Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Say what you mean. Mean what you say.

G, here are some hints to help with the translation of communication by your loving father and mother in case you ever find yourself confused:

When daddy says that he wants to leave by 8:00, he means that the car will actually be pulling away from the sidewalk en route to its intended destination within 60 seconds of the clock striking 8:00.

(I apologize for writing in the third-person but Elmo and Rickey Henderson must be rubbing off on me.)

When mommy says that she will leave somewhere by 8:00, she means some vague moment between 8:00 and 11:45 after she walks to Dunkies to get her coffee (she hasn’t missed a cup since sometime in the 1980’s, I think), showers, blow dries her hair, mulls through 4 or 5 different outfit possibilities while strewing them haphazardly throughout her room, catches up on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, checks her e-mail, and uploads some photos to Facebook. Then, she’ll be ready to go. And no matter what the clock says, it is 8:00 in her book.

When daddy says that he is tipping out on something, he really likes it.

When mommy says that something is her favorite thing in the universe or she hearts it big time, she really likes it.

When daddy says that he is fine, he really is.

When mommy says that she is fine, either you or I or both of us are in trouble.

When daddy says that dinner was good, he really means it.

When mommy says that our next door neighbor is “okay looking,” she’s lying. You can tell because she gets googley-eyed and thinks he’s a dreamy mchottie.

When daddy says that an outfit looks good on mommy, he really means it.

When mommy says that anything was “eh” and shrugs, there’s no way she liked it at all.

When daddy says he wants a treat, he would like an Irish whiskey or a vodka martini with olives.

When mommy says she wants a treat, it better have chocolate in, on, and/or around it.

When daddy says he’s going to bed early, he means sometime before midnight.

When mommy says that she’s staying up late, she means anytime after 9:30.

And when daddy and mommy say that they love you more than anything else in the world, they truly mean it.

A very happy and healthy new year to all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Other than one visit to the eye doctor’s office last week (G got a clean bill of health), the wife has been G’s only parent to bring her to the pediatrician’s office whenever to date. My excuse is that I have a really hard time seeing G bawl. Not to suggest that the wife endures G’s crying any easier than me, but she is apparently better at accepting those necessary evils like shots – or going to the mall during Christmas simply to fulfill the sadistic parent’s rite of passage.

You all know what I’m talking about you evil moms and dads – your child’s first traumatic encounter with the mall Santa Claus just for photographic evidence of your torture. For us kids of the 1970’s, those moments of terror were captured on Polaroids in eerie tones of white, green, and severe red eye. Perhaps you wore Star Trek-like one-piece outfits that matched with any siblings (you got paisley brown, brother/sister got mustard yellow) already born. Nowadays, some of those torturous moments are preserved eternally on memory cards in a digital state of high-definition.

Sometime during a winter college break in the 90’s, I experienced Christmas at the mall from the other side. That’s right. I got a gig temping as a mall Santa. Fake beard. Fake belly. Ho ho ho’s. The works. Bedford Mall. Next to the movie theater and across from the Post Office and Papa Gino’s. $7.00 per hour. What can I say, it was decent cash.

What you might not expect was that I was traumatized all over again playing the role of the tormenter. At least once per hour, a little one peed on my leg while screaming hysterically as parents blindly trudged forward yelling at my co-worker to continue snapping shots. Older kids challenged my North Pole cred by calling me out for the high tone of my voice. The fake beard obstructed my exhalations to the point that condensation saturated my moustache like Freddy Mercury’s in the 1980’s.

One bright spot was a naughty 30-something year-old who sat on my lap with her co-workers and whispered welcomingly inappropriate comments into my ear. Unfortunately, as a 20 year-old, I had no idea how to tame this budding cougar and just hiccupped some very unwitty response to her sultry provocations.

Anyway, back at the 2009 Hall of Justice, I suppose the token Santa visit and photo is the first in many “it builds character” moments for our poor children. For those of you who are either conspirators or bystanders to this potentially scarring experience, be sure to tip your Santas.

As for G, the wife fulfilled tradition and accompanied our daughter to her first encounter with Santa. I’ll let you decide how she felt about it. Check out the photo to your right.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Paradise Lost ... Or Not?

For 34 years, the bathroom has been a place of peace and quiet where I retreated to engage typically in relaxing activities. Brushing teeth? Therapeutic. Flossing? Orgasmic. Shaving/renegade brow plucking/miscellaneous manicuring? Satisfying. Exfoliating? Give me a break – have you seen my pores? Pooping while scouring the almanac for world capitals? Nirvana.

