Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I'm Audi 5,000

Just wanted to let yous guys know that I'll be unable to post anything of substance this week...yeah, yeah, yeah, hardy-har-har.

I'll be at a seminar in Palm Beach, Florida...with some accountant/finance type peeps. It's a seminar for those who manage self-insured trusts or small insurance companies...I know you're jealous - don't even try to hide it...I do neither, but my boss is big on the whole, "If someone gets hit by a bus, we need someone to step in to their place." The seminar "Board of Directors" sent me 26 pages of memos and financial data to "familiarize" prior to our Wednesday night meeting. That's right, these go-getters are meeting Wednesday night from 6 - 10. Oy vey. It's going to be like GBA 490 all over again.

I gots to go pack my pocket protector, HP 800 business calculator, and someone else's business cards. See you next week.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Just a couple of tid-bits that I didn't want to bother you with yesterday.

A lady in our office has the "Jackson Browne Greatest Hits" cd on her desk - I had to pick it up and look at it. There were a few songs that I recognized, Tender is the Night, being the most notable. (Tender, tender is the night....when I hold my baby tight) I was disappointed, and honestly mildly offended, that Lawyers in Love didn't make the cut. Any JB greatest hits cd without Lawyers in Love is not a greatest hits cd.

A sampling:
Last night I watched the news from Washington, the capital.
The Russians escaped while we weren't watching them, like Russians will.
Now we've got all this room, we've even got the moon.
And I hear the U.S.S.R. will be open soon, as vacation land for
Lawyers in love.

Yet another travesty that I'm blaming on the breakup of the USSR.

Okay, major shift in gears here, so hold on.

That piece of furniture in your bedroom in which you keep your clothes - how old were you when you realized that was a "chest of drawers" and not "chester drawers"? I think that I was 16 or 17. Leah thinks that is HYsterical.

Have a good'un.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


The most interesting part of this little tidbit is that WENN used to be 107.7 FM right here in Birmingham, Alabama. They played "urban music".


Jessica Simpson is worried that her tabloid notoriety will hurt her love life. “My fear is that I won’t ever date anybody, because they’ll think I’m going to ruin their career,” Simpson said, according to WENN. “That they’ll be on the cover of every tabloid and it will automatically take away their credibility, to be bluntly honest with you.”

These opposites, they probably don’t attract

As both off you know, Jack has been Mr. Sicky Pants since last Sunday. Whiny, fussy, lethargic…if it weren’t for the high fever and Alabama pajamas, he could have easily been mistaken for his Uncle JRod. Ba-domp-ching!

After eight consecutive double doses of Motrin and Tylenol, and only about 3 sleepless hours during the day, he was feeling much better last night. No surprise, when it came time to wind down for bed, he was raring to go. He had four days of play to catch up on. Being the stickler to rules that I am, I dutifully tried to enforce his bedtime rituals. “Jesus Loves Me” is his key to settle down. Last night it didn’t work – I mean, defiantly didn’t work. I mean – the song just wasn’t in him last night. That made me wonder – as most everything does – what song represents the opposite of “Jesus Loves Me”? That’s the song that Jack was singing.

Even with my limited knowledge of Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, and KISS (understanding that those are probably the more commercially “clean” bands in the category) I came up with several possibilities.

What could be more defiant than “With a rebel yell…screaming more, More, MORE!!!”?

Though not quite as defiant, and he’s probably a little young for this one, but “feel like making…(doh-domp-chee, doh-domp-chee, doh-domp-chee)…I feel like makin’ love”.

I’m sure Quiet Riot had some doozy of a boozing, sex-it-up song on their one album, which I owned at one time…got it for Christmas along with Stevie Nicks’ greatest hits. I kid you not. Both were crystal clear black vinyl. 33s if I recall. Any way, the Quiet Riot song that you’ve all heard is, “Come on feel the noise, girls rock your boys! We’re getting’ wild, wild, wild – wild, wild, wild!” except that’s not how they spell ‘come’.

That was a long way for me to go to ask, what do you think is the opposite of “Jesus Loves Me”? And good luck getting Rebel Yell out of your head. It could have been worse, I could have broken out some "Eyes without face, face, face, face..."

Thursday, October 19, 2006


When I’m wrong, I’m the first to admit it. Even when I’m not wrong I’m usually the first to say that I’m wrong, just so I don’t have to hear people bitch and moan and whine. What I wrote yesterday was wrong. Not the candy piece, that was spot on, but what I said about Leah was completely inaccurate.

She did really well last night putting Jack to bed. She put him in his crib at 7:30ish and I’m not sure what all went down, but from my hidden vantage point I heard Jack laugh, and then Leah laugh back at him. I thought, ‘Oh no…he thinks she’s playing a game’. Alas, within 20 – 25 minutes he was asleep. Way to go Leah and Jack! This will come as no surprise to anyone that knows her, but Leah was TOTALLY bored just sitting in the shuffle chair. And I thought that she'd be so good at sitting quietly for 30 minutes or more.

Leah also wanted me to let everyone know that she didn’t throw puppies from the deck. They fell.

I broke down and watched ‘Lost’ last night. Still no answers, but ANOTHER POLAR BEAR!!! Really? In the tropics?? And he still has all his fur??? Stupid bear. I was a little disappointed that in the airport scene, I didn’t see Maggie Grace. Maybe I saw her and just didn’t recognize her. Wow, Claire. She lost the baby weight and got back in to clingy, slim-fitting hot momma clothes REAL fast - like Jen fast. Locke, he’s lived life.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Random thoughts...

A couple of random thoughts that I was thinking about developing in to full columns...but I decided to just shotgun them out there instead.

1. If you have to tell me that you're candy, then you're not candy. This goes for candy corn, candy canes, rock candy, cotton candy, hard candy, and former Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Candy Maldonado. At halloween time, the fat kid inside notices these things.

2. The toothpick is used for a lot more things that just picking barbecue out of your canines. Likewise, baking soda is used for everything except baking. What other products have seen their actual daily use grow beyond that for which they were intially created?

Shuffling along....

Ignoring the fact that I’ve spent them on Jack’s floor somewhat covered with the previously mentioned cutesy lap blankets, nights two and three of The Shuffle have been really good (relatively speaking). It kind of makes me regret that I answered K-Harper's "How's the parenting gig going" question with a rather tart, "Awful". In my defense, sleep time was rather trying and, quite honestly, awful. He doesn't know me well enough to give him that type of answer, though. I think that it put him in an uncomfortable spot.

Each of the last two nights Jack only cried, stood, reached, and pouted for about 20 minutes. I put him in his crib at 6:49 on night two (he was really, really tired). He fell asleep at 7:10. Last night, night three, I put him in his crib at 7:24 and he was asleep at 7:42. I consider him “asleep” when he puts his head on the bumper and doesn’t move for a couple of minutes. Though last night’s crib-to-sleep time was actually shorter, it seemed like a lot longer. I think I put him down in a less drowsy state last night. Those were the slowest 18 minutes ever.

Nightly wake-ups have gotten much better. Night two, he awoke at 1:33 for about 10 minutes, and at 4:55 for 40 minutes. He woke up for good at 6:15. Night three (again, last night or this morning), he only woke up at 4:25 for about 10 minutes. He did wake up a little earlier this morning, at 5:40, but we left him in his crib until 6:00.

Last night, I thought that he was going to wake-up at 11:19 PM because he was stirring around. I moved to the ottoman - that is still positioned at station 1 - but a funny thing happened, he didn’t even look at me. He sat up, looked around his crib, found a pacifier (he obviously has better vision than me, which isn’t saying much, but still), put it in his mouth and laid back down. He’s a good boy.

