Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Student has Become the Master

Yesterday I wrote about my poker face, which mainly consists of an awesome mustache.

To recap, it looks like this:

[Picture: Adult mustache!]

But my son, merely two months old, has already outdone his old man. He's grown a mullet.

[Picture: Baby mullet!]

He knows how he likes his hair cut: five on top, three on the sides, and don't touch the back, Jack!

The student has become the master! Now, if I can hold Pete while playing poker, with our powers combined I'm more sure than ever that I can win the Tanory poker tournament!

Monday, July 26, 2010

My Poker Face

My family is coming in from all over the US this weekend for my sister's wedding. And when all us Tanorys get together, we do three things (usually at the same time):

1. Eat
2. Talk (very loudly)
3. Play poker

When your family is your poker opponent, and when you know your family so well, it's vitally important to have a good poker face. A smirk, a quick glance to the left, or a twinge of a unibrow is enough to let the rest of us know that you're bluffing.

In professional poker tournaments, like the World Series of Poker, you'll usually see players wear sunglasses. This is so they can hide their eyes to not give away anything important - like if you have two aces in the hole, and your eyes bug out, then usually everyone else knows what's going on.

Instead of glasses just covering my eyes, one year I tried wearing a Ronald Reagan mask to cover my entire face. But my opponents wised up and just turned off the fan and A/C, and I had no choice but to take it off.

So this year I've gotten a head start on my "poker face". This year, instead of wearing glasses or masks, I'll wear something else:

A mustache.

[Picture: Mustache!]

I'm just a few days into my mustachial growth, but give it a week and it'll be a huge bush.

The great part about me having a mustache is that I look ridiculous. Which means my family will be looking at my mustache instead of my eyes, so I can be free to bulge my eyes when I get a good hand and nobody will notice. But just having a mustache isn't enough - I also have several key faces to make while I wear it.

I call this one the "Closed Lipped Flush", because my lips are closed - oh, and also, because I'm not telling anyone if I'm going for a flush. My lips are sealed!

[Picture: Mustache!]

If all else fails, I'll combine my Bob Stare with my mustache. Those two powers combined might be enough to win the whole poker tournament!

[Picture: Mustache!]

I'm so confident that I'll win that I had no reservations about posting my secret weapon! So look out, family - me and my mustache are going on a rampage!

Friday, July 23, 2010


As a man, a haircut appointment is a foreign concept. I can usually just casually stroll into any SuperCuts, WonderCuts or UberCuts, and within twenty minutes have a hair cut that after three days of regrowth looks acceptable. No appointment or forethought required!

But for those big moments in a man's life, a proper hair cut is required.

I used to think that those "big moments" were limited to a man's own wedding, or... well, I guess that's it, just a man's wedding. But apparently not, because my wife made me a haircut appointment this past week in preparation for my sister's wedding.

It was way past time for a haircut as well. I had meant to get a haircut about a month ago, but that was when my son Pete was admitted to the hospital. So for two months my hair has grown, and grown, and grown. It got so big and heavy that it was actually weighing down my head. If I turned my head too fast one way or the other, the sheer weight of my hair would cause my head to fall, and I'd have to catch myself in order not to topple over.

On the other hand, my neck muscles have never been so tone!

When I got my hair cut, I told the stylist that my hair was like the giant block of marble that Michelangelo used to carve the David out of. I meant it as a compliment - the stylist is an artist, and my hair was huge, so she could make my head into any type of art she wanted. But looking back, Michelangelo did carve out a marble penis for David, so maybe next time I'll use a penis-less metaphor when describing a part of my body being chopped off.

Or maybe not. If I left out every metaphor about wangs then I'd have half the blog posts that I do now.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Moms on the Loose!

There I was outside the W hotel in New Orleans, standing in the valet area with a foot on the cart holding all of our bags, my right hand gripping Pete's stroller, and my left hand holding a tray of chocolate penis-shaped cupcakes with cream cheese filling... just in time for a handful of the 25,000 Lutheran volunteers down in New Orleans for the weekend to walk by.

[Warning: A picture of penis-shaped cupcakes lurks beyond this link!]

We had just found out the hard way that there are two W hotels in New Orleans - one on Poydras, which is where we found ourselves temporarily stranded, and another on Chartres Street, which is where we needed to go. We were in New Orleans so Betty could go to my sister's bachelorette party and so I could watch Peter. (My wife is breastfeeding Peter so he had to tag along, which meant I had to go so I could babysit him. My parents were babysitting Anne.)

