What Are You Doing?

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I realized recently that every single day I ask my son “What are you doing?”  This is because he is constantly doing strange things.  At least, they appear strange to me.  They may be perfectly normal for him based on his current understanding of how the world works.  For example, he went through a phase in which he would take a big sip of his milk and then just open his mouth, letting it all flow out freely.  This was something that was entirely unpredictable.  It could come at any time during the feeding process.  Other odd things include, but are not limited to:

 

  • Hitting the television
  • Putting a USB plug in his mouth
  • Playing with the toilet paper
  • Knocking over his car playset
  • Eating crayons
  • Spitting out a piece of half-chewed food in favor of trying something different
  • Throwing all of his books on the floor

 

Kids are weird.  Although these strange things can be frustrating (to me anyway), they are very fun to watch.  Yes, I have to clean up after him, but Oliver is a fun kid.  He keeps my life interesting by constantly surprising me.  I never know what he’s going to do or say next.

 

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Speaking of saying, Oliver’s vocabulary has exploded over the past few days.  He is repeating everything but his own name.  For some reason he won’t even try that.  While Monica is spending her time teaching him colors, I’m getting him to say “poop” and laughing like a lunatic every time he says it.  He makes it sound fancy, with a little flourish to it.  I clearly have my priorities as a father.  I want him to know how to say the basics.

How Many Months is That?

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My son Oliver is now 17 months old.  For those counting at home, that’s almost a year and a half.  I recently told Oliver’s age to a colleague at work and she responded with a confused look, asking why I was still counting months.  I didn’t really have a good answer and I still don’t.  It’s weird.  I don’t tell people that I’m 366 months old.  That would be weird.  So why do count months in babies?

 

I thought this counting months thing would stop after Oliver turned 1, but we kept going.  On a recent play date (Yup, those are happening), a fellow first time dad said that he’d stop after his kid turned 2.  I’m thinking it’s a compromise and I’ll stop after 18 months.  Then he’ll be a year and a half and then two and that’s it.

 

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Truth be told, I think the month counting is due to the changes that occur at such a rapid pace during this time frame.  Oliver at 12 months was way different than Oliver at 17 months.  He’s like a completely different person.  He’s now walking, talking, climbing, and getting into all kinds of mischief.  He started walking at 11 months and now he runs.

 

Watching Oliver grow, learn, and change has been one of the parts of being a parent that I love.  There are so many things that we take for granted.  Things like eating with a fork or putting on a shirt are second nature to us, but a child has to learn how to do every little thing.  It’s a whole new piece of knowledge that he has to develop.

Monica Wins Christmas

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Yes, I’m writing a blog post about Christmas in the first week of July.  That’s how far behind I am on this thing.  Anyway, I started this here blog after being inspired by Kevin Smith’s My Boring Ass Life.  If he could do it, why can’t I?  So, for the year of 2008, I wrote up a post about what I did every single day.  There were days in which nothing much happened aside from me getting up, eating breakfast, and watching some DVDs.  Fortunately, 2008 was actually a pretty eventful year for me.  I was laid off after the company I worked for went out of business.  I was unemployed for about three weeks before starting a new job.  A stranger sent me porn.  Monica and I moved in together and then we got engaged.  Not bad.

I was surprised to find that people actually read the thing.  It was like a morning paper for some friends and family.  They may not read every one, but if they caught it either here or on Facebook (where the blog began), they read it.  At my high school reunion, I had a friend whom I hadn’t seen in close to ten years tell me that he knew all about my life for that span of time due to it.  I think that’s both creepy and comforting.

After awhile, I got tired of doing this every day and wanted to write about specific events such as the story of my first Rubik’s Cube and the posts became fewer and less frequent.  I thought a cool idea would be to compile all of 2008′s blog posts into one big file and print it up as a book.  I started this project in my spare time but quickly forgot about it.  The blog posts are all here and/or on Facebook so I could go back and read them if I ever wanted to.  I just didn’t.

