Archive for the 'Daily productivity goal' Category

Super Bowl kids

February 6, 2011

Andrew Hicks

EDITOR’S NOTE: Andrew once again dashed his daily productivity goal and did not have this blog posted before midnight. The culprit this time? Super Bowl XLV. Now, don’t assume for a second that Andrew cared a thing about the game. He had to double check which teams were playing before the game started so he wouldn’t look like a moron at the party. Andrew never watches football and, in fact, spent most of his high school years at a Christian school whose homecoming game took place on the soccer field against schools with names like Because He Died For Us Central.

Let’s not forget, though, Super Bowl is one of the major party days every year, and until just a few months ago, Andrew was a major partier. Super Bowl is only partially about the game. It’s also about gathering, eating a ton of food and talking over the game. Andrew estimates that this Super Bowl, the first since he quit drinking, he paid less attention to the game than when he was matching Anheuser Busch ads one beer per commercial.

The domestic takeover of Andrew’s life, though, was ever-apparent at this year’s Super Bowl party. He went with his wife and kids to the next-door neighbor’s house. Andrew’s two kids plus the neighbor’s four kids plus the neighbor’s best friend’s two kids plus another neighbor’s kid outnumbered the adults in attendance. Seven adults, nine children, and it was a completely new experience for Andrew to have his child playing in another area of another person’s house with other kids.

He had to frequently quit watching the game — no major sacrifice, but still — to go upstairs and check on his 2 year old, who was perfectly safe the entire time. Oh, and when one kid climbed up on Andrew’s shoulders during one of these visits and begged Andrew to take him for a ride, Andrew obliged him, not realizing that all the other young kids were going to see this, think it was awesome and each want their own turns. Then beg for second turns directly after completing their first turns.

Andrew quickly felt every bit of how out of shape he was, which he supposes is some kind of basic irony, considering Super Bowl is supposed to be the ultimate show of the atheletic strength and agility of the few contrasted with the passive, indulgent consumption of the many.

Oh, and Andrew wants to add that he was tired of people talking about Christina Aguilera messing up the national anthem immediately — partially because he couldn’t come up with an easy, decent joke about it. He is grateful, however, that the Aguilera incident caused entertainment gossip shows to dig up a hilarious 2003 clip of Michael Bolton having to check the lyrics of “The Star Spangled Banner” that he wrote on his palm. Funniest part was, people were still asking Michael Bolton to sing the national anthem at major events in 2003.

FAMILY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Baby Silas, ready for transport.

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Foreign phenomenon

January 6, 2011

Andrew Hicks

My 4 a.m. wake-up was short-lived. I thought maybe it was the start of a revolutionary body clock adjustment. Get up at four, stay up all day with the kids, have a nutritious Crock Pot dinner that makes the whole house smell beautiful and domestic, and go to bed while the sun’s still up in the summer. This idealism lasted about four hours. I was drinking coffee, being productive, I got Sarah up early, and then the problems began.

I don’t know if it was from her waking up early or because she was sick and barely ate anything the past couple days, but Sarah was having episodes where everything merited a heaving-sob scream reaction. It wasn’t quite a Terrible Twos fit, but it certainly wasn’t normal behavior, and it got worse when Sarah realized she wouldn’t be having cookies for breakfast.

Generally speaking, I don’t do well with crying. More often than not, I stand my ground if Sarah’s throwing a fit, and we reach a mutually agreeable conclusion. When her mom cries, it’s a different story. Tiffany, when she’s crying, can get whatever she wants from me. Luckily, she doesn’t seem to take advantage of this fact. That I’m aware of.

Being around a crying woman is still a pretty foreign phenomenon to me. There wasn’t a lot of crying in my house as I grew up. Present-day Andrew doesn’t really cry, either*. I’m not counting all those half-drunk times when tears would well up during the satisfying emotional payoff of a movie. I think the part in Jerry Maguire where Cuba Gooding Jr regains consciousness and celebrates his touchdown is probably the most archetypal example.

