Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Good, The Bad and Please Kill Me (Part Two)

Please Kill Me (maybe I’m being a little dramatic).

I write this from a hotel in Austin, Texas. I am on my first family vacation, with MY family; Nicole, Jackson and Me.

Yesterday was our first flight with Jackson. We are travelers, so this was our first of what will be many. I welcomed and dreaded this trip for the following two reasons: First, I have been on plenty of flights with screaming children, and have always thought, “not when I have a kid.” The thought of my child being the disruptive one on the flight was horrible. Second, I welcomed this flight because I have always wanted to be able to respond to the announcement: “We are now boarding passengers with small children”...YES!!! THAT’s ME!

We woke up in the morning, and Jackson’s eyes were red and a bit, uh, shall we say...gunky. Nicole explained that his eyes looked like this the night before, and she was afraid we might have a problem. OF COURSE! Nicole and I never take a trip where one of us doesn’t get sick or have some kind of problem...NEVER. Anyway, we left for JFK.

Jackson slept like a good little man in the airport before we got on the plane. He was even peaceful when we boarded. I was going to be the daddy with the golden child. We sat in our seats, which were conveniently located in the “extra room” emergency exit. As we sat in our roomy seats, Jackson decided it was time to let everyone on the plane know we had arrived. Ok, No problem, because we are still on the runway and there is still time to do a quick bathroom diaper change. At this point things got a little hazy. It felt like we had 120 eyes on us as Jackson screamed and shot green puss out of his eyes. Nicole quickly leapt to her feet, smashing her head on the carry-on compartments while I twisted and turned, negotiating our surroundings. When we were finally somewhat comfortable, the flight attendant notified us that we were not permitted to stay in our luxurious exit seats with the extra room since we have a baby. We were exiled to the ass of the plane.

Over all, Jackson was wonderful. His eyes continued to spooge out green funk, and we had to call our pediatrician on out first day in Austin. The prescription for his meds didn’t come in until this morning, which was our second day. Luckily, he doesn’t seem to notice that he is shitting goblins out of his face, so no harm, no foul. We took a long walk yesterday, and had a nice dinner, which seems to be the theme of our family vacations at this point, but whatever. I am in another city, in another place, with my beautiful wife and son. Not many people have this opportunity, so I will take it....boogers and all.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Good, The Bad and Please Kill Me (Part One)

The Good and The Bad...

Over the last few days, I have experienced a new level of disappointment cloaked within a milestone of my newborn’s life. I returned home from rehearsal the other night at the “normal” hour of 1am. I promptly went to sleep, and as a matter of course, was pulled from my slumber by Jackson’s wail. Normally, when I wake for the first changing and feeding, it’s approximately 3am. On this particular occasion the red digits in the black night screamed 5:30am. Jackson had slept from 9ish, which meant he was asleep approximately 8 hours, or “THROUGH THE NIGHT!”

I could hardly contain myself. “Nicole, wake up, wake up...It’s 5:30...He slept through the night!!! Do we have Champagne? Where can we get some?” But then it hit me. My baby slept through the night...but I didn’t. I only slept about 4 hours. This is a major dilemma. If I want to sleep through the night, I must go to bed at 9pm. “Not likely,” I thought, and suddenly was forced to come to terms with the fact that I will not sleep 8 consecutive hours again for about five to ten years.

I suppose that this realization is not terrible since Nicole and I decided to have children early in our marriage. Many men in their early 30’s and women in their mid-20’s are still out in the field, looking for love, working all day, partying at night, and surviving on little sleep. We just have to transfer what’s left of our energy into Jackson rather than a 3am bar scene. This leads to my next great insight. Sleep is overrated and the grass is always greener.

Last night, I went to bed at 1am. I woke up for my flight to Austin, TX at 6:30. Five and a half hours of deep REM deliciousness. When I woke up, I felt groggy as usual, and remembered that when I used to get 8 hours of sleep I was equally schlepish. Further, this morning when I woke up, there was no going back to sleep. I looked at the clock and thought, “That’s it? No going back to sleep?” For the first time, I actually missed waking up 3 or 5 times during the night. I felt gipped because the night went so fast. If this isn’t the craziest shit in the world, I don’t know what is. It all comes down to the grass always being greener on the other side.

We always think we are being screwed and that the “other situation” is better then the one we are in. When we are single, we think it is better to be married, when we are married, we daydream about the freedom’s of the single life. And now I know for certain that it never ends. My conclusion...we will never be happy. Stay tuned for my next Blog entitled The Good, The Bad and Please Kill Me (Part Two)...Please Kill Me.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Babies and Luck

My father told me that my great-grandmother used to say “babies bring luck.” Well, the only thing that I know for sure is that they bring sleepless nights, floods of drool, and explosive shits. I don’t put too much stock in luck, but the happenings over the past ten weeks have certainly been interesting to say the least.

First of all, Jackson was born on Saturday, June 14th 2008. The last Cherry Lane Theatre installment of FUCT began on Thursday, June, 12th. I wisely chose not to appear in this run of the show because I might have been faced with the decision of performing, or attending my son’s birth. I did, however, plan on going to every performance until Jackson was born. The night of the second show, which was also the night before the baby arrival, I went to FUCT, had a few drinks, and went out afterwards, and had a few more drinks. Before I left the bar, the cast and crew did their ceremonial group shot of Jack Daniel’s Whiskey. I abstained.

On the drive home, I took what I thought would be the safest slowest route, which landed me right into a DWI traffic stop. Although I have no proof of my actual blood alcohol content, I would venture to guess that I was slightly above the legal limit, while not nearly drunk enough to pose an actual risk to society. Stupid, yes. Extremely fucking retarded, not really. In fact, I was sober enough that I was able to convince Mr. 5-O that I was more than capable of driving home. I drove off with a slight bit of poo in my pants, but not under arrest, which worked out very well considering that 6 hours later Nicole’s water broke. Had I done the shot, and the cop smelled it, I would have spent the weekend in jail, and missed Jackson’s birth. Babies bring luck? Maybe.

I own a law firm. I represent about 30 medical facilities. I make a nice living, work from my basement in my underwear, and have the freedom to raise my son without a nanny. I don’t do much active marketing because the business is more than enough, and my doctors are very happy with my performance. After Jackson was born, three huge happenings occurred with my practice. First, a doctor who stopped using my services returned...with a million dollars worth of business. Another doctor who retired decided he would connect me with a billing company that would provide me with even more business. And, finally, I entered negotiations to do cross-marketing with a major x-ray/diagnostic facility...Nice! Luck? I am starting to think so.

Finally, during the June run of FUCT, the troupe was approached by Caroline’s Comedy Club and Simon & Schuster. For those of you not familiar with the comedy world, Caroline’s is the biggest, and most famous comedy club on the east coast. It hosts the most famous comedians in the world, and is not the type of place that is easy to get into for a comic. It is also a classic stand-up comic club, which rarely if ever permits sketch comedy. New comedians usually get a 6 minute spot on Monday, New Talent Night. After Jackson was born, Caroline’s offered FUCT 2 prime time performances, both for an hour and 40 minutes on September 10th and October 8th. If all goes well, it looks like this might be a permanent gig, and a stepping stone to the next level. Simon & Schuster felt we would be doing great things within the next year and wanted to lock us into a book deal for when it happens...Luck...Shit, I don’t know...but I think I am going to have a few more kids and let the dice roll!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Tonight I get to fulfill my passion once again. I am privileged to take the stage at the Broadway Comedy Club with my fellow FUCT cast-mates to perform an evening of comedy for our wonderful audience. As Jackson gets older, I plan on teaching him that regardless of money, peer pressure, and/or his own self doubts and fear, he must always follow his passion, or be condemned to live someone else’s life.

Now it’s time for me to live my life, which consists of performing either naked, dressed in drag, or completely FUCT in some way or another; all to get a laugh. I love this!

Friday, August 15, 2008

To Soothe and Protect

Nicole had to get ready this morning, and was running short on time. Jackson was crying in his usual maniac howl, and Nicole couldn’t balance his shitty mood with the 15 other tasks to begin her day. This meant I had to forgo running the law firm and put on my Super-Dad costume. I immediately put my 9 week old child into the position he loves best. His crotch sits in my hand, while he lays on his belly with his body running the length of my arm. It is a position that usually quells his unpleasantness instantly, and today it worked like a charm.

Proud of my success, I made my best effort to do some simple tasks at my office desk. After a short while, I felt something cool and wet in my hand, which turned out to be liquid poo. This vile fluid was leaking out of the side of his diaper like coffee dripping through a filter. Coincidentally, I was drinking a cup of cold coffee at the time, and I didn’t immediately make the connection. I’m sure you can imagine my surprise when I saw the light brown liquid, and brought my hand to my face for nasal identification. Thankfully, I didn’t choose to test the diaper juice with my sense of taste.

I am convinced that babies are cute to ensure we don’t eat our young. At some point, I pray, my son will become at least somewhat useful, for as of right now, all he has going for him is that he is adorable, and I love him. In addition to my unending love, I have an overwhelming instinct to protect him. Instinct, however, can be a tricky little bitch when it’s at odds with the conscious mind. This afternoon we brought little Jackson to his two month doctor’s appointment. He weighs 10 pounds and 11 ounces and is 22.5 inches long; perfect. In addition to the two month check-up is the first round of vaccinations. Today, he had two. The first of the two was very simple for both myself and the boy. It was just a sugary syrup in the mouth. He loved it. Jackson’s little brain was so flooded with sugar and delight that I could almost forget that this man of science was pouring some type of virus or disease into my baby.

Next came the needle. I knew it was coming. I personally hate needles, and when he stuck it into Jackson’s little leg, I was blown away that my strong little guy didn’t peep...until the doctor pushed the syringe to inject the serum. The second I heard my baby scream, I felt like a lion wanting to rip open the animal that threatened his cub. But alas, it was over in a heartbeat and there was no time for me to tear off the doctor’s limbs. I had to settle for my backup instinct; soothing the wound. The doctor told us that this particular vaccine could cause Jackson to cry inconsolably for three to five hours. Well, within five minutes, my little boy was sound asleep in my arms, drooling on my shirt, and transferring every bit of his pain to me with his vice-like grip on my chest hair.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Week Six? or Weak Sex?

So, I figured that if I was going to be honest in this blog, I would eventually have to tackle the question of postpartum sex, or “intercourse,” as it's referenced by the index of “What to Expect...” My challenge in the balance of honesty and privacy, is to reflect on the issue with respect for my wife and our marriage, while informing and entertaining the reader. Luckily, just the topic of sex reverts most grown adults into giggling goof balls, so this shouldn’t be too difficult. (Plus, I got the approval of my editor/wife).

I am sure that there are some men and women whose frustration over postpartum sex ranges from mild to absolute rage and confusion. Nicole and I have experienced our fair share of the spectrum. However, as we approach week nine, I think I am just now understanding how to deal with this experience. To be clear, let’s turn to the textbook.

Sexual issues you may experience after childbirth:

Hormones - Like we needed more of these pesky little chemicals swirling around our brains. A mother’s hormonal readjustment can screw around with sexual desire, and quite frankly, Dad’s hormones are not exactly stable. So the competing up and down of parental hormones makes the coordination of libidos nearly impossible.

Don’t Rush It - They say it could be less than six weeks. They say it can take longer than six weeks. Ah ha, once again we get an answer that amounts to, “We Have No Clue.” I wish I could get away with this line of reasoning in my everyday life. “Honey, I guarantee you I will be home from rehearsal either before midnight, or after midnight.”

Expect Some Discomfort - It goes without saying that birthing a child can and usually does cause some damage. Of course, this translates into sexual pain, even after the healing. I totally respect the strength of women, and have nothing to say other than Ouch...Big Ouch!

Don’t Expect Perfection - Well, since I can’t exactly swear to my own “perfect” sexual abilities pre-baby, I think it would be pretty ballsy of me to think I would be “perfect” at sex afterwards. I’ll settle for gosh darn good, and making an effort to improve every chance I get.

Express Love in Different Ways - Hugging, cuddling, kissing, caressing, uh, use your imagination.

Ok, let recap: We are essentially hormonal people who shouldn’t rush it, but if we do have sex we should expect some discomfort, without perfection and in the end we should feel comfortable expressing love in different ways. AH, I GET IT! We are Teenage Virgins all over again! That doesn’t sound so bad at all. In fact, that is my ultimate conclusion. This is the closest I will ever be to a teenage virgin without facing jail time and divorce, so I am going to take advantage of the opportunity and get to the necking ASAP!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Saturday Morning

It’s Saturday morning. Nicole is still tired from waking up three times last night to cater to the eating habits of our 8 week old Jackson. I was sleepy when I woke up, but nothing compares to Nicole. I have never met a person outside of their teen years that requires as much sleep as my wife. Don’t get me wrong. She is totally a “tough guy,” and when the situations call, she can survive on mere winks of shut eye. Nevertheless, today is a quiet, cool Saturday morn, so after she let me sleep from 7:30am to 9am, I took responsibility of my little screaming monster.