Tonight is night 4, and I’m a bit apprehensive for a couple of reasons:

A.) It is time to move the ottoman to station 2. I’ve had to put some thought in to where station 2 actually should be, but I believe that I’ve found a solution. We can’t go toward the main door of his room, because in later nights we have to sit or stand in the doorway while he falls asleep. The problem with the main door is that it opens to the upstairs den, which is where Leah works at night and is, therefore, kind of noisy. We’re instead going toward his bathroom door, which leads to the Jack and Jill bath and provides an escape route for us without risking him being exposed to all the noise in the den. It also leads to the guest bedroom, where we’ll probably sleep for a few more nights in order to be responsive to his calls. I don’t want to break the little trust that we’ve built the last few nights. I’ve probably put way too much thought in to this.

B.) It is Leah’s turn to do The Shuffle. I’m a little apprehensive because I think Jack sees her and thinks “Ahhh, there’s a sucker.” I also think that he’s right. This is the same girl that threw newborn puppies off her deck when she was young for heaven’s sake, but now she can’t resist a little whimpering? She’s going to have to do it, though, because I’m going to be out of town in a couple of weeks and she’ll have to do it then. I must resist the urge to ask her to step aside and let me handle it.

That's enough about sleep shuffle. What else is going on? I saw where Steve Wynn poked a hole in a Picasso painting that he owns but had agreed to sale for $139 MILLION. He’ll now patch it with duct tape and put it in the basement with Britney Spears’ career.

Did you see where Britney was sponsoring a contest wherein the person that helps sale the most copies of Federline’s new CD “Playing With Fire” gets to party with the FederSpears on Halloween night during the release party? Second prize is a pair of sneakers worn by Federline at the Teen Choice Awards, third prize is $200 gift certificate, and 10 runner-ups will receive a replica hood ornament and dog chain like the one Kevin wears around all the time. That is 13 prizes in all. Do they really think 13 people care?

That's all I got. G’day.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Shuffle, Part One

A few things before we begin:

  1. Leah found on the Internet that there’s a push to make “ya’ll” an acceptable spelling for “y’all”. The reason is that “ya’ll” more accurate reflects the pronunciation of “y’all”. What are we doing? If we’re going to start changing the spellings of words because of the way we pronounce them, we’re going to have to change ‘there’ to ‘thar’, ‘fire’ to ‘far’, and, last but definitely not least, ‘hello’ to ‘yellow’ (hey Paw-Paw).
  2. When did it become acceptable to begin a sentence with ‘And’?
  3. When did it become acceptable to begin a sentence with ‘But’?

These things really bother me, and I’m from Tarrant. I can only imagine how people that scored better than me (over 19) on the English portion of the ACT feel about all of this.


I know that epilogues are supposed to go at the end, but this is a follow-up to the previous post regarding Friday night/Saturday morning, so I’m putting it here.

Jack woke up as soon as I clicked ‘Publish Post’ – no lie. I was between a question mark and a rock and a hard place. I didn’t really know what to do when he awoke. I was willing to go back to the 15 minute intervals until he fell asleep on his own, but I also knew that if he (or I) didn’t get a little bit of sleep, we wouldn’t be able to go to the Alabama – Ole Miss game. I selfishly caved in and rocked him back to sleep. Then I had to do it a couple more times through the night.

I called Karly and Brandon bright and early Saturday morning and asked if I could borrow The Sleep Lady book. She will henceforth be referred to as SLady, if my spell check will allow it.

That brings us to Sunday…

I read the first three chapters and the chapter on nine to twelve month olds yesterday. Quite a feat for a slow reader like myself. It’s not that I’m illiterate I just don’t read fast.

A couple of quick observations: SLady is a bit less heartbreaking than Ferber. I, however, kind of like the rigidity of Ferber’s Method. With Ferber, I know that regardless of what happens, I DO NOT pick the child up from the crib. SLady allows a pick-up, if absolutely necessary, but that moment of compassion just presents me with more questions, i.e., when is it absolutely necessary? Is that one pick-up a night, or one pick-up each time that he cries? If he’s sitting up, but not standing, can I help him position himself in a sleep position and, if so, does that count as the one pick-up or can you re-position as often as necessary? I guess with SLady, like most other parts of parenting, you just make the decision that you feel is best and hope that the your wife doesn’t notice the bruise, I mean, you just do the best that you can. There are people a lot dumber than me that have done this. Lastly, every article and sleep book that I read has been geared to the mother.

