Sunday, February 26, 2006

We Don't Need No Stinking Cheerios!

Anyone with a child shares in the horror of how gross public toilets are. I’m not the fussiest person about cleanliness, but there is no public bathroom that I’ve felt is great for kids. Nordstom’s is close, but no matter how good the restroom may be, hearing those dreadful words “Daddy, I have to potties” (usually followed by the loud “NOW”) gets a father look past how clean a bathroom is.

Corey likes to pee sitting down. Given the fact he waits until the bladder is about to explode, that gives me 35 seconds to find the bathroom, hit the stall, wipe down anything that looks nasty, try to put some sort of paper barrier down, and get down the trousers and some pair of Elmo underwear.

Non-parents, you have no idea how hard those things are to pull down in a hurry. Think about putting a condom on a watermelon and you have an idea of how tight they get in an emergency crisis.

A few months ago, Corey learned about privacy and now wants doors shut. Do you know how hard it is to cram two of you into a stall, maneuver the working of a dirty toilet and undo snaps on a four year olds pants? Plus, no matter how fast you are, the kid always has two free hands while you are pulling up the pants, and they always will touch the bowl or the seat or the tank.

And kids love to be the flusher. I’ve lived with the fact that he wants to touch everything. My challenge now is that I have him hold his hand up in the air until we hit the sink. That backfired one time when it conflicted with the “cover your mouth with you sneeze” rule. You don’t even want to know what he did that time.

Since Corey lives primarily with his moms, it’s been a struggle to get him to pee standing up. When he comes to our house, he is called in to watch us pee almost as much as he watches 101 Dalmatians. The other day, I almost yelled at Larry for peeing by himself until I realized Corey wasn’t at our house.

So today, as I took Corey to go pee, I repeated the standard line once again, “Let’s go pottie standing up.” He looked up and said, “Okay.

And my 3½ year grabbed his thing and aimed. (Okay, not really aimed, but it was close.) Every bit went into the bowl.

I beamed down and said, “Corey that’s great. Now shake.

He looked up, smiled and then jiggled his whole body up & down.

Lesson #2 comes next week, I guess.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Mine is Bigger than Yours

So today we joined two other couples for coffee at Mayorga. As always, our friend Victoria coordinated it, because she is the most organized one of this group.

We all met three years ago at our neighborhood picnic. Larry & I were the only ones with a child, but we've added two more boys to the group and Victoria & Darren have a little girl due in July. All three boys are each a year apart, with Mark & Marina's son being the youngest. They all do fine with each other, but the age gaps are such that none of them plays super well together.

Darren is a home fix-it guy like me. He'd rather stay home and install a toilet or put in a new tile floor. Victoria and Larry, not so much. They are would rather hire someone and go the spa; kindred spirits!

As always, Darren & I were sharing stories of home projects. He’d recently rewired the basement for a new steroe system. I shared with him about fixing up Corey’s floor. Not that it’s a competition, but Darren always outdoes me on what he can accomplish. In addition to the home projects and new child on the way, he’s also completing an MBA in the off hours.

So we were talking about my new job and the pains of traveling.
I’m not looking forward to my next trip. They just take a lot out of me. I leave again next week,” he says.
Not having traveled for the past four years, I commiserated with the new frustration. “Me too. Three weeks into the job and I’m already heading on my first trip.
He sighed, “Oh yeah. Where are you going? I leave for Morocco next week.
Feeling a little less impressive, I said. “Ummm, Memphis.

Sympathy quotient; downward spiral.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Locks o' Gold and the Three Boys

Three more days…the little man comes to stay with us in three more days. And I for one cannot wait. Why you ask? Is it the 6:15 wake ups with someone poking your nose asking, “Hey guys, are you awake?” Is it that he loves to answer the phone now by saying, “Hello? What is it?” How about the way he loves to watch his milk go up the curly Spiderman straw?

Nope. It’s freaking time for haircuts. Due to a calamity of scheduling, Larry & I were going two months without having him for the weekend. Sure we had the weekend I gave three days notice at my job, but we hadn’t planned the haircut; that was just a bonus.

So Saturday AM we visit Suzie, our stylist. She works out of S/P/Alon on 17th street. What a site is it to see as gay men walk down the streets, hung-over with the grande lattes as a 3 ½ year plays with Fisher Price little people in the window of one of Dupont Circle's main establishments.