A crying wife gets whatever she wants, and so does a wife who’s ready to put out. One of the reasons I didn’t have an initial problem getting up at 4 a.m. was because Tiffany got me to bed way early with the lure of married-people sex. It was like ten when she said, “Don’t you want to come to bed now?” And I was like, Nooooo, it’s only 10 o’clock. I have a blog to write. I don’t want to have to backdate it just so I’ll make my daily quota.

And then she said, “Are you suuuuuure you don’t want to come to bed now?” And that’s when I was like, Ohhhhhh, you want to $&#@ me. Okay, then, let me turn this computer off. Nah, forget it, I’ll leave it on. Don’t wanna miss the married-people sex window.

So this morning, I put Screamin’ Sarah back to bed, Silas fell back asleep, and I realized it was still only like 8:30. My brain was confused and barely functional, so I thought, Why not just relax with a little Season 4 “Weeds” on Netflix Instant? It was a great way to find myself falling back asleep until noon, which is something my brain and body have become very used to over the years.

Pugsley, 1994.

*The only time I can remember really having tears and sobs in recent memory was in June 2007, when I went with my mom to euthanize Pugsley, our family dog of fifteen years. I went along as stoic support, because my mom knew she was going to lose it. That dog was her baby and companion, but I really loved Pugsley too, and I lived with him for half my life. When the moment of truth arrived, I bawled like a child. We both did. I’d even broke down and sobbed the night before, when I was telling Tiffany — my girlfriend, not yet my wife — old Pugsley stories. That I felt so comfortable around and comforted by Tiffany while I was having this emotional episode only further cemented my thought that she was The One.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Silas sleeps on Christmas.

Got ’til midnight

January 2, 2011

Andrew Hicks

The Post-Dispatch article on me ran in the Sunday paper today on the front page of the Community section. Well, I think you have to jump to Page 2 before you get to me, but they did run a super-tightly cropped headshot of me and a couple funny old diary quotes from me that I’d forgotten about. It’s great when Ghost of Andrew Past makes Ghost of Andrew Present crack up.

I don’t know if says more about article placement or the declining influence of print journalism or the hugeness of the Internet, but when the 1996 contest article ran, my website got more than a thousand visitors that day. The 2011 follow-up piece has driven exactly nine StlToday.com readers to check out my blog so far. There’s a doctored picture of Justin Bieber’s head on top of a kneeling girl in a pink bikini that gets more views than that every 30 seconds. I should know, I look at that thing twice a minute.

Maybe my pageviews will spike before midnight. Thanks to comedy buddy Chris Trader, I changed the time zone settings on my blog to Chicago from Wrexham, Wales. The time stamp on my posts will be from when I actually posted them, not six hours later. I have until midnight to write and post every day. I have until Jimmy Fallon‘s first guest comes out. So I will post every day. I might just not have a lot to say every day.

(Insert 3 more entertaining short paragraphs here. The paragraphs that really make the piece come full circle and leave the reader satisfied. You have until midnight.)

Oh, what does everyone think about the bold words here and there approach? This is my second time trying it in writing. I’m pretty sure I like it. For Internet writing, anyway. I don’t think I’d try it in print.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Baby's first Christmas: Tiffany holds Silas.

Birthday blog hiatus

November 20, 2010

Andrew Hicks

Would this be a good time to mention that my goal rate of blog posts is one per day? I want to have daily Mr. Mom diaper stories for you – I mean you specifically; yes, you, the person who’s reading these words right now. What time of day do you do your idle Internet reading? First thing in the morning, over a cup of coffee? During hours 3 through 7 of your state job? On your phone during rush-hour traffic? Or, like me, in the dead of night when everyone’s asleep? Whenever the time, my goal is to be there for you every day. Maybe not in the form of a fully-realized, 800-word comedic tour de force, but maybe with just a couple good paragraphs to tide you over on your way to go play Farmville until dawn.

