Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Chickty China the Chinese Chicken

3 years ago on the day I met my beautiful. A little over two years ago I married her and 5 months ago to the day we had are little boy. For the first time that I can remember I am home handing out candy on this special day and Before this turns into a Bare Naked Ladies song let me tell you what I’m going to do. I am going to keep a running diary of the Trick or Treater’s that come by our house tonight. With out any further ado let us begin:

5:30 P.M. - We are back from picking Kate up from work and Finn is getting his dinner. It has been a rough day for the little monkey. We have 3 large bags of Candy, the good stuff too, Reese’s products and some Hershey’s Kissables, all we need now are kids.

5:34 – The first kids arrive and I can’t tell what they are. They just seem to have some makeup on their faces. I hand them each a candy and close the door only to find out from Kate that I am supposed to let them pick their candy. Really? Is that how it goes? The next kids I will let pick but those greedy little monkeys are still only getting one piece, this is good stuff kids.

5:38 – The second knock comes and it is a 5 and 3 year old. I let them pick and the 3 year old (Lion) says “Thank you”, when I tell him he’s welcome he says “Your Welcome too” Now that kid can have two pieces of the good stuff.

5:43 – We have just been invaded by Ninjas. There was 4 of them, at least I think there was 4, you can never be sure with Ninjas. They were also with some kids that are right on the cusp of being too old for this.

5:44 – Behind the Ninjas were some 12 year old in nothing but ugly masks. Come on kids, a little more effort then this please.

6:08 – A long gap between trick or treaters was broken with some scary vampires and a little princess. The little princess tried to pick a candy but couldn’t pick it up and so she just pawed at them for about a minute until her mom grabbed one and off they went. The little princess can have two candies too.

6:10 – Finn has had an accident and it is all over his onesie. Kate is trying to take a relaxing bath and we thought Finn was taking a nap but instead he is decorating his clothes with poop. I grab Finn and take him back to where Kate is taking her relaxing bath. There are knocks on the door but I can’t get to them. We get Finn stripped and sort of wiped down and then into the tub for a deeper cleaning. I go back to the door for a family that has done nothing more them draw black lines on their face.

6:18 – The Goshows stop by to rest while Ben gets the car. Nia is a princess and Harper is a Dinosaur, well done Goshow kids!

6:20 - More ninjas and Vampires, I think the Ninjas are winning out as the costume of the night as far as sheer numbers are concerned.

6:22 – Josie is now at our door asking for Water. Most kids want the candy but not Josie, she wants water. I tell her she can have some but apparently her mom has already told her no. Dang It! Must remember to say “Ask your mom first”

6:27 – Just had a couple in their late 20’s, early 30’s come, no kids just them. They had a great costumes (Classic jail uniform and witches costume down to the boots) but the dude had a freaking beard! Come on man. Fountain Square, It’s FANTASTIC!

6:41 – Apparently the grown couple has scared away the kids because we didn’t have a soul come by for 15 minutes. A couple of pre-teen boys in Scream costumes broke the drought.

6:43 – Another Family of kids where only the little ones are dressed up but all of them are getting Candy. This is something I didn’t get to pull with just Mark and I. If only we had more brothers and sisters we could have got the candy without all the fuss. The two little kids were so cute though that the more then made up for their ner-do-well siblings.

6:45 – Brian and Liz from Pleasant street stopped by with Nora the fairy for some candy but since they hadn’t been in our house before we gave them the tour. We handed out candy and between stories of Floors and Porch remodels.

7:01 – We just had a mother and her two sons stop by. One son was about 6 and dressed as superman, the other was in his 30’s or 40’s developmentally disabled and dressed as Freddy Kruger. The older son kept reaching out and grabbing Finn’s foot and then letting go really quick. I found myself transferring Finn to my left arm to free up my right hand and placing my shoulder between myself and Freddy. It was an unconscious move and I didn’t think this guy was dangerous at all but you never know. The family got their candy, remarked on how cute Finn was and left with Freddy still lurching out every couple of seconds and just touching Finn’s foot. Finn thought it was hilarious and as they left I realized I had been holding my breath a little.

