Age

I picked up the book To Kill a Mockingbird recently. I figured I should read it since we’ve been calling that little thing inside Kylie’s belly Scout. I can’t say I remembered anything about Scout before I started reading the book a couple days ago- I read it a long long time ago but recently I had heard a reference to her (in the last few months) and I liked the name, so I decided to call our little thing Scout just to call it something and it caught on.

But boy oh boy is that Scout ever the tommiest tomboy and sassiest little girl ever! She’s way to smart for her own britches. She just runs the lot and gets in fights and questions every little thing someone says to her- for the sake of understanding- or proving her own point. It’s kinda what I’m hoping our kid to be like- well, minus the fights.

I read chapter ten last night of To Kill a Mockingbird. It began like this…

“Atticus was feeble: he was nearly fifty. When Jem and I asked him why he was so old, he said he got started late, which we felt reflected upon his abilities and manliness. He was much older than the parents of our school contemporaries, and there was nothing Jem or I could say about him when our classmates said, “My father—”

Funny, I have been thinking about my age a lot lately- and doing the math- when Scout is… I will be… and when Scout is… I will be… It’s quite daunting and frustrating to think of some ages and realize when my Scout is really getting started with adulthood, my time will be really winding down. My own father was thirty-one when I was born. I can’t say he was ever feeble or low energy when I was growing up- quite the opposite. There’s a photo of me at about eight years old taking a shot on goal. The photo caught the ball midair with my dad as goalie- fully extended, fully in air, about to stop the ball. I wonder if I will be performing any diving saves for Scout when he/she is nine years old… I say yes, but only because Kylie is a physical therapist and will patch me up afterwards.

When Scout is twenty, I’ll be sixty. When Scout is my age, I will be eighty. EIGHTY! I mean, assuming I make it that long. Maybe one good thing that comes out of this is that Scout will have mature parents- well, at least one- I can’t say I have reached a level of maturity that can be labeled “mature”, but Kylie is an adult at least. Maybe we can use the term “experienced” for me.

But maybe age won’t really even be a factor in all this for me. I look at people around town and a lot of the men my age look as though they are already fifty now. They look unhappy, worn out, overweight, and just plain older than they should. I’m a little bit ahead of the curve. Isn’t there a saying that you are only as old as your wife? If that’s true then I’m only… no, I’m not going to go there but let’s just say- nope- I won’t say anything.

I think age is just on my mind a little more today because I woke up and walked around like a decrepit this morning. I’ve had an achilles problem on one foot for a while now that causes me to limp in the morning until it stretches out. Yesterday I topped it off with an inflamed IT band on my other leg from over-running. So both legs wanted to crumble under me this morning. I didn’t crumble, mind you, I just hobbled into the kitchen and Kylie gave me a sympathetic hug and kiss, and offered to make me a cappuccino. As I watched her make the cappuccino I admired her youth, and then I felt young again- well, at least not so old.

 

P.S. Mom, if you know what photo I am talking about and have it around somewhere feel free to email it to me and I’ll include it in this post. Thank you!

 

P.S. UPDATE:  So, my mom found the photo I was referencing and it wasn’t quite as I remembered it, but this is the one I was thinking of- sorry dad- you still look good though… just not as good as me!

1986

 

 

Cliché

Scout!

What’s going on in there little thing? You are eleven weeks, three days today. Congratulations, you are the size of a fig. Your great grand-nana loved figs. She had a tree in her back yard in Chula Vista. I used to watch her pick them off the tree and eat them- I thought it was disgusting- I think I just don’t like seedy things. Anyhoo, she died over a year ago. I would have loved for you to meet her- mostly because I would have loved to watch her scare the shit out of you. She was an absolutely loving grandmother, but she also like to yell at us as kids. “IF YOU KIDS DON’T LISTEN TO ME I’M GOING TO BEAT YOUR BRAINS IN!!” On occasion she followed it up with, “IF YOU HAVE ANY!”  We, as children, would scream, scatter, and run away. The adults in the room would laugh out loud. As an adult, I got to watch her yell at my younger cousins- I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. Her husband, on the other hand, your great grandpa, was the polar opposite. He would sit quietly in his chair and just observe everything. Every once in a while he’d quip a joke out and everyone would laugh. He died about six years ago while your mama and I were living in a shitty apartment in Flagstaff.

