Monday, December 29, 2008

Quick Christmas Story

This is how my Christmas morning started:

4:30am Son comes into our bedroom and asks to go downstairs to see if Santa came. Wife agrees he can.

4:31am Son comes back up to say the cookies left out for Santa are just crumbs. Wife asks if he left any gifts downstairs. Son runs off to check.

4:32am Son returns to say the stockings by the fireplace are full. Wife asks if there were any gifts under the tree. Son runs off to check.

4:33am Son heard to gasp, followed by the sound of paper being rustled and gifts being opened. Wife jumps out of bed and is met by daughter in the hallway. They head downstairs to stop son opening everything. Sister-in-law, who is visiting for the holiday, heads downstairs too. The thumping sound on the stairs means Christmas 2008 is a "go."

4:34am My eyes open.

4:35am More thumping on the stairs, this time the unmistakable sound of two adults and two children running back up them.

4:36am I am informed that, along with the gifts Santa delivered for us, our cat Luigi had left a gift of a dead mouse in the living room. A dead mouse I am now being called upon to clean up.

4:37am Christmas morning is less than six minutes old, and I am cleaning up a corpse.

It doesn't stop there. Naturally, not being dressed, I took Squeaky RIP to the backdoor and tossed him out into the yard as far as I could without going out into the snow with no shoes or pants on. Two days later, Squeaky was still laying on top of the snow, perfectly preserved as if placed in the fridge. Which he was, of a fashion. This unfortunately meant I had to clean up more, although that really just meant tossing his tiny body a little further down the yard on to a patch where the snow had melted.

Let's hope it's a good one, without any more dead rodents to deal with.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Blog Entry From The Future

Holiday Greetings, and best wishes for a Happy 2029!

I hope this Christmas Holographic Message finds you in good spirits. I realize there probably isn't too much in here you don't already know - I mean, our reality show is broadcast 24 hours a day, as are most of yours! - but here's a series re-cap of sorts just to keep you all informed.

Patrick has excelled in the NFL since graduating from Rutgers and setting all those rushing records. He turned down offers from the Cyborg Football League and the Steroid Football League to stay "au naturale" and signed with the New York Giants. It wasn't that the CFL's New Jersey Microprocessors Sponsored By AOL didn't offer more money. In fact, their $38 gazillion offer was one of the lowest we got (including the SFL's Receding Scrotal Sacs Sponsored By Viagra's offer which included a plot of land of Mars for a vacation home) but we decided to go with tradition over cash in the end.

Penny has found work harder to come by since curing cancer last year. There just that many diseases around any more since Dr. Keeble-Broderick came along. Even Matthew and Sarah Jessica are frustrated when they are forever fielding calls for Penny from their Hollywood friends - even after Penny won that Oscar in the 2019 remake of Pretty In Pink.

And as for Jason... he graduates Archer next year and remains a glowing endorsement for modern day parenting science and a bitter reminder that even vasectomies performed by the very best robot surgeons aren't 100% perfect. Now pre-school has been condensed to just one year and a series of Intelligence Injections, we don't mind paying the matter transporter fees to take him back and forth from the city twice a week.

Gwen's Nobel Prize for her work transforming NYC into a city powered entirely by potatoes was certainly a highlight. The constant smell of french fries wafting over the river doesn't bother us - but we're told it drifts as far as the old hood in Allendale some days. We often wonder about the old house, but someone told us it was knocked down 10 years ago when the projects expanded. Who would have thought Allendale would replace Newark as the car theft capital of the world?

As for me, the book business has remained strong and has really boomed since my last novel "Love In The Time of Avian Bird Flu" broke all records. Who would have thought every man, woman and child alive would have bought three copies each? And those rumors about people traveling through time just to buy a copy from the past? All true!

Anyway, seasons greeting, I hope RoboSanta Sponsored By Coca-Cola brings you all you can legally request under President Clinton's tough new laws. Ah, sweet Chelsea! You used to be so cool! ... wait, no, I was just kidding around. Yes, I know it's against thought laws and I could be... yes... 10 years? For just saying... well... let me sign off at least... take your hands off me! Don't you know who I am??

AK

Monday, December 01, 2008

Shirt outta luck

The latest drama at the New York Giants is my fault. Sorry.

Here's the thing. Every time I buy a new Giants shirt with a name on the back, something terrible happens. So terrible I can't really wear the shirt again. In fact, now I think of it, it's not just Giants jerseys either.

A few years ago, a friend of mine was having a birthday just ahead of his Eagles playing in the Superbowl. We decided ("we" being a group of guys that would get together and play video games once a month) to get him a Terrell Owens jersey as a birthday gift. You know, because we're good friends. As you might remember, Owens got hurt and played in the big game pretty much on one leg, the Eagles lost, Owens got mad and started pissing everyone off wanting more money and he was eventually traded to the Cowboys, making him an instant hate figure among the Eagles faithful.

Anyway, back to my shopping habits/career-ending Giants incidents. Back in 2000 I bought a Jason Sehorn jersey - my first Giants jersey. A few weeks later he was involved in an infamous play where he stopped chasing a certain opposition player because his pants started falling down. He was traded not long after that.

Tiki Barber - surely a lock, and a Giants favorite forever? Not after I bought my special edition Barber jersey. I got it just ahead of the Giants Superbowl against the Ravens. Not only did the Giants lose, but Tiki suddenly forgot how to hang on to the ball and he fumbled his way through the next few months. He soon got a reputation as a bad influence in the locker room, badmouthing new QB Eli Manning, and decided to retire young (which I don't blame him for - he got beat up for years and wanted to enjoy his immense wealth while he wasn't in a wheelchair.) That said, he managed to undo all the good will he had earned from Giants fans with his acrimonious exit and my shirt is worth half what it used to be (at its peak, people would stop me in the parking lot and offer me cash for it.)

Again, I managed to end the career of another fan favorite when I bought a Jeremy Shockey jersey. Again, everyone loved Shockey. Oppostion fans hated him, and yes, he was an ass, but he was OUR ass. Unfortunately, on the 2008 Superbowl run he got injured and the Giants kept winning without him. He didn't like that, and soon he was traded to New Orleans and became a Giants pariah.

Plaxico Burress caught the winning pass in the Superbowl. How could I fail with a Burress jersey? He played the whole of last season's SB run injured and kept scoring touchdowns. And yet, after I bought his shirt, his lax habits got worse, and following a suspension this season there now follows all this unpleasantness with a gun.

I pledge my next jersey will be a throwback. History can't come back and bite me on the Jeremy Shockey. Meanwhile, what to wear to the game this Sunday?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Getting A Grip

So I'm finally in a position where I don't feel like I'm drowning. "Half-ashore" would be close. "But coughing and spluttering sea water."

I was so overwhelmed by the kids going back to school, I don't even know where to start talking about it. Every day, my daughter's school bag has been coming home with another form asking for another check for something we know nothing about. And the dash from picking up my son and driving across town to get my daughter from a different school became akin to something out of the Wacky Races.

Now, on a day when the weather has turned from 60 and sunny to wet, windy and freezing do I feel capable enough to actually comment on just how insane the last months has been.

I am so glad, despite the ridicule and envy it has created, that I am as good as done with my Christmas shopping. During the summer I made a little money with some magazine articles, so I spent it all on stuff for the family. I might even get packages sent back to England before Valentines Day when it has traditionally shown up.

No other big news to talk of (ie. no book coming out imminently) but hopes remain high for the thing I am about to finish, and the thing I will pick up again after that.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

So...

... this is going to be a difficult post, because I don't want to actually say anything.

But! I am close to finishing my second (sigh!) manuscript, and some exciting stuff is starting to get underway. I have about 3,000 words to write which will bring me to a smaller-than-I-would-have-thought total, but I want to allow for illustrations and photos (shhhh!) and I should be done inside two weeks.

We have family visiting starting tomorrow, which can only hinder my already verging-on-pathetic update rate, but let's all remember that school starts on September 4 and with it comes the promise of mornings with no kids on a regular basis for the first time in months.

Unfortunately, September is a double-edged-sword as Labor Day draws in signifying the unofficial end of summer. And that prospect sucks, as I note my tan is already fading somewhat. Cold weather just doesn't work for me.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

And so we came to the end

So, after some craziness of a family vaction, and on the cusp of more of the same, I have a week to breathe.

We just spent a week in Maine with a lot of in-laws and kids. The beauty of the kids staying out of our hair and playing together with little supervision was unsurpassed. So was the amount of beer consumed.

This time next week, my own parents arrive for a week or so. And on the day they leave, I have to do another one of those pre-school meeting things (my first as President) and also take my daughter to her first day at "big school."

All this means my wit-well is bone dry and I feel like I am hungover, even when I am not.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Parent Paper Again


Here's the article in this month's PP. It coincides nicely with everything else that's coming together about this particular project. That's all I'm saying.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

What?? And yet, YAY!

This is some of the dumbest, and yet potentially greatest, news I have heard in ages.

I don't mean "greatest" because either movie will be any good if they get made, but I mean greatest from a pure marketing point of view for my latest writing project, which is two weeks from completion of the second draft. This coincides with Monday's release of an essay, published in a parenting magazine, to further heat up the potential casserole.

Now, where did I put Punky Brewster's address? (I'm serious... she and two other cult stars will be getting a letter from me in the next few weeks.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

1986



I posted this new photo of myself in 1986 on my facebook profile.

What with my minor obsessions with '80s music (due to the recent '80s night fundraiser I helped organize) and the '80s movie book I've nearly finished, and then seeing this photo, I wasn't too surprised when my five-year-old daughter asked me what it was like in 1986.

Well...

