Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Goodbye, farewell and amen

April 17, 2011

Andrew Hicks

Let’s recap: I start this blog in September. In January, I pledge to post 365 entries in 2011. In February, I realize that goal is unsustainable. In April, I decide to discontinue this blog. This will be the final entry.

There will be no more Dad’s Daytime Diary because, in a matter of days, I will no longer be a daytime dad. We’re changing the guard — I’ll be the 50-hour-per-week bread earner, and my wife will stay at home with the kids. If she wants to start a blog called Mom’s Morning Missives, I’ll be sure to read every word.

Now, before anyone gets upset, let’s remind ourselves that no one reads this blog anyway. Sure, my babies’ grandparents check this site every day in search of new pictures. When I link these blog posts from Facebook, sometimes I get 75 or 100 hits a day. So you’re here, you’re reading right now, and obviously that means the first sentence of this paragraph is not true.

But here’s the deal — I have another blog I work on, I’m very proud of it, and it’s gaining serious comic momentum. It’s called We’re Not Funny, and it’s a comedy collective. I have a growing group of comedians and pseudo-academic smartasses who joke and write with me. I’m the gatekeeper, of course. I edit and post all the entries that go up. Ask my wife, and she’ll tell you I’m a passive-aggressive control freak.

I will not stop writing about my kids. Anything I used to post here, I can post at WNF. I will also post to WNF all the types of writing I posted here that didn’t necessarily fit the Dad’s Daytime Diary format, e.g. the obituary for Carlos O’Kelly’s, my stories of doing standup comedy and all other miscellany.

I’ve enjoyed my time spent working on this blog, and I’ve treasured the feedback I’ve gotten from its small but loyal core of readers. Follow me over to We’re Not Funny, or keep checking this site for links to all my newest writing. I will maintain the archive of posts, and I have plans to edit down and self-publish the past seven months’ worth of daddy writing. It’s been fun and, hey, it got me writing quality stuff again on the regular. Thanks for starting this journey with me.

LAST BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

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Beards, beards, beards

March 14, 2011

Andrew Hicks

In any business, it’s all about who you know. I’m still only an armchair comedian — I do my one open mic a month in Springfield, and occasionally I get booked to open weekend comedy shows. But because I worked with somebody at a movie theater a decade ago, now I get to go open a show in St. Louis in a couple weeks for four guys known collectively as the Beards of Comedy.

This girl and I, we worked together and partied together a few times in the early G.W. Bush days, but unlike me, she had her shit together upon graduating from the Mizzou School of Journalism. She went to work for the Riverfront Times, St. Louis’s free circulation paper that is one part journalism, one part entertainment and one part tranny escort ads. Then she went to work for Las Vegas Weekly. Now she lives in L.A. and does comedy promotion and booking.

I think the last time we met up for a drink was in 2006, but we’ve stayed in touch through the social networks. Pretty poor touch, I admit — when she contacted me about the show, she didn’t know I’d gotten married, and I didn’t know she’d gotten married since the last time we’d talked. It’s not like people announce engagements, send out wedding invitations, have elaborate ceremonies and receptions and then send you annual Christmas card newsletters to gloss over how it all turned out. Well, I didn’t do any of that, anyway.

So on Saturday, April 2, at 8 pm, I’ll be going onstage at a place I’ve never heard of called Pop’s Blue Moon. Sometime between now and then, maybe in the middle of their Saturday late rush, I plan to call up there and ask a few questions. How big is this place? Where is their show area? Will a dart league be playing in the corner? Are there ample fire exits, marked clearly? If the Beards of Comedy bring pyrotechnics, I’m not going out in a black smoke-billowing human stampede like the folks who died in the Great White fire of 2003.

Meantime, I’m gonna use the power of Facebook to invite friends in St. Louis who might be interested in coming down to see me and four slackers with ample facial hair. So far, I’ve only talked to one person who’s heard of the Beards, and he’s a fellow open mic comedian whose opinion and taste I respect. I’ve watched some of their YouTube stuff, and they’re funny dudes. They’ve got much of the same laid-back, pop-culture-attacking slacker sensibility that marks the majority of my humor, so it should be a good fit.

