Friday, February 6, 2015

In which I suck at public discipline

Short one today. Still having a tough time getting back in to the swing of it. Tougher than I thought, actually. Plus Duke hates it when I'm not paying attention to him. Still typing on the cell phone, too, and it is just pissing me off at this point. There are a lot of things I want to do, shows I want to talk about, but it's just too much tiny touch screen editing and small print to do those on this thing. And I cant load pictures and videos, either. Your multimedia experience will continue to suffer until I get this figured out.

Like many if you I've also spent most of my free time over the past two weeks endlessly shoveling snow. It's like Groundhog Day. Shovel, pile, snow again,  shovel, pile, snow again, repeat. Speaking of Groundhog Day, what a friggin racket they have going on with that, huh? Did they honestly think this bullshit story about a fat rodent predicting the weather would have legs for this long? Fucking America sometimes, man.


For the most part, at least in public, Av is a pretty polite kid. At home she's a nightmare wrapped in a horror story, but to others she's usually fairly soft spoken and polite. Lately, though, I'm afraid she's beginning to lose her filter. Yesterday, for example, we were walking home from school when a random lady attempting to carry in groceries popped out if a 9 foot snowbank and almost bumped in to her. "I'm sorry, sweetie," she said. "Did you have a nice day at school?"

Av quietly said that she did and scurried away. Nice. Until, within earshot, she said "Why would that lady ask me that?"

"She is just being nice," I said.

"She looks like a weirdo. What is she even doing out here?"

"She lives there, Av. Come on, you can't say things like that. She doesn't look like a weirdo, you could barely see her face and that's not polite."

"I don't even care about her," said with kindergarten/high school attitude.

Also yesterday, a mother of one of her friends gave her a thank you note for gifts she gave at a birthday party. Av opens it up, throws the envelope in the snow and says "What is this?"

"It's a thank you note for going to your friend's birthday party and for getting her a gift."

"What the heck ? Why would her mom give me this, that party already happened."

"I know, she's saying thank you for going, that was very nice of her."

"Whatever. My brother is just gonna steal it now. He's stupid."

I chalk a lot of this kind of stuff up to a kids being kids sort of thing, but when you're in public other people always look at it as an indictment on the parent. I see a kid acting like a piece of shit at Shaw's and I say to myself "man, that mom is having a rough one" but I feel like I'm in the minority there. I get the impression that most people see Av act up, or me give her my patented arm squeeze/gritted teeth pull your shit together move, and they just shake their heads and ask why people like me are even allowed to have kids. I often ask myself the same thing. I can just hear that snooty mom voice or that stock broker perfect dad soccer coach saying "My goodness, what terrible parenting. Someone should teach thag child to behave."

For the record, no one has ever actually said anything like that, at least not to me. I know this because I have never gone to jail for smashing a MILF's orbital bone.

To her credit, the girl's mom laughed at the thank you note thing, but that's still pretty embarrassing. It left me stuck in that weird public discipline spot where I have to scold her at her school, in front of other parents, so I have to avoid being too harsh and somehow convey that she usually doesn't act that way. I ended up going with the trusted "You'd better get your act together and lose that attitude" and "We're going to have a talk when we get home." A whole lot of good that did. By the time we were home she was about 14 infractions past the schoolyard rudeness. The talk didn't go well, obviously, but I did get a pretty hilarious visual of her trying to whip a feather light loose leaf piece of paper at me.

I hate that kind of parenting stuff. I suck at discipline. I'm the guy who gives you an extra treat. I let you play ball in the living room and eat your snack in front of the TV. I'm the dad that Facebook parents and pediatricians hate. I'm the dad that frumpy mall moms wish they could be. But when it comes time to discipline I can't do it. I just get frustrated because no one listens to me and it ends up making me extremely angry, which everyone thinks is funny, which makes me even more angry and nothing gets accomplished.

In any event, this whole side bar comments thing has been happening for a while and I don't know how to stop it. She has never been that kid that makes fun of others, which is nice, but she has to stop calling people weirdos within ear shot. Especially people who are just trying to be nice.

I'm not a bad parent in the sense that I don't pay late child support, get drunk and beat them, spend all day at the office screwing my secretary, walking around the house with a blue tooth ignoring them or forcing them to live in some super strict environment where my approval is all they ever want from me. But I don't think I do the best job of teaching them the right way to do things. My interactions are awkward and I have social anxiety, but I don't think I'm rude. Maybe I am. All I know is I am not very good at using the "talking to children" voice and getting my kids to do the right thing. Or listen to me at all, really.

So I guess that makes me like a 60 percent good dad. No drunken abuse, adultery or scarring habits, but a severe lack of teachable ability. Cheerios won't be calling me any time soon to base a commercial on my life.

Friday, January 23, 2015

On doctors appointments and suburban school drop off

Day two of writing on a cell phone. Maybe I should blog about blogging with only my index finger. Surprisingly I'm quite proficient at this. Who says old men are no good at technology? Was it Buzz Feed? WHAT'S A BUZZ FEED, SONNY? In any event, the usual eye bending multi-media experience you're all expecting is on hold for now. Until then, words.

I'm already at about a level 9 today. Between trying to drop Av off at school on a freezing cold Friday and this whole "deflategate" bullshit I'm about ready to eviscerate the planet. Seriously, if I hear the term "deflated football" one more time I'm going to freak out. I mean FREAK OUT. Like, tear my shirt off, run down the street waiving my hands over my head and screaming like a maniac. I would share my opinion on what is the most irrelevant, overblown thing in history -- or at least since that skinny bitch in England had that baby-- but I think you all know what I'm going to say. Instead, just picture me giving two angry middle fingers to 85 percent of America. Thanks for ruining the Super Bowl, news media.

Dropping Av off at school can be frustrating. We live close enough to walk but during the winter everyone takes advantage of the "rolling dropoff" system the school has set up, because walking in the cold sucks and, quite frankly, we're all too damn grouchy and tired to bundle everyone up and take a nice morning stroll this time of year anyhow.

This is the part where I point out that when I was in kindergarten I had to wait outside every day, no matter how cold, to get on a frozen ice box of a bus and bounce around with no seatbelt until I got to school. And it wasn't a short ride. Kids these days have it easy.