* I was 12 and starting high school, as the photo might imply. I also still wore glasses (they would be replaced by contact lenses three years later) and didn't much care how my hair looked (a new haircut two years later, that came with a good blob of gel a day changed that.)

* I had yet to fully discover the beauty of Aston Villa, and was something of a Liverpool fan as many kids my age were because they won everything. Truth be told, I was pretty indifferent to football at 12.

* I owned a ZX Spectrum computer. It had a 48K memory and loaded games via tape.

* For my 12th birthday, I received a whole bunch of Transformer toys - at least two Insecticons and Perceptor, an import-only Autobot who transformed into a microscope. They were the closest I had to an obsession at this point in my life. I convinced myself I would never tire of my Transformers and would have them on display in my living room as an adult. I then sold some and gave the rest away aged 13 (to buy Bacardi, probably.)

* My favorite pop group by far was Five Star. I would go to my first ever pop concert a year later - the aforementioned Five Star at Wembley Arena. The tour was sponsored by a toothpaste company. I was in the second row and Denise looked at me and waved.

* Girlfriends up until that point hadn't been anything more than a kiss on the cheek after school. It would still be a year until my first real girlfriend, a romance that lasted maybe a week.

* I had my own income from a paper round that brought in less than five pounds a week. I would spend it all on Saturday afternoon (Saturday morning was payday.) For this money I had to wake up at 5:30 and ride a bike carrying a heavy bag of The Sun and The Daily Mirror over a three mile-or-so route, seven days a week. It was a crime.

* My best friends in 1986 were Ed, Matthew, Simon, Deon, Fitzy and an assortment of supporting characters. Over the next four years of high school that hardcore would remain and be supplemented by the likes of Aaron, Marc, Desmond (who was always a friend, but moved in different circles until we were 15) and Richard/Scrapper/Bouncer (all the same person.)

Of course I was a very different person then from now. But I still laugh at BlackAdder (my favorite TV show at the time) and still stay in touch with many of the people I met that year, despite being 2,000 miles away from most of them.

I now understand what "old" people say about how time flies.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Flashbacks

I'm semi-watching a soccer game on TV right now, and I am reminded of my youth by the appearance of Darren Huckerby, playing for San Jose. A decade ago, Huckerby was a great player. And here he is right now, scoring on his full debut.



What's funny is, he's from Nott-ing-ham (as in bacon) and he was last seen playing for Norr-Which in England.

heehee!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

At 6:15am this morning, Sunday took a nosedive.

My wife's office called her in to work. This meant, among other things, I had to accept I couldn't play soccer this morning (what with it being 95 degrees outside, and nobody being awake at 8:30 to even call to ask if they could take them for me.)

It gets better. About 15 minutes ago, it occurred to me that my daughter starts summer camp tomorrow. So I better go do some laundry so she has a clean bathing suit, and I also have to go to the flippin' store again, having sworn I wouldn't have to return until Wednesday at the earliest, to buy flippin' packed lunch stuff for her.

It's so hot I'm sitting in the living room with the A/C on and the attic fan roaring, and I'm still sweating (this is why my wife was called to work - she works for the NYC power utility.)

I had hoped at least one kid would nap, given they were both awake by 6:30 and that we played outside for an hour and they ought to be exhausted. No such luck.

Ugh. It's not even Monday yet, and I know this week is going to hurt. I have mixed feelings about sending my daughter to a camp that is nearly twice as long as her pre-school day. I know she will be fine, but I will have to adjust to only having my son around during the say while bearing in mind she will need to be collected every afternoon.

Friday, July 18, 2008

MJ

Michael Jackson turns 50 this year. It's also the 21st anniversary of the last good album he made.

Whatever you think of MJ, at his prime he made some just awesome pop songs. Now... well, not so much. Then there's all that other business.

Anyway, he's asking his fans to choose a track listing for his latest "Best Of" CD. So, because I happen to be listening to Billie Jean right now, I thought I would help him out.

Beat It
Billie Jean
Smooth Criminal
Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Leave Me Alone
Bad
Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
I Just Can't Stop Loving You
Baby Be Mine
Black or White
Liberian Girl
Man in the Mirror
Ben
She's out of My Life
P.Y.T.
The Lady in My Life
The Way You Make Me Feel
Remember The Time


As good as this track listing is, I wouldn't buy it if this was the "Best Of" listing. I'd just listen to the stuff from Thriller and shrug my shoulders over the rest . Sorry "Wacko." It really isn't anything personal. But I wish you'd stopped when I'd had enough. Right after Bad.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thoughts for a Tuesday

* Sorry it's been so long between posts again, but these summer days are starting to blur. The weekdays are all hot and sunny and humid and I don't have any money to spend. In fact, I'm assuming it's Tuesday today but I'm not sure.

* Despite having to entertain the kids all day, every day, and tolerating some borderline ridiculous long days (Yesterday I was with the kids for 17 hours before my wife joined us... we were all asleep at the time) things aren't as bad as all that. I'm getting a lot of writing done, watching a lot of movies during downtime, and the soccer games I've been playing in have been really good fun, except for...

* ... the return of my ankle injury. I pushed my poor left ankle too far a week or so ago, and now it pops like bubblewrap with every step and feels like there's a rusty bunch of nuts and bolts inside it, not quite holding it together.

* I fucking hate raccoons. One keeps getting into our garage and eating the trash the morning it's supposed to be dragged to the curb. I've patched up two holes in the garage, and this morning patched up a third where the little bastard keeps digging his way in to feast on... well, crap I threw out. It's not appetizing and I can't believe it's the best food he can find, but it's so tasty it would seem he comes back every Monday night for a special slap-up garbage early-bird special.

* My lawnmower broke, which pains me for a few reasons. It was a 30th birthday present and it's awesome. And now the handles have sheered off. It was probably my fault somewhat. My estimation is that it needed some expert maintenance and eventually it shook itself to pieces. On the plus side, we have a lush, green lawn. On the downside, by next weekend it's going to be five feet tall.

* I've started growing hot peppers. How's that for random? The first shoots are due as early as this Friday. I have visions of making some killer hot sauce and giving it to people as gifts.

* I saw the movie Sweeney Todd this week. Well, I saw the first 15 minutes. What a bunch of pretentious wank.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Q. How many pens did we find when emptying out the old minivan?

A. Before answering, I'm not counting the Ruby Tuesday crayons. Nor the Crayola markers. Just the ball-point pens that I would use for writing bank deposit slips at the drive-thru or maintaining shopping lists.

Wrong.



It was 14. FOURTEEN! I when I wanted one, I couldn't find one, although these were all largely in obvious places (glovebox, those hole things on the doors, the center console). One was from the beef marketing board: "BEEF - IT'S WHAT'S FOR DINNER" and I have no idea where it came from, unless I once gave a ride to Dandy comic cowboy Desperate Dan who dropped his pen after reaching his destination and then wiped my memory.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Developments

This is the longest I've gone without posting for a while, but there isn't a whole lot to report.

* We do have a new car. I'm driving it very slowly and parking it Clark Griswald-style in the furthest spot in the lot.

* After playing soccer four times in a week, something had to give. It was my right quad and it hurts like the worst dead-leg-punch I ever got in middle school.

* Today was so humid and having turned up at swim lessons I knew KNEW weren't on today, but allowed myself to be convinced they were, was unhappy to be right.

* Why is Tuvok from Star Trek: Voyager on iCarly?

* I am considering drinking poison so these ****ing mosquitos will bite me, then die.

* The high point of today: I asked the cashier at the check out for some quarters in my change and she offered me $10 worth - still in the roll. That was easy!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

One Year On...

A year ago, this happened.

Right now, I'm pissed off enough as it is without the reminder of how happy I was a year ago, and how I bounded around telling anyone and everyone that I was going to be published.

Today, the weather is British. That is to say, it's not raining right now, but it's just finished, and it could start again at any moment but it might not. The kids are looking at me for something to do, but I'm tired and we have zero money in the bank (thanks, mainly, to both cars needing $1,000 of work two days apart, thus drying up our parachute fund.) I just spent $10 on pizza, which leaves me nothing until July 10. Even the work I finished yesterday that will eventually earn me a chunk of change won't earn me that chunk until September.

If only the weather were better OR I had a hundred bucks in the bank to spend on doing something fun, it would be all good.

SIGH!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Random Tuesday Thoughts

* Having spent an hour with a cranky, sweaty miserable 3-year-old hanging on to my neck, I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing that he is now asleep on the couch. He's either sick or tired - whereas I am both.

* Watermelon is like a summer romance. It's wet, messy and delicious but it's only good in the summer, and if you tried to survive on nothing but watermelon, it just wouldn't work out.

* What is the point of Coronitas? If I want a beer, I want a beer. Not "some" of a beer.



* Why do I have so much trouble letting go of things I have no control over? And why can't I sleep, regardless of whether I go to bed at 7, 8, 10 or midnight?

* While likes of Chelsea and Arsenal are fighting over the cream of Europe to bolster their squads, why can't Aston Villa find someone to play in goal now they've lost both their first team goalkeepers? I like to think I know enough about "soccer" to realize having a goalkeeper would really help win games... by not losing them.

* Talking of soccer, I am so much more excited about the prospect of playing this Sunday than watching Germany playing Spain in the European Championship final. It's bound to go to penalties, Germany will win, and nobody outside of Germany will be happy about it.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Costanza

I have always loved Seinfeld, and always had a love-hate with George Costanza. Sometimes I have to change the channel rather than watch George do some of the stupid shit he pulls as he digs himself deeper and deeper into a hole.

During soccer games, if I score early on, I will often consider pulling a Costanza (that is, quit while I'm ahead.)



