Wishes

I wish…

…that someone would just offer to babysit, instead of me always asking and getting turned down.

…that I had a mom like everyone else’s mom, who provides free childcare and overnight stays and just…help.

…for one night away. Just one.

…for reassurance that I’m doing this right, because sometimes I really think I’m screwing it all up.

…I didn’t feel so happy Charlie is in daycare, and that I would actually like my job and that it felt worth it to go to all this trouble.

…that my kid could talk, because dammit I don’t speak whine and gesture vaguely and I’m just. So. Tired.

…for a clean house, while we’re making wishes. Why the hell not.

Cloth: The Man’s Diaper

Hello friends! Welcome back to the blog. How long has it been, like a month? Well, regardless, summer is almost officially over, I start work again tomorrow, and we’re moving in 2 weeks. Exciting times, no? However, those exciting times are not what we’re here to talk about. At least not today.

Today we’re going to talk about cloth diapers, but from the man’s perspective, because it seems that, apparently, a lot of men are either unwilling or unable to bring themselves to use cloth. I am here to convince the men of the world that cloth diapers are the only way for real men to diaper their kids.

We bought bumGenius diapers for Charlie, and started using them at about 6 weeks. Back then, the diapers were a mess always. He didn’t have a poop that wasn’t horrific, and he had them frequently. Now, I get it: it’s disgusting. It smells bad (and only smells worse as they start eating more solid food) and it gets everywhere and you can’t just throw it away. Sometimes it sucks.

But hang on a second…we’re supposed to be men, right? The ones who have always seen something more disgusting, and aren’t phased by anything. So, what, as soon as a baby comes around all of that goes completely out the window? We turn into a bunch of 9-year-old girls? “Eww, it’s yucky! It smells bad. It looks gross. Get it away!” And heaven forbid you not be able to just wad up your demon child’s greatest gift and throw it away. Anything to get it as far away as possible as quickly as you can, right?

I say no! I mean, I kinda say all of those things from time to time, and I really don’t like poppy diapers, but it seems to me that cloth diapers have many of the features that a man would look for in a product: durability, versatility, efficiency, cost effectiveness, and (for the current generation at least) environmental friendliness. Allow me to break down the argument further…

Durability: when taken care of, a single cloth diaper will last through the diapering life of your child. A disposable diaper lasts for about 2 hours, if you’re lucky and the child doesn’t poop in it almost immediately. Absolutely no contest.

Versatility: At least with our diapers, the same diaper can either be very small for a tiny baby, or very large for a “about to be potty trained” toddler. Disposables? Well, if you bought a package right before your child grew out of that size, you’re gonna have diapers sitting around your house forever. Cloth wins again.

Efficiency and Cost Effectiveness: I put these two together because they are essentially the same, very simple argument. For the entire time your child.is in diapers, you buy cloth once and it.costs you about $300. For disposables, you buy about once a week (two weeks if you buy the gigantor boxes…I dunno, it could be less frequent than that…) And it would cost something like $1800-$2000. Umm….

Going Green: Does this really need an explanation? Charlie goes through about 6 diapers in a typical day. If all of them were disposable, we would be putting almost 170 diapers in the garbage every month. They are chemicals, and they don’t break down. They’ll just sit in a landfill and add to the already awful stench. Case closed.

My point in all of this: man up and use some cloth diapers. For that matter, some guys need to man up and change some diapers. But, perhaps paternal involvement is a topic best left for another day.

Effing Glitter, Man…

I’ve been pretty negligent with my activity on the blog-o-tubes lately, primarily due to my laziness. Only recently do I have the excuse that I’m studying to become an expert in packing boxes for our upcoming move. However, I’m here today to talk to you about something that has been troubling the world for far too long. A serious issue that I believe in very strongly.

Glitter.

Glitter has been a part of our lives from an early age. It’s popular use in craft projects for young children exposes kids to a dangerous substance that they cannot fully understand. Combining glitter and glue to make a card for Mother’s Day seems innocent, and is admittedly a comparatively innocuous application of the substance. But like so many things, these innocent beginnings merely mask the true terror that exists when glitter abuse begins.

Glitter first began negatively affecting my life when I was in Junior High. For some reason, every girl in my school had fallen victim to it’s shiny seduction and wore it en mass! I mean, seriously, gobs and gobs of glitter. If you so much as looked at them wrong, the glitter would detach from their benevolent host and seek vengeance upon you.  Why girls were allowed to use such a weapon in public schools baffles me to this day. However, as confused in all aspects of life as a Junior High boy is, we seemed to wear the glitter scars as a badge of honor, as if announcing to all of our friends that we had once been close enough to a girl to now be stuck with her sparkly residue. “Close enough” may have only been about 10 feet, but our standards weren’t very high back then.

A couple of years later, in High School, we finally started to see the dangers of glitter. I’m fairly sure that girls wore body glitter at this age as a tracker, being able to keep tabs on who their boyfriends had been in close proximity to (“Umm, I wear green glitter. Who put this blue glitter on your face?!!?”). And now that we realized that the glitter was so dangerous, we also realized what made glitter such a scourge: It doesn’t come off. Ever. For anything. Like radiation from a nuclear explosion, once you’re exposed, there’s no going back. It’s going to be with you forever.

Incidentally, graduation served as a send-off from both High School and the plague that was glitter. College girls had moved on to less transmittable methods of sparkle (sequins sewn on to unusually small dresses…) and I’d finally started to forget that I’d ever been exposed. And then it started happening. It seemed like a bad joke when I came home from work one day and Chris said “You have a piece of glitter on your face.” I brushed at it and moved on, but later on she repeated her announcement. I then remembered that, working at a school, I had been unwittingly placed directly back into glitter’s destructive path.

It’s at the point now where I can only occasionally place the incident of exposure on any given day when there is a sighting. These individual covert specks of glitter have infiltrated my house, and they latch onto the first thing moving past them like so many parasites. And we’ll never be rid of them. I fully expect to continue to see those same pieces after our move.

Effing glitter, man.

Like a Scene From a Horror Movie

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to do this post for about 2 weeks. I’ve been trying to find movie clips or pictures to illustrate exactly what happened, and I haven’t been able to find anything that’s right. So, I’m going to paint you a picture with words.

Charlie was down for a nap, and had been asleep for about an hour and a half. I don’t check on him very often because he’s a great sleeper, and can really fend for himself in terms of moving himself when he’s uncomfortable/face down on the mattress. But, I DO check on him (before you all go calling DHS saying I’m neglecting him), and I was going to check on him at this point.

I peeked into the room, with the door open like 1/100 of an inch so I couldn’t be detected. It was fairly dark, and could see that he was sleeping on his stomach, which is pretty standard fare. He was wearing dark pajamas, so I could see his outline but not, for example, if he was breathing. So, reluctantly, I crept into his room.

Here, we need to imagine the scene in the movie where a person (or group of people) are trying desperately to tiptoe past a gigantic monster who is sleeping. Off the top of my head, Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone when they have to get past the three-headed dog (the first time…I think). But you get the idea. I made it about halfway into the room, and stopped, just hoping to see some movement. Again, the dark pj’s in a dark room worked as camouflage, pulling me in closer.

I was barely breathing, and I moved around so I could see his face. You have to picture this as the scene where one of our heroes finds himself passing directly in front of the monster’s huge nose as it snores, and he freezes for a second. Because Charlie was sleeping on his stomach, half of his face was covered. I could see his nose pressed down on the mattress, and I could see one eye.

I had to practically touch him to confirm that he was breathing, and just as I reached my hand out toward his back, he did what every monster in every movie would have done: The one eye I could see snapped open. Absolutely nothing else moved…he just popped that eye open and stared at me.

I lost my freaking mind! My reaction was so overblown is may even have been beyond comical. I threw my arms up in the air and ducked down before scampering out of the room. Just as I ducked down and turned my head, I saw the monster starting to stir. Imagine a baby moving as much like a four-legged, 2,000 lbs monster as possible. Like…he started to push his body up before his head left the mattress. Can you see it? Terrifying, right?

Just as I closed the door, he started to roar because he smelled human blood cry. I caught my breath outside his door for about 3 seconds and then he went silent. Was he stalking me? Was he out of his crib and waiting on the other side of the door like a real-life Chucky doll?

Nope. He just laid back down and went back to sleep. And he was breathing, so my job was done. And this doesn’t even come close to doing the story justice.

Guess you had to have been there. Or seen it in a movie.

Five Movies I Should Probably Be Ashamed Of

Chris and I love to watch movies. Before Charlie was born, and when we lived in Eugene, we would go to the movies probably once a week (because movies are, on average, $4 cheaper there, plus they have a second-run theater for $1.50 that plays movies as soon as they are out of the “big” theater. It’s awesome). Needless to say, we go to the movies far less these days, but we try to keep up by watching at home on Netflix and with Redbox.

We are also quoters. We watch movies several times, learn them, and quote them to each other at appropriate times. Then we laugh, and usually quote the rest of the movie just because we can. Fun for us, probably not for anyone else…and we’re okay with that. Example: While hanging out last night getting completely embarrassed by Chris playing Canasta (cause we’re cool like that), we spent probably 5 minutes quoting “That Thing You Do!” It’s an exceptionally quotable movie, don’t get me wrong, but we were quoting Guy’s Dad’s lines. Obscure? Yes. Fun for us? Yes. Thank God no one else was here to have to sit through it.

Now that you have the required background, let’s get down to why we’re here. I like a lot of “guy” movies (action, suspense, thrillers…whatever have you), but not exclusively. I watch lots of “Romantic Comedies,” even some that could be labeled “Chick Flicks,” as well. So, with your indulgence, I will give you the Top 5 movies that I should be ashamed to love…but I’m not.

5: She’s The Man

Starting off strong, we’ve got Amanda Bynes pretending to be a boy, and Channing Tatum being a boy, and both of them pretending that they are young enough to be in High School even though Channing Tatum looks like a grown-ass man. Granted, while Amanda Bynes looks nothing like a high schooler as a girl, she does somewhat resemble a slightly pudgy-faced pubescent boy. Amanda Bynes is just silly enough, and this movie is just quotable enough, to make it highly enjoyable once every few months. Plus, even though I think there’s a rule that guy’s can’t like any other guy who draws the swoon and adoration of every freaking woman in the world, Channing Tatum is subtly funny enough in his movies that I enjoy him. However, not enough to see Magic Mike. Cause, seriously.

4: The Holiday or Love Actually

I couldn’t decide between these two, so here we go. Both of these have something in common: The English! Something about the accent gives them a +60 bonus to hillariousness. So, you’ve got Love Actually, stuffed full of as many British actors and storylines as can possibly be fit into one movie. Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, and Martin Freeman (of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and British “Office” fame). That, and I love that there are are exactly 6 American characters in the movie: 5 are, shall we say, loose, and the other one is a workaholic. Pretty transparent in their view of the states, I think.

Then there’s The Holiday. Jude Law and Kate Winslet provide all of the accented material needed, Jack Black is awesome in a “normal” role, and Cameron Diaz has…a few good moments, though she’s not nearly as funny as the others. The movie makes me laugh in a “it’s not outlandishly funny, but so funny!” kind of way. And hey, I don’t have to explain myself to you (even though that is essentially the point of this post…)!

3: The American President

This one goes back to my childhood, watching movies with my Mom. So, I may be able to claim exemption from any type of embarassment. But seriously, it’s fantastic. Not a huge fan of Annette Benning, but Michael Douglas is always great, and I love Michael J. Fox and Martin Sheen in their smaller roles. Super quotable, and Michael Douglas plays “just-getting-back-into-the-dating-game-and-I’m-nervous-but-I’m-the-president” really well, particularly in the scene where he’s going to…ummm…exercise his executive privilege? (Seriously, I feel dirty just writing that…) See for yourself below…note how quickly his demeanor shifts after she becomes more…aggressive? I don’t think he expected his speech to work quite that well.

2: Notting Hill

Effing Brits…got me again! Late 90’s Hugh Grant gets me every freaking time. Floppy hair and all. I mean, I don’t even know what to say, really, except that probably the crown jewel of this movie is Rhys Ifans playing “Spike”, Hugh Grant’s roommate. Seriously fantastic. I can’t find a good clip…but do I really even need to try and explain why this movie might be, in some circles, embarrassing to enjoy? I think everyone pretty well understands where I’m coming from, yeah? Okay.

1: Return to Me

This takes the #1 spot on the list if for no other reason than the fact that I discovered it on TV, bought it on DVD, and enjoyed it entirely independent of any female influence. I was in High School, didn’t have a girlfriend at the time…I have no excuse. Granted, it’s got a killer soundtrack featuring Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin (this movie may or may not have contributed to a years-long obsession with the Rat Pack), and an ace group of Old Guys (with Carroll O’Connor at the helm) that are the inspiration for the type of Old Guy I aspire to be. You should watch the super-low quality trailer I managed to dig up if only to catch a few glimpses of them. Other than that, and Jim Belushi providing occasional comic interjections, there is nothing saving this. David Duchovny and Minnie Driver are kinda meh…I dunno. But seriously, watch the Old Guys.

So there you have it. I’m a guy, and I can freely admit to enjoying these movies. I mean…I can admit it to you…but probably not to my friends. I don’t think I’ll be bringing these to our next Call of Duty/NCAA Football gaming party for a nice diversion.

“There is too much, Let me sum up.”

“…Buttercup is marry Humperdink in little less a half an hour.”

Wait…that’s not what I’ve come here to talk about. Though, it stands to mention what an awesome movie The Princess Bride is.

That having been said, I’ve meant to write posts about several items lately. As you can plainly see, I have written none of them. So, I will condense said posts here and give you a taste of what you are missing out on due to my laziness.

1: Surprise Date Night!

This post would have explained to you, in tedious detail, that Chris surprised me with a date night trip to “Sky High,” which is literally a warehouse filled with trampolines. Trampoline floor, trampoline walls…and a foam pit for doing foolish things.

I was literally bouncing-off-the-walls excited.

This place is a little kid’s dream, an adult’s workout for the week, and a severely out of shape adult’s heartattack. I fell somewhere between the latter two. We had two hours available to jump, and barely lasted one. But, it was very fun to, as Chris put it, “jump around like the Hulk.”

Additionally, we went to Red Robin (and had real-life grown-up drinks with dinner! Wha??!!) and saw “Snow White and the Huntsman,” notable for superior visual effects AND for the worst parents in the world who brought their small children to a 10:30pm showing of a freaking terrifying version of Snow White. What. The. Hell.

2: It’s Hotter Than Balls

This post would probably have been about as short as the summary will be. I have recently been told that in Oregon, summer starts July 5th. This year, it couldn’t have been more true. July 5th was, I believe, the first day this summer that has peeked over 80 degrees, but it shot past that mark and up into the 90’s, where it has essentially stayed for over a week. Pair that heat with our frail, Oregonian constitutions and an apartment sandwiched in between two others, and you’ve got yourself a hot Dad hanging out with a hot baby. And it sucks. I believe I’ve made my point.

3: Eugene Is Hotter Than Balls, Too!

Finally, this post would explain to you that we took a trip to Eugene last weekend to see friends. This is not notable in itself, since we go about once a month, but rather notable because the friends we were staying with ALSO had a balls-hot apartment. Like…ridiculously so. Like…”they must have designed this apartment to be hot” kind of hot. So, we sat in said apartment playing games and sweating for the better part of three days…and then went swimming. Why we didn’t do that sooner baffles me, but it was awesome.

So, seriously, you guys are probably better off that I didn’t try to make complete posts out of those topics. I probably would have tried to spice them up a bit, which could have made for something interesting, but I think you’ve gotten all the essentials here. Stay tuned for my rousing account of Charlie’s 52-minute nap….

A Musical Shame

I have a secret. Over the past three weeks, it’s been haunting me. It’s one of those dirty little secrets that you don’t really want anyone to know about, but you know you’ll never really be free of it until you just let it out. So…here it goes.

I love this song, and I am literally hanging my head in shame.

Historically, my musical taste is all over the map. Growing up, I listened almost exclusively to 50’s and 60’s music (primarily due of my mom working at an oldies radio station), in junior high and my freshman year, I listened to (more shame) Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park and the like. Later high school years saw mainstream punk bands like Good Charlotte and New Found Glory, as well as Ska bands like Five Iron Frenzy and Streetlight Manifesto. I’ve also always been a sucker for anything with great harmonies. My senior year, I sang in a Barbershop quartet, so that music was big for a while, and I love to listen to collegiate a capella groups, like UO’s On The Rocks (Go Ducks!). Like I said…all over the place.

However, in recent years I’ve been doing a lot of radio listening. This is mostly due to the huge amounts of time that Chris and I spend in the car, and the fact that we don’t really like the same kinds of music. Because of all the exposure, I’ve become very susceptible to some of the catchier, poppier tunes that grace the airwaves from time to time. This song was destined from the very beginning to tickle my earbones and send me into a death spiral of shame and addiction.

Apparently (this was completely unintentional, passive research, I promise you), this group was formed on Britain’s version of (I think) The X Factor. So, you’ve got freaking Simon Cowell conspiring to create the poppiest group of pre-pubescent-looking boys ever. And this song has everything that would capture me: fun little guitar hook at the beginning (a la Train), unreasonably poppy verses about nothing of consequence, chorus with an acceptable amount of harmony and group-sing. The ONLY thing it’s missing is a key change after the bridge to really kick it up a notch…and they even set up for it so well!

My addiction started out much like any other: I heard it once, liked it, but thought “I can stop anytime I want.” Soon, anytime I was in the car alone I was searching through the pop stations, hoping it might be on. Soon, the spotty supply from the radio just wasn’t enough, and I knew I was going to have to get it on my own, but how? I couldn’t very well buy it; can you imagine me losing my music and trying to get it back (“Yes sir, Mr. Lyman, we can restore your music. Just tell us what songs you purchased.” “Ummm…that’s okay. I’ll just buy it again.”)? But I also didn’t feel great about pirating it. I was left with YouTube, which carried the unfortunate side effect of actually having to watch the post-tween brits awkwardly hopping around while lip syncing and staring with sultry eyes into a camera/lady-friend.

Fast forward to me playing the above video on repeat about 5 times last night, hooked up to the good speakers, and with the screen on my computer positioned so I didn’t have to watch the horror; facing down, just like my head, in shame.

My name is Tony, and I am a One Direction addict.