Another comedian buddy asked me, “Beards? Does that mean they’re all closet homosexuals?” And this guy doesn’t know his gay lingo. Watch two episodes of “Queer Eye,” and you know a “beard” is what they call the woman a gay dude dates to throw everyone off the scent of his same-sex trail. So, by this rationale, the lady spouses of the Beards of Comedy would be known as the Beards of the Beards of Comedy.

These are the kinds of cerebral, intellectual jokes you can expect if you come up to Pop’s Blue Moon three Saturdays from now. Fire exits clearly marked. Possibly.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Examples of Dad’s geekiness

January 27, 2011

Andrew Hicks

 

  • Likes to refer to Sarah’s rainbow bib as “Roy G. Bib.”
  • When burping Silas, will frequently pat his back to drum beat of “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie while singing, “Let’s burp!”
  • Got a good laugh out of a little kid on “Barney” saying, “She’s like a brother to me.”
  • When Silas peed on Dad’s leg while flashing a huge grin, wrote a Facebook status about it on phone before cleaning up.
  • While half-awake, could have sworn Elmo was singing “Skeet skeet skeet skeet” on “Sesame Street.”
  • After breaking ankle on neighbor’s stairs last fall, wanted to purchase said stairs and comically reenact Stephen King‘s practice of buying and destroying the car that hit him in 1999, when he broke every bone in his body. Later found out King didn’t actually do this; he just bought the car and had it junked.
  • When Silas smiles, sometimes calls him “Smiley Silas” because it rhymes with the name of Billy Ray Cyrus‘s uber-famous teenage daughter.
  • Occasionally uses the prefix uber-.
  • Upon learning Sarah would automatically laugh when hearing the word “sassy,” Dad tracked down every Phil Hartman quote he could find from 1991 Sassy’s Sassiest Gentlemen” SNL sketch.
  • Now can draw Elmo’s head in seconds with five pen strokes.
  • Built most of this blog posting around months-old material written on a yellow legal pad. (Sorry, this actually belongs in the companion piece “Examples of Dad’s Laziness.”)

FAMILY PICTURE OF THE DAY

My 3 favorite ladies -- Tiffany, Sarah and my mom. Christmas 2008.

Single parent, married parent

January 19, 2011

Andrew Hicks

A Facebook friend from my Christian school days posted a link on her wall to a blog entry by Single Dad Laughing, whose popularity went viral virtually immediately. One of her friends — in the comments section underneath — posted “Google this guy and ‘fake.’ Too sad.” So I did, and I read a couple other bloggers’ accusations that SDL somehow faked the high volume of his readership and is shamelessly provoking sappy emotional response so he can get on Oprah and sell books. Making most of this crap up, in other words.

But the dude posts every day and frequently writes the kind of crafted, detailed, argumentative essays that would get you an automatic A in any writing class. Whether he’s an opportunist or just an amazingly disciplined, passionate father, I am one segment of this man’s target audience. (Every other segment? Women, women, women.) I’m at home every day with two small, beautiful kids I adore.

The Single Dad Laughing post linked by my Facebook friend from Christian school was called “Real Dads Don’t Leave.” Now that I’m the main companion of a precious 2-year-old who is growing into her own personality and obviously adores me, I absorbed the following words, written about an absent father:

He’ll never know of the hundreds of Saturday morning snuggles that could have been his. He’ll never know of the hundreds of colorful drawings his child would have handed him over the years, made with tiny loving hands just for him. He’ll never realize that he left behind so many trips to the park or the zoo…

Even more sadly, he’ll never realize that he left behind a tiny person that would have looked at him as his hero. He’ll never know that he left a child who would have trusted him and loved him more than any other person reasonably should. And he’ll also never know that he left a child who would have done anything to be like him. To be like his daddy.

I was raised in a single-parent household for the majority of my childhood. My mom and dad divorced when I was in kindergarten or so. My brother Matt and I stayed with our mom, while Dad sometimes lived in town and sometimes didn’t. Looking back on memories, it seems like I saw my dad a fair amount until the age of 14 or so, but the vast majority of the parenting burden fell on my mom. Now that I’ve got kids, I can’t imagine taking care of them all by myself. My appreciation for all the hard work my mother put in with her two children has grown in leaps and bounds.

It’s also been the perfect time to get to know my dad as an adult. I mentioned a few weeks back that we’ve been having long phone conversations. I talk to my dad at least twice a week, usually for at least an hour. I hear the old stories and the years of practical and philosophical wisdom that can be applied to anyone’s life, and we tell each other about our lives today. He didn’t want to leave, he reminds me every now and then. His marriage failed, and he lost his family. It was tragic. It was heart-breaking. He wants to do everything he can for me to make it to the finish line as the Dad Who Stayed.

I have a wealth of love, support and sounding boards these days, from my immediate family to my parents and my wife’s parents, from old friends to new friends, from writing a blog to writing standup routines to writing and editing an online comedy magazine. I need to give back as much as I get, to my kids and everyone else who’s important to me.

And laugh as much as possible.

FAMILY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Old glories, new publicity

December 18, 2010

Andrew Hicks

[AUTHOR’S NOTE <added 12/19>: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch article on me that’s mentioned below for 12/19 now is scheduled to run on Sunday, 12/26. I’ll likely repost this entry then, but for now, I don’t have anything else written, so I’m leaving it up.]

[AUTHOR’S NOTE <added 12/20>: I got an email from Jim Cook, author of the above-mentioned piece for the Post-Dispatch. The article has been re-rescheduled for Sunday, 1/2. If nothing interesting happens between now and then, you may get to read about me.]

On my eighteenth birthday, I found out my website won first place in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s “Best of the St. Louis Web” contest. I’d just gotten to college six months prior and found out students could create their own sites for free. I met up in the computer lab with a slender, thirtyish techie-dork stereotype who introduced himself only as Spiff. A couple hours of simple HTML code later, The Andrew Hicks World Wide Web Extravaganza was born.

I had a backlog of movie reviews, original stories based on the 1960s “Batman” TV show and a completed comedy diary called “A Year in the Life of a Nerd.” I’d started a second yearlong nerd diary upon arriving at college.

The Internet was so young then that the Yahoo! directory had to create its “Diaries” category specifically for my site. This was years before the term “blog” existed. Competition for original comedy writing online was a lot scarcer than it is today, when the words you’re reading right now might as well be hosted on TheTumbleweedBloweth.com.

I bring this up because now, 14 years later, Jim Cook — the fellow who wrote the original “Best of the St. Louis Web” article in the Post — has put together a new contest for STL-area sites. As a companion piece, he’s written some kind of Where Are They Now?-type piece that profiles me. It’s scheduled to run tomorrow, in the local section of their Sunday paper.

I’m hoping the new exposure will result in expanded readership. Just a few more people reading and laughing is all I’m hoping for. I’m not expecting anything so dramatic as the orgiastic run on goods that happens when some mom-and-pop operation suddenly gets vaulted into Oprah’s Favorite Things status.

No matter the end result, it’ll be nice to have a few people reading my words other than my family and circle of Facebook friends. Or people who stumble on my blog by searching random terms like “broken ankle pink cast” and “good looking man self taken photo hick.” Both actual search terms that added a single hit apiece to my traffic tally.

If you’re one of those people who found this site courtesy of the Post-Dispatch or Stltoday.com, welcome. Look around. Bookmark it. Catch up on the old stuff. Come back for the new stuff. Tell your friends. Pay me to write or edit for you. Book me a high-paying stand-up comedy gig. Mail me your winning lottery ticket. And have a great Christmas.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Okay, so it's not a baby pic, but I was only 20 when this was taken. Which kind of seems like Baby Andrew when I look back now.

Thanksgiving at home

November 26, 2010

Andrew Hicks

When my wife’s sister got married in April of ’08, Tiffany and I were told the wedding would start at 11 am. Neither of us was actually in the wedding, and we didn’t have babies back then. All Tiffany and I had to do was to drive the 100+ miles and, somewhere along the way, buy some kind of card or present. I think Tiffany also needed a new shirt, and I needed a belt. We left home late, did some stress-speeding down the highway, and did our best to zoom through Gordman’s or wherever.

We arrived at the wedding at like 11:35, already self-conscious before we had to change our clothes in the parking lot. A few other people were trickling into the church, none of them apparently as worried about being more than a half-hour late. We filled out the card and walked into the building sheepishly, and we soon learned the wedding was actually going to start at noon. Tiffany’s sister and parents had told us the wrong time on purpose so we’d do that last-minute Procrastination Shuffle straight into actually somehow being early. It was a shrewd little trick that, in the end, worked out in everyone’s favor. For once, Tiffany and I didn’t have to be Photoshopped into the family pictures after the fact.

This Thanksgiving reminded me a lot of the morning of Tiffany’s sister’s wedding. We weren’t up and moving in time, and we had twice as many bodies to get dressed and pack for. It was a no-win scenario that had our scheduled departure time arriving and vanishing with us still nowhere near ready to go. And we were still looking ahead at the process of wrestling everyone into the car and driving almost two hours while the rest of the family waited for us to arrive so they could finally eat. The mood in our house was one of terse, annoyed futility and led to a few rare moments of marital discord. That idealized list of things I was thankful for got shoved way onto the back burner, obscured by a raging grease fire.

Somewhere between us being half-packed and all the way pissed, Tiffany somehow earned us a reprieve. It was decided that the family dinner in the next state over would proceed without us, and we would come into town on Saturday so everyone could still see everyone. Suddenly, our holiday seemed like a holiday again. We got Sarah and Silas both down for naps, we cleaned the kitchen and started some Crock Pot barbecue, and we had some relaxing moments of togetherness with the Wii. It was uneventful and imminently memorable all at once.

So now it’s past sundown on Black Friday*, and I still have yet to take a bite of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, et al. Today, though, is shaping up to be like yesterday. I got up, made breakfast for me and Sarah, fed and held Silas, took an epic nap, took my little girl outside, cleaned up some, wrote some emails, wrote this blog and still have many good domestic hours ahead of me. In a year when I am more grateful than ever for my family and friends and have assumed the duties of being home instead of at work all the time, this housebound Thanksgiving break seems more than appropriate. And the grandparents still get their hug time and photo shoots tomorrow, and Tiffany and I will get some baby-free time to meet up with friends. Win, win, win.

Getting married and having kids has given me more to enjoy and be proud of in life, but it seems like my actual appreciation level for the large and small things has climbed over the past year. I also, as of today, have gone longer without having a drink than any time since 1997. I don’t think quitting drinking is something I could or would have done on my own. My mom would refer to it as a God thing, and I think she’s right. Even more to be thankful for.

*I was up with Silas from 3:15 to 5:30 this morning, and I managed to convince a couple of Facebook rubes** that I’d been camped out in front of Dollar Tree since 7 pm in the hopes of saving up to 27 cents per item on selected doorbusters. Then, off to Shop-N-Save to fight for one of a dozen Black Friday 30-cent loaves of wheat sandwich bread.

**I don’t think anyone bought my assertion that, every year on the day after Thanksgiving, my wife breaks out her special VHS collection of “Saved By the Bell” episodes with everyone but Mark Paul Gosselaar edited out. She refers to the entire affair as ZACH FRIDAY.

May-December shoes

November 23, 2010

Andrew Hicks

I made the 100-plus-mile trek to my in-laws’ house a couple weeks back, so I could drop the kids off at Meemaw and Peepaw’s Daycare (can’t beat the rates) and follow up with the orthopedist who performed my ankle surgery in September. I got the customary X-rays — for some reason, I love looking at my ankle screws from three different angles — and was pronounced Almost Back To Normal. Which means, first and foremost, I won’t have to drive 100-plus miles to any further appointments.