But yesterday I was watching the episode when Elaine and Jerry are on the plane (Jerry in first class, next to a model, drinking wine - Elaine in coach braving a blown-up toilet) and I started to agree with almost every sentiment George was having.

It was funny, then it was scary.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ants

Every summer, there's a couple of weeks when ants march through our house. But, so what? I could fill the house with poisons or corn meal which they (supposedly) can't digest and it makes them explode or something (but let the record show I have my doubts - we were told slices of lemon would deter even the heartiest scout ants from bothering us. What did we end up with? Lemon slices covered with ants. It's like the old red-pepper-on-peanuts-deters-squirrels-from-eating-nuts-meant-for-the-birds lie. We had squirrels lining up to sample our uber-savory red-peppery snack nuts. But I digress.) But they're just bloody ants. Who gives one?

Last summer, I got a little crazy when someone left a half-eaten french fry container on the couch overnight and in the morning, the couch was coated with ants. That was unpleasant, but... you know. It's just ants. They are nature's irritants. They don't bite (hard enough that you would notice.) Whatever. And when you disturb them, they scatter faster than a group of nine-year-olds they just broke a car windshield.

But this morning, I woke up, and they were all over the kitchen. Yes, someone left the top of the honey pot, which encouraged them to start sniffing around. But then we found them in the butter dish. And all over everywhere. Bastards!

I wonder if aardvark's make a lot of mess, or could be trained to use a cat litter box, because that's the best way I can think of to keep the little shitheads out of my house. Plus it would be cool to have an aardvark.

"Hey, what the heck is that?"
"(swelling with pride) An aardvark. His name is Varky."
"You rock."
"Yes, yes I do."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hold The Front Page!

As far from your face as possible!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day

I'm still getting used to being the subject of "Father's Day" though yesterday was my fifth.

That said, it was a great day of low-key pampering.

Wake up, breakfast (bacon sandwich - food of the gods) and presents (handmade crafts - the best kind of gifts) before soccer (one goal.) Home, lunch, off to movies to see Indiana Jones (**** - fun. I should have seen it last Tuesday, so this made it a double-whammy of satisfaction.) Home, wine (white) and dinner (burgers, hot dogs, flame grilled red peppers.) Battlestar Galactica (two DVRed episodes) and bed.

Oh, and I'll scan the newspaper front page later today. It's going to rain a lot, so I'm going to be inside with nothing else to do.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Splash

Once again, I find myself on the front page - this time of the local newspaper.

Even stranger, it's the one that I work for. The photo is really pretty good, considering it was taken in my house. I will post a scan tomorrow for those not in the Town Journal's catchment area (ie. anyone not within 20 minutes driving distance.)

Once again, I find myself pondering how many copies of my book I could have shifted on the back of this if it had been released on schedule last Friday. Once again, I probably shouldn't bother asking myself as it wasn't.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Today's Conversation With Patrick

Patrick: "Yes means no and no means yes."

Me: "Is that right?"

Patrick: "... no ..."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Random Thoughts On A Tuesday

* The biggest thrill of today was probably the fact I saved $20.20 with my Pathmark card after buying enough supplies to last (I hope) the next two weeks. Today was payday, and we're already in something of a hole thanks to both cars needing to be patched up in the last month. Not to mention the price of gas meant we had almost twice as much on our Shell card as usual.

* A random phone call and a nice e-mail made me smile as much as the look on Patrick's face when he saw a box of Eggo waffles with Kung-Fu Panda on them.

* Kashi cereal really shouldn't taste as good as it does.

* Given that it's nearly 100 degrees outside (at 9:30am) and that I lost at least a pound in weight every twenty minutes through my sweat glands all night long, how can I have gained weight since last week?

* A major soccer tournament is taking place, and I have access to watch every game live, but I couldn't give a toss. Although I do hope Holland win, what with my vague Dutch-ness and the fact they have some of the coolest jerseys in world soccer (after QPR and Villa.)

* Mike's Hard Lemonade shouldn't be allowed when it's this hot.

* Anyone talking on a cell phone and driving a Hummer/Escalade like they just passed their test who refuses to even acknowledge a honk because they're driving like a tit should have their phone stuck up their arse. If McCain proposed this as a law (and I was a US citizen) I would vote for him and volunteer to do the shoving.

* Why can't the zoo open at 8am on days like this? And why doesn't the local theater have matinees? Yes, school is still in session, but there are thousands of parents of pre-schoolers who now have to brave the extreme heat or stay home. Surely showing a kids movie in an air-conditioned theater at 11am or letting people out to look at the animals while it's only 75 outside would help everyone.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

There Will Be Blood...

So, here's one from the "couldn't make it up" file.

Penny had an appointment for a sample of Kindergarten life today, so I dragged myself, Penny and Patrick down to the school where she won't start for real until September.

After wandering around and into a First Grade breakfast or something (needless to say I didn't hang around to find out exactly what it was all about) I eventually worked out where I was supposed to be and walked over there, the kids skipping behind me holding my hand.

And then Patrick skip-tripped and skinned his knee, the gash deepened by the fact I unwittingly dragged him along the sidewalk by his hand as he lost his balance. He's crying, there's blood... and oh look! There's the School's Principal!

So, I pick him up (he's crying up a storm) and walk over to greet her. While she is sticking on Penny's name tag, I look down at my white Knicks t-shirt. It's covered in blood from Pat's knee wound. Perfect.

So, as the handful of other K-parents-to-be gather nervously and make their way into the school - many of them for the first time - I sneak along at the back of the line, naturally the only father, holding a sobbing child, and covered in blood.

I ran out before anyone could call me on it. Wonderful way to make a first impression on a school.

Big Papi (not me, Ortiz of the R** S**)

This didn't bother me too much at first, but the more I thought about it, the madder I got.

David Ortiz, a behemoth of a man that plays for the Boston R** S** is going to stand at Yankee Stadium during All-Star Week, have a fan tell him where to hit a home run, call his shot (just like Babe Ruth may or may not have done in the 1932 World Series) and then slap one over the fence.

I have been considering a comparison for my English friends to understand. It would be like having Maradona re-enact his Hand of God at Wembley with a fan playing the part of Steve Hodge.

So, to put things right I've entered the sweepstakes to get the right to tell Big Papi where to put his home run.

And when I win, I intend to tell him: up his arse. And I hope he makes it.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Week Ahead

The following week is packed, but I'm going to try my hardest to get to the driving range and shank a few more balls over the right hand side netting.

MONDAY - Actually, this is kind of a quiet day. Unless you count laundry, cooking and cleaning.

TUESDAY - Free movie day in Ridgewood! Indiana Jones, anyone? Also I'm out for dinner at a swanky swank.

WEDNESDAY - Playdate for the kids, five irons for me.

THURSDAY - Pen has a pretend hour at Kindergarten to start the day. Nice.

FRIDAY - Birthday parties, grown-up parties, perhaps the arrival of my brother-in-law (see Sunday)

SATURDAY - Kickball, parties

SUNDAY - USA v Argentina at Giants Stadium with bro-in-law and others.

(in related news, someone asked me if I got on with my brother-in-law. I described him as "like my wife, but a guy" which sells him short somewhat, but it's a pretty good yardstick. If that doesn't spell it out to you, yes, he's a good guy.)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Link to Parent Paper





OK, you can go here and look at the cover (which it will default to, page 6 (a little blurb in the bottom right), page 26 and 27 (which is the article that prompted the cover). Enjoy.

Or you can just look at these:

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Parent Paper

So, this afternoon I came home and found an express DHL delivery of the new Parent Paper on my doorstep. You know - the one with me and my son on the cover?

I would post a link to the PP website, but it's not up yet. I guess it will be up on Monday. But as soon as it is, I'll share it for those of you outside Bergen County.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Vacation over

For those of you who don't know, and frankly if I met you in person, I told you, I was left home alone this last weekend while the family went off to D.C.

Before they left, I had visions of self-indulgence. The truth is, about an hour after I was left alone I didn't know what to do.

I was laughing with some friends about how, if I didn't have a kid in tow, I wouldn't have much of a week-day social life. I can hardly go hang with my buddies (all women) at the playground if I don't have a kid with me. That would be all wrong. Similarly, I can hardly go over to a mom's house for a playdate if my kids aren't involved. I mean, how could I justify that?

So, here's my big discovery - my life is so intrinsically tied to my kids' lives that I don't have much of a life anymore. I have lost myself and forgotten what I like to do by myself.

Sure, I could have spent the last three days drunk watching dirty movies and eating lard. I could have gone to Manhattan and bar-crawled through the old 'hood and eaten six bacon-blue-cheeseburgers (although travel was limited, as was excessive expenditure as is usually the case at this time of month.)

So what did I do? The short answer is that I tried to feed my soul.

There was steak involved (on sale at the A&P) along with beer (one six pack of Miller Light over four days.) I watched a few movies, but nothing with excessive nudity (unless you count the naked man fight from "Eastern Promises") and I sat in the back yard and breathed the suburban air. I even managed to get some work done, covering the Memorial Day festivities in A-Town and earning a little greenback.

The biggest plus, and I swear this is no exaggeration, was the eight hours straight I managed to sleep on Sunday night from 10pm through 6am. This is the longest I have slept without tossing and turning since long before Penelope was born five years ago.

And despite the lack of excitement, it was clearly just what I needed. My eyes were opened. I have to get my life back. But also I learned that being intrinsically linked to two kids is not so bad after all. Right now it's a steamy morning with very little prospect of outside play any time today. The house is a shit-tip, thanks to the pile of post-trip bags dumped in the living room after the car was unloaded. I have plenty of work to do, but also two kids to entertain - preferably without the TV. And I'm looking forward to it.