You have one great grandparent left right now- Red. Red is your grandpa Jared’s dad who lives in New York. You’d like him- I had the pleasure of meeting him this year in June. He’s quite the character with stories galore. He reminded me a lot of your late great grandpa Harvey from West Virginia. In fact, both of them had messed up a couple of their own fingers by the time I came around. Your great grandpa Red mangled a couple of his with a chainsaw (they are still there though). Your great grandpa Harvey lost one at the knuckle while working at a sawmill. He used to draw a face on it and move it around to entertain us.

But let’s stop talking about your late Greats. Let’s talk about your balls! Or your vagina! That’s right, I went there. By now you are forming one or the other- and quite honestly, I don’t care which! As long as you are healthy- I know, how cliché of me. But it’s true. I will let you know right now, if you are a girl I’m going to try like hell to raise you like a tomboy- and if you are a boy I’m going to try like hell to raise you into the most sensitive and caring man I can. And if you end up being gay, I’ll be absolutely happy and supportive with that too.

If you can help it though, please don’t be racist, sexist, homophobic, or a bully, or a football player, or in a fraternity or sorority… This will be a longer and more defined list some day, but this is all I can come up with right now on the fly. Actually, if you follow this list of don’ts then you should have a good foundation for being a good person.

Okay, I am about finished with my cappuccino, so I will bid you adieu. I hope you are warm and well inside your mama’s belly. I might put a stethoscope to your world tonight even though the internet says that it is pointless this early in the pregnancy. I wish I could come in and hang out with you for a bit but you’d probably freak me the fuck out with your creepy underdevelopedness at this stage- so I am perfectly happy to wait till June. Hugs and kisses little one.

Case

I lost two small pocket knives in the span of a week. One was confiscated at the airport because they thought I would use it to make tiny stabs in people on the airplane. The other knife fell out of my pocket somewhere in between home and work. Neither had any sentimental value to me, they were just small tools I liked to carry around to assist me with little jobs that require a little knife. Mind you, I’m not the guy that likes to carry around a big knife to show off how much of a man I am- quite the opposite actually- those kinds of guys like to make fun of me and my little knife.

So I needed a new knife. Sure, a custom made one by a local craftsman would have been nice, but considering my track record with the last two I decided I should opt for a cheaper mass produced knife. So off to Cabela’s I went. Whenever I go to Cabela’s I always expect there to be a camouflaged man at the door to stop me and say, “Hey, you aren’t a hunter, maybe you should go to REI instead”. But, he wasn’t there, and I walked right in.

Cabela’s had a great selection of knives! (I swear they are not sponsoring me). They had everything from Rambo knives to machetes to small pocket sizes that fit my personality. As I was looking in the knife cases Gary approached me and told me about a real deal, three knives for $10. I let him lead me that way but I didn’t have great expectations on quality- they ended up being a random camouflaged set of three that had the Cabela’s logo on them. I imagined the blade getting dented as soon as I tried to cut a piece of tape. I thanked Gary and told him I would keep looking.

As I looked over the knives on the wall I realized I wasn’t buying a knife just for me, but a knife that one day I could give to Scout. I remember my dad gave me a knife when I was a kid, just a simple no frills folding pocket knife with a yellowish handle. It was small and had a timeless look to it, unlike all the fancy springy and edgy designed ones out there today. I think I carried it around for a year or two before I lost it. You didn’t think I still had it did you?

My eyes finally rested on a small orange and silver folding knife with a small oval logo on it that read Case. This was the one, I thought, this is the one I’m going to give Scout one day. It had the classic look that reminded me of the one my dad gave me. Gary told me it was forty dollars and when I told him I wanted it he shot me a look that said, I just showed you three knives for ten dollars but you’re gonna get this little one for forty dollars instead? I immediately shot him back a more pronounced look that said, Keep your thoughts to yourself Gary and just sell me the damn knife.

