Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Feast

I might be unwittingly teaching my child to be a cannibal.

When Anne laughs or coos, I can't help myself but to grab her and flip her so she can't escape, then tell her, "I'm going to eat you up!" Then I inevitably gnaw on a foot or arm, followed by her neck. This makes Anne giggle and coo some more, which then makes me gnaw on her toes.

It's a vicious cycle.

Anne doesn't seem to mind this at all. In fact, if I stop for even a second, she'll try to jam her foot into my mouth while she continually repeats her favorite mantra: "More... more... more...."

The Greek god Cronos ate his young. Cronos was the father of Zeus, Hades, Poseidon and Hera, and according to Greek myth Cronos ate his children - all except for Zeus. But instead of being a blatant baby-killer, I like to think that he was just nibbling on his children's feet because they were so cute, and he just got carried away.

It's easy to see how that could happen. Take our Thanksgiving meal at my wife's cousin's house: Anne was playing with her cousin David, and they were so cute together that I just couldn't help but to pick them both up and zerbert their stomachs.

And before I knew it, I was having a second Thanksgiving feast.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It Finally Happened!

It finally happened!

Betty and I both knew this day would be happening soon. We just didn't know when. And it was just as exciting as we thought it would be.

My sister and her boyfriend, John Bobby, were on vacation in Disney World. Fireworks were exploding, Tinkerbell was flying, and Mickey and Minnie were getting it on. And just as the last firework exploded in the most magical place on Earth, it happened:

Anne pooped in the bath tub.

I was bathing Anne and noticed a little brown thing floating nearby. So I went to pick it up with one of her bath cups. Sometimes weird things float around in her bath water, like dirt that's just been rinsed off of her. So I didn't think anything of it.

Until I saw a second piece of brown stuff floating around.

So I did what seemed natural: I called for Betty.

I thought Betty would clean out the tub while I dried Anne off, but she was one step ahead of me. She took Anne from me and left me to clean the tub. I got as much as I could, then ran the shower to rinse of anything else.

Mark it on the baby calendar! And to think, it all happened while my sister and John Bobby were watching the fireworks in Disney. I think we can say that Anne's bath tub display was just as magical as those fireworks. And if you don't believe me, I'll be happy to post some pictures.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Getting a Handle on Things

I went to the RaceTrac gas station on Sherwood Forest today, and after I swiped my card and fit the gas nozzle into my tank, I realized that the gas hose didn't have a handle. Or to be more precise, there was a handle, but no trigger to pull. So there was no way to pump gas.

At first I thought they had installed some fancy new gas nozzles, but then noticed that the other gas nozzle-thingies had handles. I knew that I should drive up to the next pump, but this presented a challenge that was too good to pass up. Plus I didn't want to look like a jackass who couldn't figure out how to pump gas.

It's all about street cred at the Sherwood Forest RaceTrac.

So I tried various things, most of which included bending over and looking at the gas hose from various angles. I grasped different areas of the hose, pushed things that looked like they might be buttons, and even twiddled the thing that allows you to do a hands-free gas pump. I even tried voice commands in several tones and pitches, but to no avail.

I couldn't pump gas, which really wasn't a big deal as there were 11 other gas pumps free. But I thought I should tell the clerk about the broken gas handle. Just in case, ya know?

"Hello there, I just wanted to tell you that pump number 2..."

The clerk finished my sentence for me. "Is missing a handle. Yes, we know." She looked me in the eye, saying nothing else.

"Oh," I said, "well I'm glad you know. You see, I didn't realize that you knew because there was no sign outside saying, 'Out of Order' or 'Gas handle broken' or 'Go to another gas station that actually makes an effort every once in a while.' So I just wanted to let you know, again, that the gas pump is broken. Maybe you should get that fixed."

But my biting sarcasm had no affect on the clerk. I bet if I had been at a Shell station I could have at least gotten a few dirty looks. But nothing at the RaceTrac. The clerk was cool as a cucumber, or a "cuke" as I call them.

The clerk chewed her cud of bubble gum and said, "You can use another pump. Pump 2 is broken."

Defeated, I went back to my car, got in, started the car, drove 10 feet to the next pump, got out and swiped my credit car again. Another car pulled up right behind me.

"Hey!" I heard the guy shout, "there's no handle on this pump! What the hell, man, there should be a sign or something!"

