Saturday, May 26, 2007

Jerking Tears

My baby has turned me into Brett Dennen, into the sensitive Brendan Fraser from Bedazzled. Until she came along I fancied myself a dyed in the wool killer, a cold hearted assassin. But now I well up listening to “No Woman, No Cry” while trying to calm her down. I’m choking back tears every time I see the Volvo commercial with the little girl explaining stuff to her dad. MJ challenged me to read How Much do I Love You to her without crying. I made it through, but just barely. Basically, if it involves fathers and daughters, and glances in poignant’s direction I need a Kleenex. I figured fatherhood would affect me like this, but it’s like getting hit by a big wave. Even though you know it’s coming, it still bowls you over like the force of nature that it is. What I didn’t expect was the transcendent calm I feel whenever I touch her. I thought I was supposed to make her feel like everything will be alright – which I do – not the other way around. She’s taken an edge off of me, which is the exact opposite reaction I thought I would have. I thought I would be the lion spotting the hyena on the horizon, and wishing someone would. She’s turned me into an adult. There is now someone in the world more important than me, and that’s not a conscious feeling. It’s just the way it is. I get up in the middle of the night to change her diaper not because I’m supposed to but because what else would I do. I settle her down better than anyone else – with the possible exception of her mom’s boobs. I love that her favorite place to be is asleep on my chest. I love that she takes monster truck-driver 5 octave dumps, and she tricks me into wasting a diaper at least once a day by waiting until the new one is on to finish her cycle of elimination. I’m savoring everyday. I’m no longer wishing it was tomorrow so I could be finished with something. Her mom wants her to stay a newborn forever. I’m looking forward to every stage of her growth. I’m looking forward to telling her barbershop lies. I’m looking forward to when she thinks she has a bead on what’s real and what’s television, and then taking her to the Magic Kingdom – Disney World to the uninitiated – just to let her know that her bead isn’t quite that tight. I’m looking forward to her first competitive success as well as her first competitive failure. Will I be able to keep it together at least as long as she does? I’m looking forward to her breaking my heart by not needing me anymore. She’s brought MJ and me closer than we’ve ever been which I didn’t think was possible. We’ve always been a self-contained unit, but becoming a father has made me a better husband. These past thirteen days have been the most wonderful of my life. I’ve experienced more joy than anyone deserves in a lifetime. It’s not going to stop me from complaining though. Yeah I’ve got a loaf of bread to go with my ham now, but it’s pumpernickel and I was hoping for rye.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I Have a Virginia Ham but I'm Whining Because I Have No Bread

I ran Tuesday, the first time since the 5k Saturday before last. MJ went into labor that night. I’m glad that didn’t happen again – post hoc ergo propter hoc and all. I ran from my house to the Y and back. It was tough. I have to start running regularly again so I can get my fast back. LMJ has thrown a huge wrench into previous scheduling protocols. On the one hand, I’m losing weight because she has drastically altered my sleep patterns. On the other hand I’m not exercising enough to stay fit. Hopefully, I will adjust in the not too far future. I ran yesterday and my feet hurt. My running shoes are giving me terrible blisters. I need to get properly fitted for a pair, but I don’t really feel like going to Orange Park or Baymeadows. Strangely enough, there are three or four cycling shops within a few miles of home but zero running shops. Maybe I should open one.

My office is being re-carpeted – read thrashed by retards – so I’m stuck kind of spinning my wheels this week. These Mensas put in new carpeting on my side of the floor which consists of five offices, and failed to put in data, phone, and electrical lines. That’s efficient in 2007. We’re all getting loads of work done. I had to, personally, move all my crap out of my office last Friday so the Manhattan Project could get done over the weekend, which reminded me of how stupid I was to get a desktop instead of a laptop. I don’t know if there have been any hard studies, but anecdotally, laptops are easier to move than desktops. I wouldn’t be surprised if this jumps the Mac/PC divide. I’ll bet a PowerBook is easier to move than a PowerMac. If someone wants write a grant I’ll do the study. Maybe by the time I’m done they’ll have the phones up in my office.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I Prefer the Stones

I wrote this a couple of days ago and posted it on MJ's blog, but not everyone reads her's so it was suggested that I post it here too.

