Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sex and the Working Spouse

33 clever quips
A couple of readers recently asked why I don't blog more about two things: sex and My Love. Oddly, these were posed as separate topics -- i.e., "Why don't you post more about sex?" and "Why don't you write more often about My Love?" -- as opposed to the compound subject, "Why don't you blog more about sex with My Love?"

As if the twain has never met, people. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

My Love has been home a lot of late, with "home" loosely defined as somewhere in a 20-mile radius of the place the rest of our family sleeps. Yes, she's still an international executive goddess, but her AAirpass has been revoked temporarily to help save her company some scratch. So instead of jetting off to some fascinating Marriott in a foreign land, most mornings she's been up and out by 4 a.m. to the 1960-ish beige reinforced concrete decor of corporate headquarters and then back home by 10 at night.

Still, some of you might expect there'd be an increase in quality time with the Mrs. based sheerly on physical proximity. Instead, you get scenarios like this one: The Things and I sit down to dinner, hear the garage door open below us and her car pull in. My Love comes bounding up the stairs to join us … two hours later.

"I was on an overseas conference call with our office in Phuntsholing and I didn't want to lose the signal," she said.

"Did you say, 'fun to schlong'?"

"Phuntsholing," she said with more clarity. "It's the New York City of Bhutan."

"I couldn't agree more if I actually knew where the hell you were talking about," I said. "Did you say, 'butt on'?"

The mounting piles of paperwork have even led My Love to try to escape "meeting hell" by invading my territory a few times by working from home. It's an art she's yet to fully perfect, in my opinion, at least in terms of multi-tasking. Like last week, she sat on a stool at the kitchen island, working on the computer with her Blackberry earbud welded in place for 20 straight hours. Good start, but she still shrugged off dozens of my best requests, suggestions and double-entendres to "have a snack," "get in some stretching" and "address those stubborn Tupperware stains."

Pretty much reminded me of our first trip to Las Vegas.

"I'm busted. Let's go get some dinner. The food trough is ready and waiting. I smell 10-cent shrimp cocktails!" I said, pushing away from the blackjack table.

"In a few minutes. Just one more shoe after this one."

"You said that five hours ago when I wanted to go for lunch. And three hours before that when we were supposed to meet your dad for breakfast."

"I can't break up the table. We're on a streak. You -- at third base! Split 'em and hit 'em. Now."

"Very well," I said. "I'm going out to the corner to find drug-addled call girls willing to use your toothbrush to pumice their bunions. Good by you?"

"OK. Just one more shoe after this one."

I admire her focus and dedication. In return, you'd think she'd admire mine, as best displayed in this clip from one of my favorite TV shows, "Ed" (uh, this is a name, not ED -- the abbreviation for erectile dysfunction, smartass):



How will My Love react to my blogging about this most intimate of subjects? Probably not well.

But this being a Tuesday during Thanksgiving week, not much of a loss.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nothing But Puke and Plugs

17 clever quips
I contend that you're not really a parent until your first reaction when one of your children starts to throw up is to cup your hands and try to catch it.

I speak from vast amounts of experience. Read about it today on DadCentric. This photo somehow plays into the whole story. Trust me.

Finally, you're not really an Apple iPhone owner in the New York City area until you download my drinking buddy Chris's app that gives you the Metro-North Railroad schedule in and out of Grand Central Terminal at the touch of button. I hear it's pretty good. I don't know because 1) I rarely leave home, duh, and 2) my cell phone is actually just a cell phone ... from 2004. I'm a traditionalist.

New posts next week ... maybe here, maybe elsewhere. We'll see.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Includes Sauce. And Allen Wrench.

22 clever quips
"What if meatballs were rocks?" said Thing 1 as she downed another mini-Swede, courtesy of IKEA (yes, they make great, cheap, DYI furniture and some scrumptious frozen cocktail vittles to go).

"I don't understand the question."

"If meatballs were rocks, could we sit on them?"

"Iiiiiii … guess so. Then would we eat rocks?"

"Yes," she said.

"Is this a critique of my microwaving skills?"

"Huh?"

"Nothing," I said. "Here, have some more."

"No thanks."
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

When Love Walks in the Room

35 clever quips
His older sister invited him to a Friday-the-13th/birthday party for a mutual friend. The last party he attended with his sister was eight years earlier in high school. That bash ended with him in a doorway, swapping DNA samples with a future lesbian.

Yet he was ambivalent and depressed. He was 24 and still living with his parents. His job sucked ... and it was only part-time.