"Go tell the clerk," I shouted back. "She might not know it's broken."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tired and Cranky, Part 2

Twenty minutes after writing my previous blog post, I ended up having to get Anne. I rocked her to sleep while Betty cleaned up the barf. Now Anne's back in bed, we're still tired, and Betty is mad at me because, like she told me tonight, it's my job to be wrong.

The world is right again.

Tired and Cranky

For the past six months or so we've been able to put my daughter down in bed, and within a matter of minutes she'd be asleep. But for the past week or so she's been back to her old ways: screaming when we put her in bed, crying until she vomits, and kicking at the bed until her knees are bruised.

Betty and I have been coping by letting Anne scream for an hour and then picking her up, rocking her to sleep, and cleaning up all of her vomit.

But that all ends tonight. If she screams for two hours, so be it. If she has to sleep in her own vomit tonight, tough luck. We're too tired to take it anymore.

Some of you might call it tough love... we're calling it "being too tired to do anything."

Betty is especially tired. She takes care of Anne most nights, then takes care of her all throughout the day. I've been working late, so Betty's had virtually no time to rest.

As for me, I've been so tired at work that I've become very cranky. I've been crying, screaming and kicking things around - just like Annie! And strangely enough, it's worked to my advantage: less and less people are coming to my desk to bug me about random problems.

Who knew that crying like a baby could have such a good result? Besides my baby?

I'm thinking about leaving Anne in her bed to cry just to see what she'll do. Maybe I'll get some other good pointers for how to behave at work.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Coming Home to LSU

Betty and I took Anne to Sorority Row on LSU's campus for the Homecoming parade. My parents, Betty's parents, our cousin and our niece met us out there.

[Picture: One big happy family!]

The place was decked out in cray paper, posters and girls wearing boots with skirts. Seriously, every girl had on boots. I can understand wearing boots if it's muddy, but not on a beautiful day like today. Although, in the girls' defense, there was a lot of horse shit out on the parade route.

[Picture: The source of the alleged horse manure: horses butts]

This fashion fad of skirts and boots is apparently so popular right now that there were even men wearing them!

[Picture: You say to-may-to, I say to-mah-to, you say kilts, I say skirts.]

I love being on LSU's campus. Every time I go I have several non-drug induced flashbacks. For instance, my first flashback today occurred when I saw all of the chicken wire and cray paper used for the Homecoming decorations... they reminded me of when I was a pledge and got "bought" at my fraternity's Pledge Auction. I thought I was in for a fun night with a girl who was paying for my (hopefully naked) company, but instead I had to pomp for hours on end at a sorority house.

It might be slave labor, but you can't deny the results:

[Picture: Anne and Betty in front of thousands of hours of work]

My second flashback occurred when a guy in a cow suit rode by us on a float. In addition to wearing my cow outfit to several parties and to Mardi Gras, I also wore it to my Animal Psychology class on Halloween Day during my senior year.

[Picture: My protégé]

My third and final flashback occurred when the Women's Diving team rode by us. They were wearing their wet suits, and they weren't zipped up all the way. Sexy? You betcha. Original? No way - I did this back in '99. I give these ladies a 9.9.

[Picture: My other protégés]

Besides decorations, girls in wet suits and man-cows roaming the parade, there were also a lot of hot bitches on campus.

[Picture: Hot dogs!]

Well, I assume those dogs were hot, anyway.

The parade was fun, but the riders weren't throwing enough in my opinion. We hooted, we hollered, some of us even exposed our man-boobs, but it was all for naught. Sure, the kids caught a lot of stuff, and some girls caught boot-loads of candy, but us men got a raw deal. We had to resort to picking beads and candy up from off the ground.

My mom even got into the spirit of the event and picked up beads and candy from the ground. I took a picture of it, since it's such a rare event for my mom, a germophobe, picking anything up off the ground, much less food. And much less from a ground with horse manure on it. Go, Mom!

[Picture: An historical event!]

Cow suits, spandex, horse manure, kilts... it was great to come home to LSU. I can't wait until next year!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Anne's First Haircut

My daughter, Anne, got her first haircut last Friday. We used to think it was cute when an entire side of her face was hidden by her hair, but when she started looking like an emo we knew something had to be done.