Larry & I have been going to Suzie for almost 5 years ever since Akber, our former stylist from Yemen, suddenly disappeared. We found it odd, this wispy hair cutter, who was in Yemen during the USS Cole incident, closed his shop unexpectedly and fled back to the motherland. Who knew international terrorism could specialize in cream rinses?

So that’s how we ended up with Suzie. And how did it turn into the three boys adventure? Without going into great detail, let’s just say the conversation was a little like this:

Dad: “We’ll pick up Corey on Friday after day care.
Corey’s Mom: “Ok… just don’t look at his hair.
Dad: “Why? What happened.
Corey’s Mom: “Well, I decided to cut it myself.

Thus mullethead was born. And we took on the responsibility of haircuts.

So Saturday is haircuts and it couldn’t come at a better time. Yesterday, I came downstairs after waking up and Larry looked up and laughed. I inquired why he was chuckling.

You look just like the guy from Hall & Oats.

Great. Now there are two gay men with really bad hair.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

It Begins Again

Slow down the blog and heat up the recaps. Back by popular demand (and a slight case of A.D.D.), the American Idol recaps continue on the Hygiene Chonicles web site by clicking the graphic above.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Playing Second Fiddle

So Monday, we are off. How cool is that? My first six days of this job I’ve had half a day devoted to a failed jury duty and now the office is closed on Monday for President’s Day. Sadly, I really do have to have to go in and spend time cleaning out my new cube (and while a cube, it’s three times the six of my last cube). Why can’t people do that for you before you begin a new job? My first day, I open up a drawer and there are cough drops, contact lens solution and a half tissue packet.

PEOPLE, these are not things that need to transfer to the next person. Pens, a stapler, perhaps even a mouse pad can be left behind for the next person, but not items like this. Take them with you. (For the record, I actually take all my supplies from job to job. Good thing too, because this jack-hole took the staple, the calculator and the tape dispenser.)

So I got to thinking about this holiday on Monday. Besides the fact that Hechts will again invite me to their “One Day Only” Sale — which won’t occur again until Friday — what the heck is this day all about? Presidents, yeah I get that, but which ones? Not all of them right? I mean only the really good ones.

And by really good ones, are we referring only to the ones from so long ago that no one even knows if they were good or not? There were no Kitty Kelly’s 100 years ago. So of course Washington, Adams & Jefferson looked great. Lincoln would probably be in that group as well except for those new insinuations that he spent some time on Brokeback Mountain. Then there are all those guys in between like 1830 and 1980 that I really don’t remember; Truman, Ben Franklin, John Hancock… seriously, I don’t need to know any of them until Corey hits third grade and we have to do some stupid diorama out a shoebox.

SEGUE HERE: How lucky is this kid to have gay dads helping on the diorama? This thing will be velvet lined and have brushed nickel hardware holding it together. Abe Lincoln’s log cabin will feature patterned wallpaper in the living room and Ralph Lauren paint gracing the foyer.

So why celebrate Presidents? They have four good years, or not so good, and then retire to write book, build a library and have secret service follow them around for the rest of their lives.

Here’s a thought… why not create Vice President’s Day? Instead of a day off, we could have a Twister Sister concert with the Gores. Or a spelling bee in honor of Dan Quayle. Maybe a hunting trip. Huh, Quayle and quail. There’s a bit of irony for you.

Larry said I should be grateful for the day off, but seriously, when have you known me to rest on my thoughts...or be grateful for that matter. If there’s a thought that doesn’t make sense to me, I must blog about it.

So Monday, I will celebrate a President. I think several Andrew Jacksons and I shall go to the mall and amuse ourselves at Pottery Barn and zGallerie.

Friday, February 17, 2006

A Real Job

Kind of a blogless week; sorry about that. I started the new job this week, which has been overwhelming. Great, but totally overwhelming. It has definitely been about hitting the ground running.

With the last job, they had sort of forgotten about me in the corner; much like Baby from Dirty Dancing. I hadn’t been to a meeting in months. (Well, except for some really stupid ones that had no point and would produce nothing but blocked space on an Outlook Calendar.) This week, I’ve been to 14 meetings. Plus I have a desk filled with my predecessor’s files. For the record, I hate when no one clears stuff out of a cube before you move in. I mean, like I’m supposed to know what’s important or not? Luckily, I’m a purger, so most of it has gone in the trash.

BTW, this old Director filed everything alphabetically. Seriously, EVERYTHING. Under “S” was Sales, the Supply catalog, and a file for a former employee whose last name began with ‘S’. Weird.