He relented. Maybe this would break the funk. Moreover, there was certain to be a keg.

A few hours later, he walked into their friends' house. Immediately he approached an athletic-looking woman with long curly hair wearing black stretch pants. He had his weaknesses.

She said she was from Nebraska.

"I've never met anyone from Nebraska before," he said.

The remaining conversation is lost, but he remembers disengaging from it when another partygoer, who looked suspiciously like his brother-in-law, started horning in on the action.

He meandered into the kitchen, and started catching up with some refugees from a past life. Among the group stood one person he didn't know.

She said she was from Nebraska.

"That's funny," he said. "You're only the second person I've ever met from Nebraska, and I met the first one a few minutes ago in the other room."

She laughed. "Next, I suppose, you'll tell me I'm only the second blonde you've ever met."

Her eyes were blue. Her skirt was short. The beer was Heineken.

Several hours of witty banter later, his sister interrupted and asked if he was ready to go home.

"I guess I'll go with you," he slurred matter-of-factly, "unless she wants to give me a ride home."

To his surprise, she said she would. Little did she know that his sister lived just three houses from him.

They drove to his house in her duct-taped burgundy Toyota Camary.

"I'd invite you in," he said as they sat there in the driveway's November darkness, "but I live with my parents."

"That's OK," she said.

Once inside, he offered to make her a cup of tea.

He handed her the steaming mug and a half-filled carton of milk. Without unfolding the cardboard spout, she tipped the carton on its side. A thin stream of milk shot out of the slit and into her cup.

"I don't know about Nebraska," he said, "but out here, we usually open the carton, then pour."

It was then, legend has it, that they knew that they we're perfect for each other.

Happy 16 years together, My Love. Earl Grey?



Video: "Message of Love," The Pretenders

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Famous Blue Raincoat

32 clever quips
In downtown Chicago today, we're waiting to see which extreme the predicted wintery mix will bring.

If snow, Thing 1 will send the revolving hotel door spinning, running out with mouth open, tongue out, sucking in every flake. I'll ask her if Chicago snow tastes better than what we have in the New England suburbs and I'm sure she'll yes. Everything tastes better when you're outdoors in the city. Air pollution must be urban MSG.

If freezing rain, she'll whine and claim the only thing that can save her is room service mac-n-cheese at $12 a plate. Me, I'll be worrying about whether her new pink-and-green marshmallow of a winter coat is water resistant in any degree.

This gets me thinking of her blue Snoopy slicker.

I saw it on the rack at Super Target some eight years ago, and tossed it into the cart without a blink. Of course, she was still in Huggies and attached to My Love's breast at the time of purchase, so a vinyl World War I Flying Ace rain jacket in size "youth small" was not an immediate need.

But it seemed like the right one.

As a child, a certain goggle-and-scarf-clad beagle saved me from many hours of boredom. The bookshelf in my room was packed with every "Peanuts" paperback on the market. A stuffed Snoopy and Woodstock sat on my bedspread, guarding it when I wasn't around. And hanging down from the ceiling was a mobile of a dog on top of his red doghouse, his paws grasping an invisible yoke as he circled around and around, going nowhere.

Thing 1 eventually grew into the raincoat. It served her well throughout pre-school and beyond. Then a few months ago, when the summer sky turned dark and threatening, I told her to grab it before we headed out.

"I think I need a new raincoat," I heard her say behind me.

The yellow-banded sleeves were up to the middle of her forearms.

"You can get by with it for an hour, let's go."

"I don't think so."

"Then wait here," I said.

I returned with my camera.

"Why are you taking my picture," she asked. "Are you going to sell it on the computer?"

"Maybe. Or I'm going post this photo on Craigslist and see if I can trade you in for a smaller kid who fits the jacket."

"Noooo, Daddy! ... Really?"

"Nah," I said, "sometimes parents just need to take photos."

Three months have past. Snoopy still hangs in the basement locker back home, overseeing a mess of other crumpled clothing, stray Sippy lids, outgrown tap shoes and forgotten Crayola masterpieces piled upon each other.

He'll leave us someday to help another kid who needs shelter from the storm. Just not today.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Year of At-Home Dadness

21 clever quips
A former colleague dropped me a line to say she had a change in daytime contact information. Since we both worked in corporate communications (motto: "Using words, charts and video to tell you nothing!"), I knew this was code.

She'd been downsized, right-sized, RIF-ed, sacked, separated and sent packing.