Snoop Docky Doc* also told me I could go bootless as I see fit. It’s still kinda weird putting that left shoe on again, after being foot-shod in post-surgery wrap, a fiberglass cast and then the space boot. The left shoe sat out for quite awhile. It’s not often a shoe partnership gets split up like that, with Righty continuing to go into battle while Lefty stares at the inside of the closet for weeks on end. It’s like one shoe’s having a midlife crisis, and the other shoe’s counting the days to retirement. I’ve got a May-December shoe situation.

I coordinated the doctor appointment to match up with the weekly big-city standup open mic, and invited the Facebook world at large to come see me. Usually, those kind of invitations provoke a couple half-hearted “I’ll try to make it out” comments and about a half-dozen “I would totally be there, but…” apology responses. I’m guilty of this, too — I love to claim I’d go do something, that there’s nothing I’d love more, but I tragically, unfortunately can’t due to some preexisting, tenuous reason. Which, these days, two babies and a broken ankle is pretty much a catch-all**.

I had a few friends that I knew would come up to see me, but imagine my onset of sheepishness when I got to open mic and found out it was canceled because Doug “Superhigh Me” Benson was in town doing a special engagement. Now imagine that, in the next few minutes, friends kept showing up. Old, close friends I haven’t seen in awhile, making surprise appearances. Nine in all, with the show canceled. I had no choice but to head out to a couple restaurants and bars with the entire group for the next four hours.

I’ve entered the stage of my adult life, previously thought impossible, where I am capable of holding my own socially without feeling like I need to drink. I hadn’t fully tested this until the night everyone showed up for my canceled open mic, so out we went, and I held court while downing ice waters. (I’m one of those customers now. Sorry, entire service industry.) It was a good night and a great group, and there was a strange moment a couple hours in where my assembled group of friends sat on the entrance stairs to the restaurant and I performed the four minutes of standup I’d prepared***.

I mingled, I played some shuffleboard, and I discovered alcohol wasn’t the reason I’ve always sucked at shuffleboard. Most importantly, I had a really good time with a group of close friends, friends of friends, significant others of friends, and my omnipresent ice water. My childless courtship time with Tiffany occurred in a whirlwind, with me quickly going from single party guy to married dude in a different town, working a different job.

Out of necessity, and with no personal precedent to refer back to, I neglected some fun, healthy relationships with some great young people after I got married. Three-plus years later, my life seems so much more valuable, and so does time spent with Hall of Famers from my social golden years. Thanks for coming out, all’a y’all.

*I give all my medical care practitioners nicknames based on prominent hip-hop MCs throughout history, though I have no further examples to offer at the present time.

**Also, this kinda makes me an immature jerk, but I think it’s great to tell someone online that you’ll definitely be there for their four-minute performance in the community college adult piano recital, then later on pretend like you forgot they live two time zones away. I mean, what do they expect when they send out an inconsequential blanket invitation to everyone they’ve ever exchanged a friendly word with?

***This was my second indicator, the first one coming from my clued-in, opinionated wife, that I couldn’t sell the following joke onstage: “When someone asks me a date-related question, I always round up.  Q. How old is your youngest?  A. He’ll be six months in January.  Q. How long have you been married?  A. It’ll be ten years in 2017.  Q. How long have you been waiting for a good laugh on this joke?  A. It’ll be one day tomorrow.”

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Baby Silas chills in his buggy.

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

Stay out of the sewer

October 13, 2010

Andrew Hicks

The weather has been beautiful for almost a week straight. Sarah and I play outside, and I’m mobile enough on crutches that I can “walk” (though it is comical enough to watch that it deserves the quote marks and these parentheses and some italics) the perimeter and go up and down the hill with her.

