Archive for July, 2010

Steinbrenner

As a dedicated Red Sox fan, even I have to admit that things were more fun when Big George was running things in New York. He was a great villain, and helped to spark the rivalry that has helped to grow Red Sox Nation to its current status of pink hat glory (Note: I am not against the pink hats in any way).

Losing The Boss is a loss to the sport. One of my Yankee friends thinks that Steinbrenner is among the top 5 most important people in the history of professional baseball (he includes Babe Ruth and Kenesaw Mountain Landis on that list), but I think he’s a little overwhelmed by the moment (and influenced by his blind love of all things Yankee).

I think that history will show George as one of a group of colorful owners – including Bill Veeck and Charlie Finley – and that his drive to win and willingness to spend ruthlessly helped to shape the game we have today, for good or for ill. I will never forget 2003, when the Yankees traded for Alex Rodriguez after the Red Sox had failed in a similar effort and Steinbrenner said something to the effect of, “It’s too bad that the Red Sox were not willing to go the extra mile for their fans.” That jab hit home to the problem that all Red Sox fans had with the rivalry – the Yankees would go out and sign the big players and the Red Sox would unveil tired, broken down warhorses like Jack Clark and Andre Dawson as their marquee acquisitions.

George Steinbrenner was many things – from what I have read he was arrogant, petty, and could be incredibly difficult to work for – but he was never boring. Baseball was more exciting with him, and he will be missed.

Sports Tim 14 Jul 2010 No Comments

Hot Flashes

Once again, in place of the coherent, well-researched essay that my patient and faithful readers deserve, I present another pile of random information. There are several excuses at play here, and I took the time to jot some them down into a nice, well-organized list, but then my baby threw up on it. Or my dog ate it. I don’t know, something happened to it. Maybe I forgot to write it. Anyway:

People have asked how my dog, Callie, is with our new baby. I tell them Callie ignores little Bronco that most of the time, but that the two of them will develop a much closer bond once he starts making Cheerios rain onto the floor. Then, I suspect that their relationship will change into an extended game of hide and seek once he achieves mobility.

When we first brought him home and placed his car seat on the floor, Callie walked over, gave him a quick unimpressed sniff, and then wandered off to scan the street for stray mailmen. However, the first time his screams filled the living room the dog looked up at me with bewildered and accusing eyes, as if to say, “What have you done?”…

…I haven’t researched it, but I think there must be something about seeing a happy baby that causes endorphins or some such chemicals to spill into the human brain. The other day I came home from a particularly rotten day of work, followed by a ridiculous commute, but my mood changed as soon as I saw my little baby Bronco wriggling around with a smile on his face. It was as if I had shaken my head – like a big bald Etch-A-Sketch – and cleared the troubles away…

…If my baby could talk, I suspect that he would say, “Dad, will you please stop asking me ‘Who’s the baby?’ Can we just stipulate that I am, in fact, the baby, and that I am your baby boy, and can we just assume that the answer is yes to all of those questions that you fire at me as if from a machine gun of nonsense? Also, tell Mom that no, I am not planning to tell her a story; rather I am attempting to work some gas through my system. Now change my diaper, I think it’s a bit ripe.”

But, he can’t talk, so instead we get, “Coo…LAA!…LAA!….grmpblk!” which is, of course, delightful…

…I read somewhere that at this age, we can’t spoil little Bronco by picking him up too much. But I think that he read the same book, because he has this habit of falling asleep in my arms, and then crying when I put him down. I pick him back up, and he falls right back to sleep. Put him down, crying. Repeat.

Situations like this cause experimentation. What if I put him in the bed, but stand next to the crib and hold onto his arm? Crying. Hmm, how about if I put him in his little swing? Crying. Sound machine that plays noises like a mother’s heartbeat? Crying (can’t say that I blame him on that one).

Eventually, one of the plans will work, even if it’s just because the boy is tired of crying. It doesn’t have to work for long, mind you, just long enough for me to escape into bed and pretend to fall asleep. Then, when he starts crying again, I can tap my wife and say, “Your turn.”…

…It is a bit disconcerting when we notice that our son has dirt under his fingernails. I mean, where does it come from? We keep him pretty clean, and it’s not like he’s outside, or even on the floor or anyplace where he would encounter actual dirt. It’s not food. He doesn’t touch the dog. I’m sure it’s fine, and I could find out by looking it up on the internet, I’m just not sure that I want to know…

…One more thing, speaking of fingernails: Since my son was born, I have stopped biting my fingernails. I’m not trying to stop; I just haven’t been biting them. I have regularly bitten my nails as far back as I can remember (except for the first month or two after I met my wife, when I actively tried to stop – she would call this part of my whole “Bait and Switch” campaign, but that’s a story for another time). But, once the baby showed up, the cuticle gnawing just stopped. Weird.

