Friday, March 26, 2010

Pack It Up, Pack It In

In the immortal words of DJ Lance, Brobee, Foofa, and our other friends from Yo Gabba Gabba land, “Goodbye, see you later, we had fun… and now it’s done… it was fun… now we’re done.” (If you know the song, please just imagine it playing in the background while the photo montage plays. Please also cue Toodie crying next to a tree because we’re leaving. Thanks.)

Knock on wood, we’ve sold our 861 square-foot condo in Southie that we’ve called home since November 20, 2006. That same night, I proposed to the then-gf in our empty kitchen - except the table, four chairs, and an empty pizza box - when our adventure officially began. We got married in 2007. We learned of the pregnancy with Greta in 2008 and welcomed her in 2009. Most recently, we discovered that male Baby T will be arriving this coming summer. Obv, lots of milestones for the T family at 410 East Third Street in just over three years.

Besides leaving the first place the wife and I ever owned (subject to whichever bank most recently bought the mortgage of course), we are also leaving Southie. At last count, the wife has lived here for something like 38 years. Technically, that’s not possible given her actual age, the fact that she grew up in Carver, and went to college in Vermont before returning home, but who’s going to argue with a pregnant lady?

For years, I’ve chuckled at commuters in panty hose or suits with sneakers walk/jogging very un-athletically to South Station as they hustled to make a train. At other times, I would smirk after seeing another commuter tightly gripping a steering wheel, teeth clenched, staring laser beams into the traffic light just waiting for a green, so he or she could floor it onto 93 or the Pike in whatever direction only to slam on the brakes and crawl home in lurches and starts for miles on end. In a few short weeks, I will become that sucker. Oof.

In addition to leaving behind either the red line subway, a number 7 bus ride, or my bike ride to work or downtown, there are many other treats about Southie that I will miss dearly: 4th of July; St. Patty’s Day; our roof deck; double parking with reckless abandon; walking distance to more bars and coffee joints than I can count; Castle Island; any of the beaches; liquor stores that deliver (even though I’ve only ordered twice, I swear); Rainbow Dragon; proximity to multiple playgrounds and parks for G within stroller distance; and affordable cab distance to most any location in Beantown.

On the other hand, a few of my least favorite things that I will not miss whatsoever: a single wall or floor separating the neighbors above, below, and next to us; shoveling out and saving a parking space; cabbies honking instead of ringing a doorbell; vicariously fearing parking tickets for our visitors; and moving our cars because of street cleaning on Thursdays.

Gotta admit, though, I’m looking forward to walking around barefoot outside again. And to starting my own veggie garden.

So, one chapter ends and another begins. City slickers no more, we’re off to the burbs. Thanks Southie. It’s been a great ride. Now get out of my way, I’ve got a train to catch.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Backed Up

Let’s get right to it. Constipation’s a bitch. We’ve all been there. No one enjoys it. Some go the route of Metamucil, laxatives, or over-the-counter stool softeners. Others prefer the dried fruit/bran consumption path. With a 13-month old, we preferred the latter approach combined with cheese abstinence – which is very difficult for this family.

So why do I bring this up? Perhaps my inspiration tool box is a bit blocked up as well this week, but mostly because constipation has been dominating the T household headlines. (Pardon the absence of "industry standard" in the following - I can't figure out the spacing.)


DENNIS sits at his desk typing furiously on his computer keyboard as his office phone rings incessantly around him, which clearly interrupts, bothers, and disrupts him. His tie is crooked. His hair is disheveled. His face is more wrinkly than normal. His cell phone begins to ring. He opens the phone and places it to his ear.


Well she finally pooped. Good one, too.

A co-worker knocks on his door. DENNIS waves her off politely while mouthing that it’s the WIFE on his phone.

Wow. (pause) That’s great.

Yep. It wasn’t hard like the last one. She didn’t cry either.

(nodding )

The office phone rings again. DENNIS ignores it.

Just thought you’d like to know.

Okay, heart you big time.

Heart you right back. Oh, WAIT! I have something really important to ask you. What should we have for dinner tonight?

(sighing loudly) I gotta go.

We’re not sure of the cause for G’s pipes being backed up. We think it may be due to her recent conversion from formula bottles to whole milk plus the tail end of an antibiotic cycle for the latest ear infection. It honestly broke our hearts to witness it but when she pooped during this period, she cried and writhed in pain until the stool passed. When the poo finally flung into the diaper, its consistency was like play-doh that’s been sitting exposed for like 12 hours – not quite hardened but definitely no longer malleable.

Last weekend, we ventured to Strong Island, New York to visit the wife’s college BFF and husband, as well as some relatives on my mom’s side, and a few of my own college besties on the way back home. At each of our stops, we fed poor G-sizz with prunes, raisins, fiber one bars, prune juice, pears, and a double espresso. Her digestive system was like a Republican senate minority, just instinctively saying no to anything that came down the pike.

Fast forward to the Mass. Pike last Sunday night. As we approached the eastbound Charlton rest stop, we detected a faint hint of dumpsky in the air and decided to pull over. As I unbuckled G’s car seat belts and lifted her out, I saw that one of her pant legs had the appearance as if she had slid into home plate on a rainy day.

