Friday, October 30, 2009

Bats in the Cave

G’s boogie counts were off the charts this week due to her first bout of sniffles – not quite a cold, just a noticeable nose whistle when she has the binkie in her mouth. We use this rubber bulb to suction out the bats in her cave because 1) even our pinkies are way too big to infiltrate her nostril and 2) G has not yet discovered the true mystery and sheer satisfaction of picking her nose.

Perhaps I am nostalgic for him because it is October and the Yanks are back in the World Series, but Joe Torre was the master public nose picker. Joe would be sitting in the Yankees’ dugout knowing full well that a TV camera could be on him at any time, but he would feel the call to arms as a boogie beckoned from one of his cavernous nostrils. So Joe would employ what I like to call the “J.T. technique.” He would quickly pinch and pull on the wall of his nose with a thumb and index finger for quick evacuation and lightly flick away. Mission accomplished. No public humiliation.

As I was walking into work the other day, I saw a great looking women in a suit do the “J.T.” without even blinking. Why is this move so acceptable, yet an all out digging for gold technique is still shunned and disgusted by contemporary society? Answer: the disposal.

Obviously, a tissue is the preferred technique for boogie disposal because one can easily toss a used one in the trash. The J.T. implies that the boogies are light and crusty so perhaps they are less disgusting in nature than the alternative. Digging for gold, however, suggests that you’ve got huge boulders or possibly even the dreaded wet-dry stringer hybrids. Where does the picker dispose of the latter kind? Therein lies the scorn of any observer to such a feat.

I confess that I am a huge fan of nose picking. Especially at a urinal or while driving. It’s just automatic. But don’t worry, it’s the J.T. technique so it’s acceptable. There it is. The truth is out there. I feel so relieved. I can probably date Kate Hudson now and hit over .400 in the MLB playoffs.

Of course, the wife and I will emphasize the importance of tissue usage to G-monster as she gets older. It would be hypocritical of me to chastise G if I do catch her in the act. When that happens, though, I will be sure to watch her technique and encourage the style of Joe Torre. Go Yankees!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Reality Means Anonymity, Not Celebrity

Okay I admit US Weekly is an occasional guilty pleasure for a myriad of reasons, but especially for the “Stars – They’re just like us!” section. I just imagine creepy paparazzi staked out in an Aries K-car full of fast food wrappers and assorted camera equipment waiting hours for that perfect shot of an Olsen twin emerging from an organic taqueria in Greenwich Village blasting a Marlboro, holding a 64-ounce cup of coffee, while sporting shades bigger than both of their heads added together, but she’s “just like us” because she bought a burrito.

The most recent cover of US I saw showed America’s newest celebrated divorcing mom and dad. Mom has the blond pheasant toupee that will be a smash hit this Halloween, and dad is the bloated, prematurely mid-life crisis experiencing guy complete with diamond studs. Yes, I’m talking about Jon and Kate Gosselin of course.

The wife has been a fan of their show for a long time and I’ve suffered through a few episodes here and there. By no means do I declare myself an authority of any sort over who is right or wrong with respect to their recent drama. Honestly, I don’t care. I just feel sorry for their children. In fact, both parents make me wince uncomfortably whenever I hear or see either one of them addressing a camera of any sort.

I suppose at the genesis of the show, the idea of televising their unique family situation was arguably an innocent way to supplement the household income. After all, they did have 8 mouths to feed.

Although their story was admittedly compelling, I doubt anyone foresaw the extent to which they would become celebrities. The frenzied tabloid coverage they’ve drawn since the marital problems arose publicly seems more appropriately reserved to greater accomplished head cases like Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, or Lindsay Lohan. Maybe because of this notoriety, I can’t help but suspect that both of the Gosselins privately craved fame when they decided to launch the show – or at least assumed the risk that they could become “reality celebrities.”

This brings me to my next point. (Wait a second, I’m getting out the old soap box.) The entire concept of a “reality” TV show absolutely blows my mind away. The idea of anything realistic happening on any of those shows could not be further from the truth. First, let me distinguish the reality competition shows like Project Runway, Top Chef, and SYTYCD (obv – greatest shows ever!) that celebrate actual talent, as well as those documentary-esque shows like Deadliest Catch (strangely entertaining), as opposed to those:

1) with fabricated “reality” plot lines celebrating shallow, talentless, wholly worthless individuals (see anything ever shown on MTV or starring Paris Hilton);
2) that recruit contestants from the slums of Desperateville (see above and any episode of The Bachelor/Bachelorette) to accomplish a sacred vow like, I don’t know, marriage; and
3) with main characters who go onto Larry King Live or The Today Show to publicly argue in the court of public opinion why he/she is so right and their future ex-spouse is so wrong.

Are we Americans so intoxicated with the idea that fame solves all of our problems and cures our unhappiness that we prefer becoming a celebrity for any stupid reason, instead of just living our lives as good people in anonymity? I pose this question on the heels of reports that a former Wife Swap father so desperately craves fame that he staged a hoax about a runaway hot air balloon using his poor 6 year-old son to lie and barf on national television, in order to land his own reality TV show.