Here's what she looked like before:

[Picture: Before]

And here's what she looks like after:

[Picture: Before]

Annie's first haircut was such a big event that Skip Bertman, former LSU baseball head coach, attended Anne's first haircut. You can see him in the picture below. He's the old guy sitting off to the left.

[Picture: Annie with Skip]

Skip said he saw a lot of potential in how Annie threw the comb, her noonie and a powder brush across the room, and thought she'd make a great shortstop. Skip knows talent when he sees it!

Thanks to Mrs. Teddy, Mrs. Julie, and all the other wonderful ladies at Ruff Cuts in Baton Rouge for a wonderful first haircut.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

They All Asked For You

Betty, Anne and I went to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans for Auntie's (Betty's aunt's) birthday. As it just so happens, it was also Swamp Fest at the zoo, which meant we got to eat lots of good food and listen to some great music in addition to watching the monkeys do it.

[Click for picture]

Betty and I love the food at Swamp Fest. One year they had spinach and artichoke bread, which was basically a large calzone. It still haunts us to this day - it was that good! We couldn't find that particular fair food this year, but when we did see something that we wanted to try, we'd send the little one in for a hand-out. Nobody can resist my little munchkin.

[Click for picture]

Anne enjoyed looking at all of the animals. She would get into the zone while watching the tigers sleep or the monkeys throw feces. At one point she Bob Stared a Thompson's Gazelle until it couldn't meet her eye anymore and ran off.

[Click for picture]

Betty was also amazed by some interesting sights. Here's a picture of her after looking at my incredible throat sac, which I can inflate when I'm trying to impress women or when I've had too much fatty foods for the past few weeks.

[Click for picture]

There's a new orangutan at the zoo. It's a baby, and it wears diapers. Annie saw it, smiled real big and pointed at it, then called it "D" - which is what she calls her uncle Danny. Or maybe it was Betty calling it that... I can't remember.

[Click for picture]

Don't feel bad, D. Last trip to the zoo, Anne pointed at a gorilla and called it Dada.

While reviewing the pictures of this cute little orangutan, I noticed that it wears the same diapers as Annie. The ones shown below are the kind Anne goes to bed in. They're super-absorbent. Hey, if they're good enough for the baby orangutan, they're good enough for my kid.

[Click for picture]

A lot of people wore their LSU gear to the zoo. We also saw a lot of Saints fans. Here's a picture of a Saints fan that must not know that the Saints are whupping butt this year, as this fan had an "Aints" paper bag over his head.

[Click for picture]

We were at the zoo from 10:15 until 2 pm. Since Anne's nap time is usually between 12 and 2, we had to give her some extra sugar during the day to keep her going. I also needed some extra sugar, but since Betty wouldn't ravish me in front of all the animals (and Swamp Fest partyers), we settled for some cotton candy.

[Click for picture]

As for the animals, the most amazing sight in my opinion was a large turtle orgy. Just look at those things go! Drink lots of fluids, gang!

[Click for picture]

We also saw some giraffes playing Duck, Duck, Goose. Three giraffes sat around - we had never seen giraffes sitting before, so this was really neat - and then another giraffe would run around and tap another giraffe on the head, at which point the tapped giraffe would go ballistic and smack the first giraffe in its neck.

[Click for picture]

Usually the animals at the zoo are cute and cuddly, but we saw a suicidal elephant who was about to jump off a ledge into the nether regions of the elephant pit. This elephant was finally talked down from the ledge by a guy holding a bag of peanuts.

[Click for picture]

And I didn't know this, but apparently the zoo has its own area for older women looking to score with a younger man.

[Click for picture]

Anne had a great time at the zoo. She climbed Monkey Hill and then made friends with a large bronze lion sitting at the top. Then she climbed down, climbed back up, made friends again... she did this about 20 times. Dada followed her up and down the whole way, and let's just say that Dada needs to exercise more.

[Click for picture]

She also had fun with her cousin, David. At the play area, Annie raced David down the slide several times.

[Click for picture]

Then David started to impersonate the monkeys by hanging off the slide. Look at how strong that boy is! He did three chin-ups before Julie talked him down.

[Click for picture]

Around 2 pm, it was time to start heading out. Annie was tired, Mommy was tired, and Daddy had to go yell at the TV while the Tigers lost to Alabama. But before we left, Annie took Auntie on a carousel ride.

[Click for picture]

Then it was smooches all around.

