Sunday, December 16, 2012

Daddy Day


Every Saturday, since Carol went back to work 8 months ago, has been a “daddy day.” It’s the one day of the week that I take care of Henry by myself for the entire day. And no I don’t think I should get a prize for that. There are single parents who take care of multiple children and I have absolutely no idea how they do it. My philosophy with “daddy day” has always been “Okay, let’s just get through this.”

I don’t usually try to get much of anything done. I don’t do the laundry or the food shopping or try and do any writing. Carol usually has goals when she takes care of Henry; she always wants to do a million errands. And I love her for it, that kind of can do attitude is probably what keeps this operation going. But the flip side of that is that I’ve come home after work on some of her “Henry days” to find her in a state of defeated exhaustion because Henry won’t nap the way she wanted him to and try as she might, she couldn’t get her errands done. If you have no goals, no matter how the day unfolds, you won’t be disappointed.

Pre-Henry, one of my favorite things to do on a Saturday was to laze around the apartment for the entire day. There was nothing I enjoyed more than staying in my comfy pajamas, reading, watching TV, catching up on my sleep, and surfing the web. It was of course rare that I could be that lazy all day as Carol was usually there to remind me that the laundry, the food shopping, and the house cleaning needed to get done during the weekend too. However, since Henry has been born and the majority of my Saturday is spent sitting on the floor with Henry and watching as he pushes his trucks back and forth across the living room over, and over, and over again, I am understandably much more interested in getting out and about a bit more and doing something with my day.

To wit, I started a tradition of taking Henry to a local bagel shop every Saturday around his lunchtime. I’d bring him inside in his stroller and the staff there would start to fawn over him and I’d get some food and some coffee. I’d sit as close as I could to the counter where people ordered and I’d eat it while Henry sat in his stroller and watched the people ordering. Henry loves to watch people. I think he enjoys trying to figure them out. Then when I was done eating I’d put Henry in a high chair and give him some food I’d prepared at home and brought and then we’d be on our way.    

Last week we didn’t make it over to the bagel shop, but I did take Henry on a long walk in his stroller at a park that’s near our house. This park happens to have a ¼ mile long hill with a 60% grade. It’s a monster of a hill, but it’s really the only thing to do if you want anything more than a short walk. And so reluctantly I took Henry down the hill in his stroller, knowing that every step down I took I would have to repeat by going back up. The path was empty that day except for the occasional cyclist so I sang camp songs from my youth and talked to Henry about whatever it was that was on my mind that afternoon. Henry is a good listener.

This past Saturday morning I had to go to the post office and mail some Christmas packages. The closest post office that’s open on Sat. is in the next town over. Henry and I waited in line for more than a half hour to send the packages. Then I had to go across town to my bank to put a check in. Well, by this time. Henry was asleep in his car seat. While I waited in line at the drive thru ATM at my bank, I’d put the car into park and turn around and look at Henry in the car seat. He was sleeping with his head pitched forward. This always seems like a painful way to sleep and I imagine Henry waking up with a stiff neck or something so I try and push his head back against his seat’s headrest but he just pitches forward again. So, then I got out a blanket and I tried to put it in-between his head on the headrest and get him to lean on the blanket, but that didn’t work either.

Meanwhile, after all these errands I was thinking about breakfast, but I didn’t want to wake Henry up so I went through a drive thru and got some food and drove back to the apartment. Henry was still asleep in his seat so I parked the car, left the ELO cd on, and ate my food. I was prepared to sit in the car and read “Wool” on my I-phone, but Henry woke up. He had only been asleep for about a half hour. I foolishly thought maybe he’d sleep better if I took him up to the apartment, but when we got inside and he saw his toys and the cats all thoughts of sleeping were forgotten.

I didn’t worry about it too much, I figured he’d go down for another nap in an hour or two. But I ended up spending most of the afternoon trying every 45 minutes or so to get him to take that nap. He was so cranky, but he just won’t go to sleep. That afternoon I tried 5 times to get him to take a nap and he actually went down the 5th time and he slept for an hour. Carol got home right after he was asleep and the two of us were able to eat our dinner without a kid throwing his food on the floor.

I don’t want you to think that we had an awful day. It really wasn’t that bad. We also had a lots of fun. I stretched a blanket over my head like it was a big cape and chased Henry around the room saying I was the blanket monster and then I’d hug and kiss him and cover him with the blanket. He thought this game was a lot of fun.

Henry is getting older so fast though; his new thing is that he pushes the computer chair around like it’s one of his toys. At first I had to stand behind him and help him push, but the other day he grabbed my hand while it was on the chair and pushed it away as if to this, “let me do it myself dad.” So I let go and Henry pushed the thing around by himself. It really seems like Henry is starting to understand how to communicate. In addition to pushing me away he’s reached for my hand when he’s wanted me to help him with something. The other new thing he did this week is he noticed the 10” by 13” framed picture of him that we have in the living room from when we got his picture taken at a portrait place for the holidays. He went over near it and started pointing to it. I picked him up and started telling him “that’s you, and you’re making your patented smirk,” and he reached for the picture and laughed. He definitely recognized himself.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Short Story of the Week (December 2012)

Each week at the Classic Science Fiction Message Board we read a short science fiction piece (short story, novelette or novella). These stories are always available for FREE online so that anyone can participate in the discussion. The stories are chosen by a different member every month, so that we get to read a variety of stories. December's stories are being picked by Melanie Ivanoff.

I'm 36 and have lived in Nashville, TN for 13 years now, which is about 11 years longer than I thought I would be here!  I grew up all over the southeast US, spending time in Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and finally Louisiana. I moved here after I graduated from LSU to live with a friend of mine and just never left.   My husband and I got married this past summer and then bought a house.  I'm also just finishing my 3rd semester of my Library/Information Science Masters program at UT, so life is pretty busy.  That's pretty much why the majority of our books are still in boxes!

I got my love of reading from my parents and my preference for sci-fi and fantasy from my father.  I can't remember the first science fiction I read but I read things like the Hitchhiker's series, Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept series, Michael Crichton and lots of short stories as my dad always got the big end of year compilation books.  Now, my favorite modern sci-fi tends to be things by guys like Neal Stephenson and China Mieville.  Classic authors:  Ursula K. LeGuin, Bradbury, Asimov.  I also read a lot of science non-fiction and by favorites are by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan, Mary Roach and Michio Kaku.   Unfortunately, there are just too many books to read! 


Week # 1 Wool by Hugh Howey

For my first choice, I picked the first installment of Wool by Hugh Howey.  It is free on Kindle right now. My husband has been trying to get me to read it for several months now. Having read several self-published books I was a bit skeptical that it would be any good. I was presently surprised. Set in a dystopian future where everyone in the society lives their entire lives inside a silo, this first section details what happens when one man decides he wants to go outside.

Week #2  How to Make a Triffid by Kelly Lagor    

We (well some of you, I didn't get to it) read Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham earlier this year. This week's short story is inspired by the novel. It's about a young scientist who is working to create a real Triffid. Or it's about love and loss and death. I think I liked it but I am not sure. There's a melancholy atmosphere to it and a lot of anger; the first I don't mind, but the second often puts me off a story. Let me know what you think!

 Week #3 'Tis the Season by China Mieville

Happy Christmas, Merry Hanukkah, Joyful Festivus, and a Pleasant Solstice to all!

One thing that I've found searching for short stories is that LOTS AND LOTS of them are downers.  I've read through plenty where it's the end of the world or a depressing dystopia.  Or everybody dies.  I did a last minute swap of last week's story because it had gun violence and I just didn't want to put that out there.  So I looked really hard to find a happy story and even managed to get a Christmas one: 'Tis the Season by China Mieville.

In the future, Christmas has been privatized, trademarked and copyrighted.  If you want a Christmas tree, or to sing a carol, or send a letter to Santa, you better have a license!  Our narrator wins passes to take his daughter to the licensed YuleCo party and can't believe his luck.  However, they run into trouble on the way to the party....

SPOILERS: No one dies in the end!

Week #4 Loco by Rudy Rucker and Bruce Sterling    

So, I got busy reading and playing a new video game and posting the story just slipped my mind!  I have had a good time picking these stories out but I must admit that it was a bit harder than I had thought it would be.  I read a bunch of stories and so many just weren't right; as I mentioned last week plenty are just depressing!  I found a weird one that has a throwaway reference to another monthly read, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.