So, yeah, I want to write good new stuff every day, and this is my first post in almost two weeks. I was without a computer for about a week while SpacebarGate2010 resolved itself in the form of a brand new laptop keyboard that was shipped in from California, I think via Pony Express. I had lofty plans to maintain productivity sans laptop. I was going to write blog posts on my phone, or I was going to hand-write them and type them up on the public library computers*. Neither of which happened.

Meanwhile, this blog slipped down my priority list in favor of the seemingly endless stream of multitasking that is taking care of very young children, keeping the house clean and finally testing out that Cubed Duck Steak With Pickled Rhubarb recipe for the Crock Pot. You’re really cheating yourself if you don’t let your duck steak and rhubarb simmer for at least half a waking day. And the atmospheric, grandma’s-house smell is better than potpourri.

It seems I’ve gently nudged Sarah’s body clock back since we returned home. During the ankle recovery exile at my in-laws’ house, Sarah was up at 8, down for her nap at 1, and in bed at 8, like clockwork. It’s still pretty clockwork-esque, but we’re living in some time zone a few hundred miles into the Atlantic Ocean. Sarah stays up until around 10 or 11, then she doesn’t get up until somewhere around 10 or 11 in the morning. Silas, meanwhile, doesn’t go to sleep for the night until somewhere between one and two. God help him, he has to watch the entire episode of “Last Call With Carson Daly.” Most 4 month olds go to bed after Jimmy Fallon. Silas is an incorrigible sleep maverick.

Sarah's untouched, unadorned birthday cake.

When she turned 2 this month, Sarah got to have three birthday celebrations she’ll never remember. The night of her birthday, we got a cake and a bunch of Hot-N-Ready Little Caesar’s Pizza**. She made a big old mess and was cute and loud. That weekend, we traveled down to Tiffany’s parents’ house, had pulled pork and opened presents. Sarah’s favorite gift is a trio of flat boards that contain rows of letter, number and animal shape blocks with little round plastic handles. In theory, the flat boards supposed to hold the blocks. In reality, this 2 year old prefers her blocks scattered throughout the upstairs of the house. More specifically, they’re scattered wherever my right foot is about to step when I’m holding Silas over my right shoulder and can’t see directly in front of me. Those little round plastic handles really hurt when you drop your weight on them. It’s been a bad autumn for me below the calf.

The third birthday observance was like a week and a half after Sarah’s birthday. Our next-door neighbor brought her four kids over, ranging in age from 3 to 8. We had more cake and, oh man, more Little Caesar’s Pizza. And Sarah was presented with a baby doll that the 8 year old kept reminding us had only cost her mom four bucks. It was fun to watch Sarah play with a group of bigger kids, and she took an immediate liking to the baby doll. In some cultures, 2 year olds take care of actual babies***, but Sarah’s chopped-and-screwed toddler attention span only allows her to be big-sisterly to the inanimate object for a minute or so. Inanimate Baby is outta luck with his toddler babysitter around these parts.

Okay, that’s it for now. See you tomorrow. Riiiiiiiiight…

*At various points in my modest life, the library computers have been my main means of accessing the Internet. It’s always an interesting scene at the library. Large, creepy middle-aged guy on my left is playing some game where he needs to find the Silver Sword of Samsifar so he can defeat the leather-winged griffin on the island of Kurr. Large, creepy middle-aged guy on my right is busy posting Facebook updates of how he’s doing in the eighth grade. I’m just there to pay my electric bill.

**Talk about a comeback. I grew four waist sizes to Little Caesar’s between seventh and tenth grades, then I thought they went out of business. Now you can walk into their restaurant and get a gooey, piping-hot, sweet-sauced pepperoni pizza immediately for five bucks. Maybe this was what finally snapped Snooki out of that anorexia. Well, that and the 1,500 empty alcohol calories she ingests before sundown. But I’m not here to bash orange-tinted MTV reality stars. I’m here to talk about freakin’ pizza. And my family. My loving family. Then pizza again. Then family, pizza, family, pizza, until the battery on my laptop runs out.

***Pulled that right out of my ass.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY