awful “Brenda Starr” movie she was in?  Haven’t thought of that in forever.

3:45 PM

The ladies are asked to get up and do some exercises, and the men are asked to stand up and look confused/concerned.  A long few minutes.  People can’t sit back down fast enough when it’s over.

3:53 PM

Learn about the Gate Theory, in which you lessen pain by tricking your brain to focus on something else, like rubbing your forearm vigorously after burning your hand.  Brains are dummies.

3:55 PM

Teacher hasn’t repeated any weird sentences today that I’ve noticed, nor said or pantomimed anything particularly off-putting, although now that I’ve written that she’s just said, “You will never hear me say C-section.  You are not a grapefruit.”  But that’s still pretty tame (not to mention outright sensible) compared to yesterday.  Come on, lady!  I got a blog to do here!

4:05 PM

Now just an open Q&A time.  1 out of 4 births are C-sections @ this hospital (mostly due to fact that few other hospitals around here can take high-risk patients).  Questions predominantly concerned with statistics.  How normal is this, how common is that.  The big picture is a big deal.  I ask a question about pacifiers and are they good or what.  Teacher says she used to not like them until her baby wouldn’t shut up and then she liked them a lot.

4:15 PM

Class will end early, out of things to talk about.  Relaxation CD this time is narrated by a woman who sounds like she’s recently experienced an undisclosed traumatic event.  Relaxing!  Somehow though this CD works on me.  I fall asleep for a couple minutes then wake up and feel refreshed/weird.

4:22 PM

Another impromptu narration of labor day by Teacher and we’re done.  Fill out evaluation form, say nice things about class and Teacher.  “Better snacks, less pretend vagina-wiping” considered/rejected for helpful comment.  Feel like we should go up to Teacher and thank her but of course don’t.

4:30 PM

Drive home, mentally drained but a bit more confident overall.  Will rub Annie’s ballooning ankles later while watching old “Soap” reruns.  Day off tomorrow.  Should probably go buy a car seat.

CHILDBIRTH CLASSES: DAY ONE OF TWO

Posted in It's Alive! on April 17, 2010 by butthorn

All times approximate.

11:45 AM

Arrive.  Somewhat soiled-looking baby dolls stationed around a giant “U” of folding tables.  Immediately approached by presumed instructor, a diminutive, bespectacled woman who asks us how we intend to pay.  Make out check for $90, accept handwritten receipt.  Maudlin piano music playing over PA.  One other couple here besides us.  Nobody looks too psyched.  There are 10 baby dolls, each wearing a differently-colored/patterned onesie.  Our doll has easily the drabbest onesie of the bunch, colorless but for the natural yellowing of age and neglect.  More sullen, defeated couples trickling in.  Besides the dolls there are many handouts to peruse.  Annie zeroes in on the one about epidurals.  Apparent prevalence of cons over pros unlikely to sway her desire to receive one.  I don’t blame her.

11:50 AM

There are also electronic thermometers and those blue baby baster things (Annie informs me this is an aspirator) at each station.  Fun to shoot air out of aspirator at the papers Annie is trying to read.  I already have to shit.

11:55 AM

There are snacks of an indeterminate nature on a table near us.  Pitchers of water and a thing of Ocean Spray Cranberry Apple.  Is “cranapple” a registered trademark of a competing juice company or has the term been officially retired?  I hate cran.  There is also a basket of individually-wrapped somethings that looks mildly promising.  I also have to pee now.  Why am I writing this instead of going to the bathroom?  Piano music starting to get me down.  Sounds like music from “thirtysomething”.

12:00 PM

Annie looks at “dilation chart” in one of the handouts and quietly takes name of Lord in vain.

12:02 PM

Fairly diverse crowd racially – especially for Maine – but the fatigue and difficult-to-place shame are universal.  Teacher writes name on board.  Very young, possible teenage couple to our left.  Possibly teenage guy is poking doll in the throat and chuckling.  Door closed.  Sad music turned off.  Teacher reveals she is a single parent that home-schools her three kids.  Already completely intimidated by her.  Introductions made around the room.  Women do all the talking in all but one case.  One woman announces her baby is breach and room gasps a little.

12:10 PM

Teacher immediately refutes Lamaze research.  Subject of labor pain addressed right off the bat.  Probably the #1 thing a classroom of first-time parents is concerned with so this is smart.  Now looking at the cervixes in a childbirth-related magazine.  Teacher now saying “uterus” a lot.  Now discussing “fundal” height.  Hard not to laugh at “fundal”.  Labor pains described as “a big scrunch”, said by Teacher while miming the wringing out of a wet towel, or in this case a woman’s spine.  A little air noticeably sucked out of room.

12:20 PM

Cervix chart again consulted.  Now discussing c-sections.  Concerned about this horrifying, costly, and thoroughly possible possibility.  Subsequent discussion of timing contractions makes it feel like the need to do this is imminent, like in a few minutes imminent.

12:25 PM

Teacher has interesting habit of repeating entire sentences for emphasis, e.g. “Bright red bleeding running down your legs is not normal.  Bright red bleeding running down your legs is not normal.”  Teacher actually mimes wiping vagina w/hand while stressing this point.  Five minutes later she says it yet a third time, thankfully sans graphic pantomime.

12:30 PM

Laminated poster passed to me from man on my right of a crayon sketch of a woman looking uncomfortable on a lavender sofa.  Superimposed on this scene is a list of early labor warning signs, the first of which, kicking off the list with panache, is “leaking/gushing fluids from vagina”.  Gushing?

12:35 PM

Teacher beginning to display a true talent for deadpan.  “I swear to God you’re not gonna die from the pain.  It is very short-lived.  12-14 hours.”  Now discussing the possible need for a dogsitter during labor, illustrating the point with a brief anecdote about “Oreo” and his commendable bladder control.  Teacher blandly intoning that “the doctor lubricates his fingers and he’s gonna stick ’em in your vagina” somehow more shocking than the pretend crotch-wipe from before.

12:40 PM

Teacher now guiding a smaller, floppier doll through a model of a pelvis.  Now straddling the doll to show correct infant exit positions.  Teacher makes doll wave in greeting up at her while straddling it.  Male teen to our left having a tough time composing himself during this demonstration.  Teacher: “I have a pelvis you could drive a Mack truck through.  I have a pelvis you could drive a Mack truck through.”

12:45 PM

Animated c-section movie announced for tomorrow with excitement.  Agree that does sound exciting.  Hoping for Ralph Bakshi production.  Perhaps Pixar.

12:55 PM

Now discussing “transition” – worst part of labor.  Pain pain pain.  Of transition Teacher states “Sometimes ladies get angry during this stage” and “Boy, it hurts wicked”.  Talking about this is giving me a migraine.  Can only imagine how Annie feels.  Not looking forward to that mucous plug making its appearance.  Our attention is directed to laminated poster celebrating squatting on wall, which features disconcerting colored pencil sketch of a vagina from which a Subway party platter could be handily extracted.

1:00 PM

Bathroom break announced!

1:07 PM

Take poop.  Probably should have waited until after discussion of breathing techniques.  Fellow expectant father enters stall right after me and immediately flushes toilet.  Whoops.

1:12 PM

Go to hospital cafeteria to procure something approximating lunch.  Get coconut creme whoopie pie, bold Chex mix, and a chai.  Asian cashier speaks very little English.  Points at each of my purchases and asks, “What this?”

1:15 PM

Go back to classroom.  Am questioned by Annie as to why I purchased such a crunchy snack (Chex mix).  Will disrupt “Christina’s Birth”, which I see is a film we are about to view.  Couple to our right probably regretting their cheeseburger purchases.  Did not consider the disruption of crunchiness and am disappointed in myself.  “Christina” is a blonde, jorts-clad woman who moans in constant agony.  She is now lying in a bathtub eating a strawberry pudding pop in between agonized moans.

1:25 PM

“Transition” scene starting.  Getting somewhat intense.  I look around room to gauge reactions to the onscreen action.  Accidentally make eye contact with guy who had to flush my shit.  Return focus to film.

1:30 PM

Christina has butterfly tattoo over buttocks.  Baby coming out.  Purple.  Emotional scene.  Can sort of see why Annie enjoys watching/having emotional breakdowns over “A Baby Story” on TLC all the time.  Hear sniffles to my left.  Look at Annie and smile.  She gives me a look and wipes her eye.

1:35 PM

Movie not as upsetting as feared.  Consumption of coconut creme pie mostly undisrupted.  Pretty good snack.  Chai also pretty good.  Wish I could eat the Chex mix without everyone bludgeoning me with their faux infants.

1:40 PM

Recording of tinkling chimes heard outside the classroom – means a baby was just born in the hospital.  Everyone looks less miserable for a couple seconds.

1:45 PM

Going to be learning relaxation techniques at some point.  Asked by Teacher to picture ultimate relaxing scenario.  Realize this for me would entail lounging on the screened porch of my grandparents’ camp in the early evening while using Flickchart, early 80’s era country music playing on a beat-up radio in the next room, eating Cape Cod chips with Heluva Good buttermilk ranch dip, and drinking ice cold Pepsi out of an old glass, happy in the knowledge that there is also a cold Symphony bar waiting for me in the fridge.