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Then Christmas 2013 came.  Monica and I don’t usually do big gifts for each other.  I’d be happy with a box of Cracklin’ Oat Bran and an Amazon gift card from just about everybody.  So, it was surprising when Monica presented me with a one of a kind, two volume set of my life in print form.  She had painstakingly copied every single blog post, formatted it, and had it printed into two books (January – June and July – December).  This is one of the many reasons why my wife is awesome and I love her dearly.  She knew I would never do this myself and went ahead and did it for me.  She had done something like this for me once before, early on in our relationship.  She bought me an iPod, knowing that I wanted one but would most likely never buy it.  I still have that and it still works.  It has my name on the back and the words “Poop Marble” which I assure you, is not her pet name for me.

The books now stand proudly on a shelf in our living room, away from the copious amount of books that we have filling up shelves in the newly formed office / library downstairs (more on that later).  They signify a slice of my life in which some important and some not so important things happened to me.

Going Off The Grid

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A couple weeks ago I became the proud owner of a Samsung Galaxy S5.  This was an upgrade from my S3 which has now been handed down to Monica.  I’m a big fan of Samsung products, also having a Galaxy Tab and convincing Monica to buy a digital camera from the manufacturer.  I absolutely love the phone and everything it does.  I’m still exploring some of the features, but it’s a pretty awesome device.

 

Imagine my dismay when I picked up the phone on Sunday morning only to discover that the camera lens on the back was completely shattered.  It looked like a little spider web.  I have no earthly idea how this could have happened as I handle this phone like it’s a baby.  I spent the morning searching online to see if anyone else had this problem and what I could do to repair it.  It seemed like a simple enough procedure to fix it.  All I’d really have to do is pop the old lens out, still held intact by the lens protector (LOT OF GOOD THAT DID) and put in a new one.  It can’t be more complicated than changing an iPod battery and I did that a few years ago without issue.

samsung-galaxy-s5

 

Unfortunately, I found that it’s a little more complex than that.  The Samsung Galaxy S5 is waterproof for up to 30 feet I believe.  That’s great if I was having a water balloon fight with Aquaman and Namor the Sub-Mariner which is something I would totally do.  As a result, there’s a lot of special adhesives and stuff used to secure the lens to the phone to make sure that it’s a water-tight seal.  Additionally, parts for the device are not as readily available just yet as the phone is brand spanking new.

 

I called both Verizon and Samsung to see what I could do about having them fix it.  Verizon could do nothing, but Samsung could repair the lens for $70.  Yes, it would cost me $70 to get a lens replaced that’s the size of my thumbnail.  Plus, it would take up to two weeks to get the phone back (2 business days to get there, 5-7 business days for them to fix it, and then 2 business days to get back to me).  Can I really survive that long without a cellphone after having one for so long?

 

That’s what I intend to find out.  I packed and shipped my phone out earlier today.  At the time of this writing, I’ve been without for approximately 12 hours and I’m already going through withdrawals.  I’ve had numerous moments of panic after I put my hand on my leg over my pants pocket where my phone is usually kept, only to find it empty, thinking I’ve lost the device.  I’ve been cut off from communication so while I’m not in front of a computer, I have no idea what’s going on in the world.  I took a crap today and was bored out of my mind.

 

I’m honestly not sure how long I will last like this.  There are so many things with the phone that I depend on.  Directions, contacts, quick look-ups of who starred in that one movie with that guy.  I’m carpooling to a meeting tomorrow and realized that I have no way of telling my friend that I’ve arrived.  I’m curious as to how long I will hold out before breaking down and hooking up my old old Droid X that Monica was using up until a couple weeks ago.  What did people do before cellphones?

 

So if you need to get in touch with me, send me a physical letter via snail mail.  Otherwise, send me an email and I will get back to you eventually.  Alternatively, you could try smoke signals, carrier pigeons, or telegrams.

Bill Murray’s Hair

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Since Oliver was born, his hair has been slow growing.  He barely had any when he came out and since then, he’s been very slowly getting more.  He’s now almost thirteen months old and he’s got a bunch of hair.  It’s just not all over his head.  It’s patchy and a little thin and reminds me of Bill Murray.  He’s got this curly thing going on too.