The issue with the rolling drop off is not convenience, in theory it's a great idea. Drive up, open the door, kick your kid out and some teacher brings them inside. The problem is that there is room for only five cars at a time and you have about 200 people coming from three different directions all pulling up at once. Add in the fact that 190 of those 200 cars are driven by soccer moms, nannies and trophy wives and you end up with a massive clusterfuck of clueless, selfish, bitchy women just muffing up the whole operation. Thanks Obama. I usually have to compose myself three or four times per morning, mostly as a reminder that getting out of the car and losing my mind on some PTO mom in ill fitting work out gear will just make things awkward at afternoon pick up.

Interestingly enough, rolling pick up is not an option, so I have to stand outside in the cold and fight the same grumpy, frumpy bunch for a parking space in a thickly settled neighborhood of side streets at the end of the day.  As you can imagine I don't talk to any of them. I just listen to them squawk from afar and silently hate them. About once a week me and one equally anti social mom share a grumble, usually to the effect of 'ugh, their class is always the last one out and I swear the teacher makes us wait longer when it rains.' I like that lady. I don't know her name. I like that too.

As an added bonus if I park too far away Av yells at me the whole way to the car because her legs hurt. You know, because she spent her day doing rotational squats and lifting heavy freight at kindergarten.

Ugh, rotational squats. Single handedly ruined my new fitness regimine after about 14 minutes. Fourteen minutes of rotational squats and I couldn't bend over for a week. Scam.

I canceled a doctor's appointment yesterday for no good reason other than I flat out didn't have it in me to go through that charade. You know how it goes. First you have to drive there, which is a whole thing. Then after you wait forever a nurse puts you on a scale, takes your blood pressure and pretends not to judge you. There is always some smelly, sick old person in the waiting room. Wheezing. With flaky skin and a big diabetes foot. Slumped over, not hearing whichever child drove him there trying to explain when their next appointment is. That appointment is in about one day, by the way, because when you're old the maintenance never stops. Yep, they're just sitting there reminding you of your own mortality. You can do all the rotational squats you want, but some day the skin on your face is going to start sliding off and you're going to need one of your kids to drive you around so you don't stuff your Oldsmobile in to the store front of a crowded laundromat on Easter Sunday.

All this before the damn doctor even comes in.

I like my doctor. He isn't over bearing and he actually has a personality. He has five kids and has been married twice so there are a lot of "ehhh, women... Am i right??" type jokes. The problem is that the advice he gives you is just so damn unrealistic. Last time I was there, and this is 100 percent the truth, he told me that during the day if he gets a craving for a sweet or unhealthy snack he-- wait for it-- sucks on a few almonds until his craving is gone. Sucks. On. A. Few. ALMONDS. You see, the salt from the almonds kills your craving and then, once you've sucked it, you eat the almond and it hits you with a blast of protein so you aren't hungry anymore. Guess what I'm never doing.

During one of our inevitable conversations about physical fitness I was telling him that it's tough for me to get exercise because I hate the gym and I don't have time with my kids and work to do the things I used to do like play basketball or generally dick around all day. He told me what he did. You see, when Doc gets home from work, after he tucks in his 5 kids and no doubt shoots a passive "thanks for spending all of my money" look at his post-5 kids looking wife, he sucks down an almond and pops in a P90X dvd. He spreads out some room in his basement and works out for ABOUT AN HOUR. Oooookaaay pal. Sure thing. I'll just spread out some mats in my apartment and hop around like an elephant for an hour or so when I get home from work. Sounds delightful.

Then he looks at my blood work, tells me I'm perfectly healthy but I should work out more and I probably drink too much. Of course, to him, drinking one beer a day is too much. Not because it's unhealthy, mind you, but because what if you have a beer and one of your kids has an emergency and you need to drive them to the hospital? Well Dr. Worst Case Scenario, maybe if you weren't sucking on almonds all day instead of eating actual food your tolerance would be a little bit higher.

Still, going to the doctor as an adult is way better than taking a child to a doctor. I severely dislike Av and Lucas' doctor. Talk about preachy. My word. Don't do this, he shouldn't have that, don't feed them this. This bitch thinks kids need to be in rear facing car seats until they're in like the 8th grade. People like her are the reason kids have crazy allergies. Oh no! Don't give them anything! Don't expose them to anything! Make sure they grow up to be sickly and intollerable so they can drink gluten free beer and ruin life for everyone who loves PB&J for lunch! Ahhhhhh your two year old STILL HAS A PACIFIER WHEN HE TAKES A NAP!!?? AND HE EATS REAL PEOPLE FOOD??!! AHHHHHHH. Actually it's way more passive aggressive than that. Then she leaves and sticks some poor med school nurse with the dirty work, giving shots and making kids cry.

Anyway, the conversation I had when I canceled the appointment with my doctor went like this:

"Hi, I have an appointment with Dr. So and So today, I, uh, got called in to wo-- ah, I'm just not gonna be there."

"Ok, sir. Do you want to reschedule?"

"Eh, doesn't matter. Up to you."

"Um. Ok? Uh. Wellll, I actually have a cancellation tomorrow at 3, does that work?"

"Nah. I'm not gonna come tomorrow either. Maybe in the summer we'll give it a shot."

"Ummm. Oookkay... Ah, how about Aug. 3 at 1?"

"Yeah. Sure. Why not? We'll jot that one down and see what happens."

Weird, I think I just remembered something I have to do on August 3.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The blog is back for a new season

After taking a year and a half off for no apparent reason, other than laziness and self hatred, I've decided to come out of retirement and once again grace you all with my irrational anger, misguided opinions and stories from my ongoing struggle with the reality that I have somehow become responsible for raising two tiny humans. Bad example: It's like if NETFLIX bought my rights and brought me back for a new season. Only NETFLIX didn't give me any money. And this is printed word, not video.

I can explain away the break with a thousand excuses. I have less time since Lucas was born, I havent had a reliable computer in years (My tablet isn't charged so I'm currently typing this on my phone, which is more frustrating than you can imagine), I haven't had much inspiration and on and on. But if I'm being perfectly honest with all of you, I stopped writing simply out of laziness. I have two kids now so time to myself is much more limited than it was before. I started using the time I once dedicated to writing to do things like take naps, catch up on TV shows that I missed or simply sit down on my couch and enjoy the silence. All of this spiraled out of control and somehow we reached 2015, at which point I woke up and realized that I have essentially become a fat house plant who has nightmares about fictional characters in psychological crime dramas and sometimes wakes up at night not knowing which room of his tiny apartment he fell asleep in. I need to regain some semblance of purpose or every day is going to become Suicide Tuesday.