1:50 PM

Other relaxation/distraction techniques discussed.  Teacher relates tale of woman who played Bingo with her relatives until she was 9 cm dilated.  Teacher then traverses the room squirting way too much lotion into the hands of the men, whereupon we are asked to massage the hands of our preggos.  Holding the pen to write now all but impossible.  Also massage preggo backs with wooden thingamajigs.

1:55 PM

Example of a well-packed overnight bag scoffed at by Teacher and students alike for containing camera film, change for a pay phone, and an audiocassette.  A handy carry-along for couples intending to travel back in time to 1987 before giving birth.

1:57 PM

Quick glance around the table confirms bottled water as the most popular beverage for this group, despite there being 2 refreshing-enough-looking pitchers of water nearby.  A sure sign of future bad parenting!

1:59 PM

“Hut-hut-HEE” and “Him-him-him-HOO” both suggested by Teacher as useful phrases to use during breathing exercises.  Annie: “Listening to this is making me wanna hyperventilate!”

2:00 PM

“An enema is a bag of water that we squirt into your rectum to make you wanna poop.” = not good time for me to make eye contact with teenage father to our left.  Notice he and I are both idly playing w/aspirators.

2:10 PM

Just noticed that in addition to his unflattering onesie, our doll is the only one in the room without eyes.  Eyelids are manufactured shut.  A truly bothersome and downright creepy discovery that makes it momentarily difficult to pay attention to the lecture until Teacher snaps me back to reality via the phrase: “You are going to feel like a bowling ball is coming out of your butt.”

2:15 PM

To my dismay I learn that all this time I have been mispronouncing the word “perineum”!  Would seem like more of a big deal if you knew how often I say it.  Turns out this is a lead-in to a discussion on “perineal massage”, which helps to deter the possibility of “perineal tearing”.  Reconsidering “late-term abortion”.

2:22 PM

Perineal tearing discussion lasting a mite longer than one might ideally hope.

2:24 PM

Model of placenta looks like something out of a Frank Henenlotter film.  Turns out baby essentially steeped in its own urine this whole time.  He’ll probably find our apartment to be comparatively tidy and good-smelling.

2:25 PM

“You’ll be wet and moist until you deliver.  You’ll be wet and moist until you deliver.”

2:27 PM

Tool used to potentially puncture amniotic sac passed around the room with noticeable briskness.

2:29 PM

“Every now and then we get a baby who poops in the amniotic fluid.  Not nice.  Not nice.  Not supposed to do that.  Not supposed to do that.”

2:30 PM

“If I was to put your face into a bucket of peanut butter, and you were to breathe that in, your lungs would not work good, and you would get pneumonia, and you would have to go to the hospital.”  At some point I have clearly lost track of the discussion.

2:32 PM

Audible reaction of disgust heard somewhere in the room at the mention and inevitable pantomime of “plooping out the placenta”.  Fate of plooped-out placenta?  “We chuck it.”

2:40 PM

Teacher vigorously miming the icing of the perineum and the usage of a sitz bath, or “a Jacuzzi for your heinie”.  Am astounded and even inspired by Teacher’s 100% lack of shame.

2:45 PM

Bathroom break number 2.  Procure 2 Gosselin’s donuts from cafeteria.  Cashier does not question donuts.

2:55 PM

Return to classroom, where Teacher is going around demonstrating a fancy thermometer that you put on people’s heads.  Seize opportunity to consume noisy Chex mix.  Drink the free water to demonstrate my superiority.  Also because hospital cafeteria only stocks Diet Mountain Dew – an outrage!

3:00 PM

On to baby care.  Learn that baby will eat and void with alarming frequency, and will shriek and weep in lieu of sleeping.

3:05 PM

The dolls come into play.  Get some swaddling practice in.  Always enjoyed the idea of origami so this is sort of fun.  Takes a few tries to get it right.  Learn about taking armpit and rectal temperature.  Do a few more swaddles for the sheer enjoyment of it.

3:15 PM

“Poop in the stool is a bad sign.”  Assuming she meant “blood”.

3:25 PM

Circumcision discussion.  Thing that clips the foreskin is called a “Gomco”.  Somehow seems right.  Gross penis-slicing laminated posters passed around, one at each end of the table.  Where we are seated at the center of the “U” of tables, we end up with both posters completing their tour of the table with us, so we have to hang out with the gross penis-slicing posters for most of the remainder of the class.

3:35 PM

Baby-having chimes recording plays again.  Everyone smiles and looks at the door.

3:40 PM

Begin viewing a film called “The Period of Purple Crying”.  About how to try to figure out why baby won’t shut hole.  Turns out “purple” is acronym: Peak of crying, Unexpected, Resists soothing, Pain-like face, Long-lasting, Evening.  One snippet of babies bawling after another.  Shaking baby syndrome mentioned.  Dangerous to shake babies because head big in relation to body.  So if you shook me I could also die.  Shaking babies can also cause blindness.  Can’t imagine anything worse than unintentionally killing your own baby due to your own fatigue and frustration.  Just hearing the babies crying in this movie is making me want to launch them out window. Will need larger living space ASAP.

3:45 PM

Movie over, discussed.  “It’s OK to put your crying baby in the crib and go out in the next room and cry and say, “God, this sucks.”

3:47 PM

Donut not sitting too good.  Gross penis-slicing posters probably not helping.  Hard to stop looking at them.

3:50 PM

Yet another film: “Understanding Newborns”.  Pretty unstressful, soothingly informative.

3:57 PM

Baby will be cone-headed, hairy, purple, and encrusted with Cream of Wheat upon birth.  Later he will shit green crap and will develop an upsetting facial rash.  Can’t wait to hang out with that guy.  Subsequent footage of babies happily reacting to their parents mostly nullifies adverse effects of information regarding temporary deformities and dung consistency.

4:08 PM

Unexpectedly really touched by scene of new father earnestly exclaiming: “We’re gonna have exciting adventures outside, and I’m gonna teach him things!”  Sounds like he has a pretty good handle on the situation.

4:15 PM

Discuss film and what happens when you leave hospital, discharge procedure.  Hospital actually has more than one “certified car seat assistant”.

4:18 PM

Extremely disquieting baby abduction discussion.  Actual instances discussed in detail.  Very few moderate topics broached in a class like this.  Either wonderful or unthinkable.  Not much middle ground.  Want to go home to my laptop and ginger ale.

4:25 PM

Baby-bathing discussed, lengthy demonstration.  We all pretend to bathe our dolls.  Teenage couple’s doll has detailed male genitalia.  Ours has featureless flesh-hued fabric beneath his dingy onesie.  I hate our fake baby, whom I’ve named Herman.

4:40 PM

Lights are dimmed and we listen to a relaxation CD of some sort.  Guy on CD sounds like cross between Ben Stein and Kevin Spacey.  Ben Spacey tells us to “scan” our bodies for tension and release it, fails to explain how we might go about accomplishing this.  Feel more stunned than relaxed thereafter.

4:50 PM

To close out the first day of childbirth classes, Teacher narrates a rather remarkable impromptu dramatization of the impending day of labor and birth.  Plays the lulling piano music from earlier in the background.  When she gets to the contractions parts, the men are asked to hold their partners’ hands and squeeze each finger in quick succession – 1 2 3 4 5, saying some kind of nonsense syllable with each small squeeze, like “hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-HEH”.  The lights are still dimmed while she carries everyone through the process.  It’s surprisingly intense, and Teacher really sets the scene with a lot of details.  No faltering or even pausing to think of what to say next.  Around the room women’s eyes are closed, all are deep breathing.  Men watch their wives/girlfriends breathe and hold their hands.  Hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-HEH.  Teacher talks about pain over the piano.  The baby comes out.  The room feels different.

5:05 PM

Lights on.  Time to go.  File out the door.  Valet parking brings car around.

5:30 PM

Figure trying the new KFC “Double Down” sandwich to be the perfect way to celebrate making it to the halfway mark in our childbirth education.  Annie disagrees, gets Quarter Pounder instead.

5:42 PM

Watch one of my favorite shows, “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman”, while tearing into the Double Down.  Greasy and unwieldy.  Necessary to fashion a big paper towel glove to eat this thing.  Mostly taste pepper.  Top chicken patty crisp, bottom chicken patty sopping.  Bacon seen but not tasted.  Cheese clearly an adhesive as opposed to flavor enhancer.

5:50 PM

Face feels like a small drooping garbage bag 1/5 full of warm oil when I’m done.  Feels like hearing now somehow impaired.  Odd floating sensation in extremities.  The term “perineal tearing” suddenly reappears in brain, to aggravate already considerable discomfort.  Inhale deeply and count slowly to ten.  Hut-hut-hut-hut-HOO.  Hut-hut-hut-hut-HOO.

PICK A NAME, ANY NAME

Posted in Food Where's My Car, It's Alive!, Mr. Bitch Goes to Bitchtown on December 6, 2009 by butthorn

Some snow finally fell out of the sky onto the ground and the cars and stairs and everything.  It was easy to deal with and nice to see.  It isn’t cold outside at all, and the town looks as Christmasy as a mill town possibly can.  I made tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, with cheddar jack Cheezits on the side; the ultimate in cozy meals. 

I watched a “Mystery Science Theater 3000” episode (“Horrors of Spider Island”, which served to further the very correct theory that the awesomer the title, the poorer the film) and an almost-entertaining 1976 thriller about God possessing people’s brains and telling them to shoot people (entitled, appropriately enough, “God Told Me To”) while Annie promptly fell sound asleep for several hours after eating my dangerously relaxing repast.  Now we’re intermittently gaping dumbly at “60 Minutes” in HD.  Not a program that cries out for high definition, but boy, these people’s foreheads look fantastic. 

