Tuesday, May 4, 2010

RTT: Back In the Working World


I'm glad Keely thought of this Random Tuesday stuff.  It provides just the right amount of impetus for me to write something, but removes any pressure to write cohesively.  Click on the button above and see what other people are spewing, and then spew your own randomness.

This weekend represented a real watershed for me.  Maybe not a watershed.  A turning point?  Anyway, this weekend was just like a metaphor for doing something that I don't normally do.

You see, I worked outside the home for the first time in more than a year.

Well, maybe I've done a couple work-ish things after the kids were in bed, and I taught a class online while they were napping; but this has been the first time since they were born ten months ago that I spent entire days (three of them in a row) away from the twins.  During their first four months, before I took over baby-wrangling duties, I was working on the addition to our house for about twelve hours a day (this dropped to four hours a day--during naptime--when Dr. Mom went back to work).  But I would pop in to see the babies every hour or so.  I was not able to do that this weekend.

Getting out of the house into the world of work and grownups is probably something I should savor after all these months of being housebound.  But what did I think about the whole time I was working?  You guessed it.  My blog.

What would I write about in my next post?  Should I write a vivid description of the small remodeling project I'm working on?  That's something that would be foreign, vaguely romantic, and possibly interesting to my readers.  What tone to use?  Whatever angle I approached this writing task from, I would need to present myself as a seasoned vet who can do things to houses that the average person would not believe possible, and yet write in a way that is dismissive of my own expertise.  Oh, just a little project relocating a window in a Spanish style house from the twenties.  You know--cutting out the stucco and plaster and re-framing the opening so that the old window fits perfectly in the new hole, making sure to maintain the shear strength and other elements of the house's structural integrity, all the while being minimally invasive to keep the cost and disruption to my client as small as possible.  No big deal.  The sweat on my biceps?  Sure, I guess it was glistening.  I didn't really notice. 

Should I include an explanation of how I have weathered construction slowdowns over the past 20 years by catering to the gay community, which seems to be recession-proof?  How, when I was younger and hotter, I wouldn't mention my girlfriend/fiance/wife to my gay clients because I wanted them to keep coming up with more projects that would bring me to their house.  Or does that make me sound like a hooker?  How about the old music professor back in Charlottesville, whose house I filled with built-in bookcases in the evenings and weekends while I was working on new homes during the day; he of the tony New England accent and the "can I build you cocktail?" and "tell me what drinks you like so I can lay in a goodly supply," only to break his poor old heart by revealing that I was doing the work so I could buy an engagement ring for Dr. Mom?

Then I thought about how I was going to have to break a little vow I had made to myself when I started blogging way back in February.  I told myself that I would not blog about blogging.  At least not for a long time.  Not that I have anything against it when other people do it; but when I heard my own metacognitive voice saying, "boy, it's time-consuming and can be kind of stressful trying to write interesting stuff several times a week," I was annoyed at what sounded like whining about the pressures of dedication to self-indulgence.  Then I got excited when I was struck by what I thought was a clever term I had just coined: "metablognition"!  That could be the title of my next post!  I'll copyright it!  So I googled it when I got home and found that there were only 1450 results for that term, including the name of a blog.  So, yeah.  Kind of clever, I guess. 

But I didn't think only about my blog during my foray into the outside world.  I also thought about my imaginary friends on Facebook and in all the other blogs I follow.  Oh, and sure--I thought about my kids a little bit.  I may have called my wife a couple dozen times to make sure she remembered that they need to eat and sleep and have their diapers changed.

I also thought, as I was sawzalling out the old window header, that I might write about how wonderful it was to come home to my family after a hard day at work.  A poignant description of the hero's welcome I would receive when I got home, the babies clamoring all over me, etc.  But what really happened was I would get home, shed my grubby clothes, take a shower, let the dog out, grab some bottles, and by the time I sat down with the twins, they had already forgotten that I had been away.

But yesterday when I came out of the shower, the wife and kids were on the bed having recently finished the four o'clockish feeding.  The twins were happily chattering away, and as I emerged from the bathroom, Cobra, who has been crawling for a couple weeks while her sister is content to sit and cry until the object of her desire is delivered unto her, wobbled to her feet, stabilizing herself with her hands on the pillow in front of her.  We jabbered at one another, as we are wont to do, and Cobra raised her hands out to her sides, waving and squealing.  And she didn't fall down.  For about five seconds she stood on the bed without any help.  My wife's face looked pretty much the way I figured mine must have: frozen in shock and aww...(about 100,000 results for this term that I also thought I made up), and Cobra's looked similar albeit tinged with fear as well.

Then she plopped back down onto her butt and we marveled at how advanced our children are.  I actually suspect that it's no big deal for a 10-month old to stand by herself, but it sure seemed exceptional at the time.



  1. Yep, you're a hooker with a heart seeking gay gold. Sorry to break it to you, but I doubt anyone ever thought you were gay anyway. Though it sounds like the music professor at least tried to get you drunk.

