Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Head Like Lion

Based on the amount and complexity of the things your mother has brought back from her first shower it seems that raising children has become very complicated. Very gear intensive. Everything that is something I don't recognize is what it is because the thing I would recognize, the obvious thing, would apparently kill you. I don't know when they made this discovery, but apparently almost everything kills children. Be on the lookout for everything.

I know there are certain things in there that I don't understand and don't want to understand. The phrase 'industrial grade double barrel mechanical breast pump' comes to mind. I probably should have mentioned that when I was helping you pick a gender. Enjoy being girls!

Various individuals were kind enough to donate your all important, expensive, and death proof car seats. The Apollo astronauts were strapped in with shoelaces by comparison. Of course, these aren't your long term car seats. These are just for the first year. After that, they too will kill you if we don't upgrade. You see what I'm saying? Trust nothing. It's all out to get you.

I'm not sure if they had car seats when I was a child. I think we were just carted around in shoeboxes. I mean, they had lids, so it wasn't totally unsafe. There may have been seatbelts but I don't think we used them. I remember that we rear ended a car once and I went flying and smashed the windshield. And then I had one of those moments that kids have where something crazy has just happened and they look up at their parents to see if they've got the green light to start wailing. But instead of coddling me or leading me to believe that shattering glass with my skull was cause for consternation, my mom picked me up, smiled and said, 'Wow, that's some head you've got! Look at that window! You smashed it right up! This thing must be made out of rock!' And then she mussed my hair, put me back in my shoebox, and off we went. I don't think people traded insurance information in those days either, you just drove off. The point is, she took a traumatic brain injury, and instead of making me cry, she made me proud of it. To this day I still think about the hardness of my head with pride. Now that's parenting. From then on when people would get in our car and look at the spiderwebbed glass I would say with pride, 'I did that with my head.' When they looked at me in horror my mom would just twirl her finger around her temple to indicate that I was crazy and then tell them that I hadn't been quite right since a non-car related, non-negligent blow to the head. I guess what I'm saying is, remind me not to leave you alone with grandma.

Novel - p6
Dunking - can't lift a car, but can hammer nails with my super strong head
French - Je suis un tete dur.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Your mom and I just took what will be our last vacation as relatively responsibility free adult human beings. Apparently this is called a Babymoon. If having kids were an execution, this would be the last meal.

When we talked about procreation, the one thing we were agreed on was that we wanted to travel first. Your mom was going to take a sabbatical and we were going to go around the world. And then maybe she was going to take a couple months off and we'd go just go half way. And then it was at least going to be a couple weeks and a foreign country. And then we got pregnant before our honeymoon, and well, the upshot is our global circumnavigation has been reduced to three days in Utah, one of the few places you can fly while listening to the person in front of you talk about the celestial kingdom for three hours.

Still I got a couple days of great boarding in amazing snow and your mom got to show her belly to an entirely new audience. We also got to spend a few days with a 2 year old. There's a machine in one of my favorite movies, The Princess Bride, that sucks the life out of victims years at a time. I think they could have just as easily have hooked victims up to a 2 year old. If I'm gone by the time you can read this I suspect it had something to do with the 'fake crying' stage you will apparently enter in your second year. Listening to that on a daily basis will almost certainly lead me to 'stall' my car on some train tracks.

You two have also put an impressive mound on the front of your mom. It looks like if I pushed her over she would bounce right back up, but we haven't tested that. I've taken to calling her 'Mobile Home' since it describes her in function and form. You might think this would upset her, but I've learned that your mom is extremely sensitive about NOT being told how big she is. She constantly walks into rooms demanding to know if I think she looks huge. I've had to answer this question pretty much anytime we left the house for years, and the answer was always 'of course not'. That answer is now very wrong. She is the only female I've ever heard angrily say, 'What the hell do you mean I'm not fat!' In her eyes Mobile Home is a highly complimentary nickname. Clearly, having kids really does change things.