The tree is assembled and displayed, and in spite of its spindly fakeness it adeptly cheers up the room.  I’m drinking a lot of ginger ale.  My wife bought her first pair of maternity jeans yesterday.  They have a built-in, flesh-hued girdle sort of attachment that I confess I’m a bit jealous of.  It seems snugger and less cumbersome and pinchy than a belt.  Belts are stupid.  I want girdle jeans. 

Suitable names for the baby continue to be elusive.  I almost feel like we’ll have to look at the baby once it’s out and the right name will magically make itself apparent, like how our cat Archie just “looked like an Archie”.  I don’t know.  We certainly don’t want to add to the inundation of Logans and Madisons currently overtaking day cares across the nation, but then again I don’t necessarily want to shy away from a name we like simply because it happens to be popular at the moment.  At the same time, I can’t abide giving the child a name that, while probably a fine name in theory, happens to be shared by someone I hated growing up; this condition eliminates a depressing number of possibilities. 

Names can make or break a kid.  Looking at books or websites dedicated to lists of baby names just makes me want to name the baby something ridiculous/hateful like “Walmart Gonads” to get back at him/her for putting us through the irritating and seemingly impossible task of coming up with a word and accompanying sound that lets everyone know who they are for the rest of their life.  My brother-in-law claims to be in favor of letting the child name themselves once they’re old enough to comprehend the act of naming.  This isn’t an unintriguing idea, but I find the child’s lack of a name annoying now, and the kid isn’t even out here yet.  Not to mention we’d run the risk of ending up the proud parents of Spongebob Stover.  At least it’s not “Logan”. 

Here’s some other winners the geniuses out there are naming their poor sap babies according to BabyCenter: Cash (Not only a depressing name for a child, but it’s more popular than “Jeremy” this year; I can’t help but take offense [then again you can’t exchange Jeremy for goods and/or services, or at least probably not very quality ones]), Xander (No no no, America!  That is not your child!  That is the annoying guy from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”!   The TV is not the place to get a name for your baby!  You didn’t see people back in 1992 naming their kid “Urkel”, did you?  And “Urkel” is both a less annoying name AND character than Xander!  I would be happier, America, if  “Urkel” were the 141st most popular name in this country right now, but no, that distinction belongs to “Xander”!  “Spongebob” probably really is on this list somewhere…I will not be surprised, I truly will not….Xander…grr…), Joaquin (No, you can’t have that name for your baby either, America.  That’s just for that one dude.), Londyn (I just purposefully shit my pants right this second to make a point about what a terrible name that is, that’s how much I hate that name.  You can’t just cram a letter “Y” in there and think you’re special.), Lyric (or Lyrrhyck, somewhere on the list I’m sure; anyway, P.U., am I right?), Talon (Naming your child after a bird’s hand qualifies you as a horse’s ass! [insert Phyllis Diller laugh here]), Maverick (Now you have to name your next child Goose; happy now?), Princess (I didn’t know people could give birth to kitties!  That’s adorable!), Peanut (Babycenter seems confident that this is actually the 652nd most popular name bestowed upon defenseless babies in American in 2009.  So either the website lacks credibility or the country does.  Or my whimsy tolerance is at an all-time low.  At any rate, fuck you all.), Remington (This list is full of pip-pip-cheerio names like this.  Why does everyone want their child to aspire to preppiness?  Did preppies stop being assholes at some point without my knowledge?  Do I know anything that is happening at all, anywhere?), Maxton (That’s not even anything.  That’s a random prefix paired with a random suffix.  Miketopher, anyone?  Frankvis?), Analise (I know this is a time-honored name that’s been around for generations now, but that word is basically “anal lice”…hey everyone, meet my lovely baby girl Buttbugs…), New (As a rule you don’t want a name that becomes closer to a cruelly ironic joke with each passing second; also, that’s not a name, that’s a fucking adjective)…the list, I’m sad to report, goes on.

Take a name like “Stanley”.  A fine name.  Not one we’re considering for our own child, but a perfectly acceptable, meat and potatoes kind of name.  Afternoon, Stanley.  How’s that new riding lawnmower treating you?  Glad to hear it.  Take care, Stanley.  That’s the kind of comforting, low-on-unnecessary- personal-details conversation you can have with a guy named Stanley.  It’s a name.  It works.  Guess where “Stanley” falls on Babycenter’s list.  Guess.  1031.  One thousand and thirty one.  Behind Maverick.  Behind Xzavier (not a typo).  Behind Peanut.  Behind Not, My, and The! 

Not!  My!!  THE!!!!

