Monday, May 24, 2010

Viktor Frankl and Captain Nekkid

"Naked is when you haven't got any clothes on.  Nekkid is when you don't have any clothes on and you're up to no good." -Beebee

It was hot this weekend.  I mean, Spring is cooked.  Done.  Over.  Gone.  And I worked my petoot off in our operational staging area and command center garage.  But Jack and I finally hopped in the pool on Sunday afternoon for a nice, cool little swim (the salt really does a number on her crown and scepter, so Majesty just watched and took the pictures that I forgot to download).

Everyone drys off and Jack is whisked away for a bath and a change of clothes.  I heard later that while I was trimming our 2'x2' square of sickly grass with a straight razor and a chalk line, H.M. ran Jack's bath and let him romp around in his skin like a wild animal on the Serengeti.

Now, listen, some of you with normal, human children could get away with that sort of thing.  But regular readers of this here weblog won't be shocked that there was yet another scatological surprise on the upstairs office floor.

Question.  Is it really a surprise if you're not surprised?  I think it's my fault for putting all the luggage in storage.  I guess he couldn't find a suitcase that he liked.  Good thing the carpet's brown.  Right.

On Sunday we hit Oh Please Please We Really Need This to Work Out New Church again.  And this is NOT a comment on or slap at any other church or preacher or teacher anywhere.  Hear that.  But I'm not exaggerating when I say that we witnessed what I consider to be the finest Bible class AND sermon that I have ever heard.  Not kidding.  We were blown away.  After the country boy leading Bible class quoted from Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning as he held the paperback in his hand, and told us about the events surrounding the murders of five missionaries to the Waodani tribe in 1956, it occurred to me:

These people are thinkers.  And I like that.  I like that a lot.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Die Is Cast

'Proofing, Part Deux
I'm a creature of habit.  I hate change.  Nah, hate is too strong a word; I dislike change.  It rankles me.  This week, I'm definitely rankled.  Happy, contented, excited?  Yes, yes,  and yes, but also rankled.

  I'm still in complete amazement as to how the previous owners never felt the need for a pool fence, or pretty much anything else in the way of keeping little hands out of things.  Get this.  They told their daughter she'd have to go to the pediatrician and "get a shot" if she ever touched the water.  She bought it.

I, however, have spent the week babyproofing the new casa, trying to stay one short step ahead of Jack and his destructive mania.  Ever the opportunistic criminal creative lad, he paces his proverbial cage looking for a single weakness to exploit.  But now we're mostly fastened, snapped, locked, and gated into complete safety.  Until the next time.

Alea Iacta Est
After all my work I found it particularly amusing that I witnessed the following in the church nursery we visited Sunday (we visited the whole church as well, mind you... oh, forget it):
  1. A styrofoam cup of steaming hot coffee 2 inches from the edge of a counter
  2. Completely open electrical outlets
  3. Multiple open purses and bags left on the floor, replete with ballpoint pens and car keys (see #2 above)
  4. Too few legitimate toys to thwart evil plans focus wayward attention (see #2 and #3 above)
Jack is going to run through that place like a white-hot knife through butter.*  I shudder at the possibilities.  I didn't even look in the cabinets, but no doubt that's where they're keeping the hydrochloric acid and blasting caps.

The Effectual Fervent Prayer
We're definitely missing our old church environs.

I'd imagine that to the unchurched, as they say, moving congregations might sound about as significant as swapping country clubs.  They both have G0D (or golf), right?  No big deal.  But we've found this change to be the most significant one, and the most difficult.  It was easy to leave the 'hood or to take a great job.  But finding a new church is proving far, far more wrenching.  Pray for us, please.

I'll Take That In My Office
As we're unpacking this week, Jack finds an old power cord for an ancient PC monitor (think glorified Etch A Sketch), and uses the power block as a phone.  Nothing new there - Jack does this routine probably a hundred times a day.  He runs through the call-list of family members as we look on [HAAAH, PAH PAH!].  Again, nothing new.  So he gets down to Mrs. Aunt-In-Law Emily's name.  That rascal grabs the faux phone and drags it into his room... and shuts the door behind him.  As we watch the closed door with the cord running under it, we hear a little voice say:


*I hope they have their insurance premiums paid up.  No, really.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Feverish Toddlers: The Answer to Our Energy Needs?

My commute this morning was 7 minutes long.  In practical terms, amigos, that means I can't finish Kashmir or Won't Get Fooled Again in my car.  (Note that it would take over 3 trips to get through Dazed and Confused...)  These are the little sacrifices we make, I suppose.

I'm not going to give you the full tilt moving weekend story.  Suffice it to say that everyone is exhausted, sore, and the house is filled with boxes, wadded up balls of packing tape and Wall Street Journal pages.  Note:  Make sure your movers don't make crosses of flimsy brown plastic tape directly around stacks of plates when you're not looking.   You'll come to regret that.  Adding to the fun was Captain Adventure himself, who decided to get really ill the night we moved.