Admittedly, I wasn’t planning on spending forty dollars for a pocket knife. It was a bit more than I had planned- but for a family heirloom? That’s pretty cheap if you ask me. (I used this same justification when I bought my truck- I told Kylie, “Just imagine, one day our first born will drive this”- that was way before Scout was in the picture.) As Gary boxed up the family heirloom he told me I could save twenty dollars just by signing up for a Cabela’s credit card. I told him I didn’t need another credit card. Gary insisted that I did, and it would only take a couple of minutes. A couple of minutes? I’ve got that kind of time…

Twenty-five minutes later I was finally walking out the door with our new knife, some paperwork, a credit card, and a ball cap that read Cabela’s Club. During that twenty-five minutes of frustration, I had a lot of time to think. My mind wandered to the movie Pulp Fiction. Specifically the scene where Christopher Walken’s character is describing to the kid how he hid the watch up his ass for years, just so he could give it to him when he got home…

captainkoonsThe way your dad looked at it, this watch was your birthright. He’d be damned if any slopes gonna put their greasy yellow hands on his boy’s birthright, so he hid it, in the one place he knew he could hide something: his ass. Five long years, he wore this watch up his ass. Then when he died of dysentery, he gave me the watch. I hid this uncomfortable piece of metal up my ass for two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the watch to you. 

Suddenly this pocket knife didn’t feel too significant as an heirloom. The only story I had to tell Scout was about my twenty-five minute wait to save twenty dollars. I guess I can dramatize it and tell Scout, “But it was a long twenty-five minutes”. I can also tell Scout how pushy over-the-hill Gary was. Not too exciting though.

I suppose I could hide the knife up my ass just for a good ol’ family heirloom story, but I don’t know who I’d be hiding it from. It would probably be a good idea to do so though, because most likely I will lose the knife before Scout is even born- that’s what Kylie thinks- and she’s usually right about that type of stuff.

As a matter of fact, yesterday we were tearing apart some boxes in the garage. I was working on a particularly difficult one and Kylie asked me if I needed a knife. I looked up and in her outstretched hand rested my new orange pocket knife. “Where did you get that?” I asked. She smiled with a twinkle in her eye, “I found it on the floor”.

Holes

This little ditty didn’t fit in the last post very well, so it’s its own little thing. As I was getting ready to go to the Obstetrician yesterday I realized my underwear had holes in them. It seemed like a very dad thing. Normally (not that it happens all the time), I would just wear them through the day, then throw them out. But this time I felt very embarrassed- and I’m not sure why. I wasn’t even the one who was going to have to take my pants off but I felt like everyone would know. They would know with their ultrasound and it would display on the large screen in the waiting room for all to see. Things that go through my head.

I’m not talking about a little tear either, I’m talking holes! I don’t know where they came from, or how long they have been around. I mean sure, it probably happened in the last wash, right? Because I would have noticed them before. Or! Or Mazzy has been a little terror lately- I bet she chewed some holes in them and then put them back in my drawer- I wouldn’t put it past her- she’s been opening cabinets lately- we still don’t know how, but she has.

Anyway, Scout, if you are reading this, just know that I didn’t have any holes in my underwear at your first visit to the doctor- I wouldn’t embarrass you like that, or your mother for that matter.

 

 

 

Flutterbug

Is there a force in the universe that makes a man tell dad jokes as soon as he is an expectant father? I swear there is and I cannot escape it. I used to be a funny guy- well, to me. But recently I find myself shaking my head at myself when I attempt a joke. Really guy, did you just say that? I should slap you upside the head. 

Take yesterday for example, we were just wrapping up our first visit with the OB

GYN. We all had a great conversation, well, I mostly sat there and listened to her ask Kylie questions and Kylie ask her questions. Really I just felt I was a bit of an inconvenience as the nurse had to go find a chair for me to sit on. But then when she asked us if we had any more questions at the end of the session I decided to display my wit, “I’ve been suffering from Couvade syndrome and I was wondering if you had any suggestions for me.” Kylie laughed. Our Obstetrician nervously laughed, probably only because we were both laughing and she didn’t want to be left out. Then she asked, “What’s, what is that?” As with any other joke that becomes unfunny when you have explain it, this one unraveled quickly. I explained what it was and she said she didn’t know there was a name for that condition. Awkward!

