Procrastination and vaccinations

September 11, 2010

We rent our house. Four bedrooms, two baths, a nice backyard. I’ve talked to my current landlord exactly twice. Once was when the air conditioning went out during a heat wave in mid-June while my wife was eight months pregnant. The other time was on Wednesday, when I broke the sink.

I was doing dishes, a frequent assignment for a daytime dad, and applied what I thought was a miniscule amount of upward pressure on the faucet arm. The thing was rusted out on the bottom, I soon discovered, which created an instant hole that left water gushing out at an impressive 270-degree angle. We ended up doing the rest of our dishes in the bathtub that night, a hardship more bizarre than actually hard. We wistfully compared it to the trials of the original American settlers. Imagine doing the bathtub dishes after the first Thanksgiving. Pause for laughter.

It has to be something dramatic like that for me to call the landlord, even though he’s very courteous and prompt about resolving issues. But both times I made the call over some emergency drama, I tacked on a couple requests that had been brewing indefinitely. Case in point – the entire time we’ve lived in our house, 20 months now, the light fixture in the third bedroom has been broken. It’s always been a case of, “Oh yeah, we need to call the landlord about that.” Instead, we bought a floor lamp and put it on the backburner.

Well, about 610 days later, thanks to me finally bringing it up, we have a brand new ceiling fan/light fixture in what is now Baby Silas’s bedroom. The lesson is, we could have had the fixture replaced 609 days ago if I would have made the one-minute phone call I made on Wednesday. This is a running theme in my life. Stuff gets broken or goes undone, gets viewed as a hassle, gets rationalized out of being acted upon, gets worst-case-scenarioized in my head, and then ends up being resolved way too late in a positively simple manner.

One guy came over to fix both. He showed up announced at 10:40 or so, while Sarah, Silas and I were accomplishing not much of anything in the living room. Sarah had met this handyman once before, when he came over to fix the garbage disposal. At the time, she wanted to give him hugs. This time, she wanted to investigate all the goings-on under the sink. I moved myself and both babies to the master bedroom so Schneider could work in peace.

Kind of the same thing today. I took both babies to the doctor for Silas’s two-month physical and trio of immunizations*. I was running late and couldn’t find the release thingie on the double stroller. Yes, again, I couldn’t work the stroller. My friend Kate Hayes is right. I should practice on that thing in my spare time for when it actually counts.

So I carried Silas in his car seat, and Sarah held my hand and walked from the parking lot through the building, into the elevator and into the office with us. She did great with all that. Sometimes she gets that hyper-independent streak and won’t hold my hand, actually collapses her body so we can’t go anywhere but down to the ground.

Today Sarah was all good walking, but she was also all activity in the examining room. I didn’t bring any toys or books for her, and her only props were two kiddie chairs and a kiddie table. She MacGuyvered the crap out of what she had to work with. She was picking the chairs up and carrying them all around the room, setting up a barricade at the main door. She pushed that table all around the room too. The noise was deafening.

Meanwhile, the nurse was asking questions I didn’t know the answers to, like which hospital we do our lab work at, Memorial or St. John’s? It was a 50/50, and I’m still not confident I answered correctly. In many ways, it’s my first week on the job, and I don’t get daily intelligence briefings. Sometimes as a dad I feel like I can go an entire day without being intelligent at all.

Also, apparently I feed Silas too much. I feed myself too much, so it only stands to reason. My rationale is, if he’s sucking ravenously at the bottle, and when the bottle’s all gone, he’s crying like he wants some more, I’m going to give him some more. I’m hoping this is not the same logic that led the parents of that YouTube Asian smoking baby to up his nicotine intake from a half-pack to a videotaped carton a day. I don’t want to be one of those dads.

* = I feel somewhat lazy as a father. My mom and a concerned conspiracy-theorist friend both wanted to warn me of the dangers of giving vaccines to your infants, and I barely browsed the reading material. I wanted to rock the boat and question authority and screw the man a whole lot more ten years ago. Sadly, now it’s more like, “What’s the normal thing to do? Where do I sign?” I’m old, complacent and conformist. Not bragging, just saying.

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7 Responses to “Procrastination and vaccinations”

  1. Janet Black Says:

    You did the right thing with the vaccinations. You’re doing a great job both with this blog and as a Daddy. I look forward to reading it.

  2. Kate Hayes Says:

    Vaccinations…YES! Please don’t ever put all the young, elderly, and immune-compromised people of the world at risk by not vaccinating your kids. Good job. Just saying.

    You create really good mental images with your descriptions. I liked the MacGuyver thing (that is SO Kellen in a waiting room!) and the Asian baby thing. Good stuff.

    • dadsdaytime Says:

      It’s more the worry that you’re inundating your children with toxins in the name of preventing something they’re not especially likely to fall victim to. But I’d hate to not immunize my kids and have them get whooping cough or something crazy like that.

      I had to go back and look at my post when you said “Asian baby.” I was thinking, What? Did I slip some racial joke in? I’m used to thinking of that kid as the Smoking Baby.

  3. Karen Hicks Says:

    “MacGuyvered the crap out of what she had to work with.” I’ve been your #1 fan from day 1, but that’s hysterically noteworthy. And I can picture Sarah doing every bit of what you described. It reminds me of my days waiting with you in Dr. Wimmer’s exam room. So glad you’re finally blogging. It’s been a long wait for this day to arrive. It just took a couple of babies to get you going again. Looking forward to every one! Mom

    • Kate Hayes Says:

      Oh my gosh. Seriously. I went to Dr. Wimmer too. On Parker Road? With the giant mural of an elephant getting a shot in his backside on the waiting room wall? And a Lorna Doone cookie waiting for you after every visit? How weird is that???

      • dadsdaytime Says:

        Definitely the same Dr Wimmer on Parker Road. I wouldn’t have been able to conjure the mental image of the elephant butt injection or the Lorna Doone cookies on my own, but now that you mention it? You’re so right! Crazy random unexpected memories are fun. Viva la Internet.


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