 

I get worn out easily and retreat to the deck chairs, and that’s when Sarah turns to her props. She’s fond of a giant blue exercise ball that’s almost as big as she is. She also likes to wheel the four-wheel pink horse thing up the hill, then ride it down while laughing. Taking Sarah sledding will be fun when the time comes. Let’s just be sure to fully heal from the last mishap before inviting a new one.

Sarah occasionally likes to venture past her allowed boundaries. She loves to bang on other people’s sliding glass doors. And she loves to play on the concrete storm sewer platform. I’ve seen the TV movie of Stephen King’s It. I know you keep your kids away from those yawning, rectangular sewer openings where the evil clowns live.

As a rookie parent with very little history of authority in the real world, I’m still working out how to make Sarah listen and obey. I won’t be one of those “screaming and hitting,” abusive, low-rent parents you see at Dollar Tree when you’re just trying to reach for the Kraft Thousand Island With Bacon dressing. Which tastes like crap, by the way. I want my dollar back, and I’ll scream and hit to get it.

On crutches, I’ve lost my #1 Dad on Autopilot trick, which is to scoop Sarah up and remove her from the scene rather than achieving the desired behavior from her. Probably a good thing, because now we have to talk it out. I’m trying to weed out my #2 Dad on Autopilot trick, which is to bribe the crap out of the little munchkin. If, “You’re not supposed to play on the evil clown sewer, let’s go play with your ball,” doesn’t work, I’m tempted to ask if she wants to watch Elmo or see pictures on my phone or eat a mound of Doritos instead of being abducted by a sewer-dwelling Tim Curry in white greasepaint.

My toddler diva all of a sudden can’t get enough of the video clips on my phone she’s the star of. “Watch movie?” doesn’t mean “Let’s check out Citizen Kane, I hear it has some of the most inventive mise-en-scenes in cinematic history.” It means, “Let’s watch me splash in puddles at the park on a one-minute permaloop.”

“Look pictures,” means, “Let’s look at all 90 pictures in dad’s phone for the eighth time today.” That I don’t mind so much, because Sarah continues to surprise me with her one-word descriptions of each picture. She’ll usually start by saying who’s in the picture, then the next time through it’s more about what’s in the picture. “Bike, park, bathtub, akeem, car, sleeping…” I’m just softhearted enough to be touched and amazed by it.

This girl is absorbing words left and right, which I found out the hard way when I said “shit” under my breath then so did Sarah, from across the room. I told Tiffany about the transgression after the fact, and she said, “Oops,” followed immediately by, “Was it cute?” It was cute, shit, I can’t lie. But no more accidental cussing around the toddler. Easily said, I know.

Sarah and I keep having to come inside early due to swarms of mosquitoes. It’s the downside of our week-long Indian summer. They’re probably humping like bunnies down in that storm sewer (i.e. the mosquitoes, not the Indians), and if Sting’s tantric ass has taught us anything, it’s that marathon sex creates an insatiable thirst for human blood. And tepid adult-contemporary hits. I have bites all over me, and so does Sarah. She’s got a big bite on her cheek, and even that looks cute, like she has an adorable case of acne-onset.

Poor Silas, my 3 month old, has had newborn acne almost since Day One. Does they make ProActiv in his age group? Silas’s little face bumps are making him self-conscious around the girl babies.

My social life at the moment, outside of immediate family, consists of maybe one friend visit per week, the dully addictive world of Facebook, and the occasional chain-smoking retiree sitting on her outside patio. I ran into one such yellow-haired, yellow-fingered nicotine repository yesterday afternoon. She intoned through gravelly throat phlegm that my daughter was beautiful and that I should enjoy my kids while I can.

“When they’re 18 and 20,” she wheezed, “they won’t come around much anymore.” I wanted to offer some kind of consolatory protest, then I thought of myself at the late-teen age. I had awesome parents and grandparents and lots of less-than-awesome excuses not to see them on a more regular basis.