7:09 – There is a peapod in the window of the front door and nothing else there. It’s COSI! And Tonya and John are with her but COSI! Finn squeals and smacks his hands repeatedly, he likes his Cosi girl a lot.

7:12 – Three little punk rock girls show up at the door looking so cute. They are probably between 4 and 6 and their candy bags are bigger then they are. Behind them are some more ninjas and I realize that the candy bowl is dangerously low.

7:18 – 7 kids come and there is 6 pieces of Candy in the bowl. CRAP, which one of these little monsters is not getting a piece of candy? We pass out the remaining candy and then shut the doors and turn off the lights. It was a good run and we gave away a lot of good candy. The kids will remember this house for years to come, we will not have our pumpkins smashed this year I know it.

7:40 – There is a knock on the door even though the lights are out and the front porch door was shut, it’s Jerry come to talk about the potential development of Pleasant St. I guess the kids stuff is done for the night.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

After taking Mommy to work

You and me, we were meant to be

Yesterday I tried my hand at making Beef Stew and though it wasn't horrible it was definitely not as good as Kate's. I guess the beauty of beef stew is that as long as it's not burned you can't really go wrong. While we were eating our stew, with Finn on the table in his catapult, we listened to "The World's Greatest Love Songs" at least according to some one who posted the songs on Torrentspy. There were some classic songs that weren't bad they were just not love songs. Kate and I laughed as each new track would come up, not exactly the romantic mood I was hoping to create but fun none the less. It got me thinking about what makes a good love song and while I'm not sure the criteria I do know a couple of good examples:

One of the best memories I have as a kid is driving, anywhere, with my parents. The music playing, Mark and I in the back fighting over seat space in the back like it was the Korean DMZ. One of the things that I hoped for and would try to will into being while we were in the car was Danny's Song by Kenny Loggins to come on the radio. If that song came on we were in for a treat. The border skirmishes stopped and Mark and I looked up into the front of the car in rapt awe. My dad would turn up the music, look over at my mom like he was going to cry, and put his hand on her leg to gently tap out the beat. From the back we knew we didn't have money, we knew that he was so in love with her, we knew that we would be OK with these two. This song sums up my childhood more then any other I can think of. What ever song came up next would lead my dad to turn the windshield wipers on and off to the beat, dance in his seat like a roster showing off and make his biceps dance. We would laugh and try to sing along whether we knew the words or not, now that is a love song.

I am not sure what that song is going to be for Finn as he is growing up but I think This is Us by Mark Knopfler and Emmy Lou Harris might contend. When this song comes on I look over at Kate the way my dad looked over at my mom when their song came on. I am filled with joy at how lucky I am, and how heavy the moment is. I wish I could keep the beat with my biceps and make Kate laugh the way my dad made us laugh in the car. I can do the dance, and I know now why he did it. He did it because he had to do something to release those emotions before he started crying and the roster dance was as good an outlet as any.

What songs do you have?

Monday, October 23, 2006

I told you he loves Aunt Brigade

Friday, October 20, 2006

I'm Part of a Play Group now

On Wednesday morning after dropping Kate off at work I went to a play group with Johnnie History. For those of you uneducated yokels (Jesse) a play group is of parents, usually moms, that get together to have their kids play together while you practice talking with other adults. This play group was at the Kaufman's, whose son Atlas is one of the Fantastic Four. Actually all four of the wonder kids were there for this play group, they should really thin about renaming this group to recognize that fact but some of the other parents of not so Fantastic Fourish kids might get offended. Anyway I felt really odd there at first, like I was an imposter and any minute one of the moms was going to make me leave. We ate muffins and watched the Super Baby who is 10 months old, potty trained, and knows sign language. I listened in on a conversation about the best techniques for putting a 2 year old back to bed and took some notes on the sly. I think that is part of the gig, to learn form each other and share what you know but just in case I didn't want anyone to see me and laugh. I like play group, it is a lot different from any group I have previously been a part of but I think it is a sign of things to come for me.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A post delayed