Somewhere, somehow and sometime soon I'll have to remember how to really enjoy myself given the time, but I have a fully-fed soul and some direction back in my life. I'll take that for now.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Silence Of The Rabbit

From the moment we got our cat, I wanted to call him Ninja. We ended up calling him Luigi, an homage to the less-well-known Nintendo plumbing brother.

Luigi is an excellent mouser, and living in the rural suburbs as we do, that's a good thing. In our backyard at any given time one can find mice, squirrels, chipmunks, groundhogs, rabbits, deer, raccoons, skunks - it's like a zoo, but with only timid, flower-eating animals.

Which brings me to yesterday afternoon...

A friend came over to pick up her daughter who had been on a Wii playdate at my place. We were chatting on the doorstep and she noticed Luigi sitting by an open, but screened-in window, looking out with some menace - like he'd been on the catnip all morning and someone, somewhere was going to get messed up because of it. We chatted, he looked out of the window.

I opened the door to go back inside, and he bolted out, darted past me and jumped down into the garden and on top of a rabbit.

We have rabbits living under our front steps. When we found out, we shrugged. It was rabbits! Who cares? If it had been a skunk family, or even a bloody groundhog (as it has in the past) I would have done everything I could to flush it out. But rabbits? Please.

So, thanks to my lax attitude and my cat's warrior instincts, my friend Amy and I were now watching my cat mauling a rabbit. At least, that's how it looked. Luigi had the rabbit in his mouth and was walking around with it, its eyes bulging, and not sure what to do next. A little like myself. I told Amy to get her girls into the car (5 and 3 and traumatized at this point) and I went to get my shoes so I could pursue the black-and-white feline beast and his dinner-to-be.

I came out again, and before I could slip my Sambas on, Luigi put the rabbit down. And to everyone's surprise (including my kids, who were now watching from the window) - it jumped up and ran away! That's great! Except that Luigi chased after it. I threw my shoes towards the cat to try and stop him, but all that did was left me shoeless. The rabbit ran in circles, then dived back into its burrow. Luigi followed it, then dug into the burrow enough to resurface with the rabbit in his mouth again. We were back where we were minutes earlier.

Amy left, explaining to her kids that Luigi was "playing" with a "mouse" and I retrieved my shoes and went after him, sure I would soon have a blood-soaked cat and a dead bunny on my hands. Again, Luigi put down his catch... and again, the thing jumped up and bounded away. I grabbed the cat and the bunny went on his merry way. Amazing.

I took Ninja (his new name as far as I'm concerned, such is his stealth and guile) back inside and locked him in. He was wired, but clean. I came back outside, and who should I see sitting there, the very definition of "stupid" and "glutton for more near-death experiences" but the bunny. Looking up at me, a mix of "thanks, but kick your bastard cat friend for me, wouldya?" on his face.

Later, I would confront Luigi, but really, what could I say? "Don't be a cat?" We chose him from the shelter clearly because he would be a good mouser. It's like my old family dog, Cindy. She was the loudest, barkiest dog in the pound when we got her. That was the point. She was our burglar alarm. We then spent 10 years telling her to shut up. But, she was a barky dog! And so, we have a rodent-predator cat, and that's that. And it's not a bad thing. I was even able to tell my kids, 100% honestly, that the rabbit was fine and Luigi was just playing with it.

Penny's reaction was priceless: "Daddy, I saw Luigi with the rabbit in his mouth, and I was shocked."

Me too, kiddo.

Monday, May 19, 2008

34

Yesterday was my birthday. The day before that was so full of stuff, I am still dealing with the trauma (it wasn't all bad, but it was taxing and I'm not ready to blugh it all out yet.)

My birthday began with presents in bed, then breakfast, relaxation time, more presents, then being blindfolded and taken to dinner (disorientated, I had no idea where I was. Turns out I was right in town, and had been paraded, blindfolded, past the our supermarket of choice. I heard at least one "Oh, there's Adam!" as I was led through the parking lot,) before watching Goldmember on TV and passing out in bed before 9 o'clock. It was truly great.

Friday, May 16, 2008

MSNBC?

And there I am! And while it's somewhat shorter than my long conversation with the journalist lead me to believe, it's there!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24603016/

And here's the edited highlights:

"Some fathers, like Adam Keeble of Allendale, N.J., feel they're accepted easily into their town's community of mothers. As the lone stay-at-home dad with a British accent in the local park, he said, so many mothers would say "Hi, Adam" that he had to keep a book to remember names. He also has no trouble, he says, organizing playdates at his house.

Keeble, an aspiring novelist who's been home for five years, says the frustration of the job is similar to that a mother might experience. "It's the best job in the world, except when it isn't," he says. "On a sunny day with the kids playing in the sand, it's great. But then there's the miserable February day when they look at me and say, well, now what? And, well, it's only reruns of Dora."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

About Last Night

8:45 - Daughter finally falls asleep in her bed. I tip-toe into the master bedroom where the wife has fallen asleep with my son, who has been fighting night's sweet embrace. Unsure whether he is fully asleep, I return to my daughter's room and lay there, planning to wait it out.

8:59 - the phone rings. The house stirs. I leap downstairs and answer. While I'm on the phone I get another call coming in. I hurry the first caller off the phone, let the second leave a message. I wait it out downstairs for 10 minutes to ensure everyone is back in REM mode.

9:15 - back upstairs, Son is transferred to his bed, I climb into my bed alongside snoring wife.

12:00 - the phone starts making all kinds of noise - not ringing, just beeping as though it had been lost and we were paging it to find it. I jump out of bed, noting my son is now alongside me (missed that one) and turn the phone off. Turns out the cat had pressed the "transfer call" button. I lay awake for an hour.

2:15 - Daughter comes into our room. Son wakes up. Something about a trip to the bathroom.

3:00 - Wife, now sleeping in son's bed, takes son to bathroom. There is a change of pajamas (can't be good.) Daughter is in our bed.

5:20 - I am in our bed with son. Wife is in son's bed alone. Daughter is in her bed alone. Wife comes into our room, slumps on bed. I leave our bed and come downstairs. My day is underway.

Now, I'm not one to curse, but what the fuck?

Monday, May 12, 2008

On The Rebound

Despite my publishing deal going tits up, I have never been in demand to this crazy extent.

As well as all the relentlessness of organizing the fundraiser this weekend for my kids' pre-school (of which I will be the president of the board starting next month), and appearing on the cover of Parent Paper next month, I just got interviewed for the first time for a feature by an AP journalist about being a stay-at-home dad. Just imagine if my book was still coming out in three weeks time! I would have shifted a bunch! Imagine!

But there's more. I wrote the splash and page three lead of my local paper last week, and will be covering the Memorial Day parade next weekend. I also believe I am going to be featured in the Father's Day issue of the paper too, promoting something very exciting I can't talk about still that I'm doing in June.

Next month will be my fifth anniversary of quitting my job and staying home with the kids (though, of course, at the time it was just the one.) I suppose I must be considered some kind of expert at this point. That said, I wonder what the AP journalist will end up saying about me. I probably should have asked that while she was still on the phone. If her story makes Yahoo news, I'll send a link.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Small... far away... ah, forget it!



Oh, and while I think of it, yesterday my son said I looked like Father Ted. I was one-part happy, one-part poignant, and one-part pissed off.

Meet El Presidente

If not for the fact I am sleeping so, so badly right now I might have found time sooner to mention that I am now President-elect of the board at my kids' preschool.

This is obviously a fun thing, and not one of the things causing me to wake up at 1am and stay awake until 3 or 4am every day this past week. Those not-fun things fueling my insomnia don't bother me so much during daylight hours, but I think it's fair to say I haven't slept this badly, this often since Patrick was a new born.

I am also well aware that my feet are killing me since a particularly vigorous soccer game nearly a month ago. It feels like every bone in both feet has been shaken loose then replaced somewhere close to where they ought to be.

This is also the fifth time in two weeks where The Pre-School's First Lady-elect is going to be super-late home (ie. after 10pm) which is taking its toll on my sanity. A 12-hour day is a cinch. A 14-hour day is a stretch. But when she leaves at 6 and doesn't come back until 11pm - a 17-hour day - it can get a little... much, depending on how easily the kids go to sleep. Mix crippling exhaustion with crippling insomnia, and my face starts to look like Droopy the Dog's/a contour map and the light twinkle in my eyes is dimmed to a birthday candle in an Olympic stadium.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Good Things About Today

1) A Mariano Rivera signed baseball in the mail.

2) Portishead's new CD arrives from Amazon

3) Along with the Tim and Eric DVD

4) Sunny, 75 degrees

5) Two beers in the fridge for the last 24 hours, icy to the touch

6) No nap from either kid today, but plenty of running around. Early nights all round.

7) Seven DVDs sitting on top of the TV waiting to be watched - all of which are too violent for the kids to watch (300 Days of Night, War) or childish... but adult (Balls Of Fury) and no wife around tonight, so I can take my pick.

8) Isn't seven enough?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean...

What? You're still reading this blog, even though the book is kaput?

Well, good for you. Because I have something fun to share.

Last year I wrote a funny article for The Parent Paper. I wasn't paid, but I got a lot of props. If I can be bothered, I'll find the post about it and link it here. It was about Patrick being left-handed, and therefore obviously a sporting legend in the making. I was paid in books and DVDs. It was fair.

The PP editor then asked me if I would submit another article for last year's father's day issue. I did, and it was funny. I don't think I even got the books and DVDs this time, but I didn't care.