I don’t know, maybe this list is inaccurate, although I’m pretty sure BabyCenter is the online place to go for baby information, for whatever that’s worth.  In looking at these names, which obviously somehow aren’t considered silly and embarrassing to everyone given that kids are really getting named this stuff, it strikes me that it doesn’t take long to feel like an old person in this country.  Every few years everything seems to change just enough to make you uncomfortable, and you lash out and call everything stupid simply because it isn’t what you’re used to.  That’s a natural enough progression, and a less frightening explanation than what I really think/fear, which is we’re all turning into insane, thoughtless cartoons without even realizing it. 

On an unrelated note, we only get two channels on our TV at the moment, one of which is The CW, and I just got to watch “Cheaters” for the first time tonight.  Nice to meet you, new favorite show!

IT’S BEEN AWHILE

Posted in Inarguable Smartness, It's Alive!, Marvy Movies on November 29, 2009 by butthorn

So I’m sittin’ around, watching “Redbelt” on Netflix instant viewing.  It’s good.  Just ate some wings from the Hannford “wing bar” and a salad with fat-free Italian dressing.  Tasty.  General Tso’s flavored wings and honey-fried wings.  Both shredded yellow cheese and cubed white cheese on the salad.  What’s especially good is the combination of Italian dressing, cheese, and a dried cranberry placed on a cucumber slice.  Everything is fine right now.  It hasn’t been cold or snowy outside.  The baby is the size of an apple and it has a heartbeat that sounds like a lightsaber.  I have a pint of Americone Dream in the freezer, just waiting for me to lay waste to it.  Riding out the end of a reasonably restful Thanksgiving break, during which I ate a great deal of good food (I am related to good cooks) and enjoyed spending time with my family.  I ate blueberry pie and coconut cream pie, both of which I assure you were even tastier than you’re imagining them right now. 

What else?  Moving to a new place come January.  Nothing special lookswise, but it has two bedrooms, is in a calm environment, and includes high-speed Internet, cable, phone, and heat within the rent price, which isn’t drastically more expensive than what we’re currently paying.  Planning on getting rid of our current cumbersome and saggy couches and replacing them with something that can successfully provide both comfort and support.  Ditto with our shit bed.  Christmas is coming up.  I don’t feel a whole lot concerning that.  It’ll come and go, and we’ll no doubt have a nice time.  We’ll get things and give things. 

Everything is starting to feel different.  Without really being able to verbalize the sensation to my satisfaction, I can only tell you that the knowledge that one is about to introduce a child into their life feels something like suddenly caring about everything and nothing all at once.  The act of classifying items and concepts as “important” or “unimportant” is very much in the former camp.  Though as of yet it rarely stops me from engaging in same, I am more aware now when an activity that I’m in the process of engaging in is a waste of my time, from the most general of standpoints.  Time seems to be passing even more quickly than before, and yet I am more cognizant of the moment.  I hear myself a bit more clearly when I talk, especially when it comes to idle chitchat, in the act of which I seem to be more able than usual to forgive myself comments that are inane or flat out untrue (or quite possibly both), and yet in these moments I have felt myself actually wincing with embarrassed disbelief in mid-utterance.  I am able to pick up a belonging – a paperback from a bookshelf, for example – and within seconds discern whether or not it is something that needs to remain in my possession.  I can recognize a voiced opinion – good, bad, or indifferent – as just that, and not a hurtful, deadening blueprint for later action and trains of thought on my own part.  Recognition is a start. 

Because I don’t want to sound or be crazy, I don’t think the act of fertilizing an egg and thereby creating an organism that will eventually develop into an alternately intrusive and poignant little person whose hopeful happiness and continued existence both depend on a steady siphoning of ones time and finances magically or scientifically enhances ones sense of self.  It probably just follows that a huge, unfamiliar change of this magnitude tends to lead to a lot of sitting back and grasping for perspective.  That’s a disappointingly level-headed explanation that I privately reject because I’d like to believe that life is more of a fairy tale than that, but for the sake of a coherent blog let’s go ahead and assume that it’s valid.  Big changes lead to big feelings which potentially lead to big changes in another direction.  Whatever the cause, and whether it prompts me to evolve (however tentatively) or not, these feelings and perceived realizations are useful to me.  They feel positive, and the normally unquashable tendency to deflate them with humor or out-and-out denial via fear or embarrassment has become more of a selectively permeable membrane than a big, grey, retarded wall.  My hope is that this encouraging if vague aura is something that will either linger or intensify upon the actual birth of my son or daughter (still no word on that yet), and isn’t the type of thing that will crawl back up my asshole and suffocate once I’m looking down at and struggling to contain/rationalize the helpless alien wriggling in my unaccomodating arms. 