We also had our first ultrasound done yesterday and it’s absolutely true- we saw it with our own eyes- Kylie has a little mexican inside her! And that thing was moving around like a jumping bean! And we saw the heart beat holy shit! It was a little flutter bug! We got to see it in 3-d, which quite frankly looks a little freaky to me but Ky thinks it is cute. I’d post a picture but it looks pretty much like the one I drew in the last post. They were also able to give us a more refined due date- June 8th!

They gave us tons of pamphlets and magazines and options for chromosomal blood testing and a big book that had some way too graphic pictures of childbirth. Seriously, it was a photo of a guy holding up his squatted partner by the armpits, then you gaze down and there is head sticking out of her vajay- it didn’t look like either of them were having any fun. Anyway, it’s a lot sift through. It’s a lot to talk about also- there are certain windows when some tests are better, some can’t be done for a while, and they are all optional. It seems to me that all these tests should just be included, but we have to decide whether or not to get them done. And even if we do they are not one hundred percent conclusive- there is a risk of false positives and false negative that then get confirmed with more tests that could still be false positive/false negative. I don’t know what we will decide to do, but you won’t hear about anymore of that here. I am just surprised by all the little but huge decisions we have to make before Scout even scoots its way out.

So that was our visit- a very positive one. So far, so good, and that was the only news we wanted to hear.

Babybrain

This is not about Scout’s developing baby brain, it’s about my distracted one. Scout is a little over nine weeks now- the size of a grape- or an olive. I’m pretty sure it’s brain is not really there right now. But! Scout will apparently be developing gonads or or ovaries this week- and a four chambered heart! And toes! Cute little toes the size of engorged fleas I imagine. I would show you a general picture off the internet but it’s more fun to imagine a snail without a shell or antennae, floating around in a uterus the size of a grapefruit. Oh what the hell, I’ll draw you one…

 

 

As Scout is growing and progressing, I seem to be losing myself a little at a time. Sure, insert hair joke here but this is serious. My brain is losing focus at home. Weird little things keep happening and I blame Scout. I’m still to young for dementia I think. As of now it seems mostly to do with food. Here are a couple examples:

  1. Mazzy and I shared some smoked salmon a couple of weeks ago (her idea, not mine). But when I went to look for it a couple days later I found it in the freezer instead of the refrigerator. I know, small thing, but not like me.
  2. Another fishy example- we baked some cod last week. I grabbed some tupperware out of the cabinet and put the leftovers in it. When I couldn’t find it in the fridge the next day I figured Kylie ate it. I was surprised to find it a couple days later in the tupperware I put it in, inside the cabinet I got the tupperware from.
  3. Last night we made pizza. My job is to brush oil on the crust so it gets crispy (it’s about the only thing I can handle). Well, last night after putting some oil in a small bowl, I forgot I was holding it in my hand and started moving around like an inflatable wacky waving tube man (the kind hooked up to a fan outside a failing business). Needless to say I got oil all over the floor an we slipped around making pizza the rest of the night.
  4. Kylie found empty candy wrappers in the freezer. It is actually normal for me to put empty candy wrappers in the freezer- I don’t want Kylie to see the wrappers in the trash can the next morning- she doesn’t need to know how much candy I eat! But the abnormal thing here is I have been forgetting to throw the wrappers away the next day- I never forget to secretly dispose of my candy wrappers. Embarrassing!

I know those seem like small things- but they are huge in my world- and they’ve never happened before I’ve had Scout on my mind. Luckily I’m too busy at work to make these kinds of mistakes. It’s only been happening at home while my mind wanders. Hopefully it will stay at home and not enter my bartending life. Can you imagine getting a White Russian with raspberry puree instead of cream- because that’s the kind of stuff that might start happening.