Jackson was cranky as usual, and I simply wasn’t interested in bouncing and walking him all over the house. I decided to make this morning very special considering we had some Daddy/Son time, and today is another special day: Jackson’s official 8 week mark. For this special day, we would take our first Daddy/Baby shower. Nicole took the pictures to memorialize this special landmark before slipping into a drool filled coma. As you can see, right before the first flash went off, Jackson let us both know what he thought of our plans.

The shower was fun and Jackson adorable. I don’t know if he left the shower much cleaner than when he entered, as this was quite a precarious endeavor. On the way into the shower I tripped over his shampoo bottle, and from that point, I held a vice-like grip on the slippery little eel. All in all, it was a great experience. Jackson loves the water. He already knows how to hold his breath when the shower water splashes on this head and face. This both amazes me, and gives me a silly sense of fatherly pride.

I love being around for these moments, and get a kick out of the little things, like how he cries as soon as we get out of the shower because fun water time is over, or after the shower when in the middle of attaching the new diaper he throws an ass-ball, as though the diaper is a catchers mitt and I’m Johnny Bench.

As I write this, the little man sleeps, strapped to my chest like a roast beef in a book bag. I just hope he doesn’t puke again on his cute little Saturday morning outfit...I’m sure he will.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Uncomfortable Handling

During my fatherhood experience, I’ve kept up with parenting books, including “What to Expect,” “Dr. Spock,” and a variety of others. I peruse each month’s section to learn the necessary information, and otherwise default to my wife’s more thorough knowledge of parenting literature. Despite my review of the published expertise, I haven’t found anything that covers the uncomfortable feeling of handling my baby’s genitals.

As far as I can tell, there are no published rules, and this frightens me. Up until now, I’ve been OK with the layer of protection offered by a baby wipe. I’m sure the thin, moist cloth, coupled with my intention to cleanse is enough to prevent the skin to skin contact that triggers federal sentencing guidelines. Despite the legal ramifications, my moral integrity is at stake, and I become concerned at the slightest slip. I’ve already had to check his foreskin to make sure all is kosher, which, strictly speaking, it’s not. This contact makes me shutter. I certainly don’t want to violate him, but I must be brave if I expect to educate my little man about his little man. I just wish someone would tell me the appropriate rules. For now, I’m going to stick to the following: I will clean him down there until he can clean himself. Once he realizes he has opposable thumbs, it’s in his hands.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Kids These Days...

You do your best to raise them right. You give them love, a home, and little bit of freedom.

The next thing you know, they throw a party, trash the house, and raid your liquor cabinet. What’s a father to do?

Boat Basin Sundays

There is a haven on the Upper West Side of Manhattan called the West 79th Street Boat Basin Café a/k/a Boat Basin. Every Sunday this oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of New York City takes on special meaning to the friends and family of the comedy troupe FUCT.

The Boat Basin is home to a huge outdoor/indoor deck and café overlooking the Hudson River. Many Sundays ago, Mr. Jon Crane, writer and cast member of FUCT experienced the serene sunset view, and the amazing glory of warm summer breezes carrying the ocean air. It was then that he christened the weekly event, Boat Basin Sundays.

Yesterday was my first official Boat Basin Sunday with my beautiful wife, and my party animal baby, Jackson. We arrived later than the beginning time as sanctioned by Mr. Crane, but early enough to have plenty of hours of daylight as the sun slowly fell. We took our place on the wall where people wait for a seat in the café, never actually requesting a table. At Boat Basin Sunday, we wait only for the sinking sun and the next drink; never for a seat in the actual café.

I drank Coronas with lime, as Nicole sipped her Mango Mai Tai and Frozon Electric Blue Lemonade in the perfectly sunny, 76 degree weather as it is every Boat Basin Sunday despite the climate experienced by the rest of the city. Jackson was a total angel, with only minor fussing here and there. Afterward, we made the ceremonial trek to our Boat Basin family dinner at Brother Jimmy’s, where my vegetarian diet took a temporary hiatus for an all you can eat rib, and all you can drink beer fest.