[Click for picture]

And then it was time to go nighty night on the ride back.

[Click for picture]

Happy birthday, Auntie! Thanks for letting us spend the day with you. We had a great time!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Couch to 5K

I've officially started the Couch to 5K running program. The goal is to go from a flabby, weak, pasty yet extremely handsome computer programmer into a person capable of running a 5K in just about 2 months.

The first step - some would say the hardest step - is getting off the couch. I circumvented that step by getting off my La-Z-Boy. So I guess I'm doing the La-Z-Boy to 5K program.

The way I did this was to lean way back with the chair's legs up, then lean forward and pop the legs down at the same time. The momentum carried me forward and off the chair, and unfortunately for me, onto the ground since my legs were so weak from 10 years of atrophy due to a lack of exercise.

But nonetheless, I got off my butt. Step 1: complete!

The Couch to 5K program is a big step for me. I've never really had the desire to do much in the way of exercise after tearing my ACL during an indoor soccer game, around 2000. I knew I couldn't play soccer again with as much mobility as before without getting surgery, and since I was never going to be a professional soccer player anyway, I decided to skip the surgery. (But if any MLS teams ask, I'm in tip-top shape.)

And I've always hated running long distances - my forte was always short sprints. Sprint 30 yards, rest... sprint 30 yards, rest. That was the way I played soccer. Sometimes I would sprint even if the ball wasn't around.

Running a 5K was never out of my reach, but definitely never something that I would try to do sober.

But my buddy Brannon started the Couch to 5K plan a few months ago and he's already completed his first 5K. With a sensible diet he's also lost 30 pounds.

I first decided to kick Brannon's ass so that he'd have to lie in his bed for a few days, with the goal of getting him to not run. But then I thought: if this is the way I plan on going about feeling better about myself then I'd have to kick everyone's ass who exercises. I figured I could take 80-90%, but the rest would be too much for me. It's like they say: If you can only beat 80% of them, join them.

So far I've run twice. The first time I did OK - I only felt like dying twice. And the last time I ran I actually felt good. So I'm already improving.

If you or someone you know wants to run 3 or more times a week for 30 minutes, give me a holler!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween Night

Halloween night was a blast! Annie, Betty and I dressed as Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck and Donald Duck respectively. My bro-in-law Danny came, and Annie shared her Minnie Mouse ears with him.

[Picture: Dressed to kill zombies!]

So with two Minnies in tow, we were ready for a night out on the town!

[Picture: What a pretty Minnie!]

Too bad nobody decided to celebrate Halloween on our street.

But when has having nobody to party with ever stopped us before? We went to explore our dark and candyless neighborhood in order to see which house we were going to egg in the morning.

To light our path we gave Annie two glow sticks. Glow sticks have many uses, and I taught Anne all of them. She now knows how to rave, and... well, that's just about all their uses.

[Picture: Rave time!]

Anne's still too small to walk around, and I'm too lazy and/or weak to carry her, so we decided to push her in her princess car. The car was not only a great stroller for Annie, but it also helped to run over kids who were taking too long to go Trick or Treating.

[Picture: Ready to roll!]

Our neighbors were practically the only people giving out candy on our street, so we decided to go loot their candy bowl. But lo and behold, our neighbor dressed like a Loyola fan. Scary! We fled in fear!

[Picture: Scary costume!]

Nobody else was really doing much on our street, so we went to the neighborhood across from us. It's like the Mecca of Halloween. Seriously, people flocked to this neighborhood to bring their kids there. There were cars parked all over the place, and the residents had set up tables outside with lots of candy and decorations. The parents were dressed up, and one guy had a haunted house going.

It made us feel like this:

[Picture: Happy!]

One guy even had the LSU vs. Tulane game on a projector outside his house. The guy across the street from him had the best view of the game. We were jealous!

We had a great time in that neighborhood. Everyone thought Annie was cute, they loved her car, and they loved our costumes. We even ran into a few of our neighbors, and then we had to scratch them off the list of people's houses to egg. We couldn't hold it against them for attending such a great block party.

I can't wait until next year so we can go Trick or Treating in that great neighborhood again!

Carving my Pumpkin

Betty bought me a pumpkin carving kit. She said it wasn't because I suck at carving pumpkins but was instead an affirmation of my mad pumpkin carving skillz.