But there actually is a syndrome that the partner of a pregnant woman can suffer called Couvade syndrome. I do not suffer from that as far as I can tell. It is also referred to as sympathetic pregnancy. The partner may gain some weight (which I have- but very little), experience nausea, and can even experience labor pains and such. I watched an episode of House once that portrayed a guy in the midst of Couvade syndrome. He was in more pain than his pregnant wife. I’m pretty sure that episode ended with a football coming out of his anus or something- but that could just be my babybrain remembering things wrong- go figure.

California

Scout went on it’s first trip with us this weekend. We flew. We stayed at my brother and his partner’s (Isaac and Sarah’s) house on the remote side of Nevada City with my sister (Nina) and her husband (Haygen). Isaac picked us all up from the airport in Sacramento and drove us an hour and a half away on winding roads to his house on the Woolman compound. I say compound for lack of a better word. He lives on the grounds of what was once a Quaker school, but is now divided into dwellings and places to meet for social progress and ceramic gatherings. The weekend we visited there happened to be a non-violent communication gathering just outside his kitchen window and a ceramic wood firing just a stone’s throw away. Perhaps some people participated in both events but I didn’t inquire. I suppose if we had been there during the heat of July we could have been witness to a nudist gathering and a vegan chili cook-off for peace; but that’s just what I imagine- beans and hair everywhere.

When we pulled up to my brother’s house from our drive there were a few barefoot thirty-something year olds standing on the porch staring at us, one of them pregnant and ready to burst. I immediately began wondering about my brother’s living choices. As I got out of the car I waved and passed an awkward smile towards them. They were about twenty feet away, but did not respond like they saw me say hello- instead, they just stared at me as if a penis had sprouted out of my forehead. Luckily at that moment, Sarah walked out of the house directly behind this one to greet us and I was able to direct my attention elsewhere.

Sarah and Isaac led us into their house where we sat and talked about our next few days together that would include some hikes and meals, games and drinks, and an apple crisp that would unknowingly elude us our entire visit. We learned that the pregnant woman next door would be giving birth soon at her house, which shared the duplex walls of my brother’s. We all hoped it would not happen within the next few days, as we preferred  not to hear the miracle of life. It wasn’t so much the muffled sounds of a television hospital drama that would bother us, but more so the sounds of an intimate moment the family would be experiencing. Kylie especially wasn’t too excited to listen to what she would be experiencing in seven months.

We didn’t know exactly how were going to break it to our gathered family that we were pregnant. I had an idea, and began to try to accomplish it by sending everyone present a group text with an image of our dog balancing the “pregnant” pregnancy test on her nose. I learned quickly that there was not enough cell reception in the area to send an image. And then I realized I couldn’t even get a text out at all. My only idea was a failure. Luckily, within minutes of conversation and planning the weekend, Sarah offhandedly asked Kylie if she would be partaking in any drinking this weekend- more as a joke than anything else- when Kylie replied no, she was pregnant, there was quick silence, and then a few “Reallys?!” and “You’re joking right??” And then the expected excitement and questions followed. The cat was out of the bag.

The weekend wasn’t affected too much by Scout though- so I say. Kylie was a little more tired than usual and it was noticeable. She fell asleep to the world on the couch the first night with all of us playing games and bottling kombucha. We did a nice six mile hike along the Yuba river the next day that felt great for all of us. The next hike, a day or two later, was along some cliffs over Lake Tahoe. Scout got the best of Kylie here- she gets tired easy right now. We stopped about halfway and decided to turn around. On the walk back I wondered how many times I, as an unborn thing in my mom’s stomach, affected her day to day.

I’m pretty sure all of us felt sympathetic towards Kylie this weekend. We are used to her having all the energy and keeping us on the move, so of course we poked a little fun at her. All in all, she was a great sport and kept up with us and had some non-alcoholic drinks when we were out. She played pool with us at a racy old people bar. She ate her burger well done. Her intolerance for my stupid jokes was only slightly noticeable, but that’s to be expected- my stupid jokes. But all in all we had a fantastic trip and can only be summed up by this smile…