Nature is a funny thing. She has an extreme agenda when it comes to the persistence of existence, and obfuscation is a major tool – I think the Beatles put it Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da something, something, something. Last August my wife, MJ, got me drunk and LMJ was born May 13, 2007. We all know that MJ feels the princess from the Princess and the Pea was Spartan in her stoicism vis-√†-vis an uncomfortable mattress. This belies her inner strength and the strength of women in general. MJ went into labor last Saturday night after pancakes, omelets, fruit salad, and great company. When we got to the hospital she was hooked up to some really cool equipment that simultaneously monitored her blood pressure, the baby’s heart beat, the intensity of her contractions, and how the dollar was doing against the yen. They gave MJ an IV to keep her hydrated, which did nothing except make her have to pee every fifteen minutes. She went about eight hours before she got an epidural – she doesn’t like needles or drugs. Apparently, the nurses had difficulty selling MJ on the intensity and optional nature of her pain. Even after the epidural was inserted there was still a communication breakdown (driving me insane, Led Zeppelin). The nurse anesthetist had to come back two or three times over the next couple of hours because MJ was interpreting, “You should feel no pain, only pressure,” as “It should hurt somewhat less than it did earlier.” They had inserted it too deeply or in the wrong place, and so only her left side was getting the juice – contraction comes, left side pressure, right side full on pain. When they finally got the epidural correct the only way MJ could tell she had a left leg was by looking at it. There was about a four hour lull in the drama after this because her pain was managed and all we could do is wait for her cervix to finish dilating. When MJ reached nine centimeters the nurse sent me to get some lunch – keeping MY strength up was so very important at this point. I was gone about forty-five minutes, and when I got back “we” were ready to push. MJ pushed intensely for more than two hours. I’m going to go Tarantino here for a moment and jump ahead. MJ won’t run a ¼ mile. She can’t breathe. It hurts her ankles. It hurts her knees. LMJ weighed in at 7lbs. 12oz. MJ at her most bloated is considered narrow. Child bearin’ hips she does not possess, but she wasn’t having a c-section. She planned on squeezing that battleship through that dog house. Those that have given or witnessed a birth understand what she was going through. For those that haven’t, imagine living on Wonder bread and KOOL Filter Kings for a week and then trying to pinch that deuce. Two hours into the pushing and the nurses lying about how, “We’re almost there!” and, “Just a little bit more! I can see the head!” the doctor showed up and started telling us about some kind of a vacuum. I wanted the baby out and my wife to rest. MJ wasn’t having a c-section. This seemed like a solution we could all agree upon. Doc oversold the vacuum, because before he asked the nurse to even turn it on he treated MJ like she was wrapping paper and he was gift wrapping a Big Wheel. Even after tripling the size of the doggy door and basically strapping a suction powered winch to the baby’s head he still had to tug like he was pulling a tree stump to get the U.S.S. LMJ out. She came out with a displacement of 7lbs. 12oz. There was more blood than I’ve ever seen; it was all my wife’s. Doc used about 3 ½ spools of thread sewing her up. And a day later Mama said she could totally see herself doing it all again. Witnessing my child’s birth traumatized me enough so that I’m perfectly happy with one and done. Child birth nearly killed my wife and it didn’t even give her a moment’s pause. I think my perception of what happened is pretty accurate. I think MJ's perception is clearly skewed, but ultimately it's her's that matters in the scheme of things. It's funny how nature makes sure life goes on.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Photos of LMJ

Good lord! I’m not going to write much about my run Saturday. I tried to keep up with a more experienced runner and exhausted myself. It took me as long to run the last mile as it did to run the first two. I blame the smoke and the fact that running is the only thing like running. The elliptical is completely different. Due to early arrivals I am going to have to work harder to find time to run.

Speaking of early arrivals, I’m sure everyone wants to see pictures.

Oh, you want to see pictures of the baby?

Friday, May 11, 2007

7 Little Known Facts about Me

Beth has tagged me fair and square, so here are seven little known facts about your boy. This is going to be difficult because what you see is what you get.

1. I have a borderline unhealthy fascination with Star Wars.

2. MJ and I have been together since the 1988/89 school year, and last October, October 2006, was the first time she'd seen me cry. We had to put Mr. Kitty (peace and tuna be upon him) to sleep. My weeping openly seriously freaked her out.

3. I have a large collection of Transformers

4. When I was about six it frustrated me that people couldn't pronounce my first name so I told people my name was Michael.

5. I try to get together with my mother once a week to drink beer and converse about all things strange.

6. I haven't worn a pair of sneakers that weren't Nike since 1986. I had a pair of Reebok's.

7. I like to sing Disney songs written for sopranos like "Reflection" from Mulan and "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid. I have a very deep voice, sinus issues, and no training -- it's friggin awesome.

I'm tagging Judabear and Cora Spondance.

What Time is it?

I have a race tomorrow. It’s my first since the River Run. My running has been on the back burner for the past month or so. I’ve been concentrating on my strength training, and there have been forest fires preventing me from running. I signed up for the RITA CASH for the Spring run yesterday; the run is tomorrow. I expect to finish the race in less than 25 minutes. If I finish in more than 30 minutes I will be very disappointed. I don’t care about tropical storms, fires, or any other assorted acts of God. I don’t care if I get enough sleep, if my feet hurt, if I get cramps or anything else my chicken s**t body can come up with. It’s MOTHER F!@#&*G GAME TIME!!!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Buffett, Hiaasen, and Me

I’m out early today, and what a beautiful, tropical morning it is. I had some errands to run before I hit the gym and I wasn’t real happy about them. I can’t stand running around like a chicken with its head cut off and not really accomplishing anything. I finished my errands, and I was listening to a sports talk radio program as I tried to navigate through rush hour traffic. My frustration was starting to build as I stopped at an intersection whose traffic light synchronization wasn’t synchronized. I was headed southwest, and the sun rose above a building and shone through a palm tree over my shoulder. I turned and immediately wished I’d had a camera – it was a postcard. My windows were down and I could smell the it-just-finished-raining morning air. Words can’t really express a good Florida morning moment. Millions of people pay billions of dollars and travel from everywhere in the world for them each year. I had a 180° turn around in my outlook for the day. Sometimes I have to take a minute and remind myself that dealing with traffic and stupidity on the radio are some of my bigger problems in life, so I might just want to quit my sniveling and mix in a little gratitude.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

When Can I Join AARP?

Yesterday I ran outside. We all went down to the YMCA track, MJ, CG, KT, and I, and enjoyed the outdoors for the first time in a while. MJ didn’t run she walked. She had some excuse about being 37 ½ weeks pregnant or something. I wasn’t really interested in, what I feel is, her lack of commitment to her training. Yesterday was leg day so they were pre-fatigued and it was a still a little smoky out so I ran at a reduced pace. I was still the fastest one around the track. I forgot that running is hard. It’s not comfortable in the least. But it is a good way to burn some calories, work up a sweat, and get the endorphins going. Exercise outside is the best mood elevator I know of.

The next day is something different. My legs hurt like a bastard. If I sit for too long the lactic acid has a chance to build up, but I can’t stand all day because my legs are tired. I’m coming to the realization that I may be sore for the rest of my life. When I was a teenager I could hit each body part twice a week with no ill effects in addition to playing three or four hours of whatever sport was in season. Now that I’m in my thirties I can’t hit a body part more than once a week without tearing down the muscle, which is bad. But I also have to hit each body part once a week or I’ll be sore the following day(s) – 7 days of rest minimum, 8 days results in soreness. This wouldn’t be a big deal if life didn’t get in the way of training, but it does. If I have an early meeting on any day other than my rest day the schedule is screwed, and I’m going to be sore for a week because everything gets pushed back. I could solve this but MJ has a problem with me doing steroids. Apparently, anabolic steroids are illegal and there are negative long term health consequences. Who knew? The leg soreness is the only soreness that actually interferes with my daily routine. Unfortunately, we use our legs for just about everything. I hate walking around looking like my hemorrhoids are flaring up. It takes about a ¼ of a mile for me to get warmed up. I’m like a ’72 Coup de Ville in January – Big Daddy needs to idle for a bit. Oh well, getting old is better than the alternative.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Yeah Buddy

To the dismay of my ones of readers I’ve discovered how to embed video onto my blog. To my dismay the air quality is still at crap levels and I can’t run outside, so I’m stuck inside and I’m BORED. When I’m doing cardio inside I need things to distract me: a good music mix, a good television program, scantily clad hot chicks getting their workout on. Unfortunately, my music is starting to bore me, daytime television sucks, and I exercise at the YMCA where the women are septuagenarians trying to become octogenarians – and good for them. I miss running outside. I miss the covering of distance. I miss the fresh air. I miss enjoying my neighborhood. Mostly, I miss being alone with my thoughts. I like my process of working myself into a lather lifting weights and then letting it all out as I run though urban Jacksonville – no oxymoron jokes from the peanut gallery please. I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t listen to my iPod when I run on the street. We have always tested ourselves by how far and fast we can run. Nobody brags about how many strides they do on an elliptical.

The guy in the video is Big Ron Coleman. He’s won Mr. Olympia seven or eight times. He does a mental focus thing where he screams LIGHT WEIGHT no matter how much he’s lifting. I’ve started saying it. I don’t scream it. It works. A positive mental attitude is a powerful thing. Clich√©: The funny thing about the man who thinks he can do something and the man who thinks he can’t do something is that they are both right.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Everybody Underestimates the Kick to the Groin

My wife and I are expecting our first child in a few weeks, and I am starting to get nervous about what my responsibilities as a father are. According to Chris Rock my most important job is to keep her off the pole. Which used to be funny, but now I’m genuinely concerned about making sure my daughter doesn’t wind up a stripper. Starting with her mother and grandmothers, she will be surrounded by strong women with vastly different strengths, so that should make the anti-stripper values a little bit easier to instill. I know that I will have to get her involved in competitive sports: soccer, basketball, softball, MMA, etc. Hey LJ, I know what soccer, basketball, and softball are, but what’s MMA? I’m glad you asked. Mixed Martial Arts is the next step in the evolution of combat sports. It’s a mix of kickboxing, wrestling, and submission fighting. Gosh LJ, are you sure that’s something you want your daughter to be part of? That’s a good question. And yes I do. At some point about 16 and/or 17 years from now I imagine there will be a prom night. The thought of consensual things going on makes me want to run my fingers through a paper shredder and soak the stubs in lemon juice. The thought of non-consensual things starts the pilot light on feelings referenced last week, even though I'm a month away from meeting her for the first time. I know I probably won’t be able to be with her all the time so I’d like her to be able to take care of herself in any number of situations, hence the MMA. Strangely enough, this is a sexist response. If I had a son he would have the option of training in martial arts; my daughter doesn’t. If she is upset about it when she’s 25 and chokes me out, I will know that I have done my best. It would be even cooler if she fires me. The guy in the video is Bas “EL GUAPO” Rutten. He’s a semi-retired fighter from Holland and the coolest guy in the history of the world.