You two also seem to be making her deaf. I'm no anatomist, but apparently the uterus is connected to the ears because your mom has become a serious loud talker of late. We'll be walking through an airport and she'll yell something like, 'Nixon is really sitting right on my cervix', or 'my bladder always feels full, but when I sit down, nothing!' It's kind of like walking around with an old Jewish guy. If it gets any worse I'm going to start walking about thirty yards behind her and we'll just converse via cell phone. Of course, she won't actually have to call me if she has anything to say, thirty yards is like standing next to her at her new volume level. Deaf people can probably hear her updates on the state of her uterus.

Work is progressing slowly. I probably shouldn't have jumped off the novel trail for the screenplay. There are apparently no shortcuts. I haven't measured my vertical lately, but my program assures me that by the end of next week my legs will be strong enough to lift a small car. It really says that. I will try to find one and report back.

Novel - ugh
Dunking - approaching vehicular liftoff
French - Apparently a lot of Au pairs speak Portuguese. Who knew?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Does Any Of That Food Get On The Inside?

With the exception of my first semester in college, I never bought books for class.* About two weeks before the end of the term I'd realize that I didn't know anything about South American Cultures, or Linguistics, or whatever, and I'd hold study groups, invite all the kids who did buy books, and try to copy notes. And to think there's still outstanding loans for this education.

You two are starting to feel like one of those classes I didn't buy books for and I'm right back to begging the smart kids for information. When we get around people with kids now I'm like Jane Goodall in a monkey house. What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Is there really always this much crying? Does the urge to run away dissipate when they're your own kids? Seriously, there's always this much crying?

I have kind of a weak stomach. I tend to get sick at something as innocent as couples smearing wedding cake on each other. Seeing other people's kids eat is like mainlining Ipecac to me. I feel like I'm watching someone apply war paint made of pureed carrots. I really hope you guys like breasts and straws, because until you develop a decent set of teeth and passable table manners, those are the only ways I foresee being able to get food into you. Sippy cups forever!

Oddly, I think I have less of a problem now with the food coming out the other end. At least that's supposed to be disgusting. What I can't get used to is the public nature baby crapping. When you get older you'll discover that there are some people who use the bathroom with the door open and then there's people who want the door closed. Me, I'm a door closed in a house down the street kind of guy. So it's weird when I'm holding someone's baby and the kid gets this look of extreme concentration and the parents say, oh, there he goes. I feel like I should put them in a cabinet or something, give both of us a little privacy, and we can talk when it's over. But I seem to be in the minority. Seeing babies grunt into their diapers really entertains people. I'm surprised there's not a cable channel dedicated to it. I should put that on the list of possible ways to exploit you two for financial gain.

Communicating with your kind is also something I'm trying to work on. Yesterday I was talking to a naked baby and he kept pointing at his penis and saying, pee pee. I thought he was just filling me in on the various parts of his anatomy, and since he seemed to be identifying it properly, I just said, yes, pee pee.

So he peed. Right on the couch, floor, ottoman, etc.

He did warn me. I gotta give him that. But apparently talking to kids is like wishing on one of those monkey's paws. If you're really careful with your words you get your wish. If not, you should probably keep the paper towels handy.

Novel - still rewriting script
Dunking - Week 3 program 2
French - Qu'est que c'est le mot por pee pee?

*Freshman year I bought a book for class called 'The History of Movie Posters' which was just hundreds of pages of movie posters. It cost 65 dollars. That's when I decided I could do without. If I knew where my diploma was I'd put 'without books' next to the magna cum laude part. When you meet me you'll realize that this says less about how smart I am than how stupid a lot of classes are.

Monday, January 21, 2008


I've been sitting around thinking of ways that I can use the two of you to make money. When you're as successful as I am this is what passes for retirement planning. I always imagined I'd be bathing in money at this point despite the fact that I don't really have many discernible skills and don't care for bathing. But it's starting to dawn on me that if I want to wash my hair with hundred dollar bills, I'm probably going to have to find a way to wring them out of you two.

