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Friday, March 31, 2006

what passes for adventure when you're married

we may be married, mrs. nice guy and i, but we still know how to have an adventure. we can still get kooky-crazy on a whim and a lark, just as carefree as you please and zany in the head. take this morning: i am exhausted. i am sore. my back is killing me. i got maybe 2 hours of sleep last night.

why? because yesterday we decided to throw boring old convention into the wind. we are not afraid to get a little crazy around here!

last night we traded sides of the bed. we like to shake things up.

seriously? it was a bad idea. i haven't slept worse since the baby was 2 weeks old. i'm cranky and tired. i am never doing anything differently ever again.

Monday, March 27, 2006

the plot thickens

ok, i just called another nanny to set up an interview and -- i swear on my own future grave -- her outgoing message was the percy sledge's "when a man loves a woman."

let us leave aside the fact, for now, that "WAMLAW" is an execrable piece of trash -- i never liked that song. (if you want good percy sledge, check out "baby help me.") so if i were making this personnel decision based solely on musical taste, the marvin gaye nanny would win on the downbeat.

but, i digress. more to the point: what the hell is going on with brooklyn babysitters and their rub-me-down voicemail slow jams?

does anybody else think this is a disturbing trend? i must get to the bottom of it.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

on poop and siblings

i have a friend who is an indiscriminate e-mail forwarder. nothing you send her is sacred. if it's funny, odd, indicative of your particular psychoses, embarrassing or generally of any possible interest, she will forward it to someone else.

take this for example. this is an e-mail exchange between her
brother and sister. she forwarded it to me. which means i get to share it with you. how awesome is this conversation? there's something endlessly amusing about two grown-ups rationally discussing a fundamentally primal incident. my favorite line: "I believe my 'excuse' for pooping on the floor is that I was less than two years old."

if i haven't totally lost you, read on:

-----Original Message-----
From: DA
Sent: Thu Mar 23, 2006
To: RT
Subject: circumstances

> DA wrote:

> Remember when you pooped on the kitchen floor? I was thinking about this the other day and I realized I couldn't remember almost anything about it.
> Here are my questions:
> - How old were you?
> - Were you wearing underwear? If so, how did the poop get out? > If not, why not?
> - What was your excuse/explanation for why this happened?
> Hope everything is going well.
> Love,
> D

-----Original Message-----
From: RT
Sent: Thu Mar 23, 2006
To: DA; L and D; GA
Subject: Re: circumstances

Funny you should bring that up because I was thinking about it recently when [my son] pooped on the bathroom floor. He was "cruising" around the tub, holding on to the edge, when I looked over and saw a big log slip right out of his crack. Amazingly, it emerged without any signs of a push. I was so shocked by its sudden appearance on the floor that I screamed. In [my son]'s case, he has no older siblings to remember this incident and taunt him with it in the future.

As for the particular incident you mentioned, the truth is that I was far too young to remember it or to be wearing underwear. I have it mixed up in my memory with that picture of me holding the bottle and wearing pajamas in the kitchen. I believe my "excuse" for pooping on the floor is that I was less than two years old. I think the real culprits have to be Mom and Dad. Why did they let me hang out in the kitchen without a diaper? Did they realize they were setting me up for a lifetime of ridicule?

Must go teach PE.
Love you, R

Friday, March 24, 2006

the nanny diaries

and so it seems the good times will be coming to an end after all. i am scheduled to go back to work at the beginning of May. my wife brings home the bacon, which is all well and good, but somebody has to bring home the bacon bits. that somebody is me. since my office hours are Tues-Sat and my wife now has Thursdays off, we need someone to raise our kid three days a week. day care centers around here require that you pick your child up at 6, or else they will eat her. this is not an option.

we have begun looking for a nanny.

those of you with children know the dread invoked by the thought of leaving your child with a stranger. viscous, chewy terror. awful. we don't want to do this. but, alack, it must be done. so i have been prowling playgrounds, trying to spot good nannies. you know what? there are a lot of really good nannies out there. there are nannies who play with the kids, sing to them, teach them things, make them behave. this is reassuring.

there are also a lot of horrifying nannies out there. there are nannies who sit there and gab, gab, gab with their girlfriends while baby cries uncontrollably in the stroller. and there are nannies who are gruff, mean and nasty to their charges. i do not want this type of nanny.

so when i spot a good nanny, i ask them if they have any friends. then the nanny usually thinks i am proposing a three-way and hits me with an umbrella.

still, i am working the network: we have neighbors recommending people to us. we are calling long-lost friends with children. we are pumping information out of casual acquaintances who have cousins that recently had coffee with someone who sat on a plane next to a person who had a really good nanny that had a friend who was looking for work.

just today someone put a posting on the Park Slope Parents e-mail group (an awesome untapped comedy resource in itself) announcing that they had an excellent nanny who needed work three days a week. perfect! i called the nanny. the nanny did not pick up her cell phone. it went straight to voice mail. this is when things got questionable.

the nanny's outgoing voice mail message began with a familiar beat. i started tapping my toes, thinking "damn straight." then a familiar crooning falsetto chimed in: "and when i get that feeling, i want sexual healing." then i fully realized what was going on: people i shit you not,
this nanny (who i remind you is actively looking for work) has a clip of marvin gaye all oiled up and singing "sexual healing" on her voice mail. for about 2 minutes. and that's it. no name, no "leave your message at the beep." nothing. just stone smooth marvin.

i am a little conflicted about this. part of me says: it would probably not be appropriate for my child's caregiver to have "sexual healing" as her outgoing message.

the other part of me says: awesome.

anyway. i called mrs nice guy to tell her this bit of news. her answer: "oh. she's totally hired."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

profiles in parenting: a blind item

rookie parenting maneuver number 1: take the kid to your favorite bobo parent coffee bar hangout for singalong. stand aside as your 10-month-old cruises up and down the length of the room. exude cheap faux-humility as your precious baby charms the ovaries out of every female within a 6-block radius -- she makes big googly eyes! she laughs! she claps! she waves! -- by shrugging and saying "i'm sorry; i sure hope we're not disturbing your laptop time!" just as she adorably dips her hand into a purse someone had thoughtlessly left next to their chair, ostentatiously scoop her up (look at me, everyone! i'm daddy to this cute, cute, cute little monkey!). then toss her into the air without looking up first to see the dangling star of death:

seriously, man. only when she is airborne, do you bother to glance toward the ceiling and -- holy fuck! -- she is about to be impaled on her fontanel! you are too horrified to fully register that EVERYONE IN THE COFFEE SHOP is looking at you and have just collectively sucked all the air out of the entire borough of brooklyn in one huge gasp. the sudden vacuum created is surely what saves your baby. either that or THANK GOD you have not exercised in 10 months and therefore couldn't throw her high enough to seal her fate. but just one more inch and she would have been a goner. singalong would never forget the day you dashed your baby's head into the low-hanging lamp of jagged doom. you are humbled, but at least your child is none the wiser.

rookie parenting maneuver number 2: when your wife comes home from work, tell her all about it.

Monday, March 20, 2006

my mini magellan

this cruising business is getting out of control. you put her down and no contiguous stretch of apartment surface is safe: bookshelves are emptied, cereal boxes knocked down, outlets fingered, wires tugged, cat box excavated, trash can overturned, drawers yanked open, precious vinyl records unsheathed to be used as frisbees, and adult knees tweaked like radio dials. it's madness, i tell you, madness! she can really move. forget about turning your back on her.

the funny thing about cruising? if she wants to simply cross the hall, she has to circumnavigate the entire apartment. haha! loser.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


oh man! where to begin?

i suppose one begins with the meatloaf. i made meatloaf last night. i had never really eaten meatloaf before, much less attempted to make it myself. there was a scrumptious looking recipe for BBQ meatloaf in this month's Cooking Light. any time a recipe's key ingredient is "your favorite barbeque sauce," you know i am going to be on that like Hall on Oates. the meatloaf: it was good. i don't know if it tasted like meatloaf is supposed to taste, but it tasted like a two pound slab of bunless atkins-friendly barbeque burger goodness. astonishingly, delightfully delicious.

it was around 1:30 this morning that my wife began vomiting.

this continued until about 4:30. the baby woke up at her usual 6 am, with an unusually congested cough and severely runny nose. both of my ladies were down! what happened? we all got up together. we fed the baby, who had a hacking loose cough that would impress any grandfather. mrs nice guy decided to take the opportunity to do a little more vomiting. this barfing was all surprising and a little scary and it would have been thoroughly heartbreaking if my heart hadn't already been thoroughly broken by my daughter, whose voice suddenly sounded like kathleen turner's ... only sultrier ... with an 8-pack a day habit ... and a chest cold. so i tended to the baby as mrs nice guy tended to her gag reflex. mrs nice guy went back to sleep at about 6:30

it was at around 6:45 am that i developed explosive diarrhea.