This year, I was asked to write a lengthier, more substantial piece - and I would be paid with Yankee dollars. Once again, I did so.

Then, last week, I was asked...

TO BE ON THE COVER OF PARENT PAPER, THUS BECOMING THE FACE OF FATHER'S DAY FOR THE WHOLE OF BERGEN COUNTY!

So, yesterday, Patrick, Penelope and I went to a photo shoot and goofed around. Pat and I were wearing the same clothes, right down to the shoes, and we will be on the cover - and throughout the June issue - of the bumper Father's Day edition.

The PP is also interested in more work from me - funny stuff, not stuff about serious medical issues or parenting dilemmas. You know, stuff about Darth Vader being a good role-model for new dads. Yeah, heavy stuff like that.

Now, call me a self-publicist if you will, but: up yours. I couldn't get a book published even after I signed a contract to do so. If this helps me make a living as a writer somewhere down the line, I won't care how it looks to any potential haterz. Fact is, I'm about to be on the cover of a magazine, and you aren't.

And when I get recognized by a stranger at the park and asked to sign her PP, I'll do it. In fact, I'm going to ask for pens for my birthday so I always have one on hand.

Fun, no?

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Fulham Dray RIP

I'm sad to find out one of my favorite pubs, The Fulham Dray in SW6, London, is no more. I'm probably the last person on earth to find this out, as it actually closed its doors in 2002.

Shortly after I was employed by Teletext, The Dray opened right around the corner from my office. It became a favorite spot for our traditional lunch hour drink (and traditional lunch two-hour drink on Fridays) as well as a favorite on the way home. It was only the second pub I can really call a "local" after The Railway in Hatch End, where I drank heavily (in both quantity and frequency - I was there almost every day between the ages of 17 and 20.)

I would walk in and be greeted by the landlord, Ollie, who would pour my usual before I asked for it. We played pool, put the world to rights, and even did some work aided by the Fosters lubrication. The fact it was a Chelsea supporters pub mattered very little to me. On an average weeknight the crowd was a mix of the locals propping up the bar, the Teletext louts, a bunch of teachers (who taught at the school Tony Blair sent his kids to) and some postal workers who had probably been there since their shift finished. It was always friendly (apart from one night when... well, I wasn't involved but it all got a bit nasty in the street outside) and I have many, many fond memories of the old place.

The writing was on the wall shortly after the unpleasantness that one Friday night, and Ollie (wholly unrelated to it) moved on to take charge of another pub. I'm not sure I went there after Ollie left, as I was soon after to move to Manhattan, but I'm sure it was a bit rubbish without him there. I hadn't actually vocally ordered a drink there in more than two years, so it would have been like starting again.

Following its demise (assisted, I'm sure, not only by Ollie leaving but by Teletext moving to a new site miles away) it turns out it re-opened in 2004 as a trendy bar. Gone was the "burger in a basket with chips" and the pool table. In came a variety of fancy fancy and, in an effort to be a bit hoity-toity, a credit card only policy. Behold - a pub that doesn't take money!

Anyway, a little after the event, I ask you to raise a glass to The Fulham Dray. God bless all who sailed in her. Especially during Euro '96. Magnificent times.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Almost there....

So, with one day to go of Spring Break it has been a 100% pleasant experience.

Today's playdate left me kid-free for a couple of hours, so I went to the driving range and hit a few dozen balls with an frustrating slice. Got to work on that grip. I then had a magnificent Buffalo Chicken Wrap that was so hot, my ears stopped popping temporarily (and that's a whole nother story.)

After the kids were returned, we hung out and I mowed the lawn before going back to the park and hanging out for an hour or so. I now have a Bombay Sapphire and tonic on the go and all is right in the world.

Both the interested publisher and interested agent are leaving me hanging, but it's all good. Come Monday morning, school is back in session and I have to worry about my annual stand-up-in-front-of-100-people-and-make-a-speech thing as well as the '80s party I've been planning for months.

I also have lined up something so very exciting, I am going to shock the entire community. But that's still a while away... Plus, it looks like I am doing something else only slightly less exciting in June. I am some kind of excitement monster.

And, and on May 18, I turn 34, thus out-living Jesus. Yip. Eee.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Halfway There

Midway through SB and all is going well enough.

The downside of getting a little extra money in the bank is that it's never enough. Our tax rebate is holding up well, but it's clear we can't do everything we want with it. In an ideal world, we could pay off AmEx, resurface the drive, fix up the basement and take a vacation with Mickey Mouse... and still have the money in the bank for things like... oh, I don't know... the mortgage? Food? Clothes?

All that said, my recent mantra has been: "Nothing is ever as bad when it's sunny" and sunny it certainly is. We've been in the 70s and I've been wearing Banana Boat, my prescription shades, shorts and not much more all week. Nothing has changed in our situation other than the weather. That's enough.

Another playdate today, then I've got to get back on the phone to get through Thursday and Friday. I have a couple of leads, so it's all good. An (adult) party this weekend - we even have a non-family-member as a babysitter for probably only the fifth time ever.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spring Break! Woo-hoo?

The words "Spring Break" mean a lot of things to different people.

Growing up, my spring break was spent wandering around shopping malls, playing tennis and, in my high school years, doing anything except revising for my end of year exams. I know US-based teens can take spring break to near mythical status with their ventures to the sunniest climes and going buck wild.

But to me, right now, SB means I have two kids waking up and asking me: "So, no school today? What else you got?"

I've been in a funk for a few days, but I'm starting to see that I can make this work in my favor by lining up a week of fun for them that doesn't involve me - and at low cost. I'm talking drop-off playdates.

The beauty of a drop-off playdate is that it works either way. If I drop my kids off, I don't see them for a couple of hours and it's all good. If I have someone else drop their kids off, the new arrivals take on my role as primary entertainer, and I'm free to do other things in a distraction-free environment. As long as I don't just drive off and leave a five-year-old in charge of my own kids. That would probably spoil the possibilities of another drop-off playdate happening. And probably come with jail time and my kids going into care.

So, five weekdays on the horizon and only one planned item on the agenda (today, library story time) means I have to get a grip on this week or get overwhelmed in an amazingly short amount of time.

Here's the plan:

1) Call friends for playdates.
2) Cook meals for quick, easy service later this week.
3) Stock up on kid-friendly snacks. A well-fed playdate-ee will want to come back.
4) Pray for sunshine. A trip to the park is low-maintenance, high-yield.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What's the opposite of "curb?"

My enthusiasm for all things book-related was recently revived by, of all things, a book signing I attended on Sunday.

Apart from one of those "it's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it" stories where the author of the book (that I was meeting for the first time in person but have "known" for more than a year thanks to the internet) turned out to be the sister of a guy I have been playing soccer with for the last five years, I ended up having an email exchange with an agent. Regardless of how that pans out, I think it's safe to say I have my groove back.

Publishers are certainly more interested in IGYB when they hear it's all done (proofed, copy-edited, type-set) and a few have shown some interest in the things I am writing now (one in particular) which has provided the proverbial carrot on a stick for me, the proverbial donkey (or "ass") to chase after.

However, I'm certainly not getting too excited this time around until I have the book in my hand. As the news continues to filter out through town and across my network of friends that the book isn't coming out in June after all, it's getting harder to tell the story again and again. I feel like months ago I announced I was pregnant and now as we near the due date I'm having to tell people it was just indigestion.

Still, it is with a renewed lusting that I'm back in the saddle and the stuff I have been writing recently (yesterday in particular) is still pretty darn good. And a little ego-massage from the semi-interested parties has only plumped up my creativity feathers.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

This...

...cheered me up so, so much.



He's just being a goof on a slide, which is what I needed to see because, aren't we all just goofs on a slide?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

"You're kidding me..."

Sometimes my faith in humanity is pushed to its limits.

I don't believe people are naturally good. I think people are naturally indifferent. And then some shithead comes along and has me start to doubt even that.

At my kids' pre-school, we had an empty water bottle where people deposited their pocket change. All the money collected in the bottle was to be used to buy books for the classrooms. I say "was" because at some point in the last two weeks, some shithead emptied the bottle of the collected money and made off with it, putting the empty bottle back where they found it.

Listen, times are hard for all of us, but there was probably $40 in this thing, made up of nickels and dimes, and it was all to spent on books for pre-schoolers. It was advertised as such.

I have a few hopes about this situation. To hope for someone to get guilty and give the money back? Not a chance. If you're enough of a turd to take it in the first place, you have no remorse. What I hope is that $40 in change was taken by an opportunist, and not someone (God forbid, a parent at the school) who knew it was there and what it was for. And I hope whoever took it really needed it, more than the three-to-five-year-olds they stole the money from.

And I hope karma kicks the living bejesus out of them. In front of their girlfriend. And shits in their shoes.

* The title of this post is a direct quote from everyone at the school I have told about this. I discovered the theft last week, but wanted to be sure there was no mistake/miscommunication. There wasn't.

Monday, April 07, 2008

To Nap or Not To Nap

Sometimes it feels like my wife is wishing my son's nap away. She constantly reminds me that it won't last forever, and "wouldn't it be better if he slept through the night instead?"

I'm no fool. If his sister is anything to go by, I have maybe six more months of naps from him before he no longer needs it. But that nap time is fast becoming my favorite time of the day. It's almost irrelevant if he sleeps through the night anyway. I never do.

People say I'm lucky that he still naps for at least three hours a day. But put it this way - if he didn't, we would be living in a rat-infested hell hole with no food in the fridge and I would be wearing dirty pauper's rags as clothes. Not because I spend the time when he's asleep cleaning, shopping, cooking and doing laundry. Far from it.

When he closes his eyes at about 1:30 every afternoon, I do what I have to do. This is often:

Watch SportsCenter
Watch Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law (thank you, DVR)
Watch the Yanks in a day game
Write
Check out hot photos of Natalie Portman, Julia Louis Dreyfus and Sarah Silverman
Play card games with daughter
Play Wii with daughter
Eat a big sandwich

But it is because I spend his naptime doing this self-pampering stuff that I can spend time during the time when he's awake:

Cleaning the kitchen (twice a day - upon waking, then after dinner)
Carrying dirty clothes down to the basement, bringing clean ones up, folding them, putting them away
Shopping
Reminding my son he needs to go potty (to avoid making more dirty clothes)
Read (Madeline books and anything with big trucks in)
Pouring Cheerios into bowls
Making a big sandwich

The day his nap dries up will mean a whole new outlook on my day. And I'm not looking forward to it.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Long Story Short

For the last month or so, the future of my novel "I Got You, Babe" has been in question. This week I found out it won't be published this June after all.

To cut a long story short (as Tony Hadley once sang) my publisher went into liquidation on Monday and my book rights have reverted back to me. This doesn't mean it's all over - some of my fellow authors with my former publisher have already been snapped up another house.

I haven't lost anything, except a little enthusiasm - and that will come back. And, as you will know if you read this blog, I have two more projects that will be done by this summer.

Sure, it's not good news - and the launch party BBQ in our back yard is now just a party BBQ in the back yard - but it's not terrible news either. And I'm not just saying that to soften the blow. I was pissed off and feared the worst when I first got wind of what was going on at my publisher. Since then the not-knowing was far more taxing than finally finding out I wasn't going to be published after all. In the end, it was a relief.

Sure, I'll take your sympathy and well-wishes and "what bastard luck!"s, but I'm fine and if I never find a home for it I (almost) won't mind, because if you read between the lines, IGYB is MY story and I needed to write it so I could write everything else I've written since.

That said, you can bet your left nut I'm going to push to get it published because the hardest part for me is that I feel like I've let a lot of people down. People like you, reading this now, gave me the energy to get the story written and keep pushing when I felt shitty. I'm sorry this happened. I'll put it right if I can.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

This year's April Fool e-mail

Names have been omitted to protect the 80% of recipients who are SUCKERS.

***

Hey all -

I have some awesome news about “Sub-Urban Sub-Species!”

After the successful pitch following the You Tube thing (when the “pilot” episode got more than 7 million hits last month and was named the NYT Buzz Worthy Video for March), CBS have officially commissioned a TV series to air in Fall 2009!

I know I’ve sent the link to the You Tube thing to everyone I know at least six times – but the plot for the series will follow a pre-historic time traveler who stumbles on a murder plot to kill the Queen of England. The format is a little like 24 in that every episode follows one day in Ugg’s life, but it gets complicated because at every commercial break, the time period changes, just like in the pilot when it jumped from 2012 back to World War I when Ugg used the crystal rune amulet.

Filming starts this summer in Allendale, Paramus (pending a permit to use Paramus Park after hours) and in North London where I grew up. The casting is kinda top secret still for another week or so, but Laura spotted the Variety story and... Well, I can’t deny Patrick Dempsey is interested :) However, Natalie Portman is filming a sequel to The Other Boleyn Girl, so she was unavailable (which was too bad for two reasons...) - but please keep that to yourself. We don’t want our second choice to know she was second choice :)

Here’s the extra exciting news – we will need extras for filming! Like when that sitcom “Ed” was filmed in Allendale, Paul and I will try to use local people as “in-jokes” during episodes. The Pettinato house will be the main base of operations for the MHWAH (the group hunting Ugg through time) while the exterior of the Fell House will be used (the interior will be in a studio) for the female lead’s house.

If you are going to be around the week of July 7-11 and would like to be in the show, please let me know BEFORE NOON TODAY. You will need an Equity card if you want a speaking role, but I can help speed that process up. You can get the details of applying for a card at http://www.actorsequity.org/Benefits

Thanks for all the well wishes – I will be in London starting tomorrow to assist with casting there, but I will be able to check my e-mail, so please let me know ASAP!

Adam K

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday

It's well documented that there are certain things I can manage on a Monday that I just can't do on a Friday. I tend to leave all the major cleaning to Tuesday, because Monday needs to break the week gently. By Friday, I'm just about done. The kids are sick of me. I'm sick of them. And then, once in a while, I get a call at lunchtime saying "I'll be late tonight" that just puts the cherry on top. In short - I'm effing exhausted, and Natalie Portman covered in Bird's custard couldn't stir me from my funk.

But, here's a fun game for all of you. Can you spot where I went wrong in the following story?

With our new bulging bank balance (thank you, tax rebate) we've been letting our hair down. Red Hot sauce AND Tabasco? You got it! Paper towels AND tissue paper? It's a deal!

So, for dinner tonight, I did a double. What with it being Friday, and my reserves pretty much empty I went for Chinese food - my kids favorite - and ice cream for dessert. So I went to the Chinese food store, put in the order, went next door to the Dairy Queen and picked up the ice cream cups - two kids sized scoops - and then back to get the Chinese food and then home.

Where did Adam go wrong? The parents of you probably already know.

Here's how my kids' minds work. The prospect of Chinese food was outstanding... until the ice cream came into play. This meant trying to get them to force down their FAVORITE chicken and broccoli was like pouring pepper on a urine stain on the carpet and then trying to rub the dog's nose in it to teach it a lesson.

"You like this! You were dancing around the kitchen, jumping with delight when I said we were having Chinese food tonight!"

"I don't like it"

"Well, just eat the rice then."

"I don't like rice."

Now, if this was a Monday I could have dealt with it better. But this is Friday. It wasn't pretty. Needless to say, they got their ice cream after negotiating a three-mouthful deal. The upside? I had a jumbo helping and there's plenty left over for the weekend.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

No More Diapers For Me - For Real

Looks like Patrick is done with diapers. This is verging on excellent news, and it's no exaggeration to say that it is life-changing for both he and I.

The impact on the family finances is not so noticeable as the lack of drama when, at 5am on a Sunday, we realize we're out of real diapers and we'll have to find a swim diaper (which doesn't actually hold the water in - that's the point of it - but it will stop a poop from becoming a floater at the pool) until the stores/my eyes are open.

Today was the acid test - I sent him to school in underpants, and gave the teachers a heads-up that he might need a reminder or two about going to the bathroom. When I went to pick him up, and he was still wearing the same pants I sent him in, I knew "we" had cracked it.

There will be accidents in the next month or so - hopefully very few (ie. none) at school - but the bottom line is, I am done paying for, strapping on, and changing crappy diapers until I become a grandparent. And that is worth a drink.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Petty Chew: update

50 pages, 10,000 words. And it's good, even though I do say so myself.

Reasons today is a "Good" Friday

* It's sunny outside, although the wind is whipping along at mach 12. Even my hair got ruffled, and it's three-quarters forehead.

* Good news from the accountant (something I thought I would never hear!) Tax rebate in a week, anyone?

* Hot cross buns - six for a dollar - and PG Tips, lots of milk, two sugars.

* Weather forecast for Sunday morning - soccer, with the potential for wind-whipped crosses to the near post for Keeble to nod in from three feet.

* Villa certain of victory against Sunderland on Saturday morning (my time.)

* Kids agreeing to be babysat by Pokemon DVD, enabling me to write this.

* One particular line in the novel I'm writing making me giggle every time I think of it. ("I don't know. Can't we... piss in it or something?")

* No mail delivery today, so no mail-delivery anxiety as I wait for the mail carrier to arrive and ultimately disappoint me by not bringing me the things I've been expecting since December in some cases.

* Golf membership card dues in the mail. I'll be swinging for the pin in just a few weeks.

* Two words - candied ginger.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Stories Wot I Am Writing

I am so excited about the novel I am writing now, I cannot contain myself anymore.

Provisionally titled "Petty Chew" (a butchered version of the French term of affection "petit chou") it's a coming-of-age story involving a group of 15-year-old boys from North London who go on a school skiing trip to the French Alps. The main character, Shawn, arrives in France in a melancholy mood after being dumped by his girlfriend of three weeks, Mel, just days before his holiday is set to start. Things don't improve as the school bully sets out to make Shawn and his friends as miserable as possible - and not always on purpose. Guided by the dream vision of Carol Decker (lead singer of T'Pau) and gallons of cheap French beer, Shawn has to take a stand and dig deep to find some self-esteem in the snow-capped mountains before going back for his last few months as a high school student, with or without Mel at his side.

"Didn't you go on a skiing trip with your school when you were 15, Adam?"

Well, yes I did. And it is obviously the inspiration for this story. The story is set in Easter, 1990 - a time period that I will long remember in real life as the start of the peak period of my teenage years. I'm about a third of the way through the first draft, and I really like it, for what that's worth.

I'm writing it alongside "Don't Put Baby In The Corner (and other parenting lessons I learned from the 1980s)" and they are both very fun to write, so hopefully will be fun to read for you all collectively.

Hmm....

... is that a subtle hint of coffee I can taste????

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tasteless

I can think of one person who might take issue with what I am about to claim (I'm married to her,) but I would say I am pretty low maintenance.

I clean up after myself, let the wife do pretty much what she wants, I cook a little, and look after myself to some extent. My only weekly request is that I be allowed to play soccer on Sunday mornings. I like the odd drink, but can do without it just fine. Sure, I like a few TV shows and I like to watch sports, but you know, not obsessively.

But when it comes to food, there is my Kryptonite. Which is why, whenever I pick up the particular strain of virus that I have now, I get very, very frustrated.