My bullet proof backup plan has always been to raise an NFL punter. High paying work, minimal danger, and lots of time off. Many parents try to push the athlete angle, but they always aim for the glory positions, raising quarterbacks and baseball pitchers. Me, I figured we'd aim low, specialize early, go all Tiger Woods and have you punting before you could walk. Then when you cashed that first NFL check you'd just be dying to buy a ski chalet for the man who taught you about the coffin corner. I was running this by your mom and she pointed out two problems. One you're girls, and two, the only thing I actually know about punting is the phrase 'coffin corner'.

So the question now is how can I best live vicariously through twin girls. Sports are a surprisingly dead end for women. Remember, this is not about whether of not you're fulfilled, it's about my ski chalet, and with the exception of women's tennis, women still get the shaft when it comes to getting paid for kicking and hitting round things. We could go the tennis route, but some of those juniors academies are right up there with the beauty pageant circuit for freakshow content. Also, when I played tennis I had a tendency to hit the ball over the back fence. All the time. Ten bucks says you both get that gene.

So if sports are out, where are the other big pay days for girls? Modeling? I think my genes will torpedo that too, not to mention that while I really want that chalet, it's hard for me to push you toward anything that might bring you within a thousand miles of Tyra Banks. Being a human clothes hanger just seems like such an empty and meaningless existence. Unlike repeatedly kicking a small leather ball toward the corners (the coffin ones) of a green rectangle.

Acting? Such a tough nut to crack. And getting an early start doesn't necessarily mean you end up with a sustainable career. You could end up Mccauley Caulkin, out of work by 25 and spending all my chalet money working through your memories of weekends at Michael Jackson's with a thousand dollar an hour therapist. That's not good for any of us.

So, I've decided to make you Hedge Fund Managers. Granted, I know less about hedge funds than I do about punting and my math skills break down at 6x7, but you could make up for my lifetime of failure and financial mismanagement with one 200 million dollar Christmas bonus. So when those big checks come, just remember that while everyone else was putting you in pink, it was me who hooked you up with the derivatives and bond market primers. All I ask in return is that you move me to a mountain with a lift right outside my front door.

Also, I'll probably need a couple new knees.

Novel - doing another script draft
Dunking - Program 2, week 3
French - Nous sommes riche!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Strange People Down The Hall

Well, I'm a week late, but I have a draft of the script on paper. The bad news is that this makes the paper slightly less valuable than it was when I brought it home from office depot. The good news is there should be less to interrupt our ongoing communication in the future.

We got you guys checked out yesterday, and aside from the fact that you appear locked in some sort of epic yoga/wrestling battle with one another, all appears well. You just need to get your feet out of one another's ears.

I guess the big news is that we're looking at getting an au pair to help us wrangle you two. We knew we'd have to have help in order for you mom to keep working and me to keep defacing blank paper, and since we got no bites on our 45 cent per hour offer we had to look at other options. Basically, someone from another country who's anxious to see our little part of America will live here and take some number of classes, and then be able to help out part time to keep the rest of us employed. It's kind of like a foreign exchange program but with screaming children.

Your mom was a little weirded out at first about the idea of having someone live with us. For me this was not a problem. When I was young my dad and stepmom sort of had a habit of collecting people who were down on their luck and letting them stay for 'a few weeks' until things turned around. Those weeks tended to run into years, so it always just seemed normal that there would be a strange person down the hall. I mean strange in nicest possible way, but I still mean it.

If it weren't for Crazy Dick I would probably know almost nothing about handguns or mustaches, two disciplines that are all but ignored in today's 'teach to the test' environment. British Brian taught me to make a white russian, a skill no ten year old should be without, and got me in the habit of speaking with an annoying accent, something every person I've met since would probably love to talk to him about. Navy Tom, god love him, taught me to be a patient listener. I think he's probably still telling a story that began in 1987. I think he wants to stop, he just doesn't know how.

I cannot guarantee that the person who comes to stay with us will know anything about mustaches, guns, bar tending, or the Navy, but I've certainly put in the request. Failing those things it would be nice if they knew French so they could fill in the vast holes in the version you'll be getting from me. Failing all that, I'll settle for someone with a simple burning passion for diapers.