i treated my wan daughter to a dizzying display of pyrotechnics in the loo. at around 8 am the baby went down for a nap -- emotionally exhausted by what she had witnessed (like six times over). just as she drifted off, the lovely lady who does an amazing job of cleaning our tiny hovel twice a month showed up. mrs nice guy opened the door for the cleaning lady. i went into my room to pass the fuck out -- ashen as my grimy sheets and about 12 pounds lighter than i was two hours earlier. as the cleaning lady readied herself in the kitchen, mrs nice guy also passed the fuck out ... on the couch. the cleaning lady said "i think i'll come back next week when there are fewer dead bodies in here." mrs nice guy said "mmph."

and so the day went. my hat is off to single moms. i don't know how they do it. especially single moms who find themselves struck down by faulty meatloaf on the same day their child begins producing enough phlegm to drown a small country.

it's 8:20 pm now. mrs nice guy has been in bed for a large part of the day (she actually, heroically, did a bit of work from home today!). at around 7 pm she developed a little fever. the faulty-meatloaf theory may have to be replaced by a stomach virus theory, which is very plausible given that the baby had a touch of montezuma's revenge this evening. it might explain my daughter's recent finickiness. and come to think of it she did uncharacteristically spit up twice yesterday. christ! it's a stomach virus! i shouldn't have thrown out that delicious meatloaf!

i guess i have to raise a toast to my immune system: it took a lickin' and kept on tickin' -- both my ladies are down for the count. me? i am back operating at about 85 percent now. even had me some dinner. and i feel fine. in fact i feel great! i think i got this sickness beat! i think i gbrgb might just yrrgqt have to wrap this post up and excuse myse ... pblrg

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

riddle me this

beware the ides of march: i was called in for jury doody today. i had already postponed once, so imagine my surprised delight when i went to the courthouse this morning in person only to be granted another six-month stay. sweet.

actually i was looking forward to jury duty. i have never served and i figure anything has the potential to be fun the first time around. plus, it's your civic duty, right? gotta do right by the legal system. i have seen 12 angry men and often wondered which one of those dudes i would have been -- always fancied myself the henry fonda white knight, but who am i kidding? i'm more likely to wind up being the guy who'll change his vote solely in order to get out of the building sooner.

i was also glad to go to the courthouse this morning because for the last two days i have been, oh how shall i put this, about as frustrated as stevie wonder at a marcel marceau concert. the baby, she does not want to eat at meal times. i prepare her favorite foods, make goofy faces, hoist the spoon up to her mouth and ... she purses her lips and vigorously shakes her head. i give her delicious finger foods. she throws them on the floor (which i have taken to lining with newspaper at mealtime). never in my life have i been so quickly and so thoroughly filled with blind red rage. this is my number one argument against hiring a nanny: if i, the biological father, can barely refrain from strangling my baby with acid-dipped piano wire, how on earth can i leave her with a stranger that has no reflexive yen to let her live?

the kicker: we go to the playground after lunch and she shovels two fists-full of leaves, sticks and rocks directly into her mouth. and begins chewing!

or take bathtime. this is when we brush her teeth. she has far too many teeth for a girl her age. she has like 92 teeth. it's amazing. you put the toothbrush into her mouth and she pushes it out with her meaty tongue. then she somehow manages to scream with her mouth sealed shut. no toothbrush will pass these lips! "fine, yuckmouth," we say. "let your teeth rot right out of your head. see if we care." then we stick her in the tub. then we hand her the toothbrush. then she sticks the toothbrush into her mouth and begins chewing on the bristles! wtf!?

is this really how an incipient rational being behaves? christ!

Friday, March 10, 2006

the visitation of brother nice guy

hello. still here. i have not gone into hospital, hiding or hibernation. i did not get don knotts' kneejunk, nor did i score the remains of alastair cooke or kirby puckett. no.

without meaning to i accidentally took a week's hiatus from the computer. that's right: no(t much) computer for a whole week.

let me tell you what it was like: did you know there is an "outside" with "others" walking around? did you know there's a whole world out there filled with folks exchanging ideas and living lives? there is! i saw them! anyway, i got to know some of these Others. you know what? i don't like them.

so i have come home, friends. i have returned to the warm fold of my interwebnet browserscreen. never again shall i abandon you. forgive me.