We had just unloaded our bags at the wrong hotel, and the valet had just peeled off the lot before we could stop him. And Betty had just gone to the bathroom, leaving me with the bags, our eight week old son, and of course, a platter of chocolate penis-shaped cupcakes.

Have I mention the chocolate penis-shaped cupcakes yet?

A wizened old Lutheran lady stooped down low to get a good look at Peter. "My oh my," she cooed, "What a beautiful boy! You must be so...."

Then she got a look at the cupcakes. She did a triple take between me, Peter and the cupcakes - or as we called them over the weekend, Cockcakes - and then proceeded to escort several teenage Lutherans (all wearing green backpacks) as far as they could get from me.

The old woman left before I could offer her one of Betty's homemade cockcakes, but if she had refused - which we can assume is a safe bet - then she might have opted for one of the forty traditional cupcakes we had also brought. There were only two differences between our cupcakes and regular cupcakes: ours had cookie dough baked into the middle of each cupcake, and we also sprinkled penis-shaped candy on top of every one.

[Warning: A picture of penis-shaped cupcakes lurks beyond this link!]

If you can't tell, we thought long and hard about how to position the candy on top of each cupcake.

An hour later we were checked into the correct W hotel, and Pete and I decided to take a snooze. Betty went across the street to get pizza for us, and while she was gone I had a brief flash of temptation that I had to fight off - I wanted to bring my son to Bourbon!

So what if he's only eight weeks old and can only focus on objects a foot away from his face? It would have been a great picture to have him strolling next to a Huge Ass Beers sign!

Betty was getting food for me, but the little dude was not really hungry yet. I was in charge of rectifying that before Betty left for the night, as otherwise I would have to use up one of our precious bottles of breastmilk. I thought about taking him into a strip club - my reasoning was, Pete would look at all those exposed ta-tas and think: a buffet! That would be sure to get his appetite going! But then I thought that Betty and/or Social Services wouldn't appreciate that, so instead we just stayed in our hotel.

It was probably best that we didn't leave, as right then Pete lost up to four pounds - in his diaper. I have a really bad sense of smell, so I know a diaper's fumes are going to peel wallpaper when even I can smell it. I thought about calling Room Service to ask if they changed diapers along with bedsheets.

While Betty was partying with the ladies, Pete fell asleep on my chest while I rented the movie Kick-Ass. It lived up to its name! Once that movie was over, I didn't want to move in fear of waking up Pete, so instead I watched "Idiocracy" on Comedy Central twice in a row.

In the end, my sister had a great bachelorette party - or so I assume, as I really didn't want to know any of the details. The two things that I did learn was that the penis-shaped cupcakes were such a success that the bachelorette partygoers renamed Betty to be "Betty Cocker", and that so many of the ladies at the bachelorette party were moms and were out for the first time that the chant "Moms on the loose!" was shouted from many a balcony.

And just in case I haven't shown enough penis-shaped goodies, here's one more for the road!

[Warning: A picture of penis-shaped cupcakes lurks beyond this link!]

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bubble Bath!

Well, my wife is happy. All three of her little children took baths tonight: Anne, Peter and Daddy!

My daughter goes through phases. For example, first she liked Snow White, then it was Sleeping Beauty, then Princess and the Frog, then Cinderella, and now it's Pooh Bear. She used to love Choo Choo Soul, but now she only watches it at my parents' house. She used to have to turn on the lights by herself, and now she could care less. And once she gets past a certain phase, she never goes back.

And so it is with her baths.

It used to be that she only wanted to get in the bath after the water had filled the tub. Then she wanted to get in the tub first, then have the water turned on for her. Then she wanted to turn the water on herself. Then she only wanted to play with her bath toys, and now she doesn't want to play with them at all.

When she got into a phase where she wouldn't bath, I let her shower with me (I wore shorts). And now that she doesn't want to shower, we've let her take bubble baths with Daddy in Daddy's tub.

I mean, seriously... who doesn't like bubble baths?!?

I have two favorite things to do while taking a bubble bath with Anne. The first is giving her a bubble beard. I've given her a full bubble beard, just a bubble mustache, an Amish bubble beard (with no mustache), a handlebar bubble mustache... you name it, we've made it out of bubbles! Hearing her crack up as I slosh bubbles over her head is priceless!