She was one of many friends, neighbors, former co-workers and random strangers I've meet in the past few months who had also been shown the door at their places of work. Every time I hear of this, I have one and one thought only:

"You slackers! I got the heave-ho in October. Of 2007!"

Me -- a trendsetter, a pioneer. This must be how James T. Kirk felt every day at the helm of his star ship, but without the velour pants and vinyl captain's chair causing stickiness in the nether regions.

With this reminder of the recent passing of my first can-iversary (pink paper, naturally), I realized I was due for a performance review. Twelve months of emancipation from corporate dronery and, subsequently, as head of Uncool Enterprises Unincorporated deserved some serious evaluation. I sought guidance from our in-house executive HR goddess -- My Love.

"Sorry, I'm slammed," she said. "I've got 16 deadlines and three bosses breathing down my neck. Meanwhile, I've got to make PowerPoint deck salad for the Region Seven Niblick Overlay assembly and dial in to a conference call with Burpakistanbul in five minutes."

Still, it was one of the best meetings I've ever had with HR.

When I was told to meet with the HR rep at my last company for details on my separation package, she offered such insights as "I don't have any of your papers in front of me," "I'm not sure" and "I don't know how we handle that."

She ended up quitting a week before my effective termination date. I swear, I am innocent.

With no assistance from My Love, I went looking for some bottom-up feedback from the Things.

"Children, how's Daddy doing? Am I exceeding the expectations I've set for you as main proprietor of all-things parenting?"

"You're still a dork," Thing 1 said.

"I'll look into that. Thing 2, do you concur with your sister's evaluation of my performance as Dad-in-chief?"

"Can you buy me some more Pokémon cards?" he said.

"I'll have to see if you are within your budgetary allowances for this quarter. Do have the proper paperwork in triplicate with the pre-approval stamp and signature of the chief financial officer?"

"I have black stuff in my bellybutton."

Next, I tried my closest work associate, Murphy the Rabbit Killer. Unfortunately, he couldn't offer an opinion. He was in a meeting of the nasty bits with the fetid-smelling golden retriever next door.

Looks like, as usual, I'll have to fend for myself. Rather than dwell on the past, I'll move right into the goal-setting portion of my review:

Take more naps. I'm not much for siestas, but medical evidence of their benefits continues to grow. Who am I to argue with science?

Wear pajamas all day. If I'm going to be stereotyped as a work-at-home parent, why not go full throttle? This, of course, will require me to buy some pajamas. Bright side, walking the kids to school will be less breezy.

Play more golf. I remember one division president at my last company telling an audience of employees about his meeting with the executive management consultant the CEO hired to evaluate his top people. The consultant told the DP he spent too much time in the office and on job sites. Instead, he recommended the DP get out and play more golf during business hours. Which reminds me …

Expand consulting services. Time management skills, perhaps?

Practice my bass. It looks really cool on the stand in my office, but what if I finally have a potential business client over and he demands I nail The Who's "The Real Me" or else the deal is off? I heard that's how the Microsoft-Yahoo deal collapsed. Frickin' Bill fumble-fingers Gates.

Get blog readers to vote for me at Humor-Blogs.com. Why? Because I expose you to rockin' song parodies like this one:




Video: "Stay-at-Home Dad," Jon Lajoie

Monday, November 3, 2008

Who Won't Get the Uncool Vote

17 clever quips
To the Honorable U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas),

My Love and I want to thank you for your repeated phone calls over the last few days reminding us to vote for you Tuesday. We were most impressed that you weaved our names so clearly and seamlessly into what were otherwise pre-recorded robo-calls. That's the kind of ingenuity and technical skill that will make America great again, sir! Have you considered sharing your talents with those poor folks at GM?

However, we must inform you that we have not lived in Texas since 2004. Selling our house, turning in our driver's licenses, and not paying local taxes for four years should have tipped your staff off. The area code you called might have also have been a giveaway -- dude, it's from the left-most region of the latest, gayest state in the union! Eh, well, who can tell with cell phones and the unsettlingly liberal use of number portability these days?

Still, given your zealous support of the Patriot Act and wiretapping without judicial approval or just cause, we were sure you would have been better informed of our whereabouts. Frankly, Senator, we're ... uh, relieved, actually.

Therefore, it is with regret that we must inform you that neither of us will have a say in your pursuit of a second term Tuesday. Be assured it is only a matter of location and has nothing to do with your stand on the issues.

You lucky bastard.

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