Simply put, the shows that fall into any of the aforementioned 3 categories simply have little to nothing in common with actual reality. We real people go to work, raise our children, care for our homes, love our families, pursue our passions, struggle emotionally and financially all the time, fight over issues that truly matter, regroup, recover, and repeat. We are the ones who deserve free drinks and line privileges at bars – but we don’t have the time, energy, or money to go because we’re too busy working and just plain getting by!

Okay, I’m off the soap box now. Wow, I think I just blacked out like Frank the Tank during the debate in Old School. Where was I?

Let’s just say I would never in a million years sign up to televise my family life. I prefer my hugs and kisses from G and the wife to be in the warm privacy of our home, far away from any zoom lenses, confessional booth cams, and accompanying soundtracks with the coolest new Death Cab For Cutie jam – just like other real people. I mean, right?

Friday, October 2, 2009


No alarm clock necessary. G is automatic for the 6 a.m. wake up. She squawks and beckons from the crib, sometimes tapping a binkie repeatedly against the rails or just plain letting her pipes loose. I got the early shift this morning. Time to get up.

I shuffle in my undies over to the bowl and pee. Flush. Hand wash. G hears the noise and you can tell she’s waiting. She’s trying to stand in the crib even though her sleeper sack easily trips her during the hurried attempts to rise up. As I creep along the hallway, she sounds as if she just stumbled. I peek my head into her room.

“Hwaaaaaaaaahhhhh,” she screeches pterodactyl-like. G is standing in a semi-squat position resting her arms on the top rail to balance as she bounces up in down with glee. I greet my little one like a female gymnast after, well, basically any event that a gymnast just completed – and she’s kicking and squirming in delight.

Sleeper sack off. Remove the diaper and wonder at its weight as I fold it up. Replace with a dry one while swatting away the kicking hamhocks. (All in the dark, thank you.) We move to the kitchen as she yanks at my chest hair with one hand and clutches in the other hand whatever object I could find to distract her during the diaper change: a stray shoe, Timmy the Turtle, a squeeze bottle of Bacitracin.

I place G into this “Phil & Ted’s me too” baby seat, which suspends off the side of our kitchen counter top with screw-in attachments. The binkie’s still in her mouth. I go over to the sink and challenge myself, as I do every time, to fill the bottle as close to exactly 6 ounces as possible. 6.5. I’m a little off.

Three scoops of formula next. Attach the remaining bottle components. Cover. Shake. Turn back to G- sizzle who’s been waiting impatiently for her breakfast. I smile until I see it for the first time.

After a few seconds, I flash back to my pledging days at college. I think of vomiting beer into a T-shirt breast pocket and slamming it with my hand to indicate I was done. I think of spewing assorted parts of multiple goldfish out of my mouth onto the head of a pledge brother. I think of Montezuma tequila blasting its way through my nostrils and the burn that dripped post-nasally. Please tell me G can projectile vomit, too.

The night before, a backing to the wife’s earring fell out. She innocently removed the backless one and then the other, placing them on the kitchen counter top. We went to sleep. A few minutes ago, I turned my back to make the bottle and saw for the first time that only one earring was laid on the counter easily within G’s grasp.

At this moment, an EKG would definitely show an uptick in my cardiac activity. I grab the abandoned earring and immediately look on the floor under Greta. Nothing. Adrenal glands now kicking in. Inner monologue tidbit: “Michelle’s gonna kill me… Guess I’ll have to call out from work today… Looks like we’re taking our first trip to the emergency room… Maybe the bottle will help induce her to puke it up if I overfeed her a little bit…”

No matching earring in sight. Okay, here goes. (Hurried walk back to the bedroom.)

Me: “Hi honey, how’d you sleep?”

Wife: “What’s wrong?”

Me: “Nothing.”

Wife: “Why are you waking me up?”

Me: “No reason. Um, so, did you happen to take one of your earrings into the bedroom last night?”

Wife: “No, why?”

Me: “Um, nothing. Just ruling out whether Greta may have swallowed the earring that YOU put on the counter directly next to where she eats without telling me. Be right back.”

Now I’m running back towards Greta. She’s pissed that I haven’t brought her a bottle. I yank her out of her seat and feel around desperately. “Could she pass the earring in her poo?,” I ask myself because I clearly do not wish to ask the wife this question when -

YES! JACKPOT! Holy shit. Thank God. Phew. Back to the bedroom.

Me: “Go back to sleep, hon. I got the earring.”

Wife: “Are you freaking kidding me right now? You just gave me a heart attack.”

Me: “Nothing to see here. Just go back to sleep. False alarm. Sorry. Ha! That was funny, huh?”

Wife: “I’m getting up, I can’t sleep.”

Crisis averted! Wow, that adrenaline was better than coffee. Returning to G, I see that she is chewing on the laptop’s electrical cord. Good times. 6:13 a.m.