We made it home around 11ish, and Jackson had his dinner, which lasted until slightly after twelve. He then slept until 5:45am, waking for a short nip sip, and then back to sleep until 8:45am. Last night was the first night in 7 weeks that I woke up to pee more often then Jackson. It must have been the magic of the salty breeze, a relaxing sunset, and the Boat Basin Sunday family and friends.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

"What The Hell Was I Thinking?"

Sometimes I look at my son, and think to myself, “What the hell was I thinking?” I've silently asked myself this question many times in my life.

Looking back, my college years all seem a blur. However, I do remember a classic “What the hell was I thinking?” moment. This specific event is tame compared to the stories that my better judgment will not let me publish at this time. It was early fall, or late spring, or sometime in between. I went to the local bar as we did on many a Thursday night. I don’t remember how long I was at the bar. I don’t remember what, or how much I drank. I don’t remember leaving the bar. All I know is that I entered the bar, and when I came back to my senses, I had been sleeping in the parking lot of the restaurant next door to the bar. I was in the passenger seat of a car that didn’t belong to me. Next to me, sound asleep, was a stranger, who I assumed was the owner of this vehicle of slumber. On his lap was a number of crisp green dollar bills. Without thinking twice, I swiped the money from proprietor of this fine establishment. My cat-like precision ensured I wouldn’t wake him and be caught in the act.

Now it was time for a major decision. Do I try to leave the sedan, and risk getting pinched by my new companion as I exit his bed at 6am? OR Do I let my curiosity get the best of me, wake him, and start the interrogation in an attempt to put the pieces of last night’s puzzle back together? Dear reader, as I am sure you have already guessed, I woke the sleeping beauty with a few delicate nudges to his leg. As the hangover sweat steam clouded the windows I said, “Excuse me, do you know how I got here?” Rubbing the sleepiness from his eyes, he exclaimed “Who the FUCK ARE YOU?!?” At this point, I figured I had nothing to lose. “I was at the bar last night, and I got drunk, and I have no idea how I ended up here. I thought you might have some insight, but I guess not.” And then, I really pushed the envelope with the question. “Would you mind giving me a ride back to campus?” I could almost see this guys temple vein pop as he roared, “GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY CAR YOU ASSHOLE.” I exited. I though to myself that he was a bit rude considering the circumstances. I had a long walk ahead of me, so I made my way to the seven eleven to buy a cup of coffee with the innkeeper’s money. I certainly did have many “What the hell was I thinking?” moments in college, but after my undergraduate years I really got my act together, right?

In February of 2003, Brooklyn experienced a huge snowstorm. The nostalgia of being at my mother’s house quickly lead me to my old garage where I found my winter sleds and summer boogie boards. It was time for a good ol’ game of garage roof bobsled. After a few slaloms down the slippery slope my brother and I became bored, as children usually do. In my infinite wisdom, I grabbed my sled and sibling, and made my way to my little sister’s bedroom the second floor where we climbed through the window onto the roof of the front porch. I knew we had to do our deed before the logic of my parents could set in, and with that we jumped. My brother, always the smarter of the pair, jumped right beside me, but knew enough to land on his back, distributing his weight in the fall. I, on the other hand, spiked feet first into the ground like a lawn dart. Immediately, “What the hell was I thinking?” ran through my mind. We made it through the blizzard to the hospital where the x-rays showed sprained ankles. The doctor said it was a miracle I didn’t break my legs. The next day was my first appearance as a self-employed attorney. “What the hell was I thinking?,” indeed.

Today, I look at my son and think about the life I currently live. I run my own law office, usually in nothing more than my underwear, as I work from my basement. I perform in a comedy troupe, FUCT, also usually in my underwear. I sometimes get in at odd hours of the night, and I juggle wife, baby, and life throughout the day. Nicole and I could have spent the first few years of our marriage “enjoying ourselves,” as they say couples should. However, I think in the long run, this is exactly how we choose to enjoy ourselves. We enter different, challenging, and downright crazy situations with a sense of excitement. Jackson was a planned roller coaster ride, and every time he smiles at me I know he’s worth the cost of admission.