The other office has always been a refuge, or even a sanctuary, if you will. Unless, of course, my 83 Westland Ave. roommates and I devoured Cheung Kee grub on Mass. Ave. at 4 a.m. before calling it a night, in which case the next morning’s activities were generally violent.

Probably the least mentioned lifestyle change that veteran fathers warned me about was the extinction of peaceful bathroom use. The days of a crossword puzzle followed by Sudoku, all while on the bowl, are long gone.

On my early morning shift days (the wife and I rotate every other day), G-sizz and I stir mama around 7:30. In the days before February of 2009, wifey required several minutes to make the adjustment from sleep to awake. While she’s come a long way since bringing our daughter into this world, sleeping beauty still doesn’t exactly jump out of bed when beckoned.

To assist with the transitional stage, G and I adjourn to the bathroom where we brush our teeth together. I keep the peanut cradled like a bag of groceries in my right arm so as to prevent her from crawling around near the toilet or trash can. As G arbitrarily decides between chewing on her brush’s bristles or waving it around as she inspects her reflection in the mirror, I fumble left-handed around the upper molars with my brush.

I place G on the bedroom floor so both hands are available to apply the shaving cream. Before touching the blade to my right cheek (always first for some reason), I hear the alternating sound of a toothbrush clicking and a bare hand plopping against the floor as pajamas shuffle along. Next, I feel the tiny fingers first on my heels, then ankles, and up to my calves as the little creature stands, demanding to be restored to her prior perch. Now she wants to eat the lather on my face.

After the shave, I go right for the shower knob. Next, I abandon G-unit back in the bedroom. Maybe 30 seconds later, the shower curtain is pulled back. She flinches from the wet spray hitting her eyes, but the mini-monkey proceeds to grab at every one of the 37 assorted bottles of mama’s shampoos and canisters.

“Hey you!” Yes, the wife has come to save the day! She's my hero. Ahh, a peaceful shower. I love her – but ... wait a minute. Nope, she’s not taking Greta. Just peeing. Great. So now, the entire family of three is within four square feet of each other in our 30 square foot bathroom. Greta’s hair is now dripping and she’s eaten half a travel bottle of No Frizz conditioner.

On second thought, I love my ladies and I love my mornings. My bathroom is still a paradise after all. (Just don’t mess with my almanac, please.)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Before Playlists...

Okay, G, another musical history lesson of sorts.

Back in the day, one could take a rectangular cartridge called a “blank cassette tape” to record 1) entire albums of music, 2) clips from the radio, or 3) the prehistoric ancestor of the iTunes playlist called the “mix tape.” From my personal experience, choices 1 and 2 were pretty rare although I admit to a brief stretch of listening (in the 80’s, mind you) to Z94.5 forever so I could record New Edition’s song that went, “You got to cool it, now. Oooh, watch out. You’re gonna lose control. Robbie, Bobbie, Ricky, and Mike. If I love the girl, who cares who you like?” or something like that. I loved that jam.

In any event, the “mix tape” was a serious endeavor when I was in junior high and even in high school. Unlike the relative ease in which a playlist maker can simply add or delete tracks with the click of a mouse, a mix tape maker had to pause at the perfect moments between songs. We also had to calculate the amount of available recording space on Sides A and B depending on whether you were going with the paltry 60 minute mix or a marathon 120 minute-er. Plus, you had to have the music on hand already! You couldn’t just pull up iTunes and download the song on the spot. You either recorded the song from a friend/the radio already, or bought an original version from Strawberries, Lechmere, or Bradlees.

Distinctions from a playlist aside, there were several, complicated components to a mix tape. First, who was this for? Was this a pump up the jam mix for yourself while jogging with your Walkman? A mix for someone you were hoping to make more than a friend after he/she heard your final product? Or was this a sex-you-up mix for your significant other? (Wait a second, G, that must have been after college because no one had sex until they were married, I swear.) Basically, the song selection was entirely contingent upon the tape’s recipient.

Second, you had to decide how to decorate the package. Was this just a straightforward the-music-speaks-for-itself kind of operation? Or was this a try-to-show-your-artistic-side-by-drawing-what-you-thought-were-really-cool-designs on it? Would you write the name of the band and the song? Would there be a common theme in your song selections? Would you write some really deep message on the inner lining? These were important considerations.