Here is something I wrote after my friends Jesse and Carly got married but had not posted for reasons to strange to get into. Anyway :

It is Monday morning and I have had a great weekend. I got to see a lot of family and friends, I got to go to the Press Room with 6 of my favorite guys, I played basketball (albeit poorly due to the previous) with my dad and brother, and my best friend got married. While I didn't keep a journal here are my favorite parts fleshed out a little more:

Kate, Finn and I flew in to Phoenix where right off the plane we were met by my mom and dad and Mark and Kendra. This is the first gate greeting I have experienced since 9/11 and it is so much cooler then the baggage greeting. That sense as your walking through the tunnel that any second you are going to see someone special. It seems that while Kate and I were well greeted Finn was the star of that skywalk and was promptly whisked from my arms by my mother. We were all flying on the same flight into Santa Barbara from Phoenix, hence the gate greet. My parents flew in from Portland and Mark and Kendra drove to the airport from around the corner. Not exactly the "Meet me at the Eiffel tower" or "On top of the Empire State Building" but it was a scene worthy of any Audrey Hepburn movie none the less.

The next morning we met up with Jesse at the Tux shop to make sure our gear fit for the wedding. I was the best man and I used the measurements from my wedding two years ago so I was a tad nervous about the fit. All for naught though as the tux fit like a champ. Both Mark and Kyle had some trouble with their suits but they were quickly fixed and we were off to La Superica for some tacos. Here is one of the reasons I love SB. It has 5 or 6 great places to get what your looking for to eat. You want Mexican I can give you at least 10 places that are infinitely better then the best hole in the wall joint in Mexi-Indy. Right off the plane I had an In and Out burger, the next day I had a Chubby's burger. Anyway the rehearsal went good and soon we were getting ready to hit the Press Room for a Pint or 6. There was the classic crew of Mark, Kyle, Adam, Dave, Rodney, Jesse, and myself and some new classics in Troy and Ben. Sitting in the window of the Press Room laughing and bending the elbow made me feel like I still lived here. We then headed to the Rhino for some poker, and by Rhino I mean Jesse's apartment. Cigars were smoked, hands were played and Kyle tried to rip off the Groom.

Nothing helps get you over a wicked hang over like some basketball so we hit the courts reeking of cigars and beer. Those that didn't drink the night before were now all of a sudden all-stars but it was still a lot of fun. Back at Jesse's we got showered and suited up. I tried to tell Jesse that today was not only a day for him but for us as well to have direct outlet to show him how much we loved him by getting anything he needed but we both teared up and had to abandon the conversation. It's two hours before tip off and I am already having to fight back tears, this is going to be a long day. Luckily waiting at the ceremony was the antidote to my tears: the wedding coordinator. Since this person is also Carly's Aunt I will spare the tirade and only say that the phrase "I want to stab her in the throat with this plastic fork!" was heard more then a time or two. The ceremony was held overlooking the harbor in Softball Park (I really should know the name of this place but I don't so word association will have to do) and was beautiful. Jesse was swaying like an old Muhammad Ali doing kareokee but he made it through 3 sermons like a champ.