    We're only recession-proof because most of us don't have kids! Oh, and the monthly checks from the Gay Fund help a lot, but those are supposed to be kept secret.

  2. You're amazingly funny. And yes, you were totally hooking. I'm not judging. Nothing wrong with it. I used "the girls" on occasion back when I worked. I worked in the oil industry as a land agent, buying right of way tracts for a new pipeline. My boss (who was no dummy herself) would send me out to negotiate with all the old guys. ;)
    Congrats on Cobra's standing. Of course it's a big deal! The first time Indy stood up on his own, I made 2 international phone calls to tell people.
    BTW, I think about what I'm going to write all the time. Sometimes it helps me to put my thoughts in order to think of them like I'd write them out. I don't always post them, but I write constantly in my head.

  3. This was almost the swiss army knife of blog posts: Construction and Tools, Gay hookering, Alcohol/Cocktail Building (and hey, the word "cock" is in there, too), Metablognition, and Family/Kids.

    If you had found a way to include sports, like a real man, I would've given you the coveted Swiss Army Knife of Blog Posts award that I just made up.

  4. At least you didn't work in the nude, right? It's not hooking if you're at least half clothed. My attorney says so.

    Blogging about blogging - it's like going to the mattresses. There's only so much creative genius and new topics you can spew forth at a time, you know? We've all done it and will continue to do it. At least you do it well.

    As for the standing bit: Of course it's exceptional. Especially on a bed because it's not even a sturdy surface. When they walk it will be even more exceptional. Until they start destroying the house. Fun times.

  5. So, are you keeping a baby book with all milestones? Because, unfortunately in 15 years, you will totally forget that glorious moment.

  6. Forget "metablognition", people need to use "sawzalling" in their writing more. It just LOOKS cool.

  7. I really enjoyed this post. Hilarious and sweet (the description of a baby standing for the first time makes me think I MIGHT just want another).

    I could not explain to anyone what it is about, and yet, it seemed to all fit together so perfectly. So, I guess that fulfills the Random Tuesday thing, huh?

  8. There's no shame in selling oneself, particularly to buy ones wife (or wife to be) something shiny.

  9. Once again, excellent. Lots going on in this piece. What impresses me most is how those babies are in the back or the front of your mind all day, every day. I did not expect to be constantly immersed in family, did you? Guess what? I still am...

  10. Paul--there was at least one time when my pimp...er, my realtor friend who gets me a lot of work...had to tell a client that I was a married straight guy. The funniest thing is that just knowing that I'm a friend of the family gives a lot of guys license to make nonstop horribly stupid double-entendres about construction stuff: "I'll hold your hammer--huh huh huh." They're just as bad as any straight frat boys.


    Thanks! On some level, any kind of work is hooking. If you're not peddling your ass, you're peddling your reputation, your talent, your credibility, etc.

    Can I have the Leatherman Tool Award instead. It's a little more butch.

    I almost always wear pants at work. For safety. Sometimes they're hotpants, but they are always made of durable fabric.

    Yup, Dr. Mom wrote it in the book.

    I didn't even remember that I used that verb until you brought it up. I'm going to start using it metaphorically to. You should do the same! It'll be a thing!

    Thanks. It's really weird, but I've been having trouble being completely random. I think blogging obsessively has got me thinking in neat little essays.

    My wife agrees heartily!

  11. I made at least two spelling/punctuation errors in responding to those comments; but I'm not even going to do anything about it because I'm not fussy like that.

  12. Granny,

    Thanks! I don't know what I was expecting really. How can you? Cobra is sitting on my lap laughing at the letters appearing on the screen. She can't wait to see you!

  13. Jeez you don't have to say a word to me about idiotic double entendres from gay men. Why do you think I have so few as friends? Going to a gay dog park is painful in that regard. I think people have finally stopped making jokes about "balls" because the looks I give are so incredibly derisive.

    Actually I found out last week that a guy I've known a couple years was relieved when he met me, the only other straight guy in the park, only to have his girlfriend have to dash his hopes...

    So maybe you're not a hooker. Maybe just a hustler whose clients are looking for rough trade.

  14. Blogging about blogging?! Don't do it, dude!
    Stick to the stories about your life and interests. I write about weird videos I want to share, odd things my scientist-guy husband comes up with, adventures with the kids, hot celebrities I pretend are my boyfriends, alien jars, smut I read, etc. The brainfarts are endless!

  15. Whatevs. Standing on a bed ain't nothing. I freed myself from a locked car:


    -Violet Affleck

  16. Paul--

    I guess "hustler" sounds a little better than "hooker."


    I'll keep the metablognition to a minimum. This might be the last instance.


    Yeah, but you're like 12. You should be careful what you say about Cobra's achievement. She might shank you.

  17. Yeah, I think that would be considered hookin'. Don't feel bad though, if not you, it would have been someone else...

    I always think of the best blog posts when I'm at work but I work on a dairy farm so it's not like I can just whip out my computer in the barn and start blogging. By the time I get home, that perfect blog post is gone and I still smell like a cow's butt.

    Way to go Cobra!


Don't hold back.


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