I decided to give The Shuffle a try. I can stand the crying, but I don't like the screaming. Although I really think that I could endure it for the short run (heck, he screamed solid for the first three months of his life and it didn't kill us, or him for that matter), and it would be easy to tell him "good luck" and just walk out of his room, I kind of feel like I created this problem, so I should be part of the solution. I would have been a good little guilt ridden Catholic.

To start the process, we decided to give Jack his bath a little earlier, thinking that his bath objection was related more to him being tired than it was he not liking the water. We put him in the tub at 6:45 and, voila, he loved it. He played with his toys and splashed around. At the first sign of him losing interest, we plucked him out and started drying him off. We lotioned him up and dressed him in his pajamas without him having a meltdown. That hasn’t happened in a few weeks. I read him a book and let him play a little bit. Shortly after 7:00, I went and sat in the rocker. He followed. I picked him up and gave him his bottle. We turned off the lights, shut the doors, momma said goodnight, and Jack and I sat in the rocker as he drank his milk.

After his milk, Jack started squirming and wiggling. Is this one of his sleep cues – fighting sleep? Was the sleep window closing, or was it not even open yet? I was confused. I made him sit in my lap, trying to get him comfortable. After a few trying minutes, he relaxed and seemed to be winding down. Although he didn’t act very drowsy, I tried to put him in his crib anyway. No surprise, he objected. Did I put him down too soon?

SIDEBAR: Have you ever drunk a quart of milk and done anything strenuous? I think milk defies the gravitational downward pull more than helium.

As Jack was crying, he started hiccupping. He also started that pre-puke gag that anyone that’s ever been to college understands all too well. I didn’t want him to hurl on the very first night, so after only a few minutes, I picked him up.

He stopped crying immediately and put his head on my shoulder. SLady would say I was duped, I prefer to think that I saved us from having that spoiled milk vomit smell emit from the carpet for the next 8 weeks (especially if I am going to sleep on that carpet for a few nights while he gets used to sleeping alone in his own bed).

He hiccupped and gagged a few more times, but he fell asleep rather quickly. In to his crib he went. No objections this time. It was about 7:35. I took my place in the chair that is, in our case, the quadrangular shaped ottoman for the rocking chair and it is not very comfortable. SLady really needs to develop and market the Shuffle Chair. She would make a quadrillion dollars. I sat on the ottoman for a few minutes, just in case he awoke, then I went and did some things on my own, after 7:30PM, for the first time in months. Leah and I watched the online final episode of Two-A-Days. It was kind of nice. I felt free for a few moments. Afterward, I got my Spanish course book and a small flashlight and went back in to Jack’s room for the night. It was about 8:30.

Jack slept fine until 12:24 AM. We awoke and sat up. He started whimpering a little then he stood in his crib. I was in the chair in my spot before he stood up good. I told him it was okay, ‘sh-sh’, and all that jazz. After 15 minutes, he sat down in his crib. I rattled the pacifier so that he could hear it and know that it was near. He picked it up, put it in his mouth, and leaned forward, resting his little head on the bumper of his crib (YEA!!! He’s trying!). He's a good boy.

It didn’t take. He went through various stages of semi-consciousness for the next two hours. He leaned his head to the bumper a few more times at the 30, 40, 55, 70, 80, and 100 minute marks. It was like he was flipping the switch, but the lights wouldn’t turn off. Maybe the peeps that say that he’s just not neurologically wired to sleep are right. If that’s so, let’s break out the Paxil, or Zoloft, or LexiPro or something. KIDS GOTTA SLEEP! You can’t just accept that they’re going to be awake until they go to college and pass out. After two hours exactly, he went back to sleep. It was 2:24 AM.