As Betty explained it, "Anyone can carve a boring jack-o-lantern face into a pumpkin." By that she meant that not everyone can carve a dong into a pumpkin, which is what I did a few years back. Betty must have been thoroughly impressed by my herioc act of sketching then carving a pumpkin dong, and thought a pumpkin carving kit with intricate designs was just what I needed to challenge my skills.

So I tore open my carving kit then and then read then instructions on what all these newfangled tools were for. I had a "poker", a "tracer", a "scooper" and a "saw". Yes, a saw. This pumpkin kit didn't mess around.

[Picture: Bob carving]

I also had to choose which design to carve. There was a Mickey, a Minnie, a Donald, a Pinnochio, and a few other Disney favorites. I chose the Minnie, because Annie loves Minnie (and was even dressed like her), but really I wanted to carve Pinnochio because that was the closest thing to the pumpkin dong that I had previously carved. I didn't want to stray too far from what I was good at.

The end result was pretty neat: a faintly lit Minnie Mouse face glowing in a pumpkin. I'm sure it's what Walt Disney had in mind when he first drew her.

[Picture: The finished product]

It's good... but I think I've done better. Maybe next year I'll carve the "return of the pumpkin dong."

Bowling Over the Competition

I won a costume contest on Saturday. Nevermind that I was the only adult to dress up for the contest - I still won.

Hurry for winning by default!

[Picture: Winner by default!]

My glorious rise to fame as a world-class Halloween Costume Contestant occurred at Don Carter's All Star Lanes in Baton Rouge, where my company's IT managers threw a big Halloween bash for us. In addition to springing for three hours of bowling and free food and drinks, they also held a costume contest for adults and a separate contest for children.

[Picture: The family that dresses up and bowls together stays together]

As you know, Betty and I don't mess around when it comes to costume contests. We donned our Daisy and Donald Duck outfits and took to Lane #1. The extra weight on the tail end of our costumes made for a lower center of gravity, which made us much more effective bowlers. Our bowling scores were the highest they've ever been.

[Picture: Betty the bowler]

Although our high scores might have also been due to the bumpers that we put on our lane. We eventually got the bumpers for Betty, which propelled her score from the high 40's to the low 80's, but everyone benefitted from them. I got two spares off a bank shot, but at least I called "bank" before I bowled.

[Picture: Betty the bowler, action shot!]

Not only do Betty and I take costume contests seriously, but it turns out that our daughter does, too. She wore her Minnie Mouse outfit, but she wasn't content with just being cute. She also wanted to win the "Best Bowler" award. So she went on a hunt for the perfect ball / candy.

[Picture: Annie arms herself]

There wasn't actually a prize for the best bowler, but there was a grand prize for the team with the highest bowling score. So we asked our parents to come and bowl / babysit. Betty's dad bowled while her mom helped to entertain Annie.

[Picture: The in-laws are in charge]

My mom bowled, helped entertain Annie, and also told me that I'm her favorite child. That last part might not have actually happened, but I'm writing the blog so let's pretend that it did. Thanks, Mom!

[Picture: A duck and his proud mother]

As for my dad, he helped Annie achieve her dreams of being a world-class bowler by giving her a demo of what it's like to throw gutter balls. Sometimes you have to feel the sting of defeat before you can rise up to be the greatest.

[Picture: Bowling with the baby]

Annie was fascinated by the ball return. She thought it was magic! I mean, how else to explain how Dada can throw a ball down the lane, miss all the pins and land in the gutter, then have the ball automagically appear back on our side of the lane?

[Picture: Making sure the ball return feature works properly]

In the end, our team didn't get the highest point award, even though I blatantly re-scored all of our frames to have 5 strikes per team member. Annie didn't win the children's costume contest, but we attribute that to me winning the adult contest. (A human-sized tap dancing Tootie Roll that took first place in the kid's contest.)

But we all had a great time at the bowling alley. Who knew that doing something outside of work with all of my coworkers could actually be fun?

[Picture: One for the ladies]

That's a joke, of course. All of my co-workers rock. Especially the people who didn't dress up for the costume contest, as they made me a winner by default.

The end of the bowling tournament wasn't the end of our day, though. We still had to go Trick or Treating and also had to watch the LSU game. So after we left the bowling alley it was time for a much needed siesta. I didn't look as cute as this, but almost!

[Picture: Nap time!]

We hope everyone had a great Halloween!