We jogged quickly inside as I held my baby under the pits. I went into the men’s room but a dad and son were bogarting the koala ahead of us. Panic-stricken, I ran back to the arcade area in the hopes of catching mama before she entered the ladies’ room. A waiting and sympathetic bystander mom motioned towards a door. “Family restroom,” she said. “Thanks!” I responded.

After placing our protective sheet down, I laid G onto the changing station and buckled her in. This was going to be tricky.

I tried to do what I could. Unfortunately, every ounce of dried fruit that my daughter consumed that weekend appeared to have manifested in and around her diaper. I opened the door and yelled for mama. She was kibitzing with one of our best friends who had left New York before us next to the Buck Hunter machine.

Long story short: three parents, a sacrificial onesy, a full outfit change, a crying/naked 13-month old, and many, many paper towels and wipes later, we had a happy little girl again. Somehow, the wife managed miraculously to salvage G’s pants. Nothing like having a stranger open the door to see me consoling an unhappy toddler as the wife washed poopy pants in a sink. Kudos mom!

My profuse apologies to the custodian of Charlton’s Rest Stop family restroom. My gratitude to Helen Zilla for assisting in our time of need. And my special thanks to Sunsweet Gold Label prune juice. May this message find all of you on a comfortable and regular schedule.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


When G-sizz started eating real food, she was generally agreeable to anything reduced to a puree: veggies, fruits, protein, bologna, Indian takeout, basically your standard baby food. There were of course the occasional bites that rendered faces of confusion and pure disdain. Peas come to mind. Blueberries, surprisingly, too. On the whole, though, we couldn’t complain because she ate most everything else. I was cautiously optimistic.

Food pickiness is a lesser discussed category that truly factors into relationship compatibility. I should know. I dated a vegetarian. And then I dated someone who basically ate only chicken sandwiches. I didn’t marry either of them.

Eating is one of the simplest activities every human engages in (hopefully) on a regular basis. Yet eating can be so easily complicated. I love the thought of “breaking bread” together. No matter where you come from or what you do, everyone needs to eat. And sharing a meal with someone has a certain special aspect to it that cannot be denied.

When Jules discusses the Big Kahuna Burger with Brett and declares that dating a vegetarian basically made him a vegetarian, I agree and disagree. In her defense, the ex-veggie gf didn’t lecture me about ordering veal oscar, nor did she predict arteriosclerosis if I ordered a Coney hot dog. Her aversion to meat was not because of religious or ethical beliefs. She just didn’t care for the taste or the way her body felt as meat digested. I respected her position – and still do – as well as anyone else who avoids meat or animal products for whatever reason. I just feel sorry for peeps of that persuasion.

Me: Your Honor, I move to admit “bacon” as Exhibit 1.
Opposing Counsel: Objection, your Honor, and move to strike -
Judge (glaring at opposing counsel): Overruled. Proceed counsel.

How can anyone, anywhere, anytime resist bacon? Or steak? Burgers? Sausage with peppers and onions? Turkey on Thanksgiving? Franks at Fenway? Brats in Milwaukee? (Ok, I’ve never been but I want to and heard they take their meat products seriously there.) My dad’s chicken francese? My mother-in-law’s roast beef? My Uncle Tony’s ribs? My wife’s pork loin? My Uncle Carl’s anything-with-meat? The “Big Bitch” at Scranton U.? The “Morning Shiner” at Kountry Kart? The turkey hash omelette at My Diner in Southie? WHO ORDERED THE CODE RED, COLONEL JESSUP?! I WANT THE TRUTH!!! Your witness, Captain Ross.

As for the other ex-gf, it didn’t matter what kind of restaurant we went to: seafood, Mexican, fast food, steak joint, Chinese – she ordered a plain chicken sandwich. I can’t tell you how many times we’d walk from restaurant window to restaurant window reading menus for god damned chicken sandwiches as I fumed when Duxbury oysters or tuna tartare were on the appetizer list.

By no means whatsoever am I some kind of food snob. Honestly, I'm probably an awful critic because I like almost everything. At minimum, I'm willing to try anything. I love to ask a server at a restaurant to order my meal for me. Or going "splitsies" with someone else at the table to hedge the odds on missing a real winner. But if a partner is vegetarian or chicken sandwich only, it significantly limits one's options.

Unfortunately, G has recently evolved into some kind of cross between Padma Lakshi and Gail Simmons: none of them cook in any professional capacity but all of them are full of expert opinions about how to make or present food.

G started off by discretely depositing rejects quickly over her shoulder when she thought no one was looking. Soon, she moved onto vise clamping her mouth shut and twisting her face away, while swatting annoyingly at spoonfuls of peach yogurt with Cheerios like they were bothersome flies. Now, she smiles lovingly at me as she grasps an apple slice, followed immediately by a spiteful drop of the fruit over the side of her throne, all the while making eye contact as chunks hit floor. I just sigh and bend down to eat whatever hasn't sat for too long.

Oh well. At least I know my baby mama will go for a steak and a ginormous glass of red with me about six months from now. Until then, leftover apple chunks and yogurt with Cheerios will have to do. Looks like I’m eating vegetarian all over again, but at least it’s not just chicken sandwiches…