He and I slept until 3:33 AM when he awoke again. I took my place next to his crib and we resumed the process, then I realized that my feet were freezing and so were his hands and feet. He didn’t even have the benefit of socks or two of those cutesy little throw blankets that are good for watching TV, but no so good for stretching out and actually sleeping. I went to the thermostat, which is right outside of Jack’s room, so he YELLED when I left despite my comforting words. It was 65 degrees in the house. I turned on the heat for the first time all year. I kind of like the smell that the heater gives off the first time you turn it on for the season. Then I worried about carbon monoxide. As the room warmed, I watched and listened carefully to Jack, who was holding his binky (blanket) and gnawing on his pacifier. He fell asleep by himself, with his head resting on the bumper at 4:25 AM. After a few minutes, I repositioned him to a more traditional sleep position and he slept until 5:41 AM.

I sat, again, next to his crib from 5:41 until 5:58 listening to him cry louder than he had cried all night, with the exception of the initial crib placing when he threatened to puke. Jack has always been an early riser, usually not sleeping past 5:30 and, most mornings, not past 5:00. He may be one of those babies that wakes up at 6:00 every day that SLady says you just have to accept. 7 PM to 6 AM is a long time, after all.

At 5:58, I went downstairs to wake Leah and tell her that I was about to bring Jack downstairs – so put on a happy face. I made his morning bottle and went back to Jack’s room for the big dramatic wake. He was still crying, but I turned on the lights and picked him up. The big opening of the blinds production that I did lost a little of its effect when the opened blinds revealed only the darkness of a sunless sky. He warmed up a little when Leah came in to his room and, after a few minutes, was laughing and playing.

So, that was night one. I messed up the ‘drowsy but awake’ part, but I still think that we made some progress. He learned to find his pacifier on his own and he went to sleep a couple of times on his own. I learned that giving a baby 6 ounces of milk right before you know he’s going to cry rather strenuously is not a good idea. I also learned to keep an eye on the temperature in the room, and that Jack can go to sleep without me rocking him. I also observed that he doesn’t like me to leave the room when he’s awake, but, alas, it’s only night one.

I am open for feedback.

Friday, October 13, 2006


It's 11:00 PM, and I'm blogging - but Jack's crying - so I guess things could be worse, although I'm not sure for whom. Here's the rundown.

7 PM -- Bath. He's gotten in to a habit of standing in the tub. Any advice other than the regular ol' spirit breaking beat down?

7:15 -- Read his Alabama book to him while he drinks his bottle

7:30 -- He and I fall asleep in the rocker in his bedroom. I make a conscious effort to NOT actually rock him. He just lays (lies, just whatever Stephen - if you're out there) across my lap.

8:25 -- I wake up and put him down in his crib. He's a good boy.

10:00 -- He wakes up and cries. Leah tries to comfort him back to sleep with words and her motherly touch. That doesn't work well because we've ruined him. She rocks him back to sleep (he falls asleep instantaneously) and puts him back to bed around 10:20.

10:25 -- He wakes up and starts crying. I go upstairs and try to comfort him. Nothing doin' until I pick him up. He's asleep before we make it to the rocker. I sit in the rocker with him, but don't rock him, for ten minutes and then put him back in his crib.

10:35 -- I swear he's awake and crying before I leave the room. I almost instantly decide that the Ferber Method is worth a try. I go downstairs to get my stopwatch and water -- this is going to be a marathon, I can feel it. I love a good foot race.

10:38 -- I tell him 'what up', and then I leave his room. He's still standing and crying.

10:43 -- The first 5 minutes pass. I go in to his room to find him standing in his crib - wailing (of course, I already knew that). Tell him that I love him and that I'm sorry that my earlier decisions have created this problem, but two wrongs ain't ever gonna make a right. I try to lay him down (not sure that's part of Ferber's Method), he stands right back up. I leave him standing at 10:46.