 

 

There are worse people that he could remind me of, I guess.  Hopefully it grows in soon.  I think he’s going to look like a completely different person when his hair comes in.

Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts

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I’ve been a Ghostbusters fan for as long as I can remember.  The film is in my top four favorite movies of all time (joined by Snatch, Shaun of the Dead, and The Big Lebowski, in no particular order).  My favorite Ghostbuster has always been Egon.  In hindsight, this was an odd choice because Peter had all the best lines in the flick.  Then again, Egon was the smart one and he gets the girl (sort of).  This is why I was so saddened to hear that Harold Ramis passed away.  Ramis of course portrayed Dr. Egon Spengler on the big screen in both Ghostbusters films.  (I don’t care what anyone says, I still like the second one even though it’s inferior to the original.)  While Ramis also did a ton of great stuff in show business including writing films like Animal House and Meatballs, directing others like Caddyshack and Groundhog Day, and starring in even more in bit parts like Knocked Up, it was his work in Ghostbusters that stood out.

 

Photo Credit: Joe Roberts (http://jhroberts.deviantart.com/art/Harold-Goes-Up-436535287)

Photo Credit: Joe Roberts (http://jhroberts.deviantart.com/art/Harold-Goes-Up-436535287)

 

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t kept up on the goings-on in Ramis’ life so I was unaware that he was suffering from a disease called vasculitis for the past four years.  I didn’t even know what vasculitis is.  I still don’t really.  I just know that it took Egon away.  OK, that was a really lame line.  I’m trying to put into words how this has affected me.  I said on Twitter that this must be what it must have felt like for Beatles’ fans when John Lennon was shot.  Granted, Ramis wasn’t shot by a lunatic, but to have him seemingly die out of the blue for the casual observer came as a surprise.  With his passing, so goes a piece of my childhood.  I probably won’t feel this way when any of the other Ghostbusters die.  I’ll be sad, but outside of maybe Bill Murray, it won’t get much more than the basic reaction of “Man, that sucks.” that I’d give for most celebrity deaths.  Sorry Ernie Hudson.

 

Monica and I re-watched Ghostbusters last night.  It had been a few years since I had last seen it, but within moments everything came rushing back to me.  I remembered sitting in the living room of my parents’ house watching the film on a VHS tape that we had recorded from a rental from ShopRite.  I remembered having a handful of tapes next to the TV in similar fashion including a blank one I had saved to one day record Ghostbusters III.  I still have the Proton Pack toy from that era.  When my basement is finished it will be hanging proudly on the wall next to my framed Ghostbusters poster.

 

Photo Credit: Garrick Middleton (http://krak-fox.deviantart.com/art/E-Gone-436594231)

Photo Credit: Garrick Middleton (http://krak-fox.deviantart.com/art/E-Gone-436594231)

 

 

The film really holds up.  Watching it now, I looked for all the little things that are scattered throughout the movie.  Monica and I talked briefly about when we would show this to Oliver (formerly known as Egon Raphael).  I don’t know when I first saw Ghostbusters as I was born the year it came out.  I must have been young.  Movies like that were still given a PG rating even though it had things like supernatural violence, language, and references to sexual situations.  There are plenty of things that today’s society would frown upon showing a child but I have a feeling a lot of it would go over a kid’s head like it did for me all those years ago.  I loved this movie growing up and with each subsequent viewing, I found new things to love and appreciate.  That’s a testament to Ramis’ work (and Dan Aykroyd too as he co-wrote the flick with Ramis).

 

So, thank you, Harold Ramis.  You represented a part of my childhood and as a result, a part of the man I’ve become today.  You will be missed.

My Kid F-ing Hates Shoes

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It seems that any time a woman walks by baby shoes in a department store, she’ll have to look at them and say “Awww!”  Yes, baby shoes are adorable because they’re miniaturized versions of adult shoes.  They also usually have cool characters on them like Batman.  Unfortunately, they’re pretty much useless.  Here’s a tip for all new or expecting parents: Don’t buy your baby shoes.  You know why you wear shoes?  To protect your feet while you walk.  What’s something that babies don’t do?  WALK! So why would you waste money on adorable little sneakers that will go on the kid’s feet for no reason outside of an aww-factor?  It’s stupid.