Novel - waiting for the script draft to be torn to shreds by readers
Dunking - could not walk after first workout of new program. unclear if that's a good or bad sign
French - Il y a un Russian Blanche

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Old Dirt Pile

It's my birthday. I've been watching TV all day, but have heard no mention of this fact. I saw a story about a mound of dirt that two neighbors were refusing to claim. I feel like I'm at least as important as an unwanted dirt pile. I suppose I should find out more about the specific type of dirt before I say anything.

I promised you an update on things, so here it is. A few weeks back I kind of freaked out that there was no way in hell I was going to finish the book before you got here. Then I wondered if I had any business writing a book. I mean, you don't need a license, but I feel like if people were to read what I've written so far, that might change. And if I didn't finish before you got here, I didn't see myself finishing at all. People have told us a variety of things about newborns, but no one has said, 'it's a good time to work on a big personal project.' So I decided to fall back on what I know and write the screenplay version. When I say, 'what I know', I mean know in the way that a person who's used a microwave knows nuclear physics. But, while I'm no expert, I do have all the apparatus in place to put a screenplay in front of people which is more than I can say for the novel. That kind of makes it sound like I have a room full of chained up individuals who will agree to stare at screenplays but not books. And I do, but that's not what I'm referring to. Thus far that thing has just been a big money pit.

Anyway, I decided to take a couple weeks, write the screenplay and then stick it in a drawer so that if things got difficult, or you came early or whatever, I could give it to my people (not the chained up people, other people) and they could give me a check for several million dollars. It was going to be like my parachute. Like most homemade parachutes, it's currently pretty ragged and full of holes and sadly, if I have to use it, then the book's probably dead. There's lots of movies that follow books, but not many that go the other way around, at least not ones without pictures of Star Trek characters on the front. If we pull the ripcord I think the book goes down with the plane.

I've also made drastic changes to the jumping program. My new regimen requires me to eat a startling 6 meals a day. Not just any 6 meals, but an absurdly complicated 6 meals. The kitchen looks like a chemistry lab. It's unclear how making myself enormously heavy is going to help me take flight. My theory is that I am to balloon up into a ball shape and then literally bounce myself above the rim. If it works, I think the NBA might look very different by the time you start paying attention.

Novel - Going straight to video
Dunking - vertical leap currently 3 inches less that waist size
French - Remind me to get back to you on this

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Happy New Years?

New Year's was five days ago. My resolution was to stop procrastinating. The fact that I'm just now getting around to writing you about it tells you how it's going. It would appear that really changing something requires more than an annual declaration.

You're still floating in goo and yet studies of twins just like you indicate that much of who and how you'll be is already sewn into the fabric of your genes. You might be raised by dolphins and still end up with a tendency to scrape lines in the last bits of your food just like your mother. You might be adopted by Bill Gates and still end up as big a tight wad as your father. Just think of DNA as a kind of time bomb waiting to turn you into your parents.

The idea that any of us comes pre-assembled isn't very popular outside of science labs. It seems to put us at the mercy of our fat, smoking, drinking, procrastinating genes. If we can't change, if it's all DNA, then what's the point?

Which brings us back to New Year's. The truth is, now matter what we promise ourselves on the first day of every year, most diets fail, most smokers keep puffing, and most procrastinators ask for extensions. But there's a few who don't. A few make it to the land of skinny, more water drinking, less junk food eating, watch less tv, bike to work, learn that language, dunk that ball, and write that novel. Some even manage to stay there. Those that do don't do it by changing their genes, but by overcoming them, not with a single statement on a single day, but with endless effort over endless days. It will always be easier to be what you are than what you want to be.

So here's my brief, five day late, New Year's message to you. You can't be anyone you want. You can't be the children of smarter, richer, less idiotic parents. You can't control how tall or short, how dimpled or freckled you are. You can't even control the way your own voice will sound.

But what you say will always be up to you.

Making resolutions is obviously easier than keeping them, but you're only set in stone when you decide you can't bear to make another one. If you get anything from me, I hope it's the ability to make new ones on the fifth after screwing up the ones you made on the first.

Novel - 3 days to update
Dunking - New program starts tomorrow
French - Seriously, I'm looking into that nanny

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