Wednesday, December 22, 2010


As usual, I am not bouncing and giggling my way into the Christmas season. Part of that is because I work in retail, and the season is more of a hurricane than a spiritual experience. It's not as crazy as it may be in a mall, so the customers I encounter aren't the frazzles crank-pots you may expect. But, boy howdy, there are a lot of them! My saving grace is that as a cashier, I'm always at the right end of the line up.

Perhaps part of it is the music. The same pre-fabricated feel-good bullocks year after year by a new batch of has-been artists trying to cash in.

Another root to my hum-bug is that I was 3000 kms from home (about the distance from Buffalo to Seattle, for my US readers, or from Portugal to Moscow for the Europeans.) for my early adulthood. My Christmas plans usually included laundry. Just as often, I would spend Christmas with the families of different friends. These turned out to be nice experiences, but they always started awkwardly.

Now that I have a family of my own, it's easier to get into the spirit of the season. By the 23rd, anyway. My wife seriously enjoys entertaining, so there's always the get-the-house-in-order project. I am really thankful to my mum-in-law for taking Chickerdoodle for a few hours, so we can really power through it, with both hands! (I've become pretty dexterous with one hand – FOR CHORES! Grow up!)

In slightly-related, the season has really brought to light what a “Dad” I've become. Several times, my wife asked what I want for Christmas, and I just shrugged and said “Dunno. Chapters card and a bag of Starbucks beans?” (“Chapters” is a Canadian version of Barnes & Noble.) While I am quite OK with that, the other example of Dad-ness was more disturbing. I made a pun. It was a good pun, but a pun none the less, and I hand my head in shame. Something about after eating Mom's turnip casserole (it's a lot better than it sounds), and keeping tight control at work, 'cause the gossips at work enjoy a “ripe tale.” (“ripe tail?”) Point being, most puns are really, really bad, especially the one's from newscasters, and I've never been shy about railing about it. Then my wife called me on my pun, and I had to admit: I made a bad “Dad Joke.” Someone please promise me, if I ever sit down to a family dinner and say “So, what are you all going to eat?” that you'll put a bullet through my head.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Another First.

When people talk about their kids, it's often about the firsts. You know, the first steps, first words, first embarrassing words in front of the in-laws (“She didn't learn that word from ME! I'm not even sure what that is!”). The first time a colon-blow escapes the diaper.

Last week, I had a rather unpleasant first. You see, it's all about the climbing. She finds the new perspectives exciting, and there's so much to discover, right in the rooms that she's always known. For instance, we were keeping a cooler in the kitchen (we need a new fridge...), and she triumphantly climbed it to find what was on the kitchen island. What held her attention for a remarkable amout of time was a little ceramic jar that we keep garlic in (That's my girl!). She would pull out a clove, then another. Then put them back in. Then pull them out again, taste one, then put them back in the jar. This amused her for about fifteen minutes. No lie, we made a note for Christmas. OK, we're not really giving her garlic for Christmas, but the “fifteen minutes” part is true.

Then she lost her footing. She smacked her mouth on the corner of the kitchen island, and cut the gum over her top front teeth. Naturally I grabbed her up and cuddled her, thinking that she had startled herself, and maybe had a bruise. At this time, Andrea was upstairs getting her hair done for her Christmas party by our friend Michelle. At first, Andrea wanted to run when she heard the cry, but Michelle said “Don't worry, I'm sure Will has a handle on it.”

It was about this time that I found blood on my shirt. My baby's blood, on my white shirt. It spelled out the words “You are an awful father, and should be disemboweled for your crimes, and your name should never be spoken by civilized folks again.”

What my wife heard was “Oh shit! Andrea!” There was enough of an edge of panic in my voice that Andrea came rushing downstairs, bowling over our friend. Doctors say that Michelle should be walking unassisted again by spring.

As I initially suspected, she was fine in minutes, smiling and cooing at the parent she hadn't seen in an hour, with blood smeared on her cheek. We got her cleaned up and her mouth rinsed out, and found that it was a really small cut.

At the Christmas party, all of the other parents said that it would be the first of many. One mother asked “Who was on duty?” She had a story of when her husband was 'on duty' that involved a garage door. I felt a little better.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I Did It, And I'm Back!

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't sure that I was going to make it, but on the morning of the 30th, I hit the magic 50, 000-word mark.

Twice in November, I fell behind. Once, early on when we were entertaining one night, and later in the month when I was burnt-out and had to work early the next day. But my typing has gotten a lot faster, and getting the flow from my head to the screen has gotten better. And I had a bag of Starbucks beans. That helped with my late nights.

The first night was the hardest, mostly because I picked a difficult topic. For the Prologue, I wrote from the mind of Gaia, the World Soul, of how divisions came into existence. It was kinda epic, and grand, and beyond my reach, but I pulled it off. My mom-in-law tried to read it, and got hung-up on the word “Monad.” I still haven't found anyone who knows what a Monad is, so it looks like I'll either have to define it in the text (awkward!) or edit it out.

Mostly, I have my wife to thank. She was so supportive, and handled a lot of bath times with the snookerdoodle so I could get a few more words out. She was very understanding of me staying up late, and even put off watching the third season of True Blood to wait for me to finish. That may have been the most painful part, and she truly is a trooper for waiting!

I met some really interesting people at the Write-Ins, but had to miss the last one, as I had to work (Grr!) Hopefully they'll be back next year. Of course, I'll have to put that decision, 'cause you never know what life will throw you, but it looks promising!