Archive for the ‘Sickies’ Category

A Long Day and Many Short Years

Cheese and wine are fairly good company.  We all improve with age and someday we will all be consumed.  Two of us by the other.  One by worms or hellfire.  It depends on who you ask.

This birthday started like most do, with somebody puking.  However, it was the wrong midnight and things were only technically so and not yet recognized by the committees and panels that decide such things. No gifts had been exchanged. That didn’t stop him from appearing in the hallway with a day’s worth of gruel caked to his hair, an ear full of corn and a body coated in shades of dinner.  His trail read like Hansel on a bender. We followed it carefully.

He was the second son in a matter of days to spend his night reliving that which was once glorious. Neither found the sequel to be nearly as appealing.

The first one woke in the wee hours with the cutting cries — the cries that cut through the stereo, TV, what passes for conversation and what’s left of the night, only to make your heart stop even as your feet start and you run through walls (not around them) getting to your child at the exact same moment that the scream began. He woke like that and he was covered with five pies worth of used blueberries.

The women in the audience screamed. Bossman Bob Cormier take one look at Bill Travis and barfed on Principal Wiggins. Principal Wiggins barfed on the lumberjack that was sitting next to him. Mayor Grundy barfed on his wife’s tits. But when the smell hit the crowd, that’s when Lardass’ plan really started to work. Girlfriends barfed on boyfriends. Kids barfed on their parents. A fat lady barfed in her purse. The Donnelly-twins barfed on each other. And the women’s auxiliary barfed all over the Benevolent Order of Antelopes. And Lardass just sat back and enjoyed what he created. A complete and total Barf-A-Rama.

That’s pretty much how it happened.

And then he was better and life went on and we healed and we lived and we fell down a rabbit hole, and then the other one was standing in the corner covered in tears and culinary memories. Everything is circular.

It’s been sunny since January.  Today it is snowing lightly.  The clouds are grey and slightly heavy and they catch on trees as they roll down the mountain.  It is a temporary melancholy.  A remembrance of what has passed.  It does not cut with cries or stand silently in the corner, but it too has come back from places we’ve long forgotten.  It too will be consumed.

Birthdays are like that — reminders of what once was glorious, a tease of what may be; a temporary slice of melancholy with candles lit upon it.  In between we heal and we live and we pour the wine more freely.  We hope it will all stay down.

The snow is a nice touch.


Quote from Stand By Me


Ten Days Gone

From my office I can watch the leaves fall upon the deck and melt in pools of red and yellow. They do not fight it. They have served their purpose. They have accepted their fate. Theirs is to fall beneath a constant drizzle and breaths of mist and theirs is to mock me in their peacefulness.

From my office I can see a grave sixteen years deep. My gaze tends to wander there. It lingers from time to time.

The boys have been sick and sad and they are making messes and mischief of one kind and another. Theirs is in the now. Pain and joy are deep and fleeting. Mornings are met with smiles and dreams are embraced with hugs and sugars and the seesaw tones of love and a patience lost.

Miles away my wife drifts in a pool of memories. It ebbs and it flows and it ripples from countless teardrops. She is at the bedside of her father. Hers is a distance measured in sadness.

Her father fades slowly. Her hopes come and go. His breath, it ebbs and it flows and it ripples. His is the fountain of their tears. His is the pool of memories in which they wade with pants rolled high and thick, hard skin slowly finding softness. Theirs is old wounds unhealing and new cuts soaked in salt.

Mine is to be alone, tired and slightly unkempt. Mine is to stare far too long at leaves through windows. Mine is to care for my children and give them strength when they need it and to take theirs when it is offered.

Ours is to make the most of making do.


Two Ear Infections and a Microphone

That was a good drum break.

If you’ve ever read this blog, or any blog written by a parent, you would know that some things are understood—things like sleep is a myth and all restrooms are public.

We didn’t sleep last night. Granted, we never sleep. Our bed is too small for the ark that Jacob said to build upon it (see below) and a good rest is seldom had.

Yes, we co-sleep. I don’t care what you think. Unless you’re okay with it, then by all means think away. Our decision to do so is based loosely on the fact that we sold the kids’ beds on Craigslist. It’s a recession, people.