in the past week my brother -- frere nice guy himself -- made a rare trip from los angeles to new york. he had some conference to attend where he presumably sat around with colleagues pretending not to fall asleep. you see, he (who is childless) crashed at my house two out of his four nights here. the first night we stayed out until 2 am. we drank, we bonded, we discussed our lives and loves, we drank some more, we compared notes on the people who raised us, and we did a little more drinking. so, yeah. at two i decided it was time to call it a night.

would you like to know what my biggest problem with parenthood is? when you drink until 2 am, nobody sends your child a memo telling her to take it easy the following day. she still wakes up at 5:30. six if you're really lucky. i have seen the darkness and i have lived to impart some wisdom on you: parenting-while-still-tighter-than-pentagon-security is something to be done as infrequently as possible. at least i wasn't hungover. yet. that would come later.

(speaking of tight: auntie and uncle nice guy flew in from DC to have brunch with us on sunday. they're jetsetters like that. uncle nice guy had three glasses of wine before we were seated for breakfast. ouf! i have some catching up to do.)

frere nice guy makes an excellent uncle. (gratuitous unfunny inside-jokey shoutout: it was really great to see you, brotherman. sorry G made you sit on her gay couch. say hi to Old Fattie for me.) anyway, frere nice guy is a good uncle. he likes kids -- bonus: he likes my kid. after playing with her for an afternoon he said "i want one." i said "generally it helps if you have a wife first."

so the baby and i took him on our daily rounds. he's a fancy financial analyst guy and would probably be unlikely to become a stay-at-home-mom like his older brother. at least he was unlikely to until he went with me on my daily rounds -- the play space, the park, the various cafes -- and he saw with ever-growing wonder that i spend my life surrounded by BORED YOUNG MOMS. he concealed his festering jealousy well. at the end of the day he put it thusly: "you're just one of the gals, aren't you?"

and how, frere nice guy. and how.

Friday, March 03, 2006

j'accuse: profiles in parenting redux!

hot on the heels of our inaugural edition, i bring you yet another installment of ... PROFILES IN PARENTING!!!

meet Christophe Fauviau -- that's him to the right, there, being escorted from a french courthouse by big french cops. you may ask yourself: what was Fauauvieau's crime? why it was just a smidge of overzealous parenting.

it seems our hero got into a little trouble for "drugging" and "inadvertently causing the death" of one of his son's tennis rivals. read about it

key quote from the accused himself: "Putting tablets into someone's bottles, I can't explain it. Every match which my children took part in meant terrible anguish." ah, yes, the anguish -- or should i say l'angoisse? -- of parenting. who but the french truly understand the angoisse (and, dare i add, the ennui?) of an offspring's weak backhand? obviously the only solution is to spread the angoisse around a little, to bring the pain directly into the opponents' GI tracts. advantage, Fauviau!

now, the astute among you will recall that
our first installment of PROFILES IN PARENTING was also about a bonkers loonjob of a tennis dad -- Damir Dokic, he who threatened to kidnap his own daughter and nuke australia (so, so awesome). what is it about the fathers of tennis players? can anyone answer this for me? obviously, there must be something in the water. at least now we know who put it there.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

vinnie three fingers, we hardly knew ye

here we are, nearly four weeks after the day i was supposed to have knee surgery and there is still no donor meniscus in sight. jiminy cricket! i mean, my parallel universe self is practically almost walking again. he's also going to physical therapy where willowy voluptuous young graduate students with soft hands gently caress him back to health.

but the this-universe me? i sit and i wait. wondering ... what the fuck?! is it possible that nobody roughly my height and age has met his untimely maker? no drunk driving? no tragic run-ins with faulty wiring? no lead-pipes to the head? where have all the dead guys gone?

well wonder no more! the mystery has been solved by an "avid reader" who emailed me this gem of an article: it seems that the owner of Biomedical Tissue Services in Fort Lee, N.J., has been charged with selling body parts for transplants! the firm was shut down by the FDA last month.

do you realize what this means? my dealer has been arrested! how am i supposed to get my supply?

key quote from the article: "It was shockingly callous in its disregard for the sanctity of human remains."

you bet your ass it's shockingly callous. i mean, they had access all that meniscus (meniscuses? menisci?) and not a single flap of tissue made it over to me. son of a bitch! such disregard! just think of all those poor kneeparts going unused, unappreciated, underutilized. i will provide a home for them. i am here for you, orphaned dead-guy-bits!

anyway, thank you, "avid reader," wherever you are. thank you for sending me into a spiraling hell of despair and hopelessness.

in other news, a couple blogfathers entries for you not to read.