For some reason in the last decade, when I get a cold I lose all sense of taste. I remember the first time it happened in 1998. I remember eating and drinking at the time and not being able to get that quick fix sensation. Then, all of a sudden when my sense returns, I am almost overwhelmed. It is nothing short of wonderful to be able to taste again.

So, this weekend my wife was out partying and doing all kinds of pampering for her birthday while I stayed home watching the kids. No big deal there. The only change was, normally I am home with the kids while she strives to earn the money to clothe, house and feed us. But last night, as she was at the Viceroy in Chelsea, NYC, I was watching an iCarly marathon on Nickelodeon and wishing I could taste the beer treat I bought myself.

Right now, my family is out at the town bar and grille eating buffalo chicken wraps and blue cheese burgers. I opted to stay home, not because I feel bad (I do, but not so bad that I can't think straight and function well enough) but because I don't want to spend $20 on a dinner I can't taste.

In short, why can't I just throw up a few times instead of this week-long (and it will be a full week) taunting when nothing is as it seems because I can't experience it, despite popping it in my mouth and chewing on it?

Friday, March 14, 2008

The End

Today is the last day of a run of tough days that began a month ago.

February is always a kick in the nuts, what with the weather and the lack of funds. But this March has been a bollock-stomper from the school of Dr. Marten's own Academy of Nuts-Crushing. And we're not even half-way yet.

Today is my wife's birthday. It's a big one. What with planning this, planning a fundraising event, and just planning what the eff I will be serving for dinner that doesn't cost anything and is somewhat warm (old leaves from the backyard held over a lightbulb, anyone?) has been hard. But after today, at least I can cross something off the list.

In other news, by way of a mental distraction and a way of staying out of the cold, I have watched two classic movies this week. The Manchurian Candidate, starring Frank Sinatra, was great. The Omega Man was utter cack. But both achieved their aim as far as I was concerned - I got three-and-a-half hours of escapism, although with Charlton Heston in TOM I was also in a state of disbelief that such a good concept could look so rubbish.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

False Positive

Again, the early false dawns have proved to be just that - false.

It's now frosty, with the promise of more snow and crappy rain all weekend long. However, most of the current downs have a considerable upside. For example ...

... despite the fact my kids school is closed today, the fundraising committee (fronted by one A. Keeble) had the foresight to arrange a movie playdate at a nearby cinema this morning. We're off to see Ratatouille in a couple of hours.

... the fact that we now have mere pennies left in the bank mere days after payday is offset by a bumper payday next month, and then our tax rebate the month after that.

... the fact that, despite the current rubbish weather, spring is so close you can almost smell it. I will be completing my golfing due membership form today.

... the fact that I remain very pleased with both my current writing projects, despite the fact neither has made me a dime so far.

... the fact I will have a pretty spectacular photo in the local paper this week - complete with credit, I will only be paid $0.50 (approximately)

... the fact my daughter is now all signed up for FREE (well, if you don't count taxes) education for the next 11 years starting in September, despite the fact we still haven't paid for my son's pre-schooling.

... no eggs in the fridge, but a whole pack of bacon.

Monday, March 10, 2008

TerrifiK Day

This morning sees my daughter take her first step towards moving out.

OK, so I'm probably getting ahead of myself a little, but today is the day I sign her up for Kindergarten - and for everyone involved, that's very exciting.

For me, primarily, it means "we" (meaning "my wife") can stop paying for pre-school, which was getting increasingly less affordable as we progressed through the school to her final year with its mandatory four-day plan (not to mention this year we were also paying for my youngest who's in his first year at the same place.) It also means I can start my fantasies about her whipping through to high school, earning a full scholarship at NYU and becoming the very best whatever the heck she wants to be.

For her, she is excited at the prospect of "big school."

I have enclosed a begging letter with my registration forms in the hope we get Penny into the morning sessions as opposed to the afternoons. It is the most important thing I have written in the past two weeks.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Fairly Unfortunate Translation

Not only has The Fairly Odd Parents jumped the shark with the addition of the new fairly-odd character, but fans in England must be wondering how they got away with it.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Emergency

I always assumed it would be my son's antics that would drag me to the E.R. at the local hospital first.

Alas, this afternoon as I was relaxing and putting my innocent three-year-old boy down for his nap, I heard a coughing and a spluttering from my five-year-old girl downstairs. I came down to see if she was OK and was told: "I just swallowed a jewel."

She had indeed swallowed a plastic jewel about the size of a nickel and, according to her, it was stuck in her throat.

Ten minutes (and a frantic phone call to the wife) later, we are at the hospital. I am filled with visions of my daughter being given some vomit-inducing drug to make her throw up or, even worse, surgery.

In fact, it would seem, the jewel had shifted and was on its way "down" to its eventual destination. Since returning home there have been several explanations of why the jewel will come out as poo-poo and not pee-pee.

All in all, it's been a really shit day, despite the humor I'm trying to inject to make myself laugh.

And tomorrow, my wife leaves for a weekend away with the girls. Needless to say, in the effort to make the weekend without back-up go smoothly, pizza and take-out food will be on the menu. Plastic jewelry will not.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

False Dawn x 2

Today sees the second false dawn that winter has gone and spring is here. It's somewhat sunny and warm enough that I just opened a window.

It will be at least another week before I start believing it myself, but I cannot wait for some sunshine and some heat. It wasn't a bad winter - some good snow, about two weeks when going outside was intolerable, only one big spell of sickness for the kids, but now the teaser is here I'm so ready for warm weather.

The first sign that spring was coming, aside from the rain this morning taking the last of the lingering snow with it, was our first trip to the town playground and my first re-encounter with one of the many moms I socialize with for 9 months of the year.

As with so many of the people I meet randomly at the park, I knew her kids names, but not the mom's. Unlike myself, who people remember easily (only guy at the park, English accent) I didn't recognize this mom at all for the first five minutes of arriving. Only when I asked her if she could identify the tokens in my pocket - were they video game tokens from the gym? or carousel tokens from the mall? - did the penny drop that we had actually met before.

One of the truer parts of my book is that the hero, Dean Allen, and myself both keep a book to remind them of the many, many moms we meet at the playground. More than once, I've been met with "Hi, Adam! Hey, Penny!" by a total stranger... so I look in the book at my notes and compare them to the subject in question (that might be - Debbie, mom of Dan and Ethan, drives White Explorer, lives in Waldwick, husband is a Mets fan) and identify who I'm actually talking to.

The other reminder that spring has nearly sprung is that the pre-school nominating committee met today ahead of the May General Meeting and confirmed that I have been nominated as the President of the board for the next school year.

My first order is to dissolve the Old Republic and order the Stormtroopers to crush the Jedi uprising!

Bwah-ha-ha!

Just kidding. My first order is to make myself President for life. Then the stormtroopers with the Jedi thing is next.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Still here...

... but reeling from a rough few weeks. Watch this space.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Terrible Twos RIP

It's almost hilarious that my son's "terrible two" period ended the day he turned three.

That sounds silly, but honestly, overnight he has become a different person.

The terrible twos are hard to really define unless you've been there as a parent. The closest I can come to describing it to non-parents is thus: remember when you were a teenager and were miserable and hated everything and everyone and sulked in your room? Imagine that, but with screaming instead of sulking, and destruction of property instead of listening to The Smiths.

I have just spent the day with my son without my daughter or wife around - a rare thing. And it was great. We woke up, scratched, stretched, had breakfast, watched a little ESPN, went out to the store, went to the barber shop for haircuts, made crafts at the library, came home for lunch, I did a little work while he played with his Planet Heroes (another post will surely discuss these toys and how great they are), then he took a quick nap while I worked some more, he woke up, we went out again, played in the snow for a while, and now we're sitting home, the laundry is done, dinner is on its way home with the girls, and all is good in the world.

Compare this to a fictional hour - just ONE hour - that may well have happened six months ago (based on fact): I wake up, 10 seconds later he wakes crying, I have to restrain his arms to change his diaper, I ask what he wants for breakfast - he says toast, I make toast, it is pushed away as though I have served him a poison burger, he then asks for Cheerios but pushes that bowl away too as there aren't enough in the bowl to satisfy his hunger, I add more, he leaves them too long before declaring they are soggy and he won't eat them, he refuses to wear the clothes he chose to wear shaking his head at everything else in his closet before crying as I put on the first selected outfit yelling "ouchy!" with every tug of fabric.

To say the least, what a difference a birthday makes.

Friday, February 08, 2008

I will be sooooo glad....

.... when this week is over. I've had both kids in varying degrees of sickness during the week before payday. It's been raining pretty much all week, we've missed two days of school and one was cut short. I've done little to no work and I'm a week behind on a fundraising project for school. The highlight of today is going to be a trip to the doctors - on my son's 3rd birthday. The only thing that could make this all much worse (and I'm tempting fate by saying it, but so what?) would be for me to get sick. That will probably happen when the kids are well again, thus I will take their place on the couch sleeping in front of TV shows I've seen a million times before.

Monday, February 04, 2008

With a bump

After last night's incredible Superbowl, in which "my" Giants beat the Patriots, then spoiling the Pats perfect record and causing one of the biggest upsets in recent football history, this morning has bitten my ass.

My daughter has NEVER, NOT ONCE asked to stay home from school. Until this morning. She's obviously in some gastic distress (I just lit a scented candle) and is lethargic on the couch, but when asked: "Would you like to go to school today?" her reply: "Not really" had me checking the medicine cabinet for painkillers. For her and myself.

This also comes in the wake of my youngest's birthday party that took place yesterday morning. This means the house is full of new toys, most of which make noise.