So add to the fact that this week, I’m also sick. We had Corey this past weekend and the little petrie dish brought some new version of the bird flu home and I’ve been hacking up a lung. My voice is almost gone and I sound like Bea Arthur everything I speak.

The only break I caught was that jury duty was cancelled yesterday. As I came out of the Metro for my 10:30 AM report time, there were fire trucks and ambulances blocking the street. Seems that a power grid had gone out and jury duty was cancelled. The Gods knew how I felt about my civic duty.

And now a long weekend falls upon us. I have nothing to do but get well. My friend Emily wants me to go running with her. Actually, that would be wise since I haven’t run once to prepare for our 10K. But frankly, I just want to sit in my PJ’s and watch the Olympics while eating my Velveeta & Cheese

F*ck it; it’s a long weekend.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Denim, the Menace

I’m getting older, I can just feel it. You want to know how I realize that? It’s not that I can’t eat the spicy things I used to. It’s not that I’m watching more Murder She Wrote. And it’s not that I’m having hair grow out of places it shouldn’t.

Yesterday, I came in after shoveling and said to Larry, “These jeans are too tight around the butt. I think I should get baggier pants.” Yep… horror!

Do you know how long I looked for jeans that cupped my butt? Months! I dragged my friend Emily (co-worker Emily, not employee Emily) from store to store just looking at my butt in jeans. Hence it had to be co-worker Emily since employee Emily could have filed a harassment suit. Though it would have been a privilege for her, so I’m not sure she would have done that.

Anywho…my pants are feeling too tight. For the record, I’ve not gained weight, so it’s not the waist that is feeling tight; it’s just the over all fit. The pants certainly do their job. Larry thinks my butt looks good in them. Plus, they don’t over-accent the front end. We had this one guy at work we always called “The Package.” Talk about a sock-stuffer.

But yesterday, the pants just felt…well too tight. Who knew a gay man could have pants that are too tight? My problem is that the pants I will end up in will be those ones that have no ass to even speak of. Have you seen them; there is one unbroken plane from the cuff to the waist. No discernable backside at all. It’s depressing.

I love being a dad. I love being 39. I love having a butt that I admire. But the thought of going to baggie jeans, for comfort over fashion, is terrifying. It’s the sign of getting old. I’m definitely going through the change.

Monday, February 13, 2006

101 Dalmations

Can I tell you how much I hate this movie? I know that kids get into routines with movies, but this is the only movie our son wants to watch these days. Every time he stays with us, he says, “I watch 100 doll-may-tons. PUUULLLLEEEEESE?” Granted since he’s at our house less than his own, and we have don’t have the same variety of movies. But to be honest, at home he’s hooked on Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese cat, so things could be worse. Sagwa is one weird dude.

We’re purists btw, so I’m referring to the cartoon version, not the Glenn Close version. Originally, I really liked it; an unemployed couple with a London row house and a live-nanny. Yep totally realistic. People here in DC can barely afford a two bedroom townhouse without a 3% five-year arm or an interest-only loan. And this guy sits around all day trying to write a song while the wife and nanny make him tea? ARGH, Londoners.

But now, I'm so freaking tired of this movie I could scream. Seriously, make the damn coat already and let's get on with it. Plus that fat Rolly could make for a nice muff.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Snow Days

Well, we had plenty of milk, eggs and toilet paper for DC's big snow. Almost 3 years to the date of Larry's last "It's snowing, I think I'm going to have a heart attack" ordeal, we got 10 inches at our house and made it without a trip to the hospital.

Believe it or not, the first plow came through at 8:10 AM. That's four days earlier than the last snow storm.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Child Prodigy

We had Corey for a couple nights this week since my job let me bail out early. He & I got to spend some quality time together, which was nice.

Corey is all about accomplishments right now. Every three seconds, he’ll say, “Daddy, look. Look at me, daddy.” After the first four hours, it starts to wear on your nerves, but we’re trying to be supportive. The best part is that he says ‘look’ as “LUUUUUUKKKKEEEE.” It’s hysterical. Larry and I walk around the entire time saying, “LUUUKKE I’m your father.” (OK, so it’s funny to us. )

Corey is screaming his saying once again as he comes out from the bathroom. Normally, we’ve had to admire his deposits. “I go BIG poopie.” However, I was hoping he’d mastered the art of pulling up his underwear and pants. Currently, he’ll climb down off the toilet and shuffle to the nearest adult to have them pull up his trousers.