Third, and most importantly of course, how do you select the right song? To answer truthfully, I have no specific recollection. However, music (kind of like a rediscovered scent) has that wonderful element of reminding you of a forgotten memory. Accordingly, I broke down a list of possible “mix tape” songs depending on whether I was in junior high or high school as you will see, in no particular order...

1987 to 1989: Hooksett Memorial Junior High School – Home of the Hawks

1. Love Bites – Def Leppard – 8th grade dance drama.

2. Here I Go Again – White Snake – the crazy model who does the split on the car and married that pitcher from the Angels whose name I can’t remember – dudes, amen here?

3. You Shook Me All Night Long – ACDC – 7th grade hoops bus rides home.

4. Livin’ on a Prayer – Bon Jovi – skiing at MacIntyre and drinking peach wine coolers in the parking lot – yeah I was pretty tough.

5. (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party) – Beastie Boys – Before they were Buddhist humanitarians, the Beasties goofed around and had fun.

6. Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N Roses – Axl. Nuff’ said.

7. The Flame – Cheap Trick – 7th grade dance drama.

8. Never Tear Us Apart – INXS – Remember seeing this video a lot.

9. Red, Red Wine – UB40 – Thought this was reggae. Forgive me.

10. Like a Prayer – Madonna – Basically on repeat during the bus ride with my French class to Quebec and Montreal.

1989 to 1993: Manchester Central High School – Home of the Little Green

1. Gonna Make You Sweat – CC & the Music Factory – Riding in the back seat of Tolp’s Mazda as he drove 80+ mph anywhere.

2. Good Vibrations – Last song I remember before losing my virginity. Puke. Sorry, I lied before about no one having sex in high school.

3. Summertime – Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff – Driving around with the windows down to this song was just great.

4. Moon Shadow – Cat Stevens – Suddenly, I was a serious music fan.

5. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd – Absolute staple to any mix tape.

6. In Your Eyes – Peter Gabriel – Go John Cusack! Perhaps this song went back further but movies and music took a little while to make its way to Hooksett, sometimes.

7. Under the Bridge – Red Hot Chili Peppers – This crazy kid from Iceland in my French class used to throw the best parties during and after school. I always associate this song with his basement.

8. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana – Distinctly remember sitting on the bus ride home from a track meet when I heard it for the first time. It rocked me to the core. Just the right sound at the right time.

9. Release – Pearl Jam – Just an absolutely beautiful song, period. I’m sure it reminds some peeps from my generation about tender moments. (Has Pearl Jam played anything since that can match its debut album? As Troy Aikman would say, I’m not so sure.)

10. One – U2 – Most likely for a significant other or someone you were trying to win over.
Well, readers. I’m sure I missed a million other staple mix songs from 1987 to 1993.

Tell G what I forgot to include. What were on your “Spring Break 1992” or “Graduation 1989” mixes? Let’s hear from the people who curled their bangs or donned flat tops, wore pegged pants and Coed Naked t-shirts, while drinking Natural Light and running from the po-po in the woods of Candia or Reynolds Field.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Spreading the Good Word

A true blog post will be forthcoming, but in the interim I wanted to advertise a few worthy causes and some business-related announcements:


Boston Firefighter's Local 718 Burn Foundation. My buddy Phil is one of Boston's finest and happens to be an enthusiastic supporter of this charity. You can help out by purchasing some wine (go here: or by attending a party this Thursday at the Greatest Bar in Boston beginning at 7 p.m. (see here for more info: ). For more information about the charity, check out

For those who didn't see my Facebook update last weekend, my friend Nikiki has started a scholarship for students in Jamaica that is really amazing. For more information about the foundation and how you can contribute, go to She recently organized a great fundraiser in Boston in association with the play "Jamaica, Farewell." Nice work!


Partygoers in the Hartford, CT area may be interested in attending Ugly Sweater Karaoke on December 17 at 10 p.m. hosted by my friend Erin who is the longtime proprieter of a cafe and beverage establishment called Tisane. For info about the cafe, go to You gotta love the advertisement to the right, eh? Cheers, E!

For those in need of assistance with hiring of finance and accounting professionals, my enterprising buddy Doug recently opened his own business called Bay Colony Search after many years in the industry. The complete web site is still under construction, but you can get his contact information and a little background on the business here: Congratulations and good luck, Bonesie!

My ambitious friend Megan recently launched a venture of her own called LocalizeIt, which assists businesses with search engine marketing as well as pay-per-click advertising models. Check out LocalizeIt's web site at Best of luck to you, Mountain Girl!

Please help spread the word and support these locally and independently owned businesses.