And then, the cherry on top? Yesterday was warm enough that you didn't really need a coat. Today? It's shitting well snowing.

Snow! Two kids home all day! One sick, one armed with a pack of roaring dinosaurs, a talking basketball hoop ("Good job! Two points!") and a motorbike that plays the refrain from Born To Be Wild over and over and over...

This may be my last post.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Blah, Blah, Blurb

In the process of e-mailing celebrities and authors, to try to get them to "blurb" a quote for me for the back of my even-sooner-than-yesterday to be released book, one of them replied to me that this stage was the "worst!!!"

Are you kidding me? It's great!

I had a handful of people agree to help out right when I signed the deal last July. So perhaps there was no intimidation in for me - the hard work was already done. Since then I have had some big name refusals (Sanjeev Baskar is out of the country filming) and one big name who is reading it now ("big" in my world - I love Red Dwarf... and that's all you're getting out of me,) and a lot of "Congrats! But I'm sorry...." from some largish names in the industry.

But even the "sorry, buts..." have been encouraging, to the point where one lovely writer provided me the e-mail addresses for three other people who she recommended I get in touch with to help out. And one other handsome stud of a writer was so generous is his decling, I hope to go out drinking with him at some point in my life - and I'm buying.

I think for me, the hard work is done. But then I also enjoy "hunting" down celebs and getting signed photos from them, mainly to use as gifts. If all goes well, my kids could be getting signed photos of Dora the Explorer to go alongside their Elmo, Laurie Berkner, Tiffany Millbrett and Alexei Lalas.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The best things said to me over the weekend

"Xzibit really doesn't like the look of that car!"

- Penny, 4, while watching Pimp My Ride.

"That was the best lunchie EVER!"

- Patrick, 2, after dinner at AB&G.

"Do you need help getting it up?"

- Wife, 27. She meant getting a box into the attic. I think. Either way, the answer was no.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Desert Island Sanity Saver

This January is proving particularly frustrating, thanks to the sub-zero temperatures and the number of events coming up in the increasingly-frustrating-still-a-week-away February. The parenting tales I am coming up with all involve me staying inside because it's too bloody cold to go out, and the kids being semi-sick for the duration of the month.

Therefore, I present my most self-indulgent post yet - my Desert Island Disk selection with a brief explanation of why I chose these particular songs ahead of, say "Star Are Blind" by Paris Hilton.

1 Unfinished Sympathy - Massive Attack

The chord changes are beautiful and I once told an ex-girlfriend that listening to this song in the dark made me feel like I was floating - and it wasn't just B.S. to get her to turn the lights off. It's a rare combination of stunning sound with lyrics that mean something to me.

2 Hot Love - T-Rex

I can't think of a more fun song. Plus the nostalgia that comes from the memories of listening to it, windows down, in the infamous Flirtmobile (my first car - registration number FLT...) make it a mainstay.

3 Leave In Silence - Depeche Mode

I could have picked one of a dozen DM songs, what with them being a huge influence on me and my favorite band ever, but this is the one song that changed their direction. They could have continued on their "Just Can't Get Enough" route that was making them lots of cash, but they put out this moody beast instead.

4 Ballad Of Dorothy Parker - Prince

Another artist that has provided the backbone of my musical taste. Anything from Sign O' The Times is majestic, but this sprawling tale is the most special.

5 Tainted Love - Soft Cell

It was either this timeless classic or "Love Is The Drug" by Roxy Music. This won because whenever it comes on my stereo, I just can't bring myself to skip past it.

6 Subterranean Homesick Blues - Bob Dylan

I'm no hardcore Dylan fan by any means, and this choice is certainly helped by the Jools Holland version taken from The Young Ones, but this song is great.

7 Somebody Told Me - The Killers

The personal weight of this selection brought it into my top 8. In early 2005, when I was back and forth from various job agency gigs while my wife was on maternity leave with my son, this was a constant on the radio. "Breaking my back just to know your name" became something of a mantra after he was born, because we couldn't decide on his name for 48 hours. Plus it's a three-minute classic.

8 Everybody's Talking - Harry Nilson

Yeah, yeah. Even my picking this puts me up there with the guy from Seinfeld who was obsessed with "Desperado", but the main reason I like it is because I would love to be where the weather suits my clothes.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

No more diapers for me

Today I bought the last box of diapers I ever hope to buy. My 2-year-old son is so close to being potty trained. This last $20 box of 68 size sixes will be the last I ever buy, and therefore the last one in the box will be the last I will ever need to change. And that, dear friends, will be sweet after five years of changing them daily.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Super

Last night, the New York Giants earned a place in the Superbowl on February 3. I LOVE it. Kids, grab your coats! We're going to the Sports Authority to buy Giants stuff!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Swearing

As bizarre as it sounds, this evening I am being sworn into a position of local office by the town mayor.

I was approached to volunteer on the Board of Trustees at the town library, and considering I spend a whole lot of time there with and without the kids, I was flattered to accept. I've been serving for six or seven months now I think, maybe more, and I've enjoyed it greatly, not just on a social level, but it's another "job" (like my serving on my kids pre-school board) that makes me feel like I'm doing something positive for things I care about. Tonight is my actual swearing in, for reasons too complicated to explain here.

It's not an exaggeration to say that without the library, my book would not have been written. Thanks to the library I was able to read all the already-published books I would be competing with, several books on writing style and theory (the best by far was "On Writing" by Stephen King, for the record) and borrow enough DVDs and kids books to satisfy the whole family. Not to mention that my next project, one that involves watching a lot of movies from a certain decade, would have been absolutely impossible without the services of my local library - and it didn't cost a dime (unless you count taxes.)

In fact, today has been good for my cosmic karma all round. I would normally spend Thursday mornings kid-free, what with them both in class, and can usually be found stretched out watching Entourage on the couch, drinking too much coffee. Today I sacrificed that luxury and volunteered to help out with an open house at the school, and in doing so I *think* I recruited one couple who were very interested in signing up for next year.

So, come on, universe. I'm due.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Living in an Old Age Era

Before I start, I do not consider myself old at 33, but here is a list of things I can't do anymore.

* Play soccer all day. From the ages of 15-21 I would play every chance I got for hours on end. On my first run out in my once weekly, two hour sessions this year, I couldn't get the taste of blood out of my mouth for the first half-hour and couldn't walk for 48 hours afterwards without extreme effort.

* Ride my bike for more then two minutes. Sure, I can pedal at the gym for 20 mins and work up a sweat, but I decided one humid morning in the summer to ride my mountain bike to a friends house to drop something off. It's a two minute drive, and while I didn't need to stop during my trip and the last quarter mile is up a steep hill, I couldn't answer my wife's "where have you been" until my lungs had recovered. It took a while. Between the ages of 12 and 16 I would ride a bike carrying two bags full of newspapers (three bags on a Sunday) and ride probably three miles on my paper route EVERY DAY. I was paid about 20 quid a week ($35.)

* Drink strong beer. I can drink Miller Lite all day, but give me three or four bottles or pints of the good stuff and I am overwhelmed. This from someone who once drank half a bottle of Bacardi, partied, walked home, woke up, did his homework and got to school on time the next morning without so much as a slight headache.

* Eat whatever I want. I am not eating buffalo wings ever again. Some colors are not natural. I will not elaborate.

* Stay up late. Yes, I wake up early to get a jump start on the day, but even when the family are asleep and I do manage to drag my ass back downstairs to do something, I cannot last much beyond 10pm. I used to wake at 5am (see the paper route stuff above), go to school, come home, do homework or whatever, then bum around until 11pm every day. Six hours of quality sleep was more than enough. These days, if I get any period of solid sleep lasting more than two hours at a time, I'm astonished, what with my racing mind and restless children.

* Spend money like there's no tomorrow. I used to regularly go out and spend a hundred quid, just to "cheer myself up." Now, I count every penny and regularly buy coffee with coins from the change jar in my bedoom. If I don't need to take the whole change jar to the bank and pour into the penny counter to deposit into the bank to stop a check from bouncing.

(OK, so that one isn't to do with the physical, but I'm whining so you can stick it if you don't like it.)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Back away from the daddy...

I am in a foul mood to say the least. Yes, it's Friday, the end of a long week and I'm very tired, but it's more than that. We (that is, my wife) got paid yesterday - and every dollar is accounted for 24 hours later.

That's not good. But it's not that either. Not entirely.

It's raining in classic London-style (not hard, but enough that if you went out it in, you would get wet in no time) which is enough to dampen (oh-ho!) anyone's spirits. But it's more than that. When I wake up in a mood like this, very little can snap me out of it, and the slightest thing can make things much worse. I just stubbed my toe on something lying on the floor in the kitchen... it was my daughter actually. Immediately I am furious - I'm in there making her breakfast and there she is lying in ambush trying to kill me. The outburst was controlled, I'm proud to say ( "Penny! Get out of the kitchen!") but I'm seething, all really down to a poor night's sleep, a miserable start to the day with both kids upset mommy is going to work and that Dad is staying home with them AGAIN, the prospect of no school to ship them off to today, and about 34 cents in the budget for my daily expenses. And of course the X-Factor that makes me mad rather than "ho-hum, better get on with it."

It's not a morbid, self-pity. Nor is it a accepting shrug of reluctance at the Friday morning funk. It's a simmering anger, and it's already boiled over a couple of times at the stupidest thing (the first was an e-mail that was not written in any particular tone to wind me up, but wind me up it certainly did.)

I better get some more coffee down the gullet before the sun comes up and I can't afford the luxury of letting the kids play by themselves.

See, this is the kind of shit the working parent doesn't get to see. The teetering on the edge of losing it for no single indentifiable reason.