So what about the rest of you guys or gals who’ve had kids?  You feel anything weird while you were expecting?  Concentrate on the weirder aspects of the experience, if you could.  The joy upon birth is a given and thus less interesting to hear about.  I’ll thank you to keep your commonplace happiness to yourselves!  You don’t necessarily need to respond if you’d prefer not.  It’s just that the act of conceiving a child has turned me into a superhero and I’d like to discuss that with someone. 

“Redbelt” just ended.  A solid effort.  I found it admirably unselfconscious for a David Mamet movie, except for whenever Ricky Jay or Joe Mantegna were talking, but I guess those guys had to be in it so people didn’t forget that David Mamet wrote it.  Chipolte Egalitarianism was excellent in the lead role, and somehow managed to make both leadership and principles seem neither boring nor lame.  Tim Allen, in an unexpected turnaround of events, managed to disgrace neither himself nor the entire human race in his supporting role.  I have nothing whatsoever against Tim Allen in the grand scheme of things; I am only saying derogatory things about him because this is the Internet and I am writing about Tim Allen.  That doesn’t seem fair.  I’m sorry, Tim Allen.  You did a good job in “Redbelt”.  I’ll now post a picture of something having to do with “Redbelt” because who wants to look at a big pile of words?

All glib glazing aside, if you like fighting and writing, you could do a lot worse than “Redbelt”.  Storywise, the basic deal is that the guy in the poster who just reduced that other guy to a crumpled heap of bruises and gi is a noble sensei who gets himself into a tragically awkward situation through a series of well-intentioned actions that all go horribly wrong, and he must extricate himself from the resultant unpleasantness without compromising his morals or integrity while looking tough and handsome throughout.  This being David Mamet, people say “fuck” and interupt each other’s sentences with fair frequency, but not to the point where it’s ridiculous.  Refreshingly few scenes play like the following:

MIKE: See, the thing is –

BOB: I know.

MIKE: No, look, the thing, the fucking thing –

BOB: It’s fucked.  It’s a fucked-up thing.

MIKE: What you need to see, to understand here, is this thing, which is fucking all of us, me and you both…

BOB: It’s fucking us both, and Charlie too…

MIKE: Fuck Charlie.

BOB: Fuck Charlie?

MIKE: What did I say?

BOB: You said fuck Charlie.

MIKE: I know what I fucking said. 

BOB: You asked me what you said.  I’m just saying what you said.

MIKE: What I said – and what I’m saying to you here, what I’m saying, Bob, is this thing, this fucking script, was written by David Mamet. 

BOB: I know it.  I know.

MIKE: David fucking Mamet.

BOB: I know.

In fact, the characters who take up the majority of the screen time in “Redbelt” could be easily confused with characters who do not happen to appear in a film written by David Mamet, and to that end I hereby congratulate David Mamet for not writing like himself all the time.  And there’s even a few good scenes of people kicking each other, so there you go with that. 

So to sum up, having a baby is weird, and “Redbelt” is a decent flick.  Thanksgiving break is almost over, meaning that I will be expected to get up at a certain time tomorrow and drive to a building that is not my home where I will remain for several hours for the purpose of accomodating future commerce for myself and my wife.  You can only be so happy about that kind of thing (The driving to and remaining inside the building that is.  Commerce I like. ).  Time to cling to the remaining shreds of my protracted weekend, by which I mean time to go use Flickchart.  I hope everybody had a nice Thanksgiving and we’ll do this again soon.

HOLY CRAP, I’M HAVING A BABY!

Posted in It's Alive! on October 10, 2009 by butthorn

I had sex with my wife and it resulted in an impending and significant financial burden!  Son of a bitch! 

It’s true, my wife and I are having a baby!  I know, I know, we’re not special.  Lots of people have had babies.  I mean, look around at all the babies.  Everyone is pretty good proof that people have babies sometimes.  To us, however, it feels like we’re the first couple ever to embark on this tender journey of pooping and destitution, and to say the least we’re equal parts thrilled and shell-shocked. 

This baby will be invading my personal space sometime in late May, if all goes according to “plan”.  Not long ago, news such as this would have destroyed me emotionally.  I would have run screaming into the woods.  Once there, I would have sat down on the least wet stump I could find (after carefully inspecting it for silverfish) and cried, keening and blubbering long into the night.  Then I would have started feverishly looking around for the checkerberry plant (gaultheria procumbens), because it’s the only plant I know of that you can eat in the wild.  It smells like gum, and tastes like gum mixed with a bad-tasting plant.  From there, it’s hard to say what I would have done next.  The plan never extended beyond identifying and masticating checkerberry. 