But this time, it was a whole new accomplishment. We turned to watch him as he demonstrated his newest skill. “Daddy! Pop-Pop! LUKE, I lick my shoulder.”

Harvard, here we come.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Parenting by Pixar

So last night, Larry & I were talking about Corey’s new room. We finally finished the bedroom/playroom suite on the attic level of our house. The floor is totally cool; it is painted bright colors and we’ve moved all his toys and books up there. The bedroom is a dinosaur theme. Hey, if they made the comforter in king-size, I might have gotten one for us as well.

The biggest issue is that Corey now has a set of stairs he has to navigate. He’s a heavy sleeper, but the thought of him waking up at night and trying to come down the stairs by himself at 3½ is a little worrisome.

Last night, Larry was discussing the pros and cons of moving him upstairs. “Maybe we should keep the toddler bed in the den for a few more months; at least until he’s four.

I understood his concerns. “Sooner or later, he’s going to have to try sleeping upstairs.
But he could fall,” Larry replied.
Yeah, but he could do fine,” I said.
Larry sighed. “I just don’t want him hurt on our watch.

I nodded, “You can't never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him.

Larry looked up with a questioning look on his face. “That’s profound… but I’ve heard that before.

Always proud of my parenting advice, I beamed. I tried to recall where I had heard such a philosophical quote. Then a horrifying look came over my face.

Omigosh, I think I just quoted Dori from Finding Nemo.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Waste Not, Want Not

There are some things about a company that irritate people. Everyone has a pet peeve that drives them crazy. Mine, not surprisingly, has to do with the bathrooms.

There is a cardinal rule that you don’t publicly complain or blast your company in a blog. True I’ve given notice, but this is a protocols that even I don’t break… at least until my accrued vacation is paid out. However this should be safe ground.

Back to the bathroom… every day, somewhere between the hours of 10 and 11:30 am, there is set of papers that mysteriously appear on the floor of the left hand stall. In the men’s room (for those who must know), there are two urinals and two stalls. Strangely enough, one of the urinals is for children and sits about two inches off the floor. By the time your pee hits the porcelain, it splatters all over your pants. I can appreciate handicapped stalls, but someone would have to explain the need for kid-friendly urinals in an office environment.

Curiosity can get the best of me, even in a bathroom. (OK, does that sound weird with me being a gay man?) Anywho… it turns out these print outs are sports pages from the Internet. A couple facts here:

  1. I’m in the infancy of my sports education, but I appreciate that guys enjoy reading these as much as I like the movie reviews.
  2. I may be gay, but I’m still a man. All men love reading on the toilet. Even my three year old is practicing his biological rite as a male.
  3. If work is going to pay for me to enjoy a dump & read, heck who am I to argue?

However, explain to me why the defecator must leave his reading materials? I’m mean, like anyone will pick the papers up and read them after … well, you understand where I’m going with this.

I was relaying this unpleasantly to a female co-worker. There are times that people miss the point of your issue trying to prove one of their own. Sometimes they really miss the mark.

I hate that these sports pages are there every afternoon,” I said
She agreed, “Yeah, it’s gross.
I mean why does he leave them there for all of us to look at?” I replied.
She got angry, “Why does everyone assume that only men watch sports? You know women can enjoy sports too.

Hey, if women want to read sports pages in our bathroom, feel free. Just pick up your papers if you do.

I Wish I Could Quit You

Well, I just did that at work!

Sorry for the absence of blogging for the past few days. I’ve been in major interviewing since last Thursday and after eight hours of doing my best impressions of a marketer, I obviously pulled it off and gave notice this morning.

I was offered (and accepted) the Director of Marketing position with the ______ Association. The position is EXACTLY what I hoped for plus I get to return back downtown DC instead of doing this god forsaken commute out to Tyson’s Corner! There is no better feeling that realizing you have huge opportunities ahead of you.

My first day with them will be next Monday. (Yes, for all you math majors, that was 4 days notice.) Whatever. Most importantly, it gives me a whole new world to blog about.

Thanks to all of you who supported and helped me these past eight months of looking.


Friday, February 03, 2006

ESPNot really

I am watching the Super Bowl this weekend. I know that’s shocker for most of you, but get this… I even know the teams that are playing. It’s weird; football is not as bad as I thought it was.

A few weeks ago, on the poopy ‘gina day, I watched the Steelers/Colts game while I babysat the 14th month old. The key, I think, was that I watched it for two hours by myself. As much as this will shock most of you, I have a tendency to talk to others rather than watch a sport event. But this time, I actually learned & enjoyed what was happening.