I learned two things this weekend.  The first being that swimming at 2:30am is nuts.  And it's cold.  Really cold.  Second, I learned (to my fright) that human skin can actually be painfully hot to the touch.

At 3pm, Jack was flushed and running a respectable 102.6 degree fever.  So we smacked him with a syringe full of Motrin and inaugurated our pool with a father/son swim.  All we heard is [POOOOWL!  DAK POOOOWL!].  After 30 minutes of that, our problem was all but solved.  Probably an ear infection, we'd be keeping an eye on him.  No sweat.

Ha.  No sweat.  Right.  At 2:15am, I woke to weak but steady crying.  When I pull him from his crib, the (completely limp) rag doll was radiating energy like one of those old gas space heaters.  103.6.  Awesome.  His skin against mine felt incredibly hot.  Yes friends, my brand new neighbors were treated to the sounds of a wailing baby, splashing, three adults singing Bible songs, and my teeth chattering, all before 3 in the morning.  (We do like to be first, you know.)  I'm surprised nobody saw any little red sniper dots on our foreheads.

Growing up, we generally swam in tanks (a.k.a. ponds or small lakes).  I've never had regular access to a real pool, much less owned a pool myself.  I imagined that it would take federal legislation to get me out of there when I finally got one.  I would just live in there.  But this "luxury" has become the equivalent of eating cake at gunpoint.  It's just not as much fun when it's not your idea.  And it's definitely not your idea when someone orders you into cold water in the middle of the night.

Majesty and I pull shifts back and forth to get him to sleep (I'm sure her shifts were by definition longer), and tromp on over to the E.R. about 8am to score an unnaturally pink antibiotic.  After a Bucky Special*, I was (mostly) functional and (mostly) safe to drive.

Happy Mother's Day.  We want a mulligan.

*A Triple Venti Nonfat Latte, ideally enjoyed after minimal sleep.

UPDATE:  I forgot to mention that Jack kept saying [DAHTAH.  AH.  DAHTAH.  AH.] before, during, and after his E.R. visit.  We explained, to little effect, that we were pretty sure that Doctor Oz  doesn't work Sundays.  And that he lives in New Jersey.

UPDATE 2:  Happy birthday, Bono.  Many happy returns, bro.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Would You Like to Check That?

We can't know the future.  But I know one thing for certain about Jack's future:  If I'm able, I will tell this story at his rehearsal dinner.

You parents out there will be very familiar with The Silence.  It's that sudden space of time where you hear... nothing.  Usually kids bring with them this associated noise, and the low din is always with you.  Always.  You eventually learn to ignore it.  And then, suddenly, it's gone, and its absence alone is conspicuous.

Jack was playing this weekend in our flop house/flat, and he had gone into the tiny little room where his Pack 'n Play is squeezed between the wall and the singolo*.  And he gets on the bed, and plays with books, and finds a toy or two, and looks for trouble in whatever way he can.  In the room, there's also the black suitcase that someone bought me for Christmas a few years back.  Of course, Majesty appropriated it for his use, so I'm back to using the tattered blue Serac backpack that I dragged around Europe and Mexico a decade ago.

Anyway, Jack likes to sit in the suitcase.  He calls it a boat.  He opens it.  He closes it.  He opens it.  He gets in.  He gets out.  He does it all over again.  It's very diverting.  (The picture above documents this phenomenon.)

So we hear The Silence.  And your first instinct is to get up and get a better vantage point so you can see what crimes they're committing they're up to.  Beebee (who's helping with childcare while we wander around like Bedouins) strolls in there, and Jack's ah, divested himself of his diaper, and is running around in a Japanese The Empire Strikes Back shirt, a huge grin... and well, that's pretty much it.

The catch of course was that the diaper was somewhat less than clean, you might say.  So little brown footprints are scattered here and there, and Our Hero is whisked away (at arms' length) to a hot bath.  Two of them, in fact; we did a rinse and a spin cycle.

The other catch is that after everything is cleaned up, there's still that smell.  When there shouldn't be.  You know the one.  I hear Beebee say, "OH.  MY.  GOODNESS."  Evidently, upon opening the black suitcase, there's a rather large present tucked away for us.  H.M. enters the fray, and Beebee hands her a wet washcloth with the following admonition:

"Here you go, Mommy."

I tried to look busy drying the hardened criminal baby off.  I like my old blue backpack just fine now, thank you very much.  By the by, if you ever see me eBay anything in the way of black carry-on luggage, skip it.

E.C. would like to offer profuse thanks to H.M., et al for letting him go take a relentless sonic beating from Jack White and The Dead Weather at The House of Blues on Saturday.  Awesome.  Just awesome.

*Think an overly stuffed cot.  Popular in the E.U.