Being a part of Jesse's wedding was huge for me. The enormity of the whole event is more then I can put words to because Jesse that special to me. There is a line in the Toad song "Brother" that fleshes it out a bit. This will get a little mushy and I apologize for that but my boy got freaking married so deal with it, anyway this is the lyric:

so much has changed and so much has happened these years
but still I find that you
are waiting here
we have a bond that nothing can change
and still I find
a peace of mind whenever I hear your name

There was Barcelona Bar-B-Que for the reception though the aforementioned wedding coordinator saw too it that I didn't get too eat much of that. After the wedding all of the parents of us boys (kyle, aaron, adam, mark, james, and jesse) met for Coffee to congratulate themselves on getting all of their sons married off. It was a bizzaro Jane Austen moment that was just as beautiful to watch as the wedding was. Around that table were the people that had shaped our lives the most. Not just our own parents but our friends parents as well. It seemed like they should have presented with plaques or some other token of our appreciation but I know that their kids around that table was token enough. It was a thick moment, rich with the flavor of jobs well done. If any of you are reading this, Thank you! you did well, you did very well.

Sunday found us waking up at the camp to pack up to leave. More time with Family and friends was icing on a wonderful cake and I as sit here a day later remembering and writing I am acutely aware of the special people in my life. Congratulations Jesse and Carly, thank you for allowing the rest of us to participate in your love, and thank you for shining the light on the love that lead both of you there. I love you guys.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Friends even more then family

For the past week Kate, Finn and I have been lucky enough to have my two aunts here with us. My mom's sister and my dad's sister hopped on a plane in Portland, OR and came to visit, teach, and play. That seems rare to me, would anyone else's family do something like that? Well they did and it was a great time. We snuck into the garden where Kate and I were married, toured Union station and snuck into a train car room, drove to Parke County to take in some Covered Bridges and eat great fudge. They baby sat Finn and paid for Kate and I to go out to dinner. Usually you have to pay your babysitters but these ladies had a different economy. Through it all I realized that I really liked hanging out with my Aunts. There was a lot of laughter through out the week and some great tips for cooking a roast. Thank you Aunt Brigade, you made our week. You are both such amazing, strong women and I love you as much for being family as I do for being my friends.

A helping hand starts with a question

This happens to me a good number of times, enough to cause me to think about it for a second. While trying to do something I thought was helpful I ended up offending, or at least mildly annoying. I think I am getting to the bottom of this though. The key lies in the "Something I thought..." So many times I will see what I think is a need and then formulate how I can help with that. Now there are many times when I get it right but too often to be ignored now are the times when I don't. I guess the obvious solutions to just ask what I can do but how often do we really know what would help, or even admit we need any help. I need to take that chance more often though. You know what they say "the road to hell is paved with good intentions."

Friday, October 13, 2006

Finn Loves Aunt Brigade

On Monday Afternoon of this week my Aunt Jamie and Aunt Bum arrived from Oregon for the week. The only sisters of both my mom (Jamie) and my dad (Bum) riding into town on Aunt Brigade. It has been such a wonderful week so far and I couldn't be happier that I am off of work for this time. On Tuesday it was mine and Kate's 2 year anniversary as well as Aunt Jamie's 37*th birthday. We decided that birthdays come before anniversaries so we made dinner and a cake and celebrated Jamie's day first. On Wednesday we explored the downtown mall and showed Aunt Bum where Kate and I got married at the White River Gardens. There was a back gate open and very nice woman let us peak in without paying once she heard I was married there and My Aunts were visiting from Oregon. Finn was shockingly short on Camo outfits so Aunt Brigade fixed that and decked him out in some pants, socks, and shirts. In the little camo pants there was a surprise in each pocket for our dinner that night. Kate and I got to go out to a fancy restaurant for dinner and an even fancier one for dessert with the money found in the camo. I think I'm coming around to their point of view on the camo. Finn, like Kate and I, has been spoiled these past couple of days by Aunt Brigade. He has been a little sick but they have taken such great care of him. Poor guy is in for a sad week next week when it's just me and him again. We are going to go check out some sights downtown today and meet up with Kate who is getting photographed for a possible inclusion in the December issue of Indianapolis Monthly Magazine. I think everybody should have an Aunt Brigade.