Oliver has gotten to the age where he almost needs shoes.  He’s not quite walking yet, but he is cruising.  This means he can pull himself up by holding onto the side of a couch or an end table and then use that as support to walk along side it.  In an effort to get him used to shoes, we got him a pair.  He hates them.  It’s a struggle to get them on his feet and once they’re there, he tries to push them off by rubbing his feet together and tugging at them.

 

Hello? No, I don't want any shoes.

Hello? No, I don’t want any shoes.

He does this thing when you try to put his foot into the shoe.  He curls his toes in.  This turns his foot into this block that makes it near impossible to succeed in your task.  It’s like I’m at the end of Cinderella and I’m trying to put the glass slipper on the evil step-sisters.  (Not that my kid has ugly feet or something.  He’s cute as hell.)  Usually I get close enough so the majority of his foot is in there but if you push down on the heel, it caves in because his foot is like an inch from the bottom.  I just figure it’ll fall into place if and when he stands up or finally uncurls his toes.  The one time I got his shoe on without issue it turned out that it was on the wrong foot.

Monica and I seem to be the only ones that even attempt to get his shoes on.  The folks at day care have given up.  Most of the time I send him in there only to pick him up later shoeless.  Yesterday he only had one on.  It came off and they just couldn’t get it back on.  I don’t really blame them.  If only there was some sort of baby shoe horn.

Brusha! Brusha! Brusha!

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Oliver has teeth now. Six or seven of them to be exact. As a result, we have to brush them. He has a love / hate relationship with brushing his teeth. On the one hand, he loves the idea of this new toy and the taste of the toothpaste (Fruity!), however he hates the actual activity of brushing his teeth. He’d much rather prefer to just stick the brush in his mouth and suck the toothpaste off. Don’t worry, it’s fluoride free for just that reason.

Anyway, Monica started singing when we first started brushing his teeth. I had no idea what this tune was at first. She had to tell me. It’s this little bit from Grease. I’ve seen the movie once and only remember a pre-Scientology John Travolta. Not this part.

 

This song is sung pretty much every time we brush Oliver’s teeth now.  I’m even doing it when it’s just me and him.  It got to the point where I was cleaning the bathroom and scrubbing the toilet while singing “Brusha! Brusha! Brusha!”  It should also be noted that I have no idea what the rest of the words are of the song.  “Try the new bytano”?  No clue.

 

The routine during the week now includes Oliver and I brushing our teeth together.  I get him settled on the counter in the bathroom, facing the mirror because he loves to look at himself.  (He’s his mother’s son.)  Then I get his toothbrush together and try to coax him into letting me brush his teeth a bit.  This involves me opening my mouth really wide and hoping that he mimics me.  This works at first but the moment I stick the brush in there and try to scrub away, he pushes at it with his tongue and gets upset.  Ultimately, I have to kind of hold his head steady and get in there which makes him cry.  Once I get enough scrubs in, I hand him the brush to finish off the rest of the toothpaste.  As mentioned previously, this really just means that he sucks on the brush.  He also drools a lot.

 

This morning was a little different in that he was watching me like a hawk.  The initial process was followed like normal and then I brushed my teeth while he played with his brush.  I finish up and rinse and spit.  Oliver watched me do this right next to him.  Then he turned, looked at himself in the mirror…and spit all over it.

 

The aftermath.

The aftermath.

 

I guess I should be happy that he’s paying that much attention to understand what I’m doing, but now I have to clean this up.  Thanks kiddo.

I Think My Son is Wolverine

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The next subject in my series of posts about things that no one really talks about when raising kids is fingernails. Also, how insanely quickly babies heal. Infant fingernails grow at a ridiculous rate. I have a feeling that if left untended, they would grow to be like one of those guys from the Guinness Book of World Records in a matter of days, all curly and stuff. Gross.