10:46 - 10:57 -- Balance checkbook and make Officefootballpool picks. Wow, the picks this week are gimmes. I'm sure that I'll go 10-0.

10:57 -- I enter Jack's room to find him crying and standing, just as before. He vocally explodes when he sees me. I give him a kiss on the forehead and again tell him that I'm sorry - sins of the father and all that - I try to lay him down again. Again he's having no part of it. I leave his room. It's 11:00.

Now the 15 minute interval...I've heard about this interval...how many of these will I have to endure?

Crying, crying, crying - oh that was pitiful - crying, crying but not as strong, whimpering, whimpering followed by moments of silence, silence followed by moments of whimpering -- HOLY SHNIKEY!!! Is this really happening??? -- and then..........

Silence. Silence followed by silence. Silence followed by silence followed by silence. It's like a train of silence. I wonder if there are dancers, like on Soul Train. The Silence Train dancers would be dressed as sleep fairies. Watch, somebody will read this, turn the Silence Train in to a product that Disney will buy from them for 100 gazillion dollars.

Is the silence good??? I'll have to admit, it's a little scary. It's 11:09. I've got to wait six more minutes before I can check on him? That doesn't seem right! What if something's wrong? What if he vomited? What if he cried up a lung???

11:15 -- I enter his room. I can hear breathing, but no crying, so that's good. He's not moving, except for his normal breathing movements. It appears that exhaustion consumed him while he was sitting up, because his torso is laying forward and his legs are pointing to his head. Can that be comfortable? Can it be safe??? He's not complaining. Do I help him out anyway?? Why didn't I buy the book??? Oh, and there's his pacifier - in his crib but not in his mouth. Did we, in a mere 31 minutes, break two sleep associations at one time??? I doubt it, but he's asleep, and he did it on his own. He's a good boy. He may hate me in the morning, but I have to believe that this is for his own good. I have to keep telling myself that, right? I guess I'm sleeping on the couch upstairs tonight, though.

11:39 -- Ferber worked in less time than it took me to recap what all happened. Was it just beginner's luck? Probably so, but I'll take it. We'll see if his sleep lasts through the night or just until I click 'Publish Post'. What do I do if he wakes up? Do I start over again at the five minute intervals, or do I go straight to the 15 minute intervals? I should have bought the book. Let's all just pray he doesn't wake. Goodnight.

Monday, October 09, 2006


9 days in Florida go by just as fast as 3 days. I had a good time, I really did, but I don't think that it's completely fair that you have to use vacation time for a trip involving an (almost) 9-month old baby and two generations of mothers-in-law. You should only have to take one vacation day for every two days of such a trip.

So many things to talk about, so little time. I only have a couple of minutes, but in a nutshell, the trip involved:

1. 72 very effective showings of the Little Einsteins in The Birthday Machine (thank you Karly and Brandon).

2. Jack sleeping just about the entire way down there and back.

3. Restaurants that peeps didn't like. I had never instantaneously regretted a restaurant choice. I now have.

4. Jammy winning his age group in a very non-competitive 5k. (The prize, a rosemary plant. Not quite as good as the lima beans that Brandon won a couple of years ago, but not too shabby.)

5. Jammy going to the running store that has evaded him the last four trips.

6. A Bud & Alley's Cuban sandwich, a cup of the soup of the day (doesn't matter, just bring it) and a Kalik.

7. Biting beach flies.

8. Cold pool water. (I WAS IN THE POOL!!!!)

9. The roda virus. (Which stands for Rotten Ol' Dirty A$$)

10. The hottest October week ever in Florida. Really.

11. The alternative life styles of Rosemary Beach.

12. No outlet malls. Not sure how that happened.

13. I have never been as happy that my son's name only has four letters as when the lady at Pretty Please said, "They're only $22 a letter".

14. 9 days...I could stay longer, so still no answer to the question "How long would it take for me to get tired of staying at the beach?"

More to come...