Bubble bath beard!

The second thing that I love about bubble baths is using the luffa sponge on my feet.

As a man, it's been kind of against my nature to take care of my feet in any way shape or form. Sure, there was that time in high school when I had plantar warts and had to burn them off with acid then scrape the dead skin from my foot with a razor... but that seemed somewhat dangerous, and therefore acceptable as a manly activity. But luffa sponges seemed out of the question.

The problem is that, over the 14 or so years that I played soccer, huge callouses built up on the side of my big toes. I've never been able to get rid of them. But with a few quick rubs of the luffa, all that dead skin came right off.

(Don't worry, I waited until my daughter was out of the tub before flinging dead toe skin all over the bubbly bath.)

I don't know what I'm going to do when Anne decides that she's done with bubble baths. Maybe I'll just start hosing her off outside, which was my first choice a few years ago but Betty vetoed that. And if they make bubble bath containers that attach to the hose, then my bubble bath days aren't over yet!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Beauty, the Beast, and Stockholm Syndrome

My daughter is at the age where she loves watching Disney movies. She watches them several hundred thousand times. She knows all the characters, all the words, and all the songs.

Sometimes, just to get her dressed, we have to tell her that she looks like one of the characters. Need her to wear a pink dress but she's throwing a true Tanory Tantrum because she doesn't want to get dressed? Just tell her that she'll look like Charlotte from Princess and the Frog, and she'll hop right in it.

And since she watches these movies, it means that Betty and I watch the movies as well. Not that it bothers me... I love all the Disney movies, too.

But now that I'm older, I'm seeing things in these movies that I didn't recognize when I was a child, such as...

1. Belle, from Beauty and the Beast, has a giant case of Stockholm Syndrome, the psychological phenomenon where a hostage starts to love his or her captors. I thought maybe I was reading into it too much, but then I noticed that the Beauty and the Beast Wikipedia page lists Stockholm Syndrome in the "See Also" section as a link.

But think about it: first, the Beast captures Belle's father. Then he locks her up. And what does she do about it? She falls in love with the big, furry flea bag. Which leads me to point #2:

2. There is a lot of Zoophilia (aka, beastiality) in Disney movies.

Princesses kissing frogs? Sounds kinky. A beautiful French woman kissing a horrible Beast? Well, I guess we'd expect that from the French. I'd even throw the Little Mermaid in there somewhere, because technically a mermaid is not human. Which leads me to point #3:

3. Why does Ariel have breasts? Not that I mind - I'll take what I can get. And I know that Disney didn't create the concept of mermaids.

But Futurama made the best point about the mating of mermaids and humans: fish lay eggs, and have the eggs fertilized outside the body. Fish don't drink milk. So why have mammary glands?

FuturamaThursdays 10pm / 9c
Mermaid Mating
Futurama New EpisodesFuturama New EpisodesIt's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

4. Mulan may be a lesbian. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I know that Disney's Mulan is an adaptation of the Ballad of Mulan. But Disney adds a little extra to the story. In the song Reflections, Mulan sings, "Who is that girl I see / Staring straight back at me / When will my reflection show / Who I am inside I am now".

Sounds like someone's trying to come out of the closet.

And maybe Mulan wasn't trying to save her father from having to go to war. Maybe Mulan just hated men so much that she wanted to kill as many as she could. I know a few women like that, although to be fair, they're heterosexual, married, and are just really annoyed by their husbands.

5. What's in a name? The "Nature versus Nurture" debate takes center stage in 101 Dalmatians.

Seriously, how can you name your child Cruella and not expect her to grow up to be cruel? That's like naming your child "Moronica" or "Dumbasstasia" and thinking the kid's going to grow up to be a genius.

Or maybe I'm just being paranoid.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dress Like a Cow Day

My favorite holidays are the ones in which I get to dress up: Mardi Gras, Halloween, and Valentine's Day (I dress like Cupid, wearing a diaper and wielding a bow and arrow - trust me when I say that it gets the ladies excited).

But my most favorite holidays are the ones in which I get to dress up in my cow suit.

Enter: "Cow Appreciation Day" (otherwise known in my house as "Dress Like a Cow Day") at Chik-fil-A. This year's Cow Appreciation Day was on Friday, July 9th.