My friend Betsy suggested 3 possible reasons: 1) I no longer have anxiety [Right! Who’s going to pay for all of these diapers?]. 2) I no longer have enough time, or 3) I no longer have a free hand. I think I have to go with a combination between 2 and 3, added to 4) I’m just too tired. Everyone I know who has kids told me how tired they are all the time, and to be fair, I didn’t understand what they meant because I didn’t have any context for it. Now that my body is unwilling to burn calories to satisfy a nervous tic (fingernails don’t provide nutrition), I think I get it.

The Day to Day Grind Tim 14 Jul 2010 No Comments

Hot Flashes

I have no idea how people with twins survive. My wife recently gave birth to our first child, let’s call him Bronco, and with the amount of effort we are expending to keep him alive (or, more accurately, to keep him from screaming), I can’t imagine having two newborns. As it is, my brain is too clouded with the combination of sleep deprivation, diaper fumes, and confusion about how to best assemble baby swings to write anything intelligible. So, please accept the below jumble of disjointed thoughts in place of your regularly scheduled coherent essay:

When I figured out that I would be taking three weeks off for paternity leave, I made some really big plans for that time. There was a list of things I wanted to do, and to my mind three weeks was an eternity – plenty of time for all of my projects. I would spend time writing, cleaning up around the house, and fixing things. Then, BANG, three weeks had passed with the list of chores still largely intact. I was living my life in two hour increments – between feedings and diaper changes and family and friend visits and trying to sneak in a bit of sleep the time just melted away. There was one notable accomplishment, however: My wife and I managed to clear out our DVR by watching everything that we had recorded…

…One project I did attempt to complete was to repair the brick steps in front of my house. I bought all of the mortar and tools last summer, when the bricks first came loose, but I didn’t make the time. By this year, the bricks were regularly falling out of the steps and were a definite hazard – especially for someone with a baby in his or her arms.

So, I looked on the internet for tips, mixed up some mortar, and started the job. The first thing to do was to remove the problem bricks. This proved to be a much bigger job than I first expected – I would remove a brick, and every brick around it would suddenly come loose. Before long, I had a small fireplace worth of bricks stacked up next to the steps. What had been a quick fix had become a major project.

But, the job needed to be done, so I began to replace the bricks. After about 7 hours, stretching over 2 days in 90+ degree heat, I had replaced 6 bricks total. These bricks weren’t level, the mortar was unevenly applied, and I had made the rookie mistake of lining up the seams (bricks should be offset from one another). Before long, it became clear that the job called for a professional.

Luckily, I have a friend – Steve – who does this sort of thing for a living. He came over, looked at the uneven jumble I had slapped together, and broke up laughing (“nice redneck teeth,” he said). I can’t say that I blame him. He then told me that he could finish the job in about an hour – or roughly 265 times faster than me.

Now the steps are fixed, and you can see the clear difference between the clean, professional job that Steve did, and the bumpy display of inadequacy that resulted from my attempt. Looks like Dad won’t be teaching little Bronco the fine arts of masonry any time soon…

…Speaking of little Bronco, he has been a carnival of sights, sounds, and bodily functions. When he is on the changing table and feels that he has been freed from his diaper, he often goes into full sprinkler mode. In one memorable episode, his mother was lifting Bronco’s legs to clean him, and he sprinkled onto his own face. We can’t wait to tell his prom date all about it…

…Another thing Bronco does is exploit my inability to properly affix his diaper. This has happened a number of times, including one fairly explosive blowout that ruined my brother’s shirt. The most recent example was the other night when I was laying on couch, watching a Celtics playoff game. Little Bronco was asleep on my chest. It was all quite peaceful, until a dark, warm stain began to spread across my shirt. Seeing as how I had just updated my Facebook status to say, “I think I’m getting the hang of this diaper thing,” it was a bit embarrassing. Of course, like any good sports fan, I waited until halftime to change.

…So, that’s about it. When my wife and I aren’t changing, soothing, or feeding the boy, we spend our time delighting in his every movement and facial expression. Often, I find myself standing over his crib while he is asleep, watching him to be sure that he is breathing and marveling at how cute and peaceful he is. I’m sure that, in time, this will all become routine (probably sooner for our family and friends than for us), but for now our little Bronco remains a wonder – a pooping, screaming, hungry wonder.

The Day to Day Grind Tim 14 Jul 2010 No Comments

Next Page »