My Christmas Spirit…better be 100 proof!

Alright children, I mean Intertubes, settle down while ol’ Cranky Claus tells you his Christmas story.  You know it’s going to be a good one if he’s writing it at 1:32 a.m.

Twas the night before solstice, and I couldn’t sleep…’cause the baby had been crying in her sleep every hour it seemed.  She wakes up and cries because she can’t find her pacifier.  Of course, she eventually finds it and goes back to sleep, but then, you know, you’re awake because you couldn’t decide whether or not to go help her find it, or just let her deal with it.  Because you’re still new at this parenting thing and you don’t want her to be a weird kid growing up, so you’re trying to make her life as normal as possible, but you don’t really know how to do that because, maybe, you weren’t so normal growing up either.  But you had a decent life and your parents did a great job, so you try and remember what they did, except you can’t because you were only 19 months old at the time yourself, so how the hell can you remember…and all of this shit is running through your head in the darkness and that’s why you can’t sleep.

Not a creature was stirring, except for the cats…all night long I have to play referee for two cats.  Red is not involved. She’s the meek one who finds a nice quiet spot at night.  She goes to bed and apparently stays there all night.  But, the other two…Oliver and Peach, love to antagonize each other, usually on my side of the bed.  Oliver loves to find a warm spot.  This is usually the back of my knees or tucked up between my armpit and my ribs, or between my wife’s and my pillow.  This would be great except that Peach can’t stand not being right next to Oliver.  Like, LITERALLY, on top of him.  This can only lead to one thing.  It starts with an incessantly loud bath that Peach insists that Oliver give her.  So, there’s this cat-licking noise.  Well, then Oliver gets tired of this and he bites Peach which causes her to wince, which at Peach’s size feels like a small earthquake in the bed.  Then there’s a tussle and Oliver usually catapults himself NASA-style through the air to get away from her.  Peach usually trundles after him hitting every body part of mine on the way out of the bed.  If that’s not the scenario, then usually I wake up sweating from Oliver and Peach’s heavy bodies crushing me to the mattress and I strain to move beneath the sheets and dislodge them which causes even more entanglement and feline-induced wrestling.  None of which my wife notices because they NEVER sleep on her at all.

And C. in her pjs and I in my shorts, had just settled down to sleep until morn…which is really the goal, except that if you wake up in our house, you’ll have to contend with either the train horn or the plane engines or the police helicopter.  We’re in the Bermuda-frickin’-triangle of transportation decibels.  It is my belief that Norfolk Southern and CSX move 90% of their cargo, which must consist of plate glass and bone china the way they blow that damn horn to “clear the intersection,” between the wee hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.  And, in the winter, with no leaves on the trees and crystal clear skies, that train horn might as well be in the bedroom with you.  We even had the windows replaced which should’ve deadened the sound, but all that did was rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.  The noise is practically deafening in the still of the night.  And, UPS is no better.  They line those massive cargo planes up in the sky and you can practically set your watch every 30 seconds by the roof-rattling hum produced by their engines.  As the last of one dies away, you can hear the next one’s throaty growl making its approach.  The police helicopter is a little less regular, but apparently criminals like to use our neighborhood as a sort of hide-and-seek maze within which they gambol about.  And no self respecting hoodlum in my neighborhood does his dirty work at 2 p.m., no, you gotta wait until everybody’s gone to bed to get the best stuff.  3 a.m. is the best time.

When out on the lawn, there arose such a clatter, the college kids were barfing, and cussing and fighting…because they’re out of school now, so they can really party it up.  And, they don’t know how to be quiet, or stay inside the home that they’re renting from the crazy crackpot neighbors who would just as soon run you over with their vehicle as be nice to you.  So, you’re awake every 20 minutes when the next carload of intoxicated sorority girls rolls up to the door and you’re trying to decide if they’re going to ultimately quiet down or if you actually need to call the cops which will be a complete waste of your time because all they’ll do is swing by to tell everybody to settle down and then the minute they’re gone the noise starts up again.  They have zero respect for the fact that everyone else in the neighborhood is sleeping and so they’re communiques, which normally consist of a varied usage of the terms “Fuck you,” are loud, obnoxious, and probably alcohol-induced.  And, as I say, talking to the neighbors would be a complete waste of time because they were probably just like them in college and, as a result, have little or no brain cells left to carry on an intelligent conversation.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread…aside from the fact that I have to get up in four hours and it will probably be more of the same when I get back to bed.  I have tried really hard this year to have some Christmas cheer but the world is making it pretty damn difficult.  I know that in the grand scheme of things that all of this is fairly trivial, but I NEED SLEEP!  So, if everyone, my child, the transportation industry, and those snotty little fucknuts across the street, could simply keep it down for a few hours every night, I’d be really appreciative.

Many apologies to Clement Clarke Moore for appropriating bits of his beautiful poem Twas The Night Before Christmas for heinous purposes, but ’tis the season and since he’s dead he’s getting the sleep that I’m not, so he shouldn’t complain.

See you in the funny papers!




As the sun sets…well, actually, I guess at this hour that’s not apropos, but it’s so much more poetic that way, so, ahem…as the sun sets on another birthday, I am humbled in many ways.  First, I am humbled by the outpouring of love by so many friends.  The sheer number of well-wishers on Facebook, not to mention in person, is beyond imagination.  As well, I was entertained by the many facets of my life that brought these friends to me.  From summer camp to neighborhoods, from schools to jobs, from people who have been friends for so long I’ve forgotten how we even met (you know who you are!), so many people have wished me a wonderful birthday and I appreciate you all very much.

Secondly, I am humbled by the number of things that, even at the tender age of 36, I do not yet know.  Among them are: how to gracefully hold my temper, tie a decent knot, exhibit the qualities I enjoy in other people, be truly thankful, and know when a joke is played out.  You would think that after three and a half decades that you’d be able to rejoice in a mindset that you had learned what you needed to know to be a success in life.  But, while I hardly consider myself a failure (though, I do admit at times to thinking that), and, yea though I profess to know a great many things, there are still so many things in this life that I have yet to learn and I think birthdays are good for reminding yourself of that.

Finally, I am humbled by my daughter, who is an ever present reminder that there is good in the world and it comes at the smallest cost imaginable.  She is, even at her crankiest, my greatest accomplishment.  And, yet, I feel as if I’ve done absolutely nothing whatsoever to deserve her.  Her smile, her sleep, her great “meow” as the cats pass by, her look of wonder through the window as we drive down the street, each moment is a confirmation that I’m part of something amazing.  And that is truly humbling.

It has been a good year.  It seems as if they all blend together now and then, but when you’ve had this many, that’s easy to understand.  I hope the next year and the next 36 are just as good.  Thanks to everyone for being along for the ride.

One Word

Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

Not nearly as easy as it sounds.  Choosing one word to conjure an entire year’s worth of life.  I suppose my word for 2010 would be: Beginning.  After looking over the posts for 2010, I found myself beginning different things.  Beginning running again after illness, beginning school, beginning a new job, beginning to see life through the eyes of a toddler.  So, I suppose 2010 was sort of a rebirth for me and it seems to have been, for the most part, a good beginning to that rebirth.  And, I am so very thankful for the lessons and attitudes from this year.  I’m also mindful of the many things that I need to work on for the coming year.

Now, the word to describe 2011 a year from now…I can’t imagine.  I suppose, given how well this year has gone from certain standpoints, I would like for the 2011 word to be: Sustain.  Naturally, there are things I would love to reinvigorate, like running, and I’d like to shoot for new goals, but if I could simply sustain what has happened over the course of this year that would be a major accomplishment.  I guess we’ll take a look back in a year or so and see if it happened.

See you in the funny papers!