[The fam!]

"Dress Like a Cow Day" only happens once a year. The deal is, if you go into Chik-fil-A dressed like a cow, or wearing any cow paraphernalia, then they give you free food.

Free food? And dressing up in my cow outfit? Maybe this is my favorite holiday ever!

And because our kids are too young to defend themselves, we made them dress up, too.

[The fam!]

Anne's outgrown all of her cow outfits, so instead she wore a cow bib.

[Me and my little calf!]

Peter wore Anne's old cow outfit. We called him Mini-Moo. He mostly slept while we were eating, but he definitely got a lot of attention. Who doesn't like a miniature cow sleeping in a car seat?


We went to the Chik-fil-A on Siegen Lane in Baton Rouge, because it's near my office. In the past, when we've gone to Chik-fil-A for this special day, we've gone in the morning when there are not as many people around. But this year we went during the lunch rush, and had a blast looking at all of the other people's costumes.

We also got to meet the wife and kids of the restaurant's owner. They were so nice! We tried to convince them to open a Chik-fil-A out in Prairieville, and they gave us the run-down on how new Chik-fil-As are opened. Maybe if I stand out on the corner of Airline Highway and Highway 42 with my cow outfit on, someone at the Chik-fil-A headquarters will take notice.

The next holiday that I'm looking forward to is National Vanilla Ice Cream Day on July 23rd. I can't wait to dress up like Vanilla Ice and blast "Ice, Ice Baby" while break dancing. I also might go to the old Skate Zone in Lafayette for this special day, as that's where I heard this song the most when I was a kid.

Now I just need to think of a costume for the kids!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Liz in Mali

My cousin Elizabeth is currently in Mali where she's working with several public health initiatives there as part of her graduate curriculum at Tulane.

For those of us Americans who don't know our geography, here are some facts about Mali:

  • It's in Africa. (In case you didn't know.)

  • It's the home of Koman Coulibaly, the ref who called back a goal during the World Cup when the US was playing Slovenia.

  • Ever heard of Timbuktu? That's in Mali. Who knew?!?

Lizzy was able to get this great opportunity through Tulane, where she's in grad school for Public Health / Global Health Systems Management. It's so great that she got this opportunity - Africa is in desperate need of people like Lizzy due to all of that continent's widespread epidemics like AIDS, malaria, and bad soccer referees.

Luckily for us, Lizzy is writing a blog called Liz in Mali about her adventures there. From her layover in Senegal to speaking about family planning options to devout Muslims in Mali... from getting lost in a big city trying to find a place to watch the World Cup to little kids being afraid of her because she's white... it's all there, and more. It's really an interesting read.

I always knew my cousin was beautiful, athletic, smart and talented, but I didn't know she was such a great writer.

Please check out her blog if you get a chance: LizInMali.blogspot.com. I suggest you start at the beginning. :)

Monday, July 05, 2010

Back Home!

Pete was discharged from the NICU on Saturday, and we've spent a few days at home recovering. It's so nice to sleep in our beds again! Until Pete wakes up, that is. He used to be such a good sleeper, but being held for three days straight has made him want to be held all the time.

And who can blame him? I'm a pretty comfy pillow.

Thankfully, Betty's parents have been here to help us out. And my parents were such a huge help by taking Anne for a few days. And our country's founding fathers were nice enough to declare our independence on July 4th, so my work gave us July 5th off (since the 4th was on a Sunday). Having an extra day to spend with the family was so nice!

Thanks, founding fathers!

Betty and I would like to sincerely thank everyone who called, emailed, snail mailed, faxed, texted, Facebooked, and dropped by to give a helping hand while our kids were sick. We're so lucky to have such wonderful family and friends!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Train Spotting

Sitting in the NICU's waiting area is really depressing. So instead of going into that, I'd like to share what happened with my family last weekend. Hopefully this is as fun of a diversion for you to read as it is for me to write.

Last weekend we went to see my family in Lafayette. The whole fam was there - me, Betty, Anne and Peter, my parents, both siblings, my sister-in-law and my niece and nephew.

My parents have a huge toy train set at their house. It's comprised of a table, some trains, and billions of train track pieces. The train track can be put together anyway you want it, and certain pieces have multiple functions.

After ten minutes of watching my daughter, Anne, and my Godson, Josh, playing happily at the train table, I went over to inspect their work, and then got roped into helping them build their train track.