I know… I’m amazed by that fact as well.

Seriously, I used to say that the only way I’d watch a football game was if Bernadette Peters and Liza Minnelli were playing. But remember, this is my year of reinventing myself. If I can go hiking and run a 10K, I can learn football.

Look it’s not like I’m going to run out and get a subscription to Sports Illustrated. OMG, can you see the Swim Suit Edition arriving the same day the Advocate’s Top 30 Gays for 2005? Talk about confusing for the poor mail carrier.

The nice part is I think my sports interest will always carry with it that sense of ignorance you’ve come to appreciate. It was only at Christmas, when watching the Bears with my father and Larry, that I learned another amazing football fact.

You’re not going to believe this,” I shouted, “but I don’t think they can see that yellow line.

My father looked puzzled at my remarks. “What do you mean?

The yellow first down line!!! We can see it on TV, but the people on the field can’t see it!

My father put his head in hands. I’m certain I heard a whimper.

So this weekend, Larry & I will watch our first Super Bowl together at a friend’s party. With Corey’s moms being from Pittsburgh, it’s safe to say that if I value my role as a father, I will be rooting for the Steelers. I think I can be a supporting fan even though I don’t have a Terrible Towel. Heck, I don’t even an irritating washcloth. (Once I had an itchy duvet cover, but that’s probably irrelevant in this context.)

Oh, and did I mention that Ben, the throwing guy, went to my college?

w00t team!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Color Me Beautiful

Ok, I'm tweaking the blog once again... mostly to match the Hygiene Chronicles web site.

This is the what I think may be my final look, or... I can change the white to this =>

But then I figured, I'm not the one who reads this, you are. So tell me which you like better. Use the comment section for your thoughts.


Aging Gracefully

Yesterday was my birthday. It is officially less than 365 days before I turn 40.

Years ago, we threw my dad a surprise 40th birthday party. I was 13 and his friends seemed really old. Heck, I was 24 when we threw a 40th party for my boss, Andy. Although he was cool, mostly because he knew music and really didn’t do anything around the office except balance Jenni’s checkbook (yep, same Jenni), he still seemed ancient. He pointed out that he got his driver’s license the same year I was born.

Larry’s 40th surprise party got cancelled because the hostess had an ectopic pregnancy. No, seriously. You think I make this shit up?

Well, I’ve arrived at that same age bracket and realize there is no way I would go back to being 24. Sixteen years ago, I remember inviting Andy to my group house party and he’d never show up. Now as I linger over 40, my feelings are the exact same.

Last year, I had a work lunch with two 20-somethings who during the course of our meal, discussed a party they had attended that weekend. I sat there; silently dismayed at the fact I’d been overlooked. I began planning my revenge of forcing them to buy Christmas wrapping paper that my son would eventually sell to supplement the rising costs of day-care. At that point, I tuned back into the conversation to hear the young woman say:

Well, the next thing I know, I threw up all over the cab driver. I tried to vomit in my purse, but I missed. He was pretty pissed even though I gave him an extra dollar tip.

Nope, you couldn’t pay me to go back to that age again. Back to the birthday…

Larry is a good spouse when it comes birthdays, though sometimes I find his methods funny. I’m not a person who really celebrates the day and my standard line to him is, “I don’t want anything for my birthday.” As you recall, we had that Vegan chili party last Saturday. A whole bunch of my friends were coming and began mentioning that it coincided with my ‘big day.’ I adamantly pointed this was a matter of convening six couples’ schedules and nothing more.

Two days before the party, he says to me, “Hey, do you think I should get a birthday cake for you?” OK, see … the joy and surprise of it all has just been thrown out the door if you have to ask.

I respond in my oh-so-direct-and-sarcastic manner, “Babe, I don’t need anything for my birthday.” Well, ask and you shall receive. HA!

So last night, we went to dinner with our good friends, Don & Jan. (Sidenote, every time I’d mention them to my mom, she’d ask, “Are they a boy-boy couple or a boy-girl couple?” It makes our friends seem like they are 13, doesn’t it?) So Larry, Don and his wife–you were dying to know–went to this new restaurant in Silver Spring, MD called Jackie’s to celebrate.

As we were reading the menu, this chiseled, 6’1, beautiful hottie named Chad comes up and asks if he can I get us anything.

I looked at Larry and said, “I just thought of something I need for my birthday.

A Graphic Link

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