But it was time to procreate or get off the pot.  Actually, from what I understand it’s best to get off the pot and then procreate.  Toilet procreation seems unsanitary and hard.  That’s a little joke, you can laugh at it or not laugh at it.  The ball’s in your court on that one.  Anyway, I’d say these days I’m about 44% ready for a child, and that’s way more ready than I’ve ever been in the past.  I think it’ll be fun to see what it does, what it thinks is funny, whether or not I stop calling it “it” once its sex has been established.  There are books I should probably be reading that purport to tell me how to deal with my new child and what to expect in general but frankly I’d rather snap my own neck than look at any of that stuff.  Besides, I already know many things about babies. 

RULES FOR BABIES:

1) Do not drop the baby on the floor. 

2) Do not put the baby in the stove.

3) Do not allow the baby to operate a motor vehicle, no matter how much it cries.

4) Do not put the baby in a “Perfect Plex”.

5) Do not throw the baby at people you don’t like.

6) Do not get the baby a tattoo.  He may think “Handy Manny” looks badass on his bicep right now, but it’s not gonna do them any favors later on when they’re trying to get laid. 

7) Do not lie down next to the baby and begin screaming, flailing, and shitting your pants to “see how it likes it”. 

8 ) Do not (or try not to) vomit directly onto the baby’s crotch upon unsealing its dung-encumbered diaper for the first time. 

9) Do not call the baby unkind names.  If you must attack your baby with words, create cuter substitutions for the usual vulgarity.  I plan on gently lambasting my child with the terms “chicken dinner” and “steak sandwich”.  For example: “What I paid for these diapers could have funded a bargain-priced Wii game, ya little chicken dinner!” or “You’ve ruined my life, you fucking steak sandwich!”

10) Do not make your baby go to a psychiatrist, no matter how messed up they seem. 

11) Introduce your baby to the work of Bob Newhart at an early age, that they might be more fully indoctrinated into the subtle nuances of his style of humor. 

12) If you and the baby are indoors and the house suddenly catches on fire, do not defenestrate the baby. 

13) Do not abandon the baby on someone’s doorstep with a saccharine note attached to his onesie.  That’s hokey.

14) Do not allow the baby access to your Netflix queue. 

15) Do not “pants” the baby in the middle of the mall and encourage bystanders to laugh and point.

16) Do not try to force episodes of “Arrested Development” on the baby.  If it’s meant to be, the baby will discover and learn to enjoy this fine program on its own.  The more you pressure it, the more it will resent the show on the basis of your badgering alone, however well-meaning you may be.  Just give it time. 

17) Ditto for “The Wire”. 

18) If your fantasy football team loses, do not defenestrate the baby.

19) Set a good example for your baby by behaving in a calm and respectful manner at all times, being careful not to use coarse language and to always display an unselfish and empathetic attitude.  Plus don’t beat your wife with the baby. 

20) If your baby disrupts your slumber with loud crying, don’t call the police on them. 

21) Do not “punk” your baby.

22)  When reading aloud to your baby, avoid the works of Joyce Carol Oates.  Babies HATE Joyce Carol Oates.  Nope, not even “We Were the Mulvaneys”.

23) Do not let your mom teach your baby to call Target “Tar-jay”, like it’s a fancy French store.  She didn’t invent that joke.  Stop letting her think that she did.

24) Do not teach your baby to share.  There’s no money in it.

25) Do not throw the baby out with the bathwater.  Drain the tub as you normally would, then put the baby up for adoption.

26) Do not extinguish cigarettes on your baby’s fontanelle.  Buy an ashtray!  Jesus!

27) Do not try to get your baby interested in the stuff that used to be on TV when you were a kid.  It will only hurt your feelings when your baby inevitably fails to exhibit the same enthusiasm for “Scarecrow and Mrs. King” that you once held. 

28) I know you don’t like doing it yourself, but do not make the baby mow the lawn.  It won’t do a good job.  Your lawn looks bad, you look bad.  It’s just a bad scene all around.  There’s usually a neighborhood kid that’s looking to make a few bucks.  Look around for handmade notices tacked in the entryway of your local store.  Honestly, you’re better off in the end just leaving the baby out of it.

29) Do not dropkick the baby into a yawning crevasse. 

30) Do not make your baby pay rent.  It breeds contempt. 

See?  I got babies down.  Whatever the case, it’s sure to be an alternately rewarding and horrifying ride, and I’m looking forward to the end result.  Because right now my wife is barfing into the toilet every two seconds and making me drive out into the night to purchase pickles, peaches, and chocolate milk.  So for both of our sakes, pray to whoever you might pray to that the next nine months go by quickly, as my wife isn’t big on puking and I’m not a fan of running errands. 

Well, I’m off to enjoy a fitful night’s sleep interspersed with vivid dreams of babies either electrocuting themselves or tearfully confronting me about why I didn’t try harder in school so I could get a better job that would afford them cooler toys, better food, and more stylish clothing.  Night!