Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Leaving Home

Last Friday, we did the usual nighttime routine with the feeding of the kids and the cleaning up of what they had left in their wake during the day; and then we stayed up until 3:00 a.m., doing laundry, more cleaning, getting rid of perishable food, and generally battening down the hatches.

Two and a half hours later, we got up, dragged our asses and the asses of our children out of bed, rousted my teenage nephew who has been staying with us for a while and who rarely gets out of bed before noon (but is nonetheless really a great kid and not actually lazy), and made him drive us to the airport so we could go to DC for my wife's little brother's wedding.

As San Diegans do, I had forgotten that other parts of the country sometimes have weather at this time of year; so I checked a forecast while packing.  Snow and rain in DC at the time we were to arrive.  Nice.  I envisioned delayed flights, twin meltdowns, parental meltdowns, and a white-knuckle slither down the Beltway in one of my father-in-law's sketchy vehicles with mismatched second-hand tires once we finally arrived.

Those misadventures would have made for great blog fodder.  Nonetheless I was really pleased that the trip went off as well as could have been expected, even with a four-hour layover in Chicago (which has a really boring airport, except for the many "moving sidewalks" that we traversed innumerable times).  For that, I have to give credit to dumb luck for making the weather less bad than was predicted, and to my wife for being a genius at preparing for traveling with kids.  She had been stocking up for weeks on new toys, iPad apps, children's headphones, snacks, and other indulgences that I had groused about as they arrived in the daily tower of Amazon boxes.

But those indulgences made our kids look like the best-behaved angels that ever staggered onto a Southwest flight.  We had to buy them their own seats since they're too old to be "lap children" (ouch, financially), so there was plenty of room to spread out coloring books, Play-Doh, puzzles, and finally, after the wholesome activities could no longer subdue their squirminess, to bust out the iPad and tranquilize them with Elmo.

The routine once we arrived at the in-laws' aging McMansion in the DC 'burbs was quite familiar, with the twist of having to deal with very active, unpredictable, and sensitive toddlers.

Eating is the main activity.  Mom-in-law is in some process of food preparation or cleanup nonstop, literally, which means we are in the process of stuffing our faces at all times.  And because there's a wedding, the other activity is shopping for clothes and odds and ends for the festivities.  The children are much more amused by malls than is their father.  I need to go for a hike soon.

Also, the children will not nap--at all--and won't go to sleep at night without both Mom and Dad in the mildly creepy basement room (three of the six sibs claim that they've had paranormal experiences while sleeping there) where we're staying.  So we have to perform the "everybody night-night" charade at about 8: 30 (which does, I confess, sometimes turn into a substantial parental nap), or the kids will clamber out of their Pack N Plays and start banging on the door like Attica inmates.

Whenever there is a wedding in my wife's family, everyone has to perform.  For the last three weddings, we've put together a family band--a sort of Eurasian Partridge Family--to perform a couple songs at the reception.  With each wedding we've gotten more ambitious; and this time, we're working on five to seven songs, featuring--oh--about ten band members.  The four lead vocalists won't arrive until the day before the wedding, but I'm sure it will all work out.

I play bass in this band, which is something I did from the eighth grade until my junior year of high school, but have not done since (with the exceptions of the family wedding gigs).  But, as anyone who's staying in this house would attest, I am a little obsessed with nailing my bass part, my facial expressions, and my heroic poses.  I'm afraid that, at 44 years old, I still want to be a rock star.

And apparently, so do my children:

This was our first (of two) practices, but we've improved a lot since then.  And when we get our singers, we're going to KILL. IT.  I will be sure to post videos of the actual performance here.  Unless we suck.


I'm pretty sure I've written some stuff on the interwebs since I last posted here.  Let me look around. Hmmm...

Oh, here's something on Aiming Low about toddler nap avoidance. 

And...let's see...a little jokey jokey thing on Insert Eyeroll.  I wrote about fat cats and bankers staging "Occupy Your Mom" demonstrations.  Somebody from Charles Schwab thought it was real and left a comment.  No shit.

Man of the House published an article I wrote about old-time craftsmen: Was Your Grandfather More Handy than You? 

Thanks loads for reading! 



  1. Hope you enjoyed the wedding BD.

    I'd still like to be a Beatle,but I think my time may have passed.Can't think of many bands that have use for a Ukulele player.

    Except maybe these

  2. "everyone has to perform"? Are your in-laws Circus Folk?

  3. I'm a sucker for a lady bug, Every time.

  4. Is that "That Thing You Do" you're playing (from the Tom Hanks film)?

    Glad y'all had a good flight with your children. We tried to pack lots of entertainment, but my 3-year-old boy (he was 2 when we flew in July) was still awful, and I said "never again while they're this young" and promptly cancelled our planned trip to Key West this fall.

  5. We've got a flying trip coming up in the spring that I'm a bit concerned about (got a very active 1 yr old and 3 yr old). When are airlines going to start offering a daycare in the back of the plane?

  6. Check you out- all these different places running your words I am surprised you have time to practice your Mick Jagger moves.

  7. Dude, I JUST picked up a 10 amp Dewalt hammer drill. It's still in the box. But man, one of these days, when my son stops putting my PS3 controller in strange places, I'm going to put holes in the garage.

  8. @Jack--Ukeleles are huge now. I just won a book of Eddie Vedder songs for uke at a movie viewing. Want it?

    @JJ--They might as well be circus folk. They're mostly a cappella folk.

    @Christian--That's an excellent idea! Just cordon all the kids off in the back somewhere. Where are they gonna go?

    @Jack--I have to stay up real late practicing my *ahem* Bill Wyman moves.

    @Frank--You should drill a big enough hole in your garage to hide your PS3 controller from the kid!

  9. Those people movers are freaky deaky even when you have your grown-up legs on. Have great fun performing for the family. I wanna see how that turns out.

  10. Can't wait to see all the facial expressions and poses. My husband grew up playing bass in a heavy metal band and their expressions mostly consisted of evil marauders (on purpose) and mouth breathing morons (not on purpose).

  11. @Muskrat--Yeah, that's the tune. It was much more recognizable when we practiced again tonight. Our kids were great on the plane, but have been kind, unsettled since we got to VA.

    @Fragrant Liar--Yeah, I about wiped out on one of them when I was making sure the kiddos were being careful. I'll be sure to post video of our performance all over the internets.

    @Nari--Haha...evil marauders. When I was in bands as a youngster, my pose was mostly "snide stoic."

  12. And that's why we drive...our kids wouldn't be that good, nor would my wife or I have that much foresight to plan out the toy distribution. Impressive.

    I'd take that uke book if it's up for grabs...

  13. We've yet to fly with the kids. I'm frightened. The boy is, well, he's spirited.

  14. Oh I still want to be a rockstar too (at 48!!!)

    The first days, or rather nights, of any trip are always a nightmare with small children. I'm afraid we've resigned ourselves to it now and just drink our way through it.

    NO WE DON'T - We let them stay up until they drop off to sleep through sheer exhaustion. Really.


Don't hold back.


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