Anyway, their fingernails require constant attention because if they’re even a little bit over the finger, they’ll cut their faces open. I’m not saying that infants are like emo cutters looking for attention. It’s just that they rub their faces when tired and they have a tendency to do it in such a way as to scrape a stray thumbnail across their face. This happens ALL THE TIME. It’s insane. There was one week where I picked up Oliver from daycare and every other day I had to sign an incident report because he had a new gash on his face. I tried to explain to him that he doesn’t have to prove anything to the other kids. They already think he’s tough. It didn’t matter.

Behind those eyes lurks a savage animal.

Behind those eyes lurks a savage animal.

It’s not just himself that he cuts up either. I fell asleep holding him once and he got me right below the eye. It looked like I was in a knife fight but the real reason was far less cool. He also does this thing when I feed him too where he plays a thumb war with my fingers, but mine don’t fight back. Instead it’s like a carpet bomb against my cuticles as he gouges at them over and over again.

To combat these self-inflicted facial lacerations and parental abuse, you have to constantly check out the kid’s fingernails. There are these flimsy nail scissors you can use to cut them but there are also these sturdy tiny nail clippers that work a lot better. The trick to trimming the nails is to do it when the child is sleeping. Trying to do it when they’re awake or even pre-occupied with a bottle or a toy is nearly impossible. You have to forcibly hold the kid’s finger with one hand and try to get a line with the nail clipper with the other all while he’s flailing about, trying to get free.

Fortunately for babies, they have a crazy fast recovery time. Oliver would scratch his face and the next day you couldn’t even tell it was there. This seems to be the case with other bumps and bruises. He had his first real tumble a few weeks ago and ended up with this big bump on his forehead. This was completely gone the next morning. It’s for this reason that I think my kid is a baby version of Wolverine from the X-Men. He’s got sharp claws and a fast healing factor. Plus, I think I saw him with a cigar the other day, but I could have been imagining it.

One of my Cats is an Asshole

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Monica and I have two cats, Darwin and Nolan. We adopted them about three years ago from Guardian Angel Cat Rescue in Hyde Park, NY. They’re pretty great. Although they’re from the same litter, they have very different personalities. Darwin is very social and fears nothing while Nolan is afraid of everything, hiding under the bed the moment the doorbell rings. Based on this information, can you guess which one of them has been a real asshole lately?

Here’s some more info:

Since we moved into the house two years ago, the litter box was located in the second bedroom upstairs which was being used as an office. In preparation for Oliver’s arrival, we moved the litter box downstairs into the basement in the laundry room. This seemed fine for a bit, even after we brought the baby home. Then maybe about two months ago, Nolan started shitting on the floor. I knew it was him because Nolan’s crap is the size of a small human’s. The cat is huge and so is the excrement. He would drop a deuce right in front of the litter box, as if he was doing a small protest.

One of these cats is a total douchebag.

One of these cats is a total douchebag.

I asked around and did some searching and found that this is common with cats if they’re upset about something. The odd thing was that there was nothing for Nolan to be upset about. Oliver was home for a few months and the litter box was down there for even longer so it wasn’t like these were sudden changes that he didn’t like. In an effort to satisfy Nolan, I put out a second litter box near the first one. That didn’t work. This went on for a couple more weeks before I took out both boxes and cleaned them thoroughly. Then I put them both back and lo and behold, he pooped in the box. For a time, everything was good. Then he shit on the floor again.

Now, let me update the situation a bit. There are now two litter boxes, both located in the laundry room in the basement. They are maybe two feet apart with a small garbage can and the spare litter between them. Darwin does all his business in box #1. Nolan will pee in box #1 but poop in box #2. That’s all that happens in box #2 now. This is actually a little disappointing as that’s a larger box with a lid. Anyway, I’ve found that when box #1 has some excrement in it, Nolan will shit on the floor. Let’s go over that again. He regularly craps in box #2 but for some reason when box #1 is full, he doesn’t even bother trying. It’s like he’s upset that the area is messy. I feel like that’s akin to going to someone’s house and seeing that the sink is dirty so you just shit on the floor instead of using the toilet. What the fuck, Nolan?

Basically, I just have to be extra mindful of cleaning the litter box at least twice a day. Otherwise my uptight cat will pinch a loaf on the floor right in front of the litter box like some sort of statement.

Look at that asshole.

Look at that asshole.

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