I decided to make our play time edutainment - entertaining yet educational. And what better way to do that than to help the kiddos understand what it really takes to build a train track?

After clearing my throat I began my lecture: "The first thing to do when building a train track," I told them, "is to procure a piece of land. Now, I see here that we have a table, but does anybody have the deed to this here lot?"

Josh looked up quizzically at me while my daughter drove her apparently magical flying steam engine locomotive through the air.

"Well, we'll assume Gransy has the receipt. Now then, have you acquired the proper permits and licences to build this track?"

No answer.

"No?! What about workers... Who did you hire to build this track? How are you keeping track of the payments? I don't see an OSHA sign anywhere so let's hope federal regulators don't swing by."

Anne and Josh fought over a piece, resulting in Josh getting smacked in the eye and Anne building a bridge to nowhere.

"What is going to power the train?" I asked. Again, blank stairs. "Coal? Steam? Electricity? We need to have an infrastructure here."

Kids today.

"Well, I'll help you build your track. But I get to name it! We'll call it the Wewoka Switch!"

(The Wewoka Switch refers to the town of Wewoka, OK, and its only motel - the Wewoka Switch Motel. The switch was where the trains were diverted. We drove up to Oklahoma one year for a family reunion on my mom's side and stayed there, and all I remember is my dad snoring a cartoon-like snore. But try explaining that to a 2 and 3 year old, and see how far you get.)

My daughter was like Godzilla in relation to the train set. Every time she turned around she knocked something down. Josh and Anne then taste tested several wooden pieces before flex-testing them for durability.

At the end of the day we had a working train set with four different tracks, a toddler with a black eye, and Choo Choo Soul playing on repeat. Plus the kids learned the full gamut of actually building a working train track. Not too shabby for a Saturday afternoon!


Betty and I are going to spend another night with Pete in the NICU. We've got a nice little room with two recliners, a privacy curtain, and a monitor that beeps three different tones harmoniously all throughout the day. The nurses are great, our doctors have been wonderful in their explanations of all of our options, and the hospital food is actually pretty good.

If we didn't have two kids with fevers of 103, it might not be too bad.

Peter's fever has dropped and is now hovering around 99.5. The doctors don't know if he has a viral infection or a bacterial infection. They're learning towards a virus, since we've found out that Anne is sick as well. But they've found something in his blood work that leads them to believe it may be bacterial - either in addition to or instead of a viral infection.

Pete's taking it well. He's peeing on whoever he can, whenever he can, so I know that he can't be feeling all that bad.

My parents took Anne back to Sha-fayette when we admitted Pete to the hospital, and they're now having to deal with a sick 2 year old. But so far she seems content to watch Disney movies all day. Thank God for the Princess and the Frog, Cinderella, Snow White, Nemo and Winnie the Pooh - all of which I think she's watched today. Hey, whatever keeps her from running around getting overheated works for me.

Betty's extremely tired, so I can't aggravate her too much. I keep working her up to her pain threshold, then she fusses at me, then I have to be on my best behavior for another few minutes. She'll be the happiest out of everyone when we get to go home, as then I'll have to go back to work and get out of her hair for a few days. But with our six year anniversary coming up on Friday, and the long holiday weekend, she's trying to build up enough strength to deal with me for at least four more days.

Betty's parents have been helping us out a lot at the hospital. Thank God for family! They've even made a few Food Runs for us. I jokingly asked for pizza and a few minutes later I had a beautifully smelling DeAngelo's pizza under my nose.

All in all, we feel very fortunate. We have some friends who had their son in NICU for several weeks, know some people driving to St. Jude every other weekend, met a family with a 1 lb baby, have a neighbor who went into labor at 32 weeks, and have been chatting it up with another family whose one week-old son can't poop by himself and has been getting biopsied like crazy. We can handle a little fever... but my heart goes out to all of those other families. We've refused to take a bigger room with a comfy bed because we feel like there are other families out there that need it more than we do. That - and the fact that Betty is so annoyed with me that she probably wouldn't voluntarily sleep by me, even if it is our anniversary.

So thank you all for your prayers, your thoughts, your concerns... we definitely appreciate them! Please also pray for those other families going through things much harder than we are. I know how scared we were when Pete's fever hit 103... I can't imagine what those other families are going through.