Plus, the move and all that. They’ll have beds soon, put the phone down.

Anyway, last night there was little sleep had by anyone with a pillow (see above). It was a night of cries, screams and whimpering. Yes, whimpering. And whining.

Thing Two (top center) has been sickish for a few days. We assumed it to be allergies. The air here is disgusting and everyone is coughing, itching and feeling like crap. We figured that was the case with Thing Two, or possibly Swine Flu.

About, oh, 4am, he declared that his ears hurt. Not one ear, but ears. Then he continued to cry, scream and whimper, without even missing a beat. The kid has talent. Eat that Susan Boyle.

Six in the morning found me and the boy in Urgent Care. Double ear infections. Antibiotics. A doughnut. A nap.

Now he’s sitting at my feet eating ice cream and whimpering noticeably softer. And I am more tired for it.


Slow Motion Weekdays Stare Me Down

“Oh, blood. Somebody must have died there.”

He is five-years-old and I’m standing outside the bathroom on the campus of his elementary school. The door is propped open and the floor is covered with paper towels and urine. There is blood on the sidewalk between me and the tile.

“I doubt anyone died there,” I tell him. “Today,” I keep to myself.

Maybe it is spit heavy with dye and candy.

He is unfazed by the possibility of death or by its looming presence. He is running in the cloudy haze of springtime, fresh from finding a favorite sweater among the memories of the lost and found. He is jumping cracks and lines drawn from chalk.

I am walking a growing distance behind him. My sweatshirt is pulled tight. The springtime wind is sharp and cold.

My head is full of medicine and mucus. The image is unpleasant and the reality is worse. It is a day after my 38th birthday and I am tired and my Facebook wall is full. It is a good feeling to be thought of, but even the warmth of sentiment is lost in the breeze. I pull my sweatshirt tighter.

We are home and the boys are not listening. My wife is listening to the J. Geils Band and everything is a freeze frame.

There are cards in the mailbox full of checks and signatures. I read every line, even the words written by a company that has never met me. I put the money in my wallet and throw the cards away. They’ve served their purpose and theirs is to be forgotten and recycled. Perhaps they will come back as a love note or parking ticket, a poem or a receipt. Maybe a birthday card is all there is.

I’m behind in my work. I’m behind in my bills. The daylight lasts an hour longer and it is not enough.

There is cold coffee and leftover spaghetti on my desk- a temporary stop before they are a part of me, like the spring and the wind, life and death, my boys, my wife, a wall written on and mailboxes filled. Like work and bills and walks of growing distance, everything is medicine and everything is mucus. It is heavy with dye and candy.

Everything is a freeze frame and for some reason I find comfort there.


No Cats Up In This Cradle

Chances are you’ve read the last few posts and thought that I was pretty much the best dad ever, and you’d be right. Chances are even better that you didn’t read the last few posts. Your loss, seeing as people think I’m pretty much the best dad ever.

The thing is my status as best dad ever, pretty much, is based upon a criteria of relativity and supply and demand. If you’re a dad there’s a decent chance someone thinks the same of you, although, to be honest, some of you are fairly suspect.

I’ve spent two days with my hand in a butt crack that isn’t mine. I’m just throwing that out there.

Zane woke up sick on his birthday. He woke up about 5 minutes after his ass did. Fast forward a few hours later and my hand is silky smooth and will never know the likes of diaper rash. His butt, however, is tender as the night, assuming the night is raw, chaffed and burning. I’ve known nights like that.

This morning he finally seems better. I’m sure it’s not over, but the healing has begun. I feel a sense of hope that the only crack my hand will be in is my own, albeit briefly.

He’s been dancing all morning to the Flobots and singing about riding his bike with no handlebars, which, just between us, is bullshit because he can barely handle his tricycle, but who am I to mess with creative license?

I only hope I don’t have to hear my son cry today, and not in an earplugs sort of way, but in the sweet kind of way that you’ve come to expect from pretty much the best dad ever.

This is the part where my mom cries.


For some reason the good folks at MamaPop asked me to write on their site today, which means they are either extremely desperate or gluttons for punishment. Whatevs. I did a recap of “Heroes.” I’m the poor man’s TiVo and so can you!

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