* Even though she has a 32 year old son, my cousin, I think this number is still correct.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Day Three - The rhythm of things

Finn is in his swing struggling to get free of the lose blanket around his arms. The ticking of the swing like a metronome is lulling both him and I but he is fighting it with all his little strength. There seems to be a rhythm to the day that I find myself dancing to almost unconsciously. Drop off Kate eat-play-sleep, have lunch with Kate eat-play-sleep, go get Kate from work eat-play-sleep. There is a rhythm to moving around the house while he sleeps too. Grabbing something in one room and bringing it to another and then grabbing something there that goes somewhere else. It almost seems choreographed and I am following the foot prints on the floor.

Some things I learned yesterday:

* Turn off the ringer in the living room if Finn is sleeping up there. The phone rings and he wakes very angry.

* Finn will eat a 9 ounce bottle if you let him but he doesn't need too.

* Just because I just changed his diaper doesn't mean that the horrendous smell in the library is not Finn. He can reload quickly.

* Making a bubble beard for Finn in the bath is fun for me and for him.

* Finn loves to play with the baby in the mirror. He thinks that kid adorable! (picture above)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Day Two - settling in

Finn is asleep in his swing and has been for an hour and a half. I have a warm bottle for him when he wakes up having learned from yesterday. I waited to warm the bottle until after he woke up and he was an angry elf. That boy likes a little snack when he wakes up or else he is going to vocalize his frustration. I met Kate for lunch yesterday and brought Finn up to her office to show him off. Finn was smiling and flirting with each and every person that came up. That kid knows how to work a room, especially a room of ladies. He had the turn and smile, the eyebrow raise, and the "I'm so happy I might just poop" face going yesterday and he was mixing them up Greg Maddux in his prime. Once we came home he slept for a couple of hours and finished a couple of things around the house. There is a new economy of time with Finn that I have to get used to. You need to get everything ready to go before you feed him or else you lose a good 45 minutes. It's also easier to get things done outside of the house, like the library or post office, then it is to do things around the house. That is something I'm going to need to get better at, but luckily for me I have two great teachers coming next week. The elf is starting to stir so I better bring him his bottle.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Apple Picking

Kate's Sister Meg is down from the great Northern Twin Cities and we went apple picking this past weekend. It was a fun time of watching Kate and Meg nail each other with apples and listening to Heather teach Finn the difference between Assonance and alliteration. That boy is going to be wicked smart when those McGrail girls get done with him. I imagine Heather taking Finn for a weekend and having him come home quoting Graham Green and correcting my grammar. We loaded up the RV and went to Stuckey Farm, where we went two years ago to pick apples for the center pieces at our reception. There are a couple more pictures up on Flickr.

Day one - Stay at Home Dad

If you haven't heard already I am no longer gainfully employed. I turned in my two weeks notice on Wednesday and through a series of bizarre circumstances I was asked not to come back into the office. I still get paid for the two weeks I just don't need to come in. It was a shrewd but good decision made by the company that could not have worked out better for me. Kate started work this morning and we were going to have to juggle some child care for two weeks. Now I am home with Finn, getting paid for it for at least a week and a half, and enjoying every second so far.

Before Finn was even born Kate and I talked about staying home vs. working and which of us would do which. I wanted to stay home with Finn and do odd jobs on the side, while Kate wanted the interaction of the workplace. We didn't know when and how that would materialize but the past week Kate got a call from the company she temped for before Finn was born. The moved offices to downtown Indy, about 1/2 a mile from our house, and wanted Kate to come back.

I know that it is going to be hard being home with Finn. There will be loneliness, boredom, a vacillating sense of self worth and more. I think I am as ready as I can be for that. I know that it will be harder then I could imagine and easier then I thought depending on the day. I'll have to learn to raise a child, manage a household, shop for groceries, cook........ I'm ready to learn though, I'm ready for this new job, this new challenge. Today I am ready for it, ask me again in two weeks when I am no longer being paid for it.