Liggett Lady was right. I have to cherish the everydayness of parenting. It seems like ages since Sarah was Silas’s size, taking naps on my chest and sucking down 4-ounce bottles. Now she’s describing photos to me, in mostly clean language. Soon Silas will be her age and she’ll be in preschool. I’ll be in my mid-thirties. And Liggett Lady will have smoked another hundred or so cartons. Time marches on.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Silas celebrates St. Patrick's Day--er, goes for a walk.

DrGimpy’s dirty dream

October 2, 2010

It’s been almost three weeks since I went into surgery for my broken ankle. Still visible – on the outside of the big toe of the foot that was operated on – is a black Sharpied X, smaller than the size of a quarter. A nurse drew that on there as a visual aid for the doctor. So he’d know which foot to operate on. You know, I think the inked-on X was much less of a beacon than the bloody ankle bone protruding three inches from the foot that was hanging limply to the side. But  thank God for the X. Imagine if he’d operated on the good foot and left  the bad one hanging. Seven-figure-settlement territory there. Instead, I’ll probably go into medium four-figure debt over the incident.

I’m still not quite able to bear weight on the broken ankle. I go back to the doctor on Monday. Meanwhile, I can tell you without a doubt, do not Crutch While Intoxicated. I had free tickets to the Funny Bone on Wednesday night, and I shattered the two-drink minimum. It was the dumbest thing I’ve done since the ankle break itself, and I owe my mom a pile of guilty apologies. Still, really quite a good time, right up until I had to negotiate the staircase into my mom’s house. She ended up keeping the baby in her room that night. Bad adult child.

Turns out I was also Facebook friends with the opening comedian. Never underestimate the power of Facebook. It can make you a billionaire at age 23 or it can get you the two tables right in front of the stage for a Wednesday night comedy show. My cast leg was propped on a chair and hanging over the stage itself. Headliner Mike Lukas spent probably ten minutes working jokes about my broken ankle into his set. My cast got more stage time than the emcee. My cast really should have charged a performance fee.

Baby Silas is having his mid-evening nap so he can stay up until 4:30 am. Tiffany’s driving up to meet me right now. I’m looking forward to seeing my Sarah for the first time since Sunday. I love that little girl so much. I think Sarah already has a 21st century attention span. She’ll bring a book to me and beg me to read it to her, but then she wants to flip the  pages rapid-fire. So we hurry up and get to the end, then she immediately wants to start over. And I’m thinking, “Sure, you want to start over. You didn’t catch any of that the first time.”

I’m eager to get back to a normal life, walking and working and having my family all together at my house. I’m starting to go crazy from too much time spent non-productively at odd hours. There’s only so much you can go hunt down on the Internet. I got bored and searched Facebook for other people with the same name as me. My wall reads “Andrew Hicks and Andrew Hicks are now friends,” like I’m finally at peace with myself.

I’ve been looking at my own blog stats a bunch too. My site is still largely a secret – it’s not that I’ve kept it a secret; it’s just that no one talks about or visits it – but it’s getting linked from what look like junk personal finance sites run by bots. Does anyone else know about this phenomenon? Does WordPress just blindly release links to their blogs for these automated websites to put up in the corner under the “Support This Site” header? I don’t have a joke for this, I genuinely want information.

The blog stats also show me what terms people have searched for to find their way to my blog. One person found their way here by searching for “leg cast stories.” Now, I was bored myself and searched for “leg cast stories,” and I was surprised to learn there’s a percentage of Internet users who are into, well, dirty leg cast stories. By dirty, I mean erotic. And according to their stats, they’ve got more readers than I do.

Someone with the screen name CastBytch even writes sensual cast-themed poetry (“My heart skips / Breath shallow / Our eyes meet / Over fiberglass”). I’ve never thought of my condition as anything but an inconvenience. It’s Fracturophile and DrGimpy’s ultimate fantasy. I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. I wonder if user Wantabrokenankle would help pay my mounting medical bills if I attached a couple provocative closeups of my leg cast and hairy toes, complete with Sharpied X. Desperate times, desperate measures.

BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY

Sarah chomps dad's hat