A lot of people find this difficult to comprehend, probably because you all have "real" jobs, but staying home all day with your kids can be absolutely soul crushing. You feel useless, tired, strangely lonely yet you're never alone.

You see people rushing to work, putting on suits and slacks and you envy their purpose. It is easy to forget that I am home because I'm keeping someone alive. I didn't get fired from Family Dollar for snorting Oxycodone in the stock room. I'm not on unemployment or welfare and I don't buy cigarettes from Eastern Market wearing a pair of Tazmanian Devil sweat pants, work boots and a wife beater. But sometimes, especially in the winter, it's easy to look out the window at all the commuters going to the train station and feel like I'm one bad day away from robbing a guy for lottery tickets.

Truth is when I had a 9-5 I hated that too. Of course, most of that was because it was a soull-sucking, 30k/year newspaper gig, but the point is it's easy to forget that raising kids is a job, and an important one at that. If only someone would pay me for it.

I'm not a social person, I don't do mom groups or playdates. I feel awkward around other people's children and even more awkward around the parents. So for someone like me, having a day where my kids are animals, the house is a disaster and I'm exhausted and broke can be really hard to deal with rationally. So my tendency is just to give up and let it all slide off. Wait til the kids go to sleep, make a stiff one and escape in to whatever is available On Demand (hey, XFINITY, I promise to talk about how great On Demand is in every post if you pay my cable bill). Don't judge me.

That's another thing. I have friends and acquaintances who are visible online, usually posting endlessly about how wonderful children are and how fulfilling their days have become. Smiling pictures of loving hugs and wonderful impromptu lunches at the corner cafe, musing about how truly life changing having a child is and how having their specific child has become a significant moment in the grand plan of the universe. I read these posts and some days I just say to myself "that's really nice, guy, but don't you ever want to just stuff those damn kids in a trash can and have a drink?"

Same thing with the God Squad upstairs. I never even hear their kids let alone hear them getting in trouble. My kids are always yelling, running, banging, breaking. Does this make me a horrible parent? Is Jesus the answer?

Let's not misconstrue what I'm saying here, either. I've got good kids, they're awesome and I love them. But sometimes I don't like them very much and sometimes- ok, a lot of the time- I lack the drive and creativity to have a super awesome dad adventure or a nice quiet creative Bible-based craft project and, honestly, that kind of bothers me. I just don't know how to not be tired all the time.

Anyway, We'll learn more about our 2015 selves as we move forward, but for now a brief catch up. Avelyn is almost six and Lucas is almost two. We call him Duke. He is significantly more well behaved and probably a lot smarter than Av and nearly as well spoken. He can count to eight and says almost full sentences already. He is an 85-year-old man in a baby's body.

Av is in kindergarten and we fight like she is 16. She is very curious and talkative. I can imagine she must drive her teacher insane. I do not feel bad for her teacher.

I am still responaible for these children during the day, which typically involves Av yelling at me before and after school, Duke pooping frequently and politely asking me for treats and me battling random bouts of anxiety, narcolepsy and childhood flashbacks. Every day is a roller coaster. Hop on, there's no height requirement. Having Duke all day can be a blast. We play trains and cars, we wrestle, run errands and snack. A lot. So. Many. Snacks. Also, Duke never wears pants. Like Murray Goldberg.

Monica still hasn't left me yet, which is good, because she's the one holding down the whole operation. I'm still a bartender at the same place, which has somehow gotten even more impossible to handle. But it turns out finding a new job isn't as easy as Step Brothers made it look so here I am. We have the same apartment but I DID buy a new car. I don't want to get too braggy, but I live the Mazda lifestyle now.

As always, I vow to be completely honest here. I'll try to swear less at the request of my father, but I am still a pretty big asshole so no promises.

As I mentioned, I've been catching up on a lot of crime drama lately, so I'll share my thoughts on some of those as well as my plans to finagle my way in to some sort of career as a brilliantly troubled mystery solving bad ass. Stay tuned.

P.S. I successfully typed this entire thing with an Android cell phone. There should be some sort of award for that. Or at least a nomination.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

People actually LIKED high school?

Eleven years ago last month I graduated high school. I put on a green hat and robe and sat in a chair in my school gymnasium for an hour or so. I don't remember who I sat next to. I don't remember who the valedictorian was. I don't remember any of the speakers, my principal's name, who the mayor was or any of the supposedly valuable advice they gave us in their speeches. Perhaps one of them was "don't smoke so much weed in your 20's and maybe you'll remember more of this day." I still probably wouldn't have listened, though. Because it is hard not to like smoking weed.

I do not remember who the prom king and queen were- I went to four proms over three years and I don't remember any of them. I remember at best a third of the people in my graduating class, and most of them are by name only. Aside form the two or three random kids who have stumbled in to the bar that I have worked at for the past seven years, I probably couldn't pick anyone out of a lineup. I do not remember most of my teachers from my senior year and I couldn't tell you most of the classes I took. High school did not make an impression on me. I honestly don't know how it could have made an impression on anyone. It is a shitty four years filled with mostly useless academia, undesirable social interaction and an excess of human failure. 

So when I returned to the place that had supposedly prepared me for this magical future I am currently enjoying to watch my sister Bethany experience her own day of forgettable nonsense last month I was not exactly expecting a fantastic swoon of nostalgia and inspiration. A few things did jump out at me, though. First, despite what I said earlier I was a little bit surprised, and a little bit concerned, at how little I did remember.

It did immediately occur to me looking at the athletic banners in the gymnasium that there was only one three year span since the 70's that the school did not receive some sort of achievement or award in basketball- division title, conference title, city championship and so on- and that happened to be the exact three year span that I played on the team. Coincidence, I'm sure. Or poor coaching. Yeah, I'll go with poor coaching. Never tapped in to my talent. I was a rebound machine.

Not sure the last time any of you have been to a high school graduation, so let me fill you in on how something like that goes these days.

First, everyone files past an unnecessarily intense ticket taker, probably a teacher or administrator or an over-involved parent that seems really dead set that no one is going to sneak in without the proper documentation. This isn't a Mumford and Son's concert, dude. Relax. No one is trying to bypass the ticket system. No one voluntarily sneaks in to a high school graduation. Except pedophiles, but pedophiles are usually pretty noticeable in places like that. Calm down, champ.

In the case of mine and my sister's school, the graduation is inexplicably held indoors. Therefore, the next step is to scale a set of 50 year old bleachers in a 600 degree gym either stuck behind some old person who can't get a leg up high enough to properly climb the splintered steps or bracing said old person so they don't tumble to a painful, nursing home inducing graduation day tragedy. I was in the latter category and I am happy to say that both of my incredibly old grandparents made it out injury free.

The event begins only after everyone is well settled and already squirming from the uncomfortable seat that is slowly numbing all of our asses. The band plays that song that they have to play at every graduation (poorly) and the students walk in. At this point, after each guest has identified the person they are there to see, the collective mind turns to one singular question: "How many friggin kids ARE there and how long am I going to have to sit here on this ancient wooden hemorrhoid machine they are calling a seat?"

Cue a unified fumble through the program to determine exactly how many speeches we would all have to sit through.

Eventually the whole thing begins with a parade of boilerplate speeches by everyone from the mayor to the principal to various insignificant school committee members. They all say the same thing. "This is a door to new opportunities." "You should all be proud." "Thank your parents." "Think of how all of you have grown" and so on...

It is all a mound of cliche and bullshit that most of the students will completely dismiss and immediately kill from their brains after about the fourth Solo cup at that night's golf course kegger. Unless, of course, you are the valedictorian. In which case, you hang on every word because you are the most self important pile of shit that exists in this time and space. You have spent four years using your family's rich resources to enjoy carefree study sessions. You have spent hours after school kissing teacher's asses, winning poetry contests due to lack of entries, leading the debate team, captaining the women's cross country ski club, leading student council, scooping apple sauce for old people at the nursing home, being a camp councilor, heading prom committee and the healthy snacks coalition that successfully had soda removed from the cafeteria because, let's face it, guys, there is like, a real obesity problem in America, ok?

All of this so you can add a whole page of extracurricular activities to your application to Brown or Bentley or Bryn Mawr so you can get a TOTAL full boat and your rich ass parents won't have to spring for on campus housing. And all this time you still found a half hour now and then to watch the Office. Just enough to toss a joke in to your speech. Good for you, honey. Good for you.

I hope you get knocked up freshman year by some football hero who gave you ecstasy for the first time and then you have to drop out and waitress at Uno's or TGI Fridays for the rest of your 20's wishing and commiserating about what could have been and thinking back to those four years of high school and that WONDERFUL graduation speech you gave as the GREATEST TIME OF YOUR LIFE!!! WE WON FOUR STRAIGHT CROSS COUNTRY SKEET SHOOT CLUB  TITLES!!!!!

Even aside from that twat valedictorian it was overwhelmingly apparent that high school kids are just the WORST. I mean, really just the most insufferable group of human beings I have been around since the last time I shopped at Whole Foods. Way worse than I remember. It isn't the jovial immaturity or the know it all teenager attitude. I expected that. It just seems like high school kids have a certain level of unwarranted pretentiousness about them these days. The way they dress, the things they reference, the cockiness. So. Much. Cockiness. I don't remember that. Then again, I don't remember much.

Once all of the speech giving and grandstanding is over the genuinely dreadful high school band plays everyone out (seriously, fire the band teacher, guys. He's no good). Before that happens, though, comes the "inspirational" flipping of the hat, or tassel, or whatever. This is only "inspirational" because the class chooses someone whose resiliency toward achieving a diploma has been a lesson in motivation, dedication and the ability to overcome anything. Succeeding against all odds! Proving everyone wrong!

Or, you could just be a kid who lost a leg in a drunk driving accident.

Seriously, guys, there wasn't one sick kid in the class? No one came from an abusive background and had to use welfare checks to buy MCAS pencils? You went with the kid who underage drank and lost a limb? Last year? I mean, the dude had two and a half years under his belt already. And last time I checked, you don't need a leg to study. Needless to say, I wasn't "inspired."

I feel like I should have been given a speech opportunity at this event. I would have told these kids the truth. Don't go to college. Learn a trade and get a job. College will just set you back $50 grand and guarantee that you will always have at least three annoying people who think they are your friends bugging you for the rest of your life to "hang out again soon."  Don't marry the first girl you sleep with, even if she makes you promise before she gives it up. She's probably going to get fat. And don't drink any peppermint schnapps. It isn't worth it.

Finally, stop wearing tank tops. Unless you are playing basketball or walking around your house in a wife beater, there is no reason to wear a tank top. Especially a pastel colored one with a beer logo on the front.


As a professional in self loathing, no one speaks more to the art than Micah P. Hinson. Happiness is non existent on this man's face. He is like a more talented, still living Elliot Smith. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hidden Track: Catching up (Sorry I have been away from you so long) Fet. Maya

New computer, no excuses. I'm (we) are back. The old Dell laptop, or 'The Tank' as I began calling it, finally started its slow decent toward computer dementia over the past couple of months. Youtube videos getting choppy, typing delayed, cursor skipping around all over the place for no apparent reason, no left click, random restarting, delayed downloads, frozen porn- all of the unacceptable behaviors of a computer that is approaching 5-years-old. Which, in the rip-off, buy our new model world of technology is like turning 85.

This, of course, is not the only reason that I have been largely absent over the past few months. Monica is back to work and I am now 'parenting' (surviving) two children who are both younger than my laptop by myself for large portions of every day. This means that I am usually dealing with at least one child who is crying, eating, making a mess or needing something from me. And neither of them can seem to get on the same freaking page and at least need the same thing at the same time. Av is hungry when Luke needs a diaper change. Luke needs to eat at the exact moment that Av needs help getting the toothpaste on her toothbrush. Neither one of them are ever asleep at the same time. 

Combine all of this with the fact that babies evidently do not like being put down (seriously, dude, I just have to take a dump. Chill in your chair for three minutes. Please. THREE MINUTES!) and it makes it very difficult to find time to blog. In fact, as I type this I am on very borrowed time. Luke is napping while Monica helps Av take a shower before she goes back to work and Av eats dinner. It could be 2015 before I actually finish this.

What it really comes down to is that I should be the one going off to work every day because Monica is much better at this than I am. Much better. That baby loves her. Doesn't much care for me. I do not smell as good.

I was inspired to write again today by reading an article about how parenting blogs have taken off and are evidently the 'new thing.' The story featured things like 'Conversations I have with my two-year-old" or "Reasons my Son is Crying" and the insufferably talentless Drew Mageary of who has inexplicably spun his 'Dadspin' blog in to a book deal. Just remember I may only have around a dozen readers, but I consider myself the founder of this genre. Dad blogs would not exist without me. I am the Benjamin Franklin of Dad blogs. I'll never see the royalties. Story of my life.

Anyway, let's catch up on a few things I may have missed. Quite a bit has happened since the last time I posted. Some Russian pricks blew some people up at the Boston Marathon. That was a real jerk move on their part, but at the very least it gave every conservative anti-gun control Obama-basher and lunatic government conspiracy theorist a chance to pontificate on Twitter for a few days. Also, it gave the local news a chance to run some new graphics and beat a story to death with a crowbar.

#Fuckin' Obama. 

Also getting pretty sick of the whole #BOSTONSTRONG thing. I get it. Unity and coming together and all that. There were a lot of great moments directly after the events, but people who go the 'LOOK AT ME' route with it are starting to get on my nerves a little bit. There is no reason for the coffee shop down the street to still be selling teal BOSTON STRONG sweatshirts two months later. Just send your $10 text message donation like the rest of us and keep quiet. Oh, and stop thanking police officers on Twitter. Police officers don't follow you on Twitter.

What happened was disgusting and the people who stepped up should be praised, especially first responders. But wearing your #BOSTONSTRONG headband to the gym doesn't prove anything.

There were some tornadoes that tore up Oklahoma and killed a good number of people on live television. That was a jerk move on Mother Nature's part, but not at all an unexpected one. It does raise a question as to why in a city that had already experienced the same tragedy twice before public safety leaders didn't have more of an exit plan or shelter for, you know, students who might be at school. I mean, sure, the tornado came on quick, but you knew it was coming at some point, right? And one of those schools didn't seem to have an emergency shelter. Kids were hiding under desks. I always wondered as a kid during bomb scares why we all just went outside and stood in the parking lot. Like, if the building blows up we are 15 feet away. We are still screwed. It is the same thing with the tornado. Hide in a closet? Under your desk? Ohhh, that's right, tornadoes only pick up one item at a time. If you are under the desk it will only pick up the desk.  C'mon people. We are smarter than that.  But, listen, I am not a city councilor or a school superintendent so I am not going to judge. It is really horrible what happened to those people. I know, I watched it live. That shit is terrifying. Again, text message donation sent. I will say this, I wouldn't move to Oklahoma if I were you.

#Fuckin' Obama. 

Some stuff blew up in Texas. I don't know that much about this story, to be honest, but it sounds pretty horrible and it is almost definitely a direct result of Obamacare.

#Fuckin' Obama.

An 80-year-old man reached the summit of Everest. Good for you, man. I hope that at 80 I will still be able to complete feats of physical endurance. Because, you know, I do that now. Actually, if it wasn't for Obama... Ok, I won't murder that joke. I'll just leave it bleeding where someone can find it and maybe revive it.

There were all sorts of other things that happened, but most of them didn't register on my radar enough to really formulate my opinion on them. I do not like Justin Bieber. That is for sure.

On the home front things aren't that much different. We still have two children. Monica is back to work and I get thrown up on at least three times a day. Often times at 3 a.m.

I do really enjoy the NBC show 'Hannibal' which is a new drama featuring the familiar characters from Red Dragon and other novels in the Hannibal Lector series by Thomas Harris. I am obsessed with those books and their spin off films, though, so maybe I am just nerding out over the show like all you other nerds do with Game of Thrones. In any event, Mads Mikkelsen plays Lector as good or better than Anthony Hopkins did and Lawrence Fishburne is in it co-starring along some Brittish guy who is married to Claire Danes. And who doesn't like Lawrence Fishburne and Claire Danes?

Thanks to all who keep checking the site looking for new posts. If all goes well this should be a pretty fertile summer for the blog. Fertile? Not sure if that is the right term to use, but I'm not changing it. I'm not. I love you all.


Ranking game shows (the good ones)

Due to a few very poor life choices, missed opportunities, misguided advice and and a dislike for condoms, I find myself at almost 30 essentially keeping the schedule of a single welfare mom. It has its pros and cons, but if nothing else, I am very well versed in daytime television programing. Because of this, one thing I have been able to pass along to my daughter (and hopefully, eventually my son), is a deep, passionate love of game shows. Game shows are the best thing on television. What is not to like? Regular people (usually) just like you and I playing games that seem simple enough that most of us feel like we could do a better job than the actual contestants if we were just given that one, magical chance to win fabulous cash and prizes. It is the ultimate regular man dream.

There are an infinite number of game shows. Games of chance, trivia, problem solving and physical performane. People seem to like ranking things these days, so here is my expert list of the top five current game shows. Why the top 5 and not the bottom 5, which would conform more closely to my cynical, miserable attitude? Because there are way too many bad games shows. Like that one hosted by Guy Fieri, or anything that involves Jeff Foxworthy. In fact, just as a general life rule, if it involves Jeff Foxworthy it is best to avoid it. This includes Jeff Foxworthy's Grit Chips which, unfortunately for society, is an actual product.

First, a few guidelines. What qualifies as a "game show?" A game show, for these purposes, is any show where contestants have to play a game, answer questions, or complete a non-athletic task in order to win prizes. Shows like 'Wipeout' or 'American Gladiators,' for example, do not count. Also, although game shows are really the first incarnation of the 'reality show,' as they currently exist, reality shows do not count. This means no 'Survivor,' 'Big Brother,' 'Biggest Loser' or any other competition of that nature. We are looking at traditional, plastic-hosted, studio audience, win a Volkswagen game shows.

Also, in order to be illegible, a current version of the show must still be televised. Game Show Network plays repeats of plenty of classics like '$100,000 Pyramid' or 'Match Game,' but those shows are no longer on the air and 80 percent of those people you are watching are dead.

5. Wheel of Fortune

"Wheel" is an American institution. Vanna White and Pat Sajak have been creepily not aging while your family wraps up dinner for the past 30 years. The appeal of the "Wheel" is how seemingly easy the game is. Spin the wheel, guess a letter, solve the puzzle. Of every game show on television, I feel most confident in my ability to play Wheel of Fortune. I sit on my couch, wait for the contestants to guess letters, and usually solve the puzzle before they do. I still remember the time I knew I could dominate this show. I was in high school. 'Becker' was in its prime as a viable CBS comedy. The clue was "Hollywood Couples." The answer was Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen." I solved it with only a "T" and an "M." BOOM. Give me the money.

Here is the problem with Wheel of Fortune: It is easy to solve the puzzle when some fool on TV guesses all the letters for you. When the lights are not in your face. When Pat Sajak's majestic figure isn't standing on a stool inches away from you. Wheel of fortune is about luck. You can solve the puzzle all you want, but you aren't rolling a 'Bankrupt' from your couch. I often wonder how difficult that game board must be to read. It has to be overwhelming. How do you not just get up there and freeze?

So why is such a difficult, magical game show only number five on the list? Two reasons. First, the contestants are consistently the ugliest on TV.  Even worse than Jeopardy. Wheel of Fortune participants look like the producers literally went to your local Planet Fitness and dragged the first three people they saw walking on the treadmill in to the studio. Every. Single. Night. Sure, there is the element of the "common man," but when I'm eating tacos on my couch I don't need to see my 8th grade math teacher's ugly older sister screaming "BIG MONEY" at the wheel. Get it together, guys.

The second reason it is ranked so low is the final puzzle. RSTLNE? Sounds like a scam. It is like KENO. I don't trust it. Oh, so you already know six of the nine letters before you made the puzzle? No thanks. For years I have been convinced that when you play KENO the numbers automatically go in to a giant computer data base that dictates which numbers come up based on a ratio that selects which numbers have been selected fewest. I feel like Wheel of Fortune does the same thing. Oh, we are going to give the contestant RSTLNE? Well let's come up with a "thing" that contains almost none of those letters. Rip off. THAT is why I don't like Wheel of Fortune. Still, though, Vanna White-- Two years older than my mom, looking good. I am not sure how I am supposed to feel about that.

4. Jeopardy!

Ahhh, Jeopardy! The thinking man's game. Nobody doesnt' like Jeopardy! That being said, I feel like this game gets a free pass despite a large number of flaws. Everyone likes to play Jeopardy! from home like it is some sort of competition. It isn't. Every Tuesday someone gets lucky and gets a sports, movies or literature category that they sweep from the comfort of their living room and, if they are lucky, they know a few more random correct answers from shit they remember learning in 7th grade. This creates the illusion that anyone could play Jeopardy! I assure you, Rosie Perez in 'White Men Can't Jump' does not really happen. Jeopardy! is hard. Like, really freaking hard. Unless you are a well accomplished teacher or a genius, you aren't winning Jeopardy! Not only are the answers random facts, they are usually random facts about things that no one pays attention to. Who in their right mind knows, or even cares, who ruled England in 1237? No one. Except for that one lady that got it right.

That is flaw number one. Flaw number two is the whole "answer in a form of a question" bullshit. Seriously? I have seen people lose money because they screwed this up. Most of the time it doesn't even make sense. The concept is that they give you the 'answer' and you have to respond with the 'question.' Let me give you an example of how that should work.

A: " I was the center fielder for the 1994 Pittsburgh Pirates."

Q: "Who is Andy Van Slyke?"

Yes! you are correct, sir!

But that isn't how it usually works. Normally it is more like this:

A: In 1783, the first manned flight of this recreational transportation device was performed by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier.
Q: "What is a Hot air balloon?"

Ok. Let's examine this. So, you are having a casual conversation with someone. They for some reason have a question about who manned the first hot air balloon flight. Is that how they going to phrase that question? "What is a hot air balloon?" And is that how you answer? Absolutely not. No way. Answer like that and your friend probably tells you to screw. Why can't people just answer the question like a normal trivia show? It is hard enough without having to conform to your silly Jeopardy! standards.

Finally, we have Alex Trebek. Another American institution. I would LOVE to see this cocky bastard participate in his own game and see how well he really does. He makes it sound like he knew the answer without having to look at his card every time someone gets a question wrong. It drives me totally insane. Alex Trebek has created this illusion that he is some sort of librarian genius who creates these questions himself based on his own knowledge. No. he reads the question and then he reads the answers off of a card. Not impressed Trebek. NOT IMPRESSED! Also, the day he shaved that mustache a small part of me died.

Still, Jeopardy! is a really good time. It is fun to pretend that you are smart even if you are not. And I feel like if Brian Williams takes over for Trebek in two years when he is supposedly going to retire the show could greatly improve.

3. Let's Make a Deal

 Let's Make a Deal is the most confusing show on this list. More times than not, I find myself watching it and asking myself, do I like this? Is Wayne Brady funny?  Is the model girl attractive? I can't decide. On one hand, the show is very entertaining. It is upbeat and energetic and, for the most part, fun. Unlike the previous shows on this list, Let's Make a Deal does not take itself seriously. At all. Wane Brady is the host, but he isn't host like. He chooses the people from the audience and leads the way, but he has help. He has a sidekick, Jonathan Mangum (disappointingly unrelated to Neutral Milk Hotel singer and all around crazy person Jeff Mangum), who aids him in games and random periods of 'Whose Line is it Anyway" type improv. There is also an announcer/ keyboard player who offers on the spot music to accompany any situation. Say a contestant claims to be some sort of salsa dancer: cue salsa music. If someone says or does something stupid: cue 'you're an idiot' sound effect. Fun, right? Still not sure.

Then there is the model. There is only one. Her name is Tiffany Coyne and she is hot. Maybe. Is she? I don't know.
You tell me. I think she is not unattractive but she seems very average. I actually think that appeals to me. More real, you know? She does this weird thing with her hands that bothers me. But that isn't really relevant. I looked her up (because I have a smart phone and I am a creep) and it looks like she used to be an NBA cheerleader and a Vegas showgirl so she is almost definitely carrying around an STD or two. Ok, we have spent too much time on this already. Imagine how many times I have watched this show and had that exact conversation with myself. Too many. Too many.

Anyway, even our girl Tiff gets involved in the show, doing much more than modeling. She gets in on the improv, dances, tells jokes etc... I like that. I think I like her. Do I?

Let's move on. The most confusing thing about Let's Make a Deal, which apparently used to exist back in the 60's and 70's, are the costumes. I have no idea why this is, but everyone in the audience is dressed in some sort of iParty Halloween costume. There are bananas, nurses, hippies, sluts- all sorts of crap. But here is the thing: there does not appear to be any rhyme or reason to how the contestants are selected. It isn't based on the costumes. Wayne Brady doesn't hold a contest for best costume. He just randomly chooses people. There is no explanation for why.

The best part of Let's Make a Deal is the 'Zonk.' The Zonk is what they call it when you lose. The basic concept is Wayne Brady offers you a prize, usually it is hidden in a box, an envelope or behind a curtain. Then, when you learn of this prize, Wayne Brady offers you a deal. Take curtain three or take what is in this envelope etc... Instead of just doing something boring like saying 'you lose' or something, they hit you with a Zonk. It isn't just the word, either, they get creative with it. They give you a bacon Ferris Wheel or a car made out of doughnuts, or a cart of lambs. And for some reason there is always someone in a gorilla suit.

Here is an example. "Zonk loafers" Get it? It is bread. So, you have your choice of curtain one or whatever was in that box. You pick the box, you get Zonked. You're sad. Because the thing behind the curtain was a hot tub. Or a shitty manual transmission economy car. Or a trip to Seattle. The prizes on this show really suck.

I mean, you just won a car. But it is a freaking Smart Car or a Ford Fiesta. Good luck cramming yourself in to that over priced go cart. "You've won a brand new car!!! The 2013 Chevy Spark has a three speed manual transmission and crank windows!" Some people win scooters. They give away hot tubs like four times a week. I once saw a guy win a year supply of dog food. Neat!

I think the coolest thing they do is at the end of the show they have the 'big deal of the day' where the lady dressed as a piece of cheese who won the Kia Sol gets to give up her shitty car for a chance to win the big deal of the day. Which is almost always an exotic trip and some cash. If the lady who won the car wants to for some reason keep said car, the next guy who wins gets a shot etc... The Big Deal of the Day tends to be very exciting, and very rarely heartbreaking. There are no Zonks, only two prizes that are probably worse than what you have already won, and one extravagant "Big Deal." The losing curtain is a popular place to dump hot tubs and flat screen TV's people didn't win earlier.

All in all, Let's Make a Deal- despite its flaws- is one of the more entertaining things you can watch. And that is important when you are watching TV at 10 a.m. on a weekday because that usually means something has gone horribly wrong in your life. It is nice to forget.

2. Price is Right
Considered by many to be the crown jewel of game shows, the Price is Right lands the second spot on this list. Drew Carey is a phenomenal upgrade from that cocky pervert Bob Barker (THE PRICE IS WRONG, BOB!) Even if he did lose all that weight and doesn't look like Dilbert anymore. I have long been a fan of Drew Carey, even before his sitcom, which was one of the best ever. He is just so jolly and awkward. Also, a bit off topic, he invented the coffee flavored beer on that show when he started 'Buzz Beer.' Berkshire Brewing Company and anyone else who has made a coffee porter or any other kind of coffee beer owes Drew Carey royalties.

There aren't many flaws in the Price is Right. Everyone on the show has fun and they give away fabulous cash and prizes.In fact, I think they invented the concept of the fabulous prize. I also really enjoy the unique styles of the pricing games. They are all totally different. I think, without question, though, the best game on this show has to be Plinko. Has to be. Climbing that ladder, dropping that hockey puck.

There are, however, two fundamental flaws that in my mind keep this from being number one. First: gimmicks. Since Drew has taken over as the host the show has started to implement gimmicks. For example, on April Fools Day the models take over the show and Drew becomes the models while they host. Last week they had a kids episode. This is not fun. It is like the Teen Tournament on Jeopardy! I hate the Teen Tournament. Worse, the Price is Right has now introduced a male model. I get it. Equality or whatever. But this guy SUCKS. He wears tight ass clothes. Like, so tight it is awkward. Almost as if they are a child size.

To make matters worse he isn't good at being a showgirl/man. He just points to the prize and waves to the camera. He has no grace. He is totally awkward He makes dreadful faces and his presence just seems totally contrived and forced. I would think a lot more of this decision if it was made when Barker was still the host and was still knocking up model girls and paying for their abortions. Drew Carey is so congenial and nice. I find it hard to believe he is making life difficult for any of those women. This man model appears totally unnecessary.

The second flaw of this show are the actual prices of the items featured. I watch this show a lot. I also go to the grocery store a lot. Sometimes I see things that just flat out don't make sense. I can't question the big ticket items. Cars, trips, motorcycles etc... those things all have large numbers tied to them and can vary in price by the thousands. You could buy a Hyundai for $19,455 at one dealership and see it for $22, 455 down the street. I am talking about tiny items, things I know I have purchased. For example, today there were two GPS systems featured. They were Garmins. They were one price point above a GPS that I own by the same manufacturer. I purchased my GPS at a Black Friday sale for $79.99. Original retail price was $115. So let's assume that the next model up, on the high end, is $150 retail. Now, I get that California is a different state and perhaps Garmin suggests a much higher retail price than many stores sell the product at, but the price for two of the GPS systems, according to the Price is Right, was $679.00. That is $339.50 a piece. That seems pricey.

I have also noticed similar situations with things like Wheat Thins or body lotion. Sometimes the prices just seem off. This makes me lose confidence that if I ever find my way on that stage that I could actually win.

All in all, though, this show is wonderful to watch. Spinning the wheel, the showcase showdown, all of the games. No complaints. The only other thing I would change is the notion that if you go over the price on a showcase you lose. I don't like that. I think there should be a window. I have seen people miss it over by under $100. I think if it is within $1,000 either way it should count. White people problems.

1. Family Feud
Look at Steve Harvey's face. Look at it. That face right there tells you everything you need to know about the new Family Feud.

Steve Harvey hates your answer. He thinks it is stupid. It makes no sense. He can't believe you said it. You know what? America can't believe you said it and he isn't afraid to let everyone at home know that he agrees with them.
When most of you think of the Feud you probably remember Richard Dawson trying to kiss all the hot women back in the old days. Or that hand job maniac and professional celebrity diver Louie Anderson teetering somewhere between suicide and a heart attack every afternoon. Or maybe even 90's sitcom role players Richard Karn (Al Borland) or John O'Hurley (J. Peterman) generally failing at the act of humor in the mid-2000's.

If any of those previous hosts turned you away from this show, and no one could blame you if the have, it is time to give the Feud another shot.

*Full disclosure: It is my dream to be on the Feud. It is also a smaller dream of mine to be the person they actually ask the survey question to. Like, who are these people? Is it random? Do they bring in a focus group? Or do they just head down to the food court of the Burlington mall and just ask questions until 100 men successfully tell them the most annoying thing their wives do in bed?

Steve Harvey is actually funny. Like, legitimately funny. He rags on people. He tells jokes. He does impersonations. In no way does he take himself, or the show too seriously. The best is when there are African American families on the show because he instantly reverts from showbiz, morning talk show Steve Harvey to streets of Detroit union auto worker Steve Harvey. It is awesome. It paces my afternoon every day. No matter what is going on, 3 p.m. is Family Feud time. Even Av likes him. Even if she does say things like 'Dat man is brown just like Steve Harvey.' It isn't racist if she is just being observational, right?

I think the best thing about this show, though, are the terms they use on the game board. Whenever there is a sexual or remotely taboo answer the person responsible for putting it up on the board likes to have a little fun. For example, and these are real. I have seen sex referred to as 'nookie', 'bumping uglies', 'getting down', etc... Boobs are often referred to as 'juggs', 'cannons', 'fun bags' and others. And don't get me started on poop.

So, there you have it. A completely useless and unnecessary look at how I feel gameshows rank. Maybe I just love Steve Harvey. 


Monday, April 1, 2013

From having a 'kid' to having 'kids'

It was around 8:30 this morning that I received a text message from my sister. She is a teenager, so when I hear from her that early in the morning my first thought is always "Which one of my parents did something totally insane and is my sister finally pulling the plug and driving out here to get away from it all?"

Thankfully, though, she was just writing to remind me that my son Luke turned two-weeks old today and I had not yet taken the time to blog about it. Oops. I would like to sit here and tell you how busy I have been trying to get adjusted to a life with another child, catching up on sleep whenever I can, barely finding time to slide down a hastily-made peanut butter sandwich before one of my children inevitably needs something- kind of like that old Dana Carvey parenting bit from the 90's (remember him?) when he talks about how he hasn't washed his hair or brushed his teeth for a week because his kids won't let him have the time. But that's not really the case at all. I'm just lazy.

Don't get me wrong- I'm tired. I'm one of those people that requires more sleep than the average human as it is. I'm grouchy with anything less than 8-9 hours at night plus an afternoon nap (this is why I'm usually grouchy). So working until 1 a.m. most nights and being woken up periodically after I fall asleep doesn't help the cause. Still, Monica is up with him way more than I am and, for the most part, he really doesn't ask for much more than the basics.

My biggest fear going in to this was that I would have forgotten how to deal with a baby after four years. I was kind of right. Toddlers are jerks, but being able to talk to them and get a response- and the fact that they can move freely- makes most situations easier to deal with. Babies require you to pay attention to the absolute smallest detail no matter what you are doing. And if they have a problem they can't tell you what it is.

Everything has changed since Av was born.  Different formula, different things to sleep in, different rules. Still, when the little guy comes out and you are suddenly in charge of keeping him alive 24-hours a day you kind of remember what to do. Don't feed him anything but formula, don't let that super heavy head of his flop around and don't fall asleep while you are feeding him at 4 a.m. I should write a parenting manual.

The most pleasant surprise has been that L-man, so far, is the total opposite of Av. From the second Avelyn came out of the womb she has been non stop. She cried for the first year of her life- straight. She is hyperactive, loud, fresh and disobedient. It is as true today as it was four years ago. If she ever ends up on 'Intervention' (likely) I can picture myself giving that interview at the start of the show when I talk about her childhood saying things like "Av was just full of life, she never stopped." or "We really had a hard time reeling her in right from the start." Then they will go on to interview her well put together brother who will talk about how they had a nice childhood growing up until she got to high school and ran around with the wrong crowd. 

I think Luke slept more in his first two days of life than Av has slept in the past four years combined. He literally never cries. Unless you change his diaper or he is hungry and even then he doesn't get real pushy about it. When he is awake he just kind of looks around with this "This is it? Who are these insane people?" look on his face. In fact, after a couple of weeks, Av has still proven to be more high maintenance than the newborn. She still cries more, gives us more trouble. She is still non stop. Luke just looks at her with these giant eyes as if to say "Please, God, tell me this is not the sister I have been hearing about."

For her part Av has been very good with the baby. All of that jealousy stuff we were worried about doesn't really happen. She likes to help with him and hold him and tell people about him. It is Monica and I that she has a tough time dealing with. I think she will probably be a pretty good big sister providing she gets her shit together long enough to stay out of boarding school.

So, what have I learned now that my second and final child has arrived? A few things. First, I am old. I knew I was old anyway, but something about having that second child makes it more final. With Av I had a kid, but at least it was only one. We partnered around and did all sorts of stuff. Now that there are two I have to lug the whole family in to the car and in to the store and in to just about everywhere. You need to know where two people are at all times and you no longer just have ' a kid'- you have "kids." Way, way, way different. Before I was a dad. Now I am a father. Also much different.

I have also learned a few things about society. Even though I was home with Av every day before, I rarely watched daytime TV. Av and I love game shows, so we watch those, other than that it was either kid shows or nothing. Since Monica is home for a bit now and she couldn't really do much for the first few weeks I have dipped in to the strange world of mid-morning programming. I knew about the judge shows and the trashy talk shows and the Soaps. I know not to watch those. But what the Hell is up with morning news/entertainment shows these days? Between the Today show, whatever that show Regis was on that now features Michael Strahan (!) and some skinny bitch who looks like she hasn't had a sandwich in 15 years and local news morning shows it is a wonder that all of America doesn't collectively fork out their eyeballs on a daily basis. I mean this shit is completely unwatchable. I would rather watch the trailer trash fist fights on Steve Wilkos all day long than watch 15 seconds of any of these slugs  interview a celebrity or make one sad attempt at covering a news story. Where did I go wrong in life? People actually like Mumford and Sons? I thought that was one of those things the radio pretended people liked. Like Bruce Springstein. Or Green Day.

Not sure how we got there, sorry I got lost again. The point is that we are home. My old ass has two kids. Lucas is very tiny but very strong. He likes to move his head around and try and crawl. Then he gets mad because he can't yet. The hospital experience was much better the second time around. They were nicer to us and the ratio of people who knew what they were doing to people who had no clue worked out much more in our favor. Plus, the support staff (janitors, food service, etc...) was a veritable freak show of American Idol cast off impersonators.

Most of all, I have learned that if there was an award for giving birth, my wife would be the hands-down winner. While every other mother in that hospital was whining and buzzing the nurses every 15 seconds, Monica was handling herself with class. Two days after the event she was walking around, lifting things up and, for all intents and purposes, running that shit. She never complains. Never whines and doesn't let being tired or sick slow her down at all. She is a champ and she should be recognized by someone other than me calling her a champ on a blog.